Why your startup needs an accountant

Money

Monthly Archives: October 2017

Why your startup needs an accountant

It’s easy to understand why early-stage entrepreneurs might see hiring an accountant as unnecessary. Tight profit margins, little-to-no investment and a small working staff mean even the tiniest expense can make or break a company. However, an accountant’s job is about more than just filing taxes and crunching numbers.

A dedicated accountant is like a year-round business partner. It’s a lifeline for entrepreneurs during the bad times and reassuring one during the good ones. Considering almost half of all new businesses fail in their first year, bringing on experienced financial assistance is less of a luxury and more of a necessity.

Avoid scam artists. Pick a professional

 
David Silber, a Senior Tax Manager at Crowe Soberman, has spent the last seven years working with investors, startups and small businesses across Canada. He’s seen how easy it can be for entrepreneurs to mismanage their company into trouble and out of a money.  

“Entrepreneurs are very good at looking at the big picture,” Silber explains. “However, they can lose sight of the fact that there are some financial reporting and obligations that go along with running a business that they can’t afford to ignore.”

Canadians convicted of tax evasion face five years in jail and a 200% fine on owed taxes

Mac Killoran, a partner at Fruitman Kates LLP, agrees. Startups tend to ignore how crucial professional planning is and don’t always understand why it sets them up for success down the road, he says. “I would say entrepreneurs for the most part try to reduce upfront costs and not pay professionals. When they do it on their own, it often results in penalties and larger headaches resolving the issues with CRA.”

Find resources you can afford

 
In a perfect world, every entrepreneur should have enough money set aside to pay a professional bookkeeper. But, since reality rarely works out as planned, a smart backup plan is to consider online accounting tools, like QuickBooks.

This helps businesses stay on top of their financial responsibilities in the interim, so they don’t rely on faulty memory or overworked staff.

If you can’t afford an accountant, online software will help you track expenses and payroll

 

It’s also important to separate personal and business expenses from the very beginning when starting a business. Founders that commingle the two can end up costing themselves money or garnering unwanted attention from the Canada Revenue Agency.

“If you can borrow money from your corporation, even unintentionally, there’s a rule in place that if that debt isn’t repaid within one year the money is added to your income and gets taxed the following year,” he explains. “Just don’t do it.”

Paying yourself a salary

 
Whether or not you should draw a salary during your startup’s early years is a question
that has plagued even the most frugal founders. Should company leaders pay themselves a salary when bootstrapping or focus on reinvesting that money? The answer, like everything in business, is complicated.

According to the experts, it all depends on a company’s future goals and cash flow. For Silber, he suggests entrepreneurs first recognize what their priorities are and then decide whether drawing a salary hurts or helps in the long run. A good compensation plan may be to pay a mix of salary and dividends.

Not taking a salary while bootstrapping your company isn’t always the smartest thing to do

Startups that pay into a dividend benefit in two ways. First: They lower their tax bracket so they pay less tax at the end of the year. Second: Later, when their business is doing well they’re not bumped up to a higher tax range. “What I do is tell entrepreneurs to pay a dividend of $30,000 or $40,000 for their salary, which results in less tax,” explains Killoran.

The future is up to you

 
The world of business is tough.

The hard truth is that every year hundreds of startups across the country shut down and
close up shop. It makes sense for entrepreneurs to use every tool they have at their disposal to tilt the odds in their favour. It might just be that an accountant’s experience and money knowhow may be the one factor that helps
their company thrive and survive in today’s cut-throat economy.

Looking to boost your money knowledge? Check out our previous post about the best money podcasts to listen to online.

Secrets of a tech reporter: How to get your company media exposure

It’s no secret that entrepreneurs who can get their company mentioned in popular publications often benefit from the exposure. For journalists tasked with writing about the latest in tech, finding companies to feature can be hard. Especially for busy journalists like Jessica Galang.

Everyday entrepreneurs bombard the BetaKit news editor with emails about their new “revolutionary” products, company or partnerships. It’s all in a bid to get her to write about their company for her publication. That means she’s forced to sift through dozens of email pitches almost hourly. It can exhausting  since she’s  charged with staying up-to-date with Canada’s tech ecosystem and also writing about it.  

“I’m basically responsible for most of the [BetaKit] editorial planning, I look at what’s happening every day in the tech ecosystem and I sort of evaluate what’s priority and what’s not priority,” she explains. “Pretty much my job is to keep on top of the Canadian ecosystem and to decide what news we’re going to cover and how.”

