Ottawa’s Martello merges with Montreal firm; IPO expected in 2018


With ambitions of going public later this year, Martello Technologies is starting 2018 with a merger that its CEO says completes its product offerings.

Martello announced this morning that it had merged with Montreal’s Elfiq Networks. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. While the two firms are calling the deal a merger, Elfiq will become a subsidiary of Martello.

Kanata-based Martello Technologies is one of Ottawa’s fastest-growing companies, leading local firms on last year’s Profit 500 list of Canada’s rising firms. Martello develops software to help IT professionals detect issues with enterprise communications systems, with a particular focus on serving Mitel clients.

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Martello CEO John Proctor, who took the top job at the company a couple weeks ago, tells OBJ that the Elfiq merger complements the firm’s existing portfolio. Where Martello is able to detect what’s gone wrong, Elfiq’s solution is able to troubleshoot and find the fix.

Martello had been looking for a solution like this for a long time Proctor says, having considered nearly 100 companies for its merger before settling on Elfiq. Ottawa-based Sampford Advisors acted as the M&A adviser on the deal.

According to the chief executive, Martello is primed to take advantage of the current “digital transformation” – a term referring to the trend of doing business digitally, which Proctor admits has become a bit of a buzzword.

“Your bandwidth requirements just get bigger and bigger and bigger,” he says. “The telcos, that’s one of their biggest issues at the moment, is trying to keep up.”

In 2018, he expects the key to Martello’s growth will be enabling that transformation and helping telecom companies adopt increasingly demanding digital solutions.

Public ambition

Proctor also confirmed that Martello is considering an initial public offering in 2018, as former CEO Bruce Linton first suggested late last year on Techopia Live.

The company also isn’t expected to slow down on M&A this year. Proctor says the company is still looking for acquisitions.

“The hunt is still alive, as it were,” he says. “It could be a very interesting 2018 for us.”

Martello will roughly double in size to 60 people with this merger. Proctor expects the firm will grow another 50 per cent this year.

He says there will be “nothing significant” in terms of staffing changes on either the Martello or Elfiq side. He adds that both are mature, profitable companies with compatible cultures, a fit he says is critical to successful mergers.

Proctor says he was brought into the CEO role after an eight month search to replace Linton, who remains co-chair of Martello’s board alongside Wesley Clover’s Terry Matthews. He says he was brought in to make acquisitions as efficient as possible, bring them into the fold and ensure the company doesn’t suffer any ill-effects from its rapid growth.

“My job is to maintain that culture while growing. And that’s not easy.”

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