Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Sharethebus nets a seed round of funding from Maple Leaf Angels, on the site Canada 3 months, 1 week ago
Maple Leaf Angels announced this week that it has led a $750,000 financing round in Sharethebus through its MLA48 Fund. Based in Montreal, Sharethebus is a platform for providing private ride-share charter buses […]
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, AVAC’s Accelerate Fund invests in Levven Electronics, on the site Canada 3 months, 1 week ago
AVAC’s Accelerate Fund, an early stage angel co-investment fund, announced this week it has made an investment in Levven Electronics, an Edmonton-based manufacturer of electronic and automation products. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Experience and acumen of leadership team helps Edmonton company secure first round of funding from the Accelerate Fund
Edmonton, Canada – The Accelerate Fund is pleased to announce the closing of a funding round in Levven Electronics, an electronic design and manufacturing company making products for homes and commercial spaces around the world. This deal represents the Accelerate Fund’s tenth investment since inception. The Accelerate Fund is an early-stage, angel co-investment fund managed by AVAC Ltd.
Levven designs and manufactures audio and control products that automate and enhance today’s way of life with unprecedented wireless reliability. This round of funding will help Levven expand their footprint in the residential and light commercial markets and give them a platform to introduce future GoControl™ simple home automation controls and sensors.
“What made this deal attractive to us is the experience and accomplishments of the senior leadership team,” says Warren Bergen, General Partner & Director of the Accelerate Fund. “When you add that to the obvious innovation value of their product line, we are confident that Levven has good potential to substantially impact their industry. We are excited to help the company grow to the next level of sales and profits.”
Levven’s senior management team includes James Keirstead, the driving force behind evolving Blue Falls Manufacturing into Arctic Spas, one of Canada’s fastest growing and most successful companies. The team also includes Marv Verlage from Martech, a nationally recognized leader in providing outsourced sales services for manufacturers who make products for the commercial and residential construction industry.
“The team at AVAC was incredibly helpful in walking us through the investor pitch and due diligence process, which ultimately lead to securing the funding we needed to grow. I am excited to have them as a partner,” said Keirstead, President of Levven.
The first two products in Levven’s “Go” line are the GoRave™ and the GoConex™. The GoRave™ is a wireless audio transmitter and receiver that makes it easy to play big audio with smartphones, tablets, televisions, and computers in all of the rooms of a house. Their GoConex™ switches are an ultra-reliable power control product that eliminates wire and switch boxes from all electrical installations. GoConex, essentially, is a “switch without wires” and can replace traditional wired switching. Contractors and home builders using GoConex switches conserve hundreds of pounds of copper, steel and plastic in every home.
About Levven Electronics
Levven’s mission is to create “responsive spaces for the everyday guy” by designing and manufacturing elegantly simple products that automate and enhance today’s way of life. Levven products deliver unprecedented wireless product reliability. To achieve this goal, Levven has created the “Go” family of electronic and automation products. GoRave®, the first “Go” product, unlocks big audio for consumers, home builders, contractors and commercial owners. GoConex™ allows electricians and building owners to switch electricity on and off without the need for wires. http://www.Levven.com
About The Accelerate Fund
The Accelerate Fund is an angel co-investment fund, managed by AVAC Ltd., which invests in promising Alberta technology companies. Investments are consistent with common venture capital investing practices, utilizing an array of equity and debt instruments. AVAC Ltd. performs due diligence, makes investment decisions, and provides ongoing support to portfolio companies on behalf of the Fund. In support of the funded companies, the Accelerate Fund Industry Committee, an advisory network managed by the A100, was designed to provide additional “hands-on” resources to the portfolio companies. Alberta Enterprise Corporation is the Accelerate Fund’s Limited Partner.
Accelerate Fund/AVAC Ltd.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Ironbridge Equity Partners announced this week that it has made an investment of an undisclosed size in Alliance Corporation along with the company’s managers. Based in Mississauga, Alliance is a distributor and […]
Altas Partners announced this week that it has partnered with la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to acquire Capital Vision Services, a Virginia-based management services provider to MyEyeDr optometry practices. The company was previously the recipient of private equity financing from Monitor Clipper Partners in 2012.
Correction: A previous version of this report included a misspelling of Altas in the headline and lead sentence. The report has been corrected.
Altas acquires Capital Vision Services
Altas Partners, together with its partners including Andell Inc. and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (“CDPQ”), has acquired Capital Vision Services (“CVS”), the management services provider to MyEyeDr. O.D. (“MyEyeDr.”) optometry practices. Altas is investing in partnership with CVS’ Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Sue Downes and other members of management.
Founded in 2001 by Ms. Downes and Robert Samit, O.D., CVS focuses on supporting affiliated independent MyEyeDr. optometrists and their practices with a complete array of financial, marketing, human resources and accounting services, along with managed care credentialing and claims processing. MyEyeDr. practices offer patients exceptional vision care services, a wide selection of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, and standard and specialty contact lenses. CVS has grown from managing a single practice in the Washington D.C. metro area to managing 165 optometry practice locations in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington D.C. MyEyeDr. affiliated practices have grown steadily through new location openings and collaborative acquisitions, and today have nearly 2,000 employees serving approximately 1.8 million active patients throughout the United States (www.myeyedr.com).
