As a developer of cloud-based solutions for the legal industry, Clio is raising the bar in more ways than one.
By helping law firms, aka “the bar,” increase productivity and make their services more accessible, the Burnaby-based company is propelling the not-quite-oldest profession into the 21st century.
At the same time, with US$250 million in new Series D funding under its belt, Clio is validating British Columbia as a place where tech unicorns can grow and thrive.
With this scale success, Clio is inspiring and motivating smaller ventures to scale and commercialize their products and services, while providing a blueprint for the recruitment, retention and development of world-class tech talent.
As the winner of BC Tech’s 2019 Company of the Year Technology Impact Award, Clio has purposefully built itself into a prime example of what we at BC Tech call an anchor company. These firms have 200-plus employees, generate more than $50 million in revenue, and are BC-led.
Doubling the number of anchor companies in B.C. is our top priority, as this will create a stronger ecosystem, fuel investment in training and infrastructure, cultivate investors who then look for more opportunities to invest in BC and encourage more startup spinoffs.
Anchor companies like Clio, MDA, Stemcell, and Sierra Systems create scaled businesses with purpose-driven cultures that enable them to recruit, retain and develop the very best BC talent in order to scale up successfully.
This is important—the large majority of tech companies in B.C. have 10 or fewer employees, and the 2018 Tech Report Card showed no growth in the number of companies with 50 or more employees. To become global leaders, BC’s tech companies must scale.
From startups to multinationals, hiring the right people in the right numbers is the principal hurdle preventing BC companies from scaling their businesses. We see this reflected in the economic data. Every year from 2001 to 2016, B.C.’s tech sector recorded impressive 6 per cent growth.
The trouble is that leading states like Washington, Oregon, and Arizona are growing in the double digits. So even that impressive 6 per cent growth is not enough to keep pace with other comparable tech ecosystems in North America and around the world.
Addressing BC’s challenges around talent supply and making further investments to ensure the BC environment supports companies through scale-up as well as startup are key priorities to enable BC to realize our economic potential.
Clio has increased its talent supply and shown impressive leadership in tackling team diversity by intentionally increasing the number of women in engineering from 13% to 27% in very short order. The company has also partnered with BC Tech to build the larger talent pipeline by speaking to high-school students about careers in technology, finding new workers at our Talent Days, and sharing knowledge about leadership with young women getting started in the tech sector.
BC Tech’s mission to spur the growth of more anchor companies like Clio in BC received a crucial boost in August, when the Government of Canada announced a $2.25 million investment to support the growth, scale, export, tech adoption and talent programs we deliver at our Community Hub.
This funding strengthens BC’s tech ecosystem by enabling BC Tech to provide companies with the programs, support and services they need to access new opportunities, attract talent, and implement key success factors to grow, export, scale, and thrive on a global stage.
Our HyperGrowth program offers training to executive teams to grow annual revenues from $1 million or more to $10 million or more, our HyperScale program helps companies scale to $50M in revenue and our HyperGlobal program boosts companies’ export sales. Our 18,000-square-foot Community Hub offers office space, collaboration opportunities, and a home to startups poised to take off.
Clio is just one company amongst many but its success reflects BC Tech’s vision of technology as not just a thriving industry in this province, but a force for good for our economy and our society.
By using tech to help the legal profession, Clio is a perfect example of tech’s capacity to transform and empower every company in every sector of our economy and lock in lasting prosperity as BC scales up its emerging economy.
Jill Tipping is the President and CEO of the BC Tech Association.