We were pleased this week to announce our successful exit from Sofdesk with the sale of the company to Enphase Energy. The exit from this company would never have happened without the elements of teamwork across both the management team and the board. Both shared a common objective to build a great company with a differentiated technology that addressed a significant market opportunity in the solar and roofing markets.
When I first met the CEO, Lennie Moreno, back in 2016, what struck me the most about him was the incredible energy, tenacity, passion and entrepreneurial spirit he had about the business and his team. This was a guy who lived in his office when he first started the company and drove across the US to one of our annual meetings. He stopped in every state on his way from Montreal, and closed sales all the way to California. A true entrepreneur in every sense of the word! One of the key components of being a great entrepreneur is the ability to listen to others and recognize when you need to bring on new team members that help build up strength in your weak spots. Lennie listened to the advice of the board and others to build a great management team. The addition of key senior management members including Jimmy Abraham (COO), Dan Pham (CTO) and Julie St. Pierre (Finance) helped take the company to the next level in its growth path and added a significant degree of structure and consistency to the company. Special thanks to these team members for all your hard work and dedication to the strategy!
From a board perspective, we were lucky enough to find two incredible Independent Board Members, Kelcy Pegler Jr. and Michelle Magee, through our search firm partners at Hobbs & Towne (Dan Cremins). Kelcy Pegler Jr., who became Executive Chair of the board, provided strategic advice and direction to the management team and the board, and helped deal with the many “bumps in the road” that all start-ups go through. Kelcy is truly an exceptional entrepreneur and we truly appreciate all he did to help make this company a success story. Michelle Magee was incredibly valuable in working with the company on their marketing strategy and providing significant value as chair of the Compensation Committee.
I have been in the venture industry over 20 years, and one of the key components to building a successful company is to have a strong investor syndicate that is aligned and focused on achieving its goals. In the case of Sofdesk, the investor base was totally aligned in the strategy. We all worked together to help provide our perspectives to the management team, added value to them as they experienced challenges, and supported them in every way we could. The lead investors in the 1st round of funding in 2017 were EnerTech and BDC, and we were fortunate to have Tony Van Bommel from BDC as our partner. Tony and I go back 20+years in the cleantech space and have a core philosophical alignment on how to help build strong companies; both bringing complementary skills to the board and influence to the management team. Tony brings incredible value as a partner, and EnerTech was proud to have him and BDC alongside of us on this deal.
The 2nd round of funding for the company in 2019 saw the addition of a new Strategic Investor, Generac, and new Board Member, Keith Marett. Keith provided significant value through his insight as a former entrepreneur and as strategic corporate investor in the company. Keith’s insight into the Sofdesk software platform was invaluable to the management team as they started to sell their product more broadly to the market. We would also like to thank Karl Theard at Desjardins for his investment support in the round and the many connections he introduced to the company.
It was only through the combination of this magical mix of all of the skills of the management team, board and investors that led to the success of the company.
They say “it takes a village” to achieve success and we were lucky enough to have the rare combination of teamwork, entrepreneurial spirt and grit to make this possible.
Cheers to all for this immense success!