THE BLOG

17
Jun

Dialogue concludes a $40-million round of financing

DialoguePR_image

Dialogue, the leading virtual healthcare platform in Canada, today announced the closing of a $40-million round of financing led by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Holtzbrinck Ventures. The company will use the funds to maintain its leading position in Canada and continue its expansion in the European market.

Also participating in the financing round were First Ascent Ventures, Portag3 Ventures, White Star Capital, Walter Capital and National Bank of Canada (TSX: NA).

Dialogue offers companies services to directly access front-line health-care professionals. Using a virtual technology platform that provides optimized triage, the companies’ employees and their family members can contact a professional using a mobile application or the internet.

Founded in 2016 with the support of incubator Diagram Ventures, Dialogue quickly positioned itself as a leading player in its sector. The company now has over 400 clients of all sizes, including companies such as National Bank, Lightspeed, Industrial Alliance, Air Canada Vacations, Stingray, Cirque du Soleil, Hopper and WSP.

In addition to its service offering for companies, Dialogue also provides its platform, which facilitates and increases the accuracy of triage through the use of artificial intelligence, to hospitals. A pilot project is underway with the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) and the technology will soon be deployed at the world-famous Hospital Berlin-Buch to support triage in its emergency rooms.

“We are privileged to have the backing of a quality institution such as CDPQ,” said Cherif Habib, CEO and Co-founder of Dialogue. “This new financing from our partners will help push our company to new heights by consolidating our Canadian expansion and continuing to grow in Europe. None of this would be possible without the significant contribution of all the other partners involved in this round of financing, whom I sincerely thank.”

“This transaction aligns well with our Québec investment strategy. In addition to supporting the company’s expansion into new international markets, CDPQ is again supporting an innovative, new economy company that integrates artificial intelligence into its business solutions to enhance its performance,” stated Thomas Birch, Managing director, Venture capital and Technologies at CDPQ. “This is an investment by our Fonds CDPQ-IA, announced this winter, which focuses on accelerating the commercialization of Québec artificial intelligence solutions.”

The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

ABOUT DIALOGUE
Dialogue is a virtual platform offering integrated health care services for employers to keep their employees happy, healthy, and performing at their highest potential. A full range of health professionals (nurses, physicians and allied health practitioners) is available at the click of a button via mobile phone or computer to help employees optimize their work-life balance. To learn more, visit dialogue.co, follow us on Twitter @godialogue or visit our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

ABOUT CAISSE DE DÉPÔT ET PLACEMENT DU QUÉBEC
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As at December 31, 2018, it held CA$309.5 billion in net assets. As one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and private debt. CDPQ is present in India through its subsidiary CDPQ India, located in New Delhi. For more information, visit cdpq.com, follow us on Twitter @LaCDPQ or consult our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

03
Jun

BusinessWire partners with IR provider Q4

deleo

SAN FRANCISCO: Business Wire has partnered with investor relations cloud platform Q4.

The exclusive partnership is combining Business Wire’s distribution and newswire services with Q4’s communications and intelligence platforms, according to a statement from the companies.

“Business Wire and Q4 have known each other for a long time,” said Richard DeLeo, COO at Business Wire. “We’re both preferred providers to the New York Stock Exchange IPO program. The opportunity to give [Q4] access to distribution and Business Wire clients access to their best-in-class IR services was attractive to us.”

DeLeo added that this is only “phase one” of their partnership.

“We’re going to put our heads together about how we can integrate further and create more products,” he added.

Business Wire has not used the acquisition-heavy strategy of its competitors, such as Meltwater and Cision, who have been trying to drive innovation through consolidation.

“We are always looking at ways that we can enhance the news-distribution process as well as deliver ROI and metrics to our client base,” DeLeo said.

Q4 services DeLeo highlighted include web-hosting capabilities, as well as analytics and intelligence in IR. Pooling Q4 and Business Wire’s resources will “help simplify complex workflows, drive valuation, reduce volatility and deepen stakeholder engagement,” according to a statement from the companies.

The deal “makes sense as a partnership,” according to Burton-Taylor International Consulting associate Christopher Porter.

“We were also struck by the mention of webcasting as an area of cooperation. Webcasting is an area of particular focus for West [Corporation], who since 2018 are the owners of GlobeNewswire, which Burton-Taylor considers to be the next-largest press-release-distribution business in the world after Business Wire,” Porter added.

Business Wire was identified as the fourth-largest player in the comms tech industry in a report by Burton-Taylor.

