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Vancouver's Dapper Labs fastest-growing Canadian tech firm despite NFT nosedive: Deloitte

B.C. company specializing in NFTs and blockchain had 16,910-per-cent revenue growth in prior years. The market for non-fungible tokens has floundered since then
Roham Gharegozlou is CEO at Dapper Labs

Vancouver's Dapper Labs ranked No. 1 on this year's Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list for the fastest revenue growth by a technology company in Canada between 2020 and 2022: 16,910 per cent, according to Deloitte. 

Deloitte's list did not provide actual revenue for each of its listed companies. 

Dapper Labs is best known for its online marketplace NBA Top Shot, which enables people to buy and sell digital collectibles, such as video highlights of NBA games, in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

It was a darling for investors during the pandemic. 

The company raised US$305 million in March 2021, and another US$250 million six months later – investments that sent the private company's market value to US$7.6 billion.

While the company showed phenomenal growth in the time period that Deloitte used, it has since floundered along with NFT prices. 

Dapper Labs' staff count hit 613 in 2022. It then cut 134 of those employees, or about 22 per cent of its staff, last November. In February, it laid off a further 20 per cent of its payroll

"We are restructuring the Dapper Labs organization to improve our focus and efficiency," CEO Roham Gharegozlou told staff in a message posted to the company's website.

Enthusiasm about NFTs has plummeted. Data from Block notes that there was a weekly traded value of around US$80 million in July 2023, or about three per cent of the weekly traded value in August 2021

The only other B.C. company to make the top 10 of Deloitte's Technology Fast 50 list was Victoria's Certn Holdings Inc., which ranked No. 10, with 2,045-per-cent revenue growth.

Certn ranked No. 1 on BIV's 2023 list of the top 100 fastest growing companies in B.C., which ranked companies based on five-year revenue growth between 2018 and 2022. 

The privately held venture, which provides background checks for employers and potential landlords, saw its revenue rise 18,289.2 per cent to $33,500,000 between 2018 and 2022, according to BIV's list. 

Certn acquired U.K.-based Credence and Australia-based InterCheck in separate 2022 transactions.

Certn’s vice-president of corporate affairs and general counsel, Shannon Davidson, told BIV that Certn also received several funding rounds, including an US$80 million Series B financing. 

In total, Certn has raised about US$114 million.

“[That capital] gave us the support we needed to hire more people, to get into those areas that we weren’t doing checks before, and to expand our offerings,” Davidson said. 

The company employed around 20 people in 2018, and that number grew to 430 last year, she said. The company has since retrenched to have about 380 employees.

Certn’s revenue growth has also come from it using software and technology tools to be able to complete more background checks more efficiently. 

Other B.C. companies to make the Deloitte Fast 50 include:
• Aquanow (No. 12 with 1,842-per-cent growth);
• Black and White Zebra (No. 16 with 1,356-per-cent growth);
• Klue (No. 28 with 667-per-cent growth);
• Spare (No. 30 with 623-per-cent growth);
• Jane App (No. 43 with 378-per-cent growth);
• DarkVision Technologies Inc. (No. 44 with 374-per-cent growth);
• Tribe Property Technologies (No. 45 with 361-per-cent growth); and
• Launchpad Technologies (No. 49 with 315-per-cent growth).

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