Altas Partners is an investment firm with a long-term orientation focused on acquiring significant interests in high-quality, market-leading businesses in partnership with outstanding management teams. Key elements of our approach include prudent capital structures, active ownership through strategic and operational support and an emphasis on sustainable value creation. We strive to deliver outstanding investment returns for our partners. Altas is led by seasoned private equity professionals and experienced operating executives. For more information, please visit http://www.altaspartners.com.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Boston-based TA Associates announced today that it has completed an investment in Plusgrade. With offices in Montreal and New York, Plusgrade offers services for airlines to maximize revenues from air travelers […]
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Signal Hill invests in Calgary-based City Wide Towing, on the site Canada 3 months, 1 week ago
Signal Hill Equity Partners announced this week that it has made an investment in Calgary-based City Wide Towing, a provider of vehicle recovery services founded in 1963. Financial terms were not […]
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Canada’s Brookfield to buy freight firm Asciano in $8.84 bln deal, on the site Canada 3 months, 1 week ago
Canada’s Brookfield Infrastructure (BIP.N) said it will buy Australia’s rail freight firm Asciano Ltd (AIO.AX) in a deal valued at about A$12 billion (US$8.84 billion).
Asciano shareholders will receive A$6.94 in cash and A$2.21 in Brookfield Infrastructure Ltd Partnership units for every share held, which works out to A$9.15, Brookfield said on Monday.
The offer is a 13 percent premium to Asciano’s last traded price of A$8.11. Asciano had requested a trading halt on Monday.
The deal, which would be the seventh largest buyout of an Australian firm by an overseas entity, would underscore the huge international appetite for Australia infrastructure.
Record low interest rates have added to the M&A appeal of a sector already struggling with lower valuations because of a downturn in coal exports.
Asciano shares have traded at a discount to Brookfield’s indicative offer price since the target disclosed the approach on July 1, as investors question whether the Australian firm will submit to a takeover just as it starts to benefit from a A$3 billion equipment overhaul.
Fairfax Media had reported the deal earlier.
Asciano is expected to post a net profit of A$392 million for the year to June 30 on Tuesday, according to the average forecast of 16 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters Starmine, its highest since being spun off by Toll Holdings in 2007.
Earlier this year, Asciano’s former parent company, Toll Holdings, agreed to a A$6.5 billion takeover by Japan Post Holdings Co Ltd (IPO-JAPP.T).
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners was established by Brookfield Asset Management (BAMa.TO), a global asset manager with over US$200 billion of assets under management.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye in Sydney; Additional reporting by Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Sriraj Kalluvila)
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, NexusCrowd becomes Ontario exempt market dealer, will co-invest alongside VCs, on the site Canada 3 months, 1 week ago
NexusCrowd, a Toronto-based equity crowdfunding platform, recently announced that it has received its Exempt Market Dealer license from the Ontario Securities Commission, allowing it to provide accredited investors the opportunity to co-invest alongside venture capital firms in Canadian VC deals.
NexusCrowd is the First Crowdfunding Investment Platform to Receive an Exempt Market Dealer License from the OSC
Toronto, ON – August 13, 2015 – NexusCrowd Inc.today announced that it has achieved an unprecedented milestone by becoming the first online investment platform to receive an exempt market dealer license from the Ontario Securities Commission.
NexusCrowd is the first investment platform in Canada to offer investors the opportunity to co-invest alongside venture capital and private equity partners who will commit at least 50% of the capital, for each investment.
“We’re excited to announce that we will soon be launching with our first deal,” said Hitesh Rathod, co-founder and CEO of NexusCrowd.
“Our current VC and private equity partners are sector experts and leaders in real estate, advanced materials and technology who collectively manage over $1 billion in investment capital. We are also in the process of adding to our roster of partners and will be announcing a new partnership shortly.”
(Learn more about our partners here)
NexusCrowd provides accredited investors access to exclusive private investment opportunities that have reached at least 50% of the funding target.
In addition, NexusCrowd enables exclusive access to investment opportunities that are sourced, vetted, structured, reported on and managed by its
About NexusCrowd Inc.
NexusCrowd is the first equity crowdfunding platform in Canada that provides accredited investors with exclusive access to co-invest alongside institutional investors, on the same terms. Unlike other crowdfunding options, NexusCrowd provides professionally led investment opportunities that have reached at least 50% of the funding target.
