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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

“Innovation is important but it can’t come at the price of a reduction in social equity." Let this be the new mantra.

Meet the Montrealer who gave Uber a jolt

Alexandre Taillefer, an entrepreneur who doesn’t fit the mould, sees his just-launched fleet of electric taxis as a new model for the industry.

MONTREAL—Alexandre Taillefer’s father taught him to read a newspaper upside down at the age of 5. It seemed no more than a game at the time, certainly less practical than the lessons that soon followed in how to play the stock market. But it taught him to look at things differently, an ability that helped make him a rich man.
As with so many of Quebec’s public figures, Taillefer’s high profile is largely restricted to the province. But that could soon change. He’s the Quebec poster boy for the battle against Uber, a crusade he plans to bring to Toronto next year.
A grey-bearded 43-year-old with black-rimmed glasses, the self-described “deal junkie” has been a bit of a boy wonder in the Quebec business world since 1993, when, at the age of 21, he founded a website design firm that would take his personal wealth to almost $100 million.
He surfed the highs and lows of the dot-com bubble and emerged as managing partner of his latest creation, a private equity investment company called XPND Capital. Recently, he was shaken by the death of his young son, a personal tragedy that tempered his well-known joie de vivre and fuelled a desire for a meaningful legacy.
“My objective is not to become a billionaire,” he says in an interview at his Ste-Catherine St. office in downtown Montreal. “My objective is to work on projects that will improve society, that will make people happier. That’s my big motto.”

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