January 30, 2023: Your Company Name Tells a Story

plus: meet the Founders of Shabodi, a massive deal out of Waterloo, startup news of the week and more

Profile: Vikram Chopra and Shabodi 

What is Shabodi?

Very simply, Shabodi helps Enterprises leverage 5G and other advanced networks- LTE, Wifi, and 6G- to build and deploy next-generation applications that can take advantage of the capabilities these networks provide.

Shabodi’s AEP (application enablement platform) simplifies the application developer's task, by offering an agile way to create innovative services and applications, and hides the complexity of underlying network elements.

Shabodi’s AEP enables application development teams to build applications for Industrial IoT, Defense, Cognitive Cities, and more.

The name is an amalgamation of two words:

  • Sha - Shaman (a teacher and guide)

  • Bodi - Bodhi tree (the tree of enlightenment)

What was the insight/inspiration that led you to launch it?

My co-founder Harpreet Geekee began his career out of McMaster University with Nortel, followed by tenures with both Cisco and Juniper Networks spanning a 25-year journey. His body of work over this period had him working on every major wireless iteration from 1G- 5G. I spent a decade in Telco, thereafter co-founding a company in Cloud Computing before jumping into the Mobile application realm.

In many ways, Shabodi and 5G represented a natural culmination of our respective journeys. Over the years, both Harpreet and I shared a thesis that 5G will spur an innovation cycle for enterprises akin to what 4G unlocked for the consumer market, massive adoption of smartphones, and the app economy.

Timing is always critical.

The pandemic served as a catalyst for launching Shabodi, by accelerating the deployment of 5G worldwide, driving the need for a platform such as ours.

How has it been received by the market? Why do you think it has been so well received?

A founder can do everything right and still fail because the market simply isn't ready.

With Shabodi, we pre-empted an emerging market trend. We were fortunate that many of our early backers such as investors, advisers, partners, etc… came from the industry and grasped the exact problem we are addressing.

As industry leaders/insiders, they were aware of the lack of solutions for tackling this business opportunity and became our earliest advocates.

Some general advice to any founder fundraising, I would suggest targeting Investors/VCs that understand your space. They will have more conviction in backing you early, plus provide you the expertise to commercialize even faster.

Our early backers understood that 5G isn't just about faster apps, the network enables new use cases that were previously impossible. Smart cities, Factories of the Future, and Autonomous mines …. are all possible with 5G, but exploiting these capabilities is not trivial - that’s where Shabodi comes in.

Our investors, early partners, and customers get this.

Shabodi was also fortunate to be backed by key accelerators/innovation hubs such as Forum Ventures, 5G Open Innovation Lab, NSIN EFL Labs, and industry publications such as IDC.

This not only helped embed ourselves into the emerging 5G ecosystem but also added a layer of credibility for our Enterprise customers.

How did you know you were ready to found a company?

Throughout my professional journey, I have focused on innovation.

My cofounder/CTO- Harpreet Geekee, early investor/President, Ramesh Kaza, and early adviser/VP of Engineering- Raghav Kamran come from similar backgrounds too.

Harpreet, Ramesh, and Raghav are also connected via their Cisco days. 5G and Shabodi really brought the four of us together.

How did you meet your founders/know they were the right people to start a company with?

Harpreet and I have known each other for almost a decade. He was an adviser in my prior venture and, we are friends!

His technical skills and 5G domain knowledge is unparalleled and compliment my Enterprise Sales/cofounder background.

I still remember meeting him in the summer of 2020 when the first lockdown briefly ended. I asked him one question:

“What do you know about 5G?” 

His response:


That's how we co-founded, Shabodi.

What has been the hardest thing on your journey so far?

Connecting with the right early investor.

Our VC partners CEAS Investments, Blumberg Capital, SineWave Ventures, and Counterview Capital have played an integral role in acquiring our early adopters, providing another layer of trust and credibility.

The same principle applies to our early angel investors, board members, and advisers - Vishal M, Joe Beatty and Steve Holland.

What has been the most pleasant surprise?

With Entrepreneurship, one trades freedom for stability. If one can find a way to navigate the instability, then one is battle-tested for any challenge in work or life.

What is your super strength?

Patience and Perseverance

What are you trying to achieve over the next 12 months?

Rapid commercialization with our early adopters.

We want them to experience the success that helps them compete. They are trusting of us, a small company, and we want to pay them back with success in their market.

Who are the 5 Canadian startups you like in your market?

Not exactly startups but other Canadian titans in this space that inspired my own entrepreneurial journey include:

  • Nortel

  • Blackberry

  • Mitel

Each one of them was an early pioneer that transformed their respective industries.

*Reply to this email and let us know the companies and innovators you'd like us to profile in an upcoming newsletter*

Quick Takes: What's the deal with the massive Magnet Forensics news?

What is the news?

A couple of weeks ago, Waterloo-based Magnet Forensics agreed to sell itself to Private Equity firm Thoma Bravo and merge itself with one of their portfolio companies.

What does Magnet Forensics do?

Magnet Forensics offers data analytics software used for digital forensics investigations to public sector and private enterprises. Basically, they enable customers, including many law enforcement agencies and large enterprises, to find digital evidence of illegal activities and cybercrimes from every type of device.

