BDC Awards Elastic Path Executives for Entrepreneurial Achievement
We have seen a 25 percent increase in online shopper conversion from browsers to buyers-unbelievable
Vancouver, BC, Canada, October 21 / CNW Telbec -- With a $15,000 start-up loan as their only outside financing, Harry Chemko and Jason Billingsley have built Elastic Path Software Inc. into a $10-million company that competes with software giants such as IBM and Microsoft. For this remarkable success, Harry, 29, and Jason, 30, have won BDC's Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for British Columbia and will be honoured tonight at a ceremony in Vancouver.
Elastic Path provides software solutions that power the online retail sites of some of the largest brands in the world, including Garmin, Telus, Samsonite, Nike Bauer and Aeroplan. The company also handles the retailer role in select e-commerce outsourcing partnerships, such as the online store for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Selling a software solution was not what Harry and Jason set out to do in 2000. After graduating from college, they and fellow student Mark Williams started a consulting organization that provided services and developed applications for companies that wanted to get online. "After doing several applications in the e-commerce sector, we had spotted a niche that was unserved. There were a lot of very expensive enterprise vendors and a lot of small business shopping carts, but there was nothing in between," explains Harry, the company's CEO. The partners jumped on that opportunity and made a drastic change in their business. "We took what we had developed in that e-commerce application and turned it into a product that we brought to market."
That decision was a smart one. Four years ago, the company was a small services firm with 10 employees. Today, it has grown to serve more than 180 customers worldwide with over 100 employees in two countries. Over 85 percent of its business is in the U.S. and Europe, and PROFIT magazine has ranked Elastic Path as one of Canada's 100 fastest growing companies.
Leading the way
Rather than promote their product through expensive marketing programs, Harry and Jason worked the Internet, generating hundreds of leads a month. In 2004, they secured a contract with Aeroplan to set up the online merchandising and reward section of its site. "Once you start to get the credibility of large brands, others start to follow," explains Harry. In early 2007, they took another giant step forward by signing an agreement with BEA Systems (recently purchased by Oracle), which adopted and resold Elastic Path as BEA Aqualogic Commerce Services. Today, a lot of Elastic Path's leads are generated through what the partners describe as thought leadership. "We speak at conferences, run one of the most subscribed e-commerce blogs in the world and do free webinars with industry thought leaders," explains Jason, the company's VP, Innovation.
"Elastic Path is a shining example of success that has resulted from cutting-edge ideas and high-tech savvy. Harry and Jason stand out as leaders in their field," says BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde.
"Three years ago we probably would have said that we wanted to get our business to $10 million in revenues and then sell it," says Harry. "But now we have an exciting new goal: We want to keep growing and really make our mark on the e-commerce market."
Highlighting young leaders
BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards are a highlight of Small Business Week. They recognize the entrepreneurial spirit, and the business and leadership accomplishments, of Canadians between the ages of 19 and 35. Winners from each province and territory are selected by a panel based on the originality of their business concept, success, growth potential and social involvement. The panel also considers the entrepreneur's age when the business was started and any special challenges that were overcome.
Small Business Week partners
Contributing to the success of this year's Small Business Week and Young Entrepreneur Awards are the following national sponsors: Rogers, Western Economic Diversification Canada and Export Development Canada. Privileged partners are the Pan Canadian Community Futures Group and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which has been a privileged partner of the event since 1981.
BDC is Canada's business development bank. From 94 branches across the country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing, venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. BDC works with entrepreneurs in all industries, through all economic cycles and focuses on helping small and medium sized businesses in their development projects, local and global. BDC manages a $10.6 billion loan and investment portfolio and serves over 28,000 clients. Small and medium sized businesses make up 99.7% of all employer businesses in Canada. Visit www.bdc.ca for more information.
About Elastic Path Software
Elastic Path Software provides a flexible ecommerce platform that gives enterprises the capabilities and control to deliver innovation in a complex environment. The Java-based platform enables integration with SOA environments and rapid development of custom features. Enterprises can now quickly adapt ecommerce tactics to gain a competitive advantage. Companies such as Aeroplan, Time Inc, and Samsonite use Elastic Path for maximum control over their evolving online stores. For more information, please visit https://www.elasticpath.com.