In this one-on-one Galang shares what she looks for in a startup and how entrepreneurs can get journalists, like herself, to pay attention to them.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Q: How do you evaluate what company or product is “newsworthy”?

 
Jessica Galang (JG): I mostly look at the sort of traction they’ve had so far. For example, I look at the number of customers they have, their target market or if they’ve reached a unique milestone. Sometimes even if they’ve partnered with a big enterprise that helps make them (or their product) stand out.

Q: What’s the best way to pitch a story?

 
JG: I think, email is usually the safest way, because journalists are expecting pitches in their inbox. For me, personally, DMs [direct messages through Twitter] are totally fine as well. I find my DMs are also less crowded, so I don’t mind and it’s easier to read through messages.

Q: What should entrepreneurs do before pitching a journalist?

 
JG: I think sometimes entrepreneurs make the mistake of just sending an email with a link to their website and saying ‘hey, we just launched this [and] hope that you cover us. Please follow up if you want more information.’

But I don’t have time to follow up with every single person to get more information about their company.

When pitching journalists entrepreneurs should be prepared. They should look at press releases as examples of what a pitch could possible look like. They should be prepared to explain why their product is valuable, what market they’re targeting. And, perhaps why their product is different from any other one that’s launched in that sector as well. They need to be able to answer why I would cover them versus a competitor. Why I would spend time writing an article about them now instead of six months from now.

Q: What are some helpful additions entrepreneurs can include in their pitches that will set them apart?

 
JG: Media kits are always helpful and having pictures if a startup is announcing something specific — like funding or a partnership — is great.

If it’s just a simple pitch then I suggest writing three paragraphs explaining what their news is about. If I like their story I can follow up later. The biggest thing is that they need to be explicit about what news or product they think I should be interested in.

Q: Should startups hire a PR agency to help generate some media buzz or just do it themselves?

 
JG: That’s a little tough to answer, especially if you’re an early stage startup hoping to get coverage. It can be tough for some to afford PR services. If they can’t there’s so many free resources out there that can help them do it on their own. You don’t need to hire PR, but it can help.

If you’re in an early stage startup I think just learning best practices can go a long way. I’ve worked with a lot of companies that don’t have in-house PR or a PR agency, but they know the BetaKit brand. They know what we cover and send us really targeted pitches that work.

Q: Is it bad etiquette to reach out to more than one reporter at the same time?

 
JG: I accept that sometimes [entrepreneurs] are going to reach out to other reporters. If it’s a huge announcement then I understand why they would reach out to other publications for embargos or big news. I think it’s key that you make sure you’re really transparent with everyone.

It’s my expectation that other publications are probably going to cover this news if it’s big. But when you’re shady and you pitch something to a journalist and you give them one time and then you give another journalist another time, that’s when it’s really bad.

I think it’s also bad etiquette when someone is pitching me, but they forget to change the name of the publication in the email. So, it would say ‘Hi Jessica, I think this would be a great pitch for the Financial Post’ and I’m left thinking, like, oh, thanks, that’s really nice do you even want us to cover your company.

Looking for more about how to get your startup media ready? Check out our previous post about public relation and communication with Erin Richards.

Entrepreneur Kelly Hoey on how to network (and negotiate) like a pro

Kelly Hoey — investor, entrepreneur and networking guru — is a household name right now, but that hasn’t always been the case.

Before she became a successful investor and author behind “Build Dream Your Own Network” she worked as a lawyer. While she never had a “burning desire” to practice law she enjoyed it. Her ambition to continue working up the corporate ladder all changed after she met Janet Hanson — founder of 85 Broads, a global business network for women. The “visionary leader” inspired her to trade law for entrepreneurship and launch a brand new career.

Below the acclaimed business consultant dishes on how she’s managed to transform her career and how others can throughout their careers.

[This interview has been edited for clarity]

You’ve successfully reinvented your career over the years multiple times. How can others emulate your success?

 
Stay curious and stay connected to your networks. I’m a former corporate lawyer who has networked her career into becoming a published author. A professional milestone I never imagined adding to my resume. From my initial jobs as an attorney to my numerous career-changes (law firm management, president of a global network for women, consultant, director and co-founder of a startup accelerator) my career is only explained by my ability to network and build relationships.

You mention in your book that part of your professional growth and achievements is down to “marketing” and self-promotion.  Why is this important?

