September 29th, 2014
On Monday September 22nd, nearly eighty Maine entrepreneurs, investors, and business professionals gathered to recognize the accomplishments of the twenty-six Maine Venture Fund (“MVF”) portfolio companies. It was an inspiring evening filled with networking, collaboration, conversation, and special recognition for three impressive Maine companies.
“The Maine Venture Fund mission is a dual one; profitably invest in Maine based companies, and contribute to the prosperity of Maine through those investments, not just through the financial returns to the Fund but through the growth of interesting, skilled, exciting jobs that provide good benefits, connect employees financially to the success of their companies, and connect employees to their communities,” says Maine Venture Fund’s Managing Director, John Burns. “We selected Certify to receive our Public Benefit Award, as they have meaningfully contributed to Maine’s prosperity in all of those ways.”
Certify, Inc., a Portland-based company led by CEO Bob Neveu, offers a leading cloud-based travel and expense management solution for companies of all sizes. Its economic contributions to Maine include nearly tripling its workforce, offering and adding attractive employee benefits, and encouraging community involvement.
“Certify is pleased to have Maine Venture Fund as an equity growth partner. Our motto is ‘Happy employees make for happy clients,’ and we are hiring and investing in great people to build our business. This award is a clear indication that we are both doing right by our employees, and also being a good corporate citizen, while enjoying the benefits of being in Maine. It’s a great combination and we are extremely pleased to be recognized for these efforts,” says CEO Bob Neveu.
The Leadership Team of the Year award went to Abierto Networks, LLC, of Elliot, Maine. Abierto is a leading provider of digital marketing and point of sale solutions for the convenience store industry and beyond. According to MVF Investment Manager and Observer to the Abierto Board of Managers, Jayme Okma Lee, “Abierto’s management team, anchored by President Rick Sales and Board Chairman Roger Brooks, are a leading example of ‘how to’ lead a private company that has raised outside capital. Abierto’s management prowess has added to the company’s success by landing new customers and through developing a strong, transparent and open relationship with the company’s employees and stakeholders.”
Rick Sales, Abierto’s President says that, “We are honored to be recognized in this way and the entire team at Abierto has worked tirelessly to fulfill our mission and increase the value of what we do. The Maine Venture Fund has provided a great deal of financial and advisory support to us and we would not be where we are today without their help.”
Interspec, Inc., led by Gilles Letourneau, walked away with the Achievement Award for successfully restructuring the company to better position it for even greater success. The Portland-based company provides services and software for the creation of specification documents for the architectural and engineering industry (AEC). Matt Hoffner, chairman of Interspec stated, “Over the last four months, the company has made a number of difficult decisions to streamline, restructure and invest in new opportunities. I am pleased that the recent results seem to indicate that we are gaining momentum and greater success. The employees deserve an enormous amount of credit for their work and dedication during this difficult period.”
Gilles Letourneau, the president, added, “Due to the strength of our core products, we have been very pleased to weather this latest downturn in the building construction industry. We are prepared to take advantage of the inevitable upswing in construction spending, propelled by our greater resiliency and the current trends of expansion. With some fine tuning of InterSpec’s strategic plan and the introduction of data mining products, we predict strong growth and our continued leadership in the BIM technology and specifications software market.”