For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Ransom Hawley ‘04, who forged
his own path to success with his app, Caddle, that allows users to earn money by engaging with the brands they use on a daily basis.
Ransom began Grade 7 at Ridley in 1998 and quickly involved himself in all of the facets of the school available to the student body. While here, he played football, basketball, and rugby. He credits Ridley with providing him with an excellent network with which he was able to establish himself professionally upon graduating. Additionally, Ransom’s strong work ethic was developed at Ridley, which he says helps tremendously with the long hours and determination his company employs on a daily basis.
After graduating from Ridley, Ransom initially attended St. Francis Xavier University and studied marine biology. His love for scuba diving and interest in the subject matter led him to believe it would be a good fit. However, after enrolling in several business electives, he quickly realized there was another career path for him. He transferred to the University of Western Ontario and completed the Honors Business Administration program at the Ivey School of Business. Having completed his programme, Ransom began work at SC Johnson (SCJ) in their sales and marketing department.
He worked with several coupon apps while at SCJ and came up with the idea for Caddle when he began to wonder if these apps could incorporate more features – both for the consumer and for the company advertising. After seven years at SC Johnson, during which he had moved back to St. Catharines, Ransom gave himself a deadline. He had been developing his idea for Caddle for two years and while on a flight back from a business trip in April of 2015, a chance encounter with the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, finally tipped the scales. Ransom soon left his job at SC Johnson to pursue Caddle. Not only was Ransom spurred on by Wozniak’s advice, but he also motivated by several other factors, including potentially regretting not seizing this opportunity and ensuring a feeling of pride when looking back on what he’s done.
Caddle has essentially taken coupons and interactive advertising digital and put it at the fingertips of consumers. Caddle allows brands to capture more of the total dollar share they spend on marketing. Meant to fill an unproductive amount of time with a productive action, users can log in to the app and take a survey, watch an ad, leave a review, or simply provide a picture of a receipt – and earn money doing so. Caddle’s clients – among them, giants such as Pepsico and General Mills – are able to engage and educate customers while deriving instant consumer insights that gather real-time feedback; a valuable currency to any brand. Caddle earns money on processing fees, as well as by charging clients every time a user interacts with their specific brand. No half measures either; users have to complete the entire survey or watch the whole video to get their money.
In addition to recently earning a Canadian Grocer Generation Next Award, Caddle was also on CBC’s popular entrepreneurial TV show Dragons’ Den. This appearance on a national television show provided significant exposure, spurred growth and initiated a spike in users of the app. Ultimately, the ‘Dragons’ thought it was an excellent idea, with Dan Warner, co-founder of a similar couponing platform ‘SnapSaves’, coming on board as a consultant for Caddle.
Ransom would like to see Caddle become a platform that changes the way customers interact with brands. As an entrepreneur, he enjoys creating and operating something he can call his own. In addition to being a local company (Ransom still lives in St. Catharines) and partnering with many local businesses, Caddle also donates 10 percent of their pre-tax profit to Canadian charities.
Ransom’s advice to Ridleans considering an idea or thinking about taking the leap into entrepreneurship? “If you have an idea, take it to your local innovation hub. They will be an incredible resource and help determine if your idea is feasible.” Ransom used Innovate Niagara a great deal with looking for developers, applying for grants, and gathering constructive feedback regarding Caddle. Ransom reminds us that everyone has ideas and it doesn’t serve you well to just keep thinking about them – act on them. He encourages Ridleans to take calculated risks, “It’s only money. You will make more of it.” Finally, he says “make your future self proud of you.”
TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing.
Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to email@example.com.