Spotlight on Copperleaf

Describe your company and its product.

Copperleaf is an award-winning company that designs, develops, and sells decision analytics software to utilities and other companies managing critical infrastructure to improve their performance. Our enterprise software solutions leverage operational and financial data to help our clients decide when and where to invest in their businesses to optimize performance and manage risk for the future.

What year did your company start?

We were founded in 2000.

Which city (or cities) are you located? 

Our head office is located in Vancouver, BC. We have remote teams throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Describe your company culture in three words.

  • Innovative
  • Collaborative
  • Customer-centric

How do you celebrate company or employee wins? 

We have ‘go-live’ celebrations that feature the cuisine inspired by our customer’s regional foods and culture. We also celebrate the 10-year anniversary of employees with a company-wide gathering, where we present the employee with something meaningful that they choose, and a Lamborghini. OK not a real one .

What is the problem that you are trying to solve?

Copperleaf helps our customers identify the optimal mix of projects to balance risk, benefits, and future investment needs while bringing rigor, discipline, and transparency to the decision-making process to design their future. 

Utilities and other companies managing critical infrastructure are uniquely challenged: aging infrastructure increases the risk of asset failures (resulting in loss of service or environmental/safety incidents), yet performance expectations are increasing, while financial constraints are tightening. Every spending decision requires careful analysis to mitigate the most serious risk and deliver the greatest value. It requires a level of complexity in decision making and data analytics that’s impossible to undertake with spreadsheets or traditional tools.

What is your biggest milestone to date? 

We’ve been fortunate enough to achieve a few milestones this past year. We welcomed a strategic investment from National Grid Partners and will use the capital to fund innovation and growth into new markets and geographies worldwide.

We have also doubled the size of our global sales team, and Copperleaf C55, our decision analytics solution, now manages assets valued at over $650B globally.

What is your biggest challenge?

As one of Canada’s fastest growing companies, scaling up successfully is a big challenge. Trying to maintain and evolve our unique culture while keeping up with our high growth rate is especially challenging.

What is your motto?

Building a better world, one decision at a time.

How are you making an impact?

Billions of dollars are being invested each year to manage the infrastructure and assets we rely on every day. We help organizations develop quantitative methods to develop plans for the future by prioritizing investment decisions to address environmental, safety, social and economic challenges and opportunities.

We hope to create positive change in the world by helping our customers drive sustainability and growth for future generations.

What is your hope for the future of tech in BC?

We hope that tech in BC continues its successful growth as one of the leading sectors of our economy. Our province is full of innovative and talented people and it’s exciting to see tech startups develop and grow into some of the industry’s biggest players.

Lightning Round with Judi Hess, CEO of Copperleaf

What excites you about your job?

Seeing customers adopt our solutions and get exceptional value from doing so. And of course, working with some of the best people around.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

Being a female leader in a male-dominated tech world.

If you can give advice to your 20 year-old self, what would you say? (1-2 sentences)

Pick your battles – not everything is worth fighting for! And focus on creating value!

What are your pet peeves?

When people don’t do what they say they’re going to do.

Words of wisdom to other tech CEOs or founders?

Determination to create value can help overcome a myriad of deficiencies.

Favourite city you visited?

Vancouver; but my second favourite would be Geneva.

What is your formula for success?

Deliver your customers exceptional value and an extraordinary experience and appreciate the people who made that possible.

Name one book that everyone should read.

“Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari

How do you decompress?

Yoga and escape through reading a good book!

Favourite movie?

“I Am Not Your Negro” by James Baldwin and “Darkest Hour”