Thursday, May 23, 2024

How two calgarians turned outstanding debt into a Symend startup

By 2016, delinquent debt was a common problem in North America for both companies and individuals with outstanding debt. Symend is a financial technology company headquartered in Calgary that has developed a software platform that automates the process of debt collection and repayment, writes calgary-future.

History of creation

Businessman Khalif Joshaghani moved to Canada from Iran after living with his family in refugee camps for 10 years. Here he became an investment banker, founded Aimsio, a software development company in Calgary that provides other companies with a cloud environment to manage various operations.

In Calgary, Khalif met Tiffany Kaminski, an entrepreneur who managed business development and marketing for various organizations. She has worked with companies such as TinyEYE Therapy Services, SAAS TechEd (which grew 10 times during Tiffany’s tenure), and Streamline Automation.

Khalif and Tiffany had outstanding debts of their own and were shocked at how undeveloped and complicated the collection process was. They wanted to create a convenient and less expensive platform, so they founded Symend in 2016. At the time, it was the only such platform on the Canadian market. Prior to this, the debt collection system in Canada operated with the help of collection agencies that took 20-50% of the total amount recovered. Such a system was not successful and further increased the growth of overdue debt.

Joseph King, who at that time already had more than 25 years of experience in the field of technology, became the technical director of Symend. He created several startups of his own, such as ITForDev, Catalyst Realtime, ITForDev, Knelf, DuckLabs. He was the leader of large teams and large-scale companies, such as CGI and EFA as well.

The founders set out to positively impact the debt collection industry and help retailers and consumers of their products. To begin with, the startup decided to focus on helping utility providers, telecommunications companies, and unsecured credit card providers to easily repay their debts.

In its first year of existence, the startup attracted $1 million in investment from founding partners and business angels. This capital enabled the rapid development of debt collection technology for the first pilot customers.

Startup development

In 2016-20, more than 10 million customers turned to Symend. Major telecommunications companies of North America became the main clients. As of February 2021, the startup’s total funding has already exceeded $100 million.

The number of employees reached 225 people, while in 2020 there were only 50 of them. Vivian Farris became the director of personnel in the company, the new technical director – Cory Scobie, and the senior vice president of scientific and analytical services – Matt LaHood.

In 2022, Symend was invited to join the prestigious Endeavor Global network, which brings together high-impact entrepreneurs. Members of this network receive a number of benefits, such as open access to markets and capital. Endeavor also invests in ventures.

By the way, Symend, in addition to creating new fundraising methods, also helps companies develop “treatment strategies”, namely, using advanced analytics, helps businesses attract millions of new customers by providing a deep understanding of consumer behavior. The company has global operations in Canada, the United States and Latin America.

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