Canadian tech unicorn Lightspeed stock jumps after TSX IPO

Dax Dasilva is CEO of Montreal tech startup Lightspeed, which began trading on Friday after an IPO.

Company valued at $1.4 billion based on IPO price, and has risen since then

Shares in Montreal-based technology company Lightspeed POS Inc. jumped on their first day of trading Friday, up 18.3 per cent.

Founded in 2005, the software company provides point of sale, payment processing and other services for other almost 50,000 restaurants and other businesses. The company processed $13 billion worth of transactions last year, according to company filings. But those same filings also show the company has yet to turn a profit.

It raised $240 million in an initial public offering on Thursday, selling 15 million shares for $16 each. Friday is the first day the general public can buy the shares on the stock market, and they are eagerly bidding them up in early trading. The shares were trading at just over $20 each near midday, with more than 5 million shares changing hands, and closing at $18.90.

The $16 IPO price is higher than the range of $13 to $15 the company had given as an expected range when it announced its plans to go public last month. That’s because the offering was more popular than anticipated, so they were able to raise their price.

The IPO has sold off just under one fifth of the company for $240 million, giving the company a total value of $1.4 billion. That officially makes the company what’s known as a unicorn in start-up circles — a valuation of $1 billion before going public.

At $240 million, the launch officially makes Lightspeed one of the 10 biggest technology IPOs in the history of the Toronto Stock Exchange. Ottawa-based Shopify Inc. raised about half that much in its 2015 IPO, and that company has since grown to be worth $27 billion. 

“We are very proud to welcome a leading-edge technology company and homegrown Canadian innovation story to our market,” TSX’s president of capital formation, Loui Anastasopoulos, said in a release.

Despite going public, the company’s dual-share voting structure means that controlling interest in the company will remain with company insiders, including CEO and founder Dax Dasilva.

Lightspeed currently has 700 employees spread across eight locations in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia, and has customers in 100 countries around the world.

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