In February, Business Wire expanded its Paris office adding staff and pursuing growth in France and southern Europe.

Business Wire once partnered with TrendKite, the digital PR platform that was acquired by Cision this year. Trendkite provided its analytics to Business Wire, packaged in its NewsTrak reports. That partnership has ended.

Berkshire Hathaway acquired Business Wire in 2006 for an undisclosed amount.

18
Mar

Venture capital funding flat in 2018, but industry players say investment ecosystem is strong

A total of $3.7 billion in venture capital was dispersed to Canadian companies in 2018, according to a report by the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.

While the number marked a two per cent decline from 2017, Kim Furlong, CEO of the CVCA was still calling it a win.

2017 was just like a home run, so 2018 is a continuation of that growth trajectory

Kim Furlong, CEO of the CVCA

“This report signals that there’s maturity in the system. We saw an amazing year in 2017 — the best year we’d had to date in growth, in seven consecutive years,” she said. “2017 was just like a home run, so 2018 is a continuation of that growth trajectory.”

The numbers in the CVCA report offer a glimpse into the shape of startup funding across Canada, especially in the information and communication technology sector which accounted for more than two thirds of VC dollars and deals.

Toronto tops deals, followed by Montreal and Vancouver

Toronto is far and away the centre of gravity, with 197 venture capital deals happening in the city, and more than $1.5 billion invested in 2018. Montreal was the second busiest spot in Canada for startup investment, with 119 deals totalling $901 million, and Vancouver was third, with 71 deals totalling $400 million.

Governments are a big part of venture capital funding in Canada

The CVCA report also makes it clear that governments are a big part of venture capital funding in Canada. Scanning down the list of the top 10 most active venture capital firms, the federal Business Development Corporation appears twice on the list — both as an overall funder, and separately as an investor through several sector-specific funds — and government entities like the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation and the MaRS Innovation Accelerator Fund appear on the list.

The venture capital sector has also received help from government through programs like the federal Venture Capital Action Plan and the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative — each worth $400 million.

Rick Nathan, who leads the venture capital program at Kensington Capital Partners — one of the recipients of VCCI investment — said the government money has leveraged a lot more private capital.

“They’re important from a stimulative impact on the market as a whole,” he said.

“Every government in the world where there is a technology industry has a very active role — including the United States which has more government support for its venture capital industry than any other country in the world. But if you look at Israel, if you look at Europe, if you look across Asia, it is an important feature of any market where there is a budding tech sector.”

70% of venture capital deals in 2018 were valued at less than $5 million

The biggest publicly disclosed venture capital deal of the year was $161 million in late-stage funding which went to Assent Compliance Inc, a supply chain data management company based in Ottawa.

Quebec-based Hopper Inc. and Milestone Pharmaceuticals Inc. also scored late-stage investment rounds valued at more than $100 million.

But according to the CVCA data, 70 per cent of venture capital deals in 2018 were much smaller, valued at less than $5 million.

In aggregate, Nathan said the numbers reflect investor confidence in Canada’s startup sector. He pointed to the initial public offering by Montreal-based Lightspeed POS as the latest example of a successful startup exit.

“We had the Lightspeed IPO a week ago, which is a great story. It’s a fabulous company. But it’s just kind of the next one on the list,” Nathan said.

“We probably have about 20 companies across the country that are in the half a billion to one billion valuation range.”

The Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association Names New Chief Executive Officer

Canadian tech venture capital funding hits eight-quarter high thanks to AI

21
Feb

Q4 announces new IR Success Platform

darrel

New York and Toronto – February 21, 2019 – Q4 Inc., a leading global provider of cloud-based investor relations solutions, announced today the launch of its “IR Success Platform.” The platform combines Q4’s market-leading IR product suite, with a new white-glove customer experience model that partners with IROs to help them achieve both their tactical and strategic objectives, from daily tasks to annual program goals.

“The rise of new technologies, along with a constantly changing regulatory landscape are disrupting today’s capital markets. But while the scope of the IR role has expanded, in most cases, resources and budgets haven’t increased. You’re being asked to do more with less.” said Darrell Heaps, Q4’s CEO. “We believe that by working with the right partner and arming yourself with the right technology, you can overcome these challenges, to drive strategic value and ‘take a seat at the boardroom table.’ Our new IR Success Platform is designed to help IR teams, of all sizes and shapes, optimize processes and run impactful programs.”

