ApplyBoard CEO eyes public markets as TSX rings opening bell in Waterloo Region for first time

“I hear the ring in my [ear], so I want to ring the bell.”

After a busy 2021, with multiple rounds of funding and a $4 billion valuation, ApplyBoard’s CEO says he’s now eyeing a potential IPO.

The comment was made to BetaKit during a Q&A session held at Communitech on Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the Toronto Stock Exchange – the first time the opening of the market has taken place in the Waterloo Region. ApplyBoard CEO and co-founder, Martin Basiri, said that he hopes to take ApplyBoard public at some point in the future.

“I don’t have exactly the timing,” said Basiri. “But we are getting ready; we have all our things that we are trying to sort out.”

ApplyBoard’s public market aspirations follow the EdTech company securing $545 million CAD over the past couple of years alone. Investors like the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and Fidelity Management & Research have been attracted to its recruitment platform, which helps international students apply to education abroad.

ApplyBoard was among the first Canadian companies to achieve unicorn status in early 2020 in what has been a unicorn stampede since then.

It was the company’s most recent, $375 million Series D megadeal that led to the Waterloo Region’s strong venture performance last year, alongside online wholesale marketplace Faire. Both companies have been magnets for venture capital in the Waterloo Region.

The region has also seen success in the public markets due to the likes of D2L and Magnet Forensics, two Waterloo Region companies that went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange last year.

It was D2L founder and CEO John Baker who rang the opening bell for the exchange on Tuesday.

Baker and Basiri were also joined by Erin Stephenson, the COO and CMO of Dozr, which recently secured $27.5 million, as well as other notable players in the region – Michael Litt of Vidyard and Garage Capital, and executives from eSentire, which recently reached a $1.1 billion valuation.

Basiri is now ready to follow in the footsteps of D2L and Magnet Forensics. While ApplyBoard hasn’t made any decisions, Basiri noted, “for what we want to do, going public totally makes sense.” The CEO pointed to opportunities to access more talent for his 1,500 person global company if ApplyBoard goes public, as well as access to capital that could help with mergers and acquisitions.

“Since 2017 (two years after AplpyBoard was founded), I hear the ring in my [ear], so I want to ring the bell,” Basiri said.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.

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