2017 was a remarkable year for Canadian Narwhals and we are pleased to release the Narwhal List 2018. We are continuing to build on our success at creating startups and now are beginning to show results at scaling our startups to world class.
- Three of the companies from last year’s list (Real Matters, Clementia Pharmaceuticals, and Zymeworks) went public.
- Varage Sale was sold, but the good news is that we did not lose it to a foreign buyer. Varage Sale was sold instead to a firm based in Canada.
- Compared to last year, we have almost doubled the number of firms that are on track to become Unicorns in the near future.
29 firms of the 50 firms on the list raised a total of $1.2 billion for an average round of $41 million per company, with 20 of these firms newly added to the list. This new group raised enough funds to replace a large swath of incumbent Narwhals from last year.
The Narwhal List identifies a set of young Canadian companies that have the potential to become successful on the world stage. It also points to possible financial pathways to turn these companies into Unicorns, which are closer to reaching public financial markets. The transition to the Unicorn scale and possibly public listings may give our firms the ability to compete on their own merits and have the currency necessary in public stock to fund acquisitions throughout the world that will lead to greater scale and world-class status.
There are a number of reputable lists in Canada that rank technology firms. The oldest is the Branham300. Generated by the Branham Group Inc., this listing is useful to gain a perspective on the comparative revenues of Canadian firms. Another well-known list is Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50™, which ranks Canadian technology firms according to their percentage revenue growth rates. The Technology Fast 50™ program rewards firms in their earliest years, when extraordinary growth rates are possible from a revenue base of C$50,000 (the minimum revenue to qualify as an applicant).
The intention of the Narwhal list is to focus on the ability of firms to scale up and reach world class status. The ranking system is derived from publicly available information and is capable of tracking all firms in the country—not just those that elect to participate by revealing private revenue data. It also enables any business to benchmark itself against other Canadian firms, Unicorns and the competition. Since the Narwhal List includes all firms, it is also a useful indicator for how Canada as a whole is faring in business incubation and growth.