Techopia Live: Self-financing wisdom from an Ottawa Bootstrap Award winner

An award-winning bootstrapper joined Techopia Live this week to share the story of how her fledgling startup targeting the oil and gas sector has found its footing in Ottawa without raising major financing.

Ottawa-based Meta Innovation Technologies develops software targeting geoscience companies, such as those drilling beneath the earth for resources in Canada’s western provinces. In addition to artificial intelligence-based analytics, the company’s main offering is simulation software that helps trainees practise the skills they need before they’re behind the controls of a massive piece of machinery.

“Simulation-based training has been around for pilots forever, because we want to make sure we can trust pilots when they are actually piloting an aircraft. It’s the same thing with geosciences,” said Ellie Ardakani, Meta’s CEO and the Founder of the Year recipient at Ottawa’s 2020 Bootstrap Awards earlier this month.

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“They are multimillion-dollar projects and we need competent staff … to take control of those projects.”

Ardakani got off the ground with $250,000 in startup funding, a modest amount that kept her in contention for a Bootstrap Award. But since then, Ardakani said, Meta has thrived with a disciplined approach that uses a multi-product strategy to maintain its cash flow.

While the startup built its flagship software, it simultaneously started work on products that could mature a little faster. Those other products hit the market six months sooner than the rest and were able to solicit a few contracts worth a couple thousand dollars of revenue each – not sizeable paycheques by any means, but enough to keep the lights on while work continued on larger prospects.

Now with more solid footing, Ardakani said Meta is looking to invest in its sales and marketing staff to reduce the length of its sales cycles and ensure it has enough revenue to keep the company well-funded.

To hear more from Ardakani, including how she started an oil and gas-focused business in the nation’s capital, watch the video above.

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