Tag: Venture Capital

29
Jul

Sun Life leads a $43 million round of financing in Dialogue

TORONTO, July 29, 2020 /CNW/ – Virtual care is revolutionizing Canadian health care. Canadians are turning to their phones and tablets to connect virtually with a medical professional for physical and mental health concerns or even to fill a prescription. Today Sun Life announced a strategic commercial partnership and $32.7 million equity investment in Dialogue, Canada’s leading telemedicine provider. Sun Life will hold a minority ownership in Dialogue with customary rights to acquire additional equity.

This round of financing also includes follow-on investments by existing backers Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Portag3 Ventures, White Star Capital, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, First Ascent Ventures and Walter Ventures. National Bank Financial Inc. acted as financial advisor to Dialogue in this financing.

“The need for Canadians to have alternative ways to access health care continues to grow,” said Dave Jones, Senior Vice-President, Group Benefits, Sun Life Canada. “Virtual care is an important part of the future of Canadian health care. The combination of innovative technology and the necessity of social distancing during the pandemic has rapidly changed the virtual health care landscape. Our investment in Dialogue represents Sun Life’s commitment to helping Canadians live healthier lives through access to health care, whenever and wherever they need it. This investment is our next step, as we continue to innovate for our Clients and empower them to manage their health and well-being.” 

“Virtual care will remain an essential resource now and in the future,” said Cherif Habib, CEO of Dialogue. “While we navigate the changing health care landscape, Dialogue is proud to provide a virtual health care service that is easy, convenient and helps keep Canadians safe at home. Having strong support from partners such as Sun Life allows us to remain focused on providing quality care and expanding our services to help millions of Canadians stay healthy.”

At Sun Life, helping people live healthier lives is an important part of our business and key focus area of the company’s sustainability plan. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of expanding the traditional health care model. Virtual care, which provides access to medical practitioners in the comfort of home, helps people continue to physically distance and alleviate pressure on the Canadian health care system. Since the pandemic started, Dialogue has seen a sharp increase in usage of the virtual care service. The collaboration between Sun Life and Dialogue gives Canadians virtual access to medical care and connects them directly with a health care professional from anywhere in the country, at any time. The investment follows Sun Life’s roll out of Lumino Health Virtual Care, powered by Dialogue in March 2020.

Lumino Health Virtual Care
Lumino Health Virtual Care is offered to Sun Life Group Benefits Clients with an Extended Health Care (EHC) benefit. The virtual care service is powered by Dialogue and connects Canadians with local health care providers. 

Clients can easily connect to the Lumino Health Virtual Care service through a mobile app or online. Once connected, the service will triage a Client before providing direct access to a nurse or physician. The service provides Clients with acute physical and mental health care, similar to medical services provided at a primary care clinic. A multi-disciplinary team will review symptoms, provide an assessment, create a personalized care plan, write prescriptions, and make referrals to specialists or in-person care if necessary.

About Sun Life
Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of March 31, 2020, Sun Life had total assets under management of $1,023 billion. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

25
Jun

Managing and growing your business in a challenging macro environment – Podcast

EPISODE DETAILS / TRANSCRIPT

EPISODE SUMMARY

Tony van Marken knows what it takes to climb a financial mountain, so how are successful start-ups managing under COVID-19?

EPISODE NOTES

Tony van Marken knows what it takes to climb a financial mountain, so how are successful start-ups managing under COVID-19? The managing partner of First Ascent Ventures explains why not all technology companies are suffering, why enterprise-oriented firms aren’t immune, and how they can adapt to the new normal. Not all start-ups are created equal. van Marken points out that just because a start-up isn’t exposed directly to the consumer that doesn’t mean it isn’t exposed to uncertainty during COVID-19. If you can survive this…

van Marken believes CEOs who can adapt to the pandemic will make their businesses more resilient in the good times, and more likely to accelerate their growth rates once we come out on the other side of the virus

29
Apr

Opportunities in Privacy & Security Emerging During COVID-19

This article, by First Ascent Ventures, is the first in a series that will outline emerging trends across the Privacy and Security space.

Katharine Tomko, Venture Partner at First Ascent Ventures

It would be an understatement to say that COVID-19 has drastically altered daily life and business dealings across the globe. The Canadian technology space is not immune to this disruption and as a venture fund supporting local innovation, the daily announcement of layoffs across the technology ecosystem has been painful to watch.

