Velsoft, an educational software company nestled in the heart of Pictou County, has been quietly building its global network, opening offices in Guatemala, South Africa and the U.K., as well as expanding regional operations. Now, Velsoft is positioned for rapid international growth.
The New Glasgow company sells an extensive array of online learning and training materials, from virtual campuses to learning management systems (LMS). Velsoft, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall, has constructed tens of thousands of online courses in over 165 countries.
“We want to grow in a big way,” said Jim Fitt, the founder and CEO of Velsoft, in an interview. “We have a very serious and focused growth strategy. Part of that strategy is to expand our operations in Halifax and more than double in size by the end of 2020.”
The folks at Nova Scotia Business Inc. saw Velsoft’s commitment to growth and have agreed to grant the company a payroll rebate that will reimburse a percentage of its next round of hiring costs, which will employ 20 people in Nova Scotia.
The global need for online learning software is rising. Fitt said the industry is growing by seven per cent each year and, by the end of 2025, it is projected to be worth $3.25 billion annually. The rising cost of traditional universities is making online learning a highly sought after form of education, he said.
“E-learning is failure without fear,” he said. “If you’re sitting in a class and you fail, you’re done. You have to pay for it and take it all over again. When you’re doing it online, if you don’t understand something, you can jump back and do it again.”
In 2012 the company released Znanja, a software that is able to automate the production of online courses. Velsoft’s tech cuts the time it takes to build an online training platform, which is important because nearly 50 per cent of job training is now done online.
“It takes 200 to 260 hours of work to create one hour of e-learning,” said Fitt. “We have a technology where you drag and drop and artificial intelligence creates it for you.”
Fitt hinted at promising new verticals for the company but isn’t ready to share the details yet. He did say new opportunities would access two of the world’s fastest growing industries.
Velsoft is also collaborating on a joint venture with the New Silk Road project, a trillion dollar mission in China that will build a new trade route from China to Europe.
As the company moves ahead, Fitt said, Velsoft will continue to create good, high-paying jobs in rural Nova Scotia. He said that, for a town like New Glasgow, which has had the pillars of its economy toppled year after year, Velsoft’s global expansion offers hope.
“We live in a community that has been built on steel and manufacturing,” said Fitt.
“Modern manufacturing is virtual, and while not many around here are doing it yet, we’d like to be an example of how you can live here and do business around the world providing digital solutions.”
Jennifer Lee is a reporter at Entrevestor, which provides news and data on Atlantic Canadian startups.