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Solink: creating actionable insights from traditional surveillance footage

Written by OMERS Ventures Partner, Laura Lenz

Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

“No matter where you are at as a company, focusing on your customers is the right path.” Jeff Lawson, Twillio

It may sound obvious to say that I look for companies that focus on their customers. But customer focus is more than building great products. It’s about embedding a customer-first ethos into the company culture. Companies that are customer-centric have an almost fanatical obsession with their customers and are focused on providing them with amazing products and delightful experiences.

In a recent study, only 14% of B2B companies said that their company is totally customer-centric. We all know the outstanding customer-centric companies: Slack, Google, Apple, to name a few. A strong measure (but not the only one) of customer centric companies is their Net Promoter Score (NPS). The best-in-class B2B SaaS companies have an NPS of at least 55 and the average B2B SaaS company is 40. Solink reported an NPS of 62 last quarter.

Solink is a leader in providing trusted video security solutions for restaurants, retailers and financial organizations. It essentially acts as the hub for smart operations, security, and loss prevention strategies for global brands. Current customers include Tim Hortons, Five Guys, and Little Caesars. The company offers cloud-based software that connects security camera footage with point-of-sale data, alarms, and inventory, creating a dashboard of analytics and searchable moments for business owners.

The video security market segment is expected to grow from US$47B in 2019 to US$72B in 2022 as the global installed base of cameras reaches one billion devices, and operators look to extract more value out of the terabytes of data captured by their cameras.¹

I’ve known Solink’s founder, Mike Matta, for many years. Seeing the impact that his customer-first ethos has on critical metrics, like churn, reinforces our belief that this team will continue to thrive. Solink’s vision is to ‘revolutionize the way customers use video security by turning data into opportunity’. But, as most good companies know, vision is nothing without execution. The customer-first focus is embodied in the culture of the company, from the on-boarding of each new hire to the food served at each board meeting (Mike ensures food comes from one of the many quick serve restaurants he counts as customers).

Solink started with an initial vision of a security-specific solution. By capturing over a million minutes of video a day and observing its clients’ use cases, the company realized that its platform had evolved from the initial security-specific solution into a hub for loss prevention, physical security, and a tool for improving in-store compliance. Its product quickly evolved to leverage the power of the video data captured and provide extra value back to customers. It has used the same responsive philosophy to give customers what they have needed most during the pandemic-enforced lockdown: building a video alarm service, adding new integrations for auditing social distancing, enabling remote ‘temporary access’ for people that would otherwise require on-site visits, allowing customers to backup cameras to the cloud, and introducing AI search capabilities to detect and count people and vehicles.

Like many businesses, Solink’s explosive growth meant that early on there were growing pains in several areas of its business. In order to address any issues, the customer success team worked around the clock, to cover all time zones, routing calls to their personal phones to be able to respond easily, and closely tracking the time to respond while maintaining a high customer satisfaction rate for each call. As a result, these growing pains were quickly eliminated. When the company scaled into more geographies and needed to evolve its operational execution, the team took early action. They implemented new tools, sourced new hardware suppliers, partnered with more installers and rolled up their sleeves themselves to ensure the time from purchase order to installation remained at an acceptable level. It’s quick action like this that has resulted in an incredibly low churn rate and a net dollar retention rate over 145%.

It starts at the top

A successful company needs a strong CEO. Mike Matta is bright, demonstrates integrity, and embodies grit in finding new clients, onboarding new customers, and solving problems. He is determined to win. At a conference where I heard him speak, when asked how to solve a problem in the business, Mike’s response was “ensure that the customer’s problem is solved first, then focus on the company problem.”

This single-minded focus on the customer has resulted in great impact for the business — 100% year-over-year growth, penetrating deeper into its customer base, as well as top decile churn and net dollar revenue retention.

As my colleague Jambu wrote in the recent Deliverect funding announcement: “It is inevitable that the challenges being faced by the restaurant and food industries right now will have a longer-term effect on how businesses are run in the future.” I am confident that the Solink team is in a strong position to adapt to today’s market conditions, and will continue to go from strength to strength.

Welcome to the OV family!

[1] Video Surveillance Market by System, Markets and Markets, 2017.

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