Vik Palan is the founder and president of iToolPro Systems Inc., a Canadian company that specializes in providing web-based software solutions for the Real Estate and Mortgage industries. In July 2013 iToolPro Systems Inc. launched CompareMyRate.ca – Canada’s most comprehensive rate & price comparison website that allows to search and compare nearly 1000s of products & services online – including Mortgage Rates, Credit Cards, Utilities such as Cell Phone, Home Phone & Internet Plans, Shopping Deals & Coupons & Travel.
Magazine MN caught up with Vik to talk about his entrepreneurial journey and find out more about CompareMyRates.ca.
Magazine MN: Vik, tell us a bit about yourself. How did you start your entrepreneurial journey and what is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Vik: I come from a family of entrepreneurs in India. From my grandfather, who owned an insurance firm, to my father, who is a real estate developer, no one in my family has had a “real” job. Perhaps, entrepreneurship has been in my blood. But let’s be honest, being an entrepreneur is not easy. It takes many years of hard work, trial and error, and sacrifice. But in the end, those who’ve stayed the course, persevered and have a team of people with them are the ones that can truly become successful entrepreneurs. So, to answer your question, my favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur has become the fact that I can’t do it alone, and, honestly speaking, I’m happy about that. An old African proverb to illustrate this fact is, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” When first starting this adventure, I was motivated by drive and passion. And these things are important to start, but they are more emotionally driven and, therefore, quickly fade. What I needed was to expand my goals and ideas; and people were the key. Today I’ve come to value the advice and support of many people. I never underestimate the value of a great team of talented and trustworthy employees. Of course, the most important team members that allow us to keep this all together and make our company possible are Canadian consumers, our customers and clients.
Magazine MN: What is the greatest business lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Vik: One of the greatest business lessons I’ve learned is how important it is to be able to embrace change. Although I have many goals, the nature of technology is about constant change. Therefore, we are strongly committed to a technology or design and invest enough time and efforts to progress and evolve. This agile approach to embrace change provides exceptional services and platforms to meet client and service providers requirements, save consumers money and adjust to changes in the technical and business environment. That said, we are consistent in our passion for customer and consumer satisfaction, thus staying true to our mission, assisting our clients in building their business through technology, and growing our team both by numbers and professionally.
Magazine MN: Tell us more about CompareMyRates.ca. How did it get started and what is its main mission?
Vik: Initially it got started as a natural progression from a platform we built for mortgage rate comparison website, where we provided best mortgage rates to consumers and connected them to mortgage brokers. To grow and expand in other areas a consumer may benefit by comparing plans and providers. The success and popularity of the mortgage comparison website was so huge and the platform proved to be so valuable to our brokers and consumers who were looking for options that allowed them to save on their mortgage that we decided to apply the same platform and idea to provide a greatly needed service to save consumers’ time and money. We started with mortgages, but having realized the lack of options for comparison shopping, we expanded our services that allowed to compare Credit Cards, utilities such as Cell Phones, Home Phones and Internet Plans, Deals & Coupons and most recently Bank Accounts and TV Plans.
The main mission of CompareMyRates.ca is providing a common platform where a typical Canadian consumer can review and compare all the options that are available in the market in one convenient location, thus saving them time and money and giving them an opportunity to connect with Canadian service providers.
Magazine MN: How does the platform help consumers save money?
Vik: The platform provides consumers with the best rates, tools and features to enhance their web experience, compare and find the best rates, plans, products and services, assist them in the search for great sales, prices and rates - all at no cost to them.
When a consumer is in the market for a product, a credit card for example, he doesn’t need to visit separate websites for different providers and review options. CompareMyRates.ca lets the consumer view all the different options available in the market and compare them in an easy to understand format.
Magazine MN: Does the platform require registration?
Vik: No, registration is not required and consumers are free to find all the information and savings conveniently at their fingertips. We want the consumer to get the most out of their browsing experience without being concerned about excessive emails, spam or information being sold. We believe there is too much of that and our mission is to educate the consumer about their options and save consumers’ money. For consumers who wish to receive offers, they can sign up for our newsletter where they can receive the hottest deals & coupons delivered to their inbox. Consumers are also welcome to contact us to find out more about rates, plans and services.
Magazine MN: What kind of options does the platform offer for Canadian service providers?
Vik: Our platform provides many options to benefit Canadian service providers. Mortgage brokers are given a private area for them to log in, update their information, update and display their mortgage rates and a method to connect them to the consumer inquiring about their mortgage rates. For our Credit Card, Cell Phone, Home Phone, Internet & TV Plan providers, we display all of their rates, plans and credit cards and provide a link directly to the plan or rate. Our Deals & Coupons section features great sales and deals on hundreds of products and services from our advertisers and links consumers directly to the sale or deal on the company’s website.
Magazine MN: What makes CompareMyRates.ca a game changer?
Vik: We are committed to bringing value to consumers and our service providers. We constantly update rates, plans and deals, and provide the latest and the best ways to find savings. Our rapid progression from offering savings on mortgage rates to providing several comparison options shows our dedication and reliability of our services. CompareMyRates.ca is built on a platform that is stable and reliable. It was created using the latest technologies that offer flexibility and allow us to build and develop custom applications. Each of our sections is unique and relevant in such a way that it allows to compare various features, plans and deals. We step it up even more by educating the consumer and providing the latest news on products, services and savings.
Magazine MN: How did you come up with an idea of creating CompareMyRates.ca?
Vik: When we started our parent company, iToolPro, it lead the way in delivering state of the art websites, mobile apps and custom web applications. We quickly became the go to website development company in the mortgage industry. While developing mortgage brokerage and financial websites, we started thinking of ways to create a platform for connecting mortgage brokers with their target area of mortgagees. Shortly after that we came up with a very successful platform called Ratemart.ca. As Ratemart.ca evolved and became a useful platform for both users and mortgage brokers, we started to conceptualize a platform not only for consumers to save money by mortgage shopping. And, as a result, we expanded our comparison shopping website to CompareMyRates.ca – a rate comparison website for Best Mortgage Rates, Credit Cards, Utilities such as Cell Phones, Home Phone & Internet Plans, Deals & Coupons.
We have recently added a new section for Bank Accounts to compare the many types of Bank Accounts available in Canada. Another new addition is the TV Plan section that enables consumers to compare and find suitable entertainment options. Currently, we are working on a new Insurance comparison section as well.
Vik Palan was interviewed by Natalie Myhalnytska