Lest there be any doubt that software development has become one of Canada’s most impressive growth sectors, consider the performance of the 40 software firms that made the 2014 PROFIT 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies.

The stats about their performance in recent years are more impressive than a brilliant line of code:

  • 473%: Average revenue growth between 2008 and 2013
  • 5,005%: Revenue growth of QuickMobile, Canada’s Fastest-Growing Software Firm, between 2008 and 2013
  • $18.6 million: Average 2013 sales Canada’s Fastest-Growing Software Firms
  • $743.6 million: Total 2013 sales of the 40 companies on this ranking
  • 67%: Share of total 2013 sales that came from foreign customers
  • 4,479: Number of full-time equivalent employees on the payrolls of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Software Firms
  • 2,600: Number of those jobs that were created between 2008 and 2013.

That’s not all that makes Canada’s Fastest-Growing Software Firms so impressive. Read on to learn a little more about this year’s list (you can find out more about each company by clicking its name) and to discover some of the best advice their leaders have to share about building a thriving business in a white-hot, ruthlessly competitive sector:

The Top 10:

1. QuickMobile

Five-year revenue growth: 5,005% (PROFIT 500 rank: 5)
Chief executive(s): Patrick Payne
Full-time equivalent (FTE) employees: 182
Develops mobile-event apps for meetings, conferences and exhibitions

On standing out: “In 2007, when the iPhone came out, I realized it would be a game-changer. So we started to build iphone apps,” says Payne. “Our success comes from two things: the proliferation of mobile technology and a very compelling need to connect attendees in the meetings and conference sector.”

2. Achievers Corp.

Five-year revenue growth: 1,431% (PROFIT 500 rank: 42)
Chief executive(s): Patrick Quirk & Razor Suleman
FTE employees: 270
Sells employee rewards and recognition software

On standing out: “We’re customer obsessed,” says Suleman. “We really understand our unique role in the marketplace: we’ve targeted and found customers who have pain trying to drive employee performance and engagement, and we’ve really come up with a great product that meets their needs. There’s nothing much that’s unique about that, but that’s really why we’ve been winning.”

3. ITS Canada

Newmarket, Ont.
Five-year revenue growth: 1,195% (PROFIT 500 rank: 60)
Chief executive(s): Raye Ackerman
FTE employees: 24
Sells web-based software focused on the trucking industry

On standing out: “Strong partnerships have been key for us,” says Ackerman. “By that, I mean the people we choose to sell through. We say to other companies, ‘You don’t have a solution like this to offer your clients. We’ll private-label package our product for you.’ That way we acquire their legitimacy. Having strong partners has added high-quality leads on a regular basis.”

4. Appnovation Technologies Inc.

Five-year revenue growth: 1,023% (PROFIT 500 rank: 70)
Chief executive(s): Arnold Leung
FTE employees: 90
Builds open-source web, intranet and mobile applications

On standing out: “The open-source technology market is growing really fast, especially in the U.S., where most of our customers are,” says Leung. “So we’re aggressive in international growth; we have offices in the U.S. and U.K. We’ve looked beyond Canada.”

5. You.i

Kanata, Ont.
Five-year revenue growth: 975% (PROFIT 500 rank: 75)
Chief executive(s): Jason Flick
FTE employees: 37
Provides user-interface engine and design services for TV providers

On standing out: “We focused on a market that was in a lot of pain and created the right product to address it,” says Flick. “And we were able to do that because we had the right team in place. Without that, we wouldn’t have been able to find growth, much less manage it.”

6. Viziya Corp.

Hamilton, Ont.
Five-year revenue growth: 773% (PROFIT 500 rank: 90)
Chief executive(s): John Vujicic
FTE employees: 60
Develops enterprise asset management software

On standing out: “We saw a gap in the market: that ERP customers have niche business processes that need to be filled,” says Vujicic. “We’ve created solutions that result in material dollar savings and benefits. We’re capitalizing on a trend, and we’re also the only people who do it.”

7. Clevest Solutions Inc.

Richmond, B.C.
Five-year revenue growth: 552% (PROFIT 500 rank: 112)
Chief executive(s): Thomas Ligocki
FTE employees: 98
Provides software for mobile workforce management and smart-grid operations

On standing out: “There has been great change and transformation in the industry,” says Ligocki. “We’ve succeeded by identifying this change and exploiting it, by being first to market with a solution that addresses that need.”

8. Symbility Solutions Inc.

Five-year revenue growth: 468% (PROFIT 500 rank: 127)
Chief executive(s): James Swayze
FTE employees: 117
Provides cloud-based and tablet/smartphone-enabled claims technology focused on the insurance industry

On standing out: “We approached an industry that had been antiquated for many years: insurance,” says Swayze. “We started to help modernize the industry’s process for settling and managing claims. With the pace of technology, our customers recognized the need to get up to speed and enable their policy holders to have more of a self-service capability. We created the tools to allow that.”

9. The Working Group Inc.

Five-year revenue growth: 433% (PROFIT 500 rank: 137)
Chief executive(s): Dominic Bortolussi, Chris Eben, Andrés Aquino & Jack Neto
FTE employees: 29
Develops software for mobile and web applications

On standing out: “We’ve developed a really good hiring and onboarding system so that we can grow our junior and apprentice developers into intermediate and senior developers over the course of a couple of years,” says Bortolussi. “Rather than only hiring senior people, which is very difficult and competitive to do in our sector today, we’ve been able to use our senior people to train and teach a new crop of junior developers. We get a lot of value from doing this, and it gives employees a career arc that will bode well for them in the future.” 

10. Big Blue Bubble Inc.

London, Ont.
Five-year revenue growth: 415% (PROFIT 500 rank: 141)
Chief executive(s): Damir Slogar
FTE employees: 57
Develops and sells video games for mobile platforms

On standing out: “The shortest, and most accurate, explanation for our success is that we got the right product to market at the right time,” says Slogar. “We’ve managed to release a product that was spot on what the market was looking for. But that doesn’t happen by fluke. It took years to get there, not just in development, but in market research, too.”

* * * * *

The Next 10:

11. Innobec Technologies Inc.

12. Libéo Inc.

13. Thrillworks Inc.

14. RevenueWire Inc.

15. Keyora Inc.

16. iBwave Solutions Inc.

17. Intelex Technologies Inc.

18. Vital Insights Inc.

19. Nmédia Solutions inc.

20. Architech Solutions Consulting Services Inc.

* * * * *

Other fast-growing software companies on the 2014 PROFIT 500:

Bandzoogle , ChannelAssist Inc., Claron Technology Inc., Ecentricarts Inc., Etelesolv Inc., Four Point Solutions Ltd., Halogen Software Inc., iQmetrix Software Development Corp., LawDepot.com , Microdea Inc., NexJ Systems Inc., ParetoLogic Inc., Prophix Software Inc., QHR Technologies Inc., Real Estate Webmasters Inc., ResponseTek Networks Corp., Talemetry Inc., TIO Networks Corp., Vision Critical Communications Inc. and VistaVu Solutions Inc.

Want to know more about the 2014 PROFIT 500? Think your company has a shot in 2015? Click here to learn more!

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