Canada continues to develop its reputation as an innovation hub in the global startup scene. Many of our top Graduates here at the Founder Institute are Canadian, which isn't surprising considering the startup support there. Some big companies many think are U.S.-based actually come from Canada, like Hootsuite and Shopify.
With big success stories like these, we always enjoy showcasing the startups on the horizon. One called Nukern is already making amazing inroads to more international success.
The above starts with Nukern recently being named as one of the Top 10 in the Techstars Austin program. While they were the only Canadian startup on the list, they stood out in how they've designed automation tools for web host businesses.
Thanks to automation being ubiquitous today, Nukern found a way to incorporate it into web host billing management where manual systems often still dominate.
The Journey of Nukern's Founder, Phil Rivard
To give you an example of Nukern's soul, you need to look to founder Phil Rivard's background and what led him to create his company. It all starts with Rivard's battle with depression earlier this decade. He recounted all of his story in a 2015 blog on his company's site.
What makes this personal for us is that Rivard credits the Founder Institute for helping him climb out of his depression. He signed up for our Montreal Cohort and went through our testing and classes. This brought Rivard an epiphany, leading to more happiness and fulfillment forming his own company.
At the time he wrote his blog, he was two weeks away from graduating from our second Montreal Cohort. As he says himself:
"One morning, I took a chance and applied for the program. After all, I needed to make something happen. I had faith that I would eventually find my way, even if it was not with the FI."
So what does Nukern do with automation to make it stand out? They tout relieving billing issues for all web host companies.
Re-Imaging Billing Automation
One of the biggest headaches for web hosts is how they bill their clients. It's not an easy procedure, frequently involving sending invoices manually digitally or via snail mail. Rivard decided to create a more trustworthy billing software free of potential discrepancies. Even better is he managed to simplify the entire process with automated features.
With an intuitive dashboard, it's easy to move from one place to the next. Automated updates bi-weekly help keep up on the latest invoices that need sending out. A simplified user interface ultimately saves web host businesses time to do other things.
Rivard made his SaaS platform easy to integrate with existing software as well. Nukern easily integrates with favorite payment gateways to avoid compatibility issues. Plus, they partnered with LiquidWeb and Plesk to enhance billing service features.
Investments in the Company
To show how fast Nukern continues to grow, their funding never dries up. Rivard raised over $250,000 a couple of years ago when the company first opened. Most recently, they received $120,000 in funding from Techstars. They've received additional funding from Foundation Montreal and Futurpreneur Canada.
The future of the company also looks bright based on how Nukern serves two different industries: Digital agencies in addition to hosting providers.
It helps that they continue to integrate with more payment systems, including the standard: PayPal. Featuring a 14-day free trial, all clients have time to see whether the software is right for them. Starting with a basic price of $10 per month for under 25 clients, it's a true bargain.
Rising Above the Competition
Above everything, Phil Rivard wants to keep the Montreal startup scene thriving, despite being a poorer city for such things when compared to other Canadian cities.
Nukern is a good example in rising above competitors and creating something truly innovative. WHMCS is their direct competitor, yet Nukern eliminates having to install, update, patch, or back up anything like the former forces you to do.
We may see Nukern become an international standard for automated billing systems in tech industries. They'll be far from the last Canadian startup providing another gift to the world.
Keep reading us at Founder Institute as we profile our graduates from around the world.