What do TIMIA Capital and Catapult ERP have in common? Beyond the fact that they both owe their names to the Ancient Greeks, both companies also possess a deep understanding of how technology can enable companies to achieve efficiency, scalability and their business goals.
In this case study we will explain how Catapult enabled TIMIA to harness technology that is allowing them to bring a new investment model to the North American – and in time the Global – technology sector.
Meet TIMIA Capital
Nearly 18 months ago two reformed venture capitalists, Greg Smith and Mike Walkinshaw, saw the opportunity to shake up the technology sector. How? By connecting technology entrepreneurs/start-ups with the capital market in a new way. More specifically, through revenue financing, a financing model used frequently in the Oil & Gas and Mining sectors.
Revenue financing provides emerging technology companies access to upfront capital in exchange for a percentage of their recurring revenue. Since revenue financing avoids equity and dilution all together, it is a highly attractive option for many startups as well as investors. As Smith puts it, “Many entrepreneurs and start-ups can smell growth and cash flow on the horizon, so they don’t want to give up equity. [On the other side of the equation] capital markets – investors- don’t want equity risk. They just want yield. This is our opportunity.”
So TIMIA Capital (TSX: TCA) was born. A publicly traded company, TIMIA aligns the interests of entrepreneurs and investors to enable true growth. As Archimedes of Syracuse said,
“Give me a lever long enough and I will move the earth.”
IMIA is this lever. As Smith defines, “Our goal is to help our clients win by executing on their business plans and driving returns for investors and entrepreneurs”.
The Fulcrum to TIMIA’s Lever: Catapult & Salesforce
But every lever needs a fulcrum. In TIMIA’s case the fulcrum is technology enabled with the right technology partner. The TIMIA team understood this, “We didn’t want to raise 20 million and still be running the business on spreadsheets” explains Smith. “We wanted to invest in the technology early in order so we were ready to scale globally when the business was ready.” However, while the headcount at TIMIA may be small, they have big business problems to contend with. For this model to work they needed an efficient system that allowed for the management of investment portfolios to be done without requiring manual intervention. They also needed complex relationship management functionality given that they were working with two distinct funnels. More specifically, their investors and their portfolio companies.
TIMIA started by investing in an enterprise version of Salesforce and an online Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending platform, a 3rd party financial system that sits on top of Salesforce to facilitate loan origination and management. However, there were elements of the P2P lending program that didn’t quite work for TIMIA. Facing this roadblock, they looked for additional solutions and started asking different questions. “How do we work around this? How do we bend it? How do we break it and recast it?” Smith asked.
Catapult: Building the Fulcrum
This is where Catapult came in; to build the fulcrum to TIMIA’s lever. Catapult’s CRM Practice Lead, Andrew Rymes, lead the charge. “The nature of business is that you buy a product that has quite a few capabilities. However, it’s understanding how to adopt them in the context of your business that is critical to build efficiencies ” explains Rymes. “When we first started working with TIMIA, they were struggling to communicate their processes and needs, and consequently, were struggling to get the features implemented and the system operationalized.”
Over the course of a six month engagement, Catapult worked with TIMIA to define business processes. This was necessary in order to align Salesforce and the P2P lending platform with the business requirements that help TIMIA systematize and automate both the portfolio management for investors and the lending management for technology entrepreneurs. In doing this, Catapult also acted as the go-between for TIMIA and the 3rd party P2P lending platform developer that was working to “bend” the solution. Thus ensuring the P2P lending platform was customized to build in the system efficiencies TIMIA required.
Drafting a Blueprint
The first step in the engagement was for Catapult to gain a thorough understand of TIMIA’s technology requirements for Salesforce and the P2P lending solution. This was necessary to help TIMIA with the process definition requirements needed to customize, build and tailor the technology solutions to the deliverables TIMIA and their stakeholders expected. While process and requirement definition is a standard process in any Catapult project, this was a unique case. “Usually we have existing business processes to build around. With TIMIA’s youth there weren’t defined processes. Instead, we started by breaking down the business down into bits and pieces to determine how the software could complete the missing pieces of the puzzle.” Rymes outlines.
The importance of this stage was not lost on Smith: “We had no business processes so we were relying heavily upon Catapult to help us define these and to map the business to the software, not the other way around.”
Reinventing the Wheel?
The definition of needs and requirements enabled Catapult start adapting the technology to fit TIMIA, starting with Salesforce. “Often, companies are not sure as to what the best practices are in regards to Salesforce Automation, Marketing Automation and Services Management,” says Rymes. “This is where Catapult steps in. We have solved these problems before. Why not take advantage of the knowledge and expertise to build upon best practices? Why try to re-invent the wheel?”
When it came to working to adapt the P2P lending platform to TIMIA’s needs, the wheel wasn’t reinvented, but it was definitely modified. “We had to get the 3rd party P2P platform developer to buy-in to the fact that TIMIA was not just a straightforward implementation” remembers Rymes. The P2P lending platform solution needed to be two-pronged to customize it to a point where it could manage both TIMIA’s:
- Loan book (portfolio companies that receive investment).
- Investors (individuals investing through TIMIA in the portfolio companies).
This stage proved to be the most challenging. “We had to create, establish and agree on a set of norms and a working relationship that enabled all parties [TIMIA, Catapult & 3rd party P2P lending developer] to understand what needed to be done and to resource their team accordingly,” details Rymes.
The Lever Comes to Life with Salesforce
The benefits of all of this hard work are apparent. “We are getting rid of spreadsheets and getting ready to run the whole business in the cloud – something we hadn’t expected to be doing this soon,” exclaims Smith. “In fact, our engagement with Catapult is ahead in terms of both budget and time.”
Through TIMIA’s partnership with Catapult, Salesforce has become TIMIA’s system of record. TIMIA now utilizes Salesforce’s contact and relationship management functionality for Investor Management – managing and following up with opportunities and capturing interactions. Most recently, TIMIA started leveraging the P2P lending platform, in conjunction with Salesforce, to generate investor statements and notices on monthly and quarterly bases.
The initial six month engagement between Catapult and TIMIA will continue into the future as Rymes and the Catapult team help TIMIA to roll out additional features as they are required.
Next, Catapult will work on automating the loan origination piece with TIMIA. This will allow TIMIA to automatically determine who to invest in and associated risk of each investment opportunity.
The Lever and the Catapult
The TIMIA team is quick to recognize the important role that Catapult played in bringing them to this point. “We needed a partner that could help us understand how the technology could enable us to address our problems. We were looking for someone who could be flexible in service delivery and cost effective for our lean enterprise. Catapult delivered exactly this,” explains Smith.
More specifically, Catapult was able to understand TIMIA’s needs and provide context as to how they could be addressed within Salesforce and the P2P lending platform. Acting as a translation point and mediator between TIMIA and the 3rd party P2P lending platform developers, Catapult ensured that business requirements were met through custom development and implementation of technology, making TIMIA’s vision a reality.
Asking More of Salesforce
Like many companies, TIMIA had a strong vision for what Salesforce would help their business accomplish. To define and piece together the elements required to realize that vision TIMIA worked with Catapult’s CRM technology experts to stretch, bend and even add-on to the Salesforce platform; architecting a solution to fit the unique multi-pronged operational requirements of TIMIA Capital. Catapult still works with TIMIA to further define and automate pieces of their solution to continue to help TIMIA build efficiencies through technology.
We’ve worked with companies just like TIIMIA that have Salesforce but haven’t quite fit it to their business needs and requirements. We’d love to hear your vision for how Salesforce can help you reach your most aggressive business goals. Let us help you define and architect that reality to help you achieve these goals. Get in touch with us here.