New signs of life in Canadian venture-backed exits

Photo courtesy of Lightspeed POS

In his 2019 Canadian venture and startup predictions, OMERS Ventures Managing Partner Jim Orlando laments the lack of big exits of VC-backed tech companies in 2018.

The market in Canada appears to be doing a better job on this front this year.

For example, Aeryon Labs, a Waterloo developer of commercial drones, was acquired in January by FLIR Systems for $265 million. Previously, Aeryon was financed by Summit Partners and MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund.

February saw an even bigger M&A: Clementia Pharmaceuticals, a Montréal maker of treatments for rare bone disorders, agreed to be bought by Ipsen in a $1.7 billion deal.

Clementia already achieved an exit when it made its public debut on the Nasdaq in 2017. But several VCs, including BDC Capital and New Enterprise Associates, stayed on and are now backing the sale to Ipsen.

After a nearly two-year hiatus, the market is also seeing a return of VC-backed IPOs.

In March, Lightspeed, a Montréal retail and restaurant POS and e-commerce solution, went public on the TSX, raising $276 million. The IPO valued the company at $1.5 billion.

Going into the public launch, Lightspeed was backed by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Inovia Capital and others.

This story originally appeared in Venture Capital Journal, published by Buyouts Insider. Subscribers can read the full story by clicking here. To subscribe to Venture Capital Journal, click here.