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BDC Capital and Vertu Capital have partnered to acquire virtual data room (VDR) provider Firmex, from Montreal-based private equity firm Novacap.

Firmex is a Toronto-based company that provides VRD technology on a global scale. According to the company it has more than 120,000 customers that span 80 countries. Founded in 2006, Firmex was originally a portfolio company of Novacap, which acquired the company in 2016.

According to Firmex, Novacap owned a majority share in the company, while its management team owned a minority. BDC Capital and Vertu have now partnered to acquire Novacap’s share, while Firmex will maintain its minority share. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.

“It’s been a very hot M&A market for good tech companies in particular, but I kept the standard very high for my first deal.”
 -Lisa Melchior

Vertu Capital is a Canadian technology private equity firm that invests in late stage companies. It was founded by Lisa Melchior, previously a managing director at OMERS Private Equity. The acquisition of Firmex is Vertu’s first investment since it was founded in 2017, Melchior told Betakit.

“It’s been a very hot M&A market for good tech companies in particular, but I kept the bar very high for my first deal,” Melchior explained. “When I met Joel Lessem [president and CEO of Firmex] and got to know the Firmex businesses, I was pretty confident that it would surpass the bar.”

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Lisa Melchior’s Vertu closes inaugural deal, buys Novacap-backed Firmex

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Vertu Capital has teamed up with BDC Capital to acquire Firmex, a Toronto provider of virtual data rooms and secure document sharing solutions.

Terms weren’t disclosed.

Vertu and BDC partnered on the deal with top management, including Joel Lessem, the company’s co-founder and CEO, according to a news release.

Debt financing was provided by Bank of Montreal.

The seller is Novacap’s mid-market tech group, which acquired Firmex in 2016. The deal was the investor’s first in the software/SaaS market of Toronto.

Launched in 2006, Firmex supports complex processes, including diligence, compliance and litigation, for organizations of all sizes and in a range of industries. To date, it has served more than 120,000 businesses worldwide.

Firmex is the inaugural investment of Vertu, a tech private equity firm founded two years ago by Lisa Melchior, a former managing director of OMERS Private Equity.

Melchior’s initial goal was to invest her own and co-investor capital in late-stage tech companies in Canada “seeking breakout growth and needing a partner to get there,” she told PE Hub Canada in 2017.

Once the Toronto firm validated its thesis and built a deal pipeline, it would consider assembling a team and raising a fund, she said.

Since then, Vertu has been sourcing opportunities among tech companies with $20 million-plus revenue and a strategy to expand organically or through acquisitions.

Melchior served with OMERS for more than 17 years, leading North American tech investing.

BDC invested in Firmex through its growth equity group. Led by Claude Miron, a BDC vice president, the group was capitalized in 2017 with $250 million to invest as a long-term minority partner to companies in Canada’s lower-mid market.

Firmex’s acquisition provides an exit to Novacap TMT IV, which raised $380 million in 2014.

Last July, Novacap closed that fund’s successor, Novacap TMT V, securing $840 million.

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Former OMERS PE pro Lisa Melchior eyes late-stage tech with VERTU launch

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Lisa Melchior, a former managing director of OMERS Private Equity, has launched a new investment firm that targets a key capital gap faced by Canada’s late-stage tech companies.

Melchior, a 17-year OMERS veteran, founded VERTU Capital in November. She told PE Hub Canada the decision was inspired by her belief that many quality Canadian tech companies lack sufficient funding to leverage early commercial success.

“I spent over 20 years on Bay Street in an institutional environment, much of it leading OMERS North American technology group,” Melchior said. “When I left, I felt I wanted to work with entrepreneurial teams and tech companies seeking breakout growth and needing a partner to get there.”

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Real Matters Appoints Lisa Melchior to its Board of Directors

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TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Real Matters Inc. (“Real Matters” or the “Company”), a leading network management platform for the mortgage and insurance industries, today announced that it has appointed Lisa Melchior to its Board of Directors.

“Lisa’s extensive experience in working with large technology growth companies represents a great fit with Real Matters, and will be extremely valuable as we continue to execute on our growth strategy”Tweet this

“Lisa has more than 20 years of experience in the North American technology sector – she is also a seasoned public and private company director,” said Real Matters Chairman, Blaine Hobson. “We are very pleased that Lisa has joined our Board, and are confident that she will make a significant positive impact on Real Matters.”

Lisa Melchior is a former Managing Director of OMERS Private Equity (OPE), where she led the North American Technology Investment Group. She joined OPE in 1999 following a career as an investment banker with CIBC World Markets, and was a key member of the management team that built a direct investing private equity business for OMERS. Most recently, Ms. Melchior founded Vertu Capital.

“I am delighted to have joined the Real Matters Board,” said Melchior. “This is an exciting time in the Company’s history and I look forward to working with the management team and my fellow directors on Real Matters’ continued growth and success.”

“Lisa’s extensive experience in working with large technology growth companies represents a great fit with Real Matters, and will be extremely valuable as we continue to execute on our growth strategy,” concluded Real Matters Chief Executive Officer, Jason Smith.

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