 
Your career is your best investment. Be prepared to put the time and effort into that investment. Venture capitalist Jessica Peltz-Zatulove outlines how she “cold-emailed” her way into the Madison Avenue advertising industry in chapter three [of my book]. And, one of my favourite case studies is Joe Styler a manager in the aftermarket department at GoDaddy. He shares in the book how he networked from an entry-level position at the company to a recognized industry-expert in a coveted role.

Another career networking lesson: Don’t overlook the possibility you can pivot and advance your career within the same company!

What advice would you share with  entrepreneurs who want to take their careers to the next level?

 
No one ever goes it alone. Our careers or projects or initiatives are propelled forward with the help of other people. Find mentors around you. Having mentors as well as being a good mentor is critical for learning how to master a new skill or navigate the dynamics of the business community.

Mentoring comes in a variety of forms – it can be one piece of advice, a blog post or a podcast. It does not have to be a 1:1 coffee date. It does not have to be a lifelong commitment. In reality, just as you don’t have time, that dream mentor may not have the time either for regular 1:1 coffee dates with you. Most people do have the time to answer a well thought-through email. Mentors are there to guide you through thorny work or professional challenges. If someone can help you sort out a work challenge by answering a question (once), well, why isn’t that considered mentoring?

STEM has received a lot criticism for its lack of diversity. What can insiders do to help change those statistics?

 
Again, be a mentor. Hire interns. Volunteer at hackathons at local libraries or community centers. Make it a career priority to expand your network and to share your interest in STEM with a more have a diverse group of people. [That means] industry, geography, tenure, experience, gender, education and whatever else you can think of.

A broad, diverse network is going to allow you to provide others with more opportunities (and you’ll get more ideas and feedback too). Keep in mind: the power of networking is not just the person you’ve just mentored or tutored or trained. [Networking] is all the people that person is connected to, too.

What books, tools or technologies would you recommend for people in the early stages of networking?

 
I always recommend Katharine Graham’s “Personal History”. Katharine led her family’s newspaper through Watergate.

Whether you want to be a fiction writer or not you should also read Stephen King’s “On Writing”. It is as much about how to dedicate yourself to your chosen craft as it is on understanding how you come up with new ideas and communicate them.

Watch Ray Anderson’s Ted Talk “The Business Logic Of Sustainability”. There’s also Phil Hansen’s novel called “Embrace The Shake,” too. Also, join the CreativeMornings breakfast lecture series community.

To hear more of Kelly Hoey’s advice, personal guidance or to ask her questions in person attend this upcoming event at the DMZ for free.

Is Canada the next global leader in tech? Yes.

Some of today’s biggest game-changing startups call Canada home these days. This includes local high-growth companies  like Shopify, WattPad and Element A.I., which secured an eye-watering $135 million investment earlier this year.Even America’s top tech companies have pivoted north in recent years; lured by Canada’s thriving tech scene.Google, Uber and Microsoft have launched new satellite offices this year, while Amazon — the godfather of e-commerce — is considering Toronto for its new North American headquarters.

Canada on the world stage

 
These new developments may come as a surprise to some, but it really shouldn’t. Canada has one of the most liberal immigration policies in the world and some of the top tech incubators — which churn our new talent and companies every day — are located in the city. However, Toronto’s greatest strength lies in its talent base. Tech innovators attracted by our world-class institutions that include Google’s artificial intelligence lab and million-dollar Vector Institute bring with them investors and venture capitalists that help transform the city.

Of course, Canada’s quickly maturing tech landscape can be confusing. Enter: The DMZ. The startup incubator’s new podcast entitled BusinessCast powered by the DMZ tackles the latest in tech news and innovation.

The first episode in the series investigates Canada’s winning tech streak. Chartered accountant and host Robert Gold chats with DMZ Executive Director Abdullah Snobar about the state of tech entrepreneurship and, more importantly, why the world should care about Canadian startups.Make sure to check out our BusinessCast podcasts here. 

The top 4 money podcasts every startup should listen to

Cash. Dough. Moolah. Money.

No matter what you call it, everyone wants it or is desperately trying to find a way to hold on to it. For entrepreneurs, a hefty serving of money can be the thin line that separates success from abject failure. Unfortunately getting (and staying) rich isn’t so easy and something people have been desperately trying to figure out for years.

Here’s a list of the best business podcasts that focus on money. They cover everything from money management to investor relations and the ins and outs of proper budgeting, so entrepreneurs can keep their company financially healthy.

