Ottawa software maker Amika Mobile acquired by California firm

Sue Abu-Hakima
Sue Abu-Hakima is CEO and co-founder of Amika Mobile, which is being acquired by U.S.-based Genasys. Photo provided

An Ottawa-based emergency communications software company is hoping to dramatically amplify its profile in the U.S. after being acquired by a publicly traded California firm.

Amika Mobile, a local tech firm led by Ottawa entrepreneur Sue Abu-Hakima, said earlier this month it is joining forces with Genasys, a San Diego-based enterprise that trades on the NASDAQ. Financial terms of the deal ​– which still requires regulatory approval and is expected to close early this fall ​– were not released.

Founded in 2007, Amika Mobile makes software that automatically detects smartphones, tablets, computers and other connected devices in a specific geographic area and issues alerts to their users during emergencies such as fires, blackouts or natural disasters.

The company’s customers include the federal government as well as hospitals and public venues such as sports stadiums. Abu-Hakima would not divulge its headcount or annual revenues, saying only that Amika Mobile employs fewer than 50 people and has revenues in the seven-figure range.

She said half a dozen potential suitors have made M&A inquiries in the past few years, but she always said no until Genasys VP of sales Paul Neyman ​– an industry veteran whom Abu-Hakima knew from the trade-show circuit ​– cold-called her in January asking if she’d be willing to hear the company’s pitch.

After learning more about Genasys and its “fantastic management team,” she felt the U.S. firm was an “easy fit” for a deal. Growing demand for emergency management services has left her firm struggling to keep up, she explained, adding she believes the San Diego company’s global sales and engineering expertise can help take Amika to the next level.

“We were a profitable company, we had fantastic customers in security in Canada and the United States, but we really needed to scale up,” Abu-Hakima told OBJ.

Founded in the early 1980s, Genasys was formerly known as LRAD Corp. The 100-employee company made its name developing long-range communications systems before it acquired Madrid-based mass-messaging software maker Genasys more than two years ago and adopted its name.

Record revenues

Genasys, which does business in more than 70 countries, recently reported record quarterly revenues of US$12 million, up 35 per cent from a year ago. But CEO Richard Danforth said he believes demand for Amika’s technology is poised to skyrocket in the COVID-19 era and having its platform under the Genasys umbrella will further accelerate his firm’s growth. 

“There’s so much untapped market potential in North America for what Amika brings,” he said. “What Genasys can bring is the scale to better address it.”

Amika Mobile, which will be rebranded as Genasys Communications Canada, is maintaining its Kanata office. Abu-Hakima said all her former employees will be retained, while she will now focus on business development as part of the Genasys executive team.

“What’s super exciting for me is this is going to continue in Ottawa with my team and bring this $150-million company into Ottawa, which is fantastic,” she said.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that you’re going to see a much bigger company than we are here today.”