Anticipating growth key to publisher’s success

Assembly Technologies Inc. office | submitted

Victoria-based digital publisher Assembly Technologies Inc. is the fastest-growing company in the province, increasing its revenue 66,732.3% to $26.5 million in 2019 from $39,670 in 2015.

That’s an achievement no other company on BIV’s top 100 fastest-growing companies list has been able to tout since 2013, and it outpaces the combined growth of the other 99 companies on the list, according to data collected by BIV.

What makes the growth even more impressive is that the company was founded just five years ago with two staff members. So how can a company younger than a first grader have such massive success?

Marco Pimentel, general manager and co-founder of Assembly Technologies said one of the keys to the company’s success was building Assembly to the size that it could be, rather than to the size that it was.

“When we started to get growth at Assembly we knew when to put fuel on the fire,” said Pimentel.

In 2018, Pimentel explained that Assembly was 20% to 25% overstaffed. Where other businesses may have cut staff to seek labour efficiencies, Assembly capitalized on opportunities. For a startup to explode from thousands of dollars in revenue to millions in a few short years, it needs to scale for anticipated business. With extra capacity in human resources and capital equipment, Assembly was able to develop its product in ways that would not have been feasible had it operated according to where the company was, rather than where it was heading. This type of forethought becomes particularly important in the modern era, where a technology’s lifecycle is short and can become outdated quickly.

Pimentel said that he doesn’t think Assembly would have had the same scalability had it continued to market the technology it developed in 2016. If Assembly had waited for a big increase in demand before hiring developers, it would have risked going to market with a dated product. By preparing for and anticipating growth, the company was able to future-proof its product, ensuring it stayed up to date and desirable for consumers.

Anticipating demand, however, is easier said than done. 

Assembly’s founders were confident that there would be a consumer base for its product because of the support and help the company received from the broader Victoria and B.C. tech communities. In the early stages of product development, before Assembly was even incorporated, Google (Nasdaq:GOOGL) had visited its site and encouraged the founders to continue to focus and develop their product.

“If it wasn’t for Google coming to visit us and saying, ‘Yeah, you should invest in this,’ we may have still done it, but we might have not done it with the certainty we should do it with,” said Pimentel. “I think that the growing community definitely welcomes opportunity.”