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Burnaby-based Cymax Group is controlled by billionaire entrepreneur Markus Frind.

The Globe and Mail

B.C. furniture e-commerce company Cymax Group Inc. has hired two Bay Street banks to lead its initial public offering as early as next spring, following a string of Canadian digital companies that have done the same in response to strong investor demand for tech stocks during the pandemic.

Burnaby-based Cymax, controlled by billionaire entrepreneur Markus Frind, has engaged Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank as lead underwriters, three sources familiar with the situation told The Globe and Mail. The Globe is not identifying the sources as they are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Mr. Frind, who first invested in Cymax five years ago, confirmed in a brief interview that the company has hired two investment banks but declined to confirm their identity. He said the process to go public is progressing but the final decision to proceed has not been made. The company still requires a few months to ensure its financial statements are compliant with international financial reporting standards, and add directors to its board. Any decision will also depend on market conditions, which remain strong for technology companies, and consumer confidence levels.

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“Things look great in the market now but who knows in the spring,” Mr. Frind said. “I wasn’t aware how hot the market is. The market is just insane. So if there is a time to [go public] any time in the next four or five years, now would seem to be the opportune time.”

Cymax operates an online marketplace for more than 150 furniture and home furnishing vendors to sell and ship their wares through its websites Cymax.com and Homesquare.com and others including Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Houzz.com. Cymax also operates an online freight logistics platform that matches sellers to shippers, which generates more than US$10-million in annual revenue. Business Development Bank of Canada owns a minority stake in Cymax; that investment is managed by Framework Ventures, which was spun out of BDC.

Cymax has forecast that its revenue will more than double this year to about US$300-million, outpacing the growth of Boston-based rival Wayfair Inc. – whose stock has increased by more than 150 per cent this year. Cymax says it is also outpacing the whole online furniture and home furnishings category, which is expected to expand sales by 12.4 per cent this year, according to market research firm eMarketer.

Mr. Frind told The Globe earlier this fall that Cymax is “looking at how we can double [again], within the next year or two.” The company stands to benefit from strong category growth: Market research firm Freedonia Group forecasts U.S. online furniture and furnishings sales will more than double to US$146-billion in 2024 from 2019 levels, surpassing brick-and-mortar sales.

Cymax is also looking to move into new areas such as sheds, barbecues and gym equipment, expand overseas and shift more volumes to its own websites, CEO Rizwan Somji told The Globe recently. The company generates a net profit of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of sales.

Cymax is one of several Canadian tech companies considering IPOs in response to intensifying interest from public investors following a slew of offerings by domestic tech issuers Dye & Durham Corp., Nuvei Corp., Pivotree Inc. and BBTV Holdings Inc. this year. Other Canadian public tech companies have soared in value this year including Shopify Inc., Lightspeed POS Inc. and Docebo Inc.

Online education software provider D2L Corp. of Kitchener, Ont., and Montreal telemedicine startup Dialogue Technologies Inc. have also confirmed they are exploring the possibility of going public, and Toronto smart thermostat maker Ecobee Inc. has reportedly looked into going public through a reverse takeover of a special purpose acquisition company.

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