In one of Canada’s largest venture capital transactions in the past 10 years, Twitter dashboard HootSuite has announced a $20 million investment from OMERS Ventures.
HootSuite is just four years old, but already it has blossomed from a shoestring operation to a cash flow positive business serving up over 1.5 million tweets a day.
Over the years, HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes has received buyout offers of $10, $40 and $100 million – all of which he’s turned down. Holmes explains to the Wall Street Journal that he sees HootSuite as a billion dollar company, and those offers just don’t appeal to his vision:
“If somebody wants to drop a check in your lap at those prices, it’s life-changing money. But for me, I look at this and say it’s a shame, because so many companies that have huge potential get out too early in this scenario.”
The $20 million investment from OMERS Ventures was done on the secondary market, and open to HootSuite’s founders, early investors and the 25 employees who have been at the company over a year. Holmes himself sold some shares, but just enough to be de-risked and have a nest egg if he fails to execute on his vision, he says.
HootSuite serves companies like Pepsi, TIME, the Fox Network and the NBA, allowing them to manage targeted social media campaigns across not only Twitter but Facebook, LinkedIn and dozens of other networks as well. It also provides robust analytics to monitor link sharing and campaigns across networks.
HootSuite’s freemium model – which allows some basic features like tweet scheduling and multiple accounts for free and offers paid features like additional team members and more complex analytics to business accounts – is likely part of what makes this company so attractive to investors like OMERS Ventures.