By MYRON LOVE Five years ago, long time tech developer Matthew Amihude, along with his business partner Simon Fiore, created a new app that has greatly simplified an important part of real estate sales.
“I’ve been in the software business for more than 30 years,” says the Chief Technology Officer of Forward Form Solutions, creators of the new software “Fintracker.”
“I get three or four people a month approaching me with ideas for new apps. Generally, such apps are already available on the App Store or Google Play.
“About five years ago, though, a friend of mine who is in real estate asked me about creating a new compliance app for realtors.
“The issue,” Amihude explains, “is that every time a realtor is engaged by a client to buy or sell a piece of property – even in cases where the transaction fails – the agent is required by law to identify the clients and fill out forms reporting on the interaction.”
Before Fintracker’s app, realtors filled out the forms using pen and paper, Amihude continues, a time –consuming process. The new app automates the process – quickly scanning the client’s ID, creates an elecronic record, and relays the document to the agent’s office in seconds.
A major advantage of the Fintracker technology is that each client receives a secure personalized ID.
“We have over 45,000 clients across Canada now and are growing largely by word of mouth,” Amihude reports. “We just signed up four new brokerage firms last month – each with 1,500-2,000 member agents.
“We have one or two competitors in this field,” he adds, “but no one else offers the full range of services that we do.”
The son of Avraham and Ethel Amihude got in on the computer business on the ground floor, so to speak. From a young age, the Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate graduate was fascinated by computers. He recalls that he bought his first computer almost 40 years ago with money he received for his bar mitzvah.
“Growing up, I wasn’t thinking about a career in computer technology,” he notes. “At university, I was considering either medicine or dentistry. Computers I still viewed as a hobby.”
On the side though, he was already operating a computer consulting business with a partner that soon superseded his earlier career ambitions.
“This was in the late 80s and early 90s,” Amihude recalls. “We were helping people set up modems, showing them how to use Netscape and email. Before I knew it, my hobby had become a full time business.”
The software wizard’s first official company – founded in 1995 – was Web Wizards, a developer of software solutions for a diverse base of customers and industries.
Along the way, Amihude added Keystone Assessment Services serving the insurance industry – and Kavana Health Inc., a health and wellness company that manufactures health and wellness products.
With the success of Fintracker though, Amihude decided to sell his majority share in Web Wizards. “I found that I was focusing too much on the management side at Eeb Wizards,” he says. “Whereas what I really love to do is software development. With Fintracker, I have been able to get back to that again.”
(He still owns a minor stake in the company, but is no longer involved in the day to day operations.)
With his previous company, he notes, he was working with a staff of 25 at its peak pre-Covid lockdown – and that staffing is still around 20. At Fintracker, by comparison, he has a complement of four – two developers him, and a business partner who handle all the sales and marketing as well as customer support.
“We are anticipating the need to add two more employees over the next few months,” he reports.
While software development is Amihude’s career, the other great passion for the father of four is basketball. He is proud to report that the 1989 MHSAA (Manitoba High School Athletic Association) championship JosephWolinsky Raiders team – of which he was a member – was inducted into the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame last June.
Amihude adds that he also coached basketball at Gray Academy for a time – and he still plays basketball regularly on a weekly basis with the same core group of friends he’s had for the past 35 years.