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26th Edition of the Branham300

Canada’s ICT sector continues its growth trajectory

We celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Branham300 with a new record

Branham Group’s ranking of technology companies in Canada celebrates its 25th year in 2018. We are very pleased to have provided this valuable insight into Canada’s ICT sector for a quarter century.

The Top 250 ranks the country’s top-performing companies by revenue, and those companies set a new revenue record. The numbers are:

$105.3 billion, fiscal 2016

$106.5 billion, fiscal 2017

We were very pleased to see this new revenue record, although it has to be said that the growth rate has slowed. Last year’s edition of the Top 250 reported growth of 9.6%. This year, that number was 1.14%.

ICT Revenue, 2010 to 2018

Branham Group believes this growth slowdown is not caused by weakness in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector or the overall economy. It’s quite the opposite. Revenue growth dropped because Canadian companies are so attractive that a number of large firms were purchased by Canadian or foreign buyers and were therefore no longer eligible for our ranking.

Since our last Branham300, MDA, DH, OnX and Smart Technologies either merged or were acquired. Three of these deals involved U.S firms, one is a company in Taiwan. Collectively, they represented approximately $5 billion in 2016 revenue.

So, although the impressive growth the ICT sector has generated since 2013 has definitely slowed, that is actually a testament to the value of the companies in the sector.

Mapping ICT
Branham Group is once again partnering with Esri Canada to generate useful maps of:

  • the Top 250 list
  • the Top 25 Multinationals
  • the Top Up and Coming
  • and our Top 5 Movers and Shakers.

Use this innovative technology to look up your company, assess competitors and perform a number of queries.

Interactive results map

Interactive Results Map

Movers and Shakers story map

Movers and Shakers story map

We thank Esri for working with us again.

ESRI Canada

The Branham300
The Branham300 is the definitive listing of Canada’s top public and private ICT companies. We rank companies by revenues, with the exception of the Up and Coming companies, which is based on our assessment of innovation and long-term promise.

The 2018 Edition of the Branham300 consists of the following major listings:

We also recognize leaders within industry sectors:

The Branham300 lists are a snapshot of the companies surveyed, taken at the conclusion of the fiscal year end of the calendar year before the list is published. That means the 2018 edition of the Branham300 is based on 2017 fiscal year-end results for each company.

Canada's ICT Industry: eight consecutive years of growth

$106.5 billion in total Top 250 revenue

1.14% year-over-year growth, a decrease from last year’s 9.6%

72% of the Top 250 companies grew revenues, essentially unchanged from last year

49% achieved double- or triple-digit growth, down slightly from last year’s 54%

BCE retains primacy
BCE is Canada’s ICT revenue leader for the third consecutive year. Branham Group excludes portions of BCE’s revenue (such as media and wireline voice) as we do for all telecom companies, but the Canadian giant still posted $16.3 billion in eligible revenue, a 7% increase over last year.

Canada’s multi-faceted communications and ICT providers—companies we once called telecoms—had another good year. The number Branham Group tracks dropped from eight to seven following BCE’s acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services. All seven generated revenue increases; the growth leaders were Videotron (34%), Shaw (8%) and BCE (7%).

Rank 2017 Company 2017 revenue % change
1 BCE (excl. media, wireline voice) 16,285,000 7
2 TELUS (excl. wireline voice) 12,074,000 6
4 Rogers Communications (excl. media and cable TV) 10,689,000 5
6 Shaw Communications (communications and MSP) 4,882,000 8
9 Videotron (Internet, telephony, bus. solutions) 2,830,900 34
11 Cogeco Cable (broadband and business services) 2,230,389 2
18 SaskTel (excl. local and long-distance phone) 1,020,700 3

Results by region

The majority of Canada’s ICT activity takes place in four provinces:

Top 250 companies
Ontario: 143
British Columbia: 37
Quebec: 32
Alberta: 27

These four provinces represent:
96% of the Top 250 companies
98% of Top 250 revenues

While the company count for each of the top four provinces always shifts slightly from year to year, the two numbers above —96% of companies and 98% of revenue— are unchanged from last year and consistent with previous years.

Top 250 Companies by Province

Overall revenue figures show it was a good year for Quebec. However, it is important to understand that this does not indicate that the province’s overall ICT sector grew, although that likely is the case. Rather, this shows that Quebec’s highest-revenue ICT companies achieved impressive growth.

Province 2016 revenue (billions) 2017 revenue (billions) Growth (%)
Ontario $45.94 $44.78 -2.5
Quebec $34.96 $38.32 9.6
B.C. $15.87 $14.66 -7.6
Alberta $6.53 $6.53 0


It is also relevant that the province’s share of Top 250 companies increased from 26 last year to 32 this year. Stingray Digital, for example, is new to the Top 250 and added $101.5 million in Top 250 revenue. Other notable additions from Quebec include Siyata Mobile, Dempton Consulting Group and AtmanCo.

