Hardy Capital’s Shoes.com eyes fall IPO after funding round: Reuters

Canadian e-commerce startup Shoes.com Technologies plans to go public this fall following a private funding round that tapped high net-worth individuals and private institutional capital, Chairman Roger Hardy said on Monday.

The company raised $45 million earlier this month, valuing it at $320 million. The offering was oversubscribed by two to three times, Hardy said, adding that it was the largest unbrokered private placement for a Canadian e-commerce company.

“This gets us cashed up right through to the IPO. It keeps us well capitalized to continue funding growth,” Hardy, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, said in an interview.

The news comes as another Canadian e-commerce company, Shopify (SH.TO), went public in a soaring U.S. and Canadian market debut last week.

A slew of Canadian technology companies have been tapped as potential IPO candidates, including Hootsuite, BuildDirect, Vision Critical, Wattpad and Shop.ca.

“It’s validation that there are great companies here,” Hardy said of the Shopify IPO. “What it truly says is that innovative Canadian companies that succeed can get global attention.”

The e-commerce industry, dominated by giants such as Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and eBay Inc (EBAY.O), is highly sought by venture capitalists and investors as more consumers do their shopping online.

Shoes.com expects to generate more than $300 million in revenue in 2015. In the first quarter, sales grew 88 percent from same period last year, Hardy said. The company’s revenue was over $200 million in 2014.

Shoes.com recently named Greg Kerfoot, owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC soccer team, and Jeffrey Mason, a former chief financial officer at Hunter Dickinson, to its board.

The company could list on a stock exchange in Toronto or New York, or both, Hardy said.

Hardy made a name for himself last year when he sold Coastal Contacts Inc, a digital retailer of eyeglasses and contact lenses, to Essilor International for about $430 million. Coastal was listed on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

The Vancouver-based Shoes.com is a portfolio company of Canadian merchant bank Hardy Capital Partners, of which Hardy is the chairman. Shoe.com owns and operates several related businesses acquired by Hardy Capital in 2014.

By John Tilak

(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Leslie Adler)

(This story has been edited by Kirk Falconer, editor of peHUB Canada)

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