The sale of Toronto-based wireless carrier Public Mobile Inc. for an undisclosed sum to Thomvest Seed Capital and Cartesian Capital provided exit opportunities to a number of Canadian and U.S. private equity and venture capital firms. Around the time of the company’s founding in 2008, its backers included Charles River Ventures, Columbia Capital, Ignition Partners, M/C Venture Partners, Rho Canada Ventures, Rho Ventures, and alternative assets manager Kensington Capital Partners. OMERS Private Equity, the private equity investment arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, also took a stake in the company in 2009.
(ThomVest is the private equity arm of Peter Thomson, a director of Thomson Reuters, publisher of peHUB and peHUB Canada.)
Public Mobile today announced its acquisition by Thomvest Seed Capital Inc., the Toronto-based investment vehicle of Peter J. Thomson, and Cartesian Capital, a New York-based private equity firm. With the acquisition, Thomvest and Cartesian invested the first tranche of a commitment to fully fund Public Mobile to a cash flow positive position, and Thomvest became the company’s controlling shareholder.
“Despite the current uncertainty in the Canadian wireless industry, Public Mobile’s strong performance and rapid growth continue to attract financial backing from blue chip investors. This financing is an enormous vote of confidence in Public Mobile’s business and a significant milestone in our company’s history,” said Alek Krstajic, Public Mobile’s founder and CEO. “The support of Thomvest and Cartesian enables Public Mobile to continue the rapid expansion of our subscriber base from a strong and well-funded position.”
“Thomvest’s strategy is to partner with entrepreneurs to build companies that transform their industries,” said Stefan Clulow, Managing Director at Thomvest. “Circumstances in the Canadian wireless industry have created a window for Canada’s fourth wireless player to emerge. We are pleased to partner with Cartesian and the Public Mobile team to pursue this opportunity.”
“In the coming months, the Canadian wireless industry will see consolidation, and an important spectrum auction,” added Paul Pizzani, Partner at Cartesian. “Public Mobile is well-positioned to grow in scale by pursuing these consolidation opportunities and by bidding for national spectrum in the 700 MHz auction.”
Public Mobile is also pleased that the transaction has received the continuing support and partnership of ZTE Corp. and the Export-Import Bank of China (Exim).
About Public Mobile
Formed in 2008, Public Mobile provides unlimited talk, text, Android data services and Siren music to value conscious customers in Ontario and Quebec. There are no contracts, no credit checks and no surprises. Public Mobile launched its network service in May 2010 in Toronto and in June 2010 in Montreal. Public Mobile is building its network from Windsor to Quebec City. Public Mobile’s licence covers an area reaching 19 million Canadians. More information about Public Mobile can be found at www.publicmobile.ca.
Thomvest is a venture capital firm committed to the success of our entrepreneur partners. We focus on early and growth stage investments in adtech, financial technology, enterprise SaaS, security software, and telecommunications. The capital we invest is our own, enabling us to be more creative, flexible and patient than most venture investors. It takes time to build great companies and we’re committed to supporting our entrepreneurs throughout their journey. That’s why more than two-thirds of the companies that we have funded in the last decade have either gone public, been acquired, or continue to grow as independent businesses. To learn more about Thomvest, please visit www.thomvest.com.
Cartesian Capital Group is a global private equity firm that manages $2 billion in capital and has proven expertise in assisting closely-held companies expand in domestic and international markets. Cartesian is based in New York, with offices throughout the world. To learn more about Cartesian, please visit www.cartesiangroup.com.
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