QRA Corp: An ‘accidental entrepreneur’ changes the game
Monday, May 17, 2021
Jordan Kyriakidis, CEO of QRA Corp, is quick to describe himself as an “accidental entrepreneur.” With a background in theoretical physics, Kyriakidis’ entrepreneurial journey began with an algorithm he developed while teaching at Dalhousie University. Needing a method to test the algorithm, he developed a product. Needing a mechanism to get the product in market, he developed a company. Only after being in business for a couple of years did Kyriakidis begin to question this happenstance approach.
“We were doing it all wrong, all backwards,” says Kyriakidis. “The company isn’t the main thing; the users and customers are the main thing. This realization meant we had to retrace our steps and do things properly rather than the way we first did it. When we started, I just didn't know any better. It just didn't seem logical.”
From that lightbulb moment on, QRA Corp focused on better understanding their customers. As a company using AI and machine reasoning to remove requirement ambiguity through Natural Language Processing (NLP), it is no longer good enough to simply identify a mistake. By building a tool that identifies potential issues and provides reasoning as to why these issues are flagged, QRA Corp has managed to carve out a unique space and focus in the market for software with common sense. In fact, COVID-19 helped narrow this focus even more.
When the pandemic first started, we — like many organizations — were concerned how it would impact our business. We took it as an opportunity to double our efforts to request feedback from our customer base. The decentralized working environment of COVID-19 increased both the frequency and quality of the feedback. This allowed us to focus on the most urgent customer needs. By adapting where we put our effort as a company, we’ve become incredibly more focused in what we do.
— Jordan Kyriakidis, CEO, QRA Corp
As a result, QRA Corp has had an exceptional year. With a global pandemic dominating business headlines, QRA Corp has managed to accomplish the seemingly impossible: achieve their best year to date, double their revenue, and secure equity financing.
Kyriakidis also credits this success to transparency in communications. In a time when everything is remote, QRA Corp has become more connected to their clients. They want to understand what is changing for their customers and how to support them. From sales to product development, every QRA team member understands the importance of open and honest conversation.
QRA Corp works to build trust by putting customers’ needs at the centre of their decision making. This entails always being honest with their customers, even if it means passing on a project. “We do what we say, and we don't overpromise,” says Kyriakidis. “We're very honest, and we try very hard to deliver what we say we can.”
This willingness to accept limitations helps QRA Corp acquire new clients and build meaningful, long-term relationships with their customers.
With customers in industries such as oil and energy, automotive, and medical device manufacturing, the stakes are high and so is the potential for costly system failure. QRA Corp designed their game-changing software, QVscribe, to find errors and identify risks as early as possible in the development process. QVscribe uses NLP to identify ambiguities, inconsistencies, contradictions and redundancies.
With disruptive technologies, often the greatest obstacle is not competition, it’s challenging the status quo. As AI and NLP mature, their applications in industrial use are still being explored. When paired with new technologies, such as QVscribe, industries are presented with a new tool, capable of performing tasks that previously could only be performed by humans. QRA Corps' greatest hurdle is demonstrating there are better ways to solve problems.
“Companies don't have to live with undetected errors and risk in engineering requirements. Tools such as QVscribe help mitigate these challenges. It's a game-changer because this type of capability did not exist before.”
With face-to-face demonstrations and sales visits halted, QRA Corp has found new methods to connect with customers. Video marketing is now a key tool for the QRA team. As recent participants in Nova Scotia Business Inc.’s Digital Marketing Asset Development Program, QRA Corp worked to produce high-quality, targeted video marketing collateral. This visual content helps QRA Corp close the knowledge gaps where previously a demonstration or face-to-face discussion was required.
Kyriakidis predicts continued growth for QRA Corp’s game-changing tools thanks to four emerging trends: the commoditization of automation, top-down system complexity, technology, especially software innovation, and finally, delocalization. “Everything is changing, and we need a new way to do these things.”
QRA Corp recently announced the successful completion of a US$3 million financing round from Newfund Capital, Innovacorp, and BDC.