ArticleIn six short years, Sam Mod has gone from newcomer student to Canadian tech success story. see more
Sam Mod, Co-Founder of FreshWorks Studio, receives Entrepreneur Award in RBC's Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards
Newcomers face multiple challenges settling into their new lives in Canada, including language and cultural barriers. Those who choose to start a business can experience even greater challenges, breaking through roadblocks to gain credibility and to establish themselves in their industry.
In six short years, Sam Mod has gone from newcomer student to Canadian tech success story.
While studying for an MBA at the University of Victoria, the ambitious young entrepreneur co-founded app company FreshWorks Studio with a business partner, Rohit Boolchandani.
Mod admits it was hard to juggle both his studies and a new business.
“I moved to Canada in 2013 and was very new to the culture. In fact, this was the first time I had travelled internationally in my life. My intention was to get a job here so I can pay my tuition fees. However, the plan changed when I started the entrepreneurial journey and then I struggled to get going on many fronts. I had no network or connections, no money, no peers or support group and essentially had a lot of failures in the beginning.”
Today, he serves as CEO of the growing design and development company, which has offices in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton and Seattle, and 56 employees. FreshWorks has built more than 85 applications for an impressive list of clients, including complex projects in Blockchain and AI.
“I live by the motto: ‘Persistence trumps everything,’” Mod says. “The early failures humbled us and we believe in humility. When the going is tough, you got to do what you have to do. I was resilient, persistent and patient. These attributes coupled with my technical skills and education helped me overcome struggles and achieve success.”
Mod has come a long way and was named a Top 30 Under 30 last year by BC Business magazine.
“As a Canadian, I feel like there is a tremendous opportunity in business here and the sky is the limit. Companies like Slack and Shopify are living examples of the kind of impact Canadian companies can make on the world.”
ArticleFreshWorks Studio and Sierra Systems announced as Finalists for the 2019 Technology Impact Awards (TIAs)On the list of 2019 TIAs Finalists - Victoria-based FreshWorks Studio and Sierra Systems. see more
Source: BC Tech Association
FreshWorks Studio and Sierra Systems announced as Finalists for the 2019 Technology Impact Awards (TIAs)
Congratulations to Victoria-based tech companies, FreshWorks Studio and Sierra Systems for being chosen as Finalists for the 2019 TIAs!
VANCOUVER, April 26, 2019 — The BC Tech Association (BC Tech) is proud to announce the finalists for the 2019 Technology Impact Awards (TIAs).
“The TIA finalists are each excellent examples of companies, organizations and individuals who are fuelling new levels of growth and global competitiveness across British Columbia,” said Jill Tipping, BC Tech President and CEO. “Recognizing and celebrating these innovators is part of BC Tech’s mission to make BC the best place to grow and scale a tech company and the recognition that today every company is a tech company.”
This year, the province’s largest and longest-running technology awards program features a pair of new categories that address what BC Tech and the community identify as key priorities: delivering more home grown scale and anchor companies; and educating, attracting and retaining top talent.
The new “Spirit of BC Tech — True Grit” award celebrates bold entrepreneurship, pioneering spirit, and displays of true grit in the face of business challenges such as talent retention and boosting market share. “Excellence in Global Export,” meanwhile, rewards growth and success on the world stage through the export of technology developed in B.C.
“The 2019 TIA finalists include companies from across the province— from Victoria to Rossland, and represent outstanding achievements in a diverse array of industries,” said Raghwa Gopal, CEO of Innovate BC, the Provincial crown agency responsible for technology and innovation.
Another highlight of the TIA gala on 27 June will be the granting of six BC TechScholarships to Grade 12 and post-secondary students who are passionate about tech. (The application deadline was recently extended to April 30.)
The winners of the 26th-annual TIAs will be announced on Thursday, June 27, as part of the annual gala celebration at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
The 2019 Technology Impact Award Finalists are:
Company of the Year – Startup Success
The 2019 Company of the Year – Startup Success award is presented in partnership with Microsoft.
Company of the Year – Growth Success
The 2019 Company of the Year – Growth Success award is presented in partnership with Osler.
Company of the Year – Scale Success
The 2019 Company of the Year – Scale Success award is presented in partnership with SAP.
Company of the Year – Anchor Success
The 2019 Company of the Year – Anchor Success award is presented in partnership with EY.
