B.C. unicorn Visier acquires Boostrs amid flush buyer’s market

Second acquisition this year for Vancouver-based workforce analytics firm

Dave Weisbeck, chief strategy officer at Visier, says the Vancouver-based software company's latest acquisition is particularly useful in a tight labour market | Submitted

Vancouver’s Visier Solutions Inc. is boosting its international footprint and product portfolio with its second acquisition of 2022.

The workforce analytics firm has purchased Paris-based Boostrs, best known for developing technology that helps identify and match skills with workplace needs.

“There's a whole bunch of these different kinds of use cases that really get empowered by the technology, which is why we were so excited about it,” Dave Weisbeck, Visier’s chief strategy officer, told BIV.

He noted Boostr’s technology can be used to parse through resumes, identify key skills within those resumes and then match those skills with workplace needs.

Weisbeck said this is particularly useful in a tight labour market, especially if companies are looking to promote from within or prescribe courses for leadership development: “This role needs 10 skills. This person already has eight of those 10. This is a wonderful opportunity to transition them from a role that's less important to one that's more important.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Visier is hiring 10 of Boostrs’ engineers and data scientists who will be based at the software firm’s new satellite office in Paris.

The Vancouver company has a headcount of about 600 people worldwide, including in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany. Just over 400 employees are based in B.C.

The latest acquisition comes after Visier’s May purchase of Yva.ai, an analytics company based in California that specializes in how people work together, the impact of hybrid and remote work, and studying worker burnout.

“Valuations have come down a lot, so it's definitely a buyer’s market vs. years past,” Weisbeck said.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) expert David Raffa told BIV in an email “valuations are being challenged and resulting in some predatory offers by buyers.

“But to some extent this has been set off by the increasing cost of debt capital, somewhat slowing down M&A activity,” the president of Valeo Corporate Finance Ltd., a sell-side M&A banker, said about the broader global climate for valuations.

“The ones who will win in the short term, through 2023 and into 2024, are the cashed-up buyers.”

Visier hit unicorn status last year following a US$125-million Series E funding round led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management. That raise brought its total funding to US$219.5 million.

“That capital was raised for us to be able to look at inorganic [growth], but why did we want to look at inorganic growth at all?” Weisbeck said about the Series E round.

“Our first acquisition is really in that vein about how work gets done and understanding that collaboration is one of the mechanisms by which work gets done. And so what drives us is this very expansive view of the types of data that really describe the people who do the work, or the nature of the work, or the business outcome they're trying to achieve.”

torton@biv.com

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