Tech Business Acceleration
Rappid design getting more local interest, forging ahead with Collingwood Business Accelerator
Collingwood’s Rappid Software Design came into being incidentally. Its founder David Reynolds already had a budding tech business, Oak Innovation, based in the UK with a satellite office in Toronto. Moving to Collingwood, he started up Rappid to address existing customer demands for custom software solutions. He also opened Creator’s Café, a café and co-working space at 87 Hurontario Street in Collingwood, in collaboration with his wife and another local tech entrepreneur.
This year, Sonja Hamilton joined Rappid as a partner in order to facilitate its expansion across a range of industries. The company is thriving, with a team of four in Collingwood and a larger contingent working remotely from the UK, Toronto and the GTA, South America, China and the Unites States. With 75% of their business coming from Canada, Rappid creates sophisticated software applications, especially in the healthcare sector.
Healthcare software apps
Some recent apps include Chronically Simple, a way of tracking appointments, medical records and prescriptions on a mobile app. Another, the flipside life, is a social app dedicated to enhancing the lives of medical families by building meaningful connections among the wives, husbands and partners of physicians and surgeons.
The company doesn’t stop at application prototyping and building—they also handle branding, build promotional presentations to help clients attract investors, and create marketing websites for lead nurturing. Rappid has been hard at work right through the coronavirus pandemic, but things have changed just a little bit for the company.
Local interest is building
Reynolds has found that more people are developing an understanding of the time, effort and money that it takes to create applications. He believes that the move to remote work helps explain it. “When companies transition towards a remote work setup, they begin to see the value in technology and begin to understand the effort involved,” notes Reynolds. “This helps highlight the speed and efficiency of our approach compared to their own company and external vendors. They’re viewing our performance in a different context.”
Work for Rappid has continued at a brisk pace, but the company hasn’t been quoting projects every week as usual. Reynolds has, however, been fielding more inquiries from local companies than ever before. “I think there’s a building awareness of the need for tech in the Collingwood area. All companies need an online presence and some may need an idea for disruption in their industry because business isn’t going to come back in the regular way.”
Collingwood business accelerator
Another reason for local interest might be Reynolds’ and Hamilton’s involvement in the creation of a Collingwood business accelerator. A member of Georgian College’s computer programming steering committee, Reynolds became acquainted with the College’s Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre, which assists entrepreneurs with training, connections, funding and mentorship. He decided that Collingwood needed something similar in order to accelerate its transformation into a ‘tech hub north’ for Ontario. He and Hamilton enlisted the Collingwood Business Development Centre and the Centre For Business and Economic Development to help.
“What we’re doing in Collingwood is similar to the Georgian model, except we’re more focused on taking existing companies to the next level,” explains Reynolds. “It’s going really well—Martin and Gillian at the Business Development Centre have been fantastic.”
With the Collingwood Business Accelerator moving through planning and into the investment stage, Reynolds anticipates that the first cohort of budding tech companies may start in late 2020. “Pandemic or no pandemic,” he laughs. “Tech work can be as remote as you like. We’re focused on building tech sector businesses locally, so Covid shouldn’t really impact launch.”