He had long been fascinated by the ability to use massive amounts of data to predict the future and then change the future to a desired outcome, whether that was in capital markets, advertising or other industries. By 2006 there was a heavy focus by companies towards driving traffic to a website, while comparatively little attention was being paid to actually converting visitors once they arrived.
Jeff temporarily put the idea on hold due to high computation costs and the lack of efficient distributed data processing systems (such as Hadoop) that were required. In 2011, while at Stanford in Silicon Valley, Jeff learned about Hadoop and other big data innovations and was energized that the time may have arrived for Granify.
He formulated the plan for Granify and began pitching the concept at a venture capital BBQ in Woodside, where he was immediately told that it couldn’t be done, which lit up the competitive spirit in Jeff and he incorporated Granify a month later.
After initially planning on remaining in Silicon Valley and building Granify, Jeff decided to return to Canada and see if Granify could be established in Edmonton, where the University of Alberta has a renowned data science program. After a brief stop at the Extreme Startups accelerator in Toronto in 2012 where the first version of the product was released on Shopify, Jeff returned to Edmonton to build the team after securing a $1.2 million investment.
The first office was just off Whyte Ave in Edmonton. At that time the Edmonton team consisted of Jeff, an intern and a developer working out of a storage room in the basement of the building among exercise equipment and kitchen appliances. Shortly thereafter Granify moved upstairs to a spacious 900 sq foot office and began adding team members. Eventually, more room was needed and in May 2013 we settled in our current 4,000 sq foot location in downtown Edmonton.
Our first paying customer, Asher’s Chocolates, came in August 2013. The cheque can still be seen taped to the door of the Edmonton office.
Since then we have been hiring like crazy, building up a high performing team to accelerate the company’s growth and redefine the e-commerce industry. In 2015 we more than doubled our team, jumping from 19 employees to 42 - and growing.