Each year, OBJ recognizes the region’s rapidly growing firms with its Fastest Growing Companies awards. The aim is to honour the city’s top performers for substantial, sustainable and profitable growth. Recipients are ranked by their three-year revenue growth. They must have had revenues of at least $100,000 in the first of those three years under consideration. Revenues must have risen to at least $500,000 in their most recent fiscal year.
Little did Noibu’s founders know just how prescient their decision to pivot the fledgling Ottawa software firm two years ago would be.
Originally conceived as a vehicle for offering 3D virtual tours of high-end retailers’ brick-and-mortar stores, the four-year-old startup changed focus in 2019 to become a bug-detection platform for e-commerce sites.
Mere months later, the pandemic flipped the retail world on its head, triggering an online shopping boom. Noibu’s product went from a niche offering to a must-have service for hundreds of customers practically overnight.
“It allowed us to break into some really big names,” says co-founder Kailin Noivo, rhyming off global brands such as Avon, Champion and Guess among the retail giants that have signed on to Noibu’s service since last March.
Noibu’s revenues soared nearly 600 per cent in 2020 as retailers realized that even minutes of selling time lost to glitches in their online stores could translate into a massive missed opportunity.
Meanwhile, the firm’s headcount has ballooned from five to 23 since the pandemic began, and Noibu expects to be at 40 employees by the end of 2021.
Realizing they needed an experienced hand at the tiller to help scale the firm, Noivo and co-founders Robert Boukine and Filip Slatinac brought Dan Cardamore – a seasoned software developer who’d cut his teeth at Nortel, JDS Uniphase and BlackBerry QNX – on board as CEO in mid-2019.
Noivo says the bootstrapped venture will continue to fund its own growth and has no plans to raise a headline-grabbing VC round any time soon.
“I’d say (venture capital firms) are looking at us, but we’re not looking at them,” he says.