We are back. Here’s what is UpNext.

One year. This is what we told ourselves and our respective partners. We would take one year to recharge and reset and ensure we were free of any conflicts. We owed it to them after a rollercoaster of ups and downs, of tears and triumph. As of this week, one year will have elapsed since our journey with Left Technologies came to an end, the company we co-founded and poured our hearts into for more than a decade.

Yes, we dabbled a bit here and there since last summer. We pulled together a consortium to acquire the assets of Left Technologies after its valiant struggle to survive. Once acquired, we kept monetizing, we caught our breath, and we watched the world unfold.

But now, the wait is over, it is time to soar... upwards.

Left Travel will become UpNext Travel Later in 2021 as we evolve our platform and brands.

We are building a decentralized travel marketplace to connect travelers to property owners and managers. This marketplace will operate under the Rent By Owner brand and be available in multiple languages and geographies around the world, operating on more than 50 unique domain names. The pandemic has highlighted how inefficient the existing travel ecosystem really is, especially in the short-term rentals market. This inefficiency manifests into higher fees absorbed by travelers, resulting in less travel being taken and less memories being made. When Left Travel becomes UpNext, we will build an efficient market in which travelers can connect directly to the property owner or manager, seamlessly transact and trust, and worry less about whether the place they book will meet expectations. Rent By Owner will be for travelers, by owners.

We believe that better memories are made when we foster better travel.

We will be talking and sharing a lot more of our vision soon and our belief in this statement, but we wanted to start here with these thoughts and this post. This blog entry will be added to a few more blog posts written over the past year (backposted to the time when they were written), as they help to paint the picture for this next chapter and the journey that has led us to create our ‘why’.. This includes:

Being better means not settling for good enough. Being better means exceeding expectations. Better implies we can improve on the negative impacts of travel while enhancing the positive. We also believe that because travel connects us to other people, other places, and to new ideas, the world grows closer the more we interact and travel. Thus, if we can make travel more efficient, more people will be able to travel, meet new people, expand horizons, and enhance understandings. Thus, when we build a more efficient marketplace, we will create more travelers and create more memories worth sharing. This is our north star.

We are still known as Left Travel Inc formally, but we will soon be rebranded to UpNext Travel and both this current Left Travel website as well as that of Left Technologies will be pointed to this new site. We do want to keep some elements of the old Left website operational as those stories and those memories are worth holding onto, even with this new beginning. UpNext will be operating five primary brands that will evolve in the coming weeks, months, and years:

  • Rent By Owner – For Travelers. By Owners. This is a more efficient marketplace for travelers to find and book short term rentals.
  • Hotala – Connecting travelers, particularly those traveling internationally, with better accommodation and travel choices
  • Varoom – For things to see and do on the journey itself.
  • Charters – For luxury experiences, transport, and one-of-a-kind memory making
  • OneDegree – We believe we can (and must) encourage the world to travel sustainably.

Just before the pandemic began, Left had been repositioned itself as a company that enabled “Travel with Purpose.” We believed then and still do today, that the best companies should be measured by not just their bottom line, but on their overall contribution to the world. The core values we espoused helped us create a new kind of company that was recognized locally, nationally, and even internationally as being “Best for the World” in how we treated our team, how we participated in the community, and how we tried to model what we wanted to see in the world. These values were inside us, and while Left itself is no longer, we will carry forward those ideals into UpNext.

After ten years, there was a lot to be proud of in that which we created. We were proud of what we had built at Left, Left Travel, and the other companies and projects we were involved with along the way. We were proud of our team, both in Canada and in Bangladesh. We were proud of the innovation and technology we had created, including our approach to data-driven marketing and our breakthroughs in mesh connectivity. We were proud of the impact we made in our community and other companies, including inspiring others to join the B Corp movement.

A year ago, we would have also said that we have a lot of regrets: regrets for projects unfinished, or objectives unmet. However, every decision made in the past has brought us to where we are today, to a place of optimism and hope for what comes next. Everyone has a choice to live in the past, to dwell on what might have been, or to look up and forward. Life is about what is up next.

In the beginning, we went left. Then we went right. But this next chapter keeps our values alive yet aligned towards a new direction.


John, Chris, & Rakib

It is Kind of Fund to do the Impossible

Well, this is interesting and a little unexpected. The past year has been full of surprises: tears, joy, sadness, fear, extreme loss, and a lot of uncertainty. But as of Thursday February 11, we have been approved as the successful bidder of 100% of the assets of our previous company, Left Technologies. This includes all of Left Travel Inc, the travel company spin out we had formed back in 2015… five years after we started Left Technologies itself.

Walt Disney's famous saying stenciled above our desks (2011-2015)

How did we get here you ask? The pandemic blindsided the parent company, Left Technologies. We were amid an amazing growth streak for the travel business. Revenues were growing month over month before the pandemic. We had just been named, for the second consecutive year, onto Deloitte’s Fast 50/500 for Canada and North America as one of the fastest growing technology companies. We had built an automated demand generation engine that was built on billions of data points and one million bookings.

We had attempted to recover and rapidly correct course, but our growth had put us into a precarious position. As a B Corporation, we had a duty to all stakeholders and not just to our shareholders. By April of 2020, we were fighting for survival, and fight we did. But by June, we had filed for creditor protection as the weight of our debts outstripped our projected revenues and our ability to service these debts. By July, we had to say goodbye to the entire team (ourselves included). What was in the best interest of our team, partners, community and creditors outweighed our duty to shareholders. By the end of August, the company had fallen into bankruptcy and the assets were turned over to a court-appointed trustee.

In September, as we had started to formulate some ideas about what we were going to do next, we realized that while the future remained uncertain, it did make sense to put our best foot forward to acquire the assets as, were we to be successful, we could shortcut our path to whatever came next. We always believed in Walt Disney's famous quote, "It is kind of fun to do the impossible," and we had 'dreaming rooms' in every office in which we conceived of impossible ideas that if we were just crazy enough, they might just work. To pull off the acquisition and make this impossible possible, several team members liquidated savings, refinanced homes, and stepped up to put together a bid. Our success was not a forgone conclusion as there could be any number of buyers who would also see value in the assets.

The process dragged on. And on. And on. We had to operate and plan and assume that we would not get the assets back. We had to create plans and business models that looked at all sorts of opportunities. We had acquired Varoom.com and a whole lot of other assets and were prepared to go forth with our new strategy entirely on that domain, but what would we do if we did get the assets? What would we do if we did not? Everything was on the table.