Excellence in Global Export
The 2019 Exellence in Global Export award is presented in partnership with Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster.
Spirit of BC Tech – True Grit
The 2019 Spirit of BC Tech – True Grit award is presented in partnership with Safe Software.
Tech Culture of the Year
The 2019 Tech Culture of the Year award is presented in partnership with Harbour Air.
Excellence in Technology Adoption
The 2019 Excellence in Technology Adoption award is presented in partnership with Accenture.
Excellence in Technology Innovation
The 2019 Excellence in Technology Innovation award is presented in partnership with MDA.
Person of the Year
- Kim Kaplan
- Thomas Ligocki
- Greg Malpass
- Lisa Shields
The 2019 Person of the Year award is presented in partnership with BDC.
About the BC Tech Association
Making B.C. the best place to grow and scale a tech company has been the mission of the BC Tech Association since 1993. While our members focus on growing their businesses, BC Tech has been providing opportunities for our industry members to collaborate, learn, and grow together. We are dedicated to connecting companies, developing talent, and advocating so our industry and our province thrive. To learn more visit www.wearebctech.com.
Media assets are available here including photos and videos from last night’s finalist celebration.
FreshWorks nailed down a $1.5-million contract with the province of BC in just 17 days thanks to... see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Carla Wilson
Bidding for provincial government tech contracts just got easier
Victoria’s high-tech FreshWorks Studio nailed down a $1.5-million contract with the province of B.C. in just 17 days, thanks to a new system aimed at helping firms do business with the government.
FreshWorks’ job is to improve technological systems supporting regulatory oversight for B.C.’s mining sector. The contract is also helping propel growth at Sam Mod’s company and create new jobs.
By year’s end, the FreshWorks chief executive officer anticipates having close to 60 employees, up from three in 2016.
The bulk of his staff works at 100-736 Broughton St., and the company has opened offices in Vancouver and Seattle.
FreshWorks is among 58 technology companies that have registered with the B.C.’s Sprint With Us procurement process for contracts of $2 million or less. It’s the first to win a contract under that system.
Sprint With Us is aimed at companies able to provide software products within a specific time period.
This program “makes it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to do work with government,” Citizens’ Services Minister Jinny Sims said at FreshWorks’ Victoria office on Wednesday.
B.C.’s procurement system, which enables the province to buy goods and services, was “very complex,” she said. During consultations around B.C., the government heard from companies that it was expensive to bid and took too long.
She tried the B.C. Bid system herself and said: “It was a nightmare.”
So the province is replacing the B.C. Bid system with something that is “far more agile,” Sims said.
She said tech sector representatives told the province: “Procurement takes so long [that] by the time procurement is over, the needs of the ministry and the marketplace have changed dramatically.”
The Sprint With Us program does not apply to larger and more costly projects, however. In the past, all projects had to go through the same process, Sims said.
“When you ‘right-size’ and you look at the different factors, you can start to very much personalize those procurements — and that is exactly what we did.”
Smaller businesses will no longer have to spend huge amounts of money to bid for a $1.5-million contract, Sims said. During the consultations, she heard that it could cost $500,000 to compete for a $1-million contract.
Between the time the request was issued and the approval granted to FreshWorks, only 17 days had passed, Sims said. The approval included an interview and testing of the firm’s technology knowledge. Everything was done digitally.
In the past, that process could have taken close to a year-and-a-half, Sims said.
“We now have a procurement system where small and medium-sized businesses, and large businesses, play on an even playing field. No one was excluded from submitting a proposal,” Sims said.
The proposal that best met the criteria was selected, she said.
Said Mod: “The fact that we were able to win the contract makes us believe even more in ourselves and in our abilities.”
The contract means FreshWorks can hire senior experienced staff and train more junior workers straight out of university, he said.
Mod, 30, came to Canada from India to earn a masters in business administration at UVic. He said he was able to customize his assignments at school into company development. He graduated from UVic in 2015.
FreshWorks Studio wins "Best Immigrant Entrepreneur" at Small Business BC Awards see more
FreshWorks Studio wins "Best Immigrant Entrepreneur" at Small Business BC Awards
Blog from Samarth Mod (February 25, 2018) - It takes a lot of work, courage and determination to run & grow a business as we have a new opportunity and a new challenge almost every day. The challenges used to bog me down but now I have gotten better at dealing with them. I try to stay positive & use humor when appropriate to destress else 60-80 hour work weeks would unsustainable.