At First Ascent Ventures, we have worked very closely with each of our North American portfolio companies to deepen our understanding of not only the challenges but also the numerous opportunities(eternal Canadian optimists!) that exist across various verticals in enterprise software.

One such area that First Ascent Ventures has spent considerable time exploring is the Privacy and Security startup space. In the past year, the fund has added significant privacy industry expertise with Katharine Tomko, the Former Head of Privacy Programs at Facebook, joining as a Venture Partner.

This article will discuss some of the work our fund has undertaken in the Privacy and Security space, and specifically, outline four areas within privacy that have been highlighted as “ripe for startup disruption” since the COVID-19 crisis emerged.


Trends and Opportunities

Connecting Remote Workers With The Systems And Services That They Need To Perform Their Jobs.

Problem — While most companies have the infrastructure for remote employee connectivity (VPN, etc.), very few have the capacity to provide for a fully remote workforce for months at a time. The first weeks of lockdown were a scramble for hardware capacity, circuit upgrades, and hasty network configuration changes with a view of ‘it’s an emergency, we’ll clean this up later’, and the associated security headaches. Employee productivity was often hampered by poor network performance, as over-taxed VPN infrastructure was forced to scale beyond its design.

Opportunity — “Support of large scale remote working” as a highly available, performance service is now a budgetary item for every company that employs knowledge workers. Most forward-thinking companies will iterate beyond the traditional centralized VPN architecture, and move to a ‘zero trust’ architecture, as popularized by Google’s own corporate network with their ‘Beyond Corp’ design. The Zero Trust model assumes that there are hackers both within and outside the network, which effectively prevents any machine from being automatically trusted. Zero Trust ultimately shifts access controls from the perimeter (ie. a VPN gateway) to internally authenticating and verifying individual devices and computers. This allows employees to work securely from any location without the need for a traditional VPN. This will serve as a major technology refresh for most large companies and their ‘traditional’ VPN device vendors will not be able to accommodate this change with their existing holistic solutions. There are no standout ‘incumbent’ players in this massive market, and opportunities exist across all areas of this architecture.

Securing And Tracking Remote Employee Assets.

Problem — There are in essence two problems at work here. First, most large IT infrastructures have been built with the physical office in mind, and remote workers are an afterthought. Existing management systems and security tooling are often subpar for remote devices. Second, the biggest security problem that most companies have is understanding their existing device inventory; solid asset management and inventory are the cornerstones of any good security program — for example, you can’t patch unaccounted-for inventory. The Equifax breach, which happened through a staging server that was ‘forgotten’, is an illustrative example. Remote working further exacerbates this problem as the assets are pushed out beyond the traditional network edge.

Opportunity — A significant amount of security budget dollars have been spent on plugging ’security devices’ into internal networks over the past twenty years (intrusion detection, etc.). As the design of the network changes towards a model where both ‘on network’ and remote workers are treated equally as first class citizens, we can expect a whole new category of security control to emerge. The billions of dollars spent on security hardware will move into software. Similarly, as companies move to a ‘zero trust’ networking architecture, they will be fully reliant on their asset management and inventory systems being up to date to ensure that they are only providing data access to devices that they actively manage and maintain.

Business Continuity Planning & Execution.

Problem — While most companies have some form of a business continuity plan, it’s usually a neglected 45 page document at the bottom of a drawer, with little understanding of its practical use. During COVID-19, boards, investors and key customers were all asking for details on business continuity plans, often requiring a copy of the actual document, and specifics on how it has been tested and updated over time.

Opportunity —Business continuity planning is a fairly specialized practice, with ‘control owners’ spread across all parts of the organization. It’s extremely laborious to create, test, update and attain management approval for these plans, and they are almost always missing some key types of ‘disaster’ — how many companies had ‘pandemic’ as a realistic risk to plan for in 2020? Now that companies have executed their plans (often for the first time), and been forced into transparency with their key stakeholders, we can expect to see renewed focus on building and maintaining a comprehensive disaster recovery/business continuity plan. There are opportunities for software to streamline this process, from guiding the organization through best practices in creating the plan, to managing control ownership across the organization, to ensuring regular testing of the plan and providing board visibility.

Physical Security/Safety of Employees.

