Year company was founded: 2015
Number of employees: 10
What They Do: Grow businesses for free
It’s a Friday afternoon and you’re counting down the minutes until the weekend starts. You haven’t made any plans for the night but are considering meeting up with a person you just matched with on a dating website. So you open up Urban Spoon, enter in your favorite cuisines and decide on a restaurant that fits your criteria. You drive home, watch a suggested TV show on Netflix, and request a lift from a ride-sharing app to go and meet your date. Any of this sounding familiar?
These rituals of matchmaking services are no strangers to the year 2016, no matter what sector they’re in. So what if these services were used as an interactive matchmaking and bargaining tool for entrepreneurs and startups? The sharing economy is currently booming and bartering is estimated to represent 30% of the world’s total business, as mentioned by the US Department of Commerce. That’s why co-founders Frederic Foyer and Matthias Bedard of Swaaap.com jumped on a good thing when they saw it. After developing a minimal viable product (MVP) and testing it privately until December 2015 – Swaaap.com has opened up publicly to Canada this month! I caught up with the Cupid’s of the entrepreneurial matchmaking website to chat about their endeavors:
Say I don’t work in technology – explain to me, what do you do?
Swaaap.com is a platform for business owners to connect with each other in order to exchange expertise, services and goods (inventory & asset) in a tailored and automated way. This allows them to meet new customers & strategic partners quickly to grow their business.
What was the “ah-ha!” moment that sparked the idea?
I was having lunch with a friend, John Nguyen, who owns a few businesses in Ottawa. I asked him what would be an app that would make his life easier as an entrepreneur. He mentioned that he has very limited time to network due to the demands of his businesses but that he still wanted to get the value of networking, which is to meet other entrepreneurs that you can do business with either through partnerships or a client relationship. The idea started stemming from there and we founded Swaaap.com!
What kind of problems do you solve?
The Problem: There is currently no efficient way for startups and small businesses to meet quickly to exchange services & goods without using any cash. At the moment, businesses search the web, browse LinkedIn, go to networking events and call friends. This is time-consuming and relies heavily on luck or having a great network.
Our Solution: We provide suggested matches to business owners based on their current business needs and offerings, their location, connections in common, reviews, and much more. We also provide a vehicle for established businesses to advertise directly to startups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as early on in their lifecycle as possible, since these are their next generation of business customers. Finally, we compile powerful business intelligence data & trends on the current needs and offerings of each business / industry.
What are the most surprising matches Swaaap.com has made?
Swaaap.com can essentially match any good or service with each other if the entrepreneurs are looking for it – meaning matches are endless and unpredictable. We’ve seen office space get traded for bookkeeping, marketing for IT services, and even personal tax for paintings, etc!
If you could describe Ottawa’s ecosystem in a couple of words, what would they be?
Vibrant, exciting, tight-knit, growing every year and taking over Canada!
Which resources have you used in Ottawa to help Swaaap.com grow and scale?
In addition to our own personal network we’ve used:
- Invest Ottawa’s EIR’s and mentors – they have been extremely helpful
- NRC’s IRAP program & youth employment funding
- L-Spark’s incubator
- Startup Canada’s ecosystem
- Lead to Win’s (LTW) incubator
Is there anything else unique or fun about
Fun Fact: both co-founders have moved in with each other in order to be as frugal as possible! We work hard but play hard all year long!
I hear you are participating in LSPARK’s Pitchfest on January 26th, how do you plan on stealing the show?
We have a lot of traction and have been assigned a great mentor who is helping us come through in our pitch! Our team is rock solid; we’ve locked in investments and have a lot of support from the Ottawa ecosystem and government programs. We are also getting sign ups from 30+ countries!
We are growing so fast and have amazing customers who are extremely enthusiastic about Swaaap.com!
Read more about Ottawa’s ecosystem here
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