Mostly Money With Preet Banerjee

 
The title says it all. This podcast will teach you everything you need to know about basic financial literacy. Whether it’s the best ways to organize expenses or budget for day-to-day finances, this program has it all.

If the name Banerjee seems familiar to you it’s because you’ve probably seen his name in print before. The TEDx speaker is a financial columnist for the Globe and Mail, money expert for the W Network and best-selling author behind a series of self-help books. If you’re interested in a money podcast that covers a wide range of issues then this show is for you. Head over here for the all the latest episodes.

Being Boss

 
Being Boss is a podcast designed with women entrepreneurs in mind. The show looks at ways entrepreneurs not only how to create great products, but continue “making bank” while doing it. The brainchildren behind this show — Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon — cover a wide range of topics like personal finance and money management. Although, not everything is strictly money-related. The duo cover other related topics, like the best strategies entrepreneurs can employ for finding new hires.

Bonus: These bosses put an emphasis on interviewing female innovators, so you’re sure to hear from some of the best women in the industry. Grab a coffee and listen to every episode on iTunes right now.

BusinessCast

 
Running a successful company is about more than just attracting the right investors. Robert Gold — a chartered accountant and host of BusinessCast — knows that better than most. Gold has spent 10 years interviewing some of Canada’s most innovative and successful entrepreneurs about their secrets for success. This program is more than just a look at run-of-the-mill finance problems. It also examines how companies should deal with the competition in a crowded tech market.

Engaging guests detail their struggles, journey to success and what it takes to maintain a competitive edge. With podcasts being on average only 15 minutes, it’s an easy, commitment-free way to learn something new while on the go. Check them out online here.

Entrepreneur on Fire

 
Entrepreneur on Fire is a must-listen for founders looking for fast and dirty tales about money pitfalls and successes. In every episode host John Lee Dumas features one new guest who details their money woes or wins and shares advice about what they’ve learned.

While sometimes their tips are a little too U.S.-focused there’s still great overall lessons to be learned. Listen to it here.

 

Fujitsu Canada: Corporate innovation through collaboration

For years, companies looking to boost their bottom line would all too often rely on buying out their competition. It became trendy for big-name firms to acquire emerging startups in an effort to grow their market share.

Today, all of that is changing. The days of blockbuster acquisitions are on the decline. In a world where established companies face competition not only from Fortune 500 rivals, but from early-stage startups, purchasing the newest innovation at every turn isn’t enough.

So, what should large corporations do to stay ahead? Focusing on collaboration is key. It allows both startups and established businesses to leverage their best assets to thrive in today’s cutthroat business landscape. Startups bring with them new technologies and ideas that more-resource heavy corporations can then use to accelerate innovation. A practice that Fujitsu Canada has perfected over the years.

Collaborate to innovate

 
The company is certainly no stranger when it comes to innovation. Fujitsu is one of the oldest IT companies in the world, having undergone numerous breakthrough transformations over the years.

These days, Fujitsu invests about $3 billion annually in research and development, but behind the scenes the company is also solidifying partnerships with top startups around the globe.

“We understand that no one company, including Fujitsu, exclusively owns innovation across this broad range of industries,” explains Craig Smith, vice president of Fujitsu Canada. “It makes great business sense for us to collaborate with startups where we can jointly explore new markets and grow in existing ones.”

These types of partnerships can be incredibly beneficial. A 2016 study by Boston-based nonprofit MassChallenge and software company Imaginatik found corporate-startup partnerships were important tools for finding new talent, among many other things. Working with “scrappy young firms” the report said was “mission critical” to a business’ success.

Tech opportunities in Canada

 
The Canadian startup landscape is ripe and ready for the type of big partnerships that are often found south of the border. Fujitsu Canada knows this and is taking an active approach when it comes to finding the best Canadian startups.

Fujitsu’s current list of collaborations extends from coast to coast and around the world, including the company’s worldwide network of innovation labs and its Canadian Student Innovation System program, where more than 600,000 students, educators, and administrators work together to improve learning outcomes. The company’s relationship with the DMZ’s Innovation Immersion program also allows it to meet dozens of high-potential tech companies eager to showcase how their market-ready technology can help Fujitsu’s products.

“We view engaging with the startup community in Canada as an exciting and complementary innovation channel,” Smith explains about the company’s startup relationships. “The Canadian tech startup community is burgeoning, with venture capital more than tripling in the last six years.”

