(BIV) B.C. tech sector had a billion-dollar year: BCTIA

As seen on biv.com
Written by: Nelson Bennett

VANCOUVER, BC, March 5, 2014–B.C. technology companies raised $1 billion in venture capital and public and private equity financing and in 2013, according to the BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA).

The BCTIA recently crunched the numbers on equity financing on the TSX and TSX Venture Exchange. Technology was the most active sector on the exchanges.

“For British Columbia in particular, we punched well above our weight in public financings in technology and clean-tech,” BCTIA CEO Bill Tam said in a release.

Publicly traded clean-tech companies in B.C. raised $207 million – 19.5% of the total equity financing in Canada for clean-tech. Other publicly traded B.C. technology companies raised $408 million – 26.9% of the total for Canada.

The one technology subsector B.C. did not do as well in was life sciences. The $67 million that sector raised in the public markets was just 2.4% of the total raised in Canada.

The numbers for life sciences were skewed by Quebec, thanks to one massive raise by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (TSX:VRX), which raised $2.4 billion through a secondary share offering to help finance its $8.7 billion acquisition of Bausch & Lomb Inc.

B.C. technology companies also attracted a significant amount of venture capital in 2013, according to Garibaldi Capital. B.C. technology companies raised $348 million in 2013 – a 57% increase over 2012 ($222 million.)

A single company – HootSuite – accounted for nearly half of the VC financing in B.C. with its $170 million raise last year.

While the BCTIA expects financing for B.C.’s tech sector will remain strong in 2014, startups may struggle to find early stage financing.

“While we’ve seen record levels of angel investment over the past three years, there has been a simultaneous decline in the number of B.C.-based venture funds,” Tam said. “Consequently, we anticipate that this put further strain on early stage investment in general.”

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