Exits in Canada: August 2016

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As expected given the time of year, August was a slow month for IT exits in Canada with 5 deals closed (3 last month). However, an additional 5 deals were announced in the month (but not closed yet) including BCE’s purchase of Q9 Networks for $ 491M USD. So, perhaps that’s a good sign as we all get back to work.

Here are the highlights for the closed deals last month: Continue reading Exits in Canada: August 2016

Why you need Canadian VCs

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I was sharing the news yesterday about Canada’s newest VC fund, Vistara Capital Partners, when my friend Boris Mann asked this question. My objective with this post is not to call Boris out. I’m sure many people ask the same question. But as a former Canadian VC and a huge fanboy of the Canadian startup scene, I feel pretty strongly that our companies should raise capital locally. Here’s why:

Local networks: The best companies can get money anywhere. It all looks the same. So, it’s the other stuff that differentiates capital. One area where VCs look to help is in recruiting. If you’re in Toronto, your SF-based investor can’t help much. Yes, their name brand might help. But they can’t actually help you. Whether it’s sourcing local team members, advisors, banks, etc. your homegrown VC can help. Continue reading Why you need Canadian VCs

No more limits for Canadian Tech

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 6.25.14 AMYesterday was a huge day for the Canadian tech scene with Shopify‘s long-awaited IPO finally happening. In its first day of trading the company that began as Tobi’s little rails app gained 51% in market value and is now worth approx. ~ $1.8B.

Having been involved in the Canadian startup scene since the 90s the big thing for me here is that there are no more limits. It was accepted wisdom for many years that we just couldn’t build big technology leaders here in Canada. Yes, we had some exceptions (Blackberry, Nortel, etc.). But by and large our tech companies have been smaller and sold early.

Continue reading No more limits for Canadian Tech

Closing the gap in Canadian exits

Techvibes reposted some extensive research from the folks at MaRS on exit outcomes in Canada along with a long list of observations and recommendations for all of us building startups in Canada. There’s much I dislike about this research. For one thing, it’s all very backwards-looking. Also, seeking the insights of a fund that has long since run out of capital and stopped making investments (in Canada or anywhere) just because they have the historical high water mark in terms of number of US investments seems silly. Finally, the conclusion that we need to go move (in whole or in part) to the US is just downright annoying.

But lets park those concerns and focus on one issue: Exit sizes.

Continue reading Closing the gap in Canadian exits