2011, The 1 Billion Dollar Year??

Edit 1 – Techvibe just put together a more comprehensive list than mine – http://www.techvibes.com/blog/techvibes-comprehensive-list-of-canadian-tech-acquisitions-50-and-counting-2011-06-08. It is an even a bigger year than I thought!

Edit 2 – I have been corrected that the Coradiant acquisition was more likely $100m-$150m. Updated below. Bigger than I thought! Glad to see I was “under-reporting”

Interesting first 6 months to 2011. Check out this list of exits:

Radian6 – $326mm
Coradiant – $100mm (guess – this one has been tougher to size, some searching shows them to be around 100 employees with 10mm revenue?? That Akamai partnership feels pretty strategic though…)
Pushlife – $25mm
Tungle – $20mm (guess off of last raise/valuation)
PostRank – $15mm (consensus guess from asking around)
CoverItLive – $10mm (big guess)
tinyHippos – < $1mm (4 employees)
About $495mm. Give or take $25mm depending on my math.

Firstly, this is a perfect example of how VC exit math works and the power of a fundmaker like Radian6.

But get this, we are exactly 6 months in and almost half way to…. well… July/August/December all kind of suck for doing deals… buuuutttt… maybe… maybe if I utter the amount… people will dream and we could maybe dreamily hit 1 BILLION DOLLARS in returns this year. Wow, 1 BILLION. Thats nine 0’s.

The Net Value of All Exits for 2011?? (by Adam Crowe, some rights reserved)

We’d need another big mama ala Radian6, and another 4 $20-$30mm exits. I could hazard a guess at a few companies that could exit for $20mm+ today and now, but the big, big question is, where will the big exit come from?

Kobo Books (@kobo)

They just raised $50mm. Not sure about the valuation, but we could size it at say $150mm – $300mm (I’d go higher because they are very young and having a $50mm raise means they have a vertigo inducing growth/revenue curve). And lets not forget the mainstream press chatting about an Apple acquisition. This could be a high 9 figure to billion dollar plus exit if something happens.

Freshbooks (@freshbooks)

They state over 2mm users on their home page. Lets say 10% are paying customers and they pay on average $30/month (looking at their pricing plans). 200k * $30/month * 12 months = $72mm in annual revenue. Even at 5% freemium conversion they are at $36mm. Thats a big customer base and a big chunky, sticky subscription revenue base.

Would love to hear from folks. What other startups do we have hanging about that could do a big exit? Am I missing any of the 2011 exits to date?

RIM acquires Tungle

Congratulations to Marc and the Tungle team. Tungle announced their acquisition by RIM. Tungle had previously raised $1.5M from JLA, Desjardin, and angels and $5M from Commonweatlth. This is a great addition for the RIM team to continue to build out an application suite for the mobile office. Mark MacLeod (@startupcfoprovides additional thoughts and comments on the acquisition:

Clear Problem

Tungle just made sense. Finding a time to meet is a huge pain. This may not be the sexiest, flashiest market, but it is huge. Every business person feels the pain.


We didn’t have this term back in the early days, but Tungle sure went through some pivots. When I joined it was a peer to peer client a la Skype. And it was S-L-O-W.  The service today bears little resemblance to that early product.


All startups but especially SaaS startups should be data driven. Tungle was no exception to this. We even built our own custom system (known as Knudderforce) and tracked daily, weekly and monthly stats. Those stats triggered many actions, automated outreaches, etc.


All good outcomes have an element of luck. I am sure there are many examples in Tungle’s case, but the one that stands out for me is closing our Series A funding in September 2008 just as Lehman Brothers crashed and the markets started tanking. If we had been only a few weeks later we might have had a much tougher time closing the round.

Focus, focus, focus

I’ve seen many teams get distracted as they grow. The CEO is off attending conferences, the company moves from market to market, etc. Tungle was laser focused on solving its’ users’ scheduling needs. At one point we were doing usability sessions every day. We reached out to every new user. We just stayed focused.


When we first were getting started, investors wondered if this was a feature vs. a product. Fast forward a few years and it is on its way to being a full fledged scheduling platform with APIs for other companies to use.

Strategic engagement

An ideal startup for me is one that can develop conversations with potential strategic partners as a natural part of its goto market strategy. This presumes you are building something that is important to the big players and assumes that you have a CEO capable of establishing and building those relationships. This was definitely the case with Tungle and this announcement is just a logical outcome of this reality.

The icing on the cake for me is that this is an all-Canadian deal. The Tungle team will be staying in Canada and continuing to make things happen.

Shared calendaring continues to be a difficult problem as you move to the edge of an organization. Just think about how difficult it is to see availability and schedules of people who are not on your GApps domain or your Exchange Server. Tungle gives RIM a leg up in having tooling like BBM and email and now calendaring that blurs the edge of the organization.