SAINT JOHN – Fredericton’s Introhive had its fastest hiring month ever in June, onboarding 12 people to its engineering and program management teams. Half of the new hires are in Saint John, where the tech company is looking for an office space.
“We intend to continue hiring in Saint John as time goes on, so of course we need a home for those team members,” said Chief Technology Officer Jerry Carr, who is leading the Saint John expansion along with VP Engineering Tony Sheehan.
Both Sheehan and Carr are based in Saint John, which makes the expansion more convenient. But the reason for opening an office in the Port City is bigger than that.
“Introhive’s continuing to grow and we’re expanding to Saint John to increase the available talent pool, really,” Carr said. “We’ll have a great office space for Introhive engineers in Saint John, which just increases our ability to attract great people.”
Introhive is set to open a temporary office in Uptown Saint John this month. It plans to look for a more permanent location in the area over the next three-to-six months.
The company automates routine tasks related to customer relationship management (CRM) systems. It has more than 100 employees across its offices, over 50 of which are in New Brunswick.
Introhive recently raised $15.2 million in venture capital funding through a combination of equity financing from Lake Bridge and debt financing from an undisclosed investor in Toronto. It’s seeking another $50 million by next spring.
“We’re growing really, really fast. So if we continue to grow this way, we think we’re going to need to probably bring in more capital to bring in more people, and stay ahead of the growth,” said CEO and Co-Founder Jody Glidden, who works out of the U.S.
Introhive’s story is deeply intertwined with the provincial capital’s startup stars.
Fredericton native Glidden and Stewart Walchli – both former BlackBerry executives founded the company in 2012 in response to a problem they saw in large companies’ CRM systems.
“You log in into just about any CRM and you’d find that most people didn’t log all their contacts, all their meetings, all their important email exchanges with clients and even if they did, the information wouldn’t be updated over time,” Glidden said.
Introhive combines data from a company’s calendars, emails, phone systems and other communications platform to automatically feed records such as meetings with clients, their contact information and so on to the CRM system the companies use. This allows businesses to free up some time for their salespeople to do other work.
“When we first started the company, we hired our first people back in Fredericton because that’s where my three previous startups were founded as well. So we knew about the people that we wanted to get,” said Glidden.
Introhive is primarily composed of people who had worked with Glidden and Walchli in their previous startups. These include business app developer Chalk Media, which was acquired by BlackBerry in 2009, and IC Global, which was sold to Skillsoft in 2001.
Others, like Chief Innovation Officer David Alston and Carr, came from Radian 6, which CRM system provider Salesforce acquired for $326 million (U.S.) in 2011.
“It’s quite a big group of the people that have worked with David [Alston] or me in the past that are merging. People are really loving the energy of getting those teams together,” said Glidden.
Having this group of people has helped Introhive, Glidden said. Mainly, their experience with large companies means they’ve encountered the problems they’re trying to solve. Secondly, it helps with recruiting.
“A lot of people who worked with us in the past, they don’t feel like they have to take a big chance like you often do when you’re joining a startup. People feel like they’re in good hands and that we’re going to [make this] a success,” Glidden said.
Finally, the team’s experience in fundraising and connections means good access to capital for Introhive. This is something a startup needs in order to continue growing, Glidden said.
“The biggest thing we’re trying to focus on is building the business the best way we can. If we do there are so many good things that can happen. You can go public, you can merge with another company,” he said. “But if you’re not solving a really hard problem in a way that nobody else can do, then none of those things are going to happen.”
Introhive works closely with major CRM software providers like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics to add automation to their systems. Most of its clients are multinationals that need to manage tens of thousands of workers located in various countries, including accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
North America is the company’s largest market, but Europe is the fastest growing one. And its clients’ recommendations to others have been its biggest source of leads.
Although Introhive has a global reach, Fredericton remains its headquarters for the engineering and customer success and support teams. It’s also where Introhive’s chief privacy officer, the one in charge of ensuring the company follows international data privacy laws, is based.
Glidden said he’s proud that he and his team can create jobs in New Brunswick.
“I love to do that for a place where I grew up,” he said. “And the people from New Brunswick have an amazing work ethic. We’ve got some really incredible people that put in levels of effort that you just wouldn’t see in other places. And without that level of effort, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are right now.”
Introhive still has positions open in Fredericton and Saint John as the hiring continues, Carr said.
“There’s engineering position with our program management and software development, also we’ll be looking for product management and quality assurance as well,” he said.
Banner image: Members of Introhive’s team in the Fredericton office, including Chief Technology Officer Jerry Carr and VP Engineering Tony Sheehan on the far right corner of the front row. Image: Submitted.