NexusCrowd is led by a team with unique expertise in financial services, technology and institutional finance. It’s the only crowdfunding platform in Canada with an exempt market dealer license that uniquely partners with institutions on equity and debt financings. Combined with proprietary investment and fundraising technology, NexusCrowd provides a simple, transparent process for investors, and a frictionless way for venture capital and private equity partners to raise new capital. For further information, visit http://www.nexuscrowd.com.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Canadian private equity deal-making in first half highest since 2007, on the site Canada 4 months ago
Canadian buyout and related private equity deal-making continued to grow in the first half of 2015, according to final data released by Thomson Reuters. Disclosed values of deals (announced and closed) totaled […]
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Canadian venture capital invested up 33 pct in first half of 2015, on the site Canada 4 months ago
Venture capital investment in Canadian innovative startups continued at a robust pace in the second quarter of 2015, with a total of $636 million deployed to 143 financing rounds, according to final data released by Thomson Reuters. At the end of June, venture capital invested across Canada totaled $1.2 billion in 300 deals, which is up 33 percent from the same time in 2014. In fact, Canadian startups have not received as much venture capital in a January-to-June period since 2002, Thomson Reuters said. Fundraising by Canadian venture capital firms reached $878 million in total in the first half of 2015, up 21 percent from the year before, making it the most active fundraising in a six-month period in three years.
A full PDF report on Q2 2015 Canadian venture capital market activity by Thomson Reuters is available here.
REPORT SUMMARY (reproduced courtesy of (Thomson Reuters)
Canadian VC Market Trends
Venture capital investment activity in Canadian companies continued at a very strong pace in the second quarter of 2015 with $636 million invested in 143 deals, a dollar increase of 15% over the previous quarter, which was itself the best first quarter for Canadian venture capital in eight years. Investments in the first half totaled $1,191 million in 300 deals, which represented 33% more dollars invested as compared to the first half of 2014. Canadian companies had not attracted so much venture capital from January to June since 2002.
The growth in the first half was driven by deals $20 million and up, with eleven deals in that size range compared to only five in the first half of 2014. The top deals were investments in Toronto-based companies, including Real Matters ($60 M), Northern Biologics ($36 M), VarageSale ($34 M), and Highland Therapeutics ($31 M).
Despite this growth, Canadian average deal sizes continued to lag far behind those in other countries. Of the world’s top ten nations as ranked by the number of VC financings, Canada’s average round size of $4.0 million in the first half ranked last, far behind the USA at $17.0 million, the United Kingdom at $13.7 million, and Israel at $10.0 million.
Investment by Canadian funds in non-Canadian companies also had an exceptional showing in the first half, with $224 million invested in 60 deals. In the twelve months ending June 30th this year, Canadian funds had invested $455 million in foreign portfolio companies, setting a new six-year high.
Trends in the US VC market
Venture capital firms invested invested US$30.7 billion in 2,238 deals in the United States in the first half. With US$17.3 billion disbursed in 1,189 deals in the second quarter alone, this marked the sixth consecutive quarter with VC investment in United States-based companies exceeding US$10 billion. Prior to Q1 2014, the US$10 billion mark had not been reached since Q2 2001.
Canadian VC Trends by Region
As in 2014, Ontario led deal-making activity in the first half, claiming seven of the top eight deals. Overall, $641 million went to Ontario-based companies from January to June, a 54% share of all Canadian disbursements, and Ontario’s greatest share in fourteen years. Québec-based companies raised $294 million, nearly doubling the $162 million raised in the first half of 2014. British Columbia took the next largest share with $179 million invested in the first six months.
Canadian VC Trends by Sector
As with last year, investment in the information technology sector took the largest share of VC dollars with 55% of first half investment, or $650 million. Investment in the sector was also up 20% over the first half of 2014, with most dollars flowing to software and Internet-specific companies, taking $297 million and $223 million respectively.
Cleantech companies received $159 million in the first half, a 13% share of all investment which was up markedly from the 4% share cleantech companies received in the first half of 2014. Life Sciences companies took a 20% share, or $243 million, unchanged from a 20% share in 2014. Traditional sector companies, mostly in industrial, manufacturing, or consumer-related areas, took the remaining 12% in the first half, also the same share as the year prior.
Canada VC Fundraising Trends
Venture capital fundraising by Canadian funds reached $878 million in the first half of the year, a 21% increase over the same period in 2014. This represented the best fundraising period for Canadian venture funds in three years, when $1.4 billion was raised in the first half of 2012. A total of eleven Canadian funds held closings in the first six months of 2015. In contrast, US VC funds raised US$17.8 billion in the first half, down 2% from the same period the year prior.
Source: Thomson Reuters
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Canadian VC investment rises sharply in second quarter, PE deal activity sags, on the site Canada 4 months, 2 weeks ago
Activity in Canada’s venture capital market continued to grow in Q2 2015, according to a preliminary report by Thomson Reuters. The report showed $538 million of VC invested in 90 financing rounds between April and June, the highest level of second-quarter disbursements since 2005. The twelve months ending June 30th saw a total of $2.6 billion invested, the strongest four consecutive quarters since 2002. In contrast, activity in Canada’s buyout and related private equity market fell short in the second quarter, with $1.7 billion invested in 61 transactions, the report showed. However, PE deal-making during the first half of the year, reflecting a total of $7.5 billion in disclosed values, was on pace to exceed investment levels of three of the past four years.
