This spring, Magnet Forensics Inc. became the first Waterloo-based tech start-up to become a publicly traded company in the last 15 years.
On April 28, the company issued almost 7 million shares that began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “MAGT” at $17 per share.
Driven by strong investor demand, the share price rose by almost 35 per cent by the end of its first day on the market, closing at $22.90.
Becoming publicly traded is an important step for small companies as it allows them to generate the capital needed to expand. This is achieved by filing an initial public offering (IPO), which allows the public to purchase shares in the company on the stock market.
The company originally planned for an IPO of $90 million and a share price ranging from $14 to $16. Boosting the price to $17, the size of the offering increased to slightly above $100 million.
On May 3, the IPO closed at $115 million. The company intends to use the received funding to accelerate growth.
Magnet Forensics, now with about 300 employees, was founded in 2010 by current Chief Technology Officer and former Waterloo Regional Police constable, Jad Saliba.
After taking time off work to battle stage four cancer, Saliba returned and joined the high-tech crimes unit where he started working on the technology.
At the time, Saliba said felt that the tools available to investigate digital crimes and cyberattacks were not sufficient to solve more complicated cases.
In turn, he created a software that enables organizations to discover and analyze various types of digital evidence such as conversations that took place over social media platforms that have been deleted by the senders.
“We provide private and public sector organizations with innovative tools to investigate cyber attacks and digital crimes,” Saliba said in a YouTube video posted to Magnet Forensics’ channel.
Over the last decade, Magnet Forensics expanded their product line and their solutions are now being used in over 90 countries. Their clients include large law enforcement agencies like the FBI and about half of the Fortune 100, the top 100 American companies based on total revenue.
Cybercrime has been on the rise over the last couple years. The FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Report revealed a 69.4 per cent increase from 2019 in complaints of suspected internet crime.
According to CTV News Kitchener, many involved in the Waterloo start-up community are hoping Magnet Forensics will be the first of numerous Waterloo-based start-ups to be putting out an IPO. This includes Dave Caputo, the chair of the board at Communitech and CEO of Trusscore, the last Waterloo start-up to go public.