The future of tech

 
At the end of the day, new technology is making it easier and cheaper to do things that were once thought impossible. Like the Wright brothers — who gave birth to modern-day flight — or Drs. Watson and Crick — who uncovered the structure of DNA — amazing things happen through collaboration. Partnerships between big companies and small startups will become increasingly important in the near future and change life as we know it today. For Smith, how companies accelerate innovation in their business and the entrepreneurs they co-create with will help influence the Canadian tech scene.

“The ability to innovate is crucial. Technology is transforming innovation – it isn’t necessarily making it better but it is making it quicker, cheaper and easier. In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in digital co-creation, as businesses continue to transform to stay competitive in this quickly changing industry,” Smith adds. “… Digital transformation is becoming increasingly a core element to societal and economic stability and in order to thrive, businesses will need to accelerate the pace at which they bring technology and new ideas together.”

How Toronto startup Roofr is using tech to go global

Not too long ago GTA homeowners hoping to repair a faulty roof had very few options available to them. They could either scour online want ads to find contractors or reach out to one of the big pricey construction firms that dominate the industry.

A huge endeavour considering the Ontario roofing industry is projected to reach a whopping $800 million this year. Meanwhile a Mckinsey & Company report found the construction and home renovation industry is one of the few remaining industries lagging when it comes to adopting new technology.

In 2016 all that changed when cofounder Richard Nelson and his two partners, Kevin Redman and Zach Melo, created Roofr. The Toronto-based startup makes it easy for consumers to find local, vetted contractors in as little as 30 seconds.

Fixing the industry’s flaws

 
The startup’s satellite technology gets customers access to cost predictions that analyze everything from man hours needed to materials required on site. This also helps roofers provide the best quotes and takes all the guesswork out of costly renovations. Customers can use the site for free any time, while contractors pay Roofr a nominal fee after each job.

A roofer by trade since he was 12 years old, he saw first hand how the out-of-date the industry was costing consumers money.  

“The problem with the roofing industry… [is] that it was a complete disaster,” Nelson explains. “You have the large roofing companies charging an arm and leg, or companies that weren’t experienced providing inferior services for a lot of money. We get around that by connecting people to the best sellers at the most competitive price.”

Since launching, the team has managed to turn their cost-efficient-roofing startup into a thriving business. Recently it hit $200,000 in gross merchandising volume and now boasts a 50 per cent month over month growth rate.

First Canada, next the world

 
Right now the company’s services are open only to Ontario residents. However Nelson hopes to expand south of the border in the coming weeks. Once the team wraps up their residency at California-based accelerator Y Combinator they’ll drum up business for their American operations. “Within the next five years, we’ll be present in every city in North America. Our first market and primary focus [right now] is California.”

When asked about the company’s recent wins, Nelson is quick to praise the DMZ. The Toronto accelerator prepped the team ahead of their Y combinator interview and introduced them to investors that kept the business afloat in its early years.

“Laith [the DMZ’s investor liaison] introduced me to a bunch of investors and angels with office hours when we were in Toronto,” says Nelson. “They helped us practice leading up to our Y Combinator interview too. So we were really prepared and knew what to expect.”

How technology companies have forever changed the fashion industry

Their names are Apple, Google and Amazon.

These household names bring in millions of revenue dollars every year and sell a wide-range of products: Everything from high-end plasma TVs to smartwatches. Each company offers up a variety of goods, but they all have one thing in common: They’re hellbent on using technology to disrupt the fashion industry.

In the future, companies that manage to merge the best of fashion and tech stand to reap the biggest rewards in an industry worth trillions.

A recent McKinsey report found the fashion sector was expected to reach a high of $2.4 trillion in 2016. If it was a country, that would place it in the top 10 economies in the world based on its GDP alone. It also found fashion companies that incorporated emerging technology into their work were more likely to beat out their competition and see the biggest gains in the future. “The winners of 2017 will probably be those companies that invest in the right technology to help them understand and serve their consumers and tap into their currently unmet needs.”

The future is now

 
Popular fashion may have been slow to fully embrace the tech trend, but that’s not the case anymore. Even Hollywood’s glitterati — today’s quote-unquote fashion gatekeepers — are committed to a fashionable tech-infused future with its annual Met Gala.

High-end designers are also taking advantage of wearable technology to boost their brand. Last year designer Rebecca Minkoff took a gamble when she created a line of wifi-connected handbags and introduced smart mirrors into her standalone stores. The idea paid off. Her store saw a 200 per cent increase in sales and her purses sold out.

