Canadian small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) expect their investing in 2019 will be curbed by a shortage of qualified labour, according to a survey by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). BDC’s fourth annual investment intentions report found the labour shortage to be the top barrier to investing. Other impediments include insufficient cash flow and economic uncertainty. Overall SME optimism remains stable, with 73 percent of the 4,024 business owners surveyed expecting their revenue to grow this year. Four in 10 SMEs plan to devote all or some of their investing to new technologies.
Hootsuite has abandoned a process that could have led to its sale, according to a report by the Globe and Mail. Hootsuite, a Vancouver-based social media management platform, ended the process after preliminary offers came in below expectations, the report said. In October, Reuters reported the company hired Goldman Sachs to explore a sale that could value it at more than US$750 million ($995 million). Sources told the Globe and Mail that Hootsuite held talks with private equity firms, which generated initial offers ranging as high as US$650 million to US$700 million. Hootsuite is backed by Accel Partners, Fidelity Investments, Insight Venture Partners, OMERS Ventures and other investors.
Canada’s venture capital market broke records in 2018, its ninth straight year of growth. The milestones included the most financings sized $100 million or more – ever. That made the market’s top 10 VC financings especially cash-intensive. In all, they drew $1.4 billion from investors, up 17 percent from the $1.2 billion raised by the top 10 deals in 2017. The number is based on PE Hub Canada’s list of the largest financings announced in 2018, supplemented by preliminary data from Refinitiv. It points to the considerable influence of late-stage rounds in technology investment activity, which reached a total of $4.3 billion last year, a nearly two-decade high.
Avrio Capital, a Canadian food and agriculture technology investor, and Alliance Consumer Growth, a U.S. consumer and retail growth equity firm, have invested in the launch of healthy snack food company Way Better Brands LLC. Terms weren’t disclosed. Way Better Brands combines two existing companies, Live Better Brands, the Minneapolis-based owner of tortilla chips and crackers brand Way Better Snacks, and Left Field Foods, the Calgary-based maker of air-puffed potato snacks brand Spokes. Avrio Managing Partner Aki Georgacacos said the deal creates a “best in-class consumer products business” with snacking solutions across multiple categories.
Harrison Street Real Estate Capital has sold Ecla Paris, a French student accommodation property, to Canadian alternative asset manager Brookfield Asset Management. No financial terms were disclosed. Ecla Paris, a 1,200-plus-bed facility located at the University of Paris-Saclay campus, was developed by a joint venture of Harrison Street and HPC Group. Harrison Street is a U.S. real estate investment management firm focused on the education, healthcare and storage sectors.
Canopy Rivers, the venture capital arm of Canopy Growth Corp, has appointed Narbe Alexandrian as president, effective immediately. Alexandrian will lead corporate development initiatives and manage the firm on a day-to-day basis. Alexandrian joined Canopy Rivers last year from OMERS Ventures, where he served as a senior associate. Before then, he was a senior strategy manager in Telus Corp’s internet of things group. Based in Smith Falls, Ontario, Canopy Growth is a producer of medical and recreational cannabis.
Canadian private equity firm Yaletown Partners has hired Michael Sfalcin as a principal. Sfalcin will be based in Yaletown’s Toronto office, helping the firm identify and create new investment opportunities across Canada. He joins from BMO Financial Group, where he served as director of financing, technology and innovation sector. Before then, he was an investment director at Canadian venture capital firm BEST Funds. Last year, Vancouver-based Yaletown held the first close of its emerging-growth technology fund, Yaletown Innovation Growth Fund, raising more than $100 million.
Toronto-based biotechnology startup Acorn Biolabs has raised $3.3 million in a seed-stage financing. The round was backed by Canadian investors Real Ventures, Globalive Technology, Pool Global Partners and Epic Capital Management, among others. Founded in 2017 by CEO Drew Taylor, CSO Patrick Pumputis and CTO Steven ten Holder, Acorn has developed a home-based, non-invasive solution that allows consumers to collect and preserve live cells for future therapeutic uses. The company, located in MaRS Discovery District‘s JLABS, will use the funds raised to add to its team and prepare for the technology’s commercial launch in Q2 2019.
The parent company of Kissner Group, a Kitchener, Ontario-based bulk, specialty packaged and evaporated salt producer, has acquired NSC Minerals Ltd, a Saskatoon-based provider of salt and calcium chloride products. Terms weren’t disclosed. The seller was Canadian private equity firm Altas Partners, which acquired NSC in 2013 from Wynnchurch Capital. NSC, which provides salt for deicing, industrial and agricultural applications, will continue to operate under its existing brand as a Kissner affiliate. Kissner is backed by U.S. private equity firm Metalmark Capital and a vehicle led by Silverhawk Capital Partners and Demetree Salt LLC. Metalmark led the 2015 acquisition of Kissner from TorQuest Partners.
