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Deloitte announces the 2012 Technology Fast 50 winners: Results show the fastest are slowing down

Canadian entrepreneurs need support to sustain growth, survey finds

Toronto, November 13, 2012 – Deloitte today announced the winners of its 15th annual Technology Fast 50™ program and released the findings of its Technology Fast 50™ CEO survey. Winners of the Companies-to Watch (CTW), Leadership and Technology Green 15™ awards were also unveiled.

Vancouver-based Avigilon Corporation is at the top of the Technology Fast 50™ ranking with a revenue growth rate1 of 29,917%, although overall data from this year’s winners show a sharp decline in average growth from previous years.

"We run the Technology Fast 50 program to celebrate the winners in Canada’s technology sector,” said Richard Lee, National Leader of Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) industry practice. “This year we’ve seen the lowest cumulative growth rate for the Fast 50 winners. That is a direct consequence of the lack of investment in the critical technology sector.  The good news is that we saw a lot of exciting new companies in the start-up segment.”

The average growth rate of a Fast 50 company is 1,953% in 2012, which is down from over 5,000% in the last two years and the second lowest average growth rate in the last 12 years. In 2012, only 11 of the Fast 50 companies are publicly traded. This is also a new low that is down from about 70% in 2005.

Although growth slowed down, this year’s Fast 50 companies continue to invest and create jobs. R&D spending for all of the organizations on the list is more than $1.6 billion. They collectively employ more than 27,000 people.

“There is a cyclical change in the technology sector. Growth in more mature companies is slowing down, but we see a lot of activity at the early stage,” said Duncan Stewart, Director of TMT Research for Deloitte. “That activity is a positive indicator of the future health of the sector and shows that starting a business is an attractive career option for many people. With limited capital many start-ups are operating in more efficient ways.”

Talent is improving, but entrepreneurship is weak: Tech CEOs
Deloitte’s annual survey of CEOs of Technology Fast 50™ companies provides insight into the challenges they face. Survey respondents point to a lack of entrepreneurship and risk tolerance as challenges with almost 80% saying that Canadians need to be stronger in both areas, up from only 56% last year.

Deloitte’s productivity report, The future of productivity: Clear choices for a competitive Canada, points out that a significant culture shift in the business community has to be nurtured at an early stage. “Canadian technology companies lack the right investment environment that encourages them to put a sustained focus on long-term business growth rather than selling at the earliest opportunity,” said Richard Lee.

A strong majority (76%) of Technology Fast 50™ CEOs report that Canada’s graduates have the right skill set. Also on a positive note, the number of CEOs who have trouble finding the right talent mix was less than 50%, down 7% from last year. “Our education and talent situation seems to be improving, although survey respondents see a need for stronger sales and marketing expertise in Canada,” said Lee.

The bulk of the Technology Fast 50 winners are in Ontario (30), followed by Québec (11) and British Columbia (6), with the balance of the winners coming from the Prairies (2) and Atlantic Canada (1).

Sitting in the Fast 50 top spot this year is Avigilon Corporation, a Vancouver-based company that designs and manufactures high-definition surveillance solutions. Founded in 2004, Avigilon went public during a difficult economy in late 2011. The company is a three-time Fast 50 winner and also the recipient of this year’s leadership award in the hardware category. Second and third spots go to EcoSynthetix Inc. (25,327%), a Burlington-based renewable chemicals company and Real Matters (8,961%) a Markham-based property solutions manager. Rounding out the top five are Hamilton-based VIZIYA Corp. (3,816%) and Toronto-based NexJ Systems Inc. (3,153%).

Also noteworthy, Impact Mobile and ViXS have ranked as Fast 50 companies for the sixth year in a row. Vision Critical and Solium have both placed on the Fast 50 list five times. BTI Systems has ranked on the Fast 50 list six times. Kitchener-Waterloo-based Research In Motion, a consistent winner since the beginning of the program 15 years ago, has ranked again in 2012.

Technology Fast 50™ program sponsors include Deloitte, Gowlings, Wellington Financial, TMX, HUB International HKMB, CVCA, NACO, MaRS, IGLOO Software.

View the complete listing of winners of the Fast 50, Companies-to-Watch, Leadership and Green 15 awards.

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1. Growth rate is indicative of a five-year period

About Deloitte
Deloitte, one of Canada's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services through more than 8,000 people in 56 offices. Deloitte operates in Québec as Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche s.e.n.c.r.l. Deloitte & Touche LLP, an Ontario Limited Liability Partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

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