Leveraging the latest in IR technology and tools, combined with dedicated IR professionals, Q4 is committed to delivering best-in-class customer experience. The IR Success Platform provides IROs with a truly dedicated “partner” committed to helping them drive strategic IR value, and is the first of its kind in the market. The IR Success Platform is designed to:

  • Reduce IR workload and streamlining processes;
  • Build a robust ownership base and target the right investors;
  • Improve IRO visibility and engagement with management and the Board; and
  • Drive stronger valuation relative to market peers.

“We recognize that no two IR teams are the same, and therefore, your needs also differ. With our IR Success Platform, we match you with the right technology and dedicated service team, based on your own unique objectives and challenges. We have you covered, from website and webcasting, to CRM, market intelligence and surveillance, and everything in between, ” said Matt Tractenberg, IR Partner at Q4. “The incredible benefit to our clients and their limited resources is that this is all being provided as a value add, at no additional expense to our clients.”

The IR Success Platform includes three customer experience offerings:

“Communicate” includes web design and webcasting, supported by an IR lead and 24/7 customer service for daily IR tasks.

“Engage” includes Q4’s CRM, web and webcasting, supported by a dedicated IR manager who is focused on executing tactical support across all IR functions.

“Elevate” includes web design, webcasting, CRM and Intelligence products and offers the highest level of strategic experience. It’s supported by a dedicated IR Partner, an ex-IRO with the core mandate to align with client strategies and partner on helping reach their objectives, whatever they may be.

The IR Success Platform is a value add service offered to all Q4 clients, with product configuration being rolled-out over the coming days. For more information please see www.q4inc.com or contact sales@q4inc.com .

For more details visit: https://www.q4inc.com/success-platform/default.aspx

23
Jan

ThinkData Works selected as an approved vendor for the Canadian Government AI standing order

Toronto – January 23rd, 2019 – ThinkData Works Inc. (ThinkData) has been pre-qualified by the Government of Canada to deliver contracts worth up to $9M related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) services, solutions, and products. The list of qualified providers was announced on January 15, 2019, and was the result of an Invitation to Qualify published through Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Through the Invitation to Qualify, the Government of Canada has pre-approved a list of suppliers who meet all of the mandatory criteria to provide Canada with responsible and effective AI services, solutions, and products. Subsequently, all solicitation opportunities related to Federal Government AI projects will be exclusively distributed to this pre-qualified list of suppliers (the Source List).

“We are very pleased to have been selected to deliver on the largest AI-related projects within the Government of Canada,” says Bryan Smith, Co-Founder and CEO of ThinkData. “We placed a large emphasis on the need for clean data in order to get AI right and we’re happy to hear that the Government agrees. We will be able to deploy our platform, Namara, on nearly every project related to this procurement vehicle and serve up clean, unbiased data as fuel to power all AI solutions.”

ThinkData has also created a vendor ecosystem graphic to better visualize and categorize the Source List:

 

Company logos plotted in a graphic divided by work sector

After research and consultation with industry, academia, and civil society, the Federal Government structured the solicitation around three categories that represent the business needs of the Government of Canada:

Insights and Predictive Modelling: The Government is looking to maximize the value of the data and information it has, and will begin to use AI to analyze and predict outcomes and effectiveness.

Machine Interactions: Canada is increasingly seeking to implement digital channels to facilitate interactions between citizens and government, looking towards chatbots, virtual agents, smart routing, and targeted content distribution to increase service delivery.

Cognitive Automation: The Government intends to introduce automated decision systems in order to further automate repetitive tasks and information-intensive processes.

Vendors on the Source List have been pre-qualified based on their prior experience delivering responsible and effective AI services, solutions, and products. Pre-qualified suppliers will receive notifications of opportunity (“Solicitation”) which will be posted on Buy and Sell. Solicitations will stipulate the maximum amount to be awarded and will be categorized based on the following grades, or “bands”:

  1. Band 1: up to $500K
  2. Band 2: up to $4M
  3. Band 3: up to $9M

To qualify for Solicitation under bands 1, 2, and 3, vendors were required to demonstrate that they had successfully delivered one, three, or five AI project(s), respectively. This process ensures that both emerging companies and global organizations are present on the Source List.

“The different bands made the ITQ accessible to smaller companies and startups who historically get left off of these standing offers due to requirements tailored to large, public companies,” says Smith. “I think the Government did a phenomenal job ensuring home-grown Canadian AI talent could compete for any future government contract. It’s so important that these companies get the opportunity to build solutions for Canada.”