But here we are. The courts accepted our bid and has provided us with something more valuable than the assets themselves: we bought ourselves some time to think, time to plan, time to spend moments with our families, and time to research what it is we want to build, the problems we want to solve, and focus on our ‘why’.

Chris & John - The adventure continues

And if the pandemic has taught us anything, time is the one thing that we should not take for granted.


John, Founder

Note: This post was written in February 2020, yet not published onto this site until August 2021.

2020 is Not the End But the Beginning

Hello again.

In my first post, I described my plans to be documenting our journey, our restart -- from our moment of creation, straight through to launch and beyond. Consider this your backstage pass to the creative process that is entrepreneurship, filled with a world of uncertainty and doubt along the way.

The bankruptcy of Left Technologies is now official. While I know the ending of that journey is not what any associated with the company had wanted, sometimes life is not fair. The pandemic has changed life for everyone. Offices have been shuttered (including ours); lives have been lost; education and schools have been disrupted; borders have been closed; and fear and uncertainty reign supreme.

Left Technologies in Maple Ridge, BC
The sun sets on the old Left Technologies office, closed in August 2020.

But within this, there is hope and opportunity. Stories abound of nature healing itself. Marine life is returning to places not seen in generations, carbon emissions have dropped, and scientists are cooperating and sharing in search of solutions to a global problem. If we can fight this together, then this gives me optimism that we can tackle climate change and other ills that plague the planet.

Most of this post is going to be talking about The Great Acceleration, a concept that describes:

“The dramatic, continuous and roughly simultaneous growth rate across a large range of measures of human activity.”

We have used this concept to identify opportunities in the past, and I believe it will play a large part in this next adventure too, whatever that proves out to be. More specifically, we believe that opportunities exist at the intersections of massive global trends. Concurrent to this is our responsibility to deal with the negative consequences that emerge when these trends collide, stack, and overlap.

But before I expand on this concept, I want to share some insight into the name we likely will be using for this next chapter of our journey (assuming we can close out the acquisition of the dotcom domain, a step we feel is important to creating a globally recognized brand). I feel it is important to tie our chosen name into a post about The Great Acceleration because the name and concept are intertwined closely going forward.

We will be Varoom.

Varooooooooooom. It is fun to say whether and even more fun to imagine what we might create.

Why Varoom? For us, the name is multi-layered, and each layer should be revealed slowly, like a nice meal with friends that lasts deep into the night. Or Ogres. Or parfaits. They all have layers.

First, some additional background about myself for those who don’t know me (which is most who will be reading this). In university, I studied English and Art History. While many joked that this is a great combination of useless skills, it turns out a background in Liberal Arts became a unique combination to dabble with and create startups. My first venture was back in 1997/98, which is also where my friendship with Chris began. He and I were working on different ventures but would meet up to discuss ideas and speculate on how the Internet and our businesses were going to change the world.

When in school, I had assumed that studying English would propel me into a career, be it law or some other such recognizable field. However, I was fascinated by my Art History classes. It wasn’t, “Wow, look at that pretty painting,” but more so, “Why did the artist create a specific work at a specific time? What was socio-economic commentary that was being made? What influence did past masters have on a specific artist or work, and how did that work influence future generations?

Personally, I did not consider myself an artist. I had met many, and I didn’t have any talent nor inclination.

Two real artists (Jenna & Laura) painting a mural in the old Left offices.

It was not until many years after my studies, when well into that first start up, I realized I too was creating art. We all create art. But for me, my canvas was not acrylics, nor marble, nor music, nor charcoal. My art was the company and the ideas that propelled and willed it into existence, sometimes even into the physical manifestation of the office space or employee experience.

What I wanted to create, and the things I would want to build were to be a manifestation of the world around me, and hopefully provide commentary on the socio-economic conditions of the life that I saw. My ethos was that if we built things well, hopefully our ‘art’ would influence future generations and bring about the change we want to see in the world. As with art, only time is the judge of whether it creates this lasting mark. Many companies learned from what we created at Left and copied elements from our culture playbook, or saw that one could build a company to the benefit of all stakeholders, so this did manifest into reality.

The Company's values being sketched onto a chalk mural inspired many and became a focal point of culture tours.

Which brings us back to our choice for the name/brand of Varoom.

In 1963, an American painter and pop artist named Roy Lichtenstein created a work called Varoom! (and a similarly named Varoom, sans exclamation mark in 1965). While Warhol may be more well renowned today, Lichtenstein was as prodigious and has garnered as much acclaim for his pieces. The painting Varoom! was part of a collection of comic-book style paintings and onomatopoeic words on canvas that was a partial commentary on the militarization of the world. However, to best understand the piece, one has to look at what was also happening in the artist’s world at the time.

Varoom! by Roy Lichtenstein (1963)

In Lichtenstein’s 1963, the world was not far removed from the Cuban Missile Crisis of late October 1962. Children would practice nuclear drills in schools. The global space race was in full swing with Kennedy having pledged to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Civil Rights and Gender Equality were becoming more than just topics around the evening dinner table. And technology was ramping up at what appeared, then, to be a breakneck pace.

In 1963, the world was also experiencing a global consciousness. There was a collective realization that what happened “over there” would impact life at home. A generation before, the idea of flying internationally was unfathomable. Now, PanAm and Trans-World Airlines made the dream of flying across the country, the ocean, or to the other side of the world a realistic possibility. But perhaps the most defining element of the time was the photos that emerged from space, giving the planet a collective selfie for the very first time. With the first photo, we became one.

I like to think that Lichtenstein captured all of this in Varoom! The explosion of technology; commentary on the military-industrial complex; the intersection of the common (comics) with the high-brow world of art; and the realistic and ever-present danger that too-much technological advancements, if left unchecked, could have a disastrous impact on the planet. I also like to think that by using the onomatopoeic word of varoom, his work was a commentary of the speed at which all of this was happening. Whereas paintings like Jackson Pollack were using Action Painting to capture the frenetic pace of life, Lichtenstein did it with the singular word Varoom! exploding into our consciousness.

Dr. Martin Luthor King said in his famous I Have a Dream speech that same year:

1963 is not an end, but a beginning".

Thus, in my opinion, Lichtenstein’s Varoom! was the artistic starter’s pistol that records the beginning of The Great Acceleration.

