Ottawa’s ‘financially attractive’ Turnstone Biologics, Ranovus named to Narwhal list

Financial velocity

Two of Ottawa’s own are among the 50 most financially attractive firms in the country – a list of private companies dubbed “narwhals” by an independent research institute.

Cancer-fighter Turnstone Biologics took seventh spot overall on the list, while Kanata hardware startup Ranovus ranked 25th on a separate list of top tech firms. Now in its second year, the Narwhal List ranks 50 private firms on how “financially attractive” they are.

The Impact Centre, an independent institute run out of the University of Toronto, determines the rankings by dividing the amount of funding a company has received by the number of years it’s been active – a metric it calls “financial velocity.”

Turnstone Biologics, which raised $11 million in 2015 and $41 million the year after, has a financial velocity of $16.7 million per year. Ranovus stands at $7.2 million per year, having also raised more than $40 million through multiple grants and funding rounds, according to the Impact Centre’s stats. (All figures in USD.)

The top firm on the list is Toronto’s BlueRock Therapeutics, a two-year-old health-care company that has already raised $225 million.

Almost half of the firms on the Narwhal list are from Toronto, with a clear majority coming from Ontario, followed by Quebec and British Columbia.

The Impact Centre says its report is meant to signal which firms are likely to scale up and reach “world-class status,” eventually going public or reaching a “unicorn” valuation of $1 billion. The institute says its mission is to connect scientific research to companies and governments that will use technology to better society.