Minister of Citizens’ Services Jinny Sims announces local tech company FreshWorks has been awarded a $1.5 million contract to modernize government databases as CEO and founder Sam Mod looks on. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

FRESH IDEA: Victoria tech firm beneficiary of streamlined government system

Software developer FreshWorks awarded $1.5-million contract using new bid program

A local tech company is the first to be awarded a contract with the B.C. government using a new process that makes it both easier and more efficient to do business with the government.

FreshWorks Studio Inc. – the brainchild of co-founder and CEO Sam Mod and his business partner Rohit Boolchandani – was awarded a $1.5-million contract using Sprint With Us, a two-month-old program designed by B.C. tech firms to modernize the government’s procurement system.

“Procurement is about spending people’s money and I think if we’re spending people’s money, it should be benefiting the people of British Columbia,” said Minister of Citizens’ Services Jinny Sims.

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The new process helps to support small and fast-growing businesses, she explained, by “levelling the playing field.” Previously, companies of all sizes were using the same system, causing significant delays.

“The magic of it for me is that the government can act on anything in 17 days,” Sims said, pointing to the new time frame in which the system has yielded results.

Sam Mod, founder and CEO of FreshWorks. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

B.C.’s procurement system allows for the province to purchase goods and services through B.C. Bid.

Procurement is a “very convoluted affair,” Sims admitted, calling B.C. Bid “a nightmare” to navigate. The new system is entirely digital, “far more agile” and reduces the cost for businesses submitting a contract proposal from $25,000 in some cases, to $2,000.

“We knew the big companies that we were up against,” said Mod, a UVic graduate who came to Canada from India to study for an MBA. “And the fact that we were able to win this contract makes us believe even more in our skills, and our abilities to do more of that in the future and work more with the government.”

FreshWorks, specializing in website and app development, began as a team of three in 2016 and has grown to employ 49 people with current job postings for 12 more in its offices in Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle.

This contract – to manage the database for the Ministry of Energy and Mines – will allow FreshWorks to continue to grow in Victoria, attracting talent from across the country, Mod said.

“With the government playing this kind of a role, that can go a long way to us being the new epicentre for the new technologies,” Sims said.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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