Our Investment in Helcim: Payments for SMBs? Give ‘em Helcim
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway”
– John Wayne
Sitting in the shadows of the Canadian Rockies, a city once known mostly for its cowboys and oil is beginning its adventure into a new frontier and emerging as a contender to watch. Calgary’s rise as an innovation hub has been bolstered by its cowboy roots, with founders saddled up to make bold advances into new markets. One such founder, who has truly pulled himself up by his bootstraps, is looking at an underserved landscape and ready to tackle the challenge…
Small and Mid-Sized Businesses (SMBs) have faced an extremely difficult road in the last two years in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. SMBs were forced to transition to digital services to stay afloat and quickly realized that many of these tools can be complicated, slow to implement, and even sneaky with hidden fees and charges. This is especially true in the payments space where customer expectations for fast, secure, and simple-to-use payment methods are driving increased demand for credit card and mobile payment options.
While SMBs make up a large portion of businesses in North America, their needs are not being met by legacy providers when it comes to the user experience and services required. Modern payment solutions can provide SMBs with simple and fast solutions, but new players are going above and beyond this, by completely redefining customer experience and enabling business owners to manage their businesses with ease.
This is where Information VP’s newest portfolio company, Helcim, shows its value to its loyal customer base. Not only has Helcim developed a proprietary payments tech stack that allows it give the best rates to its customers, but the team’s focus on providing exceptional customer service has been a key driver of growth. Since its June 2020 launch as a payments facilitator, Helcim has experienced a major increase in sign ups.
In addition to being an incredible growth story, we were extremely impressed when we met the team in Calgary. Nic Beique, Helcim’s CEO, founded Helcim as a merchant service provider in 2007 and grew it to a profitable business for several years before identifying an opportunity in the market and pivoting to a payment facilitator. He has been active in the Calgary tech scene for years and received Calgary’s Top 40 under 40 in 2019. Also on the executive team are: Rob Park, COO, who has been recognized by The Peak as a 2022 Emerging Leader; Marjorie Junio-Read, CFO and former Manager, Treasury for the Canadian Natural Resources Limited; and Brett Popkey, CTO.
As the first investment into a bootstrapped company, taking capital has been a major step for the Helcim team. As Nic states, “It was important to us to find capital partners that believed in our big vision and wanted to be part of it early, while giving us the space to keep executing it in our unique way. It was this shared value alignment and Information VP’s belief in the type of company that we’re trying to build that made them the right partner for us.”
Part of the “unique way” that Helcim executes so effectively is through their focus on their brand as a customer-focused service provider, which they believe starts with a focus on their team. “Be honest, be kind, be fair” is the central theme of “The Way”, a culture book that Helcim wrote for all employees. The team knows that by empowering and supporting their team, their team will be more effective in empowering and supporting their customers.
Going forward, Helcim will look to leverage its brand and robust technology platform to offer an increasing number of value-add services for SMBs. Helcim’s ultimate vision is to become the world’s most loved payments company, and we are excited to embark on this exciting adventure with them. Giddy up!
– Jane, Rob, Brendan, and the Information VP Team