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has provided growth capital to Metro Supply Chain Group (Metro SCG), a Montréal-based provider of customized logistics services and supply chain solutions. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which adds to an investment made by the Caisse last April. Metro SCG will use the proceeds to execute its growth strategy, which targets acquisitions, new markets and further global expansion. It will give particular focus to e-commerce opportunities. Established in 1974 by CEO Chiko Nanji, Metro SCG moves more than $20 billion in goods each year through its logistics centres located in North America and Europe.
PerfectServe has acquired Telmediq, a Victoria, British Columbia-based secure communications platform for the healthcare sector. Terms weren’t released. Founded in 2012 by CEO Ben Moore, Telmediq has its U.S. office in Seattle, Washington. PerfectServe, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based provider of clinical communication and collaboration solutions, said together the companies have more than 500,000 clinical users across 250 hospital sites and 27,000 physician practices and post-acute care organizations. Last year, PerfectServe was acquired by K1 Investment Management, a U.S. enterprise software private equity firm.
Book4Time, a Markham, Ontario-based cloud business management software platform for the spa and wellness industry, has raised a monthly-recurring-revenue loan of $2.5 million. The source of the loan was the growth and transition capital group of BDC Capital. Founded in 2004 by CEO Roger Sholanki, Book4Time provides a software-as-a-service solution to more than 3,000 luxury and chain spas in over 70 countries. The company will use the funds raised to accelerate growth over the next three years, by hiring staff for sales and marketing, R&D and operations and expanding its headquarters.
Canada’s venture capital market broke records in 2018, its ninth straight year of growth. The milestones included the most financings sized C$100 million ($75 million) or more – ever. Eight such megarounds closed last year, exceeding the prior record of five set in 2017. That made the market’s top 10 VC financings especially cash-intensive. In […]
Bold Commerce, a Winnipeg-based developer of e-commerce software solutions, has raised C$22 million in a Series A financing. The investors were Canadian venture capital firms Whitecap Venture Partners and Round13 Capital. Whitecap Managing Partner Carey Diamond and Round13 Partner Craig Strong will join the board. Founded in 2012 by CEO Yvan Boisjoli, CTO Eric Boisjoli, CBO Stefan Maynard and Vice President, Growth Jay Myers, Bold provides a range of e-commerce apps to more than 86,000 wholesale and business-to-business merchants worldwide.
CoolIT Systems, a Calgary-based liquid cooling technology company, has raised undisclosed debt financing from Vistara Capital Partners. Vistara invested through its third technology debt fund, Vistara Technology Growth Fund III, which was launched in October with a $130 million (US$100 million) target. Founded in 2001, CoolIT provides modular, scalable liquid cooling solutions for data centres. It will use the funds raised to expand production capacity in response to demand from new and existing global customers. CoolIT is backed by Canadian venture capital firm iNovia Capital, U.S. firm Chart Venture Partners and other investors.
Veeam Software, a Baar, Switzerland-based provider of data management solutions for the public and private cloud, has secured a US$500 million investment. The investment was made by U.S. venture capital and private equity firm Insight Venture Partners, with “strong” participation from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). Founded in 2006, Veeam provides backup solutions that enable intelligent data management for more than 325,000 customers worldwide. The deal’s proceeds will help accelerate the next phase of the company’s organic and acquisition-based growth.
Foodtastic Inc has acquired Les Rotisseries Au Coq, a Montréal-based specialist in delivery and carry-out rotisserie style chicken. No financial terms were disclosed. Au Coq was established in 1960 by the Benny family. Foodtastic, a Montréal-based franchisor of restaurant concepts, said the deal is in line with a strategy of acquiring local brands with growth potential that complement its existing portfolio. Au Coq is Foodtastic’s second acquisition since it secured a $47 million investment in November from Restaurant Royalty Partners, a joint venture of Oaktree Capital Management and JHR Capital.
Canadian private equity firm PFM Capital has secured more than $80 million in the first close of Apex III Investment Fund LP. The fund, which has a target of $100 million and a hard cap of $125 million, was backed by wealthy and institutional investors. It is expected to wrap up in the first half of 2019. Apex III will invest equity, quasi-equity or subordinated debt in mid-market companies in energy, value-added agriculture, industrial and manufacturing sectors in Western Canada. The capital will be used mostly for expansions, acquisitions and management buyouts. Established in 1989, Regina-based PFM is led by President and Founding Partner Randy Beattie.