The Narwhal Club: Home to Canada’s $1 Billion Dollar Tech Startups
October 2015 Update:
The Narwhal Club is going strong with plenty of recent news concerning prominent Canadian startups. Working with Brent Holliday from Garibaldi Capital Advisors, we got the latest scoop on the sector and have updated the narwhal list accordingly.
The most recent notable event occurred in the summer of 2015, when Markus Frind sold his 100% owned Plentyoffish.com to Match Group for US$575 million. As a result, we have removed POF from the Narwhal list, and instead have inducted Markus to a new category called the Nar-Wall of Fame. Plentyoffish.com allowed Markus to amass a personal fortune from profits and sale of his business that makes his personal valuation Narwhal-esque.
Next, with its recent raise of $50 million from China’s Tencent, a new narwhal was born. Kik Interactive is now valued at over the coveted $1 billion mark, and claims to have over 240 million users in 230 countries worldwide. Kik is a chatting application that competes directly with the likes of Snapchat among younger demographics.
Lastly, three new “emerging narwhals” have been added to the list. Enerkem uses proprietary technology to convert non-recyclable waste into clean energy products, and most recently raised C$152.6 million from financings. Intelex, a software company providing web-based management systems, is also now on the emerging list after securing C$160 in strategic growth funding. The third new entry is Lightspeed POS, a company that just raised US$61 million in September for its point-of-sales systems.
The Narwhal Club
Original writeup published December 2014
In 2013, Aileen Lee of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers came up with the concept of the “Unicorn Club”, for tech startups reaching valuations of $1 billion or more. For venture capitalists, this number is much like unicorns themselves – very magical. It resembles big potential exits that can make up for all the startup investments that don’t pan out.
Brent Holliday at Garibaldi Capital Advisors, a Vancouver-based capital advisory with a focus on technology, thought there needed to be a Canadian equivalent. He created the concept of the “Narwhal Club”, based on the uni-horned Canadian animal that actually exists and roams the frigid seas of the North. This club represents companies with $1B CAD valuations that started in 1999 or later.
While there are more than 40 unicorns in existence in the US, there are only four members of the Narwhal Club in Canada: Avigilon, Hootsuite, Slack, and Shopify. However, there are many companies getting close to breaking the ice – these are companies we consider to be emerging narwhals, with valuations in the hundreds of millions with great growth rates.
Some of these include Desire2Learn, Vision Critical, Redknee, Real Matters, iQmetrix, PointClickCare, BuildDirect, DWave, and Wattpad.
We will be updating this list quarterly based on the latest public financing round available. If you know of a company that could fit either category, contact us here. Alternatively, connect with us below.
How Decentralized Finance Could Make Investing More Accessible
Under the current global financial system, billions of people do not have access to quality assets. Here’s how decentralized finance is changing that.
Infographic: How Decentralized Finance Could Make Investing More Accessible
Did you know that a majority of the global population doesn’t have access to quality financial assets?
In advanced economies, we are lucky to have simple options to grow and protect our wealth. Banks are all over the place, markets are robust, and we can invest our money into assets like stocks or bonds at the drop of a hat.
In the United States, roughly 52% of people are invested in the stock market – but in a place like India, for example, this portion drops to a paltry 2%. How can we make it possible for people on the “outside” of the financial system to gain access?
Breaking Down Barriers
Today’s infographic comes to us from Abra, and it shows how decentralized finance could make investing a more universal phenomenon, especially for those that don’t have access to the modern financial system.
It lays out four key obstacles that prevent people in developing markets from investing in quality financial assets in the first place:
- The Geographic Lottery
Where you live plays a massive role in determining your ability to build wealth. In advanced Western economies, the average person is much more likely to be invested in financial markets that can help compound wealth.
- Financial Literacy and Complexity
Roughly 3.5 billion adults globally lack an understanding of basic financial concepts, which creates an impenetrable barrier to investing.
- Local Market Turmoil
Even if a person is mentally prepared to invest, local market turmoil (hyperinflation, political crises, closed borders, etc.) can make it difficult to get access to stable assets.
- The Cost of Investing in Foreign Markets
Foreign assets can be pricey. One share of Amazon is $1,800, which is realistically more money than many people around the world can afford.
In other words, there are billions of people globally that can’t take advantage of some of the most effective wealth-building tactics.
This is just one flaw in the current financial system, a paradigm that has created massive amounts of wealth but only for a specific and well-connected group of people.
Enter Decentralized Finance
Could decentralized finance be the alternative to open up access to financial markets?
By combining apps with blockchain technology – specifically through public blockchains such as Bitcoin or Ethereum – decentralized finance makes it possible to get around some of the barriers that are created by more traditional systems.
Here are some of the innovations that are making this possible:
Smart contracts could automate transactions and remove intermediaries, making investing cheaper, faster, and more accessible.
Fractional investing could allow partial or shared ownership of financial assets by using tokenization. This would make expensive stocks like Amazon ($1,800 per share) available to a much wider segment of the population.
Location independent investing is possible through smartphones. This would make it possible for people in remote parts of the developing world to invest, even without access to nearby financial institutions or local markets.
Like the internet with knowledge, decentralized finance could reshape the world by making financial access universal. Who’s ready?
How Much Data is Generated Each Day?
By 2020, there will be 40x more bytes of data than there are stars in the observable universe. See how much data gets added to the mix each and every day.
How Much Data is Generated Each Day?
View the full-size version of the infographic by clicking here
You’ve probably heard of kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, or even terabytes.
These data units are common everyday amounts that the average person may run into. Units this size may be big enough to quantify the amount of data sent in an email attachment, or the data stored on a hard drive, for example.
In the coming years, however, these common units will begin to seem more quaint – that’s because the entire digital universe is expected to reach 44 zettabytes by 2020.
If this number is correct, it will mean there are 40 times more bytes than there are stars in the observable universe.
A Crash Course in Data
Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur, and it gives us a picture of this new data reality.
Before we get to how much data is created each day – both now, and in the future – it’s worth getting acquainted with how data scales in terms of units.
|Abbreviation||Unit||Value||Size (in bytes)|
|b||bit||0 or 1||1/8 of a byte|
|B||bytes||8 bits||1 byte|
|KB||kilobytes||1,000 bytes||1,000 bytes|
|MB||megabyte||1,000² bytes||1,000,000 bytes|
|GB||gigabyte||1,000³ bytes||1,000,000,000 bytes|
|TB||terabyte||1,000⁴ bytes||1,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|PB||petabyte||1,000⁵ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|EB||exabyte||1,000⁶ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|ZB||zettabyte||1,000⁷ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
|YB||yottabyte||1,000⁸ bytes||1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes|
There’s no doubt that data literacy will only become more important in the future, so make sure you know your zettabytes from your yottabytes!
A Day of Data
How much data is generated in a day – and what could this look like as we enter an even more data-driven future?
Here are some key daily statistics highlighted in the infographic:
- 500 million tweets are sent
- 294 billion emails are sent
- 4 petabytes of data are created on Facebook
- 4 terabytes of data are created from each connected car
- 65 billion messages are sent on WhatsApp
- 5 billion searches are made
By 2025, it’s estimated that 463 exabytes of data will be created each day globally – that’s the equivalent of 212,765,957 DVDs per day!
If you think the above information is fascinating, see what happens in an internet minute.
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