Every entrepreneur experiences successes and failures throughout their career, and, although he was born to be an entrepreneur, Nick Chandi is no different. While he was studying Information Technology at the University of Victoria, Nick opened up a small textile business. It brought great products to market but faced many challenges along the way. Navigating cash flow issues, account management, and general accounting processes come with sharp learning curves for many business owners. But it wasn't long before Nick realized that technology could be used to change not only how he operated his businesses, but how other small business owners approach their own.
This early experience inspired the creation of Welcome Networks, an accounting-focused IT consulting firm as well as SlickPie, an online accounting application that helped over 40,000 small businesses. SlickPie automated processes like invoicing, financial reporting, and data entry, making managing businesses of all types more accessible for entrepreneurs. The creation of Welcome Networks and SlickPie equipped Nick to tackle his biggest venture yet: ForwardAI.
During the pandemic, businesses all over the US were applying for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans to stay afloat during unforeseen circumstances. Nick witnessed first-hand the complexities of the loan application process for small businesses. For some, it took months to secure financing in a situation where many couldn't wait that long. He was flabbergasted that lending bodies weren't relying on technology to make the process more manageable, so Nick took matters into his own hands.
While assisting businesses in applying for PPP loans and outside loans during the pandemic, Nick noticed that banks failed to help nearly 50% of the ones that reached out for help. Banks only approve 15% - 25% of this type of loan application, so Nick saw an influx of small businesses turning to online lenders for help. Around 32% of small businesses work with online lenders because banks are not supplying enough support for them. Online lenders connect more easily with the financial data of a business, but ForwardAI brings that same level of ease to all lenders.
ForwardAI uses secure connections, along with principles of open finance, to connect to many different accounting systems, ERPs, and business management platforms. It collects, cleans, and compiles the data, outputting helpful, actionable insights that offer a detailed summary of the health of a business. ForwardAI makes it easier for banks, credit unions, alternative lenders, and fintech companies to request business data from small businesses. The platform also supports small businesses themselves.
Cash flow planning, automated forecasting, and financial reporting are the major components of ForwardAI, and more features will be added to the platform with time. Forwardly, the cash flow management application that is part of ForwardAI will see a major update in 2023 as it expands its accounting software support from two systems to six different accounting software platforms. Precise API, another component of ForwardAI, is working to bring more integrations to its users. Commerce platforms like Shopify and Woocommerce are the top priorities on its roadmap.
ForwardAI, under Nick Chandi's leadership, has had an impressive showing in the industry. Nominated for several awards in North America, it's clear that ForwardAI is the future of small business operations and lending. The organization already has partnerships with major companies like Swoop Funding, FIFO Capital, Fintech Automation, and C2FO. In total, ForwardAI is used by companies in 48 countries worldwide; highlighting just how profound the solution is. Nick Chandi changed how small businesses all over the world are doing business because he saw an opportunity to make things better and acted on it.