Thomson Reuters’ preliminary Canadian market report for Q2 2015 can be downloaded here.
Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Market in the First Half of 2015: Preliminary Results from Thomson Reuters
The second quarter of 2015 was the best Q2 for venture capital investment in Canadian companies in ten years, with companies raising C$538 million, according to preliminary results from Thomson Reuters. Buyout & other private equity investment declined substantially from the prior quarter, but was still near an all-time high as a percentage of all Canadian M&A activity. Click here for the First Half 2015 Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Market preliminary overview. Highlights from the report follow:
• $2.6 billion invested in last 12 months, the most since the full year 2002
• Information technology accounted for C$622 million in 143 deals
• Cleantech investment reaches C$149 million, already surpassing cleantech investment in all 2014
Buyout & Other Private Equity
• Canadian companies raise C$7.5 billion in 162 deals in the first six months
• Alberta companies raise C$3.8 billion, best first half for Alberta on record
• Private equity dealmaking accounted for 20.4% of Canadian M&A Activity, just short of the 22.9% share in 2014
Looking for other information on specific Canadian asset classes? Please visit Thomson Reuters Deal Making Intelligence.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Canadian angel investment activity reaches $91 mln in 2014, on the site Canada 5 months ago
The National Angel Capital Organization today released its 2014 angel activity report based on a survey of Canadian angel groups, which represents more than 1,700 individual investors. A total of 237 angel investments were completed last year for a combined $90.5 million of financing. This constituted a 19 percent increase over the 199 deals reported in 2013, but dollars invested saw little change year-over-year, going up only 2 percent.
NACO has made its angel activity report available here.
Angel Investing Networks Injected $90.5M into Canadian Startups in 2014
TORONTO, June 29, 2015 – The National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) released its annual Angel activity report. The report, which is based on a survey of 30 Angel groups across Canada, reveals that these groups made 237 investments in 181 companies, amounting to $90.5 million, with an additional $110.4 million of funding leveraged into the investments.
“We’re deeply encouraged by the results of this year’s report, which shows that the increasing connectivity of our member Angels is helping to provide Canadian companies with the capital they need to continue growing locally.” Yuri Navarro, NACO Executive Director.
New this year, Industry Canada has contributed a section to the Report. To continue to grow Canada’s expanding knowledge-based economy, and compete globally, Industry Canada compiled a dataset of 110 Angel-backed firms over the past five years to gain a clearer economic profile. The data was captured in NACO’s 2014 Report on Angel Investing Activity in Canada: Harnessing the Power of Angel Investors (Angel Activity report), which was released today on its website.
“Our government is a proud partner and contributor to NACO’s report on the state of Angel capital investments in Canada. Through the Venture Capital Action Plan, we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs who invest and innovate, resulting in the creation of jobs and economic growth across Canada.” Industry Minister James Moore
“In addition to the large amount of Angel funding being put into innovative companies, we are seeing a direct connection between Angel investing and a stronger small business economy. We see an increasing amount of high- paying jobs created, enabling a stronger, more vibrate and diversified economy in Canada.” Michelle Scarborough, NACO Chair
NACO 2014 Report
Across Canada, 30 Angel groups participated in the 2014 survey, representing over 1,700 investors coast to coast. Angels tend to invest in close geographic proximity, with a majority (63%) of Angels located in Central Canada, 30% in Western Canada, and 7% in Eastern Canada. Angels are essential to the Canadian economy, driving innovation and fueling job creation. This year’s report also included a review of data which shows that 88 Angel backed companies created 764 new high paying jobs between 2010 and 2012, and invested more per employee in R&D then non-Angel backed companies.
Over 80% of Angel funded startups fall primarily within 2 sectors: ICT (information-communication technology) and Life Sciences (health related companies) distantly followed by clean technology. Investments in Life Science firms tend to be double the investment in ICT or Clean Technology. Furthermore, the Angel activity report indicates that 75% of the deals are syndicated, involving capital outside the Angel Group.
Looking ahead at the future of Angel investing in Canada have identified a need to collaborate, share resources, tools, and best practices across groups for better deal flow
NACO Report History
The Angel activity report conducted by NACO examines Canada’s Angel investor community, and identifies key industry trends and best practices for investors and entrepreneurs.
Since 2010, the report has captured 712 investments, in 409 companies. This represents a remarkable $270 million injected into the Canadian entrepreneurial ecosystem, with over $180 million invested over the last two years.
The 2014 Report on Angel Investing Activity in Canada: Harnessing the Power of Angel Investors, the fifth of its kind, is released in partnership with the Government of Canada, KPMG Enterprise and BDC Capital.
Canadian Angel Investors
• 30 Angel groups across Canada, representing 1,700 active Angels made 237 investments amounting to $90.5 million.