The Great Acceleration Explained

What is The Great Acceleration and why should we care? As noted earlier, it refers to the concept that the world is experiencing roughly simultaneous growth across a large range of human activity and the resulting impact that this activity has on the planet and its systems. That which is changing (and being measured) includes:

Socioeconomic trends

  • Population
  • Real GDP
  • Foreign direct investment
  • Urban population
  • Primary energy use
  • Fertiliser consumption
  • Large dams
  • Water use
  • Paper production
  • Transportation
  • Telecommunications
  • International tourism

Earth system trends

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Methane
  • Stratospheric ozone
  • Surface temperature
  • Ocean acidification
  • Marine fish capture
  • Shrimp aquaculture
  • Nitrogen to coastal zone
  • Tropical forest loss
  • Domesticated land
  • Terrestrial biosphere degradation
Earth and Socio-economic Systems since 1750 (Source: IGBP)

For the past 50-60 years, each of the above is changing and accelerating at a rapid rate: sometimes to the benefit, but often to the detriment of the planet and those of us who inhabit it.

Upon returning from our first trip to Bangladesh back in 2013, we decided that we needed to focus our company thesis on building solutions and focusing efforts on opportunities that existed at the intersections of five megatrends, each of which is closely aligned to The Great Acceleration. These megatrends remain:

  • Rapid Urbanization
  • Empowerment of the Individual
  • Digitization of Everything
  • Aging & Changing Nature of Work
  • Connectivity of People & Things
Thesis: There are 5 Global Disruptors and the Largest Opportunities Exist at the Intersections

For the next 7 years, Left was focused on applying technology and marketing knowhow to impact the world around us. This culminated in our efforts to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), which collectively gave the world the ability to measure and create targets for our impact on the people and systems being affected or in need of affectation.

In January of 2020, just before the pandemic, we announced to the world that Left’s corporate goal was to become a “Travel with Purpose” company. We believed that through travel—particularly through international travel—we could impact the UN SDGs. By enabling travel (particularly sustainable travel), the world could grow closer together, become more understanding, find ways to fight injustices and biases, and simply be better and more compassionate. We argued it would be hard to go to war with someone or commit injustices if you have broken bread with their families. Just as our lives were transformed by our first trip to Bangladesh, so too might others experience the world through the eyes of others when they travel.

Which brings us back to the name Varoom and why this brand embodies who we are and what we are trying to create.

We are living in a world of amazing transformation. Life continues to accelerate. With the positive comes the negative, and we must have a collective awareness to address these issues head on. While travel and tourism have untold benefits, over tourism has negative impacts on the world. International tourism was one of the 12 socioeconomic trends that was accelerating at an unbelievable pace. And while this pace has been momentarily slowed during the pandemic, we believe that it is not only going to come back, but it is going to come back faster and have an even greater impact on the world in the next 50 years.

So for us… ‘Va’ means ‘Go’ or ‘Goes”. We also like to think that ‘Va’ is also short for ‘vacation’, of which we all can benefit from having more of. ‘Room’ is a place where we stay and where we live. But ‘room’ is also what we want and need more.

  • More Room to Stay
  • More Room to Play
  • More Room to Sleep
  • More Room to Dream
  • More Room to Work
  • More Room to Relax
  • More Room to Read
  • More Room to Romance
  • More Room to Laugh
  • More Room to Explore

We have big plans for Varoom and for rebuilding the company to address problems that exist in the world. While we will recreate a lot of what we did at Left and Left Travel, we have a lot of other sub projects that will live at the intersection of the megatrends that are affecting our planet. While not all products or features will be available at launch—after all, this is not the end, but the beginning—we feel that Varoom is something that will allow us to launch and soar to new heights.

Today, Varoom is short for ‘Vacation Room’, but it also stands for fast, spacious travel to nearby places and the activities you will do during your journey. We envision making it easier for everyone to travel. We want more people to not just travel, but to travel better. We want to create a world in which everyone has more time and room to play, to relax, and to work (if you must). We want to give people the opportunity to have more room to dream, and more room to enjoy those important moments we used to take for granted.

We want Varoom to be the ideal place that works for you, your needs, and those you chose to share your time with. We know that international travel is off the agenda for most people for the near future, but we will soon be able to go further again.

Varoom - Coming Soon

We look forward to being with you on this next great adventure.


John, Founder


Note: This post was written in October 2020 following the bankruptcy of Left Technologies, yet not published onto this site until August 2021.

Adventure is out there

Hello [again] World.

“Hello, world!”

That phrase has been uttered and typed a million times in computer programming. It symbolizes a start, a new beginning, the adventure yet to come. For us, however, I am attempted to write “Hello again, world.”

This is not a start, but it is a new beginning. Years ago, when I (John Lyotier, the writer of this first blog entry) was working on a new project called ‘YO!’, my friend and then Creative Director, Joe Deobald, challenged me to document the journey. He said at the time, and I paraphrase, “You never know where the story may go. It may be really big, so sometimes it is good to create a journal of what got you to your destination.”

I promised him then, in that story, that I would document my thoughts and create a living log of the journey taken. After all, I love telling stories. And after ten years of creating my last adventure book, I am not done yet.

Adventure is out there
“Adventure is out there!” (From Pixar’s animation masterpiece, ‘UP!’)

I do not know yet where these posts will live. That is one of the first challenges in front of us: to create a brand that matches this audacious undertaking.
Who is us? We are the team behind Left Technologies, Left Travel, RightMesh, W3 Engineers, and a whole world of other brands. For ten years, we had built a home and company in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada and in Khulna, Bangladesh. Yes, these are two unlikely locations from which a company could be built, but that is essential to understanding that which we want to create and why.

To understand our new story, it is important to understand where we have come from. Ten years ago, in June of 2010, myself and my good friend, Chris Jensen, started up a company called Left of the Dot Media Inc. We did not know what we were going to be building at the time, but we knew that we wanted to build something of real and lasting value that made our mark and impacted our Community. It was called “Left of the Dot” because we were working on generic domain names and building out brands and companies that were left of the ‘dotcom’.

John Lyotier and Chris Jensen
John Lyotier and Chris Jensen in 2010, working out of Starbucks

Even before we knew what we were going to be building, we got together and created a shared list of ten core values. These values would be our ‘unwaverables’. They would be with us, and guide us, and offer us comfort in times of stress. These values were quickly summarized with our tagline, “We are Left. We do things Right.”

Over the next three years, the company grew. Our first employee was someone we had found online, Rakib Islam (then a stranger, now a friend). Rakib was a young and talented engineer who worked out of his home in Khulna, Bangladesh. Our second, was the aforementioned Joe, a talented designer with whom I had worked previously. Then we grew again, adding Ayesha, Rashid, Sabbir to our team in Bangladesh, and many more here in Canada. I mention the names because this team is with us still on this new adventure, building again something which we felt we had left uncompleted.

