“Working with Easly, I can easily estimate what my next six months of drawdowns are going to be. That level of predictability and reliability is what really matters to me as a CFO.”
• Hassaan Ahmad, CFO, WTFast
Navigating the Cyber Highways
The internet infrastructure that connects the globe is comprised of a complex patchwork of more than 40,000 networks. Efﬁciently traversing the cyber highways takes a real-time, high-level view of these intricate connections.
WTFast’s tech gives them just that.
We all take the internet infrastructure for granted. So much so that we are frustrated at the slightest delay. When it comes to online gaming, this frustration is even greater. A delay between action and reaction can be devastating in the online gaming world. This phenomenon is known as lag or high latency, and it is the bane of many online gamers’ existence. Networking technology company WTFast is tackling this issue. “We are solving a major problem which is network latency,” says WTFast CFO Hassaan Ahmad, “think of the internet as a network of highways, and there’s trafﬁc, just like regular highways. But there might be a better way for you to reach your destination.” Creating a solution that navigates the intricate patchwork of the internet to ﬁnd better routes is a capital-intensive endeavour; that’s where Easly comes in to help.
WTFast has more than 330 network nodes around the world from which they can measure the quality of global internet connections in real-time. “Every second or two, we do a pulse check of internet speeds across different networks,” says Hassaan.
These pulse checks give WTFast the information needed to pick the best routes for speciﬁc internet trafﬁc. Traditionally, trafﬁc is routed in the most cost-effective way, which isn’t always the most efﬁcient. “Our network gives us a look at the real state of the internet and allows us to choose the best route for your game trafﬁc,” says Hassaan. By rerouting gaming trafﬁc, WTFast can reduce the travel time of a signal, known as ping, by up to 60%. Shaving a few dozen milliseconds off ping time can mean the difference between virtual life and death.
“Our technology really shines when your trafﬁc is being routed all over the place, causing big delays. We call it middle-mile optimization.”
A unique feature of WTFast’s technology is that it speciﬁcally targets a user’s gaming trafﬁc. This allows them to optimize speciﬁcally for the end-point server the game traffic needs to reach. “It’s a patent-protected technology that differentiates us from our competitors,” says Hassaan, “we pick and choose which trafﬁc we want to route through which node. This is where other verticals come in.” Currently, WTFast offers their solution directly to gamers and through partnerships with internet service providers, but they are exploring where else their middle-mile optimization can have an impact. “If you look from just a gaming perspective, it’s hard to see the number of research opportunities that exist, but, if you’re a technology company that’s working to ﬁx telecommunications, then that’s a different story,” says Hassaan, “we’re a telecommunications optimization company. We have technology that can expedite any trafﬁc anywhere in the world.” Any arena where high latency is an issue is an opportunity for WTFast’s technology to make a difference.
Filling the Cash Flow Gap
Keeping up with the pace of global technological change requires a lot of investment in R&D. “As a technology company, we invest heavily in research, and most of that investment is in our people,” says Hassaan, “for us, having good people and having interesting problems to solve is a very good combination.” Like many innovative Canadian companies, WTFast relies on the Scientiﬁc Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Incentive Program for critical working capital. “SR&ED is a big piece of how we fund our business,” says Hassaan, “we would not have been able to afford our amazing people, create this amazing product and make a difference if it wasn’t for SR&ED.” Although the annual SR&ED program is helpful to companies like WTFast, it has a major drawback; the refund is only issued annually. Also, to ensure program guideline adherence, the CRA will routinely audit claims, delaying the refund even further. “Just a couple of years ago, our SR&ED claim was audited,” Hassaan recalls, “our claim normally took two weeks to be processed, but because of the audit, we didn’t end up receiving our refund for six months, even though our audit went really well.”
With the SR&ED refund being relied upon so heavily for critical working capital, such as salaries, any delay can be detrimental. Avoiding situations like this is just one of the reasons why WTFast works with Easly to advance its SR&ED refund. “Having a strong partner that helps ﬁll the cash ﬂow gap is very important to us,” says Hassaan, “if we don’t spend money, we don’t create products, and we don’t get those revenues.”
Predictable Cash Flow with Easly
Easly provides innovators like WTFast with streamlined access to their SR&ED refund. As these companies accrue their SR&ED refund throughout the year, they can access up to 75% of that value through Easly Advances.
“The SR&ED ﬁnancing that Easly offers is very cost-effective from a purely opportunity cost of capital point of view. It’s a very low-cost way for a small tech company to grow and sustain operations.”
Easly’s goal is to support innovative Canadian companies as they develop scientiﬁc and technological breakthroughs by supplying them with capital in a way that suits their needs. “Working with Easly has been very pleasant for us. As a CFO, it gives me a lot of comfort and a lot of predictability that I need in day-to-day cash ﬂows,” says Hassaan, “sometimes we get these big spikes in our cash ﬂows. Easly has been a reliable source to help smooth that out.” With Easly, WTFast can tap into their SR&ED refund at any point throughout the year. It’s as simple as logging into the online customer portal, requesting funds and providing updated documentation showing accrued SR&ED expenditure. Since Easly’s funding is tied directly to SR&ED expenditure, WTFast can accurately estimate the amount of funding available to them.
Does your company receive an SR&ED or other investment tax credit refund? Speak with a member of the Easly team and ﬁnd out how you can accelerate your growth with non-dilutive capital. The online application is free, and there are no legal fees required. Join the growing number of innovative Canadian companies that trust Easly as a long-term partner for reliable capital.
Get in touch to learn more about Easly’s ﬁnancing solutions and how they could beneﬁt you or your clients.