2022 Program

April 19, 2022 | VIP Welcome Reception

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Speakers Social – BY INVITATION ONLY

April 20, 2022 | Conference Program

7:15 AM - 8:30 AM
Networking & Continental Breakfast
7:15 AM - 8:30 AM
8:30 AM – 8:40 AM
Welcome Remarks by Conference Chair, Catherine Dahl
Chair: Catherine Dahl, Former CEO, Beanworks (acquired by Quadient)
8:40 AM – 9:10 AM
Opening Keynote: From “Written Off” Tech Company to 1 Billion Dollar Exit

Galvanize was acquired by New York-based Diligent Corporation. The deal’s eye-popping $1 billion USD price tag made Galvanize Canadian tech’s latest unicorn at the time. This fireside discussion tells the story and lessons learned from one of the largest exits in the history of British Columbia and Canada’s technology sector. You can expect to learn:

  • What all tech companies can learn from Laurie’s experience growing, scaling + exiting Galvanize.
  • Both Sides of the M&A Table: The details of acquiring and getting acquired (Galvanize acquired Rsam in 2019)   
  • What leaders should keep in focus as they build toward the future.

P.S. Special thanks to BetaKit for the title of this session.

Laurie Schultz, Formerly CEO of Galvanize, Tech Board Director
In discussion with:
Catherine Dahl, Former CEO, Beanworks (acquired by Quadient)
9:10 AM – 9:35 AM
Keynote Market Overview

This session will examine the major investments and exits over the recent year including the biggest investments, biggest investors, largest acquisitions and most frequent acquirers. In his popular + research-driven State of M&A session, Charlie Renzoni will go over acquisition trends & predictions for tech in Canada. Learn about market dynamics, key trends, and how to position your company early.

Charlie Renzoni, Investor, OMERS Ventures
9:35 AM – 9:55 AM
Coffee Break
9:55 AM – 10:35 AM
BREAKOUT 1: Buying Companies to Fuel Growth: Secrets to a Successful Acquisition-Focused Growth Strategy

Acquisitions can generate tremendous value (and can add to your capabilities). But this approach to growth can be risky and if done poorly it can have huge negative consequences. Join this dynamic discussion and get a behind-the-scenes look at companies making acquisitions to fuel their growth:

You’ll learn:

  • Challenges of integrating products, companies, teams and cultures (and how to overcome them)
  • What it took to close the deal
  • Protecting and growing your asset after the deals close 
  • How these acquisitions are impacting perceived valuations for the acquirers
Tamara Grominsky, Chief Strategy Officer, Unbounce (Acquired Snazzy Copy & LeadsRX in 2011)
Brendan King, Co-Founder & CEO., Vendasta (Acquired Calendar Hero & MatchCraft in 2021)
Atoussa Mahmoudpour, Chief Legal Officer, WELL Health Technologies Corp.
In discussion with:
Randeep Janjua, Director, BDC Capital
BREAKOUT 2: Lessons Learned from hundreds of Acquisitions

In M&A, nothing quite beats experience. To help demystify the deal-making process we’ve brought together a panel of 4 longtime M&A experts, with hundreds of acquisitions under their belt, to cover topics like: 

  • What buyers look for when assessing a potential acquisition 
  • The metrics that matter most  
  • What works and what doesn’t  
  • Hard earned lessons  
  • The process successful acquirers go through before making an offer 
Brad Atchison, Chief Executive Officer, Univerus Software
Jon Conlin, Partner, Fasken
Lyndsay Kerwin, Vice President, Silversmith Capital
David Rozin, Vice President & Head, Technology and Innovation Banking, Scotiabank/Roynat
10:40 AM – 11:20 AM
BREAKOUT 1: An Unexpected Acquisition Offer Came Across Your Desk. What Now?

