Vision Critical to sell consultancy to MARU
Division’s 160 employees will keep their jobs
Vancouver customer research startup Vision Critical is planning to spin off its consulting business in order to focus on its core software product, the company announced Wednesday.
Under t he agreement, expected to close in early 2016, MARU Group will acquire Vision Critical’s North American research consulting division and operate it as a separate entity to be known as MARU/ VCR& C. Vision Critical’s executive consulting team will continue to lead the entity and the division’s 160 employees will keep their jobs.
Vision Critical’s chief executive Scott Miller said selling the consulting division to focus on software will help make the company attractive to investors. Mil- ler said Vision Critical is interested in raising more capital to keep growing quickly, either through an initial public offering or other avenues.
“We are professionalizing our business and making it so we can take advantage of whatever opportunity there is to go raise capital to fuel our growth,” Miller said. “An IPO would be one way to do that, but there are other ways to do that as well.”
Vision Critical launched in 2000 and placed 376th in Profit magazine’s 2015 list of Canada’s fastest- growing companies. Its revenue increased 126 per cent from 2009 to 2014.
The company’s Sparq software helps companies create online communities of customers, who can act as real- time focus groups. Vision Critic al’ s clients include Adobe, Univ is ion Communications Inc. and Molson Coors, which used Sparq to launch a forum called BeerXChange that collects feedback from about 700 members.
As demand f or Sparq grew, demand for market research consulting help grew with it, Miller said. By selling the division to MARU group, a new c ompany formed by an entrepreneur from the U. K., Miller said Vision Critical can focus on improving the software while someone else focuses on tailoring hands- on consulting advice to meet the needs of clients using it.
MARU and Vision Critic- al plan to work together through a value- added reseller agreement, Miller said. “If we do this right — and we’ve been preparing for executing this for a while — our customers will notice no change whatsoever.”
Vision Critical did not disclose the sale price for its consulting division.
Vision Critical’s chief executive Scott Miller said selling the consulting division to focus on software will help
make the company attractive to investors.