Difference Capital (TSX:DCF) today announced that former Descartes CEO Art Mesher will join its board.
Cantech Letter caught up with Mesher this morning and asked for his thoughts on joining the publicly traded merchant bank.
“I believe there is a strong need for a research driven merchant bank with advisory services focused on thematic investing both for growth companies but investors as well, he said. “This fits what i like to do where I can be a catalytic influence and truly make a difference. Pun intended.”
After nearly becoming a dot-bomb casualty, former Gartner analyst Mesher rescued Descartes, which he estimated was days away from folding. Mesher famously fired all the company’s sales staff and turned its engineers to more customer facing roles. The company has since become a leader in global logistics technology; solutions that help its customers make and receive shipments. During his tenure with the company, Descartes market cap rose from under $100-million to nearly a billion.
“Art executed one of the most dramatic turnarounds in Canadian corporate history,” said current Difference Capital Managing Director Tom Liston following Mesher’s resignation from Descartes. “Descartes had $30-million in debt and 30-million in cash and Art was able to restructure the company and build a first class culture of service. We spoke to dozens of customers over the years and the common element was Descartes employees all shared this culture of service and ensured their clients were successful. He led to the company from a nearly untenable position to over $920 million in market cap today.”
Toronto-based Difference Capital has raised more than $180-million and made investments into notable Canadian techs such as BuildDirect, Vision Critical, Vena Solutions, and BTI Systems. Mesher will join industry veterans such as Jamie Brown, Neil Johnson and Tom Astle at the firm.