• A majority of Angels (63%) are located in Ontario, with 30% in Western and 7% in Eastern Canada.
• The average deal size was $1.2 million, an increase over 2013 and 2012 figures.
• 80% of funding falls within 2 sectors: ICT (information-communication technology) and Life Sciences (health related companies).
• 75% of the deals are syndicated, involving capital outside the Angel group and receive more investment.
• 10 positive exits (from 9 companies) of which eight were M&As and one was an IPO.
• New investments increased by 66% in 2014
• Central Canada continues to be the hotspot for Angel investment activity with 89% of investments made in the area.
Funding Success Funnel in 2014
• 2972 startups applied for Angel Funding
• 695 companies presented*
• 271 companies went through due diligence
• 237 companies were funded
*based on 24 of the 30 groups that reported the number of presentations held
“BDC Capital plays an active role in Canada’s early-stage ecosystem and we are proud to partner with NACO on the 2014 Report on Angel Investing Activity in Canada,” said Dominique Bélanger, Vice President, Strategic Investments and Partnerships at BDC Capital. “The findings point to an increase in both collaboration and co-investing, which will enable Angel-backed firms to create jobs and wealth here in Canada and to be more competitive globally.”
“NACO’s Angel Activity Report shows how active and engaged Canada’s Angel Investing network has become. KPMG Enterprise is dedicated to helping small and medium sized Canadian companies flourish. NACO’s active Angels are achieving this by allowing new startups the time to grow and prosper, and we are proud to support this important work,” says Dennis Fortnum, Canadian Managing Partner, KPMG Enterprise.
About the National Angel Capital Organization
The National Angel Capital Organization accelerates a thriving, early-stage investing ecosystem in Canada by connecting individuals, groups, and other partners that support Angel-stage investing. NACO provides intelligence, tools and resources for its members; facilitates key connections across networks, borders and industries; and helps to inform policy affecting the Angel asset- class. For more information please visit http://www.nacocanada.com or follow us on Twitter @AngelCapCanada.
About BDC Capital
A subsidiary of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), BDC Capital offers a full spectrum of specialized financing and investment solutions to help Canadian entrepreneurs achieve their full growth potential. With more than $1 billion under management, BDC Capital takes a strategic, patient approach to nurture companies’ development over the long term.
From venture capital to equity to growth and transition capital, our team of over 100 experienced, local professionals partner with entrepreneurs to identify and meet their needs on flexible terms. Some of the sectors in which we specialize include IT, industrial/clean/energy technology, and healthcare. For more information, please visit http://www.bdccapital.ca or follow us on Twitter at @BDC_Capital.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Venture-backed Unbounce buys Rooster Engagement Tools, on the site Canada 5 months ago
Unbounce Marketing Solutions, a landing page platform developer, announced today that it has acquired Rooster Engagement Tools, a developer of tools to convert abandoning visitors online. Both companies are based in Vancouver. Unbounce has been venture-backed since 2011 by Version One Ventures, Real Ventures and Atlas Ventures, among others. Financial terms were not disclosed.
ROOSTER BLOG POST
Unbounce Acquires Rooster Engagement Tools
Our little Rooster has grown up so fast!
Two years ago, we hatched an idea for a simple tool that would help marketers increase conversion rates. That idea eventually became Rooster, the exit-intent solution for marketers.
Today, we’re thrilled to announce that Unbounce has acquired Rooster Engagement Tools.
If you aren’t familiar with Unbounce, it’s a landing page builder that empowers marketers to design, build and publish custom landing pages without I.T. support.
Rooster’s technology will now reside at Unbounce headquarters, and our Rooster team will be joining forces with Unbounce on a combined mission to help online marketers get more from their campaigns.
For Rooster customers, it’s just business as usual—your service will not be interrupted. And with the help of Unbounce’s engineering team, we will be adding exciting new features and improvements to Rooster in the near future.
“For us, this is an opportunity to team up with a company that shares our passion for online marketing and conversion optimization, and can make our technology available to a wider audience of marketers,” said Rooster co-founder Jeremy Wallace. “After Unbounce saw the benefit of using Rooster on their own campaigns, we discovered our companies share the vision of helping marketers improve their campaigns. The fit seemed natural.”
Unbounce CEO Rick Perreault agrees: “We’re very excited to be welcoming the Rooster team. Our core mission at Unbounce is to empower businesses to deliver better marketing experiences, and the Rooster acquisition directly supports this mission. It’s a win for both Unbounce and Rooster customers.”
Rooster will continue to be available as a standalone product for marketers seeking a robust exit-intent solution.
Perreault says the acquisition is part of an ongoing effort to bring more value to Unbounce customers: “We want to make sure our customers are equipped with all the tools needed to develop high-converting campaigns.”
Once again, we could not be more excited about joining such a groundbreaking company. To all of our customers who supported Rooster, we sincerely thank you for your business. We hope the Rooster product continues to help you improve your marketing campaigns.
