The venture capital arm of Canadian pension fund giant OMERS has led a $20m financing round for Vision Critical, a provider of online community panels and market research software that counts Lonely Planet and Banana Republic among its clients.
Vision Critical was founded in 2000 and now has more than 600 clients – including one-third of the top global brands – using its research services and community panel technology platform.
The company’s offerings include panels of customers and market participants, as well as discussion groups and representative surveys of diverse populations.
Vision Critical said it will use the investment from OMERS Ventures to expand its product lines, support infrastructure, and further execute its global growth plans.
“Demand for strategic customer and market research is surging, and online community panels are already established as the key to unlocking the tremendous power of the internet as a tool for two-way communications with consumers,” said Vision Critical chairman Angus Reid.
“OMERS Ventures is strongly aligned with Vision Critical, sharing our entrepreneurial nature, aggressive growth strategy and long-term vision for the future of the market research industry.”
Derek Smyth, a managing director at OMERS Ventures, added, “Vision Critical is modernising the market research industry through its ability to consolidate a powerful suite of products into a single platform for strategic decision-making.
“We believe their experienced and proven management team, combined with their clear platform vision, will differentiate them massively from their competition.”
The deal will be financed through OMERS Ventures’ maiden vehicle, which has pledged to invest $180m in early-stage investment opportunities over the next three years.
The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, which manages more than $50bn of investments on behalf of 400,000 current and former municipal staff, established the vehicle to capitalise on venture opportunities in Canada.
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