The transcontinental class was lucky to visit Global Relay on this Wednesday, 12th of February. Based in an entire building of Gastown, the students were welcomed by the director of business operations, Kelvin Ng, and the global head of product management, Stephen Lazenby. Created in 1999 their mission remains the same: “to be the number one provider of message and archive services to broker-dealers, investment advisors, hedge funds and banks globally, measured by total users, customers, and revenue”.
Their growth had been fairly constant the first ten years, but it then turned out to be exponential in the remaining four. They are now located in Vancouver, New-York, Chicago, Singapore, London and soon Hong-Kong. Today they serve more than 17.500 customers worldwide, including twenty three of the world’s top twenty five banks. Global Relay has built its business model on open source technology and high investments in R&D, which sets it apart from its competitors. Not to mention, thanks to government regulations and demanding customers – the amount of data is increasing by 20% per year – the company has grown from forty to three hundred people. Even this year, they plan to hire a further fifty employees.
During these years, they focused on:
– Design for security: the security is the number one priority if you want to guarantee trust and long term relationships.
– Design for mobility: They built a completely unique approach to archiving mobile messaging and call logs. They created an App for Android, Blackberry and iOS which allows the customer employees to send their data directly to Global Relay for archiving. It also gives it versatility as it is not just focused on the one platform.
The students were surprised by the inspiring start-up atmosphere. Even if the firm is expanding, the start-up spirit is not disappearing. Indeed, the students have also appreciated the open space, the baby-foots and the kitchen where employees gather and discuss. They really appreciated their warm welcome. One of the student said “I’d like to do an internship here; I think I could learn a lot in this kind of firm”.
Regarding the firm future ambitions, as the amount of data increases, Global Relay has decided to build data centers. The last one is an incredible eco-friendly building with a zero carbon footprint. The students noticed that the environment is not Global Relay’s only concern; they also worry about their community and gender equality. Global Relay donated to Gastown Grand Prix and revitalized the Vancouverite bike race.
The students must remember that even though trust has been long and tough to build, Global Relay has not given up and, step by step, is creating an empire.
Written by Florence Carricondo, Florian Hisselli, Anne Semeria and Amandine Subias