Canada’s Technology VC Deals Had a Record-Setting Q1 in 2018

Often times, people speak in hyperbole when it comes to explaining just how quickly Canada’s tech and startup scene is growing. Sure, there’s reports, studies, and even blurbs from top tech personalities featuring words like explosive and unparalleled, but these explainers pale in comparison to hard numbers.

So how about this: Canada’s 2018 Q1 saw the biggest amount of VC funding since the dot-com era. All in all, the top 10 deals secured $927 million in total, split among cleantech, fintech, SaaS companies and more. That total is up 40 per cent from the $661 million that the top 10 Q1 deals in 2017 garnered and almost double the $491 million that Q1 2016’s top 10 deals took in.

In terms of the entire scope of VC deals, early data indicates that there was $1.3 billion of VC invested in Canadian technology sectors in Q1 of this year, up from $1.1 billion in Q1 of 2017. These figures were provided by PE Hub Canada but have not yet been confirmed.

“I think the fundraising success is a testament to the quality of the Canadian startup ecosystem that, in reality, has been building for some time,” says Stuart Lombard, founder and CEO of ecobee. Ecobee raised the country’s third-largest VC round in Q1 2018. “There are a lot of exciting companies now disrupting large markets with great customer value propositions driven by new technologies and business models.”

Here’s a list of those top 10 technology VC deals that paved the way to Canada’s historic first quarter.

  • Enerkem paced the top 10 by raising $280 million in the largest ever cleantech funding series for a Canadian company. The Montreal company produces renewable chemicals from waste materials.
  • PointClickCare raised $186 million from their institutional investors. The Toronto company offers a cloud software platform for the senior care market.
  • Ecobee raised $80 million in a massive Series C round and has plans to raise $50 million more very soon. The Toronto company is among the market leaders when it comes to manufacturing smart thermostats.
  • Wealthsimple picked up $65 million from their institutional investors. The Toronto fintech simplifies investing and helps users save money and time.
  • Wattpad secured over $61 million in follow-on financing. The Toronto company is a multi-platform experience for sharing original stories and works with various broadcasters and production houses.
Ecobee Toronto Office Killer Spaces-16
The front desk of ecobee’s brand new office.
  • Igloo Software managed to raise $60 million from a new investor. The Kitchener company provides digital workplace solutions.
  • Tilray matched Igloo and pulled in $60 million of their own. The Nanaimo company is a cultivator and processor of medical cannabis.
  • BuildDirect raised around $55 million after an up-and-down battle with creditors. The Vancouver company emerged victorious so they can continue with their home improvement e-commerce businesses model.
  • Rubikloud Technologies picked up a $46 million Series B round. The Toronto AI company providers intelligent decisions automation for retailers.
  • Profound Medical closed a bought financing deal worth over $34 million. The Toronto medical device company helps treat cancer and other diseases.

In case one social media-friendly company seems like they’re missing, Hootsuite’s $65 million round raised their money via a credit financing agreement, so it disqualifies them from a list of equity financings.

In total, six Toronto companies landed on the top 10, and one each from Kitchener, Nanaimo, Vancouver and Montreal.

VC investments reached $4 billion total in 2017—a 16-year high. Investors saw a lot of what they liked from January through March this year, and if this continues, 2018 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years ever for Canada’s technology sector.