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More Big VC Fundraising for Canadian Companies

The hits just keep on coming.  This week Waterloo-based Kik announced that it has raised another $38 million in venture capital funding from new investors Millennium Technology Value Partners and SV Angel as well as existing investors Foundation Capital, RRE Ventures, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures.  This brings Kik’s total funding to $70.5 million.  With 185 million users it is no wonder that the mobile messaging company has been able to attract such remarkable sums of financing from big name US investors. Furthermore, it is already putting that money to good use by acquiring the GIF messaging app Relay, along with its 700,000 users.  To read more about the deal, click here.

This transaction comes on the heels of Montreal-based Blockstream’s whopping $21 million seed round from Khosla Ventures and Real Ventures.  It is not only impressive that the cryptocurrency company was able to raise such a large sum of very early-stage capital, but that it was able to attract the likes of Khosla Ventures, which is not know to make investments of this sort in Canada.

Kudos to both of these companies.  We hope to see lots of good news from them in the future.

Posted in: PE/VC News

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IntelliResponse Sold to [24]7

Congratulations to David Lloyd and the rest of the team at IntelliResponse on the sale of their company to [24]7.  Based in Toronto, IntelliResponse was founded in 2000 and is a leading provider of customer experience management solutions for enterprise clients, with a focus on chat messaging and support tools.  [24]7 is also in the customer experience management space and generates roughly $250 million in revenue.  Financial details of the transaction were not made public.

For further information, click here.

Posted in: M&A News

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Peraso Technologies Raises $20 Million in VC

Congratulations to our neighbours at Peraso Technologies on their recent $20 million round of venture capital financing (they are located in the same building as Q1 Capital, one floor down).  The company, which is in the fabless semiconductor space and is developing 60 GHz wireless chip sets, has raised over $37 million in capital to date from investors including VentureLink, Celtic House Venture Partners, iNovia Capital, and Roadmap Capital, which led the most recent round.

To read more about the transaction, click here.

Posted in: PE/VC News

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Canadian Tech in the Spotlight

CB Insights recently published its list of private, venture-backed technology companies with valuations over $1 billion.  It identified 56 such companies, many of which will be familiar to those who follow the tech sector, including Uber ($17 billion), AirBnB, and Dropbox (both $10 billion) along with some upstarts that receive a lot less press.   There is also a name on the list that will be familiar to those who follow the Canadian tech sector: Shopify was listed with a valuation of $1 billion.

We are of course pleased to see a Canadian company on a list like this but we were also a little perplexed by the absence of another well known Canadian tech company: Hootsuite.  Shopify received its billion-dollar valuation following its $100 million Series C round of financing in December 2013, bringing its total funding to $122 million.  Hootsuite has raised nearly $285 million in funding, including a $60 million Series D one month ago.  That level of funding would point towards a billion-dollar-plus valuation given current market conditions, so we were surprised to see it excluded from this list.

Regardless of whether or not Canadian companies make it onto a list like this, we remain very pleased to see our country’s tech start-ups raising significant rounds of capital.  This includes Desire2Learn, which raised an $85 million Series B this past August, bringing its total capital to $165 million; BuildDirect, which has raised over $62 million through four rounds of fundraising; and Vision Critical, which has raised $42.5 million to date.  We hope that this trend continues and that it is a sign of good times ahead for Canada’s tech industry.

Posted in: Tech News

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Q1 Announcement – Assets of Jana Laboratories Acquired by NSF International

Q1 Capital Partners is pleased to announce the strategic acquisition of the testing assets and laboratory operation of its client, Jana Laboratories Inc., by Ann Arbor, Michigan-based NSF International. Jana Laboratories’ 14-person laboratory staff and 20,000-square-foot laboratory in Aurora, Ontario will be renamed NSF Janalab and become part of NSF’s global network of ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratories throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia.

Jana Laboratories is an engineering consulting and laboratory testing firm that serves the global water and plastic pipe industries. The Company has over 45 years of piping systems testing expertise, globally recognized engineering capability, the largest Oxidation Resistance Test and Analysis capability, and the largest Hydrostatic Test capacity in North America. NSF’s acquisition of Jana’s testing assets and laboratory operation along with its existing global laboratory capabilities combine to make NSF one of the leading providers of performance and health effects testing and certification for the global plastic pipe industry.

Jana has experienced significant growth in its consulting business over the past few years and the sale of the testing assets to NSF enables Jana to focus its entire efforts on that fast-growing and lucrative side of the business.

About Q1 Capital
Q1 Capital Partners is a Toronto-based corporate finance advisory firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions for private Canadian companies in the information and communication technology, digital media, and traditional business sectors. Q1 focuses it expertise on identifying foreign strategic acquirers who understand the value created by Canadian businesses. Our team of seasoned professionals offers depth of experience in M&A deal execution and a solid background working with innovative companies in a wide variety of industries. Clients engage us for our transactional experience, insight, integrity, dedication, and exceptional service.
www.q1capital.com

Posted in: M&A News

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Q1 Announcement – Clay Tablet Technologies Acquired by Lionbridge Technologies

Q1 Capital Partners is pleased to announce the strategic acquisition of its client, Clay Tablet Technologies (CTT), by Waltham, Massachusetts-based Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: LIOX). With 2013 revenues of US$489 million, Lionbridge is the world’s leading provider of translation and localization services and works with hundreds of global market leaders including Adobe, Canon, Caterpillar, CBS interactive, Cisco, Dell, Eli Lilly, EMC, Expedia, Golden Living, Google, HP, LRN, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Pearson, Pfizer, Philips, Porsche, PTC, RIM, Rolls Royce, Samsung, and the US Department of Justice.

