Skip to main content

Etienne Lacroix, left, and Max Windisch, co-founders of Vention, a digital machine manufacturing platform, at their company offices in Montreal last week.

Dario Ayala/For The Globe and Mail

Vention Inc., a rapidly-growing Montreal startup that enables industrial manufacturing professionals to create, design and order custom equipment with a few mouse clicks, has secured $17-million in venture financing led by Bain Capital Ventures and backed by previous investors White Star Capital, Bolt Innovation Management and Real Ventures.

“We’re building the next generation of industrial giant,” said Etienne Lacroix, an inventor and former McKinsey & Co. consultant whose firm grew to 44 employees from nine in the past year. Mr. Lacroix said revenue, which he declined to disclose, increased revenue 600 per cent during that period and he anticipates it will more than triple this year. “We’re in a market that is so big we know there’s a path to reach $1-billion in revenue.”

Vention has created a platform that simplifies and speeds up the process for manufacturers to source the equipment they use to make the machines they sell. The 2½-year-old startup is a combination of 3-D computer-aided design software, hardware designer, parts supplier and e-commerce firm.

Story continues below advertisement

The company’s customers, industrial manufacturing professionals, create custom equipment for their factories and test facilities – ranging from test benches and pallet stackers to contraptions that move robots along assembly lines – on Vention’s free drag-and-drop web-based software design program. They can then order the parts used in the design from Vention, which has a library of 500 components, as well as more than 400 ready-to-order designs that users have contributed to the platform, on the company’s e-commerce portal. Vention employees assemble the kits and ship them by courier for next-day delivery. That shaves months off the typical process for manufacturers to get custom equipment into operation, which in turn speeds up production. Vention now has hundreds of customers globally, including General Electric, Bombardier, Tesla and Siemens, up from 60 a year ago.

“The underlying opportunity is the fact there’s a desire to drive more speed and agility inside the world of manufacturing,” said Ajay Agarwal, a partner with Bain, which was an early backer of warehouse robot maker Kiva Systems, bought by Amazon for US$775-million in 2012. “Vention has really hit on a nerve here and a huge market need … I think the biggest opportunity for the company is scaling up awareness.”

Order sizes range widely from $1,000 to $100,000 for its assembly kits, and much of the business comes from repeat customers. “They’ve proven their product is sticky and those customers are coming back and purchasing more equipment,” said White Star managing partner Jean-François Marcoux.

Mr. Lacroix, a former GE product manager who co-founded the company with chief technology officer Max Windisch two years ago, said Vention would use the funds to expand its software platform and components library, increase marketing and triple its distribution capacity with a new warehouse near the airport in Montreal. He said Vention is quickly outgrowing its 8,000 square-foot space in the city’s St-Henri neighbourhood.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter