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TunnelBear

Fueling growth with SR&ED and removing the burden of documentation from developers.

GROWTH STORY

TunnelBear is a secure VPN service, that provides their customers with private access to the same, boundless internet worldwide. TunnelBear's goal is to bring the benefits of privacy to everyone with their simple and user-friendly apps.
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1000+

Estimated reduction in hours spent documenting SR&ED claim

156%

Increase in SR&ED claim size returned by Flow compared to their previous consultant

100%

Claims accepted as filed

THE TUNNELBEAR SR&ED STORY

For innovators, SR&ED documentation can often be seen as an afterthought, a nuisance to their accelerated growth journey.

John Robinson, COO of TunnelBear, had experience managing the SR&ED claim process at a pervious company which chose to do it internally. Management was keen to seek the benefits of the SR&ED program whereby roughly 64% of R&D development costs could recovered in refundable and non-refundable credits (in their Province at that time), but struggled with implementing non-intrusive data collection procedures and writing strong, claims that could be substantiated with evidence. John witnessed, first hand, the waste of precious development team time that could result from poor documentation practices when it came to SRED.

"Engineers for the most part just hate SR&ED. It took like three to four weeks for them to do it and it interrupted all development."

John Robinson
COO, TUNNELBEAR

With this traumatic experience behind him John sought a different approach when he joined TunnelBear, this time reaching out to another SR&ED consultant. His hopes of a more efficient data collection process both for operations and the engineering team quickly faded when documentation time came around. 

"The SR&ED consultant we used before Flow, basically had this proprietary tool that they expected our engineers to go in and fill out every time, and they had a proprietary timekeeping software, and just expected us to do a ton of the work."

THEIR GOAL

When Flow Ventures Partner, Bryan Watson first met TunnelBear's COO, John Robinson in 2016, he was looking for a solution to their SR&ED claim nightmare.

OUR SOLUTION

Flow Ventures adapted our proactive, ongoing documentation and data collection process to make it as easy and efficient as possible for everyone involved. Flow leveraged the tools TunnelBear’s team of engineers and developers currently used to craft and implement a seamless data collection procedure that worked with their current work flows instead of imposing new ones. This easy integration with existing work flows ensured a high level of documentation compliance while also capturing the evidence needed to substantiate SR&ED claims.

"Flow made it super painless for us to essentially give them access to our Bitbucket repository and to go and create some of these timesheets historically through commits that had been done, that just saved us a ton of time."

SR&ED documentation needs to substantiate that the work undertaken is indeed SR&ED and that the expenditures claimed are eligible for the credit. It needs to be: contemporaneous, dated, and highlight technical challenges and the time spent by individual resources to try to address those challenges. Furthermore, the CRA places the onus of proving that such work transpired solely at the feet of the claimant. Ongoing, proper documentation throughout the year (as opposed to forensically trying to piece evidence together after the fiscal year end) ensures that the risk of your SR&ED claim being rejected or reduced in an audit is mitigated.  

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This is where Flow’s methodical, time-tested processes and white glove service came into the picture. 

"Having monthly conversations with the engineers just made a world of difference because they weren't being asked to reach back a year every single time that they had to do a claim. And so it created that sort of historical evidence trail for them so that at the end of the year."

This process was key to writing a stronger claim for TunnelBear as it gave them the opportunity to retrace work throughout the year and request more supporting documentation on a case by case basis, resulting in a stronger case and thus mitigating the risk of a claim denial. It also created a pool of well documented reinforcing evidence in the some cases a CRA audit.

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"By the time that we had everyone trained up and operating on the system and had everyone on the Flow side get access to all the pieces and tooling, it was a pretty seamless process."


THEIR SUCCESS

Hear it from them.

 

John_robinson_tunnelbear
smokeybear@2x.58f13f8

Smokey Bear 

John Robinson

COO, TUNNELBEAR

"The size of the claim also went up substantially. Just because they were able to do better interviews and engineers were better able to remember the specific scientific iterative work that they were doing more in the moment rather than trying to remember everything at the end of the year. So just by that nature, they were able to produce better claims which got us higher claim value."


Improved Financial Planning:

"We had more confidence that our SR&ED claims were going to go through with Flow handling them so we were able to more confidently project what our SR&ED claims were going to bring in, and more properly forecast."

Saving Time & Valuable Human Capital:

"The decrease in the amount of time and operational time for us was huge. It went from probably like 30% of my job down to like a couple hours at the end of the year, with all the processes that were implemented. So, that was by far the biggest win for us."


Fuel your growth.
Mitigate your risk.

"Flow Consulting is an invaluable partner to CloudOps, helping us organize and plan our SR&ED and other R&D activities, navigate the intricacies of government programs, and ensure that our approach aligns perfectly with our business model while employing conservative risk management."

ian

Ian Rae, CEO
CloudOps

$3 Billion

a year available in funding for the SR&ED program.

Up to 69%

of eligible R&D expenses (depending on your province) may be refunded from CRA.

READY TO UNLOCK THE RESOURCES THAT YOU NEED TO INNOVATE & GROW?

Schedule a free consultation with one of our SR&ED experts today.