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Small biz accounting innovators Wave get $750K in financing, triple staff in single year

Toronto-based software company Wave Accounting, which sets out to offer completely free software to small business owners, recently received an investment of just over $755,000 from the federal government's economic development agency, FedDev Ontario. "Anybody in a startup is going to sometimes have to focus on keeping the wolves at bay," says company spokesperson Rob Maurin. "This investment allows us to play in a more strategic way, developing the business with an eye to long-term growth and profitability instead of trying to monetize as quickly as possible."

Launched just over a year ago, in November 2010, the company offers full-service accounting software to small business owners and freelancers. The software produces business intelligence and reports suitable for filing tax returns and managing a business. Maurin says, "It's 100 per cent free, there's no premium features, no limit on transactions, no cap on the size of business." Maurin says founders Kirk Simpson and James Lochrie noticed that almost two-thirds of small business owners--those with fewer than 10 employees--use any kind of accounting software at all, and saw a huge potential market of 29 million such businesses across North America.

Wave makes its money by using aggregated business information from clients--while, stresses Maurin, vigilantly protecting their privacy and information--to offer them targeted deals from other companies. "Let's say we saw that 10,000 small business owners in Canada were each spending $120 a month with cell phone carrier A," he says. "We might go to cell phone carrier B and say, 'Can we facilitate an introduction, if you're able to offer these business owners a savings?'"

Wave is also developing other business software on a for-pay model--Maurin says they are launching payroll management software this month--that clients might fight useful to complement their accounting package.

In one year, the staff has gone from 7 to 21. Maurin says they are still hiring now. "I wouldn't be surprised if next year at this time our staff has doubled again," he says.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Rob Maurin, Director of Community and Marketing, Wave Accounting
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