Montreal telemedicine company Dialogue Technologies Inc. is set to join the rush of Canadian technology companies to the public markets.
Dialogue, which offers medical services over the internet, has lined up National Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia and Toronto-Dominion Bank as lead bookrunners for an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange, two sources familiar with the situation said. The Globe and Mail is not identifying the sources because they were not authorized to comment on the matter.
The five-year-old company has raised more than $100-million in venture capital to date from Sun Life Financial Inc., National Bank of Canada, Power Corp. of Canada’s Portag3 Ventures, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, White Star Capital and others.
Dialogue chief executive officer Cherif Habib told The Globe last September that his company was considering an IPO in 2021 after inviting investment bankers to pitch their services. At the time, he said, “It is clear from these meetings that there is a huge appetite for high-quality Canadian stories like Dialogue’s.”
The company has since declined to comment on its plans.
However, numerous other Canadian technology companies have hired bankers or filed to go public since then. They have generally met with a warm response from investors in what is shaping up to be the busiest period for IPOs since the dot-com boom. That includes the two largest tech IPOs in Canadian history: Nuvei Corp.’s in September and Telus International (Cda) Inc.’s this month.
MindBeacon Holdings Inc. , a much smaller and earlier-stage company than Dialogue offering mental-health services over the internet, raised $65-million in a highly oversubscribed IPO in December. MindBeacon stock closed Thursday at 38 per cent above its $8 per share issue price. Industry observers believe Toronto telemedicine startup Maple Corp., which raised $75-million last summer from Loblaw Cos. Ltd., could also be a near-term IPO candidate.
Valuations for publicly traded technology companies have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic as people sheltering at home increasingly turned to online tools for shopping, workplace communications, training – and medical consultations. They have also been propelled by the belief that corporations will increasingly digitize their operations as we come out of the pandemic-related economic downturn, benefiting technology vendors.
Dialogue hired hundreds of employees last year and increased the number of Canadians able to access medical services through its online platform more than twelvefold, to five million people, as of last summer. In October the company announced it had purchased Canadian employee assistance program provider Optima Global Health.
Mr. Habib told The Globe in September that his company has “metrics, a growth profile and market leadership that would make [it] a uniquely attractive IPO candidate.
“We’ve experienced superfast growth, and the world needs virtual care more than ever.”
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