Beanworks, an accounting software startup that spent some formative early months in a Communitech accelerator program has been sold for CDN$105 million.

The Vancouver-based startup announced this week that it has been acquired by Quadient, a Paris-based company that provides a range of solutions to improve business processes.

Beanworks creates software that enables accounting teams to automate error-prone manual processes like data entry and approval follow-ups, particularly in the accounts-payable process.

The company, formerly known as BeanEvo, was founded in 2012 and now has 90 employees and more than 800 customers. 

Beanworks co-founder and CEO Catherine Dahl participated in the second cohort of Communitech’s former HYPERDRIVE accelerator in early 2013. In a video statement and in an interview, she praised the Communitech program for helping her and her co-founders understand the technology industry and attract much-needed capital investment.

“If we hadn't gotten into that (accelerator program), we wouldn’t have got the cash to keep us going,” she said. “(Communitech’s) process helped jump-start our processes… we might not have been successful without that help – we would have struggled and then died, I think, if we hadn't really been able to get that kind of help at that time.”

An accountant, Dahl said she got into the tech business “accidentally.” She was brought in part-time to help a struggling Vancouver startup with its finances. She ended up transitioning the startup into a new company that would eventually become Beanworks. Early on, someone recommended Communitech’s then-new HYPERDRIVE accelerator to her, and she and several of her co-founders moved to Waterloo to take part in an intensive three-month program with 10 other fledgling startups.

The stint included introductions to tech investors, a business development trip to New York City and pitch sessions, culminating in a demo day at the end of the three months.

“For me, it was pretty significant,” said Dahl. “I didn't really know much about tech and I got into this accidentally and so I was trying to figure out how to raise money as a tech CEO and how the whole industry works. So, it was perfect for me because I just needed to be coached really quickly.”

Dahl said working out of the Communitech Hub, alongside experienced tech professionals and new entrepreneurs like herself, was a valuable immersive experience. It also gave her and her co-founders a chance to bond, learn together and focus on building their software product and their business plan.

“I think it really infused us with enough energy to get us all the way till now.”

The co-founders’ goal had always been to eventually sell the company, said Dahl, who plans to stay on after the acquisition and continue running the company “for the next three years at least.”

In a news release, Quadient said that Beanworks achieved year-over-year revenue growth of 70 per cent in 2020 and is expected to bring in about CDN$10 million in revenue by the end of 2021

“The acquisition of Beanworks completes Quadient’s software vision communicated in early 2019 to create a true end-to-end cloud-based global business communications platform,” said Quadient CEO Geoffrey Godet.

The terms of the acquisition give Quadient a majority stake of 96 per cent in Beanworks, with a mechanism to increase that to 100 per cent in the future.