Montreal Gazette

Creaform founder wins award

FIRM MAKES 3-D LASER SCAN­NERS Top auto com­pa­nies among its clients

- MIKE KING THE GAZETTE

Get­ting his startup com­pany up and fly­ing in only three years has earned Martin Lamon­tagne the ti­tle of Que­bec’s top young en­tre­pre­neur for 2006, as se­lected by the Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Bank of Canada.

The 33-year-old co-founder and vice-pres­i­dent of laser­scan­ning firm Creaform Inc. was hon­oured along with win­ners from the other prov­inces at a cer­e­mony in Moncton, N.B., last night.

“Martin stands out as a role model for young Cana­dian en­trepreneur­s,” BDC pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive Jean-René Halde said.

“In a short time, Creaform has made im­pres­sive in­roads in for­eign mar­kets and built a solid in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion,” he added. “It’s a plea­sure to rec­og­nize Martin’s pas­sion, drive and ex­cel­lence with this award.”

Lamon­tagne ac­knowl­edged “2005 was a great year for us.”

“We dou­bled our size and our ex­port vol­umes plus we launched the Handyscan 3D. We’ve had suc­cess with the prod­uct al­ready and we haven’t even fully de­vel­oped our dis­tri­bu­tion net­work.”

The Handyscan is the first self-po­si­tion, hand­held 3D laser cam­era that gives real­time three-di­men­sional ren­der­ing vi­su­al­iza­tion. The file can then be ex­ported in any stan­dard for­mat.

Creaform, which re­ceived a startup loan of about $200,000 from the BDC in 2002, sold the 100th unit of its patented hand­held 3-D laser scan­ner last month to a Michi­gan­based global au­to­mo­tive sup­plier to be used in its tech­ni­cal cen­tre in France.

Be­sides Vis­teon Corp., other auto com­pany clients in­clude Honda Mo­tor Co., Re­nault and Daim­lerChrysle­r.

Creaform got its start when Lamon­tagne joined forces with two for­mer col­leagues from St. Laurent re­search- and- de­vel­op­ment firm Modelex (now Axis Pro­to­types Inc.). In 2005, ex­ports ac­counted for 51 per cent of its busi­ness.

The part­ners were find­ing it dif­fi­cult to pierce the lu­cra­tive U.S. mar­ket at the out­set, but re­sponded to in­ter­est in France by open­ing a sub­sidiary – Euro­form – in Paris.

Creaform re­cently added sales direc­tors – one for “the Amer­i­cas and the rest of the world,” the other for Asia and Europe.

Its ef­forts south of the border and over­seas have started to pay off. The staff has gone from the orig­i­nal three in 2002 to a work­force of 80 and there are plans to add 20 new em­ploy­ees a year if cur­rent ex­pan­sion con­tin­ues.

Last year’s $5-mil­lion earn- ings are on tar­get to dou­ble in 2006 with rev­enues ex­pected to in­crease by 50 per cent an­nu­ally in the next few years.

Lamon­tagne, who has a de­gree in me­chan­ics from the Univer­sité de Sher­brooke and an MBA from Univer­sité Laval, said the com­pany, which op­er­ates out of the Que­bec City sub­urb of Lévis, stresses cus­tomer ser­vice.

“Most com­pa­nies just man­u­fac­ture laser scan­ners and de­liver them to the cus­tomer,” he said. “We tai­lor our ser­vice of­fer­ings to the client’s pre­cise in­dus­try needs.”

Creaform also pro­vides on-site tech­ni­cians who work with clients on laser­scan in­spec­tion or date ac­qui­si­tion.

 ?? COUR­TESY OF THE BUSI­NESS DE­VEL­OP­MENT BANK OF CANADA ?? Martin Lamon­tagne, co-founder and pres­i­dent of Lévis-based Creaform Inc., won for the Handyscan 3D cam­era, which the com­pany de­vel­oped and now man­u­fac­tures.
COUR­TESY OF THE BUSI­NESS DE­VEL­OP­MENT BANK OF CANADA Martin Lamon­tagne, co-founder and pres­i­dent of Lévis-based Creaform Inc., won for the Handyscan 3D cam­era, which the com­pany de­vel­oped and now man­u­fac­tures.

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