When Alexandre Pelletier and his partner, Youcef Bouayad, set out to create a marketing consulting business, they had a different goal than most entrepreneurs. He and Bouayad wanted their business to take off and make money, but they also hoped to create a company that would allow people to work hard, create results and still have a life.
“I had been involved in the industry for years as an independent consultant. When Youcef and I created the business, our objective was first and foremost to create a better workplace for all,” says Pelletier, CEO of Perkuto.
The business partners each have four children, so having a flexible work environment was key. “We wanted to create a business, but both agreed we didn’t want to be working 90 hours a week,” Pelletier says.
The two founders combined their talents to create Perkuto, a company that helps organizations with everything related to marketing technology and specializes in marketing automation software. Pelletier is the sales, marketing and technology expert and Bouayad brings software engineering expertise and a focus on business processes. Bouayad ensures each project Perkuto takes on is completed without waste and exceeds customer expectations. Perkuto works to solve the process challenges inside the sales and marketing functions of organizations. “We believe sales and marketing are usually the most unstructured departments in any organization,” says Pelletier.
While going above and beyond for their customers, Perkuto has also fostered the work-life balance the founders hoped for. In just five years, the company has grown from two employees to 42, and has taken on contracts from the United States and Europe. But the fast-paced growth has created financial challenges for Perkuto. And the company turned to its financial institution (FI) and to EDC for support.
Support from two trusted partners
Pelletier first met EDC at a finance event in Montreal, which targeted start-ups like Perkuto. “Since we were operating as a service business, we weren’t looking for any venture capital or angel investors, we were looking for other vehicles we could leverage to fuel growth,” says Pelletier.
Perkuto needed more working capital because, as a fast-growing company, they needed to hire and train new staff while waiting to be paid by customers. “Customers pay us in 45 days and that creates a gap. When you need to hire three or four people at once and you don’t have a big enough line of credit, you hit a cash crunch,” says Pelletier.
It was natural and easy for our bank account manager to work with EDC. They each knew what the other was talking about, so it was a smooth process.
Since Perkuto already had a great relationship with its FI, EDC recommended the Export Guarantee Program to gain access to more cash. EDC worked with Perkuto’s FI to provide a 75% guarantee on the loan, giving the FI more confidence to extend Perkuto’s line of credit. “We used that line of credit as leverage for our growth. It allowed us to hire more talent and take on more customers,” says Pelletier.
“It was natural and easy for our bank account manager to work with EDC. They each knew what the other was talking about, so it was a smooth process,” says Pelletier.
With the added employees and increased contracts, Perkuto plans to continue its export journey by taking over more market share in the United States. “There’s so much more room for us to grow there before going to Asia or South America,” says Pelletier. Perkuto’s revenue is driven by its U.S. sales, with 75% coming from south of the border.
But Perkuto won’t stop there. Pelletier already has his eye on the U.K., France and Germany as the next destinations for the company. “Europe is an interesting one and is definitely a market we want to be in.”
Beyond international growth plans, Pelletier says he and Bouayad are going to continue to focus on the reasons they started Perkuto in the first place: ensuring its employees are happy. “Because at the end of the day, we truly believe that by having happy employees, we will have happy customers.”
EDC service used
Our Export Guarantee Program (EGP) can help your financial institution provide you with additional financing.
We share the risk with your financial institution by providing a guarantee on the money you borrow, encouraging them to increase your access to working capital.