in Exits

Bumptop acquired by Google. The gPad is coming?

Something was definitely up with Bumptop in the last few weeks, and the rumours were flying all over the place. Not wanting to kill a deal, we decided not to post anything here on Startupnorth, especially something we couldn’t fully substantiate.

Enter Chris Arsenault, Mark MacQueen and Techcrunch to confirm that Google has indeed picked up Bumptop in a deal that closed this week. We have covered Bumptop news regularly in the past.

Bumptop was first funded by Xtreme Venture Partners and Austin Hill and followed by Scott Pelton at the Growthworks Commercialization Fund. Based on what we know about the terms that drive Xtreme Ventures and Growthworks’ Comm fund deals, our guess is that the price of this acquisition is north of $25million.

What does this mean? I believe it means that Google is working hard to develop an iPad competitor. If you have used Bumptop before you will know that it is one of the most intuitive touch-screen interfaces available, much better than the current iPad “mash your finger everywhere” UI. Bumptop is undoubtably the owner of some pretty nice IP focused on those interactions, and they now give Google a warchest of techniques that will easily rival multi-touch. The three-finger-swipe and two-finger-zoom of the iphone and ipad are easily outclassed by the extensive capabilities of Bumptop, but Bumptop’s gestures are just a little too complicated for the small screen of the Android or iPhone. Bumtop holds a Canadian patent for many of the gestures and features.

I have to hand it to Anand. For the last 4+ years he has walked around Toronto with his laptop strapped to his back always ready to give anyone a demo of Bumptop. His energy and focus have definitely set him apart from the crowd, and he stuck with his dream longer than many of us thought he would. Eventually the right people stepped up to back him and he seemed to become more determined than ever to make Bumptop a success. This was not handed to Anand, he worked for it.

This is exactly the kind of story that many a bad VC will tell you can never happen in Canada. A fast, efficient and IRR-pumping exit. There are all sorts of dead and dying VCs here who will tell you that there is not enough of an “entrepreneurial culture” to drive their business, no wonder their LPs are putting them on notice (the sad part is that some good funds are getting dragged down with the bad –more on that later) — they aren’t willing to get down in the dirt (or the Imperial Pub for that matter) to meet the Anands of the world.

The truth is that it takes financiers with as much hustle and vision as an entrepreneur, and that is what we are getting with XtremeVP, Austin Hill, and Scott Pelton. In my eyes this deal is a confirmation of the need in Canada for a new type of venture fund(s) to get healthy and to get the backing they need.