Problem — While most travel has been eliminated from company budgeted expenses for the second and third quarter of 2020, many foresee a steady return to normal business travel later this year and into early 2021. Companies are responsible for the safety of their employees while they are on business travel or working in remote offices, and employee health (exposure to outbreaks, etc.), and safety (civil unrest, quarantine rules, etc.), will be a top priority. It has been some time since the average employee contemplated their safety while traveling for business. If business travel is really necessary for a job function, expect employees to hold their employer to a higher standard when it comes to safeguarding their health.

Opportunity — The largest and most forward-thinking companies already track and provide support to their employees while on business travel. As both employer and employee fully internalize who really owns the risks of business travel, expect these types of ‘global security operations centers’ to become more commonplace at large organizations, and to trickle down into smaller companies. Opportunities exist for software to support these functions, with integrations into corporate travel systems and automated integrations with government travel advisories.


Conclusion

We would encourage both startups and larger organizations to reflect on these four emerging trends in the privacy and security space and examine their own capabilities to address these concerns. First Ascent Ventures is confident that while these issues arose because of the massive work from home movement caused by COVID-19, enterprises will continue to keep privacy and security top of mind even after the world returns to normalcy (i.e. back to the office).

First Ascent Ventures is dedicated to working with companies and/or investors addressing these gaps in enterprise privacy. We hope to contribute and ensure that the next-generation of enterprise security is one that actively prepares companies for the future privacy challenges that lie ahead, rather than reacting after it is too late.

Please reach out to Noah@firstascent.vc to collaborate with us.

First Ascent Ventures — Who We Are And Behind the Name

Makalu as seen from the Summit of Everest. Photography by Tony van Marken, Founder, First Ascent Ventures

First Ascent Ventures was founded in 2015 and is a Toronto based VC fund that invests in emerging Canadian and U.S.-based technology companies that are building the next generation of disruptive, enterprise B2B software. www.firstascent.vc

In mountaineering, a first ascent is the first successful, documented summit of a mountain by an unclimbed route. First ascents are notable because they entail genuine exploration, with greater risks, challenges and recognition than climbing a route pioneered by others. This is not dissimilar to the challenges and risks involved in building a start-up technology company.

03
Feb

Sensibill welcomes Tom Shen as chair of the board

TORONTO, Feb. 03, 2020 — Sensibill announced today that digital banking veteran Tom Shen has been appointed chair of the board. Shen is joined on the board by Corey Gross, co-founder and CEO of Sensibill, David Unsworth, general partner at Information Venture Partners, and Benji Sucher, general partner at Radical Ventures.

Shen’s addition to the board is part of a series of executive appointments designed to help the company fulfill its mission of powering financial institutions with innovative solutions that drive customer value and engagement, while expanding the data streams financial institutions need to forge deeper relationships. Sensibill secured $31.5 million USD in Series B funding in 2019 to further support this initiative. The round was led by Radical Ventures, with participation from the National Bank of Canada and others. Radical Ventures is focused on applying data and AI on a global scale; their involvement adds a deeper layer of data expertise that is complemented by Shen’s digital banking experience.

Shen is a proven expert at scaling digital banking services for financial institutions. He was the founder and CEO of digital banking solutions provider Malauzai, which he sold to Finastra in 2018. Finastra attributed the company’s market leadership and open approach as part of its purchasing decision. In 2005, Shen joined the executive team at Digital Insight, an internet banking and payments provider ultimately acquired by NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR). The first company he founded was Software Dynamics, Incorporated (SDI), a provider of teller and platform automation software that grew to work with more than 1,200 financial institutions before it was sold to S1 Corporation in 2001. The business was later acquired by ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW).

“Sensibill is at the precipice of a major breakthrough,” commented Shen. “The company has joined forces with some of the world’s leading financial institutions, and they are highly proficient in a market that is ripe for change. Customers have become accustomed to personal and on-demand service from their experiences with big tech; Sensibill’s use of purchase data and AI expertise makes these user experiences readily available to financial institutions.”

Gross added, “There are only a handful of digital banking innovators of the caliber of Tom Shen. His success building and delivering game-changing digital solutions for financial institutions has been proven time and again. We’re excited to have him join Sensibill as we endeavor to make banking more personal.”

Sensibill has raised a total of $46.5 million USD and has partnered with the largest financial institutions and digital banking providers in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada.

21
Jan

Leading tech firm Q4 announces expansion plans into Hamilton, along with over 140 new tech jobs

Q4 Inc.’s new Hamilton Office

January 21, 2020 (HAMILTON, ON) – Adding to the momentum behind Hamilton as one of Canada’s fastest-growing tech cities, Q4 Inc. has announced it will be expanding into the up-and-coming hub this year, creating 140 new jobs in the city. Hamilton has been gaining traction as a rising tech centre and an ideal location for innovative companies to establish operations.

