Canadian tech star expands worldwide
One of the most important challenges facing companies today is how to organize and use the huge amount of information they generate every day.
They have to grapple not only with an increasing volume of information, but also with the fact that it's spread across a wide range of systems. The result is that employees and customers are unable to quickly find and use company information.
Compares technology to Google
That's the challenge that Coveo, a fast-growing Quebec City company, has addressed with its search and indexing technology. CEO Louis Têtu compares what Coveo's software does for companies to what Google has done for the web.
"It's a similar principle to how Google brings information relevant to a search term together on one page from all over the web," Têtu says. "The desire to put the right information in the right hands, at the right time—regardless of where it's located—is a dream for all businesses. That's what we're enabling."
With Coveo's technology, users can quickly find information that's relevant to their needs and use it in such areas as sales, customer service, product development and project management.
Investing and growing fast
Coveo, founded in 2005, has invested $38 million in its technology to date and is experiencing annual revenue growth in the high double digits. It has about 150 employees, mostly in Quebec City, up from 80 a year ago.
Many of Coveo's more than 500 clients around the world are household names, including GEICO, L'Oreal, Lockheed Martin and Bombardier.
Têtu is a talented high-tech entrepreneur who has founded several software companies. Before starting Coveo, he was a co-founder of Taleo Corporation, an HR management software company that was sold to Oracle in 2012 for $1.9 billion.
CEO is a contrarian
At the age of 17, Têtu entered university. By 20, he was Canada's youngest engineer. The father of three is also a commercial helicopter pilot who was described in a Forbes magazine as "a contrarian."
"Ninety-five per cent of the population is too constrained," he told Forbes. "[To be a] 'free-thinker' is the most valuable attribute for our employees." One of Coveo's only barriers to growth is a simple lack of awareness in the market, he says.
Deploying global sales force
"People just don't know this kind of technology exists. What we're doing now is deploying our sales force globally, and executing a targeted marketing approach to our biggest groups of potential clients."
This includes companies in technology, medicine, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and financial services.
BDC Capital has been a long-time investor in Coveo. In December 2012, the company announced it had received $18 million in funding, in a round led by Tandem Expansion Fund that included BDC Capital and other existing investors.
More growth ahead
With the huge increase in data, information and management systems, Têtu sees lots of growth ahead for his company.
"The business problem we focus on is pervasive across many industries," he says. "And what we do is very unique."
"There's a lot of science behind it, and I would say there are only three to four vendors in the world that can approach what we do."