04 Sep Largest EVER VC Investment in a Canadian Startup Goes to Clio (Yes, Another Former Page Zero Paid Search Client)
White-hot news in Canada’s tech startup world today: Vancouver-based Clio, a SaaS startup providing legal practice management tools for law firms, has attracted a $USD 250 million venture capital investment. That’s an all-time record.
Page Zero worked directly on Clio’s PPC campaign management in its early days of rapid growth. This was a two-year period that roughly took the company from Series A to Series C rounds of funding.
Just two months ago, we reported on the landmark acquisition of Wave Financial (another past PZ client) by H&R Block.
We don’t claim any credit for this massive success, but then again, could it really be a coincidence? The challenge of growing companies rapidly via online channels offers many stumbling blocks. Inexperienced marketers tend to be overconfident, waste money and time, and never achieve liftoff. The path to growth requires relentless focus and dedicated professionalism.
Success of this magnitude doesn’t come along every day. And not every SaaS company looks promising enough for us to dive in and provide services. It’s a significant commitment, and our resources are finite. So in some ways, providing services to funded startups feels a little like being a Shark Tank investor. We have to see the potential.
Recently, we started working with a fresh SaaS startup (based in the U.S. Midwest) looking to “conquer” a certain sector that uses outdated or almost zero technology to manage its affairs. The most inspiring way to think about this trend comes by way of Danny Devito in the green specs explaining to small business owners why they should use Quickbooks.
But when I thought of the potential for our new client for “taking over” their specific small business vertical, the main comparison that came to mind was Clio, even though the sector they’re in is not at all related to this client’s. But the value proposition (overwhelmed, inefficient practices around the office, solved by contemporary cloud-based tools), and some of the potential growth trajectory, sounded similar. Once you get a certain amount of adoption, more new customers can begin falling like dominoes into your diabolical web, er, LTV calculation.
With the amount of money kicking around in Silicon Valley, sometimes weak ideas or just “a bridge too far” ideas do get funded. We’ve worked on some accounts that never got traction. The marketing performance numbers often show you pretty clearly whether there is any potential for success. Such rapid feedback (fail early, fail often…or as Jim Collins put it, “bullet, bullet, bullet, calibrated cannonball”) is a great reason to consider spending a modest marketing budget early on, rather than endlessly trying to perfect a product or service. This is what Clio did. This is what Wave Financial did. Not every startup comes out of the gate world-famous, like Slack.
A toast to Clio, and particularly founder Jack Newton, for landing the largest single VC investment Canada has ever seen.