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.

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Traditional (“Big”) VC is alive and well…

After accounting restatements and other mishaps and still burning crazy $, Groupon is finally public. This juggernaut of a company is only three years old and raised over $1.1B before entering the public markets. That is a crazy ride! On paper, Groupon’s investors (14 venture funds) generated a 3.3X return. PE Hub dug deeper and unearthed paper returns for each VC Fund. Some highlights:

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Opentable – behind the numbers

It’s not every day that we get to see a tech IPO. In fact, in all of 2008 we only had six of them. So, I thought I’d check out the SEC fling for Opentable‘s planned public offering to see what we could learn from a company that has grown enough to brave the public markets.

Opentable got its start during the last bubble. It raised its first financing back in May 1999 (the same month I joined my 1st startup). That’s a long time ago. If you don’t know this company they provide online reservations services for restaurants – about 10,000 of them. What’s significant about this business for me is they are one of the first examples of a free end user service going public. Let’s check out the numbers.

Behind the numbers

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Junior Stock Exchanges – Use them at your peril

If you run a brand new startup, this post isn’t for you – yet. For those of you further along the in the lifecycle, I’d like to share my thoughts on the junior stock exchanges with you.

The junior stock exchanges are stock markets with easier listing requirements relative to the exchanges such as NASDAQ in the US; LSE in the UK or TSX here in Canada. Each country has one or more junior equivalents to these senior exchanges. Canada has the Venture Exchange. The UK has AIM (Alternative Investment Market) and the U.S. has a few vehicles from the American Stock Exchange all the way down to pink sheets.

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