In those first few years, one of the brands we had developed out was Villa.com. Our initial goal was building out sub-brands “left of the dot”, so we had launched sub-domains off that original domain name. They became sites like “Tuscany.Villa.com” or “Orlando.Villa.com”. We never really got traction with this business model, but it exposed us to travel and alternative accommodations specifically.

The original mockup of our old Villa.com website, circa 2011.

Then, in the Spring of 2013, one thousand days into our journey and on the edge of insolvency, we sold Villa.com on behalf of the owner and used our share of the proceeds to fund the creation of a new subsidiary that we called Left Travel. The goal with Left Travel was to build a demand generation engine that connected travelers with places and accommodation options from those who had travel to sell. Think large OTAs with a lot of inventory that had an insatiable demand for high-intent travelers.

We used the domain names belonging to initial shareholders, be it RentByOwner.com, RentalHomes.com, BedroomVillas.com, or

Rent By Owner
An early version of the Rent By Owner homepage

Renters.com as our starting blocks. Our initial focus was on alternative accommodations as we saw these as the largest growth area and needed to meet the expected surge in international arrivals. For context, this was still in the early years of Airbnb and prior to Vrbo being a part of Expedia. Over the years, the domains changed, but our commitment to building a platform that connected travelers with travel sellers did not.

However, that initial spring was momentous for a different reason. It was also the year of our first trip to Bangladesh to meet our colleagues in person. Up to that time, all business was done remotely over Skype. I had never been anywhere like Bangladesh before, and this first experience changed me while transforming the company.

Opening of Bangladesh Office photo
Chris Jensen opening the office in Khulna, Bangladesh in 2013 while John, Ayesha, and Rashid look on.

I have said on other occasions that when we left the Vancouver Airport, we had a 7-person company. But when we had returned, we had grown to a team of 25. For it was on that first trip, that our team of 7 and Rakib’s team of 18 became one. Not economically or legally, we had already tied that knot with an interdependence of circumstance and choice, but with friendship and understanding. This is what travel does to you. It opens your eyes and hearts to new possibilities and new worlds. Hello world, indeed.

Over the next seven years, the company grew and transformed, never forgetting our roots or our values. “We are Left. We do things Right” was emblazoned on our front door. We built several different products (some successful, and some less so). We were recognized by industry peers for the culture we had created. This had included being two-time winners of each of the BC Tech Association’s TIA award for best Community Engagement balancing “Work, Life, and Play”; twice being recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers (and the smallest on the list); and twice honored by Deloitte’s Fast 50 as one of the fastest growing technology companies as measured by growth in revenue.

Tough Mudder team photo
The team celebrating our 2nd Tough Mudder completion, a different kind of win.

I raise these awards not to toot our own horn, but to highlight the dichotomy of how quickly success can turn to failure—to emphasize how quickly that which you hold close can disappear overnight. In the Spring of 2020, Left Technologies became victims of the pandemic.

We did not see it as first. I mean, we saw the physical signs. In February, I traveled through Hong Kong on the way back from Bangladesh and saw the airport was a ghost town. But our numbers masked the underlying seriousness. In February, we were up more than +90% YoY as the Left Travel growth engine was in full force, chugging along. By March, cancellations swept over the industry. By April, it was all-hands on deck in a fight for survival. In June, we filed for creditor protection. And in August, after more than ten years of love, sweat, and tears, the company had filed for bankruptcy. It was over.

However, if you are reading this, it means that I have found a home for these words. It means this time of rest and uncertainty has manifest into a new project we have started has taken root. In those final few months of Left, I communicated regularly with the team, telling stories from the years that had passed. I signed off on each post with the word, “Upwards”. We had gone ‘left’ and ‘right’, but the writing was on the wall that it was time for a new direction.

Left Technologies offices in Maple Ridge
After 10 years with Left, cheers to a new beginning.

So once again: Hello world. Cheers to a new beginning and to a new direction.



John Lyotier, Founder


Note: This post was written in late August 2020 following the bankruptcy of Left Technologies, yet not published onto this site until August 2020.

COVID-19 Update: At Left, it’s all about Community

At Left, ‘Impact your Community’ is one of our core values. During this time of constantly evolving news and recommendations regarding COVID-9 coronavirus, we are still putting Community first - and that includes our Community of Lefties and their families.

Our priority as a company is to be proactive in our response to the virus, to help contain it, and to ensure we are doing the ‘right’ thing for our Lefties, their families, our Communities, and the world-at-large.  As such, we are strictly following all recommendations put forward by our provincial and local health authorities as well as supplementing those with other proactive policies and requirements. Our goal is to do our part to flatten the pandemic curve.

“We intend to be part of the solution, not part of the cause,” says John Lyotier, CEO.  “We owe it to our Community to take all proactive measures we can as a business to contribute to minimizing the virus’ rate of transmission and spread and to reduce the strain on our healthcare system.”

We are a tech company with a flexible work-from-home philosophy already in place, and we are fortunate to be able to extend this policy to support wide-spread and longer-term remote work for our Lefties.  In addition to the work-from-home option, we are encouraging Lefties to continue practicing the recommended Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) guidelines for staying healthy and for reporting if they do exhibit symptoms.

Further, we have implemented the following policies:

  • self-quarantine for all employees who have traveled internationally
  • local business travel for ‘critical’ business only
  • office visitors for ‘critical’ business only

This global health pandemic is evolving at a rapid pace; as such, our Leadership team and Employee Experience team are closely monitoring the situation and are ready to quickly pivot as needed to reduce transmission and harm.

“While we know some measures may feel like an inconvenience to some, we are committed to doing the ‘right’ thing by putting our Community first while retaining our focus and continuing to do great work,” says Lyotier.

For more information about COVID-19 please visit: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Business with Purpose: 40-Year Thinking

Last week, we rebranded Left and changed the tagline we had trumpeted outwardly for the past 10 years to “Life with purpose. Business with purpose. Travel with purpose.”  While we still live and breathe the original maxim, “We are Left, we do things right,” we believe it is important for us to take those idealistic words and wrap them into messaging that will carry us forward for an even longer duration.

How much longer? I am imagining the world 40 years from now, or two generations. I believe that in order for the world to tackle large-scale, global problems head on, we must be willing to stretch our minds and focus much further out than our usual timeframes. Taking action now will allow everyone to benefit from the world of abundance we find ourselves fumbling towards.

