Carta acquires Kik team as part of Canadian expansion


Carta, a San Francisco-headquartered company that helps companies, investors, and employees manage equity and ownership, announced today that they have hired 51 former Kik employees.

“The team we are getting is mission-driven, talented, ambitious, and kind.”

Carta stated in a blog post the hires took place on October 15, four days before the Kik app was originally expected to shut down. This week, BetaKit reported that Kik had signed a letter of intent (LOI) with a company interested in buying the app, but did not disclose the potential buyer.

The Record also reported that Kik signed an additional LOI about three weeks ago with a separate company, which would see Kik transfer the bulk of its staff as well as its office space in Waterloo to a Silicon Valley-based tech firm. It appears Carta is that Silicon Valley company.

“At Kik we work hard to find the win-win,” Kik founder and CEO Ted Livingston told BetaKit. “I’m happy that we found a great company where the team can have a big impact.”

The announcement also comes three weeks after Livingston announced the company would be shifting efforts away from Kik and going all-in on its Kin cryptocurrency, as it fights against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in court.

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Kik’s turmoil with the SEC began in 2017, after Kik officially launched the Kin cryptocurrency. That September, the SEC sent Kik its first inquiry, and later a subpoena in January 2018. In June 2018, when the SEC officially filed its lawsuit, it dropped the investigation into the Kin Foundation, and instead focused on Kik and its initial coin officering, which raised $157 million CAD. In May, Kik launched a “Defend Crypto” fund to take on the SEC, committing $5 million.

Carta, formerly known as eShares, was founded in 2012, and now serves 12,000 companies and 800,000 security holders, providing. The company has previously received investments from a number of Bay Area titans like Andresson Horowtiz, Tribe Capital, and Union Square Ventures, and was valued at $1.7 billion USD five months ago. The company has eight offices across the United States, and Waterloo will act as the company’s first Canadian outpost.

“My first trip to the Waterloo office felt like visiting any other Carta office. The team we are getting is mission-driven, talented, ambitious, and kind,” Carta CEO Henry Ward said. “On top of that, having their consumer-oriented DNA within Carta will help us build better products for all types of stakeholders. We are lucky to have them join us.”

Ward sid Waterloo is an ideal new home for Carta due to its “thriving tech community” and “top tier universities.” The location will function as one of the company’s R&D centres. A Kik spokesperson told BetaKit Carta announcement’s is “an exciting development for the Kik team and the region.”

BetaKit spoke with several members who expressed support for Carta’s announcement. One longstanding member noted “it’s great news, but we’re more than just R&D,” expressing concerns for announcement’s impact on the Kitchener-Waterloo brand.

BetaKit has reached out to Carta for comment.

With files from Douglas Soltys

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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