Notable Deloitte Technology Fast 50 winners over the years
What they’ve achieved, and where they are now.
The average three-year growth for Deloitte’s 2021 Technology Fast 50 winners was an impressive 2,604 percent. The stat is indicative of the overall fortunes of Canada’s fastest-growing industry. And at the top of last year’s annual ranking with a growth rate of 33,614 percent was Toronto-based Snapcommerce, a message-driven commerce platform. It’s an astounding record, but also what’s expected of a Fast 50 chart-topper.
In many ways, the awards have served as a success bellwether, signalling which Canadian company might be the next Apple – which is why the list is watched so closely by the tech ecosystem and businesses-at-large. For evidence of the program’s effect and impact, all you need to do is look at previous honourees — and then follow their trajectory.
In anticipation of the program’s looming application deadline (June 10), we’re taking a look at the accomplishments of some past participants — what they’ve achieved, and where they are now.
One of Vancouver’s most noteworthy exits from the past five years is the USD $1 billion sale of Avigilon to U.S. giant Motorola Solutions Inc., which closed in 2018.
Given Avigilon’s steady and rapid growth since its founding in 2004, it made regular appearances on the annual Fast 50 list. For example, between 2011 and the year of its sale, its growth rate reached a height of 38,796 percent . No wonder global tech giants took notice. Today it operates as a subsidiary of Motorola, employing hundreds of people.
Besides its stunning growth, one of the more clever parts of photography software firm Pixieset is the meaning of its name. It’s a portmanteau of sorts, using “pix” in lieu of “pictures”, and the second half of the word referencing “a set of images,” according to reporting from our own staff writer, James Matthews. Co-founders Phoebe Jiang and Simon Wong weren’t sold on the name at first, but customers were, and over time, they “grew to love it,” Jiang told Vancouver Tech Journal.
Listening to customers has turned out to be a winning strategy, as Pixieset has grown steadily since its founding in 2013. In 2019, the startup made its first appearance on the Deloitte Fast 50 list with 295 percent growth, and since then it hasn’t looked back.
The company acquired Flothemes in Spring of 2021. Then, last September, Pixieset secured an investment from Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE), an entrepreneur-centric growth equity firm exclusively focused on software and information services companies. The transaction marked Pixieset’s first outside institutional capital investment and occurred amid a substantial growth phase for the company, which serves over 600,000+ users on its platform globally.
From day one, Jane Software was the type of startup that every investor loves: it was created out of an entrepreneur’s real needs. In the case of co-founder Alison Taylor, it was a desire for better booking software for her physiotherapy practice, Canopy Integrated Health.
To create the product, she partnered with Trevor Johnston, co-founder of North Vancouver marketing agency Thought Shop Creative, and together, they’ve built up a SaaS behemoth that’s quietly doing tens of millions in annual revenue.
Jane first appeared on Deloitte’s 2019 Companies to Watch list in 2019. That served as a precursor to its ranking at 24 in the 2020 Technology Fast 50, with 733 percent growth. This upward momentum shows no signs of slowing, despite the fact that of its over 200 employees, virtually none work in marketing and sales. Its 50,000+ customers are happy to do Jane’s marketing for it.
If Jane is a recent rocketship, PDFTron is like a heavyduty jetliner that’s still climbing. Nearly a quarter-century old, the developer of enterprise PDF software is an example of a company that quietly goes about its business, serves its customers, scales up, and ultimately creates significant value for its early stakeholders.
A standout Vancouver firm, PDFTron made Deloitte’s 2016 North American Fast 500 list: a showcase of the continent’s fastest growing technology companies. The company put up 171 percent growth that year; good enough for a ranking of 394.
With the international spotlight now on it, PDFTron has gone on to make multiple acquisitions and attract investment. The first outside funding came from Silversmith Capital Partners, a USD $71 million infusion of capital in 2019 on the heels of significant growth and the doubling of its workforce. Two years later, private equity giant Thoma Bravo came knocking and made a strategic growth investment to support the company as it looks to dominate the $22 billion B2B document-processing market.
Applications for Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program are currently open with five distinct categories: Technology Fast 50, Enterprise 15, Companies-to-Watch, Clean Technology, and North American Technology Fast 500.