If major companies like TransferWise, Wealthsimple and one of the ten largest financial institutions in the country do business with us, it’s mainly because we really focus on the quality of the data we make available to them and the speed of our application.
– Yves-Gabriel Lebœuf, CEO and Co-founder of Flinks

Combining the words financial and links, Flinks is a financial data aggregation application that facilitates the connection between financial institutions and the various software companies that use this data as part of the services they offer.

Yves-Gabriel gives the example of Paypal, which must be linked to users’ bank accounts to allow deposits and withdrawals. “Previously, people had to submit all the numbers required to tell the system which institution, transit and account to use,” he explains. “With the technology we’ve developed, we do that instantly. Then, our clients choose our API because of the reliability and stability of the connection from which the financial data is drawn.”

Entrepreneurship X 3

A few minutes into the interview, due to a lack of reservation, Yves-Gabriel and I must switch meeting rooms at WeWork L’Avenue – the shared office space that Flinks will soon be leaving in view of the company’s very rapid expansion. As soon as we settle into a new room, the determined entrepreneur immediately resumes his answer to my latest question, enthusiastic to tell me how Flinks has earned their solid reputation and won over their clientele since their creation in December 2016.

At 27, the CEO of Flinks has already launched Moose Bicycle, Walter Interactive and Cycle Discount before founding Flinks with his two partners, Julien Dubé-Cousineau and Frédérick Lavoie, who have also been in business since they were about 17. The startup’s co-founders had solid expertise in mass aggregation and financial technologies. The trio’s entourage, having already reaped profits from their previous projects, did not hesitate to invest again in this new company. Flinks started by raising funds from private investors, and their website highlights the contribution of friends and family, who raised approximately $700,000. This money allowed the entrepreneurs to hire developers and begin designing their solution for which they had targeted a particular need in the Canadian market. “We had letters of intent from companies that were ready to use our app even before Flinks was incorporated,” he specifies.

The commercialization of the first version of Flinks began six months later, while the team was made up of fewer than ten people. “At first, it wasn’t working well at all. But we knew it was only a matter of time before things got better, because our algorithm was one that improves with the growing volume of data flowing through the software,” recalls the Flinks CEO. He also points out that the ability to attract exceptional software developers, in addition to the assistance of international consultants offering expertise in very specific areas of technology, allows the company to ensure rather short development cycles. “It’s quite something to develop the first version of a software in six months. We’re not talking about a small application!”

The idea that changes everything

The company now has 95 clients and 22 employees, attributing its success, among other things, to the identification of a specific need, rather than the simultaneous development of various products. “We are entrepreneurs. We have lots of cool ideas about what we could do, but we thought it would be wiser to solve a common problem,” relays Yves-Gabriel. “In the current context of fintechs, it’s access to financial data that’s difficult, so we decided to tackle that problem, somewhat comparing ourselves to shovel merchants during the Gold Rush. There’s a sort of fintech gold rush going on right now, and we’re the ones selling shovels to all these companies.” Additionally, since sales cycles are relatively long, the vote of confidence from key industry players contributes to the success of the startup.

Indeed, as the technology partner of choice for companies such as Transferwise, London’s $1.5 billion international money transfer company, Flinks saves Canadian users time and money. “We’re shaking up the market a bit, because the alternatives were so mediocre before we arrived,” says Yves-Gabriel. “To tell you the truth, competitors actually create an opportunity for us because every time we knock on the door of one of their clients, it becomes immediately clear that our API addresses their specific pain points.”

Without a doubt, the Flinks team’s entrepreneurial spirit, strategic vision, energy and boundless talent mean a bright future for this young Montreal company!

Source: Mélanie Pilon, writer for the Star Tech Vitrine


23May 2018

When we changed our business model, which was a really major shift towards a new adventure, I didn’t know of any other company in Quebec City that had adopted this SaaS model. There were so few players we could consult to find out how best to go about it, that we decided to design and test a prototype ourselves.
– Johanne Devin, CEO and Co-founder of WebSelf

WebSelf provides website creation tools that are simple, powerful and affordable, or free, to more than 3 million users in over 165 countries. Offering maximum functionality to people who want to develop their own website without having strong technological skills, the platform makes it easy for them, whether setting up a showcase site or an online store. “Even though it’s a standardized environment, we offer great flexibility and many features that can satisfy at least 99% of our customers’ needs,” indicates Johanne.

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09May 2018

Our clients, such as festivals like Francofolies de Montréal or Igloo Fest, appreciate not only that our solution saves them time and money, but also that they know exactly where their festivalgoers come from. Are they only in town for the two days of the event or are they extending their stay to discover the city? How many nights? Alone or accompanied, and by whom? In short, it’s all this data that represents a compelling advantage for our partners.
– Andrew Lockhead, CEO and Co-founder of Stay22

Stay22, an aggregator that lists nearly 6.5 million properties in 200 countries, helps travellers find the best accommodation options near the upcoming events they plan to attend. “We’ve targeted the niche of event management platforms, business conferences, festivals and more, which sets us apart in the huge online travel solutions market,” says Andrew.

Through agreements with partners such as Airbnb, but also with systems like Travelport and HotelsCombined, Stay22 offers visitors a hub that bringsall search resources together in one place, greatly simplifying the planning experience. Everything is adjusted on an interactive map that integrates directly with the event organizer’s website, ticket office or other online destination where users find themselves.

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02May 2018

Up until 2010, we often wondered if we wanted to invest in product development. Like many companies at the time, we were focussing on services in order to finance potential products. In the end, we decided to let go of the idea of designing products, because our service offering was really solid. After that, our growth curve was impressive, turning our 23-person team into the 150-person organization we are today.
– Stéphane Rouleau, President and Co-founder of Spiria

When I ask Stéphane to describe Spiria and their value proposition, he explains that the management team is actually trying to update their definition: “After 15 years of existence, it’s important to revisit it… simply said, we’re a digital solutions firm. Our clients call upon us to solve the digital components of their problems, due to lack of knowledge, resources or time on their part. In co-creation with them, we develop the best technology to optimize their activities.”

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