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The Canadian tech IPO onslaught that never was

Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, with Mika.

Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, with Mika.The media coverage of the pending TSX tech IPO onslaught has been intensive. And perhaps the recent attention shouldn’t come as a shock, since they missed the first wave of deals and all (see prior post “Two Tech IPOs moving to the launch pad” Feb. 24-13). There’s only one problem. I’m becoming more convinced by the day that there isn’t going to be a raft of IPOs, after all.

Certainly not an onslaught. I’d expect there to be a couple names hitting the TSX market this fall. But that’s the extent of it. The problem is simple: the media coverage has centred on the prospects of five firms that John Ruffolo and I touched on at the Cantech Letter conference in January (see prior post “Vision Critical’s $10.5M secondary clears the deck for potential IPO” Jan. 17-14), and my gut tells me that most of them are looking southward, to the NASDAQ.

For Canadian retail investors and investment banks, this is bad news. When and if firms such as PointClickCare, Desire2Learn, Shopify and Hootsuite do go public, whether it be this summer (PointClickCare with Goldman) or at some point in 2015 (D2L & Shopify?), I expect them to be doing so on the NASDAQ with US-based investment banks in the driver’s seat. Which means one thing: miniscule allocations to Canadian retail investors, and between 5% and 20% of the syndicate IPO fees being available to Bay Street. At the most…

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