LaBarge Weinstein Quarterly: Spring 2015

April 2, 2015

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Despite a winter of freezing cold temperatures, it finally feels like spring is on the way! Soon enough, it will be time to get out and enjoy the golf courses, cottages, and patios.

Over the past three months, the LW team has been busy assisting companies raise over $80M in financing transactions. We’ve also closed a number of M&A deals including finalizing the firm’s largest transaction to date, Rockstar Consortium’s sale of over 4,000 patents from the former Nortel portfolio, to RPX Corporation.

As you might expect, our clients have also accomplished a lot. Here are a few highlights from the past few months:

  • In late January, Techvibes announced the winners of the 2014 Canadian Startup Awards, which recognize Canada’s talented entrepreneurs and innovative companies. Congratulations to the 2014 winners including clients: VarageSale (Startup of the Year), Shopify (Employer of the Year), Wattpad’s Allen Lau (Entrepreneur of the Year – Runner Up) and Freshbooks (Employer of the Year – Runner Up).
  • So far, 2015 has been a huge year for Perceptiv Labs! In the last three months, they closed a $500k seed financing, launched their product, SHIFT – the first plug-and-play upgrade kit that turns drones into smart filming tools – and participated in Y Combinator’s latest accelerator, where they were a big hit at Demo Day last week.
  • ProntoForms, a leading mobile data collection solution for smartphones and tablets, was named to the 2015 TSX Venture 50®. The TSX Venture 50®  are the top 10 companies listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, in each of five major industry sectors – mining, oil & gas, technology & life sciences, diversified industries and clean technology.

Deal Flow Report

Here is a sample of recent publicly-announced transactions that we’ve worked on this quarter:

Firm and Staff News

We’re excited to announce that LW is now a sponsor of Volta Labs. Located in Halifax, Volta is the residence for up to 13 high-potential technology companies who benefit from a community of mentors, advisors, and investors. The sponsorship was kicked off with a lunch & learn and networking session over beers, back in mid-February.Our involvement with a number of other business accelerators and startup organizations has also kept us on the move this quarter. Over the past few months, we met with some of Canada’s brightest tech companies at C100’s Alumni & Sponsor Event in Toronto; ran a legal workshop for the current cohort at FounderFuel in Montreal; sponsored the Brad Feld and Sean Wise Book Tour held at Algonquin College in Ottawa; co-hosted a workshop called “Engineering Your Exit” at VIATeC in Victoria; and attended the Dx3 Conference in Toronto.In the upcoming months, we’re sponsoring the AccelerateAB after party in Calgary; attending Metabridge in Kelowna; presenting to the Launch36 and Planet Hatch cohorts in Moncton and Fredericton; and going to the CVCA Conference in Vancouver.Having developed a passion for drones over the past few years, Diana Cooper is quickly becoming a legal expert in the Unmanned Aerial Systems and Robotics field. So far this year, she has been asked to comment on Canadian and US drone regulations in a number of publications including The New York TimesThe Guardian, Popular ScienceThe Globe and Mail and Forbes. Earlier this week, she was also featured in a piece about Amazon’s drone testing site on CBC’s The National and CTV News.
Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption Increase In 2013, the Canadian government announced that the lifetime capital gains exemption (“LCGE”) available to resident Canadian individuals would increase to $800,000 for the 2014 year, and the amount would be indexed for inflation going forward. For 2015, the CRA website indicates the LCGE has increased to $813,600 effective January 1, 2015.As a result, every Canadian resident individual who disposes of qualifying small business corporation shares in 2015 can shelter up to $813,600 in capital gains on those shares from tax.The tax-free savings account contribution limit remains at $5,500 for 2015.  A full list of all indexation increases can be found on the website linked above.If you have questions about tax planning, please contact us.C100’s 48 Hours in the Valley Nominations are Now Open 48 Hours in the Valley is a semi-annual, highly-selective program that invites some of Canada’s most promising startups to the Silicon Valley for two full days of mentorship, workshops, investor meetings, and networking – all with the purpose of creating a more informed, connected, and empowered Canadian startup society. The next program will be held in San Francisco from June 22 – 24, 2015.Only startups nominated by C100 sponsors, charter members, or 48hrs program alumni will be considered. As a C100 sponsor, LaBarge Weinstein could nominate you! If you’re interested, contact your lawyer to further discuss your eligibility. Not an LW client? Email info@lwlaw.com for details. Applications are due on April 4, 2015.Government Financing Announcements

Funding Announced for Canadian AcceleratorsThe Government of Canada is providing $13.4 million in funding over the next five years through the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP) to ensure entrepreneurs have access to resources and expertise, Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced on March 17th.Ryerson University, in partnership with Simon Fraser University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, will receive up to $10.7 million to establish a new national research-driven incubator network. The network, the Zones of Incubation and Innovation (ZI²), will aim to amplify the universities’ existing research and incubator facilities to drive technology-enabled innovation, productivity and job creation. Target sectors for the project are digital technology and gaming.In addition, The Next 36 will receive up to $2.7 million from the CAIP.Read more on The Funding Portal.Harper Government Announces Significant Investment in CleantechIn late February, the Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, along with Jane Pagel, Acting CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), announced seven clean technology projects in Ontario receiving investments totalling over $26.8 million, supporting jobs, economic growth and the environment. These projects are benefitting from the Harper Government’s investment in SDTC’s SD Tech Fund™ through Canada’s Economic Action Plan. These development projects will help reduce emissions, protect the environment and generate high-quality jobs.On February 18th, SDTC announced that the SD Tech and Natural Gas Funds have re-opened to new applications from the next wave of clean technology entrepreneurs.Read the complete press release.

Information Worth Sharing

The Expensive and Controversial .sucks Domain is Now Available

A subsidiary of Momentous, called Vox Populi, won ICANN’s auction last November, giving them the right to operate .sucks. The early registration period started on March 30th and general availability begins in June. Prices for the .sucks domain range from $9.95 to a whopping $2499 annually!

Among the 500+ new, generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that have been approved, few have generated as much attention as .sucks, MarketingLand reports.

Before he left office, US Senator Jay Rockefeller told ICANN that the domain has “little or no public interest value” and called it “little more than a predatory shakedown scheme” aimed at getting businesses to spend big money on defensive domain registrations.

According to Business Insider, here is how .sucks describes its mission:

“By building an easy-to-locate, “central town square” available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, dotSucks is designed to help consumers find their voices and allow companies to find the value in criticism. Each dotSucks domain has the potential to become an essential part of every organization’s customer relationship management program.”

They also list cause marketing and advocacy (e.g. Cancer.sucks) as a reason to register a .sucks domain.

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