Ottawa-based Assent Compliance leads Canada’s largest venture-capital rounds in 2018


Assent Compliance’s enormous series-C round last fall was the largest such venture capital raise from a Canadian company in 2018, according to a new report released this week.

The Ottawa SaaS firm, which develops software to help companies meet compliance and regulatory demands, raised $160 million last October in a round led by U.S.-based Warburg Pincus. Initial reports pegged the investment at $130 million, but Assent co-founder Matt Whitteker confirmed in an email that the total deal value was in fact $30 million higher.

Even without the higher total, Assent’s series-C round topped all disclosed VC deals across Canada last year, according to the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association’s 2018 market overview. The report, released this past week, puts Assent at the top of the country’s 15 “mega deals” last year, surpassing Montreal-based Hopper’s $129-million round as well as large raises from Clearbanc, Ritual and Ecobee.

While 24 other Ottawa firms secured deals last year, Assent’s large round put the capital into the No. 4 spot nationally for total funding raised, behind Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Canadian firms collectively raised some $3.7 billion across 610 rounds in 2018. Though that represented an increase in the total number of deals over 2017, those transactions raised $100 million less than the previous year’s deals.

Ottawa also cracked the top disclosed private equity deals of 2018, with Mitel’s $2.1-billion acquisition by California-based Searchlight Capital Partners taking the third spot nationally.