Avigilon CEO Alex Fernandes. Shares of the company have more than doubled since it IPO’d last year. Deloitte today released its 15th annual Technology Fast 50 list. The list counts down Canada’s fastest growing technology companies.
The number of public companies on the list, which was a high as 38 of the 50 in 2005, fell to eleven last year and has remained steady there this year. Software remains the largest sector, with 29 entries, while telecom contributed ten.
Deloitte’s Richard Lee says this year lagged because of overall tech sector neglect.
“We run the Technology Fast 50 program to celebrate the winners in Canada’s technology sector,” said Lee. “This year we’ve seen the lowest cumulative growth rate for the Fast 50 winners. That is a direct consequence of the lack of investment in the critical technology sector. The good news is that we saw a lot of exciting new companies in the start-up segment.”
Deloitte’s Director of TMT Research, Duncan Stewart, says the tech sector is experiencing a period of renewal.
“There is a cyclical change in the technology sector. Growth in more mature companies is slowing down, but we see a lot of activity at the early stage,” he said. “That activity is a positive indicator of the future health of the sector and shows that starting a business is an attractive career option for many people. With limited capital many start-ups are operating in more efficient ways.”
The good news is that, of the eleven TSX listed companies on the list, four of them made the top ten, led by the remarkable Avigilon. Here are the public companies that made the list. The number after the ticker symbol represents where the company placed overall on the list.
1. Avigilon (TSX:AVO) (1)
Founded in 2004, Vancouver’s Avigilon designs and sells next-generation surveillance systems. Management says the surveillance market is fragmented because to date there has been no integrated supplier of equipment, meaning the majority of end users do not have high definition systems due to compatibility issues and a lack of industry standards. Avigilon allows clients operating mission critical environments such as prisons and casinos to install a high def system that is reliable as analog, and has the added benefit of providing video resolution that is standing up in courtrooms, which reduces legal costs. Avigilon has sold over 210,000 camera and software licenses that have been installed at more than 12,000 customer sites. Last week, Avigilon reported its Q3, 2012 numbers. The company earned $2.16-million on revenue was $25.5-million, which was a 69% increase over the same period last year.
2. Ecosynthetix (TSX:ECO) (2)
Last August, Burlington, Ontario based EcoSynthetix raised just over $100 million by selling 11.15 million shares at $9. The company, which develops and markets sugar based macromers and polymers, has had a tough go of things in 2012, but its stock perked up recently on the back of improved Q3 numbers.
3. NexJ Systems (TSX:NXJ) (5)
Bill Tatham founded NexJ, he told Cantech Letter earlier this year, “the Monday after the non-compete had expired” after selling Janna, the CRM company he founded in 1990 and sold to Siebel Systems (which was itself acquired by Oracle in 2005) ten years later. NexJ’s specific verticals in CRM are finance, insurance and healthcare. The company uses applied analytics and intelligent modeling, believing these tools allow them to analyze greater amounts of data with more context and relevance. Though the company already counts three of the six largest global wealth managers as clients, Tatham believes it has an even greater opportunity in the healthcare vertical, where it plans to dedicate increasing resources.
4. BIOX (TSX:BX) (10)
Better late than never. Owing to the market meltdown, Canadian investors had to wait for BIOX, which initially filed IPO papers in the summer of 2007, but wasn’t available for investors to buy until early 2010, when the company raised $46.7 million and went public in a reverse takeover. BIOX dipped a toe into the market with a million litre a year plant in Oakville, but with a fully operational 67 million litre per year plant operating in Hamilton, the company is now Canada’s largest biodiesel producer. Management says its success is due, in large part to technology that gives the company a leg up in the space.
BIOX, which manufactures biodiesel from animal fat, cooking oils and agricultural seed, has figured out a way to be competitive by removing a step in the traditional biodiesel production process. Normally, biodiesel producers must use feedstocks with Free Fatty Acid content less than 1% because, during the transesterification process they will produce soaps and emulsions, which prevent the separation of methyl esters from glycerine. BIOX has patented a two step process that allows the company to convert first the acids and then the triglycerides into methyl esters without any pre-treatment step. This allows them to use feedstocks such as crude palm or animal fats, making the companies process much more flexible.
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5. 5N Plus (TSX:VNP) (14)
St. Laurent, Quebec’s 5N Plus, which derives its name from the purity of its products, 99.999% (five nines) took off when the company, which produces essential components of thin-film solar modules, became a primary material supplier to US cleantech giant First Solar. When First Solar’s revenue was skyrocketing, it was being supplied cadmium telluride cells by 5N Plus.
6. Research in Motion (TSX:RIM) (16)
On Monday, Research in Motion announced that it will launch its much-anticipated BlackBerry 10 phones on January 30th. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins says the devices will be worth the wait. After the company’s Q2 numbers were nowhere as bad as expected, some analysts have started to believe. Cormark’s Richard Tse recently upgraded the stock to BUY from HOLD and increased his target price to $12 from, from his previous $10. And earlier this month, Byron Capital analyst Tom Astle initiated coverage of RIM with a BUY and the same $12 target, because he felt that RIM had “much more room to improve than it has to decline.
7. Guestlogix (TSX:GXI) (24)
Guestlogix was formed in 2002 and has since become the dominant player in the business of delivering ancillary revenue to airlines, with contracts to service more than a billion trips annually. Guestlogix management points out that all little extras; a fee for your second bag, a surcharge for reserving your seat in advance, are actually saving the industry, producing close to $60 billion in revenue last year. Without this ancillary revenue, the airline industry would still be a losing game. Guestlogix’s revenue has grown from just $5.43 million in fiscal 2007 to $22.8-million in 2011.
8. H20 Innovation (TSXV:HEO) (34)
Until 2008, H20 Innovation was a company enjoying steady but unspectacular growth in its water treatment business. Clearly, that wasn’t enough for The Company’s management team, led by Frederic Dugre. Early in 2009, H20 took initiatives to not only grow, but to diversify the company from merely being a manufacturer of water treatment systems and equipment into one that covered the complete life cycle of membrane filtration and biological waste water treatment systems. H20 Innovation has almost tripled its revenue, from $10.81 in fiscal 2008 to $35.9 in fiscal 2012.
9. Solium Capital (TSX:SUM)(36)
Shares of Solium Capital have been steadily rising since midway through 2012. The Calgary-based software-as-a-service company, which focuses on the administration of equity-based incentive and savings programs, saw its Q3 Revenue increase by 15% to $12.3-million.
10. Constellation Software (TSX:CSU) (47)
Toronto-based Constellation was formed by current CEO Mark Leonard, who left the world of venture capital in 1995 to form the company, which has since become one of the most profitable and successful Canadian companies. Constellation, which makes software for the public and private sector, is clear about its strategy. The company grows through acquisition, looking to acquire best of breed companies across different verticals. Constellation is involved in various niches on the public and private side from software for housing authorities, transportation agencies, and software for large home builders. On the strength of this strategy, the company has grown its revenue from just $243 million in fiscal 2007 to more than $773-million in 2011.
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