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Canada Drives and its “Digital First” Approach to Branding

By Townes Haas   |    November 7, 2016   |    12:06 PM

This year the fintech company Canada Drives became the fastest growing firm in Canada, according to the Profit 500 rankings of entrepreneurial achievement. 

The Profit 500 list ranks businesses by their five-year revenue growth. Canada Drives is a firm that helps Canadians get car loans regardless of previous credit history. The company links Canadians in all types of financial situations with online auto financing programs, maintaining more than 300 dealer partners. Canada Drives has rapidly expanded from a small startup team of only six people to 190 employees.  This article examines what digital ingredients have allowed this startup to flourish into a booming business.

A Virtual Vision that Matched a Real Consumer Need

Cody Green worked in a sales job at a Hyundai dealership in Edmonton. During his time at the dealership he identified a serious flaw in the sales model. He realized that potential customers would pick out their dream car only to find themselves unable to purchase it, as they were ineligible for the financing needed to pay for it. This proved negative for everyone from the car dealer, to the consumer, and even the financial institution. Green possessed a skill for coding since he was a teenager. He realised he could build a fintech software to link Canadian consumers to auto loan providers. Green had a revelation; firstly he realised that there was a tangible need in the auto industry that was as yet unaddressed and secondly, he knew that he had the skills to build the business to solve the problem. As a startup, the key lesson is to think like Green, develop a product or service that addresses a true consumer or business need, a problem that is unresolved, and make sure that you have the qualifications and skills necessary to create the online solution.

Digital First Approach

Green's digital-first approach has been the key to his success. Green launched his startup at a moment when Canadians were keen and ready to deal with financial issues on the Internet. “We are increasingly accustomed, as a society, to accessing financial products on our computer or our mobile phone, whether it’s for payment or a loan or insurance,” says Colleen Poynton, a vice-president at Core Innovation Capital, a Los Angeles-based early-stage venture capital firm focused on fintech. Canadians of all ages are now keen to capitalise on fintech services that can resolve financial hurdles.

Top Teksavvy Talent

Green could not have undertaken his fintech business alone. He states that he hired young, talented enthusiastic staff from generation. They helped him drive the digital first approach. His employees, he stated, have helped the firm achieve success because they are tech savvy, and dedicated. It is clear that Canada Drives' success and its Digital First approach hinges on the talent of the employees. As a startup if you want to also be a success story you need to ensure that you hire top talent to help you create your digital brand.