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Tech dodges a bullet: even in a recession, Technology Fast 50 companies keep on growing, hiring and innovating

Deloitte Canada Survey: Tech CEOs optimistic about their prospects, but staying flexible and focused on key products

Toronto, October 1, 2009 – The winners of the 2009 Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ have met this past year’s economic turbulence with resilience, adaptability and a back-to-basics approach to their business strategy, while still managing to keep growth alive. In addition, the results from a survey of CEOs from Canada’s fastest growing technology companies point to a commitment to innovation, a reaffirmation of their optimism and competitive fire, and a decreased tolerance for riskier investments that deliver a less certain ROI.

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50™, the country’s pre-eminent leading technology awards, ranks companies based on their past five-year revenue growth rates. Other categories in the awards recognize: Leadership, Companies-to-Watch and the Green 15™.

Montreal-based ProSep, an oil and gas process equipment company, has emerged as this year’s triple threat: not only do they sit atop the ranking of this year’s Fast 50 list by posting an 18,070% five-year revenue growth, ProSep also secured its second, consecutive spot on the Technology Green 15™, and a Leadership Award.

“Instead of trying to shoot the lights out, tech companies are strategically positioning themselves for a recovery that will see them stronger and even more competitive in the future,” explains John Ruffolo, National Leader, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Industry Group, Deloitte. “Our CEO survey results this year reveal a high level of optimism and confirm their commitment to innovation through R&D spending – in fact, only 16% are cutting their R&D spending. Make no mistake; these companies are not resting on their laurels waiting for good times to return: they continue to post the kind of growth numbers that you almost never see in other industries.”

Average growth rate dips to 1,993%
The average growth rate for the 2009 Fast 50 winning companies is 1,993%. Despite a decline from last year’s average rate of 2,456%, this number is surprisingly robust because it comes amid a recession. “While the tech industry is not immune to the overall economy, what’s most remarkable is how individual companies are dealing with the recession by acknowledging the difficulty, adapting their business strategy and positioning themselves for success,” explains Duncan Stewart, Director of Deloitte Canada Research. “In today’s environment, the appetite for riskier investments with doubtful returns is simply not there…and that’s a sensible strategy,” he added.

Second and third spots go to Dominion Voting Systems (10,356%), a Toronto-based election solutions & services company, and Level Platforms (7,358%), an Ottawa-based remote IT management software company whose rank remains unchanged since last year. Rounding out the top five are London, Ontario-based Car Proof (5,716%), a vehicle history reports company, and Impact Mobile (5,507%), a Toronto-based mobile marketing solutions company and a repeat winner who moved up 5 spots with a growth rate of exactly 3,000% - higher than last year’s 2,507%.

While there are fewer telecom companies, more software companies and more regional diversity since the Fast50 was launched twelve years ago – the trends of the last few years have held steady, even in today’s recession. Security, smartphones, video and the environment are the current ‘killer apps’, as seen through the Leadership and Companies-to-Watch Award Winners.

Sources of financing a continuing challenge
With 73% of tech companies in the survey reporting a lengthening of their sales cycle and a continued drought of VC and other sources of financing in Canada, tech CEOs reached into company cash flows and their own pockets to make up for weakness in traditional sources of financing. 70% of CEOs report tapping into cash flow from operations as their primary source of growth capital this year and 80% see that trend increasing in 2010.

Respondents identified SR&ED (Scientific Research and Experimental Development) tax credits and their founders’ personal investment as having been equally large sources of financing, which suggests a successful partnership between tech leaders and the federal government in getting tech companies started. “I’ve always known that SR&ED is considered a big deal in Canada, but until I saw this data, I never realized that it was in fact equal to what many founders were contributing,” says Ruffolo. “It’s almost like matching dollars.”

Federal stimulus bucks welcome...
Over 60% of technology CEOs agree with the concept of federal stimulus spending, and an overwhelming majority (83%) feel that the tech industry should also receive their fair share of these program dollars. The CEOs who advocated tech-targeted stimulus funds promised to make good use of the money: 80% would go toward developing new products, innovation and growing their businesses.

“I can’t overemphasize the importance of investing in the future,” says Ruffolo. “Tech companies need a helping hand, not a bailout. The stimulus money that they would receive would go to an already growing sector and create a Canadian innovation platform that would last for the next 100 years.”

