2017 Year in Review


Jan 2018

2017 was an exciting year for the team at Information VP! Along with keeping our fingers on the pulse of the North American fintech community, we added several new companies led by fantastic founders to our Fund II portfolio and welcomed three new team members. As we enter 2018, we’d like to take this opportunity to review the last year with you and recap some of the noteworthy changes at Information VP.

We started off 2017 strong with an investment into Sensibill, a company that enables bank customers to capture and manage receipts from their mobile banking app. We were excited to be able to invest in Sensibill’s Series A round four years after meeting Founder and CEO Corey Gross at Ryerson’s DMZ. Corey along with the whole team at Sensibill, have vision and passion for building the next killer app for mobile banking. In 2017, we watched this company make strides as they were named Best in Show at Finovate Fall 2017, announced a major partnership with FIS and landed, among others, two large (and many smaller) financial institutions – Royal Bank of Scotland and National Bank of Canada, as cornerstone customers.

Our second investment of 2017 happened in mid-July, when we invested in AI and context-as-a-service company Flybits. After meeting Founder and CEO Dr. Hossein Rahnama in 2016, we decided Flybits was a company to watch. Hossein draws upon his experience in AI working as a visiting professor at the Human Dynamics and Changing Places Groups at the MIT Media Lab and is an assistant professor at the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University. We were pleased to announce this summer that after tracking Flybits, we were able to invest in their Series B round. Flybits, is a unique example of an Enterprise SaaS platform company that is vertically focused and bringing innovation to financial services and other organizations. Flybits landed major financial institutions in the US and South America as customers, expanding well beyond its Canadian base. Flybits has been recently named as one of IDC’s Five Canadian AI Enabled Customer Interaction Solutions Vendors and we are excited to see what lies ahead for the company as they grow in this marketplace.

In the fall, we made our third investment into New York based PII and data intelligence company BigID. Amid major regulatory changes like GDPR, BigID is redefining Personal Data Protection and Privacy. We were introduced to Co-Founder and CEO Dimitri Sirota by a colleague at seed fund Boldstart Ventures and were immediately impressed by Dimitri’s track record. A proven founder, Dimitri has been named to the Deloitte Fast 500 for three years running, was named 2013 Technology of the Year for British Columbia and in 2013 was awarded the Canadian Venture Capital Association deal of the Year for his successful selling of Layer 7 Technologies to CA Technologies. Our investment in BigID will help them scale the company with some additional new hires concentrating on sales, marketing, product and development.

Our final investment of 2017 happened in November when we led the Series A funding for Saskatoon based Coconut Software. A little over a year ago a mutual advisor suggested that we meet with first time CEO Katherine Regnier to learn about Coconut Software. We were immediately impressed by Katherine as a founder. She had a vision, an incredible passion and excitement for what she was building. Katherine quickly hit her goals and we were excited when we could finally strike a deal and invest. Coconut Software is innovating in the customer engagement and appointment scheduling space by creating a truly seamless digital experience. We are delighted to be working with Katherine and her team and are excited to see the next chapter in the story of Coconut Software.

2017 also saw a successful exit from Fund II portfolio company eSentire to leading global private equity firm Warburg Pincus. We invested in eSentire in early 2016 after joining the board as an independent voice in July 2012. We are proud to have worked seamlessly together with the team at eSentire along with our colleagues on the board. This exit has given us further liquidity for future investments and we wish the team continued success in the future.

We ended 2017 on a high note as Fund I portfolio company Adaptive Insights announced on December 20th that they reached a key milestone of crossing the $100 Million revenue threshold. This places Adaptive Insights into an elite class of SaaS companies as fewer than 1{0573984a2b8f609c30111d9663e55dcffe5bf46757f544e848868cbca776ed36} reach this milestone. We are proud of the continued success of Adaptive Insights, and are excited to see what 2018 holds for the company. To wrap up the year, Igloo Software completed a majority recapitalization of the company by Frontier Capital. Igloo was also a Fund I portfolio company and with the transaction Information VP sold its interest in Igloo generating a substantial return for the LPs.

In 2017, the partners gave back to the tech community through their volunteer and community work. We participated in mentoring and speaking engagements throughout North America and shared our knowledge with eager to learn entrepreneurs. We were also active within different charitable and community organizations giving back to the Canadian tech community. Rob continued his work as Co-Founder and Board Chair of the Upside Foundation. With his help, they surpassed their goal of recruiting 150 start-ups to become members by July 1. This was Upside’s 150 (members) by 150 (Canada’s sesquicentennial) challenge. There were almost 200 members at year-end. Kerri participated on the investment committee at StandUp Ventures. With her assistance, they successfully backed four female CEOs in 2017 and will continue to help these companies grow. As a key pillar in the community for female entrepreneurs, Kerri was also asked to join the CVCA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Along with mentoring and speaking engagements, Dave agreed to dedicate some of his time in late 2017 to the Studio Y Fellowship at MaRS. This program matches him with young entrepreneurs in the fintech field where he will be able to share his depth of expertise. The team is looking forward to continuing our volunteer and community work into 2018 as we all work together to foster a vibrant and robust community. We are always looking for new opportunities to give back, let us know how we can help.

The Information VP team also saw some growth last year adding three new team members. Kate Grant joined us in June as our new Analyst, Community and Ventures, Sonia Kohli joined the team in September as our Executive Assistant and Office Manager and Kavi Karunadeva signed on in late December as an Analyst. All bring their own unique set of skills to the table and have been a welcome addition to the team.

We are excited to see what 2018 holds, as we continue to grow our Fund II portfolio, add new team members and keep our eye on new and exciting trends in fintech. On that note, we wish you all a wonderful and prosperous 2018.

Best wishes,
The Information Venture Partners Team