It is every Founder’s dream and nightmare rolled into one: an unexpected business acquisition offer. Yet, it happens all the time. 9/10 acquisition offers are unexpected and unsolicited. Getting this offer was the furthest thing from your mind and you are unprepared. While selling your business may be an unforeseen event, there are many things to consider. Learn why and how you need to be “M&A Ready” from day one. Learn how to start preparing for a potential knock on the door – even if you have no plans to exit.

Brent Holliday, Founder & CEO, Garibaldi Capital Advisors
Geoffrey Hansen, Strategic Advisor, Garibaldi Capital Advisors
BREAKOUT 2: Negotiation Secrets from Three Exits

Within four years, Dan Martell had scaled the business to 30 employees when he received an acquisition offer that would change his life. Martel has gone on to start and exit two more businesses since, and in this talk, he shares his acquisition negotiation tips and tricks.

You’ll learn:

  • The strategic shift Dan Martell made at the four-year mark which made is business much more valuable
  • A negotiation trick to get all your potential acquirers into one room
  • How to use currency arbitrage
  • Where to find the most natural, strategic buyers for your business
  • How to approach potential acquirer without losing negotiation leverage
  • The secret to getting the deal terms you want (Martell cut his industry’s standard three-year earn-out down to just six months)
  • The definition of optionality and why you want it
  • The surprising downside of a big financial windfall
Dan Martell, Serial Entrepreneur (3 exits), Angel Investor and Executive Coach focused exclusively on B2B SaaS
11:30 PM – 12:10 PM
Deal Killers Discussion (How to address & avoid them)

The discipline of M&A is a complex and labyrinthine one, peppered with its share of false starts, thrilling chases, and heartbreaking shortfalls. This panel of experienced lawyers, investment bankers and serial acquirers discuss why deals are falling apart in 2022 from both the buyer and seller perspective. 

You will Learn:      

  • Why so many acquisitions fail during the due diligence phase
  • Areas that buyers will focus on that you may not have thought about   
  • Negotiation tactics used by savvy buyers and their acquisition teams   
  • Tactics to avoid major post-sale surprises.
Tarique Al-Ansari, CEO, Paystone
Iain Mant, Partner, Fasken
Katri Ulmonen, Partner, MNP LLP
Justin Young, Partner, Emerging and High Growth Companies, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
12:10 PM – 1:10 PM
Lunch Break
1:10 PM – 1:40 PM
LUNCHTIME KEYNOTE: An Inside Look at Wattpad’s $754 Million Acquisition to Naver to Accelerate Growth & Become the Next Disney

Wattpad, the proudly Canadian-based company grew from humble roots as a feature-phone app in 2006 to a global entertainment company and data-driven social storytelling platform that was acquired by Korean tech giant Naver last year for a cool $600 million USD. Join Allen Lau, CEO & Co-Founder of Wattpad and Sean Silcoff, Business Writer from the Globe and Mail for a candid conversation about Wattpad’s acquisition and growth journey, what it was like to join Naver, how Allen approach the acquisition (and what you can learn from it) and what’s next for Wattpad.

Allen Lau, Co-founder & Operating Partner, Two Small Fish Ventures
In discussion with:
Sean Silcoff, Business Writer, The Globe and Mail
1:50 PM – 2:30 PM
BREAKOUT 1: Valuation Check-In

Do you know what your business is worth? This session will explore how to enhance the value of your business from the get-go and what levers you need to “push or pull” in order to optimize the results you are looking for. These experts have acquired and advised acquisitions and will teach you:

  • The mechanisms that buyers use to evaluate growth and retention.
  • How buyers will predict the future growth of your business and the value of your business.
  • Valuation techniques
  • What steps you can take to increase your value
  • What drives exit value.

Catherine Andersz, Advisor & Investor. Co-Founder, Board Director and former CEO of PDFTron Systems Inc.
Ed Bryant, President & CEO, Sampford Advisors Inc.
Cameron Burke, Partner, Technology & Innovation Banking, Fort Capital Partners
Devon Thompson, Managing Director, RBCx
BREAKOUT 2: Dear Founder, Here’s What You Need to Know About M&A

The process of buying and selling companies is described by many tech execs and founders as: lengthy, all-consuming, taxing, stressful and intense.