Talent strategies take on added significance
When companies look for ways to reduce expenses in tough economic times, layoffs are traditionally among the first options to be considered. This year’s CEO survey results provide reassuring confirmation that this is not the preferred option among today’s tech companies: less than 10% are cutting staff. In fact, one-third have even accelerated their hiring. Where these tech companies are hiring is also of key importance: while engineering and R&D help is always sought after, the marketing and sales talent gap was identified by over half (55%) of respondents as a key area of focus.

Leadership Awards
Leadership Awards single out companies that are the elite members of the Canadian technology industry, whose ability to create a distinct competitive advantage in a high-growth market allows them to dominate their sector and quickly join the ranks of other Canadian global leaders. This year’s four Leadership Awards recipients are: Absolute Software, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based IT asset management and security company; Burlington, Ontario based Evertz Technologies Limited, an HDTV infrastructure company; ProSep, a Montreal, Quebec-based oil and gas process equipment company; and Waterloo, Ontario-based Research in Motion, Canada’s globally recognized wireless Smartphone manufacturer who has made the Fast 50 ranking every year since the creation of the awards in 1998.

Companies-to-Watch Awards
The Deloitte Technology Fast 50™, the Companies-to-Watch (CTW) Awards honour early-stage Canadian technology companies who have been in business less than five years, and have the potential to be future Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ winners. The ten companies recognized as CTW this year are: 3esi (Calgary, AB), Aeryon Labs (Waterloo, ON), Bayalink Solutions Corp. (Waterloo, ON), CiRBA (Richmond Hill, ON), Clickfree Automatic Backup (Toronto, ON), Haivision Network Video (Montreal, QC), OneChip Photonics (Ottawa, ON), Searidge (Gatineau, QC), Telepin Software (Ottawa, ON), and Varicent (Toronto, ON).

Deloitte Technology Green 15™ Awards
These awards recognize Canada’s leading GreenTech companies who promote a more efficient use and re-use of the earth's resources in industrial production and consumption. In doing so, they use new, innovative technologies to create products and services that compete with existing products and services on price and performance while reducing our impact on the environment. The 15 winners are: Bionest Technologies Inc. (Grand-Mère, QC), Distech Controls (Brossard, QC), Eco Waste Solutions (Burlington, ON), ecobee (Toronto, ON), Energate (Ottawa, ON), EnviroTower Inc. (Toronto, ON), Fifth Light Technology Ltd. (Oakville, ON), Ground Effects Environmental Services Inc. (Regina, SK), H2O Innovation (Quebec City, QC), HTC Purenergy (Regina, SK), ProSep (Montreal, QC), Real Tech Inc. (Whitby, ON), Sempa Power Systems Ltd. (North Vancouver, BC), Tantalus Systems Corp. (Burnaby, BC), and Vive Nano (Toronto, ON).

About the Deloitte Technology Fast 50™
The Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ program is Canada’s pre-eminent technology awards program. Celebrating business growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, the program features four distinct categories including the Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ Ranking, Companies-to-Watch Awards (early-stage Canadian tech companies in business less than five years, with the potential to be a future Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ candidate,) Leadership Awards (companies that demonstrate technological leadership in four industry subcategories: hardware/semiconductor, software, telecommunications and emerging technologies) and the Deloitte Technology Green 15™ Awards (Canada’s leading GreenTech companies that promote a more efficient use and re-use of the earth's resources in industrial production and consumption.) Program sponsors include Deloitte, Gowlings, GrowthWorks, RBC, Wellington Financial, Stonewood Group, HKMB Hub, CATAAlliance, CleanTech Group, IGLOO Software, ITAC, MaRS and Microsoft. For further information, visit www.fast50.ca.

About Deloitte
Deloitte, one of Canada’s leading professional services firms, provides tax, audit, consulting, and financial advisory services through more than 7,700 people in 57 offices. Deloitte operates in Québec as Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche s.e.n.c.r.l. the firm is dedicated to helping clients and its people excel. Deloitte is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a Swiss Verein, 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 and its Member Firms.
 

