Tech startup bought in multimillion-dollar deal 

Guestfolio's growth a homegrown success story

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - breaking through Guestfolio CEO Duane Hepditch smashes through an office wall in 2015, after the company doubled its office space and staff.
  • photo submitted
  • breaking through Guestfolio CEO Duane Hepditch smashes through an office wall in 2015, after the company doubled its office space and staff.

A sledgehammer is not a tool often found in office settings, but local tech startup Guestfolio has made good use of theirs over the years.

"As we've grown, we've had to punch through into different office walls and office space in our Function (Junction) building... we would just smash through the walls and have a little ceremony," said Guestfolio CEO Duane Hepditch.

And in light of a recent big-money announcement, they should keep the sledgehammer handy.

On Nov. 29, Boca Raton, Fla.-based tech company Cendyn announced it had acquired Guestfolio — terms of the agreement weren't disclosed, but Hepditch confirmed it to be a multimillion-dollar deal.

Both companies offer a service for hoteliers known as Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

"Cendyn is basically the world's leading CRM provider, so they provide services to enterprise customers and they're exceptionally great at it, and where we fit in is that we are arguably best in class when it comes to the boutique and independent hotels and providing that marketing platform for them," Hepditch explained.

"So Cendyn saw this as a great opportunity to now have two products that are non-competitive in the same space... so regardless if you're an independent hotel or if you're a huge enterprise property, Cendyn will now have a solution."

The main advantage for Guestfolio is being able to leverage Cendyn's global infrastructure, Hepditch said.

"We have well over 700 hotels that we're servicing on an ongoing basis around the world, and the majority of them are in foreign markets, and it's put a lot of stress on our local team here," Hepditch said.

"As a software service we need to be responsive during their business hours, so this was critical to us to help us kind of grow quickly into those markets."

And Guestfolio knows a thing or two about growth.

When it was founded in Whistler in 2007, it consisted of two people and a single customer.

Today Guestfolio employs 22 people in Whistler, one in Kelowna and another two in London, U.K.

Hepditch credits the company's success to a "massive team effort."

"We've been fortunate to employ some amazing people and work with amazing customers who have contributed in many ways," he said. "It's been a testament to their dedication and a shared vision."

With the acquisition, the company — now operating out of 120 square metres in Whistler Village — will remain an independent brand based out of Whistler.

"We get to maintain our identity but we'll probably be growing our infrastructure... we're going to be looking for more developers, we're going to be looking for people in our customer-success team, so as a local business this is definitely going to help us grow," Hepditch said.

"We're going to be looking to get the sledgehammer out again, for sure, based on this news."


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