When asked about the decision to make her namesake label more tech-savvy Minkoff scoffed. A growing appetite for fashionable technology made the idea a no-brainer, she said. The key to success for her team was creating designs that fix problems and are fashionable.

“It starts with authenticity. We discovered the pain point of our consumer and tried to use those to pain points for designing our wearables,” she told Fortune magazine last year. “I think tech for tech’s sake is like ‘oooh, that’s flashy and looks cool’ but I don’t know how it helps me or solves a problem. I think our approach is always about solving a problem.”

What’s next

 
Still, blending the two worlds isn’t always easy. Smaller labels and fashion stores might not have the money to invest in new, groundbreaking technology. That’s where partnerships can help. They provide a comfortable middle ground for designers.

For example, American designer Misha Nonoo skipped fashion week altogether when she debuted her line with Snapchat. Other ways include using technology to give consumers more shopping choices. Big labels like Burberry are using that idea to switch up their supply chain efficiency to employ a ‘see now, buy now’ strategy. The model lets shoppers watch runway shows and then order those same outfits in real time. No more waiting. No more delays.

Fortune telling and trendsetting has never been a precise art. It’s impossible to ever truly discern how the world will change, but most experts agree that technology will play a major part in the near future. Tomorrow’s fashion leaders will likely be those that embrace today’s new technology.

How one Canadian entrepreneur survived and thrived in NYC

The Bay area — once seen as the only top spot for tech — is no longer the be-all-and-end-all place for innovators. NYC-grown tech scions like Etsy, Blue Apron, ZocDoc and Buzzfeed have proven that building a billion-dollar company in Silicon Alley is not only possible, but slowly becoming the norm.

For those who have the money (and resources) to live in New York, success is within reach. Unfortunately, not all entrepreneurs can easily pack up and move to the Big Apple. Meanwhile, working part-time in New York is often not enough for businesses on the hunt for high-value growth.

Meet the Canadian conquering NYC

 
Canadian entrepreneur Ami Shah knows better than most how difficult it can be to work and network part-time in the city. Not too long ago the cofounder of education software company Peekapak spent weeks flying back and forth between her office in Toronto and NYC for work. Without a dedicated space in the city it meant relegating meetings with U.S. clients to subpar hotel lobbies or crowded coffee shops.

dmznyc-blogmap-1

“It’s not easy when you don’t have an office,” Shah explains. “We didn’t have a homebase so everyday [tasks] like networking or meeting clients were difficult.”

Thankfully things changed for the better in June 2017. That was when Shah and her team were chosen by the DMZ, North America’s number one university-based tech incubator, to work out of its brand new space at Primary. The co-working office, located in the heart of Manhattan, gives select Canadian entrepreneurs, like herself, a place to call home while in the big city and easy access to a host of free amenities, like desks, reception services, conference rooms and wellness classes.

The opportunity has — for all intents and purposes — changed her business in ways that she could never have imagined. “We’re focused on growth in the New York and New Jersey area now and since last year we’ve grown our sales three times,” she explains, while crediting the DMZ with playing a pivotal role in the company’s recent good fortune. “Having an office here signals to our partners that we want to spend more time in the region. We have [the] space to spend that time and, I think, it gives a lot of confidence to our partners.”

New and improved

 
The good news doesn’t stop there either. Since working out of the DMZ’s office in New York her team has moved out of its temporary home at Yonge and Dundas and into their very own office in downtown, Toronto.

The tech accelerator’s NY space has also improved Shah’s overall health and wellness, she says. The U.S. Primary location is now her home away from home where she can work, eat and also relax at the end of a long day.

“Usually when I’m there I’ll pick up a yoga class. In a city like New York where you’re rushing out to meet people it helps that there’s a place called ‘The Studio’ where any member can drop into a relaxation session.” Getting her “zen on,” as she calls it, even if it’s only for a few minutes per day, is helpful for the entrepreneur who regularly pulls 12-hour days.

Right now Shah and her team plan to maintain their presence in NYC well into the future, but don’t plan to give up their Canadian roots any time soon.

“We love being a Canadian company,” she says. “There is so much going on in Toronto in the tech scene and being part of the DMZ community showed me that. Being in NYC was never about not being a Canadian company; it was about taking advantage of this opportunity that we couldn’t have before.”