In an airy open-concept office, employees mill about with laptops and tablets, gathering in small groups to brainstorm ideas while sipping coffee. Whiteboards covered in colorful scribbles and diagrams line the walls. At first glance, it looks like any other modern tech startup space. But this is the Montreal headquarters of Vooban, one of Canada’s leading artificial intelligence companies.
Vooban has experienced explosive growth in recent years, now employing over 130 people across its four offices in Montreal and Quebec City. The company offers a full suite of AI capabilities, including computer vision, predictive analytics, conversational interfaces, and more. But beyond developing cutting-edge technology, Vooban has a bigger mission – to make AI accessible and understandable for organizations and individuals alike.
“We want to demystify artificial intelligence and prove it’s not some far-fetched concept only in sci-fi movies,” said Hugues Foltz, Vooban’s Executive Vice President. “It’s a technology that already exists and is readily available to help businesses and people solve real problems. Our role is to spread awareness and provide the tools to use AI effectively.”
This educational focus manifests through the over 50 conferences and webinars Vooban conducts annually. The company emerged as a thought leader in the AI space by explaining complex topics in plain language and demonstrating practical applications across industries. Vooban has presented at events for companies ranging from manufacturing, logistics, construction, and health providers.
“The response has been extremely positive so far. People leave our talks feeling inspired and empowered,” said Foltz. “That’s the ultimate goal – to convince as many individuals and businesses as possible to embrace AI now rather than viewing it as some distant future technology.”
Propelling this sense of urgency is Foltz’s deep passion for digital transformation as a driver of productivity and economic growth. With over 20 years advising enterprises on strategic technology implementation, he has seen firsthand how quickly advancements like AI can optimize costs, boost efficiency, and open up new revenue streams.
“Canada currently ranks near the bottom of developed countries for productivity. To turn this around, our businesses must accelerate adoption of innovations like AI,” Foltz explained. “The impact goes far beyond profits – it means more high-quality jobs and prosperity for all citizens. We want to do our part to push Canada forward.”
This vision resonates throughout Vooban’s unique culture. Despite its rapid expansion to over 130 employees, the company retains a dynamic, collaborative atmosphere where bold ideas thrive. Vooban prides itself on diversity, with women representing half of the executive leadership team. Employees are encouraged to take initiative and are supported with competitive benefits like flexible work options, wellness incentives, and professional development resources.
“We foster an environment where people feel empowered to create without limits,” said Foltz. “Trust is fundamental – we know that when employees feel genuinely valued, they will naturally put their best into each project.”
This approach seems to be working, as Vooban continues to earn major contracts from prominent brands across North America. The company recently used AI to lower CO2 emissions by 6,000 metric tons a year for a company that offers marine solutions and manages the largest fleet of self-unloading vessels, with 96 units to their credit. AI-enabled this company to decrease average fuel consumption by 3% for its fleet.
But unlike most AI firms, Vooban handles projects end-to-end rather than simply providing ad hoc consulting or pre-packaged software. Cross-functional teams comprising data scientists, engineers, designers, business analysts, and more ensure seamless execution from start to finish.
“Our breadth of expertise is truly unique in the marketplace. We can deliver a complete tailored solution tailored to each client’s needs, no matter how complex,” Foltz explained.
This holistic capacity partly stems from Vooban’s renowned Problem Framing and Project Shaping approach. Intensive upfront workshops help identify and prioritize the most critical business issues to tackle. The focus stays on rapid ROI, limiting the risk of scope creep down the line.
“By really listening and aligning objectives early on, we consistently exceed expectations,” said Foltz. “Our clients are thrilled at how much more value they gain compared to typical vendor relationships.”
Yet despite Vooban’s undeniable progress, Foltz remains dedicated to the journey of continuous improvement. He plans to build on the company’s strengths while expanding into new industries like healthcare, education, and sustainability. True to its mission, Vooban will also ramp up free educational offerings to empower more people to leverage AI and analytics.
“This technology represents an unprecedented opportunity to drive human progress through data-driven decisions. We’re committed to unlocking its potential for the benefit of as many as possible,” Foltz concluded. “The future is here – now it’s up to us to shape it.”