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Former B.C. unicorn Copperleaf wins YVR asset-management contract

Technology will help Vancouver International Airport manage infrastructure and investment-planning to get the biggest bang for its bucks
Passengers use a moving walkway at Vancouver International Airpoort

The Vancouver Airport Authority (VAA) has selected Vancouver-based Copperleaf Technologies Inc. (TSX:CPLF) to supply software to help manage assets at the VAA's Vancouver International Airport (YVR), and improve capital-investment planning. 

The technology will help the VAA more clearly evaluate, prioritize and plan how best to invest to mitigate risk and achieve strategic goals as cost effectively as possible, according to the VAA.

"We continually look to leverage new and innovative ways to strengthen our role as a diverse global hub while aligning YVR to the future growth and needs of B.C.," said the VAA's president and CEO, Tamara Vrooman in a statement.

"This includes creating investment plans for our airport infrastructure and land assets that reduce risk, while providing the highest value from our infrastructure renewal funding. I am confident our team will benefit from Copperleaf's dynamic solution and look forward to our work together."

YVR's Strategic Plan discusses asset management, or how to ensure that its assets are not run down and are operating as well as possible.

Its decision to go with a local technology provider is welcome news for Copperleaf, which has seen its share price decline and then hold steady following the company bursting out of the gate with an initial public offering in October 2021, which saw it reach what investors sometimes call "unicorn" status, or a start-up company that has reached a valuation more than US$1 billion.

Its valuation after that Oct. 7, 2021 IPO was about $1.3 billion, or around US$1 billion. It briefly saw its share price rise from there.

The company is likely best known for developing software that helps clients who manage critical infrastructure – such as electricity generation or natural gas distribution – make investment decisions.

It began as a consultancy group in 2000, but the CEO at the time, Judi Hess, who served as president of software firm Creo Inc. when it was sold to Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE:KODK) for US$980 million, began shifting it to software products geared towards asset management after she took over leadership reins in 2009.

Hess then transitioned out of Copperleaf in late 2022, and president Paul Sakrzewski became CEO at the start of 2023.

"Copperleaf is looking forward to working with YVR to clearly link their ambitious strategic outcomes with capital and resource allocation, and achieve an optimal balance between costs, risks, level of service, and sustainability," Sakrzewski said today.

Copperleaf's market capitalization is now slightly more than $500 million.

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