Diply tops Deloitte’s Fast 50 list of Canada’s high-growth companies

Meanwhile, average revenue growth soared 74% above last year’s gains.

Diply CEO Taylor Ablitt

Diply co-founder and CEO Taylor Ablitt. (Diply)

Canada’s fastest growing company in the tech, media and telecommunications sectors is a dark horse from London, Ont., according to Deloitte Canada.

New media outfit Diply emerged from seemingly nowhere in 2013 and has grown a whopping 92,881% since the end of its first year in business. That’s nearly 74,000% more than the second ranking company, Prodigy Game, in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, and more than 88,000% above the aggregate average of all 50 companies on the list over the same four-year period.

“We always had big ideas for what this could be, but it was one of those things where you don’t really know how great it can be until you launch,” says Diply co-founder and CEO Taylor Ablitt. “Since then we’ve just continued to move the goal post as we’ve seen success.”

Diply—which creates and aggregates highly sharable clickbait-y content geared towards millennials—attracts over 41 million unique visitors each month, about 60% of whom are located in the United States and 15% in the U.K. Just 7% of visitors to the site are from Canada, but that hasn’t deterred the company from keeping London as its home-base. “We’re very much a Canadian operation that’s making global impact and interacting with those all across the world,” says Ablitt, who says the company has ambitious plans to further grow operations in Canada.

“These companies foster the economic prosperity and success of our country,” Anders McKenzie, Managing Partner for Technology, Media & Telecommunications at Deloitte Canada, said in a press release on Thursday. The program, now in its 20th year, ranks companies based on their “entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, rapid revenue growth, and world-class achievements” over the preceding four years, with growth rate being the key consideration for where companies rank on the list. “This current innovative cohort of companies continues to lead the pack in transforming the way we live and work,” McKenzie adds. “They should be incredibly proud of the impact they are making across all industries and how they are shaping the world as we know it today and what it will look like tomorrow.”

Canada’s tech sector has made significant strides since the program began in 1997. Not only is the sector on more stable ground, but Canada is increasingly seen as bright light in innovation and technology spheres—something that’s finally being reflected in funding availability. Of the companies surveyed for the Fast 50 ranking, 62% feel it’s easier to access capital than it was five years ago, and available statistics validate that hunch. In 2015, tech-based companies in Canada raised $3.7 billion in venture capital—the most since the dot-com bubble. This year, the sector is on track to raise $2 billion in funding, with average deal sizes higher than ever, suggesting companies, at least in more instances, are attracting the capital they need to not just innovate, but scale.

Despite the general feeling of optimism in the sector, 47% of CEO’s surveyed for the ranking identified the dearth of talent as a major challenge for growing their business. “It’s definitely top of mind in the tech world. Some of our smartest people coming out of university are going after opportunities south of the border,” says Ablitt. It’s something the innovation-friendly government is trying to mitigate through programs like the Global Skills Strategy and the Economic Strategy Tables. “That said, there have been some great Canadian success stories, like Shopify, that are changing history in that respect,” Ablitt adds, noting that the mere presence of other successful companies in Canada is encouraging for young talent and entrepreneurs.

Runner up on the Fast 50 is Prodigy Game, a Burlington, Ont.-based company that builds gamified math education programs. They managed to grow its user-base from 3,000 to 130,000 in its first year. Now in year five, they serve 18 million users worldwide, with four-year revenue growth at 18,933.3%.

Meanwhile, third-ranking company Prodigy Ventures Inc. (no affiliation with Prodigy Game) is a testament to long-term growth potential. The Toronto-based innovation company creates enterprise platforms and consumer apps with emerging technologies in mobile, video, augmented reality, 3D, artificial intelligence, payments and blockchain. Incorporated in 1992, the company’s revenue soared 16,790.9% in the last four years alone.

Taken together, the companies on the ranking grew 4,625% on average, up 74% from 2016.

The tech, media and telecommunications sector isn’t just making progress in sheer dollar figures. Millennials and women are figuring more prominently in Canada’s tech workforce, too. Millennials made up the majority (53%) of employees of companies surveyed for the ranking (all CEOs from Diply and Prodigy Game fall squarely into this generation). And a quarter of Fast 50 companies reported that 21-30% of all new hires were women (52% of Diply’s staff are women), compared to just 13% of hires reported in the 2016 survey.

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50

Rank Company City Province Sector Founded Growth
2Prodigy GameBurlingtonONother201118933%
3Prodigy Ventures Inc.TorontoONsoftware199216791%
4Bench AccountingVancouverBCemerging201212814%
6StackAdapt TorontoONsoftware201310301%
7SendtoNews Video Inc.VictoriaBCmedia20089278%
9Refresh FinancialKelownaBCother20125483%
12Bold CommerceWinnipegMBsoftware20123692%
13Influitive TorontoONsoftware20103683%
15FixMeStick Technologies Inc.MontrealQCsoftware20022698%
18Canada DrivesVancouverBCmedia20101760%
19IntraGrain Technologies Inc.ReginaSKhardware20101497%
27TouchBistro Inc.TorontoONsoftware2011838%
30Big Blue BubbleLondonONmedia2003785%
34Buyatab Online Inc.VancouverBCsoftware2009627%
36Top HatTorontoONsoftware2009617%
37mobileLIVERichmond HillONsoftware2009601%
38Arcane Digital Inc.LondonONmedia2011553%
43You.i TVOttawaONsoftware2008499%
44Budge StudiosMontréalQCsoftware2010482%
45Media Resources Inc.OakvilleONother2010477%
46Eastside Games Inc.VancouverBCmedia2011472%
47Big Viking GamesLondonONsoftware2011425%
48Magnet ForensicsWaterlooONsoftware2009400%
* = tie