A true pioneer in clean technology investment, Cycle Capital is Canada’s largest private platform for venture capital investment in cleantech, with more than half a billion dollars under management. With offices in Montreal, Toronto and Qingdao, China, as well as a presence in New York and Seattle, Cycle Capital invests in North American and Chinese businesses in the growth and commercialization phase that have developed technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and optimizing resources and processes with an eye toward sustainability. The platform is also comprised of business incubator and innovation engine Cycle Momentum and innovation zone Cycle Central.

The challenge

To support its vision of innovation propelled into the heart of the environmental transition of the world’s economies, Cycle Capital needed to more clearly articulate the founding principles of its brand, present it in a coherent and inspiring manner for all its stakeholders, and establish a brand architecture to maximize the synergy and impact among the platform’s three organizations.

The Cycle Capital team called on BrandBourg to support it through this important process, which included:

  • optimizing the company’s brand architecture and creating new names for two of the three entities under the umbrella of the parent brand;
  • refining the company’s mission and value statements;
  • articulating an ambitious vision;
  • developing an inclusive brand promise;
  • defining parameters for brand expression;
  • completely overhauling the brand’s visual identity.

Firm in its conviction that no one knows the brand as well as the people who bring it to life on a daily basis, we implemented the participatory approach that is BrandBourg’s caling card to maximize decisional relevance and elicit stakeholder adherence.

Within the singular context of the pandemic, new digital tools were developed that made it possible to carry out the entire process in a safe manner, while maintaining the emotional proximity needed to reveal the company’s DNA. Thus, thorough interviews with the managers and strategy workshops with the management team made it possible to bring added depth, coherence and poise to the Cycle Capital brand.

The response

Brand names and architecture

With a corporate mission to enable entrepreneurs, investors and businesses to find innovative solutions to the weighty environmental issues humanity faces, Cycle Capital’s name could not be more apt.

‘Cycle’ is a reference to the circular economy, that is, a system that aims to optimize resource use at all stages of a product or service’s life cycle while reducing the environmental footprint and contributing to individual and community well-being.

‘Capital’ needs to be understood in all its meanings, not only as a noun (the whole of the financial, intellectual and moral resources at one’s disposal) but also an adjective: that which is of the utmost importance. Crucial, essential, fundamental.

Parent brand Cycle Capital is the unifying partner and ally with the resources and expertise to hasten success and guarantee the capacity for impact of all its stakeholders.

Three distinct entities collaborate closely to contribute to Cycle Capital’s core mission:

Cycle Capital Investissement
A team of seasoned impact investor-entrepreneurs that combines the power of capital with that of its vast network in order to build solid, ethical businesses in a context of sustainable prosperity.

Cycle Momentum
The ecosystem’s catalyst, applying the principles of open innovation to businesses in order to increase the number of accelerated and funded entrepreneurs in the field of clean or enabling technologies.

Cycle Central
The ultimate space for players of the cleantech and enabling technologies ecosystem to meet, collaborate and exchange. The go-to partner for putting together a world-calibre team for promising, forward-facing projects.

Visual identity
The new visual identity is understated and top-notch. For the symbol, all references to nature and to the clichés surrounding the environment or sustainable development were off-limits. Cycle Capital is not involved in conservation, but in technological transformation that benefits the environment. The platform’s primary element is a logo with a rounder shape that incorporates both uppercase and lowercase characters and that evokes an institution at a human scale, focused on people.

The identity makes it possible to develop a system of declension across the sub-brands as well as upcoming events. There is a nod to Scandinavian design (efficacy, simplicity), and a desire to convey a character that is authentic, whole and confident. Cycle Capital expresses itself through a conservative colour (anthracite) to emphasize a solid organization operating primarily in the financial sector. A pure secondary colour, or a primary one, supports the expression of the brand identity to communicate the company’s singular entrepreneurial vitality.

The results

The process enabled the consolidation of the brand and the crystallization of its strategy, so that it can fully play its role as a strategic lever for the company.

The company’s managers now have access to a strong identity and a common language with which to express the relevance and added value of Cycle Capital and its different entities for all their stakeholders, inspired by their desire to consistently move forward in search of innovation and of the investors, entrepreneurs and businesses who will shape the future differently.

“With this transformed brand image, we bring a fresh perspective to our platform, our impact and everything we believe in, and we also invite partners and collaborators who share our values to join our mission. This approach energizes the whole team and marks the beginning of a new chapter in the growth and impact of our operations that dovetails with the next phase of development of our international impact investment platform and global cleantech innovation engine.”

Andrée-Lise Méthot Founder and partner Cycle Capital Chair of the Board of Directors Cycle Momentum Executive chair of the Board of Directors Cycle Capital , Claude Vachet Managing Partner Cycle Capital, Patrick Gagné President and CEO Cycle Momentum, Catherine Bérubé President and CEO Cycle Capital VP Sustainable Development, Investor Relations and Public Affairs Cycle Capital and Cycle Momentum

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