A leading expert talks finding the right opportunities to grow, optimize and evolve your business
November 6, 2020 | Jani Tsui
As Managing Director, Technology Sector, for PwC Canada, Cameron Burke knows a thing or two about scaling technology companies. He has his finger on the pulse of the tech market, specifically the opportunities and trends within the changing and expanding liquidity landscape. Here’s a preview of his insights and thoughts he will be sharing at the upcoming TechExit.io session M&A & The Changing Landscape of Liquidity for Technology Companies.
What are you seeing in terms of trends for M & A for tech companies?
Specific to M&A, valuations continue to be a real uncertainty. In some cases, that has created delayed M & A activity and in some, it has accelerated it. Top of mind is access to capital — what am I worth and who is interested? The question of ‘who is interested?’ has never been broader, including in the non-tech world.
What do tech companies need to know when considering growth by acquisition?
They need to be ready way earlier than they think. We are seeing pre-revenue companies getting unsolicited offers and that puts a lot of pressures on businesses.
Your session will also draw some insights into new business and liquidity options. Can you provide a preview of what you will be talking about?
More than ever before, this is an optimal time for entrepreneurs. Even within the traditional tech sector, there is more capital available from Canadian venture capitalists, US investors, private equity, family offices and strategics. What used to be considered innovation in the pre-COVID context is now mission-critical. For example, virtual care for health care or e-commerce, and also non -tech sector acquires are very active right now.
There’s been an explosion in tech IPOs in Canada and globally for a number of reasons: it all comes back to liquidity. With capital being so freely available, we anticipate trends to continue for the next two years. As for expansion in tech and investment in innovation, we are still very early on in what we are going to see in the next five years.
It’s a changing and expanded liquidity landscape. Everything really plays into favour for technology companies, who have fared better than any other companies during COVID. Interest from consumers is at an all-time high. They need to be ready as this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
At the TechExit session, people can expect to see quantitative data relating to venture and M & A in certain sectors of the tech ecosystem. Buyers have expanded and I will speak to this with concrete numbers.
My advice to attendees is don’t narrow your scope – get ready as people are viewing technology as a lifejacket during this time. Make sure you have your partnership agreements in place, data room ready, so you will make it through due diligence when the buyer comes knocking.
Tell us a bit about you and the services offered through PWC?
PwC has been involved in the tech sector for decades, from start-up to Shopify. We built a program called Scale. Having good advisory services as you are scaling your business is more critical than ever. Companies are always looking to talent to solve operational challenges — if we can bring the right resources in for their scaling journey, we can help Canadian companies with their scale-up. And, what we work on with tech, we can also bring to other industry sectors. It’s the provision of services to the tech sector and then working with non-tech to build innovation strategies.
To put it into context, when you are running a business it can be a pretty lonely reality. Even with the right technology and the right team, there are things that get in your way as you scale (e.g. employee share options, cybersecurity, M & A etc.) that can become a real barrier to growth. That is the value of the services offered by PwC, we augment your team with the operational skills you need.
Hear more great insights from Cameron Burke at the session, M&A & The Changing Landscape of Liquidity for Technology Companies. You will walk away with an understanding of the current market trends with respect to mergers and acquisitions for technology companies; and many valuable insights into industry sector consolidations and new business and liquidity options. Register today!