Meetings, Not Money, Were The Key to Success for This Montreal Startup

Stories

July 17, 2018

As an engineer, building things comes naturally to Adrian Teh. So when his condo board was frustrated by a lack of effective ways to communicate with residents, he built a solution — an online platform where building information could be shared and discussed. It was a game-changer. This was the first iteration of Evercondo, Adrian’s condo communication and management tool that, seven months ago, was acquired by FRONTSTEPS.

Evercondo was born in Malaysia, and when Adrian and his wife moved to Montreal in 2012, he began attending tech industry events in his new city, hoping to network. When he told people about the platform he had built back in Malaysia, they responded enthusiastically: “We need the same thing here.”

The need was there. The idea was there. A version of the product was there. Adrian just needed a co-founder. “I didn’t speak French, I didn’t have friends or relatives in Montreal,” Adrian says. “I went to every single event I could think of, in hopes of finding a co-founder.”

He found one, in Grant Yim. Grant at the time was working on his first startup — a “happy failure,” as he calls it — and upon meeting Adrian, was quickly sold on the idea of a condo communications tool. “In my first venture, it was really hard to find product-market fit,” Grant says. “Adrian seemed to have nailed it … it was sort of the holy grail that I had been looking for.”

They quickly got to work building upon the iteration of Evercondo that Adrian had already established. The first six months to a year were “straight up knocking on doors,” Grant says. “Hustling, hustling, hustling.” Like many startups, the co-founders had no idea whether they’d survive the following month. For Adrian, the early days were “very emotional”; he had twin babies at home and had invested a significant portion of his savings.

The first six months to a year were straight up knocking on doors. Hustling, hustling, hustling.”

The hustle paid off. Once property managers agreed to actually take a look at the software — which both founders say was the most difficult part of their growth — Grant and Adrian were typically able to convert them to customers. They fleshed out the platform with rich new features, including accounting software and task management tools, which made Evercondo even more indispensable to its users.

“We have a very strong relationship with these individuals, because in the end, we’re in the business of making these people’s lives easier,” Grant says.

At the time, Evercondo was only operating in Montreal and was eyeing Toronto, which had a fast-growing condo market. Adrian and Grant felt the best way to connect with Toronto stakeholders and build a presence would be through joining an incubator or accelerator.

Grant knew Marcus Daniels from when he was working on his previous venture. When Grant told him about Evercondo, he saw potential and Evercondo joined the HIGHLINE.vc accelerator program.

“Other than the money, which is very valuable for an early-stage startup, the advice and mentorship was very helpful,” Grant says.

Adrian agrees. “Along the way we got introduced to people. And even if people didn’t really end up working with us, they were able to then refer us to others.”

The most powerful example of those connections came by way of an event, where Adrian and Grant were introduced to a venture capitalist who then introduced them to an American consultant. That consultant was working with FRONTSTEPS — a Denver-based resident engagement platform company.

In November 2017, FRONTSTEPS acquired Evercondo and adopted their software – a win for both companies.

Evercondo’s platform allowed FRONSTEPS to speed up the delivery of their overall platform, and allowed the company to move into the lucrative condo and high-rise space. Just two months after the acquisition was announced, a new FRONTSTEPS product was in the market.

In turn, the depth of experience the FRONTSTEPS team had amassed in the years of reaching over 4.4 million homeowners created an opportunity for the Evercondo team to have the impact they had envisioned at the scale that they wanted.

“[FRONSTEPS] shares our vision to build happy communities,” said Grant. “Joining FRONTSTEPS enables us to get to this goal and scale much faster.”

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