You only need to look at how the climate is behaving right now to know that turning towards renewable energy sources is non-negotiable. A company should fight for the causes that deserve its attention and inspire the community to get involved too. In any case, it’s when you do what you’re passionate about that you succeed.
– Lennie Moreno, CEO of Sofdesk
Quebec leader in solar panel installation and roofing solutions.

Upon my arrival at Sofdesk on a rainy morning, I am met with a warm welcome. Lennie shows me around while recounting, with his charismatic smile and contagious energy, how the space has transformed since his company’s creation in 2013.

His 24-member team can enjoy various fun additions to their workplace: popcorn machine, foosball table, punching bag, indoor hockey and cold beer. The loft is also equipped with a retractable Murphy bed, where the founder spent his nights when Sofdesk first entered the business world…

Technology simplified

With two key products, Solargraf and Roofgraf, Sofdesk facilitates the work of professionals in the solar and roofing industries.

Their clientele is spread across more than 30 US states and 5 Canadian provinces, including numerous solar installers and a growing number of roofers.

Sofdesk is accelerating the sale and implementation of solar energy systems in three steps: prospecting, which involves locating owners who are interested in exploring this option; providing an effective platform with which to simplify the preparation of proposals; and intalling and connecting the system.

This solar software company has teamed up with Genability to offer an interface that automatically identifies precise homeowner comsumption data. LightStream is also a partner for project financing.

With their made-to-measure solutions, Sofdesk manages the entire process for SMEs, enabling companies to automate every step with a very user-friendly structure that is completely mobile. This approach contributes to the profitability of the companies using their products, thus increasing Sofdesk’s credibility with their clients.

Under the California sun

Lennie has worked in Quebec’s solar industry since 2009, making him a veteran of the field. As a former rep for solar energy projects, then an installer, he has the ideal experience to help Sofdesk succeed. “I speak the client’s language, which gives us a major competitive advantage,” he notes.

Before they assumed a key role in the industry with more than 2,000 users, Sofdesk had to get creative to ensure their growth.

By building on the talent of their VP of Engineering, Maxime Fafard, the company was able to create their first viable product in March 2016. Despite the completion of due diligence, local investors remained undecided. “The end of the month was always really tough,” recalls Lennie.

Determined, the CEO jumped into his car to head to Los Angeles, where he added 17 new companies to his client list. In Montreal, Sofdesk reps redoubled their efforts as well, attaining a list of 45 clients. Lennie continues to develop his business in California, which is his largest market.

After his trip South, Lennie met EnerTech Capital at their annual conference. “Investors evaluate the timing of a product, as well as whether the team is solid and led by a strong leader. I think that’s why EnerTech chose to encourage us,” he explains. BCD Venture Capital also became a key partner and both companies contribued $3 million to Sofdesk.

In order to actualize his project, this solar expert also called upon Passeport innovation, the IRAP program, CRVI, CRIM and CEIM, as well as the CDAE and SR&ED tax incentives.

Lennie intends to lead Sofdesk toward market dominance before the end of 2018. He plans do this in close collaboration with his VP of Operations, François Pierre, and a Board of Directors composed of several pillars of the solar industry and the investment sector.

Quebec potential

“There are so few subsidies to encourage the sector in Quebec that it’s very difficult to opt for solar energy when you live here, unless you’re off the Hydro-Quebec grid,” mentions Lennie. “It’s more profitable elsewhere in Canada because of government subsidies and the higher price of kilowatt hours, making it a more appealing option for users,” he specifies.

Eager to see the alternative energy sector gain momentum here, Lennie enjoys sharing his experiences with other Montreal companies. “I would have loved to know more entrepreneurial mentors when I started,” he says. Motivating and mobilizing the troops is rather second nature for the Sofdesk CEO, who was a rapper before becoming an entrepreneur. So grabbing the mic in front a crowded conference hall is by no means a huge feat for him.

Source: Mélanie Pilon, writer for the Vitrine Star Tech


Be a part of technopolys!

23May 2018

When we changed our business model, which was a really major shift towards a new adventure, I didn’t know of any other company in Quebec City that had adopted this SaaS model. There were so few players we could consult to find out how best to go about it, that we decided to design and test a prototype ourselves.
– Johanne Devin, CEO and Co-founder of WebSelf

WebSelf provides website creation tools that are simple, powerful and affordable, or free, to more than 3 million users in over 165 countries. Offering maximum functionality to people who want to develop their own website without having strong technological skills, the platform makes it easy for them, whether setting up a showcase site or an online store. “Even though it’s a standardized environment, we offer great flexibility and many features that can satisfy at least 99% of our customers’ needs,” indicates Johanne.

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09May 2018

Our clients, such as festivals like Francofolies de Montréal or Igloo Fest, appreciate not only that our solution saves them time and money, but also that they know exactly where their festivalgoers come from. Are they only in town for the two days of the event or are they extending their stay to discover the city? How many nights? Alone or accompanied, and by whom? In short, it’s all this data that represents a compelling advantage for our partners.
– Andrew Lockhead, CEO and Co-founder of Stay22

Stay22, an aggregator that lists nearly 6.5 million properties in 200 countries, helps travellers find the best accommodation options near the upcoming events they plan to attend. “We’ve targeted the niche of event management platforms, business conferences, festivals and more, which sets us apart in the huge online travel solutions market,” says Andrew.

Through agreements with partners such as Airbnb, but also with systems like Travelport and HotelsCombined, Stay22 offers visitors a hub that bringsall search resources together in one place, greatly simplifying the planning experience. Everything is adjusted on an interactive map that integrates directly with the event organizer’s website, ticket office or other online destination where users find themselves.

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02May 2018

Up until 2010, we often wondered if we wanted to invest in product development. Like many companies at the time, we were focussing on services in order to finance potential products. In the end, we decided to let go of the idea of designing products, because our service offering was really solid. After that, our growth curve was impressive, turning our 23-person team into the 150-person organization we are today.
– Stéphane Rouleau, President and Co-founder of Spiria

When I ask Stéphane to describe Spiria and their value proposition, he explains that the management team is actually trying to update their definition: “After 15 years of existence, it’s important to revisit it… simply said, we’re a digital solutions firm. Our clients call upon us to solve the digital components of their problems, due to lack of knowledge, resources or time on their part. In co-creation with them, we develop the best technology to optimize their activities.”

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