What they do: Software and Product Development
Bluink: making life easier, one product at a time. That isn’t actually their motto, but it may as well be. Founded in 2010 by mechanical engineer Stephen Borza, Bluink is a product development company that creates software applications to simplify everyday life. They have been up and running for a few years, but from the sound of it, this past year had been a crucial step in the accelerating the company to success. From what Steve Borza called a lot of “serendipity”, karma and networking, Bluink was accepted to a four month stint at Plug and Play in California after a last minute application. The stay proved to be beneficial, and Bluink recently won the FinTech Accelerator Pitch competition in California, for the Injector solution, placing first out of around 886 companies that applied for the program, and 30 that pitched.
Steve sat down with Invest Ottawa to discuss the present and future of his company:
Tell me about your company.
We started in 2010 as a consulting business doing work with R&D (research and development) contracts and R&D tax credits, etc. My interest was turning it into a product development company. My CTO, Larry Hamid, joined me in 2014 and we began developing Injector last year.
What products have you developed so far?
The first product I built is called Shift-IT, which is a shift scheduling solution. This SAAS web service allows companies to schedule employees at places like restaurants, golf courses and amusement parks. You publish the shifts and employees get the schedule on their smartphone where they can book a shift off, trade, send messages to other employees. This is getting up and rolling, particularly in Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean and locally in Calypso Water Park, so it has been busy.
Injector is an smartphone based app that can log you into anything using any kind of credential. It is a universal authenticator that allows you to forget your passwords and be more secure. People forget their passwords these days anyways, but we let the app login to everything and secure your digital life.
Basically, you make people’s lives easier.
Basically, by web-based app-based solutions that make your life simpler, easier and more secure by leveraging current technology, such as smartphones. Those are our goals.
From an entrepreneurial perspective, what do you like about Ottawa?
Ottawa is great for finding talent. It’s got the two universities and a big college, so it has lots of grads looking for employment. Quite often they like Ottawa because of the size and what there is to do here, so we have got a good field of talent to draw from.
We hire new grads out of university who we believe are interested in learning new stuff, and we put them on it. They accelerate their learning, and they work hard, and after a year we have a highly skilled employee. They like it because they’re doing something useful; they see a product they can be proud of. For engineering development and technical skills, Ottawa is great.
Do you think it will remain your home base?
Yeah, I think our development staff will stay here. We will probably need a sales and marketing office in the states, either New York or the Bay area. If you want to look at project managers who are looking for solutions in the financial services industry, then we’ve got to get to New York.
What’s one thing to never underestimate as an entrepreneur?
The amount of effort that’s involved with getting funding by government sources. That is something that is unbelievably bureaucratic and time consuming, and quite often unsuccessful. I think that’s the problem – there’s a lot of talk about supporting start-ups in Canada, in actuality it is a massively bureaucratic process. It is truly not getting the money in the hands of start-ups.
For more information about Bluink and their products, go to www.bluink.ca.