With $70M investment, Canalyst plans to double its headcount
The financial data firm plans to use the funds for global expansion.
In 2017, when Canalyst co-founder James Rife was speaking to a room of tech entrepreneurs in Vancouver, he shared that his two-year-old startup, which specializes in financial data and analytics, had grown from five to 50 people. He said, half-jokingly, “We don’t like to measure progress by headcount, because that just means you have to write a lot of cheques every month.”
Four years and 400 customers later, the size of the cheques flowing into Canalyst are most certainly bigger than those flowing out. Case in point: the company, which opened a New York City office in 2018, revealed today that it raised USD $70 million (CAD $87.7 million) in a Series C financing round led by Dragoneer Investment Group. Canalyst customers Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) and Alta Fox Capital also participated, along with existing investors HighSage Ventures, Vanedge Capital (who wrote Canalyst’s seed cheque) and ScaleUP Ventures.
The business: The pre-company product was developed as a research tool for public equity managers. In 2017, Rife called Canalyst an “in-depth, accurate, and flexible forward-looking data platform for fundamental equity analysis.”
“Business-to-business is kind of a niche play, a small market, but it is a very valuable niche, and our users are extremely sophisticated and like the product,” Rife said at the time. Since then, the firm’s product offering has expanded substantially to serve most types of investors, especially those focused on credit, private equity and venture capital, in addition to investment banks, consultancies and corporations.
The product: Canalyst creates detailed financial and KPI data on global public companies through the combination of software and human expertise. Canalyst’s customers leverage its models, data and APIs to inform decision making and workflow.
“Everyone in capital markets knows how critical, yet time-consuming and error-prone, structuring quality financial data is," said Damir Hot, Canalyst's co-founder and CEO. “We're obsessed with solving that problem, and are proud to have earned the trust of some of the world's most sophisticated investors, first as clients and now as shareholders.”
“This investment is an important step in our journey toward becoming the new fundamental dataset of record,” he added.
The funders: Lead investor Dragoneer is an American investment firm based in San Francisco with at least USD $19 billion in assets under management. The firm backs both public and private companies, with notable investments in Airbnb, Alibaba, Bytedance, Doordash and Slack.
While Dragoneer cut the biggest cheque, it’s possible they may not have cut one at all, according to Hot. The way he tells it, Paul McKinley and Joe Timlin—his bankers at CIBC Innovation Banking—offered an introduction to Dragoneer. But Hot turned it down initially. He didn’t think his company was ready for it. Fortunately, the bankers insisted: “You should take the meeting,” they said. Hot eventually did, and now you’re reading this article.
The future: Canalyst, which was named a Deloitte 2021 Company to Watch, said it plans to double its headcount to 400 employees this year to invest in product development, customer support and global expansion. “With an ambitious multi-year roadmap ahead of us, we are hiring across all functions… in roles from junior to very senior,” Rife posted on Linkedin.
What’s driving the global shift? “As we cover global equities, there's a time zone component during earnings season,” Hot explained. “So it'll actually be really useful to have the product [developed] in multiple locations, and not just in Vancouver. When a company reports at 1am Pacific, we want to be able to update that in a timely manner. So it's very much global expansion in the kind of broadest sense.”
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