23
Oct

Assent Compliance Receives Over $100 Million (CAD$130 Million) Growth Equity Investment from Warburg Pincus

OTTAWA – October 23, 2018 – Assent Compliance (“Assent” or “the company”), the Ottawa-based leader in supply chain data management software, today announced the receipt of an over $100 million (CAD$130 million) investment from Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing. The investment will enable Assent to enhance its proprietary software and supply chain data management platform, while expanding its product compliance, vendor management and corporate social responsibility solutions. Justin Sadrian and Sam Lipsick from Warburg Pincus will join Assent’s Board of Directors.

This investment is Assent’s third funding round in three years and highlights it as one of Canada’s most successful SaaS companies. Assent raised CAD$20 million in a Series A round in 2016 and CAD$40 million in a Series B round in 2017, which have fuelled its rapid growth to more than 400 employees across three continents.

Assent provides cloud-based enterprise supply chain data management software and solutions – available through the Assent Compliance Platform – to help companies manage and reduce global third-party market access, reputational, financial and operational risks. Serving hundreds of corporate customers and hundreds of thousands of suppliers around the world, Assent’s solutions automate supply chain data management to increase supply chain transparency and respond to the significant volume of data and regulatory requirements faced in today’s global marketplace. Assent’s platform is supported by a world-class team of regulatory and supplier management experts, providing exceptional supply chain data program management.

“We are thrilled to partner with Warburg Pincus – one of the leading growth equity firms in the world,” said Andrew Waitman, CEO of Assent Compliance. “Warburg’s enviable software domain experience complements our remarkable supply chain data management expertise and will help accelerate Assent’s rapid growth. Their thoughtful selection of Assent reinforces our market leadership and will enable us to continue to deliver innovative solutions that protect companies from third-party risks within their supply chains.”

“Assent’s innovative technology offerings and unmatched regulatory expertise have supported the company’s rapid growth, and cemented its leadership position in the supply chain data management sector,” said Justin Sadrian, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus. “The company has taken supply chain transparency to a new level and created a clear category-leading platform. In doing so, Assent has earned an outstanding reputation for providing world class solutions and client support – making Assent the partner of choice for enterprise and mid-market companies around the world. We look forward to working with Assent’s leadership team as the company embarks on its next chapter of growth.”

Assent Compliance has emerged as a remarkable success story in the Canadian software and technology industry,” said Richard Black, Partner, OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund (OTEAF). “We identified Assent three years ago as a company with great opportunity, strong leadership and a clear vision for strategic growth. Warburg Pincus’ investment is a testament to Assent’s ability to execute against that vision and achieve its place as the global leader in its space. This marks a new chapter for one of Canada’s best and most exciting companies to watch, and we look forward to continuing to be a part of it.”

BDC Capital, Greenspring Associates, OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund, and Volition Capital will all remain investors in the company, reflecting their continued confidence in Assent and its growth potential. Members of Assent’s management team will also retain an ownership stake.

About Assent Compliance
Assent Compliance is the global leader in supply chain data management. Combining leading-edge technologies with extensive supply chain expertise, Assent provides SaaS solutions that manage third-party data to protect corporate brands, increase market accessibility, and reduce operational and financial risk. For more information, please visit www.assentcompliance.com.

About Warburg Pincus
Warburg Pincus LLC is a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing. The firm has more than $47 billion in private equity assets under management. The firm’s active portfolio of more than 170 companies is highly diversified by stage, sector and geography. Warburg Pincus is an experienced partner to management teams seeking to build durable companies with sustainable value. The firm has been an active investor in the enterprise software sector, with current investments including Avalara, DocuTAP, Dude Solutions, Duetto, Liaison International, and NEOGOV. Founded in 1966, Warburg Pincus has raised 17 private equity funds, which have invested more than $70 billion in over 835 companies in more than 40 countries. The firm is headquartered in New York with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Mumbai, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai and Singapore. For more information, please visit
www.warburgpincus.com.

About OpenText
The OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund (OTEAF) was formed in 2015 and invests in emerging Canadian technology companies that are building disruptive, enterprise applications that leverage the power of the internet, big data, predictive analytics, machine learning and mobility. The founding partners of OTEAF have been involved with over 25 technology companies as founders, executives, advisors or investors with a track record of successful growth and premium returns.

Contacts
Assent Compliance
Matthew Desrosiers
(613) 315-0761
matthew.desrosiers@assentcompliance.com

Warburg Pincus
Pam Greene / Jenny Gore
Sard Verbinnen
(212) 687-8080 WP-SVC@sardverb.com

OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund (OTEAF)
Tony van Marken
(647) 271-4564
tony.vanmarken@oteaf.vc