In this session, our goal is to make sure you’re more prepared, so the process is less stressful. Top M&A practitioners will share their experiences, knowledge and advice to teach you:

  • About common deal types and expected agreement terms
  • How to organize, manage, and create an accelerated due diligence process
  • Ways to retain and enhance bargaining power
  • How to manage a well-run process
  • And other must-know M&A details you should know about

Erin Campbell, Founding Partner and CEO, ECMB Capital
Richard Hungerford, Investor and Board Member, Northern Computer Inc.
Mark Longo, Managing Partner, Emerging and High Growth Companies, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
2:40 PM – 3:10 PM
BREAKOUT 1: Your Liquidity Options: Partial Exits & Two-Part Exits

You’ve taken a lot of risk in putting your time, energy and often equity into your company. But the path to liquidity is years away.  This session will help you seek solutions to eliminate distractions, alleviates the financial pressures of being a founder and reduce the appeal of exiting early — a win for you as a founder and your investors — while still allowing you to focus on the long-term growth of the company

Lisa Melchior, Founder and Managing Partner, Vertu Capital
Shane Sparks, CEO, Enrollment Resources
Bruce Townson, Director, Growth & Transition Capital – Tech Sector, BDC
BREAKOUT 2: Acquired by Tech-Giant, Eventbrite: Founder Story Untold

A behind-the-scenes tell-all from tech entrepreneur, Jayesh Parmar. You’ll hear Jay’s behind-the-scenes learnings on what worked, what didn’t and what Jay would do differently if he’d go through an acquisition again.

Jayesh Parmar, Co-CEO & Co-Founder, Gunkii (Founder Picatic acquired by EventBrite) / M&A Advisor, STS Capital Partners
3:10 PM – 3:30 PM
Coffee Break
3:30 PM – 4:15 PM
KEYNOTE PANEL: The Things They Don’t Tell You When You Get Acquired

Hear from a panel of CEOs + Founders who have recently exited and now can reflect on the process in the rear-view mirror. Let them help you build and broaden your frame of reference by sharing their own tales from the trenches.

You’ll hear:

  • What goes into selling your company
  • How and why founders decided to do it
  • What they wish they had known, their key learnings and what they would change.
  • If you join another team, what it’s like to go from being in charge to being an employee?
  • The emotional side of selling and what it’s like to walk away from something you put so much time and energy into building.
  • What each founder learned from that experience of selling the company, how it helped them grow, and what you can learn looking at your own company’s journey.
Kristine Steuart, Co-Founder & Former CEO, Allocadia (Acquired by BrandMaker)
Steve Desjarlais, Co-Founder & CEO, HeyDay (Acquired by Hootsuite)
Jayesh Parmar, Co-CEO & Co-Founder, Gunkii (Founder Picatic acquired by EventBrite) / M&A Advisor, STS Capital Partners
In discussion with:
Catherine Dahl, Former CEO, Beanworks (acquired by Quadient)
4:15 PM – 4:45 PM
CLOSING KEYNOTE: The Rise of the Canadian Acquirer: From Hunted to Hunter

Watch out! Canadian technology companies are becoming more and more acquisitive. Including B.C. unicorn, Clio.

Clio made its first purchase three years ago, buying Lexicata, a provider of legal customer relationship management programs. Since then, it’s acquired CalendarRules and most recently, Lawyaw. Join Clio CEO & Founder, Jack Newton as he sits down with Sean Silcoff from The Globe and Mail to talk about how he went from getting acquisition offers to making them.

Jack Newton, CEO & Founder of Clio (Acquired Lawyaw, CalendarRules and Lexicata)
In discussion with:
Sean Silcoff, Business Writer, The Globe and Mail
4:45 PM - 6:00 PM
Happy Hour