Challenge: Demonstrating value to a market that hasn't yet embraced your technology
Solution: Focus on the value you bring and the problems you solve
For Jordan Kyriakidis’s customers, failure is not an option. His company, QRA Corp, helps clients ensure the systems they develop are failsafe.
QRA has two key products, which it is developing with the help of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). QVscribe identifies potential problems with system requirements at their earliest stages of development. QVtrace is an engineering tool that easily allows for analysis and verification of complex designs. “It is crucial to have tools that will ensure systems are safe. Ultimately, lives are at stake,” says Jordan, the company’s co-founder and CEO.
The five-year-old company now works primarily in the aerospace industry as well as the automotive and biomechanical sectors. “These are areas where the cost of an error is very high,” says Jordan, a theoretical physicist who calls himself an “accidental entrepreneur.”
Despite the potentially life-threatening risks many companies’ products entail, hiring outside firms for design verification is not yet second nature. “We’re generally battling against low market share. People are not using tools like ours,” says Jordan.
For that reason, it is important to demonstrate to potential customers the value of QRA’s services. “We need to show a degree of empathy and show how our product can alleviate their problems.”
The Halifax-based company, which now employs 25 people, is getting a helping hand from Lockheed Martin. The two firms have entered into an important collaboration agreement. QRA will provide the global security and aerospace company with an advanced early-stage systems verification solution for its increasingly complex designs.
For entrepreneurs looking to build their business, an essential step to success is offering potential customers much more than a product, Jordan stresses. “If you’re selling to other businesses, you have to understand the problems they are facing. Then you sell your value to them, not your product. It doesn’t matter if the technology is cool, if it doesn’t solve a problem.”
Accessing financial capital is something the Government of Canada recognizes as critical to building, growing and scaling a business. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is enabling QRA Corp to continue its work in innovative and critical engineering software. An investment of nearly $3 million is helping QRA Corp further develop QVTrace, a product assisting system engineers with rigorous analysis and verification of early-stage engineering designs. The project will focus on making the interface of the product more user friendly, expanding its applicability to more industries, as well as improving its performance and scalability.
QRA Corp is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness fuel Atlantic Canada’s economy, at home and beyond.
For more information on programs and services available to businesses in Atlantic Canada call 1-800-561-7862 or go to canada.ca/acoa.