Helcim is making moves.
The Calgary-born payments company announced this month that it is getting rid of its $20 monthly fee for its merchant services. According to the company, this reflects a commitment to provide a better payments service and help small businesses compete with industry giants.
“We recently reached a point where we could afford to remove the monthly fee and continue to deliver the same great payment service,” explains Nicolas Beique, CEO of Helcim. “Keep the monthly fee and enjoy the higher profits? Or waive the monthly fee and pleasantly surprise our existing and future merchants?”
Helcim, founded in 2006 by Beique, is on a mission to build “the world’s most loved payments company.” The CEO recognizes that means delivering value to clients. However, it’s also about establishing a reputation of honesty.
“It is about transparency,” says Beique, an EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018. “Transparency builds trust, and trust builds long-term goodwill with your customers.”
In another move, Helcim is taking advantage of Alberta Jobs Now. The new provincial program, which launched last month, is expected to help more than 20,000 Canadians return to work. Provincial and federal governments are pitching in a combined $370 million, split equally, to fund what Premier Jason Kenny described as the “largest jobs training program in Alberta’s history.”
Impressively, Helcim isn’t just participating in Alberta Jobs Now as an employer—the company actually assisted the province in structuring the program for maximum effectiveness by extending advice. The program covers one quarter of an employee’s salary, up to $25,000, for their first year (up to 20 employees per company).
“I think this program gives a good incentive for tech companies to take that risk in hiring somebody that’s going to need more training on the job,” Beique stated to CBC.
Indeed, tech startups such as Neo Financial are already utilizing the program. Andrew Chau, CEO of Neo, told CBC that Alberta Jobs Now “really serves as a stepping stone into the growth of certain companies.”
Helcim is not new to making moves. In fact the company decided to enter a period of stealth a few years ago in order to rebuild fundamental aspects of the business—in a corporate blog post, Beique called the transition a “full metamorphosis.”
Starting in 2017 it was a period of stagnancy for the Helcim, but only to someone on the outside looking in. From within, it was a busy time of major construction for Beique and co. as developers wrote “millions of new lines of code.”
“Our entire website was redesigned and rebuilt, along with our brand, marketing, and messaging,” Beique noted online. “A new payments app that could work across four different operating systems was brought to production. New servers and technology tested and deployed, our new data centre starting to take shape. We even managed to rebuild our ecommerce systems while in the middle of chaos.”
Last year, Helcim relaunched everything, a virtually impossible feat for the bootstrapped firm—”so many had told us [it] could not be done with our budget, our size, and resources,” Beique said. And yet, in pure defiance of external expectations, growth for Helcim has been at a steady clip ever since.
The company is rapidly approaching 100 employees, a trajectory no doubt turbocharged by Alberta Jobs Now. Helcim is maintaining momentum by hiring at the upcoming Tech Talent Canada virtual job fair. The job fair, happening June 23, is a unique recruiting event that connects fast growing companies with top tech talent.