NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Canadian technology investors' eyes are fixed on Shopify , which on Thursday set out on its roadshow for its initial public offering with plans to raise as much as $108 million.
Shopify, which helps businesses create their online storefronts, intends to list 7.7 million Class A shares of common stock for between $12 and $14 a share, the company disclosed in an amendment to a Form F-1 registration statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on May 6 after the close of regular trading.
Underwriters on the offering have the right to purchase up to an additional 1,155,000 shares. The company has applied to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange as SHOP and the Toronto Stock Exchange as SH. At the midpoint and top of its anticipated range, Shopify would raise about $100.1 million and $107.8 million, respectively. If the company prices at $14 a share and the underwriters' over-allotment option is exercised in its entirety, Shopify would raise nearly $124 million.
After just one or two IPOs a year in the Canadian tech market during the last several years, there are now perhaps 10 to 15 candidates that could potentially file for public debut in the next 12 to 18 months, a source who requested anonymity said. The source pointed to Hootsuite Media, Desire2learn, BuildDirect and Vision Critical, all of which have been named as IPO candidates, and added home improvement products e-commerce player D-Wave Systems and entertainment content company Blue Ant Media to the list.
It was just a couple weeks ago that Canadian media company Stingray Digital Group filed its preliminary prospectus for its initial offering. The company is seeking to raise roughly C$120 million ($99 million), according to media reports. Stingray, based in Montreal and founded in 2007, is backed by Novacap, Telesystem and Boyko Investment Corp.
"In the past we have seen most of our emerging companies get scooped up and acquired by giant U.S. companies when they're still small," Rick Nathan, managing director at Toronto-based investment firm Kensington Capital Partners said by phone, pointing to Facebook (FB), Google (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) as aggressive buyers.
"What's new, and what's emerging, is we have this whole group of emerging Canadian companies that are choosing to build themselves as larger companies and remain in Canada," Nathan went on. "We do expect to see a growing number of Canadian-based [tech] companies completing IPOs."
The transformation in the sector is largely a result of a growing appetite in the country's early-stage tech players from both major Canadian investors and U.S. investors -- the latter of which in the past shied away, Nathan noted. Even more visibility to the Canadian tech scene has come from the number of significant private financings in the $50 million to $100 million range giving companies valuations in the $500 million to $1 billion range, he added.
Founded in 2006, Shopify provides software that helps small and mid-sized businesses create e-commerce platforms and manage their online stores. The company employs more than 500 people and boasts north of 160,000 active Shopify stores across 150 countries. Its gross merchandise volume hit about $3.8 billion in 2014.
The company has already expanded beyond the online store, launching payment processing services Shopify Payments and Shopify POS in 2013, and adding Shopify Mobile, which lets merchants accept credit card payments from mobile devices, in 2014.
Assuming it prices at the midpoint of its range, at $13 a share, Shopify said in the May 6 filing it expects proceeds from the offering of about $89.3 million, or about $103.3 million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full. The company will use proceeds for working capital and general corporate purposes, as well as potential investments and future acquisitions, among other things, Shopify indicated in the filing.
Shopify's existing investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, with a 30.3% stake; FirstMark Capital, with an 11.9% holding; Klister Credit, with a 7.5% interest; and Omers Ventures, which owns about 6% of outstanding shares. Morgan Stanley (MS), Credit Suisse (CS) and RBC Capital Markets (RY) are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering. Pacific Crest Securities, Raymond James & Associates and Canaccord Genuity are acting as co-managers.
Shopify has raised $122 million to date, most recently landing $100 million in new funds in a Series C investment round led by Omers and Insight Venture Partners on Dec. 12, 2013.
Shopify rival Bigcommerce snapped up mobile retail technology firm Zing on April 28, 2015 for an undisclosed price. Founded three years after Shopify, the Australian startup has raised $125 to date from investors including Softbank Capital, American Express, Telstra Ventures, General Catalyst, Revolution Growth and Floodgate.