The company was one of the more successful TSX IPOs of 2021 due to growth and profitability. In the last quarter, it announced $25m of revenue and $1.4m of net income. While their shares have fallen in price, they have held up much better than many of the other recently listed tech stocks.

What is notable about this transaction?

Several things make this deal interesting:

  • Rumour has it, that Magnet tried to buy the company it is merging with, Grayshift LLC but was outbid by Thoma Bravo. Interesting to see how strategic this acquisition was for both parties. They have complementary products and customers will help them better compete in a consolidating industry.

  • The founders will retain 55% of the shares they are receiving. While they are taking some tips off the table this retention indicates that they believe in the future of the combined entity.

  • Despite performing relatively well in the public market Magnet was open to going private via an acquisition.

  • This deal is 3x more than the previous large acquisitions out of the Waterloo region - this includes the $562m acquisition of Sandvine by another PE shop.

What is our take on this transaction?

This appears to be a deal done from a position of strength.

Magnet was growing fast, is profitable, and in an area with significant tailwinds. This merger enables them to build a stronger company, and benefit from the outcome, all while taking some money off the table at a strong multiple of 20x revenue given current market conditions. Magnet also shows how one scaled tech company can impact a region for a long time. This company had many Blackberry alumni involved (including Jim Balsillie as Chairman). Eventually, early employees from Magnet may create the next great Waterloo company.

Thoughts for our community?

Despite the doom and gloom we still see in the media surrounding Canadian tech, we are still on a largely upward curve.

Every few months we see new record-breaking prices paid for our tech companies or large rounds of financing. While some current unicorns may crash and burn, there is an element of a "phoenix rising" from the ashes, and we will see alumni of those companies build other venture-scale companies.

This is also a reminder of how we benefit from our Southern friends. The initial fund to back Magnet Forensics was In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm launched and backed by the CIA.

Likewise, cyber security is on a long-term growth trajectory with no reason to slow down, as more and more of our lives and activities are online and digital.

We can only expect to see more from this sector.

Quick Takes returns LIVE at 12:00 pm ET/9:00 am PT on February 9 across the TechTO platforms.

Episodes dropping every other Thursday all year long!

Catch up on past episodes here, while you wait.

*Reply to this email and let us know your takes on the news from the ecosystem and what you'd like to hear us cover on the show, and in an upcoming newsletter

Subscribe to Quick Takes on Apple Podcasts, and Spotify so you never miss an episode as it drops.

*TechTO: Together returns to Montreal TOMORROW to kick off 2023 with the local ecosystem.

You can expect to hear unique perspectives and in-depth conversations with some of the top local innovators from the Montreal Tech Ecosystem including:

  • Marc Boscher, Founder & CEO of Unito

  • Lisa Israelovitch, Co-Founder & CEO of AssistIQ

  • Marina Pavlovic Rivas, Co-Founder & CEO of Eli

  • Gabriel Sundaram, COO & Co-Founder of Mission

*Grab your tickets while they last - THEY ARE GOING FAST*

Thanks to our friends at Planned for hosting and partnering with us on this event. We'd also like to thank Mission for their continued partnership as well.

Headlines and Content

  • #ICYMI - Catch up on past newsletters if you hadn't yet subscribed!

  • Canadian Startup news of the week - READ HERE

  • The Power of Defaults - Learn more about the real impact of network effects - READ HERE

  • Why Generative AI won't show up in government productivity stats - READ HERE

  • *NEW CONTENT DROP* Another episode of The Founders Journey is LIVE featuring Raj Singh, CEO of Altrio - LISTEN HERE

TechTO Talent

Senior Customer Success Manager, Loopio (Toronto, ON)

Why is this cool? Loopio is a workplace that unleashes learning & growth opportunities for our Loopers. They provide autonomous, challenging work that allows each employee to master their craft. You will manage your own accounts, and collaborate with the wider Customer Success team on initiatives to drive forward our CS Team. APPLY HERE

Manager, Software Development, Intelex Technologies (Canada, Remote)

Why is this cool? At Intelex, they empower organizations to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex marketplace while minimizing their negative social, environmental and human impacts. The Intelex development leaders foster an environment of passion, craftsmanship, and innovation within the teams they lead, and own the technical development and delivery of Intelex software products. APPLY HERE

Senior Software Engineer, Adeptmind (Toronto, Remote)

Why is this cool? Adeptmind offers the most comprehensive and accurate search results in the industry using ML and NLP along with their Guided Discovery technology. As a Senior Software engineer, you will manage the delivery of the product suite, lead the development of the internal tools and services, and more. APPLY HERE

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Events and Links

Check out the interesting content, events, and happenings for the community here:

  • TechTO Together | Montreal: January 31, 2023 - Join us LIVE from Montreal and kick off the year with the Montreal tech ecosystem LIMITED TICKETS AVAILABLE! - REGISTER HERE

  • Vancouver Women in Tech Regatta: February 1-3, 2023 - 6th Annual Women in Tech Regatta - REGISTER HERE

  • TechTO Together | Toronto: February 6, 2023 - More announcements coming soon! - REGISTER HERE

  • TechTuesday: February 7, 2023, Kanata ON - REGISTER HERE

  • Startups Mentorship Program: February 11, 2023 - Virtual Event - REGISTER HERE

  • TechTO Talent | Virtual | February 22, 2023 - Meet and mingle with top tech talent and employers hiring now! REGISTER FOR FREE

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