We won the 2018 Small Business BC "Best Immigrant Entrepreneur" award last night. I have been told that the audience enjoyed our fun & humorous victory speech on the link below. Please check it out and hope you enjoy it too.
Best Immigrant Entrepreneur - Finalists in 2017 to winners in 2018
We are incredibly grateful to Canada for embracing us and we are giving back by growing FreshWorks Studio from 3 employees to over 45 employees in last 2 years. It is an amazing feeling to have won this award and getting recognized in front of an amazing audience. We are fortunate to have selected University of Victoria for our MBA and VIATEC for our incubation at an early stage.
We would like to thank Praveen Varshney for helping us out in the beginning stages with his social capital and Ian Bailey for mentoring us in the public sector space.
Finally, we would like to thank Government of British Columbia for their mandate to use small companies and startups for application development. Lastly, we have an amazing team at FreshWorks Studio and you are invited to visit our HQ in Victoria to see our culture and meet our hard working team.
We have been down and out multiple times in the past but hard work, persistence, patience, positive attitude, good heart and right connections helped us through the tough times. Here's to everyone who is working hard to make their dreams a reality.
Click below to see their acceptance speech:
They have a new head-office space downtown and satellite offices in Vancouver and India. see more
Young Innovators: Samarth Mod and Rohit Boolchandani of FreshWorks Studio
For 29-year old Samarth Mod, “persistence trumps everything.”
Mod founded FreshWorks Studio — a mobile and web application company, in Victoria — with his long-time friend, Rohit Boolchandani (also 29), while the two were still working on their MBAs at the University of Victoria.
“There were times when we could have folded,” Mod says. “Running the company and doing the MBA, time and money were very tight, it was hard on us … but it prepared us for the battles we are doing now.”
Given that FreshWorks is rated third in the category for top app developers in Canada by Clutch, a research company that specializes in identifying leaders in the software field, their “battlefield” has expanded well beyond Victoria’s borders. Clients include BC Hydro, BC Ferries and used.ca. Along with their new head-office space downtown, the company has satellite offices in Vancouver and India. Their staff has grown to 32 employees. And expansion into the U.S. is on the horizon...
Local e-commerce site partnered with local tech start-up FreshWorks see more
Source: Victoria News
Author: Kristyn Anthony
Used.ca launches new mobile app
Local e-commerce site partnered with local tech start-up FreshWorks
Used.ca is about to make your life even easier.
The free local classified website has launched their new app, allowing users to buy, trade and sell used items more efficiently. Users will be able to browse items based on region or proximity, or search in multiple regions at once. A new in-app chat feature will allow buyers and sellers to communicate with each other directly, and privately for more secure transactions.
Used.ca was launched in 2005 by Mark Rainer and Stephen Chan who had hoped to address landfill problems in Vancouver by recycling unwanted goods. By 2008 the site was recording 55 million page views per month and in 2014, the mobile site launched.
“It has been a long road to creating an app that provides our loyal users with a streamlined mobile experience,” said Lacey Sheardown, president and director of marketing at Used.ca.
The Victoria-based company kept it local, developing the app with FreshWorks, a Victoria tech start-up that specializes in developing and designing on mobile platforms.
“We pride ourselves on being a part of the fabric of our communities,” Sheardown said. “So it only made sense to partner with a company from within our community on this project. The team at FreshWorks have demonstrated a level of professionalism and technical expertise beyond their company’s young tenure.”
Used.ca has launched in 84 communities across Canada, from Victoria to P.E.I. focusing on families, sustainability and safety. The new app is available for download now.
Winners include 4 VIATEC Members see more
2017 Greater Victoria Business Award Winners Announced
Winners include 4 VIATEC Members!
Congratulations to all of the incredible businesses who were nominated, the finalists and ultimately the winners of this year's 2017 Greater Victoria Business Awards.
If you weren't able to join us for the gala event at The Fairmont Empress, you will be able to enjoy the evening vicariously. Watch these great videos of the finalists here. To obtain a copy of the program guide check out our May Business Matters in print or online in early May.
And the winners are...
