Co-founder, former Chairman & CEO
Norm Francis dedicated more than 20 years to building high profile technology companies that showcase the entrepreneurial spirit, technology innovation and global leadership that resides in Canada. A computer science graduate and Chartered Accountant, he co-founded Basic Software Group (BSG) in the late 1970’s which developed ACCPAC and Simply Accounting. In the early 1990’s, he co-founded PenMagic, a company that developed software for early tablet computers, which became Pivotal Corporation. Under Mr. Francis’ leadership as Chairman and CEO in 1994 to 2001, Pivotal grew quickly and became a global provider of customer relationship management (CRM) and eBusiness solutions. Pivotal was named as the fastest growing technology company in Canada and one of the top ten fastest growing companies in North America by Deloitte, and Company of the Year by BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) in 2000.
Mr. Francis’ leadership for business and technology earned him much distinction. He was named one of the ten most influential people in the development of the CRM industry by CRM Magazine. He was named Person of the Year by BCTIA in 1999, and Entrepreneur of the Year in the Pacific region software industry by Ernst and Young in 2001.
Mr. Francis is not only a visionary for business but also for the community. He served on many corporate boards including Creo Products (now Kodak), Chancery Software, Business in Vancouver, and currently, Traction on Demand. He sat on BC Premier Campbell’s Technology Council, heading up the Industry Growth Task Group. He participated in grant committees of the Science Council of BC and the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the original capital-raising campaign for Science World.
Since retiring from active business in 2001, Mr. Francis has devoted considerable energy to philanthropy. He played a key role in the creation and growth of Social Venture Partners (SVP) Vancouver, helping early stage non-profits to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and youth in the Lower Mainland. He served continuously on the board of directors of SVP Vancouver until 2014 when he was honoured as the organization’s first Distinguished Partner. In addition, Mr. Francis and his family have been the driving force behind the creation of Hydrocephalus Clinics and research initiatives at both BC Children’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital. He provides annual scholarships to at-risk youth and students at his former high school, Southern Okanagan Secondary School.
Mr. Francis is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Canada and an active BC technology industry advocate and angel investor. He regularly gave lectures at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, and mentors university students and entrepreneurs who seek his advice.