The Rooster Team
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Wellington Financial’s Xactly goes public for US$56.3 mln, on the site Canada 5 months ago
Xactly, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of cloud-based incentive compensation software, has successfully priced its US$56.3 million IPO and began trading on the NYSE on Friday. Xactly has been venture-backed by several U.S.-based investors since 2005, and has been a portfolio company of Toronto-based Wellington Financial since 2013.
Xactly Corporation Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering
SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Xactly (NYSE:XTLY) announced today the pricing of its initial public offering of 7,037,500 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $8.00 per share. Xactly is offering 6,853,500 shares of common stock and certain selling stockholders are offering 184,000 shares of common stock. In addition, Xactly has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,055,625 shares of common stock to cover over-allotments, if any. The shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on June 26, 2015, under the symbol “XTLY.” Closing of the offering is expected to occur on July 1, 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. are acting as joint lead book-running managers for the offering with UBS Securities LLC also acting as a book-running manager. Needham & Company, LLC and Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. are acting as co-managers for the offering.
A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with, and declared effective by, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Copies of the registration statement can be accessed through the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of the shares of Xactly’s common stock in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.
The offering is being made only by means of a prospectus. Copies of the final prospectus related to the offering may be obtained, when available, from: J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Attention: Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Avenue, Edgewood, NY 11717, or by telephone at (866) 803-9204; or Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Attention: Prospectus Group, 60 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005, or by calling 1-800-503-4611 or by email at [email protected].
©2015 Xactly Corporation. All rights reserved. Xactly, the Xactly logo, and “Inspire Performance” are registered trademarks or trademarks of Xactly Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Amazon has launched its US$100 million Alexa Fund focused on voice technology companies, and has announced seven initial investments. Vancouver-based Mojio, a developer of a range of apps for vehicles, is among Amazon’s investments. The company recently raised $8 million in Series A funding from Canadian venture capital firms Relay Ventures and BDC Capital, among others. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Amazon Introduces the Alexa Fund: $100 Million in Investments to Fuel Voice Technology Innovation
The Alexa Fund is dedicated to empowering developers, manufacturers, and start-ups of all sizes who have ideas for how voice technology can improve everyday life
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jun. 25, 2015– (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon today announced the Alexa Fund, up to $100 million in investments to support developers, manufacturers, and start-ups of all sizes who are passionate about creating new experiences designed around the human voice. The Alexa Fund—named for Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that powers Amazon Echo—is open to anyone with an innovative idea for how voice technology can improve customers’ lives. Alexa Fund investment decisions will be made based on the potential for unique or novel applications of voice technology that leverage the Alexa Skills Kit or the Alexa Voice Service, which were also announced today. The Fund launches today with seven initial investments. Learn more and apply for funding at https://developer.amazon.com/AlexaFund.
“Experiences designed around the human voice will fundamentally improve the way people use technology,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “Since introducing Amazon Echo, we’ve heard from developers, manufacturers, and start-ups of all sizes who want to innovate with this new technology. With the Alexa Fund, we want to empower people to explore the boundaries of voice technology. We’re eager to see what they come up with.”
Amazon also today introduced the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), a collection of self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for developers to create new voice-driven skills and capabilities for Alexa. With a few lines of code, developers can easily integrate existing web services with Alexa or, in just a few hours, they can build entirely new experiences designed around voice. For example, an Internet-connected sprinkler system can integrate its sprinklers with Alexa, so a customer can say, “Alexa, ask my sprinkler to water my lawn for 15 minutes.” Read the press release: http://www.amazon.com/ASK.
In addition, Amazon today announced that the Alexa Voice Service (AVS), the same service that powers Amazon Echo, is now available to third party hardware makers who want to integrate Alexa into their devices—for free. For example, a Wi-Fi alarm clock maker can create an Alexa-enabled clock radio, so a customer can talk to Alexa as they wake up, asking “What’s the weather today?” or “What time is my first meeting?” Read the press release: http://www.amazon.com/AVS.
The Alexa Fund is launching with seven initial investments:
Orange Chef is a start-up that has created a new product for the kitchen called “Countertop,” a mobile app that connects to an ecosystem of cooking tools such as blenders and slow cookers to measure and track ingredients placed into those devices—all powered by Orange Chef’s cloud service nutrition database. Orange Chef sees an opportunity to use voice instead of a phone app in recognition of the fact that cooking can be messy and is often a two-handed operation. For example, customers can use Echo or another Alexa-enabled device while using a blender to ask “Alexa, how many calories are in this smoothie?” or, with a slow cooker, a customer can ask “Alexa, how much more barbeque sauce do I need to add to the pulled pork?”
Scout Alarm is a do-it-yourself home security system provider and connected security device maker. The Scout system includes a hub, entry sensors, motion detectors and a smartphone companion app. Now, Scout is using the Alexa Skills Kit to enable customers to tell Echo or another Alexa-enabled device “Alexa, arm Sleep Mode” before going to bed or ask, “Alexa, what were the last five events?” from the comfort of the couch. With Alexa and Scout, there’s no need to fumble for a control panel or app to quickly turn off the alarm—just ask Alexa.