Innovation; sponsored by University of Victoria, Peter B. Gustavson School of Business
Flytographer — video [VIATEC Member]
Finalist: Coastal Community Credit Union & Insurance — video
Outstanding Customer Service; sponsored by Innvo8 Digital Solutions Inc.
STS Pain Pharmacy — video
Finalist: Outlooks for Men — video
Sustainable Business Practices; sponsored by Sierra Club of BC and Horne Coupar
Bernhardt Contracting Ltd. — video
Finalist: City Green Solutions Society — video
Young Entrepreneur of the Year; sponsored by Royal Roads University
Rachel Paish, Passion & Performance — video
Finalist: Glen Smethurst, Van Isle Paint and Island Digital Marketing — video
Non-Profit of the Year; sponsored by Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island
Lifetime Networks — video
Finalist: Our Place Society — video
Chamber Member of the Year; sponsored by Air Canada
Dan Dagg, Hot House Marketing — video
Governors' Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
TELUS Victoria Community Board - video
The winners were announced at an awards ceremony on April 4 at The Leonardo Da Vinci Centre see more
Including two VIATEC Members!
April 5, 2017 (News Release) VICTORIA — Douglas magazine is proud to announce the winners of their eighth annual 10 to Watch Awards for 2017. These awards highlight the very best of Vancouver Island’s new businesses.
The winners were announced at an awards ceremony on April 4 at The Leonardo Da Vinci Centre in Victoria, B.C. and were selected by an independent panel of judges that included local business owners and representatives of the University of Victoria Peter B. Gustavson School of Business and Royal Roads University School of Business.
The 2017 10 to Watch winners are:
- TrichAnalytics (VIATEC Member!)
- Roll.Focus. Productions
- Cultured Kombucha
- FreshWorks Studio (VIATEC Member!)
- Studio Robazzo
- Angela Cote Consulting Inc.
- SOHO Victoria
- Miiko Skin Co
- Rep Lab Communications
- Victoria Soda Works
On April 5, you can read more about the 2017 winners here.
“We celebrate each of these innovative 10 to Watch winners for their entrepreneurial spirit and courage to leave the comfort zone,” says Lise Gyorkos, co-owner of Page One Publishing, which produces Douglas magazine. “A 10 to Watch Award is a strong vote of confidence from the experts, and these are businesses who demonstrate sound business models, scalability, talent and great market potential.”
Now in their eighth year, the 10 to Watch Awards recognize Vancouver Island’s best new companies, which have been in business for three years or less. Previous winners include: LlamaZoo, DeeBees Organics, Flytographer, Indochino, Rumble Energy Drink, Elate Cosmetics and Stocksy United.
Douglas is Vancouver Island’s business magazine, published by award-winning Page One Publishing. Page One also publishes YAM magazine, Victoria’s lifestyle magazine.
The 10 to Watch Awards are made possible by the generous sponsorship of Title Sponsor Peninsula Co-op and supporting sponsors.
Douglas Editor-in-Chief, Kerry Slavens and select winners will be available for interviews, upon request.
For further information and interviews, contact:
Kerry Slavens, Editor-in-Chief, Douglas Magazine
ABOUT THE WINNERS:
The only commercial laboratory in Canada to use laser ablation for biological tissues to answer questions regarding health, nutrition and metal exposure.
A video production company that combines a journalistic approach with simple digital marketing strategies, striking the balance between budget and value for its small-business clients.
The maker of kombucha — a probiotic beverage made of fermented tea — which uses organic ingredients and sells it primarily on tap and by bulk-fill, leaving a low environmental footprint.
A tech firm that uses a collaborative team approach to develop elegant and sophisticated mobile apps for private- and public-sector companies, on both iOS and Android platforms.
A multi-faceted design firm that takes on everything from interior design to graphic design to websites to industrial design to retail displays and even stage sets.
A franchise consultant and business-growth specialist who helps business owners convert to the franchise model, and assists established franchisors take their business to the next level.
An annual one-day conference and networking event for small companies and home-based businesses that includes speakers, workshops, round-table discussions and one-on-one expert advisor sessions.
A natural skincare line that focuses on using high-quality local ingredients, delivering its products with education and keeping its environmental footprint low.
A public relations and marketing company that enhances its clients’ reputations in the good times but whose grounding in crisis management can also help when issues arise.
Maker of handcrafted, small-batch soda pop, available in 16 different flavours sweetened with cane sugar, as well as a line of sugar-free selzers.
