In a deal that impacts at least five Nova Scotian tech companies, New Glasgow businessmen Jim Fitt has bought Halifax web design company Headspace Design, allowing its two co-founders to focus on their new startup Proposify.
Fitt, the founder of training materials provider Velsoft, paid an undisclosed amount for Headspace. He promises the highly regarded web development company will continue to meet clients’ needs and to grow in the future.
Headspace co-founders Kyle Racki and Kevin Springer, while assisting with the transition, will move on to work on Proposify (formerly PitchPerfect), which helps service providers produce professional-looking written proposals.
Proposify is already making strides, having secured about 20 international paying customers and closed its first round of financing, Racki said in an interview. The $670,000 round includes a $250,000 equity investment from Innovacorp, an investment from angel investor Patrick Hankinson and a contribution from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
The company recently completed two programs in Boston, the Canadian Technology Accelerator organized by the Canadian consulate and 48 Hours in the Hub organized by Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England.
“It kind of helped us get out of this little bubble of Atlantic Canada and get into a big city with a thriving tech scene,” said Racki. “We got to meet a number of experienced mentors that we’re going to stay in touch with.”
Velsoft will gain access to creative tech talent, and Fitt will develop Extrify, an online collaboration tool that had been incubated within Headspace. Extrify lets companies create messages, files and threads of comment and share documents across the whole company or within specific departments.
It recently placed first in the northern Nova Scotia zone in Innovacorp’s I-3 competition.
In an interview, Fitt said the deal allows New Glasgow-based Velsoft and its sister company znanja, access to the talent within Headspace.
“A problem that I have in rural Nova Scotia is attracting talent,” said Fitt. “Velsoft has clients in 164 countries and we’ve worked hard to grow it into a global name. But our No. 1 problem is finding talent and it was stunting our growth. We wanted a way to look for talent.”
He learned Racki and Springer were trying to free themselves from the service business so they could concentrate on Proposify, which they have been working on for almost three years.
As he delved into Headspace, Fitt learned it had incubated a few different products that could be developed into independent companies.
He instantly latched on to Extrify, a collaboration software that gelled beautifully with a project of his own, which he calls “predictive collaboration.”
This technology assesses a user’s behaviour in the collaborative process to predict his or her next action and make collaboration more effective and timely.
Fitt wrapped the two technologies together, adopting the Extrify name, and now has clients using the unified product. He plans to hand off management of Velsoft to other staff so he can focus on Extrify.
The Headspace assets also include a social media monitoring product called Social Gopher, which Fitt is setting aside for now. Meanwhile, Fitt continues to grow znanja, a two-year-old software company that converts normal digital documents into e-learning material in seconds. It will also now have access to the Headspace talent.
Springer and Racki have been trying for a couple of years to focus exclusively on Proposify.