Garageio provides a system to control and to monitor the status of a garage door from anywhere. Garageio’s product—the Blackbox—is designed to be simple to install and fits onto existing garage door openers. The Blackbox then connects to the garage door via the home’s Wi-Fi network, and an associated smartphone app gives users control of the garage door from anywhere. Using the Alexa Skills Kit, Garageio is adding capabilities to Alexa that help a customer quickly find out if their garage door is open or if the alarm is set. For example, before falling asleep many homeowners think through whether the doors are all locked, the windows are all shut, and the garage door is closed—if they can’t remember, they have to get out of bed and go check all the doors manually. Now, all it takes is a quick question to Echo or another Alexa-enabled device: “Alexa, ask Garageio, is the garage door open?” If the answer is “yes,” just say “Alexa, tell Garageio to close the garage door.”
Toymail is creating a new category of connected toys that enable parents and children to communicate without the need for the child to be using a smartphone or tablet device. Parents can talk to a child through a toy called the Mailman that has a speaker, a microphone, and an Internet connection. They simply use the Toymail mobile app to leave voice messages that are delivered to their child on the Mailman. Now, with the Alexa Skills Kit, Toymail is enabling a grandparent to say, “Alexa, send a Toymail for Ben…I love you and remind your mom I’m bringing dinner over at 5 pm tonight. I can’t wait to see you guys.” In addition, Toymail is using the Alexa Voice Service to add Alexa capabilities to the Mailman—just press a button on the Mailman to say “Alexa, read a story” for the family to enjoy a bedtime audiobook together via the toy’s speakers.
Dragon Innovation provides a suite of products and services that help hardware start-ups and device makers go from “garage to factory” to make their ideas a reality with a framework that guides them through all stages of production—from prototype through sales. As part of the Alexa Fund, Dragon is establishing expertise in using Alexa Voice Services and the Alexa Skills Kit for new products, and is committed to thinking “voice-first” when working with their customers on new products. Dragon is working with clients to add Alexa capabilities to their devices quickly and easily.
MARA is an intelligent, voice-based running assistant that provides performance data and training information during exercise, serving as a virtual running coach or personal trainer. MARA is using the Alexa Voice Service and the Alexa Skills Kit to give users easy access to information about their workouts. For example, ask Echo or any Alexa-enabled device “Alexa, how many miles have I run so far this week?” or “What has my average pace been this week?”
Mojio is a leading provider of connected car solutions. The company’s device connects to a vehicle’s OBD-II port and extracts driving performance, on-board systems status, and other diagnostic data. Mojio uses the Alexa Skills Kit to enable customers to use Echo or other Alexa-enabled devices to ask “Alexa, do I need to get gas on the way to work today?” before leaving home or “Alexa, where is my daughter driving the car this evening?”, giving them the peace of mind that the car is healthy and the kids are safe.
The Alexa Fund will invest in people and companies with a passion for how voice can improve the way we interact with everyday technology. Areas of particular interest include:
New hardware products for inside or outside the home that would benefit from Alexa’s voice interface.
New features and functionality for Alexa.
New contributions to the science behind voice technology, including text-to-speech, natural language understanding, and automatic speech recognition.
Innovators selected for funding will receive additional benefits beyond financial support. With established business and technology expertise, Amazon will help them take their ideas from concept to the marketplace by offering tools such as early access to SDK capabilities, hands-on development support for hardware or software, enhanced marketing support on Amazon.com, placement at Amazon showcase events, membership in AWS Activate, and more.
Alexa is the brain behind Amazon Echo, a new category of device designed around your voice. It is hands-free and always on—ask it for information, music, news, and weather from across the room and get results or answers instantly. Alexa is built in the cloud and leverages AWS to continue to learn and add functionality over time.
To share your idea and apply for an investment from the Alexa Fund, visit at https://developer.amazon.com/AlexaFund.
Amazon.com opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire phone, Fire tablets, Fire TV, and Amazon Echo are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Canadian venture capital invested up 41 pct in first quarter, on the site Canada 7 months ago
Canadian venture capital market activity rose sharply in the first quarter of 2015, with $548 million invested in 137 financing rounds, according to final data released by Thomson Reuters. This reflected growth of […]
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Canadian private equity deal making in first quarter breaks record, on the site Canada 7 months ago
Canadian buyout and related private equity deal making continued at a strong pace in the first quarter of 2015, according to final data released by Thomson Reuters. A total of 99 deals secured $6 billion in […]
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Canadian VC, private equity investment continues growth in first quarter, on the site Canada 7 months, 2 weeks ago
Investment activity in Canada’s private equity and venture capital markets continued to grow in the first quarter of 2015, according to a preliminary report by Thomson Reuters. The report showed that a total of […]
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Canadian PE deal values reach $32 bln in 2014, highest since 2007, on the site Canada 9 months, 3 weeks ago
Buyout and other private equity investment in Canadian companies reached a seven-year high in 2014, with $32.2 billion of disclosed disbursements going to 410 deals, according to data released by Thomson Reuters. […]
Gavin Penny wrote a new post, Canadian VC tops $2.3 bln in 2014, best year since 2002, on the site Canada 9 months, 3 weeks ago
Venture capital investment in Canadian startups reached a twelve-year high in 2014 with over $2.3 billion invested in 522 deals, according to data released by Thomson Reuters. This reflected a 21 percent increase over 2013 and the most active year in the domestic market since 2002. Investment activity was primarily led in information technology sectors, in which 226 companies received over $1.4 billion invested, up 38 percent from 2013. Canadian venture capital firms also invested more money in global markets: $409 million, which is up 76 percent year over year. On the other hand, Canadian venture capital fundraising fell by 15 percent in 2014, relative to the year before, with new commitments to funds totaling $1.2 billion this time around.
