Chasing Horses not Unicorns: Growth program update

What do ponies, unicorns and centaurs have in common? The answer… These are terms typically used by media to categorize a startup company based on their valuation.   For example, a unicorn has a valuation of over $1 billion, centaurs just over $100 million and ponies just over $10 million.

While media and startup enthusiasts have glorified unicorns in recent years, we need to appreciate that a unicorn is not the norm - it is the outlier.  An Atlantic Canadian unicorn within the next 5 to 10 years is a possibility, however; the trouble with chasing unicorns is that they require hundreds of millions in funding or outsized exits to drive returns for investors and typically breed a dangerous environment of unrealistic objectives, wasted resources and can take a negative toll on the mental health of our startup founders. 

Propel ICT believes there’s more than one-way to build a billion dollar startup that makes founders and investors happier and the term for this type of company is called a horse.  Horses are just as fast and majestic as a unicorn but without the show-off horn and magical powers.  Not everyone will agree, but it’s a pragmatic approach that reflects the realities of the region, which in turn will provide plenty of opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs to build great companies though revenue growth and modest funding.  

To build more horses Propel ICT is developing a Growth program, that will be the first of its kind in our region focused on revenue-first technology based companies who are seeking growth through revenue and long-term returns ideally without being forced into a public offering or acquisition.  The program will emphasize the development of good business fundamentals through measurable and sustainable growth metrics, real customers, revenue and cash.

Led by the former co-CEO of Remsoft Steve Palmer, Growth’s mission is to help companies increase customer acquisition and revenue while helping companies scale organically.  

Propel ICT is looking to meet with companies who meet the following criteria, to help validate the requirements for the program. We want to meet with you if your company fits the description below:

  • You must be an Atlantic Canada based ICT company (Product or Service)
  • Minimum $1M annual revenue
  • Average annual revenue growth of 15%
  • Must have an existing business plan and demonstrated ability to execute on the plan
  • Must have an addressable market of at least $250 million
  • Must be export focused with more than 50% revenue from outside Canada

Invitation-only information sessions will be held in early November for companies interested in participating in the program.  To receive an invitation or to speak with a member of our team please send all inquiries to