Ontario Tech Companies Top Winners of PwC’s 2011 Innovator of the Year Awards

May 2, 2011 | Corporate Member News

Burlington’s EcoSynthetix and Ottawa’s Protus get top nods for innovation and deal of the year

Two Ontario-based high tech companies are the top winners of PwC’s inaugural Vision to Reality Awards program that celebrates growth and innovation in Canada’s emerging technology sector.

Burlington-based EcoSynthetix was selected as the 2011 Innovator of the Year Award winner by a group of industry panellists based on its innovation in bio-based technologies, financial performance and strategic direction. Ottawa-based Protus won the Exit of the Year Award for striking the most lucrative deal for a private Canadian technology company in 2010 with j2 Global Communications’ US$213 million acquisition of the company in December 2010. Both companies will be honoured at PwC’s 2011 Connecting Vision to Reality Conference on May 11, 2011 in Toronto.

“The Innovator of the Year Award recognizes Canada’s EcoSynthetix as an emerging tech company with staying power,” says Peter Matutat, National Leader of PwC’s Emerging Company practice. “EcoSynthetix stood out for its innovative green products that have generated strong revenue growth and demonstrated success in the market.”

EcoSynthetix is a supplier of biolatex emulsions, which aim to help customers reduce their reliance on petroleum-based products.

“It’s a great honour to be selected for this year’s PwC Innovator of the Year Award,” said John van Leeuwen, CEO of EcoSynthetix Inc. “It’s very gratifying to see how EcoSynthetix’ innovative biolatex binder technologies have struck a chord with our customer base, while at the same time being able to contribute to significant carbon footprint reductions as we displace traditional petroleum-based materials.”

Ottawa-based Protus is a provider of high quality software-as-a-service (SaaS) communications tools for small to enterprise-sized businesses. Since December 2010, the company now operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based j2 Global Communications Inc.

“This exit validates what a great SaaS business can do and we’re very pleased about this acknowledgement of our exit result. We built a company with excellent people and good fundamentals – a valuable product proposition, strong sales, high customer retention and a sound management team,” says Tom Martin, former CFO, Protus.

“Protus has been recognized for its recent blockbuster acquisition by a global firm, which is what many emerging Canadian technology companies aspire to achieve,” says PwC’s Matutat. “This really demonstrates that Canadian software companies are highly-regarded and that our home-grown skills are in hot demand. What a great example of a company turning their vision into reality.”

Awards Process

More than 70 Canadian companies applied between February 10, 2011 and March 31, 2011 for the Innovator of the Year Award. EcoSynthetix was among the five finalists selected for the Innovator of the Year Award by an independent panel of judges. Other finalists included: Cavet Technologies Inc., Calgary Scientific Inc., IntelliView Technologies Inc. and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. The Exit of the Year Award was selected based on the highest-valued deal in 2010, determined by industry data.

The top two winners-EcoSynthetix and Protus-will be honoured at PwC’s 2011 Connecting Vision to Reality Conference on May 11, 2011 in Toronto.

This year’s selection committee included the following members of Canada’s technology and financial communities:

  • Derek Peper, Global VP Alliances, RIM
  • Rick Moscone, Partner, Securities Law Group, Fogler, Rubinoff LLP
  • Mark Usher, Partner, Wellington Financial LP
  • Howard Gwin, Partner, Bridgescale Partners
  • Mark Stirling, Vice President, Investments, Growthworks Capital

PwC’s Connecting Vision to Reality 2011 Conference

Connecting Vision to Reality 2011 (http://www.pwc.com/ca/cv2r) is PwC’s eighth annual one-day conference for CEOs of emerging Canadian technology companies. This year’s conference is on May 11, 2011 at the Ted Rogers School of Management, 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto. The speaker roster includes notable industry experts like keynote speaker Jeremy Gutsche, founder of TrendHunter.com. The results of PwC’s 2011 Report on Emerging Canadian Technology Companies will also be released at the event. Accredited media are invited to attend. Please contact Kiran Chauhan, (416) 947-8983, [email protected] or David Rowney, (416) 365-8858, [email protected] for more information.

Firm Description

PwC firms provide industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to enhance value for their clients. More than 161,000 people in 154 countries in firms across the PwC network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. See http://www.pwc.com/ for more information. In Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (www.pwc.com/ca) and its related entities have more than 5,800 partners and staff in offices across the country.

“PwC” is the brand under which member firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwCIL) operate and provide services. Together, these firms form the PwC network. Each firm in the network is a separate legal entity and does not act as agent of PwCIL or any other member firm. PwCIL does not provide any services to clients. PwCIL is not responsible or liable for the acts or omissions of any of its member firms nor can it control the exercise of their professional judgment or bind them in any way.

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Note to Editors: PwC has changed its name from PricewaterhouseCoopers to PwC in the fall of 2010. ‘PwC’ is written in text with a capital ‘P’ and capital ‘C’. Only when you use the PwC logo is the name represented in lower case.

About EcoSynthetix

ECOSYNTHETIX® is a global supplier of innovative biopolymers suitable across a wide range of industries, including paper and paperboard products, architectural coatings, adhesives, carpet backing and others. Headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, the company was founded in 1996 to develop high-technology, bio-based materials having performance capabilities equal to or superior to those of traditional petroleum-based products, while also offering significant carbon footprint reductions.

ECOSYNTHETIX® has developed an extensive patent estate covering several different bio-based technology platforms. The company’s flagship product line, trademarked EcoSphere® biolatex® binders, represents a breakthrough in clean technology products that has culminated in the production of the world’s first and only waterborne biopolymer latex derived from renewable raw material feedstocks, such as corn or potato starches. This sustainable, disruptive technology has demonstrated excellent commercial success in displacing traditional petroleum-based products.

For further information:

Jessica Draker, PwC
Tel: (613) 618 2054
email: [email protected] 

Kiran Chauhan, PwC
Tel: (416) 947 8983
e-mail: [email protected]

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