It’s hard to believe this is the sixth time I will be presenting the Cantech Letter Awards. It seems like only yesterday I braved a blustery Lougheed Highway in Burnaby to present the very first trophy to Glentel’s Tom Skidmore, who accepted it with a couple impromptu dance steps. The winners that followed would become a catalogue of tech’s resurgence in the Canadian capital markets; Avigilon, Amaya Gaming, SXC Health’s Mark Thierer, to name a few. There was a year that pitted Wi-LAN against crosstown rival MOSAID. There was the constant nomination of names like Art Mesher, Lucas Skoczowski and Mark Leonard on the best of lists. There was ballot-stuffing, attempted and foiled, repeatedly.
The model for the Cantech Letter Awards has always been the same: we call on the analysts who cover Canadian tech to vote. This year, we had more than two dozen of them vote, from firms of various sizes. For the technology sectors, each analyst submits three choices in each of four categories. The analysts then rank the consensus choices.
It’s been gratifying watching the Cantech Letter Awards grow in stature. In year three, we got a fancy dinner at a downtown Toronto restaurant and opened the market with the winners the next morning. Tech was back! Two years ago, we got our own Golden Globes-style awards dinner with a certain Canadian astronaut presenting the final crystal trophy, the one that has become our trademark. Last year, Amaya’s David Baazov, after accepting the award for 2014 TSX Tech Stock of the Year, commented that the stage alone was bigger than the room we were so proud of in our third year. This year an estimated 2000 people are expected to attend the third annual Cantech Investment Conference at the Toronto Convention Center on January 26. At the gala awards dinner that follows, these three companies will be up for the big award, listed here in alphabetical order.
Here are the Cantech Letter 2015 TSX Tech Stock of the Year Nominees…
Enghouse Systems (TSX:ESL)
Enghouse Systems’s remarkable run has been powered by acquisitions, often international in scope and executed at what prove to be bargain basement prices. On December 16, the company announced 2015 results that saw it earn $31.43-million on revenue of $279.3-million, a topline that was up 27 per cent over fiscal 2014.
Ottawa-based Kinaxis lead offering is RapidResponse, a supply chain planning and analytics platform to manage multiple, interconnected supply chain management and Sales and operations planning (S&OP) processes. In late October, Kinaxis reported Q3, 2015 results that saw the company earn (U.S.) $3.8-million on revenue of $23.7-million, up 34% over the same period last year. Laurentian Bank Securities analyst Nick Agostino said the results bested his expectations.
In June, Ottawa’s Shopify got its first taste of trouble as a pubco, falling more than 15 per cent in two days. Since then, the stock has been surprisingly volatile. Shopify soared on a deal with Amazon in September, but has trailed off in the months since. In May, I argued that Shopify’s IPO was a defining moment for Canadian technology.