Startup success: Calgary company Benevity grows into new location
Picking up clients like Nike and Apple, Benevity is one of the city's fastest growing companies
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Calgary company Benevity has come a long way from the peach-coloured walls above Jimmy’s Shawarma Shop.
In nine years they’ve gone from six employees to around 400, and on Thursday they officially moved into their fifth (and largest) headquarters space.
Growth has come fast for Benevity, which might be attributed to the positive attitude of their business. They help large companies spread ‘goodness’ in the form of volunteering programs, grant management, fundraising, disaster relief or workplace giving – a program that helps get employees more involved with their jobs by empowering them to support global causes.
They just placed in the top 10 in Deloitte’s 50 Fastest Growing Tech Companies, for the second year in a row.
“Our chasm-crossing event was winning Nike as a client,” CEO Bryan de Lottinville recalled. “We had 12 employees at the time. They (Nike) were a big reference client for us. After Nike, we had Coca-Cola, Google and then Apple.”
This year, Benevity will help contribute about one billion dollars to 100,000 global charities.
The company is now located in Bridgeland, just by Memorial and the 4 Avenue flyover.
“I have to admit, when I drive across the fourth avenue flyover and I look at our sign and I see a logo that’s not an oil and gas company, it gives me a tinge of pride that we’re contributing to an ecosystem and a transition to a broader economic lens than we’ve had in the past,” de Lottinville said.
His comments echo those of Mayor Nenshi’s, who was at the celebration for their new location.
“With success comes responsibility, and part of that responsibility is to make sure Benevity is not a standalone success story,” Nenshi said. “It is deep in your DNA to not only be in this beautiful space, but to be out in the world.”
He hopes that Benevity will become a nucleus for more startups to grow around, eventually creating a strong network of growing businesses in Calgary.
For de Lottinville, he’s proud of the company's success, but a bigger space is only just the next step down a long and hopefully fruitful road for the organization.
“Most companies start fairly humbly and they need to watch their pennies, which is why I get uncomfortable when looking at a space like this,” he said. “I’m worried that people think we’ve arrived and that there’s a finish line in the not-to-distant future, when in fact, we’ve got a ton for work to do.”