March was the biggest month for software exits in Canada so far this year, with two significant deals announced. Highlights:
- 15 deals announced (14 last month, 8 in January)
- 4 deals had a disclosed value. The largest disclosed deals were Wind Mobile’s sale to Shaw Communications ($1.2B), GGY’s sale to Moody’s ($115M) and Bitstrip’s sale to Snapchat ($100M) – all amounts in USD
- 8 of the companies were in Toronto, 2 in Vancouver, the rest were distributed
- 4 of the 15 companies were VC-backed, 2 were private equity backed, the rest were either bootstrapped or had not raised any institutional funding
- 10 out of the 15 buyers were Canadian. One was from the UK, one from Europe. The rest were American
- 4 of the buyers were public
- Median time to exit: 11 years (4.5 years for last months’ deals)
- Shortest time to exit: 2 years
- Longest time to exit: 35 years!
- All of the buyers were strategic. No private equity deals this month.
For those of us that follow the VC-funded startup space by far the biggest deal was the Bitstrips acquisition. Bitstrips was founded in 2007, originally as a comic maker. It later pivoted into a mobile avatar app and got massive traction. The company had raised $11M from Kleiner Perkins, Horizons Ventures and Allen Lau’s Two Small Fish Ventures.
The Bitstrips outcome is a perfect illustration of B2C companies. The outcomes tend to be binary. Most often they don’t work. But when they do, they work big.
Apart from that deal the only other notable one was Wind. All the others were modest, with nominal or no disclosed value.
As always, I report on these each month. If you’re interested in seeing the underlying data, I keep it here.