However, prior to going straight to the world of 40 years from now, I need to go backwards by ten, to the start of Left in 2010 and the story that brought us on this great adventure.

At the very beginning, my Co-Founder, Chris Jensen, and I identified a set of core values that helped shape us as a company. Between us, we created a list of 10 values that are now articulated on our website and on the walls of our offices in both Canada and Bangladesh. Now, while most business consultants say 10 values are too many and that any business wanting the proverbial ‘buy in’ from employees should never have more than three or four, we have persisted – somewhat stubbornly – at holding onto all 10 because each value has an important and distinct reason for existing.

Each team member, of course, has one value that resonates with them more profoundly than another. I do, too, although in truth, picking just one makes it feel somewhat like picking a favourite child when I love them all equally – just differently.  Back in 2017, in a speech to our team in Bangladesh, I described the one value that most resonates with me: Make Your Mark (also articulated and expanded on in the subsequent blog post “On Making Your Mark”). This speech and post were made one week after Left became a Certified B Corp:

The journey we are on at Left, together, is one in which we have an enormous challenge in front of us. We believe that we can create products and technologies that can make the world a better place. We believe that we can make our mark on this world, so we must choose to make our mark for the better.

As a company, we have to lead by example.

You may have noticed that on all of my presentations and talks that I gave here this week, that I had this icon on the first and last slide. This is the symbol of B-Corp, and I am very humbled to share with everyone here, that as of last week, Left officially became a certified B-Corp.

What is a B-Corp? B Corps are companies that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. To become a B-Corp, companies must adhere to rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. This designation was something that we worked on obtaining for over one year, and we will continue to work on to improve upon our score each and every year.

Why? Because it is the right thing to do.

40-Year Thinking

This month is B Corp Month during which those of us who believe in using business as a force for good in the world are rallying around the Vote Every Day campaign to inform others about the collective power of buying from, working for, and working with B Corps – all in service of showcasing the collective action and impact of Certified B Corps around the world.

Coincidentally, March 2020 is also the month in which Left resubmits our certification, providing us with a moment to pause and measure some of the impact we have had (and hope to have in the future).

Becoming a B Corp is an example of what I have been calling “40-Year Thinking”, and it is essential to our strategy to practice Sustainable Commerce. (I will talk more about Sustainable Commerce and what it means to us in subsequent posts, but I want to keep this piece focussed on how Left is building a “business with purpose”, while encouraging others to do the same.)

Last month, I visited the team in Bangladesh yet again (for the 10th time, in fact) and gave another speech about the upcoming year while talking about how we were rebranding with our focus on “Life with purpose. Business with purpose. Travel with purpose.” I began my talk quoting Steve Maraboli, whose words were sent to me by a member of the team earlier that week:

“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”

When I talk about our value of Making a Mark, this simple-yet-complex quote encapsulates a lot of that philosophy. We believe that each of us impacts the world around us, often in untold and unforeseen ways. The impact you make may not ever be seen or felt by yourself, but it may be experienced by a child or a grandchild, or it may impact someone on the other side of the world, and you may never be the wiser. The actions you take now to make your mark may not feel like they are having any effect, so we need to remember the impact of many great ideas is only felt in the future, be it 10, 20, or 40 years in the future. As a result, it is important to make your mark for the positive.

Change is Inevitable and Imperceptible

In my talk with the team, I shared the following video featuring my then young family that was filmed on the day before Left was established – way back in June of 2010.

Then, my children were only aged 6 and 4, and here I was setting out on – well truth be told, who knew what at that time – but nevertheless, I persisted. I then showed a photo of my family from today. Both my children, as you can see, are now nearly ten years older and much, much taller.

This was the second time I had shared this video with the team  – “Family is Important” is one of our core values, after all, and being open and genuine is part of who we are. The context for sharing it previously was a talk on change and how it is inevitable:

“Change, while inevitable, is often imperceptible and hard to see when you are living in the moment. And sometimes you are just barely living, you are surviving. In order to see the change, you need to wait a while. Let things percolate. Then come back and look at things several years later.

And this is where we are today. Big ideas take time. They do not happen overnight. The vision we started with – to build something of real and lasting value that impacts our community and make our mark on the world – while still very much true – was created 10 years ago.

I tried to emphasize that world-changing ideas may take a generation, or multiple lifetimes, to be actualized. But those truly great ideas...they are worth it.

The hard part, of course, is envisioning what idea is big enough? What idea is worth waiting a lifetime for? What idea will allow each of us to achieve our greatest self and live out our purpose courageously? And perhaps just as importantly, where would we find such an idea?

Genius is Everywhere

The photo below was shared with me by Rakib Islam, our Bangladesh-based Co-Founder, showing our then 4-person team on the day they moved into our first office in Khulna. This humble beginning was the start of a really big idea.

The year was 2013, and that year I visited Rakib and the team in Bangladesh for the first time. This visit transformed both me personally and Left as a company. In time, I hope we can point back to this visit as something that helped transform the world too.
I will get to that story shortly, but before I do, I think it is important to share another video with you. It was taken on that first visit, and for the last 7 years, I have been describing this scene as a lucky capture of a “moment of genius” … that first spark of an idea.







Let me set the scene for what you are watching:

The power is out for the 3rd time that day. It is 38 degrees Celsius, and there is no air conditioning. Alan [sitting down] attempts to do a code check in while Rakib, Sabbir and Rashid look on. Alan’s shoulders slump as he gets a notice that the file download will take more than one hour on the dial up speed we had at the time and through which we had built many leading Internet brands. Rashid looks in to help while Rakib looks at his watch impatiently.

When I have talked about this video in the past, I have used it in the context of the moment of genius that led to the creation of a number of Left’s first products which focused on connectivity: first Talkify and Gossip, then YO!, then WAVE, then RightMesh, and now TeleMesh. They all solved the same problem, really, slow internet connectivity, which - as illustrated in the video - impacts people’s lives and productivity. But, I was wrong.  Sure, this was a moment of genius, but the real moment of genius was actually happening just beyond the glass wall. That’s where Chris and Ayesha Siddika, the Operations Manager for the Bangladesh offices, were sitting down one-on-one with every member of the team. Talking with them. Learning from them. Hearing stories about their families, their hopes, and their dreams.

And what were people saying? … They wanted to travel.

Why Travel?

Fifteen years ago, I was at a conference focussed on the travel industry, and a young woman, aged 19 or 20, filled with hope and optimism, gave a speech on “Why we love to travel.” She was a recent graduate of a hospitality program, and she had the world to look forward to.

