Last November, TIMIA Capital provided a US $2 million investment facility to RocketRez, a Manitoba, Canada-based startup that builds cloud-based management software for large tours and attractions operators.
In an industry that experienced an incredibly turbulent year in 2020, RocketRez’s resilience and growth are remarkable. A testament to the company’s value is the fact that they recently secured a Series A round with Blueprint Equity.
TIMIA Capital caught up with RocketRez CEO, John Pendergrast, and CFO, Carlin Thiessen this month to see how the business is going and to learn more about their journey to date and growth plans for the future.
A Big Idea in a Small Town
RocketRez grew from the early vision of John Pendergrast in his home just outside Winnipeg. It all began in 2011 when John decided to build a product for a consulting client of his, Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours. In just 18 months, John bootstrapped the development of a solution that the client loved—Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours is still a happy customer today!
After some product market fit lessons, John built a version of RocketRez that was more aligned with the needs of the broader market. The new product was showcased at the Passenger Vessel Association trade show in 2016 and things really took off from there.
According to John and Carlin, RocketRez’s success comes down to the level of service they provide to customers.
“We believe very strongly that we are partners with our clients. I know everyone says that but we actually believe fundamentally that we’re in the same business together,” said John.
Today, RocketRez’s platform is growing massively to include online, in-person, and call center booking engines integrated into a full point-of-sale and inventory management platform. The versatile platform also has application tools for managing events, private charters, catering, photos and kiosks, CRM, growth marketing, advanced analytics, staff scheduling, and timekeeping.
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Taking Opportunities from a Challenging Year
In March 2020, the team at RocketRez left the office to go into quarantine with a lot of concerns about the future.
“We had big plans for 2020 and had been planning a Series A round to help us scale faster. All of a sudden, we were facing a new, uncertain reality,” said John.
Instead of panicking, John and Carlin decided to focus on what they could control. They looked at the challenge they were facing and tried to take opportunities from it. They examined other SaaS companies that were pivoting to adapt to the “new normal.” However, rather than following the herd, RocketRez decided to forge ahead with the model they had built—a model that was working and that customers love.
RocketRez’s prospective customers were dealing with serious challenges in 2020 including lost revenue and staff layoffs. Decision-makers at these companies had time on their hands to plan for a strong recovery—something RocketRez could help with!
By focusing on the future rather than on the current situation, RocketRez convinced customers to replace antiquated ticketing systems with efficient, streamlined solutions that would fuel a strong recovery. The strategy paid off and RocketRez is in a strong position today.
“Our two-year outlook looks the same as it did in March 2020. We had a trough to get through initially but things are accelerating,” said Carlin.
Fuelling for Success
RocketRez has prided itself on being capital efficient and liked TIMIA Capital’s approach to growth capital. They applied for investment funding in 2020 to help fuel sales and marketing and bridge the gap until a Series A round.
“TIMIA Capital was great to work with. Their values of sustainable growth really aligned with ours and it was just a good fit,” said Carlin.
“We have been impressed with RocketRez’s growth and their capital-efficient culture. Thanks to their determination and highly customer-centric approach, they excelled despite the challenges that 2020 threw at their industry. We’re excited to watch them grow in 2021 and beyond,” said Rob Foxall, VP Origination at TIMIA Capital.
Shortly after TIMIA’s investment, RocketRez secured a $6.4 million CAD Series A round and has made big plans to accelerate growth. Today, the company is actively hiring across sales and marketing, engineering, and customer success departments.
The company recently hired industry veteran Monica Marics as Chief Operating Officer to help manage growth. Monica has guided operations, customer success, and product management teams of several multi-hundred-million-dollar businesses across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia and will be a big asset to the company.
In terms of what the next five years will look like at RocketRez, John and Carlin are very optimistic. They have their heads down, focused on growth strategy, and they plan to keep executing on the plan that’s working for them.
We look forward to following their progress!Back to top