CloudLinx Improves IT for SMBs
As Cory Allen recovered from cancer three years ago, he had a Eureka moment that led to the creation of CloudLinx, a cloud-based company that lowers small businesses’ technology bill while improving flexibility.
Fredericton-based CloudLinx handles the server functions for small businesses with a cloud-based solution. In particular, it lets small business staff use any computer anywhere and instantly get access to all the data and software they have on their computer at the office or home. The company is now entered in the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation’s Breakthru competition, and if successful it will use the prize money to expand its marketing efforts.
Allen happened on the idea for the business three years ago after he learned at 35 that he had testicular cancer and therefore took a year off from his work as a tech consultant. His mother and business partner still needed his help gaining access to specialized software while doing remote work, but he was too ill to drive out to help them. So he applied a few protocols he’d developed that allowed them to easily access their software and files regardless of where they were working.
Allen said ease-of-use was a factor as his mother, who was keeping books for a few clients, is not overly comfortable with technology. She was so pleased with his solution that she said, “You should sell this.”
That’s when the light bulb clicked on.
Allen had been evaluating his life throughout his convalescence. He’d done well as a consultant and was considering retirement, but instead he decided to invest his savings in a new business. He brought in his sister Jayne Wilson to help with marketing and in late 2011 they launched a basic product, which helped book-keepers work from remote locations. People began to subscribe.
Last February, CloudLinx hosted a webinar for Canadian book-keepers, and the response was dramatic.
“The demand came in almost immediately and they began to demand more features,” said Allen, who said he expanded the service so that users could access all their software remotely. “Starting in June, we rolled it out to a few trusted customers.”
Allen said CloudLinx offers small businesses more flexibility in using their software because they can access their files securely from any computer or device, regardless of the operating system. It can also save small businesses money as CloudLinx offers its service on average for $209.75 a month for a five-person business. Such a company generally pays almost $400 a month to operate its own server. What’s more, CloudLinx monitors the system daily and provides greater service than most companies’ servers, he said.
The company broke even in November and now has 270 small business customers from across Canada. If it wins the Breakthru competition (which boasts a $192,000 first prize), CloudLinx will use the money to invest in marketing to increase revenue. If it doesn’t win, Allen said he will invest more in the company. Either way, he doesn’t foresee any fundraising.
“We’ve had lots of investors come to us and say, `Can we buy in?’” he said. “And we’ve said, ‘No thanks, we’re well funded.’”