2018 was a tough year for TSX Venture Exchange investors. It was a a little less tough for those who chose tech stocks.
Toronto’s junior board, heavy on Materials and Energy stocks, lost 37 per cent in 2018, falling from 850.72 to 537.28. What does the exchange need? More tech stocks, clearly, as just 4.66 per cent of its total value is derived from Infotech.
Still, there was a bright spot, sort of. With just ten big board tech stocks posting gains last year, we could barely make a top ten list from the senior exchange’s performance, with the #10 stock, Descartes Systems Group, posting a gain of just 0.1 per cent.
By contrast, the junior board was chock full of modest winners. We count down the top 10 performers on the TSX Venture Exchange Tech Index. We excluded any stock that did not have a full year of trading or began the year at less than ten cents.
1. Kraken Robotics (Kraken Robotics Stock Quote, Chart TSXV:PNG)
Closing Price on December 29, 2017: $0.175
Closing Price on December 31, 2018: $0.37
Percentage Change: +114.3%
High resolution sensor and underwater robotics company Kraken Robotics saw its stock take off in June after the company announced a major investment from ocean survey and exploration company Ocean Infinity, who became 9.99 per cent owners in the deal. The company’s strong R&D has become key to its success, as Kraken’s pipeline of bookings continues to grow.
2. OneSoft Solutions (OneSoft Solutions Stock Quote, Chart TSXV:OSS)
Closing Price on December 29, 2017: $0.24
Closing Price on December 31, 2018: $0.47
Percentage Change: +96%
After trading sideways for much of 2017, Edmonton-based OneSoft Solutions hit its stride this year, with a big uptick coming in September on news that a Fortune 500 company became its first commercial client for OneSoft’s Cognitive Integrity Management software. Formed in 1996, OneSoft through its wholly-owned subsidiary OneBridge Solutions makes cloud-based SaaS for legacy replacement in the oil and gas pipeline industry. “The ground work we have done during the past year is now transforming into revenue as new customers see the tangible results from adopting our solutions,” stated Dwayne Kushniruk, OneSoft’s CEO, in an October financial report. “We are optimistic about signing more commercial contracts, which we believe will allow us to achieve cash break-even operations without needing to raise new capital.”
3. Renoworks Software (Renoworks Software Stock Quote, Chart TSXV:RW)
Closing Price on December 29, 2017: $0.220
Closing Price on December 31, 2018: $0.415
Percentage Change: +88.6%
Home construction software company Renoworks had a banner back end of 2018, rising a whopping 175 per cent over the last six months. With a market cap of $13.8 million, Renoworks made a move mid-year by opening up their home remodelling and construction platform to third-party manufacturers, enabling faster go-to-market solutions.
“Third-party integration is just one example of the Renoworks strategy to expand our platform and technology solutions,” said CEO Doug Vickerson. “By embracing a strategy of openness with our manufacturer clients and supplying them with all the tools necessary to connect their products to the large audience of home improvement players, we can ensure that end-users receive the best Renoworks experience we can offer.”
4. Integrity Gaming (Integrity Gaming Stock Quote, Chart TSXV:IGAM)
Closing Price on December 29, 2017: $0.245
Closing Price on December 31, 2018: $0.450
Percentage Change: +84%
Slot machine company Integrity Gaming had a number of upheavals over 2018, including the resignation of President and Company Director Daniel Davila in April, followed by the resignation of CEO Peter Macy in June. The biggest news arrived only weeks ago, however, when it was announced that US casino games company AGS would be acquiring Integrity. The deal is expected to close during the first half of 2019.
5. Jemtec (Jemtec Stock Quote, Chart TSXV:JTC)
Closing Price on December 29, 2017: $0.68
Closing Price on December 31, 2018: $1.25
Percentage Change: +83.8%
Electronic monitoring company Jemtec saw its share price rise over much of 2018. The Vancouver-based company, which develops tech for community-based correctional services, reported its fiscal year ended July 31 financials at the end of November, showing substantial improvements on revenue — $1.9 million for fiscal 2018 compared to $1.2 million for fiscal 2017 — and net income — $234,000 compared to 34,000 last year.
6. Sangoma Technologies (Sangoma Technologies Stock Quote, Chart TSXV:STC)
Closing Price on December 29, 2017: $0.70
Closing Price on December 31, 2018: $1.17
Percentage Change: +67.1%
Sangoma’s share price made all of its gains over the first few weeks of the year when the stock doubled over the month of January, after which there have been both ups and downs. Yet the VOIP hardware and software maker keeps seeing strong top and bottom line growth each quarter and it took a big leap in scale this past August when it acquired open source communications software company Digium.
7. IOU Financial (IOU Financial Stock Quote, Chart TSXV:IOU)
Closing Price on December 29, 2017: $0.10
Closing Price on December 31, 2018: $0.16
Percentage Change: +60%
Montreal-based fintech company IOU Financial saw its share price fall a long way over its first few years on the Venture Exchange but 2018 proved to be a different story, with the commercial lending company’s stock picking up steam after first flirting with the ten cent mark. IOU closed its third quarter ended September 30, 2018, with positive adjusted earnings of $623,795, its fourth consecutive quarter with positive earnings, and a robust 84.7 per cent increase in loan originations year-over-year.
8. Drone Delivery Canada (Drone Delivery Canada Stock Quote, Chart TSXV:FLT)
Closing Price on December 29, 2017: $0.90
Closing Price on December 31, 2018: $1.40
Percentage Change: +56%
It’s now been a full year since Drone Delivery began trading on the TSX, with the stock shooting up this past January and early February before retracing its steps over the ensuing ten months. In August, Drone Delivery was granted approval to test its 25 lbs heavy lifting drone, which has flight ranges of up to 60 kms. The company yada pilot project. Earlier this month, FLT signed a $2.5-million commercial agreement with the Moose Cree First Nation in Northern Ontario to deploy its software platform within Moose Cree communities.
“We are on track with the roll out of our commercial operations in Q2 of 2019,” said CEO Tony Di Benedetto. “This agreement is representative of the large ‘Remote Communities’ market that we see penetrating over the next three to five years. The Remote Communities market is only one segment of the overall total addressable market in Canada. In addition to Canada, DDC is working with other customers around the globe to licence our FLYTE software and drone delivery technology.”
9. Shoal Games (Shoal Games Stock Quote, Chart TSXV:SGW)
Closing Price on December 29, 2017: $0.35
Closing Price on December 31, 2018: $0.52
Percentage Change: +48.6%
Owner of the EdTech games platform Rooplay, Shoal Games is aiming to be the premier over-the-top media service for kids games. To that end, over the summer it launched Rooplay for desktop and mobile web subscriptions, while the company closed on a US$2.5-million funding round in March and announced in November its intentions to complete a further US$8-million in financing to fuel its expansion plans.
10. Patriot One Technologies (Patriot One Technologies Stock Quote, Chart TSXV:PAT)
Closing Price on December 29, 2017: $1.25
Closing Price on December 31, 2018: $1.67
Percentage Change: +30%
Security systems developer Patriot One is commercializing its PATSCAN radar system for detecting concealed weapons, having just secured its first purchase order earlier this month. The stock saw a couple of big upticks over 2018, one at the beginning of the year following a corporate update on product development and another in October when the company announced a partnership with Cisco Systems on product acceleration, innovation and access to global markets. The company also closed on a $46-million bought deal in November.