She talked about a lot of things, but the one that has stuck with me the most was a piece of advice she gave. She implored the audience:

When you know someone who has just returned from a trip, ask them for the “best part”, their “highlight”, or their “favourite memory”.
When you ask this question, you will notice people’s eyes look back and to the right signalling they are looking deep into the part of their brain that has a specific memory. This is the hard-to-put-into-words part of travel: the smell of the saltwater; the sound of the waves as they crash ashore; the party music of a late-night disco; a swoosh of red dress from that person who flirted with you late into the evening.

Those memories are dopamine. Travel is a drug that we cannot get enough of. Travel enlivens the senses. And there is no other way than travel to experience the rush.

Food, Family, Friendship, and Fun

The memories that trip the senses typically reside in these four ‘f’s… the smell and taste of wonderful food, the laughter of family and sharing of traditions, the friendships you create, and the fun you have along the way.

As we wrote last year when we were articulating our ‘Why’ for Left Travel:

We believe travel broadens the mind, opens the heart, and gives you stories to tell. We want to create better travel experiences because travel brings people closer together, breaks down barriers, and shows us new possibilities.

That is our why. This is our purpose.

Travel broadens our minds because the people we meet and the things we experience give us new perspectives and open us up to a different way of doing things.

As I wrote above, my first trip to Bangladesh transformed the company and me personally. For me, it changed how I look at the world. I had always thought I had an open mind and was open to seeing a different way of doing things. “Think Different” was another one of our core values from the beginning, after all. But I realized without the transformational on-the-ground and in-the-culture experience, I tended to accept the status quo - as all humanity tends to do. We don’t like change. We like the way things are done because that is all that we know. This changes when you travel.

When you travel, life humbles you.

When we returned to Canada after that first trip, I said to Chris that emerging markets, and Bangladesh specifically, are undervalued, underestimated, and under appreciated. This realization, gained from travelling to Bangladesh, was the genesis of so much we do today. I also said we could change that.

When the world connects, it becomes just a little bit friendlier

The humbling experience of travel never impacted me as deeply as in 2018 when, on yet another trip to Bangladesh, we visited the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh on the border with Myanmar.

Sometimes when you travel, all experiences are not good experiences. But they still create memories, they create ideas, and if you think hard enough… you can learn from them.

For the past 6 years, we had been working on what we believed would be world-changing technology. Our visit to the refugee camp confirmed this. In the camp, we met people who had fled atrocities when they were small children, and now, here they were, 25 years later, and their circumstances hadn’t changed.

I never felt more fortunate, yet more ashamed for humanity. Yes, travel once again had humbled me, but it also opened my eyes to a really big idea.
So, what is it? What is this really big idea? I believe it is enabling the world to travel.

Travel with Purpose

Think back to what I wrote earlier about how long it takes to bring about change. Big ideas take time. They do not happen overnight.
Throughout my career, I have always tried to apply technology and marketing to solve the problems of today, but what I’ve realized we really need to do is solve the problems of tomorrow. This is “40-year Thinking”.

As Left approaches our 10th anniversary, I have been pondering the root causes of many of the world’s problems. So, while the United Nations has done an admirable job highlighting 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, I have been thinking deeply about how so many things got so bad in the first place. How did it get to be that Rohingyans have had entire generations knowing nothing but torment? How is the world standing by and doing nothing for the Uyghur in Western China? How did things deteriorate so badly in the United Kingdom and the United States that hatred and intolerance are now, once again, commonplace and cheered?

I believe the root cause of so much evil in the world is misunderstanding and mistrust. This festers over time, and the forces that like to protect the status quo – that oppose change – pick away at all of us, encouraging us to hate and blame. This cycle has to stop. It must stop.

So, while the slow drip, drip, drip of society slipping away keeps me awake at night, I also believe we have the power to change it. But, it is going to take time. And, it is going to take a Herculean effort from everyone: from businesses and consumers in all corners of the globe. This is “business with purpose.”

Big Ideas Take Time

I have been extremely fortunate to travel in my life. I have been to many countries as have many members of the team. We have tasted unique foods and seen amazing sights. But above all else, it has been the conversations and interactions, the new perspectives, the homes we have been invited into, and the open arms that have welcomed us across cultures that have opened our eyes and our hearts.

Oh, the power of that feeling. That feeling we all get when we travel. The feeling that causes us to inadvertently look back and to the right to seek out those memories of the people and the conversations. The feeling that causes those who travel to open their minds to the genius that is everywhere.

The feeling one gets when you realize that what is really is important, wherever you happen to call home, is that people have a shared sense of purpose: to make a mark so profound and positive that it improves the world for those who come long after us. At Left, we know what we need to do. We need to bring that feeling to the world. We need to make it easy and more affordable for the world to travel, open their hearts, and grow just a little bit closer, more tolerant, and more understanding.

For several years, Left’s focus has been on international travel, connecting travel sellers with those who want to see the world and experience that which it has to offer. Yes, the economics support it, but it is also the right thing to do if we want to affect change on a global scale. This is “business with purpose.”

When we became a B Corp, we became part of a global movement of companies that believe business can balance the needs of all stakeholders. And, while there are now more than 3,200 of us in 71 countries, this is only the beginning.

This is the long game. Big ideas take time. They do not happen overnight. But together, we can change the world.

Leadership Change Propels Left’s Purposeful Journey

Since our establishment in 2010, Left has been known by its slogan ‘We’re Left; we do things right’. Over the years, we've  grown, morphed, and pivoted, but we have always remained true to our commitment to use business and technology as a force for good in the world.

This year, as we approach our 10th anniversary, we are consolidating our mission to focus on travel as that force for good. Our Co-Founder and former CMO, John Lyotier, has stepped up to the role of Chief Executive Office to chart our course.

Driven by a firm belief that travel opens minds, breaks down barriers, encourages  peace, and drives economies, John will lead our mission to inspire ‘travel with purpose’.

“Purpose is about determination and intent,” says John, “It’s about understanding that actions have reactions and ensuring you are always doing things for the right reasons.”

John goes on to explain why our renewed focus is on travel: “Travel has always been in Left’s DNA - from the domain names and brands we built out early in our establishment, to the proprietary cloud-based ‘decision engine’ we developed to match travelers with their perfect destinations, to the global travel our team does every year between our offices in Canada and Bangladesh.”

