Québec City-based Poka, which offers communication and skills development tools for manufacturing workers, is set to be acquired by Swedish enterprise software giant IFS.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. However, IFS CEO Darren Roos said the deal was “not far off” $200 million in an interview with The Globe and Mail. IFS expects to complete the transaction in the third quarter of this year.
Founded in 2014 by Alexandre Leclerc and Antoine Bisson, Poka offers a “connected worker” platform, designed to act as a hub for operational knowledge and collaboration on the factory floor. It helps new and existing factory workers learn how to execute tasks, solve problems, and share knowledge and expertise through its tablet-based platform.
”The concept of connecting every single worker was historically overlooked as part of digital transformation journeys.”
The Globe reported that Poka’s platform has about 250,000 users across more than 2,000 factories, including brands such as Nestlé, Tetra Pak, Mars, Bosch, Rio Tinto, Coty, Alcoa, and Hitachi Energy.
According to IFS, connected worker technologies go beyond offering a software application to help workers “do their jobs better.” The digital component in these technologies helps companies gather and share operational data in real-time, with the goal of optimizing work systems.
“The concept of connecting every single worker was historically overlooked as part of digital transformation journeys,” said Roos. “Giving workers the ability to get information whenever and wherever they are in the factory not only improves their experience, it is [also] fundamental to building manufacturing agility—something we understand very well at IFS.”
Leclerc echoed Roos, saying that joining IFS would allow Poka to further innovate with its platform. “With the help of IFS’s global presence and industry experience, Poka will be better equipped to deliver on its mission at scale,” he said.
The idea of creating Poka came to Leclerc about 11 years ago, when he was working as an operations specialist for Biscuits Leclerc, a cookie and granola bar company that was started by his great-great-grandfather.
Seeing his family’s company struggle to manage the training of workers on different shifts, Leclerc tapped Bisson, a childhood friend, to build a platform that would modernize communications and education for factory workers. That platform became what is now Poka, which launched in 2014.
Per Crunchbase data, Poka has raised over $52 million CAD in total funding to date. This includes a $30-million Series B financing in 2021, a $6.4-million round in 2020, as well as a $10-million raise in 2018.
Featured image courtesy Poka.