- Vancouver Tech Journal
- Watchlist: 8 companies of scale to watch grow
Watchlist: 8 companies of scale to watch grow
From SaaS to science and coding to call centres, these companies are poised to continue along solid growth trajectories.
Here’s a riddle for you. What do these companies have in common: the direct-to-consumer socks outfit, Outway; the online social network and marketplace focused on sustainable products, Social Nature; small batch sustainable cannabis company, Tantalus Labs; fintech firm Koho; and fellow fintech firm Boast.
The answer? That whole list has scaling stories to share and will do so at our next #vtjtalks event, Scaling to 7, 8, 9 figures and beyond: Lessons from local founders. To serve as a tasty appetizer for that #vtjtalks entree, here is an octet of companies that have shown they are no slouches to scaling.
Photo credit: Daniel Pereira
“It’s literally right out of Star Trek,” Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development, quipped of the work that the local biotech outfit Aspect Biosystems is doing. Specifically, he was referring to its development of bioengineered tissue therapeutics. Under Sajjan's watchful eye as Minister responsible for PacifiCan, the government's economic development organization dished out over $25 million to 10 local businesses earlier this year.
This included over $3 million for Aspect, which played host to the announcement. The company has since added Diane Gardiner as chief human resources officer and signed a megadeal: a collaboration, development, and license agreement with Novo Nordisk to receive USD $75 million in initial payments and up to $650 million in future milestone payments per product arising from the collaboration.
Quotable: “We have a shared goal: everybody on the team really believes that we're going to make a difference in how we think about medicine and how we treat diseases in the future. I would ask people who are looking at Aspect from the outside and thinking, ‘Is this somewhere I'd like to work?’ [to consider whether] that goal excites you. If it does, then reach out. We'd love to welcome more people and have you join us on this journey. Well, like I said, if you're a kickass individual, that is.” - Co-founder and chief scientific officer Sam Wadsworth from our How (and why) to get a job story series.
DarkVision is revolutionizing the way industry evaluates and understands critical infrastructure by creating the world’s highest fidelity and highest resolution inspection technology. The company promises the world’s most advanced industrial acoustic imaging technology.
In 2021, the company received investment from Evok Innovations and BDC Capital’s Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology Venture fund. The linkup won the 2021 VC Deal of the Year award. Since then, DarkVision has been steadily growing its team.
Notable: DarkVision is a finalist for the Company of the Year - Scale Technology Impact Award.
Photo credit: Freight Club on LinkedIn
Burnaby-based Cymax Group is a global online furniture marketplace that competes with the likes of Wayfair and Amazon, and does “big and bulky” e-commerce better than anyone else. Cymax also has a shipping and logistics division, Freight Club, that provides its customers with last-mile delivery solutions.
While Cymax is a private operation, a 2020 Globe and Mail article pegged its revenue at more than USD $300 million. It wouldn’t disclose current revenue to VTJ contributor Paul Welsh for his January 2022 profile of CEO Rizwan Somji. But, it did share that Freight Club more than doubled in revenue year-over-year since its 2018 launch. That growth caught the eye of Deloitte, which named Freight Club to its list of the fastest-growing Canadian companies: The Technology Fast 50.
Quotable: Somji, in a release announcing that Freight Club had promoted Brad Kent to CTO, hired Mike Herenberg as COO, and added Travis Huff as VP of sales in July 2022: "In these turbulent market conditions, we are focused on responsible growth and have bolstered our foundations with these key appointments. We are thrilled to have Brad, Mike, and Travis help lead in this next phase, as we double-down on our world-class technology and solutions across eCommerce and logistics."
Photo credit: Lighthouse Labs
Lighthouse Labs offers coding education for everyone from the newbie to the professional developer. It’s a guiding light for those looking to embark on a career in tech, if you will. This was particularly clutch during the pandemic, as a CBC feature outlined, when many industries struggled while tech surged.
Across the Strait of Georgia, Lighthouse is collaborating with UVic to train local participants to work in the tech sector through a number of fully-funded scholarships. The partnership is one of 30 across the country that's part of a national program titled ICT Boost, which is funded by just over $21.2 million from the federal government through its Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program. Nationwide, ICT Boost plans to train more than 1,700 people to pursue careers in web development, data science, and cybersecurity, with an emphasis on supporting participation from marginalized populations.
Quotable: "We really felt like it was important for us to stay connected to the community and really continue that collaboration,” Stephanie Wilson, vice president of social impact and global, told our sister publication, Victoria Tech Journal.
MineSense is all about digital mining solutions, supplying real-time, sensor-based ore sorting for mines. Its signature solution is ShovelSense, a robust sensor installed on mining equipment to scan and measure the grade of the material in every bucket. Real-time ore characterization provides superior actionable data to enable automated smart truck diversions to greatly reduce both ore losses and dilution while increasing a mine’s efficiency, profitability, and sustainability.
Like Freight Club, MineSense, featured in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50. The Cleantech Group also put the company on its list of the most impactful cleantech companies of 2022. Then, in December, MineSense closed a $42 million Series E financing led by J.P. Morgan’s Sustainable Growth Equity team in New York City. The round was supported by local investors Evok Innovations and Chrysalix Venture Capital.
Quotable: “MineSense has the type of high-impact technology that we look for in an investment,” said Marty Reed, partner at Evok Innovations. “And the fact that this impact is immediate and fully proven in the market makes us very excited to participate in the company’s next stage of growth.”
Photo credit: ScalePad on LinkedIn
You get to know a thing or two about scaling when the word is literally in your company’s name. ScalePad partners with managed service providers to deliver the best possible IT experiences for its clients, rife with features like built-in business analytics tools or risk and compliance solutions.
It’s been a busy stretch in terms of funding and deals for the company. ScalePad announced an equity investment from Integrity Growth Partners in January 2021. By year’s end, it announced an acquisition: Backup Radar, an automation platform specializing in data backups. After a non-acquisitive 2022, three such deals have been struck this year already.
Notable: You guessed it: ScalePad also featured on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50.
ReadyMode, a Vancouver-based software provider that ramps up call centre dialing speeds through a cloud-based predictive dialer, has shown that it's ready to scale. Founded as XenCall, it rebranded to ReadyMode after securing $4 million in July 2021. The venture debt funding was led by Scotiabank’s Technology and Innovation Banking arm.
“The overwhelming adoption and success of our industry-leading software has significantly accelerated our growth and has brought us to an inflection point where we’re rapidly scaling the business,” CEO Jason Jantz said at the time. “We’re going to leverage this new funding to assemble a diverse and highly skilled team that will be critical to ensuring we continue developing innovative, best-in-class solutions that revolutionize how organizations start sales conversations.”
Notable: ReadyMode was a finalist for the Company of the Year - Scale Technology Impact Award in 2022.
Photo credit: Redlen
Saanich’s Redlen Technologies is a bit of an O.G. Founded in 1999, Redlen develops sensors that are driving innovations in computed tomography cameras (CT scanners), improving diagnostic capabilities and reducing the amount of radiation a patient is exposed to. It was acquired by camera juggernaut Canon in a September 2021 megadeal.
The year prior, the company was the inaugural winner of the Greg Smith Award. The accolade is doled out by Angel Forum, Vancouver’s longest-running angel network, to pay homage to a fixture of the tech community. Angel Forum CEO Irene Dorsman saw Redlen’s exit as further justification for the award.
Notable: Redlen won the Company of the Year - Scale Technology Impact Award in 2022.