GRAD4 marketplace becomes Axya platform

How did the idea of GRAD4 start?

GRAD4 was founded on February 28, 2019 by Félix Bélisle-Dockrill, Nicolas Gauthier, Frédérick Plourde and Yacine Mahdid while they were incubated at Centech in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They launched a digital manufacturing marketplace that connected successful Canadian businesses with quality metal manufacturers and helped them outsource jobs more quickly and at a lower cost.


Felix, one of the co-founders and now CEO of Axya, worked for a leading aerospace company in a supplier quality control position and saw firsthand the complexity of supplier relationships and global supply chain management. He felt that there had to be more efficient ways to operate. However, after searching for technology solutions to help him with his day-to-day procurement sourcing process,  he found that what was available did not meet the needs of the industry.

He realized that this could be a very promising business opportunity while meeting other entrepreneurs working in the manufacturing industry with exactly the same concerns.

A first iteration of a digital manufacturing marketplace 

In August 2019, GRAD4 started a “Closed Beta” of the online manufacturing marketplace platform with selected suppliers in Quebec. The company had two employees including the co-founders. Even then, early adopters in CNC machining demonstrated a high level of commitment to this innovative digital platform.

In February 2020, GRAD4 launched its “Open Beta” platform with the objective of acquiring new customers in Quebec, Canada. The technology startup has also experienced strong growth reaching fourteen employees plus the cofounders.


In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic severely hit the world, GRAD4 canceled all in-person meetings, even before the lockdown that was subsequently forced by the authorities. This event was decisive for the young technology platform team, as it shifted the company’s culture from an office-based to a remote-based organization. The results were successful, as GRAD4 employees were more productive and resilient.

Growth and Cultural Switch with the COVID-19


During those difficult times, however, the situation was beneficial to GRAD4, as many manufacturing companies experienced delays and the situation was very unsure with their overseas suppliers, so they started thinking about working with local suppliers instead. GRAD4 was the perfect platform to help them find these new partners.


In May 2020, Karim Besbes,, joined the ranks of the GRAD4 executive team. His experience in software development at a global scale has helped strengthen our digital offer on manufacturing marketplace. 


Transitioning to procurement software 


On June 15, 2020, the second version of the GRAD4 digital platform was launched. This included an important new aspect to the already existing manufacturing marketplace: it was the first step in the direction of e-procurement software (SaaS).

By this time, the company had grown to more than 30 employees all working together entirely remotely!

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GRAD4 marketplace becomes Axya platform