Tourism tech startup RVezy believes the elusive $1-billion revenue goal is not far down the road and says it has solid plans in place to reach it.
RVezy was one of three Ottawa tech companies added to a list of businesses identified as having a high probability of reaching $1 billion in revenue. The list was compiled recently by Communitech, a Waterloo-based innovation hub that supports more than 1,200 founders by providing opportunities to access talent, capital and sales.
RVezy’s vice-president of marketing Tom St. John couldn’t be more thrilled. “It’s accurate, absolutely, and we’re pretty enthusiastic about being named to the list,” he told Techopia Friday.
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With pandemic travel restrictions lifting and big plans for the business coming to fruition, RVezy is seeing continued rapid growth and is laying the groundwork to reach the $1-billion goal.
“In the last year or so, since restrictions lifted, we’re seeing a secondary boom in people wanting to travel,” said St. John. “Interesting things are happening for us.”
The Ottawa company, founded in 2016, offers a peer-to-peer rental platform featuring a variety of RVs, tent trailers and campers for rent from private owners to people interested in trying out the camping lifestyle without buying a vehicle themselves.
Similar to Airbnb’s model, RVezy connects customers with recreational vehicles that fit their needs. Plus, the company has recently introduced a new delivery option that allows guests to simply show up at their destination and leave the drop-off, travel and pick-up of the vehicle to the owners. Since introducing this option, delivery has represented 25 per cent of revenue.
“It’s with the emergence of (the) sharing economy, delivery, Uber Eats; the bring-it-to-me mentality is emerging,” explained St. John. “Owners bring it to guests, set it up, then pick it up and it’s unlocking this as a type of travel experience, which is the most exciting thing.”
The reopening of international travel has allowed tourists, predominantly from the U.K., Germany and France, St. John said, to visit Canada for what he calls “bucket-list” trips, particularly in Canada’s coastal provinces.
RVezy has also expanded into offering services in states such as California and Texas that boast year-round sun and travel opportunities.
“Canada for the last four or five years has been the core of the business, but we’ve made a move into the U.S. sunshine states. New Zealand, Australia and Europe are 12 months away,” said St. John. “There are no signs of that slowing.”
Last week, Communitech added 26 Canadian tech firms to its roster of top-performing companies, known as Team True North. The team now consists of 61 companies shown by verified data to have the highest probability of reaching $1 billion in revenue, according to Communitech. The other two Ottawa companies on the list were Ross Video and Solace.
“(Being added to the Communitech list) feels excellent,” said St. John. “This company prides itself on being rooted in Ottawa. Our two founders are proud they’re from here. There is a lot of pride that we’re in Ottawa and growing a company in Ottawa and these lists are a great way to recognize that and give everyone a kick in the butt to say, ‘Let’s keep it up.’”
RVezy co-founder and president Michael McNaught was a Forty Under 40 recipient in 2020, which was a year that also saw the company offer its recreational vehicles at reduced rates to first responders, health-care employees and other frontline workers who needed a place to “rest, recuperate and self-isolate” while staying close to home during the COVID-19 crisis.
In May 2021, RVezy told Techopia that business had never been better for the rapidly growing startup. McNaught said, “In March (2021), we were seeing numbers that we don’t even see in the summer months.” He added that the firm was on pace to triple its record revenue numbers of 2020 and nearly doubled its headcount to 60.
In September 2021, RVezy came in at No. 18 on the Globe and Mail’s annual list of Canada’s fastest-growing firms, with three-year revenue growth of 2,768 per cent.
The Communitech ranking is based on data from Silicon Valley Bank, analysis by New York-based data science firm Two Sigma, and the model developed by Communitech for measuring growth potential.