Software developer Copperleaf seeks to raise up to $144m via IPO

Shares of Vancouver firm to be priced at $11-13 each

Copperleaf CEO Judi Hess | Chung Chow, BIV

Copperleaf Technologies Inc. preparing to go public in a bid to raise at least $125 million.

The Vancouver-based software developer released a prospectus Monday, revealing plans to price shares between $11 and $13 each.

But if the underwriters seize on the over-allotment option for the initial public offering, the size of the offering could go as high as $143,750,000.

The company is best known for developing software that helps clients who manage critical infrastructure — such as electricity generation or natural gas distribution — make investment decisions.

It began as a consultancy group in 2000 but CEO Judi Hess, who served as president of software firm Creo Inc. when it was sold to Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE:KODK) for US$980 million, began shifting it towards software products for asset management after taking over in 2009.

She told BIV in 2019 the early goings of her tenure were rough as Copperleaf dealt with a lack of funding, a so-so product and its own founder filing a lawsuit against it.

“It was quite tense,” Hess said. 

“The first thing I spent my time on was survival.”

By May 2010, about a year into the job, Hess had helped Copperleaf raise $8.2 million, the lawsuit was later settled and the team had developed a product it was proud of.

The company has grown from 25 employees to 350 employees since Hess took over and the software is now being used to manage what Copperleaf estimates to be US$2.3 trillion of infrastructure.

Monday’s prospectus revealed revenue has been climbing steadily upwards since 2018, when it sat at $33.6 million. Revenue was $36.9 in 2019 million before jumping to $44.5 million last year.

Through the first six months of 2021, revenue sits at $30.6 million compared with $17.3 million during the same period a year earlier.

Losses are down so far this year — a $3.3 million loss through the first six months of 2021 compared with a $8.4 million loss during the same period a year ago.

The company plans to be traded on the TSX under the symbol CPLF.

Copperleaf’s IPO plans come amid a string of other high-profile Vancouver tech companies going public over the past year.

Thinkific Labs Inc. (TSX:THNC) priced its shares at $13 each upon its April debut, while AbCellera Biologics Inc. (Nasdaq:ABCL) saw its shares surge as high as 250% after going public last December.

Underwriters of the deal include Merrill Lynch Canada Inc., BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., William Blair & Company, L.L.C., CIBC World Markets Inc., RBC Dominion Securities Inc., Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Cormark Securities Inc.

torton@biv.com

@reporton