Cronometer is a nutrition and fitness app that Aaron Davidson created in 2005 to keep track of his own habits. He also decided to offer it free online, and the user base grew. By 2011, maintaining Cronometer was becoming a job, so Davidson made the decision to rebuild it as a business.
He ran Cronometer part-time from his home in Alberta until 2016, when he moved to Revelstoke to pursue the active, outdoors lifestyle that he loves.
As a software engineer, Davidson found few work opportunities in Revelstoke, so he decided to make Cronometer his “real” business. He invited a few friends to become partners, while remaining the majority shareholder. To hire more staff, he needed a business loan.
“I went to my bank first for a traditional business loan, and they wouldn’t touch us with a 10-foot pole because they don’t understand the modern software business,” he says. “We’re not buying a tractor they can repossess—there’s no collateral.”
Then he found success when he turned to the Trust’s Impact Investment Fund, delivered by Community Futures. This loan allowed him to hire staff and open an office. He also obtained funding to hire an intern through the Trust’s Career Internship Program.
“Now we have eight people working here in Revelstoke,” he says.
Following a lifestyle dream often means putting career dreams on hold. Three university grads—two with masters’ degrees in nutrition and one with a bachelor’s degree in a related science—were either unemployed or underemployed when they joined Cronometer.
“At least a couple of those people would have left Revelstoke if this work opportunity had not come about,” Davidson says. “We’re offering a place for these people who have high potential.
“The financing from the Trust and Community Futures allowed us to confidently execute what we needed to do. It’s been fun.”