“Network with peer CFOs from the same industry, who have been through similar experiences. Also, surround yourself with consultants, accountants, lawyers, and compensation consultants who have relevant experience in your industry and companies of similar size.” – Jean Laviqueur, CFO, Coveo
Unlike many of his finance leader peers, Jean Lavigueur has little difficulty in identifying where and when his path to the CFO office began.
It was back in the early to mid-1990s, he recalls, when—after he had spent nearly 10 years with PwC—a charismatic entrepreneur client named Louis Têtu convinced him to join his supply chain start-up.
Although this company was soon thereafter sold to Baan, Têtu and Lavigueur found that they had unmistakable chemistry—or at least this is what we must assume, given that 25 years later, the two Canadian entrepreneurs have built not one but two other successful companies together.Read More
The first was Taleo, a talent management company that the two men cofounded in 1999 and took public in 2006. In 2012, Teleo was sold to Oracle for $1.9 billion. Their present firm is AI-powered e-commerce company Coveo, which recently raised $215 million when it went public on the Toronto stock exchange.
Today, as a seasoned CFO, Lavigueur implores his CFO peers to widen their lenses.
“With every crisis, there is an opportunity,” he observes, before recounting how nearly a decade ago, Microsoft—one of Coveo’s largest development partners—acquired his firm’s largest rival, precipitating a nail-biting challenge that led Coveo to make a strategic pivot.
“We used the crisis to accelerate toward the cloud,” explains Lavigueur, who adds that the company fueled its new cloud ambitions in part by forging a stronger relationship with Microsoft rival Salesforce, whose offerings—unlike those of Microsoft—were entirely cloud-based.
Advises Lavigueur: “When you see a crisis, use it to get better.” –Jack Sweeney
Made Possible By
CFOTL: Tell us about this … what does it do, and what are its offerings?
Lavigueur: Coveo is the third start-up for Louie and me. It’s enterprise search. Think of Google for the enterprise, right? If you’re a midsize or large enterprise and you want to do e-commerce on your website, you need a great search partner so that the Search box on your website can help your own customers to find your products. This is what we do.
E-commerce is an obvious one for search because the first thing that you do when you go on an e-commerce website is to search. We also are able to help with customer service, too—making sure that you have the latest software drivers, for example. This is also an obvious thing that we do.Read More
We also do enterprise search inside organizations. Think of your intranets, where you would find the employee manual. This was another RFP that we did for another company. So, we’re very proud of being able to do a number of things.
Over the years, one of the great things that we did here at Coveo came about after we had started out selling software on-prem—that is, on our customers’ servers. Everything then was transitioning to the cloud, but this wasn’t too obvious because most of the data that we would be searching would be inside our companies’ data centers. But as most enterprise apps such as Salesforce went to the cloud, we of course also transitioned. This allowed us to build great machine learning and AI models inside our app, which was when the business really took off.
We completed the IPO last fall. We’re committed to presenting a plan to Wall Street research analysts, so right now I’m extremely focused on delivering that. As you know, it’s all about “beating and raising.” We’re hyper-focused on delivering what we promised to our investors when we did the road show and to the analysts who are even now publishing reports about our company.
Coveo | www.coveo.com | Quebec City, Quebec