10 Jul More Hootsuites, More Often
The Next Generation of “Made in BC” Anchor Companies
Vancouver has become prolific at creating tech startups, and at any given moment there are more than 2,500 active tech startups throughout BC. But when you look at the rate at which these companies mature, the story is very different.
For every local startup that raises a seed round, less than 5% will ever raise a Series A. Even fewer will graduate to become “anchor” technology companies (what we define as revenues greater than $10MM or more than 100 employees.) In fact, by that definition there are less than 100 “anchor” technology companies in British Columbia right now.
Our goal is to drastically increase this ratio.
A Virtuous Cycle
As companies grow in Vancouver, they hire more people, invest more into the community, and are more likely to keep their roots planted in BC. Anchor companies spin off skilled managers and technical people, many of whom eventually cash in their shares and start new companies of their own. An example of this are those who cut their teeth at Creo and Crystal Decisions, and are now spread throughout the current generation of technology anchors around the province. One could also look at the rosters of nearly every Cleantech startup in Vancouver to see ex-Ballard or Westport people, or to recent media-darling Urthecast, an almost wholesale offshoot of MDA.
It’s no longer anecdotal evidence, we know for a fact that in tech communities, success begets success.
A modest solution: The HyperGrowth Program
On April 28, 2015 we launched the call for application for our HyperGrowth program. The idea was simple: Take three technology companies with strong product market fit and provide an intensive program designed to help them scale their sales and marketing efforts. The goal is to build the revenue infrastructure and attract the capital needed to grow these businesses beyond $10MM in annual sales as quickly as possible.
When the deadline came, we had received 27 applications from some amazing tech companies. Over the next six weeks, through three rounds of selection, we whittled the applicants down to 15, 7 and finally 3.
The response we received from the local tech community was also amazing. Thanks to an outcry of support from our industry, we have gathered an unprecedented collection of mentors including the current CEOs of many of the largest technology companies in Vancouver. We received sponsorships from companies like Global Relay, ACL and Microsoft that are allowing us to run the inaugural cohort for free. Dan Eisenhardt took the time to judge our finalist pitches just 12 hours before it was announced that he had sold Recon to Intel for (allegedly) $175MM dollars.
And while it was a tough process, we managed to select an incredible first cohort, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share a little bit about the winners and what our judges loved about them.
EDP is the creator of SchedulePro, a SAAS scheduling solution that helps industrial companies with difficult workforce constraints. Many of their ideal customers have both unionized workforces and externally regulated constraints on staff schedules, such as prisons, nuclear power plants or refineries.
We love this business because they are laser focused on a relatively large niche that is still untapped by the main players in this market (like CRONOS who do $1B/year in sales.) The value proposition is very strong as they directly save money on overtime, grievances, and staffing devoted to schedule optimization. We are very excited about their prospects.
Solving the age-old hassle of paying and collecting rent, RentMoola is an online global payment network that allows tenants and owners to pay rent and other building-related payments by credit card, debit card, RM Direct Debit™ or RM Cash™, while earning rewards.
We love this business because the market size is enormous, and there it not really an established leader in the space. In addition to the market opportunity available, RentMoola’s traction with large sophisticated residential landlords has been remarkably strong despite only being in existence for a few years. We look forward to working with their solid team and continuing to help them gain traction.
Thinkific, a proud Launch Academy alumni, allows professional associations, educational entrepreneurs, corporations, and universities to deliver and sell online courses. They currently have customers in more than seventy countries around the world.
For Thinkific, it’s tough to know whether to be more excited about the size of their market or how fast it is growing. The Course Delivery Software industry is approx. $4B/year and growing at >25% CAGR. The market for self-paced education is believed to be $45B/year and growing at 9%CAGR. Needless to say, there is a lot of room for growth which may explain why there are so many Ed-Tech startups these days. We like Thinkific because they are pushing incredible improvements throughout their conversion cycle and matching it with strong growth month over month.
In case it’s not obvious, we are incredibly excited about the companies in our first HyperGrowth cohort, and can’t wait to help them move the needle. If you have expertise that you think can help our cohort, please feel free to contact me.
Now that programming has started, I’ll be posting updates on these companies as HyperGrowth progresses — so stay tuned.
P.S. aka THANK YOU!
We couldn’t have built and launched this program without the incredible support and expertise of those around us. We want to thank all of our volunteer coaches and mentors, as well as all of the community partners who helped us find the right companies for our cohort.
I also want to thank our ‘sister’ second-stage accelerator programs REV (Communitech) and L-Spark (Invest Ottawa & Alacrity) for providing guidance, support, and inspiration as we designed HyperGrowth. Most importantly, thanks to our sponsors and founding partners: Global Relay, ACL, Microsoft, Alacrity, Build Direct and Vancity, without whom this dream would never have become a reality.
To learn more about HyperGrowth, visit hypergrowth.bctia.org