Edmonton software company raises $100M US — largest venture capital investment in city’s history

Jobber, an Edmonton company that sells operations management software to small home-service businesses, has raised a record amount of venture capital funding.

The company announced on Tuesday that it had raised $100 million US ($1.34 million Cdn) in Series D funding. This is the fourth stage of fundraising that a business completes after the seed stage. The investment was led by growth equity investor General Atlantic and included funds from previous investors Summit Partners, Version One Ventures and Tech Pioneers Fund.

According to the Canadian Venture Capital Private Equity Association’s research and product team, Jobber’s latest venture capital investment is the largest in Edmonton’s history. 

“It’s an exciting time,” CEO and co-founder Sam Pillar told CBC News on Wednesday.

Pillar and Forrest Zeisler — both University of Alberta graduates and former freelance software developers — started talking about the company that would become Jobber in 2010. The pair met at the 109th Street Remedy Cafe, which both men were using as an office at the time.

Pillar, who had been doing some work for small home-service companies, had realized there wasn’t much software tailored to them. Busy painters, plumbers, landscapers and roofers were running businesses out of their trucks, scribbling down figures in coil-bound notebooks stuffed with post-it notes, he said.

A man in a white t-shirt stands in front of the Jobber logo with his arms crossed.
Sam Pillar, Jobber’s CEO and co-founder, says employees have worked hard to build a successful software company. (Jason Cipparrone and Dale Tidy/The Pro Shooters)

Jobber built a subscription-based software service with their needs in mind. Small companies in more than 50 fields now use it to dispatch employees, generate quotes, optimize routes, track jobs and take payments.

Since forming Octopusapp Inc., which is still the company’s official name, Pillar and Zeisler have grown the business from two employees to nearly 600. 

In addition to its Edmonton headquarters, Jobber has offices in Toronto and Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s also been hiring remote workers in Canada, the U.S., and Latin America. 

As other tech companies have been shrinking, Jobber has kept growing, avoiding layoffs, even during the first phase of the pandemic.

The company generated $100 million in revenue last year.

“It’s bucking the trend in Canada and globally, so it’s a vote of confidence for Jobber specifically, but also the tech system as a whole,” said Jeff Bell, the director of research and business intelligence for the business development agency Edmonton Global.

Bell said Jobber has leveraged local tech talent in the Edmonton region and has focused on services that don’t disappear during downturns. 

“When plumbing breaks, you need to hire a plumber,” he said. “When your lights go, you need to hire an electrician.”

Pillar said the company was luckier than most during the pandemic, but he also attributed Jobber’s success to employees’ focus and hard work.

“We’ve raised venture capital to build the business, but along the way we didn’t forget to build a business and I think that’s a really important thing that we’re proud of and it takes diligence and discipline,” he said.

Catherine Warren, the CEO of Edmonton Unlimited, which tries to foster innovation in the city, described Jobber as one of Edmonton’s “shining stars.”

She said the company’s success reinforces the importance of maintaining relationships between funding rounds and proves to up-and-coming startups that it’s possible to raise a lot of money and maintain an Edmonton headquarters.

“We have the talent here and we have the team building expertise here,” she said.

According to the CVCA, Alberta set a record for venture capital investment last year, with $758 million being invested across 85 deals.

Many of those deals benefitted Calgary companies, but Bell said several local artificial intelligence firms have secured recent funding.

Two women are working at computers in an office.
Employees work in Jobber’s Toronto office. (Paul Swanson)

Pillar said Jobber will use the growth funding to focus on customer acquisition, research and development, and product improvements.

He said the market has become a little more competitive since 2011, but there are 6.2 million businesses in North America that could be using the company’s software. About 200,000 people currently use it. 

“We barely scratch the surface of the number of companies that we can help,” Pillar said.

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