Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Nimalan Balachandran founded CloudTax, which provides cost-and-headache-free online income tax filing

Company HQ: Queen and Yonge
Founded: 2015
Employees: 8

How it works: “CloudTax is a web platform that eliminates the need for an accountant. The software gathers all your necessary information from the Canadian Revenue Agency and files your return for free. It’s designed so that anyone can do a simple tax return in five minutes or less.”

Eureka moment: “I used to work as a tax consultant and I had a ton of clients who would set aside an hour of their day and pay $40 just for me to process a single T4. That’s a lot of wasted time and money for something that could be done very easily at home and for no cost.”

How much you spent initially: “I refinanced my house and had some help from my family to get things off the ground. So far, we’ve spent $500,000 to develop the software.”

Your turning point: “It took months of testing, but we were recently certified by the CRA. To get that stamp of approval, your product needs to have a 100 per cent accuracy rate when it comes to calculating the return.”

Your big-time backers: “We’re part of the MaRS start-up program, but right now this is a self-funded project. My mother-in-law has been the biggest investor.”

Tech Jargon you use too much: “Runway. It’s the amount of time you can survive with your current funds, and it’s very applicable to me.”

Tech Jargon you hate: “Entrepreneur. Everyone seems to be one these days.”

The best advice you’ve received: “ ‘Dream big.’ I’m a tax guy, not a tech guy, so I’ve had to think that way since the beginning.”

The worst advice you’ve received: “My friends and family used to tell me that I should go into mortgages or real estate instead.”

Past life: “I’m from Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and I immigrated to Canada with my family in 2006 after a tsunami destroyed my father’s business.”

If you weren’t running a start-up: “I’d go back to being a tax consultant. I really do love it.”

Your go-to office attire: “As casual as I can get away with.”

Your tech role model: “Elon Musk. He’s an ambitious optimist.”

App you can’t live without: “LinkedIn. It’s where I found most of my staff.”