Calgary software company valued at $500M in acquisition deal

Mike Owens, CEO of Absorb Software. PHOTO BY ABSORB SOFTWARE

A Calgary-based software company with ambitious growth plans has been pegged at a valuation of more than half-a-billion dollars.

Absorb Software announced Tuesday it is being acquired by major U.S. private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the company said the deal is based on a valuation greater than US$500 million.

Absorb was a largely bootstrapped company until 2017, when it completed a $59-million growth/recap investment from Silversmith Capital Partners, a Boston-based growth equity firm.

“That let us grow more rapidly and it’s kind of brought us to the current stage,” said Absorb founder and CEO Mike Owens, who along with other members of Absorb’s management team will remain a substantial shareholder in the company. “I think we’ve grown by about 150 people in the last two-and-a-half years.”

Owens said he believes his company is following a similar trajectory to two other Calgary-born software companies — Solium and Benevity — both of which in recent years were acquired for more than US$1 billion, giving them coveted “unicorn” status. He said Calgary tech companies have traditionally struggled to attract venture capital, but that is beginning to change.

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