The company has more than doubled in size since last fall and now has 25 employees. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Freshworks Studio hits Vancouver
Just over a year into its business life, Victoria mobile application developer Freshworks Studio has expanded to Vancouver.
The company, founded by Samarth Mod and Rohit Boolchandani, has more than doubled in size since last fall and now has 25 employees.
“We wanted to set our foundation in Victoria first and have a strong base before we moved there,” said Mod, noting the Vancouver move makes sense for a company with big plans in its future. “The business in Vancouver is probably 10 times that in Victoria, and we had been hearing that for more than a year.”
The company already has several Vancouver-based clients, and expects that to increase significantly now that it has a presence at 543 Granville St.
“Right now there seems to be a barrier to have [clients] come to Victoria for an office visit,” Mod said. “We want to remove that barrier for them and, hopefully, grow our business.”
The ultimate goal is to expand to the U.S. The company intends to set up a Seattle office within the next two years.
Without having looked at the app, Mod responded that he had found a few bugs and would be willing... see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
After-work networking has been a blessing for a new local software firm that was just recognized as one of the best mobile application developers in Canada.
FreshWorks Studio, named by technology research firm Clutch to a top-10 developers in Canada list based on market presence, portfolio and client satisfaction, can trace its early success to a few networking meetings and a beer-inspired social media conversation with one of its new contacts.
“I just wanted to catch his attention,” Samarth Mod says of a late-night note sent via Facebook to tech veteran James DeGreef, founder of ChatterBlock. Mod and business partner Rohit Boolchandani had been struggling with their company, AirSenze Solutions. Mod responded to DeGreef’s social media request for feedback after ChatterBlock launched a mobile app.
Without having looked at the app, Mod responded that he had found a few bugs and would be willing to share his findings with DeGreef, who he had met briefly at a VIATEC networking event.
The ChatterBlock CEO offered to meet and provided an incentive — a pint or restaurant item — for each bug Mod could find.
For Mod and Boolchandani, it was a case of having nothing to lose, but knowing they had something to offer to the Victoria tech scene as application developers.
The pair did manage to find bugs, had the meeting and the pair ended up working on ChatterBlock’s app for Android devices. DeGreef was impressed and invested in what would become FreshWorks.
“It was the jockeying, not necessarily the horse,” he said. “Rarely do you find more than one guy who is really awesome [in a company], but I found two who had worked together a long time and had complementary skills. Both were very smart strategically and both were hustlers.”
DeGreef also saw opportunity in mobile applications, and the fact Mod and Boolchandani had a stable of engineers they could source work to in India, while keeping the design and project management in Victoria.
The bet has started paying off. Apart from recognition by Clutch, which Mod said immediately translated into clients and new business leads, the nine-month-old firm has more than $500,000 in work booked this year and has grown to a team of eight employees.
Some of the mobile apps created so far include work for the City of Victoria, B.C. Highways, Vancouver International Wine Festival and provincial ministries.
It all seems to have started with a few beers.
Mod and Boolchandani came to Canada, and the University of Victoria, to do their MBAs.
Boolchandani, chief operating officer and co-founder, was the first to come in 2012, choosing UVic because of the climate, affordability and the people.
“[In India], we were making an application for RBC Royal Bank and for Bank of America and Barclays, but there was always something nice about talking to Canadians,” he said of his old job.
So when the pair decided they would leave India to establish their own firm, Canada moved to the top of the list. That was solidified, said Boolchandani, when they realized visas, immigration and being able to start their own business would have been much more difficult in the U.S. Mod came to Canada a year later.
He said most of the advice he was given suggested he needed to immerse himself in the tech scene. That meant networking whenever possible.
“My first email was to Rob Bennett at VIATEC and he said come down to an event, and that he would be the tallest guy serving beer,” said Mod. Bennett, an industry veteran who is as well connected as anyone in the city, introduced Mod to a few people. One of them was DeGreef.
Mod said the networking sessions showed him there was an opportunity in mobile applications, and that there was a shortage of software developers. “We thought there was a real opportunity.” While the pair admit they made plenty of rookie mistakes, they also kept learning from other company leaders. “And we didn’t quit. We just started to listen more,” said Mod.
Their eyes are on serious growth, defining a niche within the mobile application space and cracking the U.S. market.