They make it look so easy, but we know better than that. The Growth Effect is a new podcast that delves into what it’s really like to launch and scale a business. Join host and Toronto-based founder Sarah Stockdale as she speaks to the leaders of some of Canada’s top growing companies to learn how they did it.
The pizza pivot: How General Assembly transformed from a busy restaurant to an IPO
Ali Khan Lalani is the CEO of General Assembly. If you asked us pre-pandemic, we’d have told you that it’s a popular pizza restaurant in Toronto. Now, it’s reinventing itself as a successful food-tech company and recently secured $13-million in Series A funding with plans to go public. Many lockdowns in, we know the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the restaurant business. But Ali’s is a story of a successful pivot in an industry that needs some good news. He shares how he led his company from in-person dining to pizza subscription company — and their plans for future growth.
The untold origin story of Article, the rapidly-growing online furniture company
This is an online furniture brand that doesn’t let you sit on the couch before you buy it. A design company founded by four friends with no design skills… but it works. When 2020 forced us to spend more time inside our homes, Article’s e-commerce approach gave it an advantage. The company was already growing rapidly, but the pandemic was rocket fuel. It wasn’t a straight line to success though. CEO Aamir Baig and COO Andy Prochazka tell Sarah about how they became Article — and it involves a court appearance.
How Bobbie Racette is fixing the gig economy for marginalized workers with Virtual Gurus
After losing her job, Bobbie Racette was reminded how tough it is to find work as an Indigenous LGBTQ woman, so she decided to start creating jobs that could be done remotely, flexibly, and for a fair wage. When she started Virtual Gurus, a Calgary-based talent marketplace that matches companies with virtual assistants and freelancers, she made a point of hiring from marginalized groups including single mothers, trans people, Indigenous women and people with social anxiety. It took her 170 rejections before she got her first investor, but now capital is knocking at her door. This impact startup approach isn't just good for representation, it's been successful business strategy - and Bobbie is happy to share why.
Why Smash+Tess founder credits inclusivity and community as the key to their record romper growth
Be honest: when was the last time you wore pants with a zipper during this pandemic? Even before COVID-19 shifted our fashion priorities, sustainable loungewear company Smash+Tess was reporting nearly 5,000% 3-year revenue growth. The body-positive company has amassed a huge following with their stylish rompers, including celebrities like Hillary Duff and Sarah of The Birds Papaya. Founder Ashley Freeborn credits a lot of their success to the value they place on building an online community. She shares with Sarah how prioritizing inclusivity has been the secret to their growth.
Fighting to grow: How Flashfood’s founder spun grocery food waste into a climate-friendly app
Flashfood is an app that keeps good food out of the trash. Users can buy discounted food that grocers would have had to throw out as it approached the sell-by date. It’s good for the environment, combats food waste and helps people who need cheaper food. But getting the business off the ground, into major grocery chains and through a global pandemic took an appetite for risk that not everyone has. Founder Josh Domingues shares how sometimes getting it wrong, pivoting and fighting like hell can help your business grow.
How Vivian Kaye built a million-dollar business without a single investor
KinkyCurlyYaki is a company that sells high quality, kinky, curly and natural-looking hair extensions. As a Black woman, Vivian Kaye was building a business she saw a real need for. But venture capitalists didn’t share her vision. It’s a problem many Black founders face – receiving roughly one per cent of VC funding. Vivian shares her story of bootstrapping through these obstacles, and her hopes for the future.
Insightful and really real
Sarah has an incredible ability to get at the root of what makes each entrepreneur so successful, while also telling a transparent, human story of what it’s really like to build a super fast growth company. Tons of business and personal lessons to be learned from this podcast - it’s fantastic.