SSC Leadership Highlights: Promoting a Culture of Collaboration at Vitay

Success Story: Vitay in the SureSwift Portfolio

We recently sat down for a conversation with Kit Dean, to hear about his experience joining SureSwift Capital as General Manager at Vitay. Founded in 2018 by Poya Farighi, Vitay is a leading automated reference checking software for recruitment and staffing agencies in Canada and the U.S. Since joining the SureSwift portfolio in May of 2022, Vitay has grown its revenue and client base while improving features and offering new integrations. Most recently, Vitay received G2’s 2023 High Performer Award, as well as receiving top billing for Best Support and Easiest to do Business With.

Join us for a discussion with Kit Dean about Vitay’s trajectory heading into 2024. Dean also details how his previous work experience has impacted his philosophy of leadership at Vitay. Plus, gain valuable insights on how SureSwift's dedication to fostering connections across portfolio businesses has played an essential role in driving Vitay's growth and success.

From Sales to C-Suite: Kit Dean’s Career Highlights

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to SureSwift?

I began my career in customer service within the financial sector, where I developed a passion for engaging with customers and a strong inclination towards the technology industry. I observed the expanding tech scene in Victoria, and as I was planning to settle there, I chose to pursue my MBA at the University of Victoria. Ultimately, this decision led me to a marketing role with a local startup that focuses on helping families discover community activities and events. 

After transitioning into sales, I helped grow the company from a base in one city to its expansion into thirty cities across North America. Reaching these milestones led to my promotion as CEO, but after a few years, I started feeling the itch to find a new challenge. 

While exploring other career opportunities, I came across SureSwift through my professional network. What drew me to SureSwift was the collaborative approach they took, where leaders can work together across multiple different businesses. I found an open position for a general manager role with Vitay, and I was pretty impressed with the product. Over the years, I've dealt with the challenges of hiring and sourcing candidates, as well as validating if they're the right fit for a role by using reference checks. I was sold on how Vitay automates the tedious task of candidate validation. So I applied and joined the SureSwift team this summer. And working here, I've seen how it's addressed pain points for companies at scale. 

Kit Dean and SureSwift Capital are at home in the Victoria tech scene

How has your experience in sales influenced the way you handle your role at Vitay?

In my previous role, I was heavily involved in outbound sales, which is traditionally quite effective for expanding your customer base. Currently, I'm collaborating with our sales team to fine-tune our marketing and go-to-market strategy. This includes reintroducing traditional approaches in industries and regions where they've proven successful. The aim is to formalize and build upon past successes, while also adapting to the evolving business landscape.

Strategies for SaaS Growth: Placing Emphasis on Team Collaboration and Customer Appreciation

What has your experience been like assimilating into the culture of SureSwift as the GM for Vitay?

The open communication channels and the focus on cross-functional teamwork among the business units have really helped smooth things out. I also really appreciate the strong emphasis on learning and development. It allows me to use my existing skills and experience while gaining new insights and improving. Overall, it's been challenging, but in a good way. I'm finding it enriching and enjoying the journey as I go along.

As you round the 6 month mark since joining SureSwift at Vitay, will you share some of your deliberate changes and accomplishments?

As the new General Manager, I’m passionate about fostering a culture of collaboration and inclusion. I think it's important to bolster strong relationships and build connections within the team, ultimately creating a tight-knit environment where everyone feels empowered to contribute their insights. 

Over the last several months, I’ve also focused on taking a deeper dive into understanding our current customer base and involving them in shaping the evolution of Vitay. I think one of the keys to our success is making our customers feel like valued contributors to the further development of the product. Plus, that same process helps us identify potential revenue channels, making it an exciting operative for us to continue to explore.

Focusing on customers has created new opportunities for growth at Vitay

Was there anything about the product that you found surprising?

Yes, I was impressed with how the product itself offers significant flexibility. The product was designed to be configurable, so it’s easily tailored to our clientele. We've taken the approach of customizing it for different verticals where we've experienced notable success in expanding and diversifying our clientele. Because the product is so adaptable, it effectively caters to the needs of a variety of businesses, particularly staffing firms. Some use it primarily for external hiring; others use it for internal recruitment. 

As we continue to engage with more clients, we're constantly discovering new ways to enhance and refine the product. Vitay benefits from the fact that many of our vendors are more than just clients – they're partners, and they work alongside us as we strive to enhance and grow the product.

Finding Success by Furthering Connections within the SureSwift Portfolio 

As one of SureSwift’s more recent acquisitions (May 2022), Vitay has seen many updates over the last 18 months. How has being part of the SureSwift portfolio helped Vitay to evolve as a SaaS automation business?

The experience that SSC has in scaling SaaS businesses has provided Vitay with truly valuable insights and a good deal of strategic guidance. I've received support from leaders within the company since the acquisition, and that’s allowed us to implement best practices and optimize operational processes for effective scaling. Having access to a wider network of resources and talent within SSC has also been immensely beneficial. The shared knowledge, resources, and customer-focused ethos among the SSC Portfolio Businesses create an environment that consistently spurs growth and positive transformation for the company.

Opportunities to connect with other leaders like Kit Dean makes SureSwift's Exceptional Operator Framework a powerful tool for business and professional growth

How has SureSwift’s recent implementation of the Excellent Operator Framework influenced your work at Vitay? 

The ability to collaborate across different businesses in the portfolio is a game-changer. Having guilds that span across the Portfolio Business Units with experts in specific subjects working together and sharing best practices is huge. This allows us to learn from what other companies are doing and apply those lessons ourselves. 

In many cases, you might need to look outside for resources or consultants to access those skills, but with SureSwift's setup, we can source a lot of that internally. And the fact that everyone is willing to lend a hand to each other has been another major benefit.

Next Steps: Vitay’s Plans for the Future 

Looking toward 2024, can you share what’s in the pipeline for Vitay? 

As I mentioned earlier, I'm really excited to explore new product offerings, especially delving into expanding background check services. This initiative stems directly from feedback we've received from our clients. We've also pinpointed areas where we can enhance our capabilities to improve product efficiencies.

Learning from our customers has opened up a world of possibilities, and we're constantly discovering ways to enhance the product and make it more efficient, especially on the integration side of things. There are definite opportunities for us to integrate with other API systems, something many clients rely on for streamlined processes. Integrations reduce clicks, which helps potential clients choose our product over others. Our goal is to provide a more comprehensive solution by enhancing these integrations to support clients in their talent acquisition processes.


As Vitay continues to take strides forward, it’s clear that the responsibility for its success lies behind a tightly integrated team and a leader with a passion for inclusion. Furthermore, Dean's insights provide a compelling narrative on the significance of intertwining leadership values with a collaborative business environment, showcasing the potential for innovation and achievement within the SureSwift ecosystem.

Interested in finding out more about Vitay? Check out our interview with bootstrapped founder Poya Farighi here, or head to Vitay’s website to learn why it’s one of the most popular automated reference check apps on the market! 

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