Attracted by Hamilton’s tech talent pool, affordability and quality of life, Q4’s new office will be located in the heart of downtown Hamilton.

“We’ve been watching Hamilton’s tech growth closely, and we believe it’s well on its way to becoming one of the largest tech hubs in Ontario. Our goal is to become the leading tech employer in this city,” says Darrell Heaps, CEO of Q4. “Hamilton offers all the right elements for our employees. It’s affordable, has fantastic restaurants, vibrant nightlife, a great arts scene, and offers active green space nearby. It’s also within close proximity to our headquarters in Toronto, providing easy knowledge-sharing across both offices.”

Q4 will occupy the entire 9,500 sq. ft. second floor of a new four-storey brick-and-beam office at 59 King St. E, scheduled to open in March. By the end of 2020, Q4 plans to expand to the fourth floor of the same building, occupying an additional 7,500 sq. ft.

The new space is part of downtown Hamilton’s heritage revitalization and offers a flexible, open concept and adaptable workspace that encourages collaboration. Amenities within the office reflect the company’s culture of employee wellness and creativity. The space features an auditorium-style space for meetings, wellness room, games room, space for bike racks and on-site shower facilities, as well as an outdoor patio during the summer months.

 Hamilton is the fastest-growing mid-sized city in Canada for tech talent, with its tech sector growing nearly 53 per cent over the last five years. This booming industry is helping spur Hamilton’s downtown renewal.

“As our tech sector continues to grow, we’ve been working hard to cultivate and retain creative and skilled workers in our city. Q4’s expansion into Hamilton is a testament to our city’s incredible quality of life, strong tech ecosystem, and unique, affordable office space not found elsewhere,” says Judy Lam, Manager of Commercial Districts and Small Business at the City of Hamilton.

Headquartered in the trendy downtown Toronto neighbourhood of King West with offices in New York, Copenhagen and London, Q4 currently employs 250 people worldwide. Specializing in investor relations solutions, Q4 has experienced tremendous growth within the past few years, announcing major recent partnerships with S&P Global Market Intelligence, and Business Wire and doubling its client base to 2,200 within the past few months alone.

As part of its aggressive growth strategy, Q4 plans to hire over 140 people over the next 12-18 months with approximately half of those hires happening over the next three months. Q4 aims to fill a wide range of positions including web developers, quality assurance specialists, implementation managers and data entry coordinators.

Q4 is planning to partner with local post-secondary schools, including McMaster University and Mohawk College, to help further develop the talent pipeline locally. The company will host a career fair on February 7 for both professional hires and recent graduates. The career fair will be held from 5-7pm at 12 James St. North on the second floor.

11
Dec

ScribbleLive acquired by Brazil based Rock Content

Brazilian content marketing startup Rock Content has announced the purchase of US sector player ScribbleLive, creating one of the largest companies in the segment in the Americas.

The buyout, announced exclusively to Forbes, is the continuation of the company’s international expansion, which began in 2017 with the launch of operations in Mexico. With the addition of ScribbleLive (SL), which has offices in Boca Ratón and Toronto, the enlarged Rock organization will boost its 400-strong workforce with about 100 employees. The two companies combined have a freelancer base of about 80,000 professionals.

The new company also brings a client portfolio that includes names like Red Bull, Cisco, FedEx, Dell, Reuters, Deloitte and American Express. Some of the organizations in this consolidated portfolio of over 2,000 customers that were existing clients, such as Oracle, will be catered for with services in Portuguese, Spanish and English, as well as other content-related products offered by the group.

“Being able to help our customers consolidate their content marketing efforts across multiple geographies and languages is the most exciting piece this acquisition brings,” said Rock co-founder Diego Gomes. “Our network of creative professionals is a unique feature that no other content platform can offer.”

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but, according to Gomes, the price tag is in the “tens of millions of dollars” and involved the exit of about a dozen SL investors, such as Summerhill Venture Partners, First Ascent Ventures and Fidelity Growth. The buyout was supported by a small funding round from Rock’s current investor base, which includes e.bricks Ventures, Provence Capital and Unbox Capital.

