Caisse Invests $200 Million into Travel Tech Firm Plusgrade

Noted Canadian investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is making a big bet that experiences are worth more than actual goods and products.

Caisse has announced a $200 million investment into the travel technology firm Plusgrade. The investment comes as an equity interest and values the Montreal-based Plusgrade at over $600 million.

Plusgrade is a travel-oriented platform that is a leader in upsell solutions. They provide ancillary revenue and merchandising options to some of the biggest travel suppliers in the world, reaching more than 50 countries in total. Essentially, Plusgrade powers the tech behind the bidding processes involved in upgrading seats when travelling on a plane. They are able to provide an effortless platform that can maximize unsold premium seats and space, increasing the overall income coming back to an airline company.

“Plusgrade has a unique and innovative business model that is revolutionizing practices in its industry. Meeting an airline industry need, their products have been quickly marketed around the world in the last few years,” said Mathieu Gauvin, Quebec SVP at Québec, at Caisse. “This investment is aligned with our strategy of supporting the growth of Québec companies that prioritize innovation to drive their international development.”

With this new investment, Plusgrade will massively expand their Montreal office as well as their New York City and Singapore locations. The company will also look to expand their partners, which now include brands like Air Canada, Lufthansa and more.

The investment transaction involved Caisse acquiring a portion of shares held by TA Associates, another large equity firm. TA will remain as a major shareholder.

“We are very excited to welcome la Caisse as our new institutional investment partner as we accelerate our growth into new markets and verticals,” said Ken Harris, founder and CEO of Plusgrade. “The confidence that la Caisse and TA Associates have shown in Plusgrade is a testament to the value that our talented team is delivering across our global footprint of travel suppliers. We look forward to la Caisse joining our Board and providing valuable guidance as we pursue our strategic growth initiatives.”

Plusgrade has continually grown as a tech company, landing on the 2016 and 2017 Deloitte Fast 50 lists as well as taking home the 2018 Technology Fast 50 Leadership award.