Rank Growth Company name City Prov Sector Product service
1 18,070% ProSep Montreal QC          Emerging Oil and gas process equipment
2 10,356% Dominion Voting Systems Toronto ON          Software Election solutions & services
3 7,358% Level Platforms Ottawa ON          Software Remote IT management software
4 5,716% CarProof London ON          Software Vehicle History Reports
5 5,507% Impact Mobile Toronto ON          Telecom Mobile Marketing Solutions
6 4,626% Vision Critical Vancouver BC          Software Online research communities
7 4,338% Creaform Lévis QC          Hardware 3D imaging
8 4,157% Allegro Mobile Solutions Mississauga ON          Software Enterprise Mobility Solutions
9 3,862% Corinex Communications Corp Vancouver BC          Telecom Networking solutions
10 3,549% BelAir Networks Inc Kanata ON          Telecom Wireless LAN hardware
11 3,376% Nightingale Informatix Markham ON          Software Electronic Medical Records
12 2,365% Immersive Media Corp Calgary AB          Hardware Interactive sperical video platform
13 2,134% PNI Digital Media Vancouver BC          Software Digital Media Solutions
14 2,052% SCI Markham ON          Software Auto Retail Software-as-a-Service
15 1,750% ARISE Technologies Waterloo ON          Emerging Solar Technology
16 1,680% GuestLogix Inc Toronto ON          Software On-board Retail Technology
17 1,466% Sandvine Waterloo ON          Telecom Intelligent network management
18 1,405% DragonWave Inc Kanata ON          Telecom Broadband wireless access
19 910% Research In Motion Waterloo ON          Telecom Wireless smartphones
20 787% BTI Systems Ottawa ON          Telecom Optical metro edge networks
21 777% TelcoBridges Boucherville QC          Telecom Telecom Hardware Platforms
22 761% NetShelter Technology Media Thornhill ON          Software Online Media Services
23 739% ViXS Systems Inc. Toronto ON          Hardware Fabless semi-conductors
24 700% March Networks Corporation Kanata ON          Hardware IP-based Security Surveillance
25 606% Grey Island Systems International Inc. Toronto ON          Telecom Wireless fleet, transit management
26 594% Averna Montreal QC          Software Test solutions and services
27 567% BlueCat Networks Inc. Toronto ON          Hardware IP address management
28 536% WellPoint Systems Inc. Calgary AB          Software Broadcast workflow solutions
29 521% Serenic Corporation Edmonton AB          Software Financial management software
30 513% RuggedCom Inc. Woodbridge ON          Hardware Rugged communications equipment
31 511% Cyberplex Inc. Toronto ON          Software Web-advertising solutions
32 508% Payworks Winnipeg MB          Software Workforce Management Solutions
33 499% Camilion Solutions Inc. Markham ON          Software Policy administration systems
34 461% Navtech, Inc. Waterloo ON          Software Flight Operations Software
35 457% Solium Capital Calgary AB          Software Stock plan administration software
36 430% Nstein Technologies Inc. Montreal QC          Software Software solutions for publishers
37 423% Genetec Technology Corp Saint-Laurent QC          Software Video surveillance, security solutions
38 397% Absolute Software Vancouver BC          Software IT asset management and security
38 397% MyThum Interactive Toronto ON          Telecom Mobile interactive media
40 383% Sangoma Technologies Corp.. Markham ON          Hardware Voice Connectivity Equipment
41 362% Desire2Learn Incorporated Kitchener-Waterloo ON          Software Enterprise learning systems
42 359% Wmode Inc Calgary AB          Telecom Mobile Data Services
43 344% TeraXion Quebec QC          Telecom Photonics components & sub-systems
44 341% EION Wireless Ottawa ON          Telecom Broadband Wireless Products
45 329% Talent Technology Corporation Richmond BC          Software Recruitment and hiring software
46 325% PointClickCare (Wescom Solutions Inc.) Mississauga ON          Software Integrated long-term care solutions
47 318% Evertz Technologies Limited Burlington ON          Hardware HDTV, IPTV equipment
47 318% Klick Communications Inc. Toronto ON          Software Custom web application development
49 317% Intelex Technologies Toronto ON          Software EQH&S Management Software
50 312% SDP Components Inc Dorval QC          Telecom RF isolators

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