Two partners from Inovia have joined a newly formed acquisitions company. Chris Arsenault and Patrick Pichette from Inovia Capital are both directors on Soar Technology Acquisitions Corp’s board.
The company closed an initial public offering worth $230 million USD ($294.1 million CAD) on September 21. Soar is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Incorporated in the Cayman Islands and headquartered in New York City, Joe Poulin and his family office, JPK Capital, along with Peter Kern of Expedia Group, Inc., and Arsenault and Pichette formed the new “blank cheque company” for the purposes of acquiring new technology companies.
“Our vast sourcing network grants us access to a wide range of investment candidates.”
“Our company was created to leverage the founders’ extensive experience in acquiring, building, and operating businesses across various technology industries,” according to the prospectus from Soar.
The prospectus says the Soar SPAC is targeting a company valued between approximately $1 billion and $5 billion USD ($1.2 billion to $6.4 billion CAD) that has a sizable market share and capacity to achieve a market leading position.
“Our vast sourcing network grants us access to a wide range of investment candidates, while our structured acquisition process lends itself to rigorous diligence of underlying fundamentals and evaluation of potential expansion avenues. Our team’s public market experience allows us to mentor founders to become well equipped for the transition to public markets,” reads Soar’s prospectus.
Soar said its acquisition strategy will have a global mandate, but will largely focus on the US and Canada. “We believe our relationships developed over the years with various companies, both public and private, investment professionals, and other connections will provide ample opportunities to find appropriate targets for SOAR Technology Acquisition Corp.,” the company said in its prospectus.
Soar is looking for companies with strong revenue growth, a management team prepared for the public markets, and that will benefit from access to public markets. “We view ourselves as rigorous, disciplined and valuation-centric investors, with a keen understanding of market value, upside and potential downside risks,” Soar said.
Both Arsenault and Pichette, who are partners with Inovia Capital, will serve as directors on Soar’s board. Arsenault co-founded Inovia Capital in 2007, and previously served on Lightspeed’s board, among many others.
Pichette is the chairman of Twitter, and previously worked as the CFO of Google from 2008 to 2015. The prospectus noted that Pichette was involved in Google’s extensive M&A agenda, engaging in a number of acquisitions, including Nest and Motorola Mobility.
In March, Inovia Capital raised $450 million USD ($577.3 million) for its second growth stage fund as the Montréal-based venture firm aims to build on its success with Lightspeed and create more Canadian unicorns.
“Alongside JPK Capital, Mr. Arsenault and Mr. Pichette, with the support of Inovia Capital, will assist in the sourcing, structuring & negotiation, and due diligence of potential investment opportunities,” reads the prospectus. “Mr. Arsenault’s experience serving on various boards of directors and Mr. Pichette’s prior experience as CFO of Google will lend itself positively in providing constructive advice to a potential business partner.”
JPK Capital’s Poulin created and grew Luxury Retreats into one of the world’s largest specialty villa rental companies before its sale to Airbnb in 2017, one of Airbnb’s largest acquisitions to date.
After the sale of Luxury Retreats, Montreal-based Poulin led Airbnb’s global luxury business. Poulin was nominated in 2012 as one of Canada’s Entrepreneurs of the Year by Ernst & Young. Poulin now manages his family office, JPK Capital, which has made early investments in startup companies including Lightspeed and Clearbanc (now Clearco).
Kern, who is a director on Soar’s board, has served on the boards and as CEO of two large public companies including Tribune Media Company through its approximately $7.2 billion sale to Nexstar Media Group, Inc., and navigating Expedia Group Inc. during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another Canadian on Soar’s board of directors is Martha Tredgett. Tredgett is a managing partner of Sera Global, which she joined in October 2020 to lead the Private Capital Advisory coverage within Canada and has over 25 years of experience in the investment business combining equity capital markets, business development and investment banking.
Tredgett joined Sera Global after working with LGT Capital Partners, a provider of alternative investment solutions. Previously, she served as a managing director for a division of Bear Stearns/J.P. Morgan in Toronto, where she was working with leading institutional investors, global private equity funds, secondary funds, real assets and hedge funds.
Soar isn’t the only, largely Canadian-backed special purpose acquisition company out there. In July, Portage Fintech Acquisition filed for an IPO, aiming for $240 million USD ($308.1 million CAD). Portage is backed by Sagard Holdings.
Sagard is the alternative investment arm of Montréal-based Power Corp. and manager of Portage Ventures and Diagram Ventures. Through its holdings, Sagard has invested in FinTech and healthtech companies ranging from Wealthsimple to Borrowell, Koho, and Dialogue.
Portage Fintech Acquisition aims to pursue acquisitions in verticals like wealth and asset management, consumer and small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) finance, insurance, payments, information services, and FinTech infrastructure.