653 words | 2.5 minutes
A problem begets a solution; a solution, an idea; and ta-da, a company is born.
Introducing Tadaweb, a Luxembourg-based technology company busy creating an intelligent system that can understand and use the internet like a human, ultimately making it easier for actual humans to access information.
On the latest episode of Invested in Our New Reality, host Shavonne Hasfal-McIntosh sat down with Genna Elvin, Co-founder and Chief Tada Officer of Tadaweb, to discuss the company’s journey from student start-up to a global business with four offices in major cities around the world, including Ottawa.
“What we really try and do at Tada is build technology that can use and understand the internet just like a human would,” explains Elvin. “In a world of big data, what we focus on is the smaller data, the more human data-driven side of things.”
The original technology was created nearly 20 years ago by co-founder Francois Gaspard when he was a graduate student and found himself increasingly frustrated trying to find the information he needed.
“He was conducting the same human process over and over and over again,” Elvin explained. “He spent a long time researching and developing a technology that could replicate that human process of gaining information, and that’s the inspiration behind Tadaweb.”
Nearly two decades later, the company has long-since moved past that initial frustration and has developed increasingly sophisticated solutions. It is, Elvin said, leaving the start-up moniker behind and entering a phase of strong growth.
And growing it is – from one office to four: all in different countries, including Canada.
Tadaweb was named a “company of influence” on the 2016 Disrupt 100 List, which cited its potential to change or create new global markets. It has strong partnerships with giant companies such as Microsoft and is busy scaling its development and operations. Opening new offices in key markets throughout the world is a crucial step.
But no matter where they go, the Tadaweb team brings their whimsical and friendly office culture with them – along with the core values that have made them such a success. Elvin recognized the importance of work/life balance early on and committed to building a company that saw its team members as assets and not employees, and work as a place of creativity and inspiration.
“[We decided] …let’s create this culture of work hard, play harder. Let’s sort of create these core values and let’s just prove everyone wrong,” she said. “We’ve got a slide, we put a giant inflatable gorilla with everything you can imagine, just to make people feel proud of the environment that they’re working in.”
And oh boy, did it ever work.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought an abrupt change to the Tadaweb work culture, but, like any true innovator, the company pivoted and managed to retain its core values during a time when they were the most needed. Prior to the lockdowns, the company ecosystem was about being together and collaborating side-by-side, face-to face. Switching to remote work was a challenge.
“I think the biggest lesson and the biggest accomplishment for us at Tadaweb was that we still maintained our culture,” she explained. “It actually taught us that we could do a whole lot more things remotely. And I’ve seen that even with our interactions in Canada, you know, we can achieve a lot remotely.”
In fact, the team is thrilled with their progress in Canada and are preparing to open their office shortly.
Ottawa, says, Elvin, was a natural choice for expansion.
“We see it as a really strategic stepping stone to North America and the North American market,” she explains. “We share a lot of similar values and it’s quite accessible from where we are in Europe. It seemed like a logical place for us.”