Who says you can’t come home again?
During what looked like a Covid-19 press conference earlier today, Sonder cofounder Martin Picard appeared with Quebec Premier François Legault and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon to announce a significant expansion of the company’s operations in Montreal. To be exact, Sonder has promised 700 new jobs for the city in which it was founded back in the summer of 2012.
The company currently has more than 100 employees in Montreal, but had moved its headquarters to the Bay Area a couple of years ago, presumably to be closer to U.S. investors. It worked!
Since August of 2018 the company has raised a series C of $85 million, a series D of $225 million and a series E of $170 million just a few months ago in the midst of the pandemic. That’s $480 million USD in under 2 years. It’s also well over $600 million Canadian. This company is a true Montreal unicorn.
At today’s press conference, Sonder declared it will be establishing an international growth centre here in Montreal. It’s an ambitious idea expected to cost over $180 million by the time it’s complete in 2025. To help cover the costs, Legault and Fitzgibbon we happy to announce that Investissement Québec will provide Sonder a loan of $30 million to get things started. They were also very pleased to declare that the salaries for these hundreds of new jobs would be incredibly, averaging around an astonishing $140,000 per year.
Part of the Investissement Quebec loan is also forgivable if certain criteria are met.
There had been rumblings in the city’s tech sector for some time that Sonder was looking to establish an Amazon-style HQ2 somewhere other than Silicon Valley. While Sonder’s growth has been meteoric it hasn’t quite reached Amazon status yet. Still, Montrealers were hopeful this project would pan out in their favour and it appears today that it has.
Fitzgibbon told media “Our government worked hard with Investissement Québec to land Sonder’s investment in Montreal,” adding later “It is not every day that we announce projects that will create 700 jobs.”
While Sonder’s head office will officially remain in California, functions like customer service, administrative services and of course, tech development, will be taking place in Montreal. This, presumably for costs reasons.
With thousands of spaces in 35 markets, Sonder operates properties for short or long-term stays. With 24/7 contactless service, cleaning that exceeds CDC recommendations, and other quality amenities the company can provide hospitality for more than 800,000 people each year.