REFILE-Canada IPO market trades commodities for tech as valuations climb

Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:55pm EDT
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(Refiles to fix Hootsuite name, from HootSuite)

By John Tilak

TORONTO, March 12 (Reuters) - Technology companies look set to supplant energy and mining firms as the driver of Canadian initial public offerings this year as global optimism about tech startups boosts valuations and spurs early investors to cash out.

The anticipated surge in capital-raising by tech companies would provide a much-needed boost to the commodity-heavy Canadian equity market, which has been hit hard by plunging oil and metal prices.

Soaring venture-capital investment and healthy technology spending are seen as fueling the revival of Canadian tech IPOs.

"In the next 12 to 24 months, you're going to finally see the most significant volume of Canadian tech IPOs you've seen in the past decade, if not ever," said John Ruffolo, chief executive of OMERS Ventures, one of Canada's top venture capital players.

PointClickCare, whose software supports the senior care market, and ecommerce software maker Shopify could go public as early as the spring, possibly with valuations over $1 billion, said three sources familiar with the matter who declined to be named because details are not yet public.

Property information provider Real Matters and online lender Mogo are also preparing for IPOs this year, they said, adding that Hootsuite and Desire2Learn have deferred such plans to next year.

Hootsuite, seen by many as the most valuable of these startups, runs a popular social media management tool. Chief Executive Ryan Holmes declined to comment on IPO timing, but said Hootsuite is "building the foundations and best practices of a public company, and has a lot of interest in an offering".   Continued...