Founded in 2005 by Robinson Kelly and Ryan Coleman, Toronto-based Clay Tablet Technologies is globally recognized as the leading provider of translation integration solutions. The acquisition of Clay Tablet will allow Lionbridge to provide a complete portfolio of services and technologies that enable clients to seamlessly create, manage, and optimize global digital customer experiences across every channel including web, email, and social media platforms.

In addition to being an integral part of Lionbridge’s translation offering, CTT will continue to provide the only neutral platform for connecting CMSs to any translation firm or technology with incredibly feature-rich, enterprise–class CMS connectors. Importantly, Lionbridge is hiring all of CTT’s employees and will be maintaining CTT’s Canadian operation.

Robinson Kelly, CEO of Clay Tablet Technologies Inc. commented: “We simply could not have succeeded in this transaction without Q1 and Mike’s great team. The challenge in such deals is that you don’t know what you don’t know. But Mike’s extensive experience provides that knowledge – and he navigates those challenges with a perfect balance of tact, conviction, and strength. His negotiation skills absolutely increased the value received by Clay Tablet’s shareholders and I would certainly recommend Q1 to any entrepreneur considering the sale of their business.”

About Q1 Capital
Q1 Capital Partners is a Toronto-based corporate finance advisory firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions for private Canadian companies in the information and communication technology, digital media, and traditional business sectors. Q1 focuses its expertise on identifying foreign strategic acquirers that understand the value created by Canadian businesses. Our team of seasoned professionals offers depth of experience in M&A deal execution and a solid background working with innovative companies in a wide variety of industries. Clients engage us for our transactional experience, insight, integrity, dedication, and exceptional service.
www.q1capital.com

Posted in: M&A News

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Good Times for Fundraising in Canada

The past few weeks have seen some impressive fundraising activity among noteworthy Canadian technology companies.  This is great news not just for the recipients of this new capital but for Canada’s tech ecosystem as well.  These transactions include:

Zafin, which is based in Vancouver and makes relationship banking software, raised $15 million in growth equity capital from Kayne Partners, bringing its total funding to date to $20 million.  This capital will allow the company to expand its line of software products and to increase its international sales and marketing efforts.

Scribble, the Toronto-based content engagement and publishing platform provider, raised $12 million in Series C venture capital funding from existing investors Rogers Venture Partners, Summerhill Venture Partners, Georgian Partners, and Export Development Canada as well as new investor Waterloo Innovation Network.  This capital will allow the company to open overseas offices as well as to make further acquisitions following its purchase of CoveritLive earlier this year.  This investment brings Scribble’s total capital raised to date to almost $24 million.

REGEN Energy, the Toronto-based provider of electricity demand management systems, raised $12 million in Series B venture capital from existing investors BDC Capital and NGEN Partners as well as new investors EnerTech Capital, Export Development Canada, and an American utility company.  This capital will help the company expand the commercialization of its SWARM Energy Management system that helps commercial and industrial users to significantly reduce their electricity consumption.  The company has now raised a total of $25 million in capital through five rounds of fundraising.

Hubub, a social community and content platform that is also based in Toronto, raised $5 million in equity capital from Bell Media.  The company’s platform is currently in beta and a full release is expected sometime this month.  It has now raised a total of $14 million in capital.

These companies have managed to attract significant amounts of capital that will hopefully allow them to commercialize their software and hardware platforms well beyond the Canadian market.  They join other Canadian companies that have recently raised later stage rounds of equity capital funding in the eight-figure range from existing investors here in Canada as well as new investors from the US and overseas.

This is a very welcome development in the Canadian tech landscape.  Where previously companies such as these would hit a funding wall and have to be acquired by large foreign buyers at an early stage or else become irrelevant because they lacked the capital required to expand their sales and marketing beyond our borders, now they have a chance to become successful, internationally recognized technology leaders, acquirers of emerging competitors, and much larger acquisition targets themselves or candidates for substantial initial offerings in the public markets.

They are also increasing their headcounts, purchasing new equipment, and occupying larger office and industrial spaces.  This is certainly welcome news, and not just for those of us who work in or provide services to the Canadian technology community.

Posted in: M&A News, PE/VC News

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Toronto’s Bering Media Acquired by Audience Partners

Congratulations to the principals at Toronto’s Bering Media on the sale of their company to Audience Partners, a Pennsylvania-based company that offers an advertising management platform that enables programmatic ad buying targeted at audiences on an array of devices.  Bering Media, which was founded in 2008 and had received $7.5 million in funding from local sources, is an audience network for broadband and mobile network operators.  Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

To read more about the transaction, click here.

Posted in: M&A News

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Frank & Oak Raises $15 Million in VC Funding

Montreal-based menswear designer and online retailer Frank & Oak has raised a $15 million Series B round of venture capital.  The investors include Greenoaks Capital, Investissement Quebec, Rho Canada Ventures, Real Ventures, Version One Ventures, Lightbank, and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments as well as several individual investors. The capital will be used for sales and marketing, expanding the company’s headcount, building out its website and eCommerce platform, and opening several small physical retail locations and “pop-up shops.”

To read more about this transaction, click here.

Posted in: PE/VC News

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Fresh Capital for FreshBooks

Congratulations to FreshBooks on its impressive $30 million round of venture capital funding.  The round was led by Oak Investment Partners with participation by Atlas Ventures and Toronto-based Georgian Partners.  The company plans to use the money to fund its international expansion and to grow the headcount at its Toronto office by 350 employees, which is fantastic news for the local tech community.  This is yet another sign that Canadian companies are increasingly able to attract the sizable rounds of venture capital needed to help propel them to international prominence and generate sales that allow them to compete with the biggest names in tech.

To read more about the transaction, click here.

Posted in: PE/VC News

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