HASSAN KHAN: CEO, QUANTIUS "TAKING A QUANTIUS LEAP"
Quantius is a commercial lender that attributes value to both tangible
and intangible assets of innovative companies. Their team has over 200 years of leadership experience across commercial lending, risk management
and knowledge based industries.
As a true believer in the power of human potential, innovation and creativity, Quantius works with North American enterprises whose leaders have a
clear vision for the future and finances companies which are positioned for substantial growth.
As organization builders and entrepreneurs, Quantius understands what is required to build a successful business, and passionately believe that there
is a better way for companies to finance the growth of tomorrow.
Quantius’ CEO Hassan Khan excels at fueling that kind of innovation, building great teams, identifying clear strategies and compelling stories for organizations to rally around, and then driving world-class execution.
A believer in Canada’s merits and future potential, he is committed to the path of growing Canada as a global technology, innovation and sustainability role model, as well as helping to develop our next generation of successful, civic minded, business leaders.
Hassan, a computer engineering graduate from the Royal Military College of Canada, built his leadership foundation while in the Army, through heading progressively larger teams in time constrained, adverse conditions, where success was a national priority -- and failure meant loss of life.
During this time he developed entrepreneurial technology solutions for new digital capabilities needed in conflict regions like the Former Yugoslavia
and Afghanistan; created integrated communications capabilities for security and emergency response agencies to cooperate for events like the G8 and BC forest fires; as well as developing new software applications platforms
to handle increased capacity and virtual training needs for the Canadian forces.
In 2005, he was recognized for his performance as the number one ranked Signals Captain in the Army and promoted to Major.
His service culminated in him leading all the IT and telecommunications support for the Canadian Forces trades training and directing technology policy for the Army, Navy and Air Force in central Canada.
Hassan’s next challenge was with the global consultancy, McKinsey & Company. There, he served the leadership of emerging market companies and countries achieve growth in their technology related sectors, and developed investment strategies for institutional investors focused on innovative SMEs in these markets.
Hassan’s work also covered multi-billion dollar objectives for Fortune 100 clients across business and investment strategy, strategic technology partnerships, capital governance optimization, as well as Lean IT and operations transformations.
He considers it a privilege to have had the chance to help corporate leaders change their businesses with new technology disruptors (e.g.: Big Data, Cloud) across high tech, telecom, finance, healthcare, defense, biotech, and natural resources sectors in over 15 countries and 50 cities.
My Business Magazine asked Hassan about Quantius and how it’s unique, how he’s helping the next generation, and some challenges ahead...
MBM: How do you truly help Canadian innovators and knowledge- based businesses, and give them that fuel to grow?
Hassan: I think the first and most important part in helping them to grow is listening to the challenges that they have. The primary way to help them grow is financing – so they can hire employees, invest in infrastructure, or buy another company.
It’s a lack of that efficient funding that keeps them from going past being a $10 to 100 million annual revenues company to something truly midsized, a regional company, to bat at that level.
Many of the choices these Canadian companies have is less than ideal.
On the one side, they’ve got Canadian banks who are very restrictive in
how much they’ll lend people.
Most of the times, it’s because they’re conservative, and they can’t get their arms around a knowledge-based business really works.
When they look at a technology enabled company in clean tech for instance, most of the enterprise value is in intangible assets and intellectual property and are really tough for a bank to come to terms with. Consequently, they hold back the affordable debt they’ll extend.
If you look at non-bank lenders, typically, they will charge a whole set of fees to the loans, high interest rates, as well as ownership of some of the business. When you add it up its frequently like bad credit card rates in the high teens or twenties.
We offer a term loan, simple to understand, minimal fees and reasonable interest, and we’re not asking for a piece of the business.
Fundamentally we’re doing something not being done, filling a great white space.
MBM: What makes this attractive, special or different from what’s
Hassan: I think one of the main things – apart from less expensive,
simple and timely funding – is that all these knowledge-based business are a real departure from bricks and mortar. Their enterprise value isn’t on their balance sheet. Their value’s more in the realm of copyrights, trademarks, patents, licenses, permits, and executor contracts and our solution, no pun intended, gives credit to a business for their true worth.
What we have that’s special is a a first class commercial lending team and very experienced Board, a different approach, and some very advanced Big Data analytics, which helps us look at a company’s true value the way that banks don’t give credit to, and understand it, and know its worth. That allows us to give them a better solution.
MBM: How does your army background –and your team’s army background - help you and your team?
Hassan: It starts with respecting what entrepreneurs, Canadian business owners and companies can achieve.
We have a very strong mission-focus attached with that. The other element is teamwork, whether with us, or with other companies. You can’t achieve anything without a great team.
Finally, nothing happens without bumps, hurdles and challenges along the way. That background gives us the resilience to keep going and reach above and beyond.
MBM: Tell about the school program you’re involved with.
Hassan: Education, and helping education, is something that I’m passionate about. Apart from financing, knowledge based businesses are challenged with access to talent, and we have to ask ourselves: as these businesses grow, whether we’ve got the next generation of young Canadians entering the job market to be ready and qualified to enter these knowledge-based industries.
That’s where our country’s growth will be.
We are working with one of the public schools in Toronto, Western Technical Commercial School to help them build the next generation of talent by supporting their robotics, design and leadership programs– so that students have the right kind of education and skills to make them employable, and have viable pathways in twenty first century economy.
We’re in the middle of building the program to literally help fund and equip a
lot of these new initiatives, and these new students.
We’re providing a bursary and scholarship to help the ones who excel go
on to post secondary education.
Something like that is vitally important, because it is how business gives back, and pragmatically makes sense as demand for that talent increases.
The other thing we want to do is increase the participation of women in these industries, as they are underrepresented. So we’re planning to bring in senior women in these industries to talk to the students so the girls see they have other paths within which they can excel.
MBM: What has the students’ reaction been?
Hassan: Many young people become quite surprised when they find out about medical devices, telecom, life sciences, space and aerospace, clean tech, solar energy, wind and biofuels -- just what kind of choices you have out there.
It’s growing really fast, and it’s the place where we actually have opportunity to have sustainable employment, jobs and opportunity in the long run. We’re quite proud to be giving back in this way.
MBM: What have been your biggest challenges?
Hassan: A year ago the concept was just a bullet point on a piece of
paper. But now we look at how an idea has turned into reality, and how that vision has transformed companies. We’re starting to see the beginning of great impact.
We are creating a new solution, a new market, that’s never been done before. By doing that, we’re combining finance, technology and engineering, and it sometimes means experimentation – as well as bumps – before reaching successes. Sometimes that means taking calculated risks; sometimes it means taking bruises, but we get up and learn from it.
What keeps us going is knowing we’re doing something that people said could not be done.
We’re defying the odds.
Dave Gordon has penned more than a thousand articles, and more than five hundred editorials, on every topic imaginable. He writes regularly on domestic and international politics, current events, culture, relationship issues, and much more.
He has spent time in the newsrooms of the Toronto Sun, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, National Post and eye Weekly.
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