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Plank

How an award-winning digital design studio utilized the SR&ED cycle to grow their team from 5 to over 24 employees

GROWTH STORY

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Warren Wilansky
CEO, Plank
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Plank is an award-winning digital design studio, making the web a better place since 1998. They create innovative websites for creative organizations while setting a standard for ethically conscious digital experiences.

"For over 17 years we have relied on Flow’s expertise in government funding applications, strategies and best practices. We have always been extremely happy with the results of their diligent work."

17 Years

Of SR&ED claims filed

380%

Growth in employee count

100%

Claims accepted as filed

THE PLANK SR&ED STORY

Founded in 1998 by Warren Wilansky, a true pioneer in the website design and development space, he saw firsthand the drastic shift from the Web 1.0 days to its current and ever-evolving state. We were fortunate enough to have witnessed Plank grow from a small team of around 5 employees in 2004 to an industry-leading design and development studio with a client roster that boasts some of the largest and most reputable companies in the world. 

Partner, Peter Bailey first met Warren and his team in 2004, where we introduced them to the SR&ED program and advised them on its benefits, requirements, and best practices which ultimately led to us filing their first claim that same year. Unlike other government tax incentive programs, innovators can apply for the SR&ED program every year – assuming that eligible SR&ED activities have taken place. Plank's innovation-driven approach to growth and subsequent SR&ED claims over the past decades perfectly exemplifies the “Utilizing The SRED Cycle To Fuel Growth” concept that we’ve showcased in this infographic.

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"Flow helps us shift through the numerous technical challenges, uncertainties, and problems we've been trying to solve for the year. We're trying to advance Canada's overall technical prowess through research and development around web technologies, and this work is often done side-by-side with client engagements. Flow’s advice, support, and deep knowledge have proved invaluable time and time again"

Steve Bissonnette
Managing Partner, Plank

INNOVATION DRIVEN GROWTH

Plank’s goal was to always remain profitable before SR&ED however the program has given them the room to tackle challenges and hire with less risk to current long-term relationships with clients.

 Growing The Organization And Scaling SR&ED Claims

From a total of 5 employees in 2004 (at the time of their first SR&ED claim), the team has grown 5-10% per year. Currently they have 24 employees including 14 full time developers, with plans to increase their total employee count to around 30 in early 2022. Correspondingly, the size of their SR&ED claims have mirrored the growth of the organization.

Fostering Innovation

Flow Venture’s experience and risk mitigated approach to SR&ED claims, gave Plank the reassurance and comfort of being able to take more risks in hiring and granting engineers more time to solve technical uncertainty specific issues. Plank noticed that they were able to retain vital human capital for longer, as work that involved technical uncertainty offered engineers a built in challenge mentality, resulting in turnover being less than 10% per year.

Building Experience, Expertise And New Products

Due to the iterative nature of SR&ED work Plank was able to build upon their technical prowess, and now is able to sign approximately 100%-200% larger budgets per mandate.

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"Flow prides itself on being the SR&ED consultant for founders. Our mantra for our clients is for them to focus on their business, and to let us take care of SR&ED"

Peter Bailey
Partner, Flow Ventures

Flow’s specialized knowledge and experience in all aspects of growth capital funding paired with their deep understanding and involvement in the tech ecosystem allowed Plank to focus on their business objectives. Allowing them to: 

  • Excel at working closely with clients to solve complex online issues in novel ways 
  • Specialize in designing the highest quality responsive websites and mobile applications for creative organizations
  • Stay up to date with the state of the web
  • Move beyond the commodification of web development in the mid 2010’s
  • Innovate on larger more complex jobs and have higher stress mandates with corporate clients

What has Plank been up to lately?

THE PLANK FOUNDATION

For most of Plank’s history, they have taken on pro-bono projects of various sizes to support many different causes. While they are a small organization, they are proud of the outsized impact they’ve been able to offer non-profit and community organizations. Recently, they have decided to formalize their efforts and have established a non-profit entity, reached out to all stakeholders, and have a plan to define the direction of their Plank Foundation and bring onboard their first team member. Click here to learn more.

Plank Image 3 - Flow Ventures Case Study

Did you know that you can recover up to 69% of your R&D costs (depending on your province) from the CRA?

Down our guide to learn about eligibility, how much you can receive, documentation tips, case studies & more.

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