Top ten VC deals done in Canada in 2014


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The Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) and research partner Thomson Reuters will in February 2015 publish their full report on Canadian venture capital market activity in 2014. In the meantime, peHUB Canada has compiled a list of the likely top 10 (disclosed) financings completed this year.

1) Desire2Learn (Kitchener, Ontario)

2014’s largest financing went to Desire2Learn, a provider of enterprise e-learning software. The company in August secured a follow-on round totaling $85 million. Investors included Columbus Nova Technology Partners, Graham Holdings, Four Rivers Group and Aurion Capital, while Silicon Valley Bank provided debt financing. Existing investors New Enterprise Associates and OMERS Ventures also participated.

2) BuildDirect (Vancouver, British Columbia)

BuildDirect actually closed two rounds of funding this year, which gave it a combined total of $80 million in fresh capital. In January, the online home improvement products supplier obtained $30 million in a Series B round led by Mohr Davidow Ventures and joined by BDC Capital. Eleven months later, BuildDirect scored an additional $50 million from Mohr Davidow, OMERS VenturesBMO Asset Management and other investors.

3) Hootsuite Media (Vancouver, British Columbia)

In third spot was social relationship platform Hootsuite Media, which in September closed a US$60 million follow-on financing that brought its total raise since 2009 to US$250 million. The leader of the most recent round was an undisclosed U.S. asset manager. Other participants included existing backers Accel Partners, Insight Venture Partners and OMERS Ventures, as well as new investor Silicon Valley Bank.

4) Verafin (St. John’s, Newfoundland)

Verafin, a provider of anti-money laundering and fraud detection software, in May raised $60 million in a Series C funding round. The investor was U.S. technology-focused private equity firm Spectrum Equity. The company’s other major backer is Canadian venture capital firm RBC Venture Partners, which in October was bought out by its principals to create a new firm: Information Venture Partners.

5) Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (Victoria, British Columbia)

A pharmaceutical company focused on the nephrology market, Aurinia was responsible for 2014’s largest VC financing completed in Canada’s life sciences sector. In February, it raised US$52 million in a deal led by venBio, New Enterprise Associates, Redmile, RA Capital, Great Point Partners and Apple Tree Partners, with the participation of existing investors Lumira Capital, ILJIN Life Science and Difference Capital.

6) Wattpad (Toronto, Ontario)

Wattpad closed a Series C round in April, securing US$46 million. The financing was led by OMERS Ventures and joined by August Capital, Raine Ventures and Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund, as well as existing VCs Union Square Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Jerry Yang of AME Cloud Ventures, Golden Venture Partners and Boris Wertz of Version One Ventures. Wattpad is a social platform that creates connections between readers and writers.

7) Kik Interactive (Waterloo, Ontario)

The maker of Kik, a username-based smartphone messenger that facilitates chat networks, Kik Interactive obtained $38.3 million in Series C funding in November. U.S. venture capital firm Valiant Capital Partners led the round with participation from Millennium Technology Value Partners, SV Angel, Foundation Capital, RRE Ventures, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures.

8) LightSpeed Retail (Montréal, Québec)

LightSpeed Retail in September received $35 million in a deal co-led by Canadian venture capital firm iNovia Capital and U.S. firm Accel Partners. The deal brought the company’s total financing to date to $65 million. A retail commerce technology provider, LightSpeed’s latest funding round also contributed to a report showing that C100 companies have raised almost $1.1 billion since 2010.

9) FreshBooks (Toronto, Ontario) & MedAvail Technologies (Mississauga, Ontario)

There was a tie for Number 9 spot. FreshBooks, a cloud accounting service, took US$30 million in a first-time financing in July. The deal was led by U.S. venture capital firm Oak Investment Partners and was joined by Atlas Venture and Georgian PartnersMedAvail Technologies, a prescription-drug dispensing kiosk, in October also raised US$30 million in Series C funding. U.S. healthcare investment firm Pura Vida Investments led the round with participation from Adage Capital Management, Redmile Group, Walgreens and Alliance Boots.

10) SHOP.CA Network (Toronto, Ontario)

Online shopping destination SHOP.CA secured $31 million in a Series B financing that included new investor Shaw Ventures, the investment arm of Shaw Communications, and several financial institutions. Existing backers that also joined the May round included: Torstar Corp, Slaight Communications and Difference Capital. In the last two years, SHOP.CA has raised $52 million in total.

(Correction: Aurinia Pharmaceuticals has its headquarters in Victoria, British Columbia. The original version of this story said the company is based in Edmonton, Alberta, where Aurinia also has an office.)

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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