In the heart of Newmarket, ON (York Region), Treefrog, a web development and digital solutions marketing firm, has quietly become one of the cornerstone companies in the fast-growing urban centre along Davis Drive. The company takes pride in its local-first mentality, but from this success another project that’s been evolving for more than 20 years has led to the creation of a new company with a global focus, and it’s taking the Apple development world by storm.
Known as PerfectlySoft Inc., the startup is utilizing core components of a previous company, LassoSoft, and its programming language called Lasso to build an open source framework for developing web server and other REST services using Apple’s Swift programming language. Taking its product called Perfect public before Apple officially made Swift open source, the company was looking for developer validation, and it came fast and furious.
Within 24 hours of making the Perfect server-side development toolkit available online, 140,000 people had visited the PerfectlySoft website and within 40 hours, it was on the front page of WIRED, a major U.S.-based technology magazine. By January of this year, Perfect was in the top 0.001 percentile of projects on GitHub, the leading collaborative developer environment on the web.
The Swift language is primarily for building iPhone apps, but the move by Apple to make it open source means its use will expand into servers and operating systems beyond Apple’s platforms. PerfectlySoft is looking to take advantage of this and sees Perfect as the go-to Swift application development toolkit for servers within large-scale data centres.
Local Early Stage Investor Search Pays Off
When PerfectlySoft went looking for investors to fund its ambitions, CEO Sean Stephens wanted one, “who would understand the technology implications and who would support us from our current location,” but he was repeatedly told to “go to San Francisco.”
“That’s not what we are trying to do. What we’re trying to do, we want to do from here,” he said.
His Canada-first approach paid off when he found a venture capitalist firm, which recently relocated from Silicon Valley to the Greater Toronto Area that recognized Perfect’s potential. That firm made a sizeable investment in PerfectlySoft. The company is using the funds to hire the staff it needs to grow, and expand Treefrog’s office space to support the next phase of that growth.
PerfectlySoft has created five high-skilled full-time jobs to date and there are plans to hire three to five more people this year. Stephens has been travelling the world to showcase Perfect at different Apple developer conferences, while recruiting developers along the way who want to live and work in York Region. Much of the company’s employee base is locally recruited talent that previously worked for Treefrog. Interest in working at either company has been intense.
York Region’s Prominence as a Tech Hub Grows
Of note, and according to independent research firm Branham Group Inc.’s annual ranking of Canada’s technology sector and companies entitled, “The Branham300”, Ontario is the No. 1 province for the most promising up and coming technology startups in Canada. Meanwhile, data from Statistics Canada ranks York Region as home to the largest cluster of information and communications technology companies per 1,000 residents, surpassing other Canadian tech hubs in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Kitchener Waterloo.
As Stephens continues to manage the growth of both Treefrog and PerfectlySoft he is also focused on helping to continue supporting the growth of the high-tech and entrepreneurial communities across York Region. An active member of StartUp York, he also sits on many different boards, councils, and committees dedicated to that effort, including York Angel Investors, Seneca College’s HELIX Advisory Board, Georgian College’s Advisory Committee for the Interactive Wed Design and Development program and the Employer Leadership Council of York Region.