“We know, first-hand, the benefits of travel, and we want to make it easier for all of us to experience them.  But, as a B Corp committed to our motto of ‘doing things right’, we can’t ignore the downsides. Now is the right time for us to focus our attention on using technology in travel as a force for good and to inspire ‘travel with purpose’.”

John’s mission as Left’s CEO is to lead Left through the lens of ‘Sustainable Commerce’ which, explained by John, means “balancing profit and growth with positive social and environmental impact. It means giving back when we gain, so we can all continue to grow.”

Chris Jensen, fellow Left Co-Founder and exiting CEO who has transitioned to Chief Operating Officer, supports John in his new role as CEO.  “John’s track record of growing profitable businesses, along with his unwavering commitment to create meaningful global impact with technology, makes him the right leader for this stage of Left’s evolution”, he states.

Left is the Canadian travel tech company that makes the world a better place by leveraging technology and empowering people to ‘travel with purpose’. Our mission is to increase the benefits and decrease the downsides of travel for people, business, and the planet. Partnering with the world’s largest travel retailers, our flagship brand, Left Travel, matches 5+ million travelers with their dream destinations each year, and our proprietary big data marketing engine, TravelMind fuels over $450 million in annual gross travel bookings. One Degree, our newest brand, encourages, recognizes, and rewards eco-friendly accommodations. Established in 2010, Left is a certified B Corporation and was recognized by B Lab as a “Best for the World” in 2019. Left is one of ‘Canada’s Top 100 Employers’ and is repeatedly honoured with awards that recognize us as one of the happiest, most meaningful, and fastest growing travel tech companies in Canada and North America.

Left: Collaborative Team Awarded for Best Employer Branding

Left Wins Talent Egg Award for Best Employer Branding

MAPLE RIDGE, BRITISH COLUMBIA, SEPTEMBER 13, 2019 — LEFT, one of Canada’s Top Employers, was presented with the ‘Talent Egg Award for Best Employer Branding’ at the 6th annual Canadian HR Awards, held on September 12 at the Beanfield Centre in Toronto.

The Canadian HR Awards is the biggest awards event of its kind and brought together over 950 attendees for a packed evening celebrating excellence in the HR profession and recognizing the top employers, HR teams and professionals for their outstanding achievements and best practices.

The Talent Egg Award for Best Employer Branding recognizes the company that has developed, implemented, and participated in the most compelling Employer Branding initiative or campaign. Others nominated in the category included CGI CanadaKPMG CanadaLoblaw Companies LimitedMicrosoft CanadaCIRA and Uberflip.

Located in the suburbs of Vancouver, for years Left was one of the best kept ‘secrets’ as a top employer in the Lower Mainland — which created challenges for their recruitment efforts.

“In 2017, we experienced 108% growth while maintaining a 100% voluntary retention rate. Although these numbers were great, it became clear through discussions with our candidates that the most surprising piece of information they discovered about Left was that we simply existed,” said Tracy McDonald, the Director of Talent and Culture at Left. “To address this, in 2018 we increased collaboration between our Employee Experience and Marketing Departments. This award is a reflection of those efforts.”

Some of the campaigns that demonstrated excellence in delivering and communicating the Left employee value proposition include:

  • Inside Canada’s Top Employers: In 2018, Left was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for their HR initiatives and development opportunities. Left was the smallest company recognized, showing that you don’t need expensive programs to create an exceptional place to work. To spread this sentiment, they launched an ‘Inside Canada’s Top Employers’ campaign, a video series showcasing their unique story and programs.

One of the Inside Canada's Top 100 videos created by the Left team.

  • #LeftyLife: To highlight the Left culture, at the start of 2018, the Marketing and Employee Experience Departments made the decision to change their targeted audience on their social feeds from potential partners to potential hires. All content changed to provide glimpses of #LeftyLife to highlight their unique employee value proposition.
  • Make Your Mark: As a certified B Corporation, Left is committed to using business as a force for good. To measure their global impact, they selected eight United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that as an organization, they could advance. To help their team identify with the SDGs, they had each of them select and discuss the goals that meant the most to them. This turned into the 36-part video series that highlighted the caring and driven nature of the Left team.

Example of the Left Make Your Mark campaign.

From the collaborative campaigns listed above and more, Left saw a 986% increase in job applicants, maintained a 96% employee engagement score, and were invited to speak at 43 events around the world. The marketing campaigns that led to this success predominantly focused on showcasing Left’s unique company culture.

“Our vibrant employer brand is a reflection of our amazing team that drives our culture,” said Marketing Manager, Amber McLennan. “The campaigns we implemented were a great opportunity to show our community what makes Left such a special place to work.”

The Canadian HR Awards is organized by Key Media, the global publisher of Human Resources Director (HRD) magazine, in partnership with Ultimate Software. Winners were selected by a judging panel of experts who independently reviewed the entries according to each category’s criteria.

HRD Managing Editor Emily Douglas said: “HR professionals are vital to the success of their organizations so it’s wonderful to see their hard work and innovative ideas rewarded on such a special night. I’d like to congratulate this year’s hugely diverse range of winners and nominees whose positive impact reflects the very high standard of HR and leadership right across Canada. It’s always a pleasure to cheer on the winners as they receive their career-defining awards.”

For the full list of winners and finalists and information, visit Canadian HR Awards.

About Left

Left is a B-Corp certified, Canadian multinational media and technology company committed to using technology for positive social impact. One of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, Left has grown into a global team of over 120. Left Travel, a brand of Left, has been using big data, A.I., and predictive analysis to convert high search intent traffic into quality bookings for hotels and short-term stays since 2010. With its mobile mesh networking project powered by blockchain and tokenization, RightMesh, Left is addressing the global challenge of connectivity — particularly in regions where the digital divide is greatest. Headquartered in the Vancouver-based suburb of Maple Ridge, BC, Left has offices, subsidiaries, and employees in Bangladesh, Switzerland, and the United States.

About Human Resources Director (HRD)

Human Resources Director (HRD) is Canada’s only magazine written exclusively for senior human resource professionals and top corporate decision-makers. HRD talks to leading HR practitioners from around the globe to produce an industry-standard magazine that supports both the business and best-practice functional requirements placed on HR leaders in their evolving roles. HRD is complemented by an award-winning website (www.hcamag.com) featuring daily breaking news, an industry forum and exclusive multimedia content, as well as sister publications in Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Left recognized as a “Best For The World” B Corp for creating the most positive impact for their workforce

MAPLE RIDGE, BRITISH COLUMBIA, SEPTEMBER 4th, 2019 — LEFT, a Certified B Corporation, has been named a Best For The World honoree in recognition of their relationship with their workforce and the significant positive impact they’ve created over the last year. Left ranks in the top 10% of all B Corps in the worker impact area on the B Impact Assessment, thanks to their corporate culture, work environment, worker health and safety practices, and other employee-centric policies and practices.

