Waterloo Tech Highlights for June 2018 

Our goal is to provide you with a monthly primer on significant news events from private Waterloo-based technology companies in 5 minutes or less.

ApplyBoard raised C$17M from Artiman Ventures, 500 Startups, Candou Ventures, and Think+.  They have 62 employees today and will grow to 80 by year-end.  The capital will enable them to expand to new countries.

P&P Optica raised C$3.1M from Fulcrum Global Capital, a firm focused on investments involving food security and feeding a growing population.  PPO has 25 employees.

FleetCarma has been acquired by Geotab for an undisclosed amount.  The team will continue to work as a subsidiary of the new parent organization. 

Plum closed a strategic investment from SAP.io Fund.  They also received a $500k BCIP contract with UWaterloo for matching 20,000 coop students with employers. 

ShinyDocs has more than doubled their revenue from their past fiscal year with one quarter left to go.

Nicoya closed their fiscal year by growing revenue by 70% and increasing headcount by 100%.

RideCo has a deal with Waterloo Region transit, launching a microtransit service.  The service will connect underserved areas with express bus routes and will launch in the fall of 2018.

Auvik launched a new certification program, expanding their channel reach.  They also moved into new space in the former RIM factory.

Miovision unveiled the world’s smartest intersection, digitizing and harmonizing numerous legacy systems to increase traffic flow and improve safety.

Mappedin is rolling out their first two European customers and signed a nationwide deployment in Australia.  They’ve moved into new space, vacating Kitchener to get closer to the University of Waterloo.

KA Imaging will be running a clinical trial with a local hospital to compare their X-Rays with CTs for lung cancer patients.

Magnet Forensics has teamed up with Child Rescue Coalition to combine data resources to enable investigators to apprehend and convict child predators.

HealthIM is running a six month paid pilot with the Saskatchewan Police Services and Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Chris’ Thoughts

Character matters.  As somebody who negotiates for a living and has argued over more legal points than I’d care to remember, I’ve had the luxury of walking away from deals with parties who exhibited poor character.  One time we literally pulled signature pages out of the hands of a CEO who made a closing comment that scuttled a $100M deal.  In total, most of the “bad” deals that I’ve worked out have involved looking the other way on character shortcomings instead of listening to my gut.


On a recent deal, I smelled a last second retrade coming like a skunk in the forest.  The deal was nearing the end of a long and difficult journey.  Terms changed numerous times for good reasons as buyer and seller manoeuvred to work through their own internal issues, requiring patience and creativity.  We had just uncovered a potential minor liability that the buyer went nuclear over.  Even though we proposed a fair remedy a day later their draft agreement had over $1.4M taken out of the purchase price for an issue that at most would cost $100k.  They thought we had no choice and were going to get themselves a 30% discount at the expense of relationship.  Fortunately I had another buyer ready and the ensuing call with the Plan A buyer where I told him we were going to walk away over his bad faith went like a movie scene as he went from anger to denial to blaming his lawyer to literally crying. 


Business dealings are much more about relationship than they are about legal documents.  As a board member I see deal assessments that focus on technical issues and rarely addresses the character of the other party.  I’ll take a lousy deal with high-integrity partners over a great deal when the people on the other side have low character.

Waterloo Tech Highlights is a communication initiative run by a group of experienced investors and strategists who would like to receive and share real news about the vibrant Waterloo, Ontario tech community.

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Chris Wormald @cwormald