Was this the pause that refreshes?
In the shadow of a resurgent tech sector, most Canadian juniors went nowhere in 2015. That, of course, is a place that is better than their mining counterparts, who found the bottom and proceeded to dig. Things aren’t all rosy though: the TSX tech index’s little brother is still littered with stocks that are illiquid or less than a dime. But there were some bright spots, including three triple-digit gainers.
We count down the ten best performing TSX Venture Tech Stocks of 2015. We measured performance from December 31 of 2014 to Friday, December 18, 2015. We did not include stocks that began the year under ten cents or did not have a full year of trading under their belt.
1. Lingo Media (TSXV:LM) +615.3%
Price on December 31, 2014: $0.13
Price on December 31, 2015: $0.93
Shares of Toronto-based ed-tech company Lingo Media rose steadily throughout 2015. The company, whose mission is to effectively teach the world to speak English, was also speaking the language of investors last year; in the the company’s third quarter, reported on November 30, it reported net comprehensive income of $631,730 or $0.023 per share. CEO Michael Kraft noted it was the company’s fourth consecutive profitable quarter.
2. Pivot Technology Solutions (TSXV:PTG) +237.5%
Price on December 31, 2014: $0.16
Price on December 18, 2015: $0.54
Cantor Fitzgerald Canada analyst Ralph Garcea thinks Pivot, which had a great year on the back of improving numbers, still has more upside. Following the company’s Q3, 2015 results in November the analyst maintained his his “Buy” rating and one-year target price of $1.50 on the stock. The Q3 results followed a second quarter in which the analyst said the company “crushed it”.
3. 01 Communique (TSXV:ONE) +151.2%
Price on December 31, 2014: $0.195
Price on December 18, 2015: $0.49
Shares of 01 Communique came to life in June after the company announced it had received a favourable hearing in its Markman Hearing against Citrix, backing up the company’s claim that Citrix’s GoToMyPC product has been infringing on 01’s “479” patent. “We are pleased with the results of this Markman order,” said CEO Andrew Cheung. “This is another positive step forward in our lawsuit against Citrix and follows the recently received inter partes re-examination certificate. We remain confident in the merits of our case and are looking forward to our day in court.”
4. TIO Networks (TSXV:TNC) +110%
Price on December 31, 2014: $0.91
Price on December 18, 2015: $1.91
TIO earned another fan earlier this month when Paradigm Capital analyst Kevin Krishnaratne initiated coverage of the stock with a “Buy” rating and one-year target price of $2.25. Krishnaratne estimates that the company’s planned acquisition of New Jersey-based Softgate Systems, which he expects to close in the coming months, is worth more than $0.80 a share to TIO. The analyst says M&A is a key driver for TIO and expects that another deal will surface by the middle of next year. But to those who might be led to believe the company’s growth is all about M&A, Krishnaratne points out that the more than 65 per cent gain in EBITDA forecast for fiscal 2016 is all organic, something the analyst says reflects the scalability of the company’s platform.
5. Quorum Information Technologies (TSXV:QIS) +69.7%
Price on December 31, 2014: $.215
Price on December 18, 2015: $.365
Calgary-based Quorum, which develops software for the automotive retail business, supplies it core product, XSellerator, to the likes of Kia, GM, Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, and Nissan. In late November, the company reported a profitable third quarter, earning $52,080 on sales of $2.77-million, a 24 per cent topline rise over the $2.24-million the company reported in last year’s Q3.
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6. Jemtec (TSXV:JTC) +54.5%
Price on December 31, 2014: $0.22
Price on December 18, 2015: $0.34
Jemtec, a North Vancouver-based provider of compliance monitoring solutions for the Canadian justice and immigration systems basically trades by appointment, with just 2.4-million shares outstanding. The company designs and sells electronic and alcohol monitoring devices.
7. Ackroo (TSXV:AKR) +48.1%
Price on December 31, 2014: $0.135
Price on December 18, 2015: $.20
Loyalty solution provider Ackroo stumbled out of the gate as a pubco, but early this year the company’s new CEO said it deserves a second look from investors. “We spent the last three year validating our business,” explained new boss Steve Levely. “We had to make little pivots along the way, but we are confident that we are on the right track now.”
8. AcuityAds (TSXV:AT) +46.7%
Price on December 31, 2014: $0.62
Price on December 18, 2015: $0.91
In November, a better than expected third quarter had Paradigm Capital analyst Spencer Churchill feeling bullish about AcuityAds. “The company has made great strides toward positive EBITDA, with another quarter of materially reduced EBITDA losses, as it continues to benefit from the combination of robust revenue growth and reduced costs,” said the analyst. “With positive EBITDA on the horizon, more than sufficient liquidity to reach it, and the potential overhang of the debt due in January removed, we expect the stock should continue to move higher. Churchill maintained his “Speculative Buy” rating and one-year price target of $1.80 on AcuityAds, which implied a return of 100 per cent at the time of publication.
9. In-Touch Survey Systems (TSXV:INX) +42.2%
Price on December 31, 2014: $0.225
Price on December 18, 2015: $0.32
After another profitable quarter, this time the company’s Q3, 2015, Ottawa-based In-Touch Survey Systems predicted that even better things were on the horizon. “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the third quarter, particularly the strong growth in recurring revenue from software licensing and user fees,” said CEO Cameron Watt. “Based on the growth in sales in 2015, and the acquisition of Statopex, we expect to finish FY 2015 with revenue growth in excess of 15% over FY 2014.”
10. Opsens (TSXV:OPS) +26.7%
Price on December 31, 2014: $0.71
Price on December 18, 2015: $0.90
Opsens, says M Partners analyst Daniel Pearlstein, is making real progress with its Optowire and OptoMonitor products. In November, announced that it had been granted granted CE marking for its pressure guide wire, OptoWire II, a device that was developed to measure fractional flow reserve in patients with coronary artery disease. The CE marking, said the company, would allow it sell the OptoWire II in Europe. Pearlstein says the company is getting support from key opinion leaders.
Disclosure: Cantech Letter Editor Nick Waddell owns shares of TIO Networks.