Meeting Canada's Proven And Emerging Tech Leaders In Ottawa

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Todd Coupland , Amy Dyck - Aug 10, 2018

CIBC’s Ottawa Technology & Innovation Tour


On August 15 and 16, we travel to Ottawa/Kanata to host CIBC’s Ottawa Technology & Innovation Tour for investors. The event will include tours of Shopify and Kinaxis offices, an interactive investor dinner, and pitches from some of Wesley Clover’s private portfolio companies.


We will be joined at dinner by Sir Terry Matthews, Founder and Chairman of Wesley Clover International, and by representatives from Nokia, Ciena, National Research Council and Martello. With an abundance of expertise in one room, the dinner discussion will focus on “Technology Innovation in Canada from 5G Wireless, Fiber to the Home and Network Transformation.”


These leaders will also share their insights into what is required to take a technology to a global scale. In Canada, this has happened only a handful of times in the past 40 years. And with the exception of one company in Waterloo, Ontario, those tech firms to achieve leadership globally have been uniformly located in the Ottawa region. In this blog we outline what we expect from our upcoming Ottawa tech tour


 Ottawa Leads Canada With The Best Technology IPOs


Ottawa has long had a rich technology history in Canada. Its ecosystem has grown from the days and successes of Nortel, Cognos, BlackBerry, Mitel and Newbridge Networks. The momentum from these companies continues today. As shown below, in 2017 Ottawa led the country in new technology office deals by region.


 Exhibit 1.  ­Top Tech Office Deals By Region (2017)

Source:  CBRE.


In the public markets, Ottawa still claims top honours as the city to host the most recent successful Canadian tech IPOs. Since their IPOs in 2014 (Kinaxis) and 2015 (Shopify), Kinaxis' and Shopify’s share prices have grown 653% and 514% to date, respectively.  


For context, we looked at the returns of some of the biggest related IPOs to Shopify and Kinaxis during this time. The returns to date (August 9) are shown below. Note that, despite being located outside of the U.S., both Kinaxis and Shopify have outperformed all these companies so far. This is particularly noteworthy given the likes of Alibaba and Square are part of this grouping.


Exhibit 2.  Comparable Performance Since IPOs


Source: FactSet and CIBC World Markets Inc.


Exhibit 3.  ­Kinaxis And Shopify Share Prices Since IPOs (C$)


Source:  Company reports and CIBC World Markets Inc.


 Looking For The Next Great Company


Given Ottawa’s history of success, we continue to track private technology companies in the area. We aren’t alone in our interest to discover the next scale company(ies); firms like Wesley Clover have continued to be involved in Ottawa’s tech ecosystem since the creation of Mitel in 1972. Recently, accelerator OneEleven has opened up shop in Ottawa and L-Spark helps SaaS start-ups in particular. This is rightfully so, given that in 2017 CBRE coined Ottawa as the country’s “capital of SaaS.”


In the private market, Wesley Clover is a global investment management firm with active interests in new Cloud and SaaS technology companies. More than 140 founders have been backed by the firm, with over $1 billion in direct investment. The portfolio has also produced 20 IPOs, just over this in number of exits via acquisition, and more than $3.5 billion in public returns.


Ottawa’s L-Spark accelerator has helped 36 earlier-stage SaaS start-ups to raise over $26MM in funding. Similar to San Francisco’s Y-Combinator, L-Spark is supported by Terry Matthews, Wesley Clover and partners with the National Research Council to highlight Ottawa’s talent, domain expertise and operational know-how.


This spring, Toronto-based accelerator OneEleven announced its expansion to Ottawa and Vancouver. Backed by OMERS Ventures, OneEleven provides services and office space to small technology companies that have several million dollars in revenue or funding and are poised to grow. The Ottawa office opened in July, just one block from Shopify.


During our tour, we will hear presentations from Wesley Clover’s AirVM, Career JSM, Cliniconex, FileFacets, Solace, Solink, Think RF and Martello. Other prominent private tech companies in Ottawa include MindBridge AI, Ross Video and You.I TV.




We continue to highlight Ottawa/Kanata as one of Canada’s prominent technology and innovation hubs. While its tech history demonstrates success, the continued momentum in the area is promising and has so far been publicly proven by Shopify and Kinaxis. We look forward to hearing first-hand from these local tech leaders and gaining a glimpse into the future of some of Ottawa’s most promising tech companies on our tour.


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Profile Picture: Todd Coupland, CFA

Todd Coupland


Phone: (416) 956-6025

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Amy Dyck


Phone: (416) 594-7232