A full report on Canadian venture capital activity from Thomson Reuters is available here.
REPORT SUMMARY (reproduced courtesy of Thomson Reuters)
Canadian VC market trends
Deal-making in Canada’s venture capital (VC) market surged ahead in the final quarter of 2014, with the strongest Q4 since 2002. Canadian companies received $627 million in 138 rounds in Q4, up 16% in dollar terms from the third quarter, and over the 2014 year received over $2.36 billion, a 21% increase from the year prior, and nearly doubling the $1.2 billion invested just five years ago. Indeed, 2014 was the best year for Canadian venture capital financing since 2002. Canadian companies received 522 rounds of financing in 2014, up 12% from the 468 financings last year, and racking up the most deals since 2005.
Growth in dollars invested in 2014 was driven by several large-sized VC deals. These included financings of Kitchener, Ontario’s Desire2Learn, Vancouver’s Hootsuite Media, St. John’s-based Verafin, and Edmonton’s Aurinia Pharmaceuticals. As a result, amounts invested per company tended to be greater in this period. In 2013, financing sizes averaged $4.2 million, compared to financing sizes that averaged $4.5 million this year, the greatest since 2007.
Despite this growth, Canadian average deal sizes continued to lag far behind those in other countries. Of the world’s top ten nations in attracting venture capital in 2014, Canada’s average round size of $4.5 million ranked ninth place, far behind the USA at $12.5 million, Israel at $10.0 million, and the United Kingdom at $8.9 million. Canada bested only Finland, which had an average VC deal size of $1.1 million.
Canadian venture capital funds investing in non-Canadian companies saw a spike this year, with $409 million invested, an increase of 76% over 2013 levels. This level of global deal-making among Canadian VC investors has not been so robust since 2008.
Trends in the US VC market
VC market activity in the United States continued to expand in the final quarter of 2014, with an annual grand total of US$48 billion invested in 4,356 deals, or 61% more than the US$30 billion invested the year prior. With the five largest VC deals in US history all occurring in 2014, the United States saw VC investment activity that fell short only of the year 2000.
Uber Technologies raised two US$1.2 billion rounds in the year, followed by Cloudera with US$900 million, Magic Leap with US$537 million, and Vice Media with US$500 million. Until this year, the largest VC financing in US history went to DreamWorks Animation, which received US$500 million in 1995.
Canadian VC trends by region
Investment activity in Canada’s VC market continued to show wide diversification by region in 2014. Ontario continued to lead national trends, with $906 million invested in total, up 33% from 2013. Québec-based VC market activity remained flat in 2014. A total of $604 million was invested in 2014, up 1% from the $599 million invested in Québec companies in the year prior. Led by several large deals this year, British Columbia companies raised $506 million in 2014, up 13% from 2013 and the greatest annual total for the province since 2001.
Canadian VC trends by sector
As with last year, the information technology sector continued to drive Canada’s VC market. A total of 226 companies received $1.45 billion in 2014, up 38% over last year. Software led most of this activity, with $772 million and a 33% share of VC investment across all sectors. Internet-specific companies came in second, raising $366 million during the year.
Life Sciences companies also continued an upwards trajectory with $451 million invested in 49 companies in 2014, an increase of 78% over 2013 when $253 million was invested in the sector. Human biotechnology companies comprised the bulk of investment activity with $212 million invested, or 47% of the total.
Cleantech investment activity showed a decline in 2014 as compared to the year prior. With only $153 million invested in 30 companies, the average deal size was half that of 2013, when $327 million was secured by 29 companies.
Canada VC fundraising trends
Fundraising by Canadian VC funds totaled $1,220 million in 2014, falling short 15% from 2013, and down by 30% as compared to 2012 when Canadian VC funds raised $1,748 million. Highlights included CTI Life Sciences which raised $134 million for its second fund, and Georgian Partners Growth Fund II which announced a $100 million fund closing. Private Independent funds led fundraising activity with $798 million, but retail funds raised another $400 million earmarked for VC investment.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
- Load More