How did the idea of Axya start?
Axya, formerly named GRAD4, was founded on February 28, 2019 by Félix Bélisle-Dockrill, Nicolas Gauthier, Yacine Mahdid and Frédérick Plourde while they were incubated at Centech in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
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, Axya started a “Closed Beta” of the online manufacturing marketplace platform with selected suppliers in Quebec. Even then, early adopters in CNC machining demonstrated a high level of commitment to this innovative digital platform.
In February 2020, Axya 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, the COVID-19 pandemic severely hit the world. This event was decisive for the young technology platform team, as it accelerated the shift of the company’s culture from an office-based to a remote-based organization.
The results were successful, as Axya (formerly 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 Axya, as many manufacturing companies experienced delays and the situation was very unsure with their overseas suppliers. Hence, they started thinking about working with local suppliers instead. Axya was the perfect platform to help them find these new partners.
In May 2020, Karim Besbes joined the ranks of the Axya executive team. His experience in software development at a global scale has helped strengthen our digital offer in the manufacturing marketplace.
Transitioning to procurement software
On June 15, 2020, the second version of the Axya (still named GRAD4 at the time) digital platform was launched. This included an important new aspect to the already existing manufacturing marketplace: it was the first step toward e-procurement software (SaaS).
This tool combined with the marketplace allowed companies with manufacturing needs to use the powerful capabilities of the tool to become more efficient in their procurement processes.
Name change to Axya
On April 27, 2021, GRAD4 changed its name to Axya and closed a 1.5M seed round co-led by Ecofuel and Desjardins capital. The platform proved its impact with companies such as Vention, BRP and CAE.
Throughout the rest of 2021, Axya onboarded several other companies into its offering including leaders in the aerospace, automotive and mining industries. Axya helped stabilize multiple supply chain disruptions through its tool that improves visibility between buyers and suppliers.
Recognition in the Canadian tech ecosystem in 2021
Axya has been recognized in many top entrepreneurial institutions in Canada including MaRS, Creative Destruction Lab, NEXT Canada and C100. We are honoured to benefit from the opportunities the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem offers.
Scaling in 2022
In 2022 Axya has continued its expansion in Quebec, Ontario and the US. We made our offering evolve so that buyers can easily add new suppliers to their existing system and more efficiently manage their procurement process with multiple collaborators.
This tool has been leveraged to alleviate the major supply chain pains of 2022: raw materials scarcity, high delay in metal manufacturing, labor shortage and global supply chain uncertainty.