Kevin Springer says he feels like a boxer who finally has someone in his corner.
On Tuesday, Proposify, the Halifax software company Springer co-founded with CEO Kyle Racki, announced a deal with an investment fund that will see the company continue to grow and reach untapped markets.
Since beginning in 2013, Proposify has built a customer base of 10,000 in 35 countries.
"We're going to grow together. We all want the same thing. We all want to build an amazing company (and) we want to do it from Atlantic Canada," said Springer, also the company's chief operating officer.
George Rossolatos, CEO of the Canadian Business Growth Fund, agrees that the sides share the same mandate of growing the company and seeing it reach its potential, which is why the agreement is only for a minority equity stake in the business.
"What we bring to the table is something different. The typical investment fund brings a three-to-five-year horizon to an investment and works toward a sale. A lot of times these great companies are sold and they are consolidated into a bigger entity, oftentimes a foreign entity," he said.
"We want the owners to stay in control and keep control longer as they grow because too many times in Canada owners give up control early."
Proposify has about 85 employees based out of its Hollis Street office. The company provides software solutions for clients in terms of creating, sending, tracking and e-signing proposals, as well as contracts, agreements and other sales documents.
Springer said the product helps clients save time and makes sure all the documentation is sent in a complete, error-free package that avoids some documents finding their way into a spam folder. There is also a feature that lets the sender know if the proposal has been opened, he said.
"We targeted the Maritimes as an area where we wanted to become more prominent and wanted our brand to be known. And that takes time. We saw Halifax, and the Maritimes in general, as a hotbed of entrepreneurialism in Canada."
Before becoming the CEO of the Canadian Business Growth Fund, Rossolatos was the head of a public company. In that role, he said, he saw first-hand the value of what a company like Proposify can offer.
CBGF was launched in June 2018.
The $545-million evergreen investment fund has 13 investors, all of which are financial institutions, said Rossolatos. These are CIBC, BMO, Scotiabank, Toronto Dominion, Royal Bank of Canada, HSBC, National Bank of Canada, ATB Financial, Laurentian Bank and Canadian Western, as well as three insurance companies: Canada Life, Manulife and Sunlife.
The fund's investments in a company range between $3 million and $20 million. Rossolatos wouldn't disclose the exact amount of the investment in Proposify but did say it falls within that range.
Rossolatos and his Toronto-based team were in Halifax about a year ago. Through that visit, they became aware of Proposify, which led to a meeting with the company in February. The deal was finalized about a week ago, said Rossolatos.
Even though this is CBGF's first Atlantic Canadian investment, Rossolatos said he is working on a couple of other deals in the region.
"We targeted the Maritimes as an area where we wanted to become more prominent and wanted our brand to be known. And that takes time," he said.
"We saw Halifax, and the Maritimes in general, as a hotbed of entrepreneurialism in Canada."
For Springer, Proposify still has a lot of work to do to reach its growth potential, but he's excited to be part of the process.
"We really just want to grow this business and continue to enjoy what we do. I absolutely love to go to work every day."