Pollster Angus Reid sells remaining stake in Vision Critical for $44m

Angus Reid's exit follows departure of chairman Ian Giffen and co-founder Andrew Reid in 2016

Vision Critical co-founder Angus Reid is exiting the Vancouver-based tech company | Submitted

After a rocky few years pollster Angus Reid says he's "happy" with a deal that sees him selling off his remaining $44-million stake in Vancouver-based Vision Critical, the software company he co-founded in 2000.

The Globe and Mail reports W Capital Partners and Georgian Partners are acquiring Reid's 8.5 million preferred shares. The firms are buying a total of $76 million of shares from shareholders as part of this transaction.

Reid took to LinkedIn Monday to say he was "very happy with this transaction."

Reid founded the company 17 years ago with son Andrew Reid. His exit comes after he stepped down as executive chairman in 2014 following a dispute with the board.

He remained on Vision Critical's board of directors and returned to his polling roots later that year, founding the Angus Reid Institute.

“He’s 69 years old now,” Andrew Reid told BNN.

“I think he's just at a stage now where we wants to move on and do other things. And I couldn't be happier for him to have such a great exit. When I think about the adventures we’ve been through with Vision Critical together, I think it's a great ending for him and allows Vision Critical to move forward.”

Vision Critical, one of Vancouver’s few anchor tech companies, specializes in using big data for marketing research.

Its clients have included Banana Republic, Molson Coors, Time Inc., NASCAR and the City of Surrey. In April 2016, Vision Critical finalized the sale of its research and consulting division to the MARU Group.

Former chairman Ian Giffen told The Globe and Mail earlier that year an initial public offering wouldn’t be possible without first spinning off that consulting division.

But Vision Critical did not go public in 2016 — Canada’s worst performing year for IPOs since 1996 — and Giffen left the board of directors in June.

In November, co-founder Andrew Reid stepped down as corporate innovation officer to launch the app-making spinoff, VC Labs.

Andrew Reid had served as Vision Critical’s CEO until 2012, when he took on the role of chief product officer and was replaced by then-COO Scott Miller.

That same year, the company secured $20 million in funding from OMERS Ventures and moved its downtown headquarters to 200 Granville Square.

That $20 million investment was followed by an additional $16 million in venture capital funding in 2014 led by Georgian Partners, Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund and Kensington Global Private Equity Fund.

The company has offices in 16 cities in eight countries with about 400 employees in B.C. and another 300 worldwide.

Vision Critical did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.

Update:

Vision Critical released a statement February 28 noting Alison Killilea and Blake Heston, managing directors of W Capital Partners, would replace Reid on the board of directors.

—With files from Bob Mackin

torton@biv.com

@reporton