This article was written by Michael Bochoff, Marketing & Communications Assistant at Innovacorp.
Stuart Boyd, CEO of Invisible Agents, may be a fresh face on the Nova Scotia start-up scene, but despite what his company’s name may suggest, he is certainly getting noticed.
Having secured funds, business guidance and a start-up visa through Innovacorp, Stuart and his family left their home in Austin, Texas, and arrived in Halifax in June 2019.
“The business was originally started in Texas and we could’ve easily pursued it there,” said Stuart. “For this particular company, in the way I saw it growing, Halifax felt like a better fit. The Atlantic Coast presents a great combination of cost of living, lifestyle, and programs to help start-ups, especially for a business like mine.”
Having spent over 10 years serving non-profits, Stuart knows a thing or two about the challenges they face. Since his early career was spent in the enterprise software space, he was attuned to advancements being made around data warehousing and analytics and saw an opportunity for non-profits to tap into the power of technology.
“Technology adoption was an issue,” said Stuart. “That ended up being the problem space I wanted to focus on with Invisible Agents, so non-profits could take advantage of modern tech to help lift their fundraising results. The ability to bring technology to help a social mission is just another reward.”
Using funds awarded through Innovacorp’s Sprint competition last spring, Stuart was able to set up several marketing tools (e.g. analytics platforms, task management systems), which were used to identify and validate customers and generate interest in his solution. It’s an infrastructure he continues to use today.
“It’s a bit of a different business model than some of the companies I’ve met here,” said Stuart. “Working with hardware and manufacturing is so much more complicated and capital intensive. Since this is a cloud-based solution, we can tie infrastructure costs to customer adoption and use outside investment to accelerate the acquisition of those customers.”
Since arriving, Stuart has been working his way through the Halifax bucket list: he’s eaten a donair, skated the Oval and attended several Mooseheads hockey games. While he hopes to check a few more items off that list, Stuart plans to spend the next year expanding his team and scaling his business here in Nova Scotia.
“Once we got the start-up visa, it was an easy decision,” said Stuart. “Coming from the U.S., things like ACOA and BDC – that hybrid of equity and non-dilutive capital – are more advantageous and more accessible than I would’ve had available in Austin. A lot of different types of businesses can grow here thanks to that diversity of capital and other support, so it’s a great destination for start-ups thinking about relocating. I know it was a great decision for us.”
February 07, 2020, Halifax, Nova Scotia