International consultancy firm Deloitte has released the 2016 Canadian edition of its Technology Fast 50 list, with several X factors responsible for flinging new names up the list while others from previous years drop away.
Some of those X factors consist of softer metrics, what sports coaches might call “intangibles”, while others are more firm, like revenue growth, which is ultimately how the Fast 50 are ranked.
First the great news. Longtime Cantech Letter favourite, Richmond, B.C.’s UrtheCast (TSX:UR) claims the Number 1 spot, posting a mind-boggling 72,938.0% growth in revenue.
Deloitte’s blog post announcing this year’s list describes Canada’s economic landscape as being at a “tipping point”, and then attempts to create a numerical representation of the feeling of “courage” felt by Canadian business leaders, adding metrics like “fearful”, “hesitant”, “courageous” and “evolving”.
While it’s true that Canada has a reputation for being “risk averse” when it comes to business, there’s not much of a sense that any of the companies in the Fast 50, or many others who aren’t on the list, are somehow missing a chromosome in their courage gene, which in turn is holding back Canada’s economy.
In any case, “courage” as an indicator for growth might actually be a decent barometer for measuring the transition from who might have been a hot “carpe diem” YOLO sort of company last year to “Whatever happened to…” status next year.
It’s instructive to look at last year’s Fast 50, to compare some of the hot companies of the time with their relative growth today, or to look at newcomers and try to puzzle out whether a hot arrival might actually translate into solidity down the road.
Last year’s Number 1 spot, for example, was Montreal men’s clothing e-commerce retailer Frank & Oak, which posted an 18,480% growth rate, followed in the Number 2 spot by Richmond, B.C.’s Corvus Energy, with 16,943% growth, followed in the Number 3 spot by Pointe-Claire, Quebec’s Amaya Inc., which posted 3,645% growth and today is struggling through a protracted police investigation and some drama at the company’s top.
Rounding out the 2015 Top 10 were Montreal’s Budge Studios, Toronto’s iotum, Terrebonne, Quebec’s Adrenaline Amusements, Vancouver’s Hootsuite, Waterloo’s Magnet Forensics, Toronto’s AcuityAds, and Waterloo’s Aeryon Labs.
Of that Top 10, the only names that remain on Deloitte’s 2016 list are iotum, at the Number 7 spot with 2146.8% growth, Magnet Forensics at the Number 19 spot with 586.7% growth, Corvus Energy, at the Number 23 spot with 503.8% growth, AcuityAds, at the Number 42 spot with 307.8% growth, and Aeryon Labs, at the Number 24 spot with 494.0% growth.
Looking even farther back at the 2014 Fast 50 list, the repeat customers really make themselves known, although the Number 1 spot that year was taken by Toronto ad retargeting firm Chango, which was eventually acquired by Chicago’s publicly traded Rubicon Project.
One of the perks of dealing with publicly traded companies is that the numbers are more or less transparent, and it was possible to see, because of the acquisition, that although Chango had posted impressive growth numbers, 69,800% over a five year period, the company never was quite able to turn a profit.
But no matter how you slice it, triple-digit growth is impressive for any company under any circumstance, including for 50th place Vancouver fintech company Zafin, which only last week picked up a US$10 million investment.
|Rank||Growth %||Company name||City||Province|
|2||16966.1%||Cooledge Lighting Inc.||Richmond||British Columbia|
|6||2703.4%||Canada Drives||Vancouver||British Columbia|
|12||1080.9%||Big Blue Bubble||London||Ontario|
|19||586.7%||Magnet Forensics Inc.||Waterloo||Ontario|
|21||573.2%||Traction on Demand||Burnaby||British Columbia|
|23||503.8%||Corvus Energy||Richmond||British Columbia|
|25||481.3%||XYZ Technologie culturelle||Montréal||Quebec|
|27||448.6%||Appnovation Technologies||Vancouver||British Columbia|
|30||414.5%||Livestock Water Recycling Inc.||Calgary||Alberta|
|34||367.3%||Solido Design Automation||Saskatoon||Saskatchewan|
|38||330.6%||VistaVu Solutions Inc.||Calgary||Alberta|
|46||287.0%||Big Viking Games||London||Ontario|
|48||268.4%||Avigilon Corporation||Vancouver||British Columbia|
|49||252.3%||Vendasta Technologies, Inc.||Saskatoon||Saskatchewan|