04
Jul

Digital receipt player Sensibill raises $31.5m

Sensibill, a Toronto-based AI-powered digital receipt startup targeting freelancers and small business owners, has raised US$31.5 million in a Series B funding round joined by National Bank of Canada.

The round, led by AI-focused venture fund Radical Ventures, and joined by Information Venture Partners and First Ascent Ventures, brings Sensibill’s total financing to $46.5 million.

Founded in 2013, Sensibill works with banks such as TD and Scotiabank to incorporate its digital receipt technology into their apps, enabling personal and business customers to manage line item receipts from their phones.

The platform uses machine learning to structure receipt data and give both banks and their customers rich insights such as product information, return policy tracking and auto-categorisation.

Since its 2017 Series A round, the firm has doubled its headcount, opened a London office and has now won more than 30 bank deals in Canada, the US and UK, many with Tier 1 players such as RBS.

Corey Gross, CEO, Sensibill, says: “What we’re trying to do at Sensibill is bridge the gap between what banks are good at today, and where they need to be in five or ten years to protect their relationships from disruption. Tools beyond core banking, an incredible customer experience, and meaningful customer insights for banks–that’s what we bring to the table.”

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

12
Sep

Q4 Inc. Raises $38 Million in Series C Funding Round Led by Napier Park Financial Partners

Toronto and New York – September 12, 2018 – Q4 Inc., a leading global provider of cloud-based investor relations and capital market solutions, announced today the closing of a USD$38 million Series C financing round.

This round was led by Napier Park Financial Partners (Napier Park) with participation from existing investors including OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund (OTEAF), Information Venture Partners and Espresso Capital. The new funds will be used to support the continued development of the Company’s next generation, purpose-built investor relations CRM and analytics platform, expand global sales and marketing efforts, and pursue strategic acquisitions.

“Q4’s mission is to make our clients leaders in investor relations by delivering a superior product experience, best-in-class technology and first-rate customer support,” said Darrell Heaps, CEO of Q4. “We are excited to partner with the Napier Park team during this incredible period of growth for Q4. This capital will enable us to accelerate our product roadmap, pursue acquisitions, drive our global sales and marketing efforts, and continue executing on our vision of becoming a preeminent global capital markets platform.”

Since 2013, Q4 has been steadily expanding its capital markets platform and capabilities, building-out the industry’s premier IR CRM. This sophisticated analytics and workflow solution integrates quantitative and real-time shareholder analytics, AI targeting, pipeline management, and roadshow planning tools, as well as advanced website and event analytics. With the recent release of Studio, Q4’s next generation investor website platform, the Company has yet again raised-the-bar with the industry’s most capable, flexible and design-driven product.

“At Napier Park, we invest in and partner with the best and brightest in financial technology and are thrilled to be leading this round,” said Dan Kittredge, Partner at Napier Park. “We are excited to be partnering with Darrell and team — their technology-first approach to solving IR pain points, end-to-end solution set, and track record of exceptional customer service afford them a unique position to capitalize on secular, regulatory and competitive tailwinds. We are committed to supporting Q4’s growth strategy as they continue to bring innovative products to the market and execute on their long-term vision.”

Q4 is the industry’s only full-suite provider of IR solutions with a complete range of analytics, CRM, website, webcasting and professional services. With MiFID II disrupting how the sell-side provides services to corporates and the buy-side, Q4 is well positioned to provide its large and rapidly growing IR client base with the tools and advice to succeed in the post-MiFID world. With over 1,200 of the world’s top global brands leveraging Q4’s suite of IR solutions, Q4 remains the fastest growing and most exciting investor relations and capital markets provider in the industry.

“Having led Q4’s Series B round, we have witnessed the tremendous growth of the company, and the evolution of Darrell and his team in the execution of their strategy,” said Tony van Marken, General Partner at OTEAF and Chairman of Q4. “Q4 has continued to expand its customer base with some of the world’s largest public companies and now provides IR solutions to 25% of the S&P 500. With the macro trends benefiting the market and material shifts in their competitive landscape, we are excited to participate alongside Napier Park in this round and to continue to support Q4 in executing against their vision of growing into a dominant global capital markets platform.”

As part of this transaction, Dan Kittredge and Ned May from Napier Park will join the Q4 Board of Directors.

RBC Capital Markets acted as the Lead Placement Agent and Exclusive Financial Advisor to Q4 in connection with this transaction. Oslers provided legal services to Q4.

Media inquiries
Taryn Shulman, Q4 Inc.
VP, Marketing
416-540-9832
taryns@q4inc.com

About Q4 Inc.

