Ownr Turns Four: What We’ve Learned on the Way

Nov 18, 2021
5 minute read
Large number four for Ownr's fourth anniversary, surrounded by confetti

Four years ago, we saw an opportunity to help entrepreneurs and develop a technology that makes starting a business a little more simple, affordable, and convenient.

Ownr registered its first business in November 2017, and we’re now supporting entrepreneurs beyond the initial launch of their businesses.

Besides using Ownr for registering and incorporating businesses, entrepreneurs now use our platform to manage legal compliance, government filings, and more. This allows them to off-load a few administrative items from their to-do list, creating more time to focus on tasks that help grow their business.

Ownr has helped 55,000+ Canadians launch their dreams.

Entrepreneurs are change agents and key drivers for the Canadian economy, and there’s an inspiring story behind each entrepreneur. We are incredibly proud to be a part of their journey.

People aspire to be business owners for many reasons—it could be to create an income stream for themselves, pursue a passion, or create a better work-life balance. This entrepreneurial spirit creates businesses that provide value to our communities.

The pandemic disproportionately impacted existing small businesses, with some more heavily impacted than others. From our vantage point at Ownr, we saw entrepreneurs rally, throw their hats in the ring, and focus on pivoting their businesses. 

Even though the pandemic resulted in turbulence in different industries, entrepreneurs rallied to build and grow their businesses. We saw a surge of business registrations over the last 20 months, which is a testament to the resilient spirit of Canadian entrepreneurs.

Deciding to become an entrepreneur is a powerful, emotional decision. There’s a mix of vulnerability, belief, and passion that’s common between every entrepreneur. And, it’s a matter of pride for us at Ownr that we have helped over 55,000 Canadians pursue their dreams.

Acquiring Founded Technologies to serve entrepreneurs beyond initial business registrations and incorporations.

We constantly look at what entrepreneurs need and then work our way backwards to identify better solutions for our customers. Over the past year, we had the unique opportunity to expand our offerings for Canadian entrepreneurs by acquiring Founded Technologies. With this acquisition, we were able to deliver a lot more value to our customers.

Starting as a solution for entrepreneurs looking to register or incorporate their business, with this acquisition, Ownr evolved into a platform that helps with the legalities of running a business. Critical elements of small business ownership, such as up-to-date minute books, filing annual returns, changing directors and business addresses, can now be easily addressed using Ownr.

Growing our team by 2X over the last year.

An ambitious plan needs a talented team to bring it to fruition. In 2017, a handful of us got our first iteration of the product out the door. Today, we have a team of over 45 people specializing in product, customer success, engineering, sales, and partnerships to support the evolution of our growth plans. And, we’re still growing a lot, looking to get talented and passionate individuals on our team

Staying humble is part of our core DNA at Ownr. Every member of our team is focused on removing obstacles that entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses.

Lessons From the Last Year at Ownr.

There are two parts to running a business–the first part focuses on starting a business, and the second looks at actually growing a business. In the early stages of Ownr, we were in the process of launching our services for entrepreneurs. But now, and especially over the last year, we are focused on growing the business that allows us to support entrepreneurs across several touchpoints of their ventures.

In doing that, we have learned a few lessons that help us navigate the problems we are looking to solve for our customers.

Identifying the right talent can lead to further growth.

As we move into the fifth year of our operations, we know the importance of having the right individuals on our team. Building a successful company requires everyone to share a common belief in the problems we’re looking to solve. Empowering the team to do their best work and allowing them to make decisions that best drives the business forward is crucial as you look to scale your business.

Ensuring a smooth acquisition and transition.

We knew that the acquisition of Founded Technologies was a natural step forward for us. Of all of the work that it took, we are most proud of the fact that we managed to combine our services, and our teams, seamlessly.

It helped that we had a pre-existing relationship with the founders of Founded Technologies and familiarity with their platform that allowed this transition to take place smoothly. We saw it as an opportunity to define a combined culture that our new-look team would thrive within. Doing so helped us pull towards the same goal quicker as a team.

Entrepreneurs need support from all directions.

Starting a business can be an incredibly confusing and often lonely, expensive, and time-consuming endeavour. But, despite the challenges, many entrepreneurs say that it’s the most rewarding initiative they have taken on in their lives.