Although Brendan King went to the University of Saskatchewan to become a physicist, it’s obvious that he has always been an entrepreneur at heart. After opening up a local computer store in Saskatoon and Regina, King quickly became customer-obsessed. He sold that retail business to his partner and began his journey into the software industry. King got his foot in the door working for a software company called Point2, which sold to a larger company. In 2008, he started building Vendasta.
“It’s never a straight line to get where you want to be,” King laughs.
Today, Vendasta is a robust platform built for local experts around the world to market, sell, bill, fulfill, and deliver digital solutions to their small- and medium-sized business (SMB) clients. Vendasta refers to these local experts as channel partners, and through their intuitive platform, partners can sell software and services under their own brand.
The end-to-end platform and marketplace are also tightly integrated into an operating system that provides SMBs with a single sign-on to their digital products and analytics. Partners can run Snapshot Reports to learn about an SMB’s online performance, use marketing automation tools to identify prospects, provide scalable consulting and marketing services, provide detailed reports to clients, and invoice them all through their single sign-on.
“We’re providing small businesses with everything they need to run their business,” King says. “The magic is having everything on one dashboard—our platform is a marketplace that’s built to use with one password, one bill to pay, and so much more.”
As King shared, though, the journey to get there wasn’t a clear pathway into building software as a service. The original plans pivoted from the platform being an app for people to share pictures of their homes online and source contractors and projects, and a specific piece of that innovation took off. “People were interested in getting found online and making sure their reputation was good,” King says. “This was free in the app, and everyone was using it.”
Running with that idea, they pivoted to the concept of not selling directly to businesses. Instead, they found people who already had a salesforce and customer base. “We went to enterprise customers who were losing their customers through traditional marketing and helped them,” shares King. “They needed sales and marketing automation, so we built that with AI and helped them sell their digital products.”
Vendasta has exploded to serving over 50,000 channel partners, who in turn work with more than five million SMBs worldwide. Receiving multiple awards and building a reputation as one of Saskatchewan’s fastest-growing technology companies, Vendasta’s success is recognized worldwide and constantly picking up more momentum.
Officially announced in May 2021, Vendasta secured a historic $119.5M in funding to accelerate their sales growth further. Led by New York-based Lugard Road Capital, Nicola Wealth, the Canadian Business Growth Fund (CBGF), and a set of existing investors, this raise is the largest information and communication technology (ICT) venture capital round in Canadian Prairie history.
“We’re proud to be building a long-lasting tech company in Western Canada,” King says. “And we don’t plan to take any route to get away from that. We’re anchor tenants in the community, and we’ll be continuing to grow and hire.” Vendasta has recently moved to a larger space in downtown Saskatoon and is hiring many local people to help propel its growth.
Saskatchewan embodies the saying of “it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” with the low cost of living and lifestyle found in the province. King shares, “We may live in a two-song community, but Saskatchewan is filled with folks who work hard in a consistent way.” People in Chicago, Seattle, and other large hubs hold some senior roles in order to move forward faster, but King plans to continue building the Vendasta rocketship and revolutionize the tech scene here in the heart of the prairies.
Founders: Brendan King, Jeff Tomlin, Allan Wolinski, Ches Hagen, Guy Kelsey
Incorporation Date: January 2008