Q4 is a leading global provider of cloud-based investor relations and capital market solutions. Q4 empowers customers to be leaders in IR through innovative technology and exceptional customer service. Our comprehensive portfolio of IR solutions, including quantitative and real-time shareholder analytics, IR desktop, websites, and webcasting arm industry professionals with the tools and insights required to run award-winning IR programs, make effective business decisions, and better engage with the street. Q4 has offices in New York, Chicago, Toronto, Copenhagen, and London. To learn more, visit: www.q4inc.com.

About Napier Park Financial Partners

Napier Park Financial Partners is the private equity group of Napier Park Global Capital, an alternative asset management platform with approximately $11 billion in assets under management. Napier Park focuses on investing in innovative, high growth companies at the intersection of financial services and technology-enabled products and services. Napier Park targets investments of $5 million to $30 million, with current and prior portfolio companies spanning the following industry subsectors – Payments, Banking and Lending, Insurance and Benefits, Asset and Wealth Management, and Business Services and Outsourcing. For more information, visit www.napierparkglobal.com/private-equity .

 

AI STARTUP RUBIKLOUD TO BE ACQUIRED BY OTTAWA-BASED KINAXIS FOR $81.4 MILLION CAD

OTTAWA, ON, June 15, 2020 – Kinaxis® Inc. (TSX: KXS), the authority in driving agility for fast, confident decision-making in an unpredictable world, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Toronto-based Rubikloud, a disruptive, emerging provider of AI solutions that automate supply chain prescriptive analytics and decision-making in the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries.

Globally-recognized retailers and CPG manufacturers in the health and beauty, household and grocery segments use Rubikloud’s AI-based products today. Their offerings include demand forecasting and automation to manage and optimize trade promotions, pricing and assortment to drive product demand and dramatically improve financial results. Kinaxis will enhance RapidResponse’s demand planning capabilities with the Rubikloud offerings, anticipating initial opportunities in the company’s rapidly-growing CPG customer base and over time for other industries such as life sciences. The acquisition also offers Kinaxis a springboard into the enterprise retail industry.

“Rubikloud has capabilities and value that we can offer our CPG customers today, leads us into the retail industry with some bellwether accounts, and adds a group of approximately 80 people to an already-impressive AI and machine learning (ML) team here at Kinaxis. Over time, this enhanced group will contribute to new and existing AI-powered capabilities across the full Kinaxis RapidResponse® platform and applications,” said John Sicard, President and CEO of Kinaxis. “This acquisition reflects the growing importance of AI and ML to power intelligent automation and augment human decision-making to better deliver on customer promises, remove waste and increase resiliency for effective risk management.”

Rubikloud’s SaaS-based ML offerings empower retail and CPG manufacturers to transform their core operations by improving and automating complex, profit-generating decisions. Rubikloud’s proven AI capabilities and intuitive tools enable users to leverage disparate data sources to improve forecast accuracy, site-level allocations, inventory availability and promotion plans by allowing users to run boundless simulations in real time.

“We founded Rubikloud with the belief that purpose-built AI could be used to solve some of the most complex industry problems and we have spent the last seven years building a fantastic product that receives validation from global customers every day,” said Kerry Liu, CEO, Rubikloud. “We’re excited at the prospect of joining Kinaxis, which helps us bring our innovations to a much broader customer base at a faster pace than on our own. Not only that, being two strong Canadian companies we see great cultural synergy and look forward to working on the complex problems we know RapidResponse and concurrent planning can solve for customers.”

Terms of Agreement
Kinaxis will acquire Rubikloud for US$60 million in an all-cash transaction that is expected to close within 60 days. Based on Rubikloud’s current revenue and expense profile, the company’s fiscal 2020 revenue and Adjusted EBITDA guidance, as reiterated in its May 6, 2020 news release, remains unchanged. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

About Kinaxis Inc. 
Everyday volatility and uncertainty demand quick action. Kinaxis® delivers the agility to make fast, confident decisions across integrated business planning and the digital supply chain. People can plan better, live better and change the world. Trusted by innovative brands, we combine human intelligence with AI and concurrent planning to help companies plan for any future, monitor risks and opportunities and respond at the pace of change. Powered by an extensible, cloud-based platform, Kinaxis delivers industry-proven applications so everyone can know sooner, act faster and remove waste. For more Kinaxis news, follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.