Ottawa-based Ideavibes sold after funding bid comes up short

Local crowdsourcing startup Ideavibes has been acquired by California-based software company IdeaScale for an undisclosed amount.

By Jacob Serebrin

Paul Dombowsky, the founder and CEO of Ideavibes, said he decided to sell the business after a search for financing came up short.

“We needed to put some big investments into the platform,” said Mr. Dombowsky.

Ideavibes’ crowdsourcing platform is aimed at governments and large brands. The City of Ottawa, TELUS, the Canada Council for the Arts and The Ottawa Public Library have all used it.

But Mr. Dombowsky said that dealing with clients like that means his business faced high compliance standards, requirements for multiple languages and accessibility, making growth impossible without further investment.

That wasn’t the only challenge the small company was facing.

“When you’re a really small player and you’re talking to big governments, it’s hard,” he said.

IdeaScale has a similar offering and has worked with the federal government in the United States.

Mr. Dombowsky said he didn’t want to sell his business to an American company, but IdeaScale not only was "willing to have a conversation,” he also liked that the IdeaScale team had a “passion for the crowd and for innovation.”

According to Mr. Dombowsky, who is Ideavibes’ only full-time employee, the Ideavibes branding and platform will both be continued. While he’ll still be working on the product, the sale will also give him time to do more “thought leadership” and promoting the idea of crowdsourcing.

“Ideavibes has built a tremendous product and developed a proven methodology that we are proud to welcome into the IdeaScale family,” said Rob Hoehn, CEO of IdeaScale, in a press release.

“The Ideavibes platform already offers amazing embeddable capabilities that tallie with IdeaScale’s mission to innovate everywhere at every level. We are excited to bring that great experience to more organizations and help them achieve their innovation goals.”

The purchase price was not disclosed.