Best For The World recognition is administered by B Lab, the global nonprofit that certifies and supports Certified B Corporations, which are for-profit companies dedicated to using business as a force for good. Today there are 3,000 Certified B Corporations across 64 countries and 150 industries, unified by one common goal: to redefine success in business.

B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corp Certification doesn’t just evaluate a product or service, it assesses the overall positive impact of the company that stands behind it — like Left. Using the B Impact Assessment, B Lab evaluates how a company’s operations and business model impact its workers, community, environment, and customers. To achieve the B Corp Certification, a company must achieve a score of at least 80 points on the assessment. Left is proud to have scored 101.

“We’re incredibly proud of this year’s Best For The World honorees,” says Anthea Kelsick, Chief Marketing Officer of B Lab. “These inspiring companies represent the kinds of business models and impact-driven business strategies that are building a new economy — one that is inclusive, regenerative, and delivers value to all stakeholders, not just shareholders. To that end, B Corps like Left are redefining capitalism and showing that it actually can work for everyone.”

“We are honoured to be named a B Corp Best For The World honoree for our unique culture and initiatives that support our Lefties (employees).” Said Tracy McDonald, Director of Talent and Culture at Left. Our Lefties are the heart of our organization and this recognition highlights the culture that they’ve helped build over the last nine years. We recertify as a B Corp in early 2020, and we look forward to seeing the progress we have made as a team.”

1,000 B Corps from 44 countries were named to the 2019 Best For The World lists, including Patagonia, Beautycounter, Dr. Bronner’s, TOMS, Seventh Generation, and Greyston Bakery. The 2019 Best For The World honorees are determined based on the verified B Impact Assessments of Certified B Corporations. The full lists are available on https://bcorporation.net/.

About Left

Left is a B-Corp certified, Canadian multinational media and technology company committed to using technology for positive social impact. One of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, Left has grown into a global team of over 120. Left Travel, a brand of Left, has been using big data, A.I., and predictive analysis to convert high search intent traffic into quality bookings for hotels and short-term stays since 2010. With its mobile mesh networking project powered by blockchain and tokenization, RightMesh, Left is addressing the global challenge of connectivity — particularly in regions where the digital divide is greatest. Headquartered in the Vancouver-based suburb of Maple Ridge, BC, Left has offices, subsidiaries, and employees in Bangladesh, Switzerland, and the United States.

Contact: Amber McLennan, Marketing Manager; amber@left.io

About B Lab

B Lab is a nonprofit that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. B Lab’s initiatives include B Corp Certification, administration of the B Impact Management programs and software, and advocacy for governance structures like the benefit corporation. B Lab’s vision is of an inclusive and sustainable economy that creates a shared prosperity for all. To date, there are 3,000 Certified B Corps in over 150 industries and 64 countries, and over 50,000 companies use the B Impact Assessment. For more information, visit https://bcorporation.net/

B Lab Contact: Hannah Munger; Manager, PR & Communications; hmunger@bcorporation.net; +1 212–608–4150

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What it means to be a B Corp

Why Left became a B Corp

At Left we believe that you need to know the score to be able to improve and succeed, that is why ‘Keeping Score’ is one of our core values. Whether it is knowing the daily sales stats or tracking community hours, it is important to know your metrics as we believe, that which is measured, gets improved. 

In 2015 we realized that there was a lack of data on parts of our business that were the most important to us, such as measuring our employee engagement and our global impact. The metrics we wanted to track were over time, not day-to-day or month-to-month, but year-to-year. 

To address this, we started by selecting a local company, Perked!, to keep score of our employee engagement and satisfaction. While this tool was leading us in the right direction, it didn’t track how we were making our mark globally or provide benchmarks with other organizations. 

It was while reviewing our fellow nominee for the 2015 ‘Technology Impact Award in Community Engagement’, Traction on Demand, that our Director of Talent and Culture, Tracy McDonald, saw the B-Corp logo for the first time. 

Reading through their website she thought ‘we could do this’ - it was exactly what we were looking for. Being a B-Corp would provide us with a way to ensure that we were doing things right. It would allow us to benchmark ourselves with other organizations, and over time, it would allow us to pick elements from within the scoring mechanism that we could work to improve. Becoming a part of the B Corp movement was a way to be a part of the change, and in our small way, help to champion that change.

In 2017, we were proud to have become a ​Certified B Corporation.

What is a B-Corp?

Certified B Corporations are organizations committed to doing business as a ‘force for good.' Certified companies hold a high standard of “verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”

As a collective, the B Corp community works to create a global cultural shift to redefine success in business with the goal of building a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Becoming a B Corp

Becoming a Certified B Corporation is a tough milestone to achieve, and we're proud to have earned it!
Unlike other organizational certifications, the B Impact Assessment doesn’t only evaluate a product or service, it assesses “the overall positive impact of the company that stands behind it.” This happens through an evaluation and scoring of a business's impact in five key impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers. To become B-Corp certified, companies must score a total of 80 across all impact areas. Left is proud to have scored 101.


The Left impact area score.

Although we're happy with our score, we recognize that being a B Corp is a commitment to abide by a high standard and seek constant improvement in everything we do. We’re always working to improve our impact areas and make a larger positive mark in our Community. We recertify in early 2020, and we look forward to seeing the progress we have made.

Why Left believes in B Corps

It is our goal to model growth without compromise. Where other companies are limited to maximizing shareholder value, we welcome the B-Corp requirement of maximizing “the value of all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, our partners, the community, and the environment.” This codification ensures that whatever twists and turns the company may take, all involved are assured that we'll live up to our brand promise: We are Left; we do things right.

About Left

Left is a B-Corp certified, Canadian multinational media and technology company committed to using technology for positive social impact. One of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, Left has grown into a global team of over 160. Left Travel, a brand of Left, has been using big data, A.I., and predictive analysis to convert high search intent traffic into quality bookings for hotels and short-term stays since 2010. With its mobile mesh networking project powered by blockchain and tokenization, RightMesh, Left is addressing the global challenge of connectivity — particularly in regions where the digital divide is greatest. Headquartered in the Vancouver-based suburb of Maple Ridge, BC, Left has offices, subsidiaries, and employees in Bangladesh, Switzerland, and the United States.

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