Hiring / Investing

Penny stock no more: Slyce goes private

Being public is expensive and didn't make sense for the image recognition company, said CEO Ted Mann.

Slyce is now officially a Philadelphia company. (Courtesy photo)

Over the last two years, we’ve watched as Slyce, the Canadian image-recognition company that acquired SnipSnap, slowly became a Philadelphia company. That transition is now complete.

CEO Ted Mann has taken the company private. A Washington, D.C., private equity firm called Anzu Partners invested an undisclosed amount in the business and has acquired all its assets.

It’s a move Mann said he’s been working on since he took the CEO job last April.

“The company was burning cash at an accelerated rate because we were public,” he said. It’s expensive to be a public company. You’re on the hook for lawyers, accountants and auditors.

He knew he needed to raise capital to get the company to profitability but he also knew that it’d be hard to find a firm willing to back a public company whose share price was so low. (When Mann became CEO, it was at 8 cents a share and it has only fallen since then. Today, it’s at 1 cent per share.)

Late last year, Mann told us that being publicly traded on the Canadian TSX Venture Exchange wasn’t doing the company any favors. The TSX patterns with oil and gas commodity prices since more than 70 percent of its companies are resource or mining companies. The exchange has been floundering for yearsLast year, executives launched a plan to save it. Either way, it didn’t look good for Slyce and Mann wanted out.

“It’s frustrating,” Mann said in December. “Our share price doesn’t reflect the traction we’ve had.”

Now, Slyce has shed the costs of being public and also raised the capital it needs to move forward, Mann said. All employees will stay on board, he said.

Slyce's Nova Scotia office, which it shares with another startup. (Courtesy photo)

Slyce’s Nova Scotia office, which it shares with another startup. (Courtesy photo)

The public company will still exist, under a new name (Pounce), though it’s unclear what its products will be. Mann said he didn’t know much about its plans.

Slyce will continue to operate its two divisions: consumer apps, which account for half its revenue, and visual search, which Mann said Slyce is focused on growing. The company also now officially a U.S. company based in Center City Philadelphia, though it’ll retain its Nova Scotia office, the company’s R&D hub where about half of its 50 employees work. In Philly, the team painted its walls Slyce blue, a change from the original SnipSnap green. So now it’s official.

In the last six months, Slyce has seen some turnover among its leadership: engineering leads Audrey Troutt and Chris Baglieri, who came from Artisan Mobile after the company was acquired by TUNE, both left. Troutt is back with her old Artisan team, working remotely for TUNE, and Baglieri is running the engineering team at Blackfynn. (Adam Turkelson, a computer vision expert whom Mann hired when he became CEO, is leading the tech side of things at Slyce.) Cynthia Plotch, Slyce’s former director of analytics, is now the local manager for social enterprise Hungry Harvest, and Pete Krystopa, Slyce’s former VP of business development, is now at Conshohocken marketing tech company Pepperjam.

Slyce is currently hiring in both its offices. Of note: it’s looking to hire a VP of Engineering based in Center City.

Companies: Slyce Inc. / SnipSnap

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