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Hootsuite could follow Shopify from Canada to Wall Street

Hootsuite could follow Shopify from Canada to Wall Street

Posted by PanamericanWorld on May 21, 2015

Shopify may not be the only Canadian tech start-up big enough to make the journey from the Great White North to Wall Street.

Vancouver-based Hootsuite, whose software analyzes social media content for large businesses, has grown similar in size to Shopify, the Ottawa-based provider of e-commerce software whose IPO shares are likely to debut this week.

"We're fairly close in terms of revenue," Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes said in an interview this month.

Shopify raised the price range of its IPO to $14-$16 a share Tuesday, looking to raise up to $123 million via a dual stock listing in Toronto and New York.

The company doubled revenue to $105 million last year and had 632 employees as of March 31.

Hootsuite, by comparison, is closing in on 1,000 workers and has about 75% of the Fortune 1000 using its product, Holmes said.

Though he wouldn't share further revenue details, Holmes told me last September that the company expected to double revenue in 2014.

This week, Hootsuite, which sifts through 5 million social media messages per day for its 11 million users, added a product that lets businesses turn "organic" Facebook content into ad campaigns.

Hootsuite Ads will allow customers to deploy, analyze and adjust their social media marketing efforts on the fly, Holmes says.

Video and text-based content that proves popular can be quickly boosted with ad spending to get it to a wider audience, he says.

Though the new ad product is targeted at the No. 1 social network, the number of messages tracked by Hootsuite is roughly split between Facebook and Twitter, according to Holmes.

YouTube is the third-largest platform Hootsuite tracks, based on message volume, he told me.

"We're the Switzerland of social media," he says.

Founded in 2008, the company employs 800 people at its Vancouver headquarters, 100 in London and 30 in San Francisco. Other office locations include Singapore and Brazil.

A key Hootsuite feature is its easy-to-use graphical interface, known as a dashboard, which allows companies to track pertinent social media activity.

Hootsuite, first popular with corporate marketing departments, has expanded into customer relationship tracking, Holmes says.

The company is signing up large businesses that have "thousands of Hootsuite users," and this year, it offers "customer success and support analytics," he told me.

Ryan declined comment on any IPO timetable, noting that the company raised a financing round of $60 million last year.

That round included returning early-stage investors Accel Partners and Insight Venture Partners, as well as new late-stage investors, including the venture arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, better known (in Canada, at least) as OMERS.

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