One of Ottawa’s fastest-growing companies has gone back to the well of its existing investors for a follow-on round of financing.
Solink, which develops business intelligence and surveillance video software, announced Monday it has raised $16.3 million in series-A funding. The round, comprised entirely of existing investors, was led by Valor Equity Partners with Generation Ventures, ScaleUp Ventures and the Business Development Bank of Canada’s IT Venture fund also contributing.
For Solink CEO Mike Matta, the influx of cash is not a milestone in and of itself. Rather, it’s validation that the company is on the right trajectory and its backers continue to have faith in the product.
Solink’s software collects and interprets data from video surveillance technologies for brick-and-mortar businesses. While the security element usually gets the company in the door to customers in the banking and quick-service food industries, Matta says Solink’s full value is revealed when the firm’s artificial intelligence tracks the day-to-day operations of the business and flags areas of concern.
“We’re getting customers that are opening the app every single day asking questions that live outside of security, like, ‘Did this person show up for work? Did the garbage get collected?’” Matta says. “Those are questions that naturally get answered through video. And customers are getting answers for their questions through our product.”
Solink has twice been named to OBJ’s list of Ottawa’s fastest-growing companies and last year was one of Techopia’s tech firms to watch. The company counts franchisees of Tim Hortons and Five Guys Burgers & Fries as well as various credit unions and financial institutions among its customers.
Chicago-based Valor Equity, which holds stakes in Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Tesla Motors, was only marginally involved in Solink’s first $5-million equity round. This time, Matta says the VC fund that focuses on “non-traditional businesses” wanted to dig deeper into Solink’s potential.
To achieve Solink’s growth plans – Matta told Techopia just last month that the 60-person company is aiming for 100 employees by the end of 2019 – the firm knew it would need a bit more cash in hand. When they started reaching out to investors, however, Solink’s executives found the demand for its product allowed the team to be selective in who it brought on board.
“This is a relationship and a partnership with our investors,” Matta says, adding that the company wanted to get the best bang for its investors’ bucks.
Even before Valor got involved in Solink’s seed round, Matta says the company had a “great relationship” with the fund. Ultimately, Solink took an oversubscribed round to accommodate investor demand.
Despite the exponential expectations often associated with large venture capital raises, Matta told Techopia last month that the company’s goal is not “growth at any expense.” Rather, the company tends to experiment conservatively and “pour the gas” where it’s seeing promising results.
Speaking on Monday with a freshly filled tank of “gas,” Matta reiterated the moderate approach that has thus far served Solink well.
“We want to be good stewards of the capital that we just raised, too. We don't want to just blow it.”