When Mark MacLeod launched SurePath Capital Partners two years ago, the former Shopify and FreshBooks CFO said that he was simply following his heart. “I wanted to leverage my love for being an advisor, my passion for early-stage startups, love for complex financial transactions, and establish a relationship with clients as a trusted advisor,” MacLeod told BetaKit at the time.
Two years later, MacLeod says that SurePath’s clients have a 100 percent track record in closing growth stage funding. The firm has helped deliver two exits to date (Meta and SweetIQ), closed five rounds, and announced the opening of its new San Francisco office today.
“There’s a huge amount of capital located in San Francisco. Most of the most active buyers in technology are in the Bay Area, and I think that to be a true, credible player in the market and to truly be connected, you just need to be there. That benefits our US clients and absolutely benefits our Canadian clients as well,” MacLeod said, adding that the ‘word is out’ to US investors that Canada is a strong place to build a company.
What hasn’t changed much over the past two years is that Canada’s domestic funding ecosystem is still weighted towards early-stage companies, though MacLeod says that’s being balanced out with more US investors turning to Canada.
“I don’t want to say it’s a disadvantage to be based in the west coast like in San Francisco, but I would say that less of an advantage than it used to be because the costs are just so high.”
SurePath calls itself an objective advisor to companies, mostly in the Series B stage, that need help thinking strategically about raising growth capital and international exit strategies. Focused mostly on SaaS, SMB, and ecommerce sectors, SurePath looks at what MacLeod calls the 3 P’s: people, product, and progress.
“The plan really is, over time, to build a leading global advisor for SMB-focused software companies.”
“The thing that we do at the beginning is kind of rip the business apart and really understand the unit economics and kind of what’s working and what’s not,” Macleod said. “Progress being like traction; and at the seed stage, you only need one of those three. By Series A you need two of the three, and by the time you get to series B, you just need them all.”
Two years in, MacLeod expresses no regrets about his decision to leave FreshBooks to launch SurePath. He’s grateful for the opportunity to have honest conversations with clients and work with complex financial transactions, two areas that he is passionate about.
“Being a CEO of a company is a tough, lonely job. I was offered a couple of chances to be a CEO, and I turned them down because I knew from working with CEOs that it was just very, very tough,” said MacLeod. “So I work really closely with CEOs now, and I think they really value being able to turn to someone that is objective but who has seen what they’re going through and can give them honest, informed advice.”
While he feels that SurePath has done a good job carving its space in the market, he won’t say what deals are in the works over the next few months, though he said that the SMB SaaS market is a deeper focus for the company. “The plan really is, over time, to build a leading global advisor for SMB-focused software companies. So today that’s a pipe dream because there’s four of us, we’re tiny, but that’s the goal.”