Kobo is an interesting creature. It is one of the world’s leading e-reading platforms but it doesn’t get as much attention for being one of Canada’s most successful start-ups.
Launched by Indigo Books & Music into a competitive market, Kobo has established itself as one of the leading e-reading players. Its success culminated with its $315-million purchase by Rakuten, a Japanese e-c0mmerce company that has been making a series of acquisitions recently.
Kobo’s path is a great example of how Canadian startups can become world-class companies that can attract major amounts of venture capital and compete with the best in the world.
It certainly helped that Kobo had the financial support of Indigo but it Kobo also had to deal with all the obstacles and challenges that every start-up encounters.
Kobo not only navigated its ways through the start-up shoals but it was able to build its business to the point where it attracted a large acquisition offer. This is obviously great news for Indigo and its investors but also the Canadian startup ecosystem, which could see the benefits as Kobo employees look to do their own thing.
The other important thing about Kobo being acquired for a significant price is it shows the upside of not selling out too early. Many Canadian startups get snapped up before they get a chance to gain real momentum. As a result, they leave millions of dollars on the table and, as important, fail to seize the opportunity to become world-class players.
Admittedly, it must be difficult to turn down the money when you’re a start-up entrepreneur but selling too early can be a huge mistake.
So, here’s to Kobo for showing Canadian start-ups what’s possible!