Revvly Cofounder Saadia Muzaffar on Scaling, Validation, and the Lonely World of Startups

Saadia Muzaffar was one of those people I first met on Twitter. We connected over common interests which lead to chats over coffee and her startup, Revvly.

Kamil Rextin: How would you explain Revvly to the world?

Saadia Muzaffar: Revvly is a rapid-app development platform that helps software developers build better quality enterprise cloud apps quicker; literally in days and weeks versus years. Developers can build complex applications with strong e-commerce, social, and responsive capabilities—hitting 20,000 transactions per second spike-load right out of the gates.

To build enterprise-scale cloud apps, typically you would need to know about infrastructure and need to learn all the API’s for the services you want to integrate with. But with Revvly all you need to know is HTML and JavaScript.

Being a proudly Canadian company, Revvly also provides Canadian privacy law compliance in line with PIPEDA, a critical aspect for clients who have strict data-sovereignty requirements.

KR: How did it all start?

SM: I have known Jason Lavigne [cofounder] through my work with the Regional Innovation Centre in Mississauga for the past several years.

I learned through my discussions with Jason that he had taken all the pain-points he had experienced as CTO and lead developer of TicketBreak [acquired in 2010 by Maple Music, a subsidiary of Universal Music] and built a robust API-based platform for SaaS-based ticketing solutions for the live events industry.

Jason and I quickly realized that since ticketing has unrivaled spike-load requirements, a platform that can enable apps to efficiently and reliably process transactions and audit trails for ticketing, would essentially have a leading-edge foundation required for rapid-app development on an enterprise scale for pretty much all kinds of eCommerce applications. This is how Revvly was born.

KR: What stage are you at right now?

SM: In the first 12 months, we have built and shipped our product’s first version, closed $425,000 in booked sales with clients around the globe, and are really excited for the upcoming Toronto Comic Arts Festival. This is just the tip of a $6 million funnel that we are currently working through.

Specifically in Canada, we are working with a few strategic datacentres and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to deliver solutions to large-scale clients that operate multi-venue entertainment companies and helping take them to the cloud.

KR: How does being post-revenue at such an early stage affect your growth strategy?

SM: We are stoked about the validation this has give to our business model and Revvly’s value-proposition. The most exciting aspect of this is when we go ahead to do an angel funding round in the next few months, we won’t be looking for survival money.

KR: What are some of the toughest things about building a startup?

SM: To be a successful entrepreneur, you have be able to thrive in a certain level of constant chaos, and have the tenacity to stay the course and stick to your vision while being open to constructive criticism and market responses. In some ways building a startup is lonely business—it’s you against the world for years until you become that common misnomer: an overnight success. This is why having a solid, well-aligned founding team is critical.

KR: What is the Ecosystem like in GTA as compared to Toronto and KW?

SM: Our head-office is in Brampton in the Region of Peel. This ecosystem is still pretty nascent and as such, a bit fragmented, so we also have a virtual office in Toronto for business development, and we’re part of Communitech.  Once this ecosystem is more mature, we will be able to retain the talent that currently flows towards tech hubs like Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo. That said though, in my mind, all these hubs support staying and building in Canada. At the end of the day, what ought to matter is that Canada wins.