Caisse invests $200M in company that lets air passengers bid on upgrades
Plusgrade's signature product allows passengers to bid in real time on upgrading, for example, to a premium cabin from economy
MONTREAL – The Caisse de depot et placement has invested $200 million in a Quebec technology company that helps airlines generate additional revenues by allowing travellers to bid on upgrades.
Quebec’s pension fund manager says the investment in Plusgrade will help the nine-year-old company to penetrate new international markets and expand its products that help airlines add revenues by optimizing their seat inventory.
Its signature product allows passengers to bid in real time on upgrading, for example, to a premium cabin from economy.
The company is expanding its Montreal headquarters and offices in New York and Singapore.
The Caisse acquired a portion of the shares held by private equity firm TA Associates, that will continue to be a major shareholder along with management and other investors.
More than 70 travel companies around the world use Plusgrade, including Air Canada, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.
“We plan on getting much deeper in our home-court vertical, which is airline, and in expanding much wider into other verticals – we just started successfully into cruise line,” Plusgrade CEO and founder Ken Harris said in an interview.
The Caisse says the investment is aligned with its strategy of supporting the growth of Quebec companies that prioritize innovation to drive their international development.
“We like partnering with Canadian businesses that have expansion projects all around the globe, so it’s exactly in line with our strategy,” added Justin Methot, vice-president responsible for private investments in Quebec.