Sector Performance

The Top 250 is divided into the industry's four major sectors:

Software: This sector’s contribution to the Top 250 has hardly changed at all. Software accounted for 40% of the Top 250 companies and 16.7% of sector revenue in fiscal 2017; last year, those numbers were 37% and 16.7%, respectively.

Constellation Software and BlackBerry swapped the number one spot this year, with Constellation climbing to the top on 14% revenue growth and BlackBerry posting a revenue loss of 41%.

X Service Providers: The x Service Provider category includes, for example, Internet Service Providers and Application Service Providers and, as always, it generated the most revenue: 48.7% of income, up from 46.2% last year, while only containing 6.4% of companies this year and 5.6% last year.

BCE again led the group, with earnings of $16.3 billion, excluding media and wireline voice, compared to $15.2 billion in 2016.

ICT Professional Service: The sector experienced a small overall decline compared to 2016: it held 31.6% of companies and 19.7% of revenue this year, and 36% and 22.2% respectively in 2016.

CGI was once again comfortably in the lead, posting a 2% revenue increase for a total that is more than five times greater than the number two company in the category.

ICT Hardware and Infrastructure: This sector retained its revenue performance, posting 14.8% of the Top 250 revenue in both fiscal 2017 and 2016. In the latest year, the sector boasts 21.6% of companies, almost unchanged from the previous year.

Celestica is again hardware champ, even though its revenue was almost unchanged from the previous year.

Top 25 ICT Multinationals

Branham Group tracks the most prominent non-Canadian tech companies operating in Canada and calculates an estimate of the revenue they generate within our borders. For fiscal 2017, we estimate the top 25 multinationals generated $79.7 billion in this country, an 8% increase over the $73.4 billion total the year prior. All figures are in Canadian dollars.

Notable growth performers include Facebook, up an impressive 47%, ADP with an increase of 33% and Amazon up 31%.

The top 5 of the Multinationals list did not change, with Samsung at number one followed by Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (Google) and IBM. In fact, the only notable change in the ranking compared to 2016 was Facebook, which climbed three spots. It is true that Hewlett Packard Enterprise dropped five spots but this was caused by continuing restructuring and restatement of financial figures, rather than an actual drop in business success.

Top 25 ICT Up and Coming

With the Top 25 Up and Coming, Branham Group recognizes promising young companies at the beginning of their successes. It is the only Branham300 list not based on revenue.

Ontario holds the most companies on the Up and Coming list with 68% of firms, unchanged from last year, and 52% of the listed companies are located in the Greater Toronto Area. The Branham Group lists are national in coverage but, as with the Top 250 list, the bulk of ICT activity in Canada is in Ontario, and specifically in the GTA.

Top 25 Up and Comers by Province

Top 20 Movers & Shakers and Top 15 Growth Companies

The Movers and Shakers list recognizes the companies which climbed the most spots on the Top 250 over the year.

The 25 companies climbed a combined 925 spots. This is a significant increase compared to 475 spots last year and 624 the year before. This is the result of a number of new companies joining the list; these are on the smaller end of the revenue scale and are often younger than the average. Smaller younger companies often climb faster than larger companies.

The best climbers in the 2018 edition of the Branham300 are:

Spots climbed Company
70 Clarocity
69 First Global Data
59 Affinity
55 Opsens
53 Trakopolis IoT

The average rate of increase among the Top 15 Growth Companies returned to a normal 127% this year. Last year, the staggering growth of Goldmoney caused the average to hit 6,620%. This year, Goldmoney achieved 90% growth (counting only the company’s technology-related revenue), which is still extremely impressive.

The average rate of increase was 130% in fiscal 2015 and 142% in fiscal 2014, so the current 127% is consistent with most years.

Validating our results

Branham Group validates its data in a number of ways. One of those is by analyzing results against Statistics Canada’s data. The following table compares the total revenue of the Top 250 Branham300 companies against the total for Canada’s ICT sector as reported by Statistics Canada. This analysis extends to 2016, the most recent StatsCan data available.

Year Statistics
Top 250 % Top 250 vs.
Statistics Canada
2011 82.6 150.35 55
2012 83 156.28 53
2013 85 157.44 54
2014 90.9 165.46 55
2015 96.1 172.24 56
2016 105.3 181.01 58
Average 55
Revenue in billions Canadian
  • The companies on Branham’s Top 250 list represent less than 1% of the 39,000 firms in Canada but account for an average of 55% of the country’s total ICT revenue.

  • The variation between the figures over six years is only +/- 5% (low of 53, high of 58), with no notable deviations over the years.

These two facts indicate Branham300 data is an accurate assessment of Canada’s technology sector and that the Top 250 companies included on Branham Group’s annual list truly represent the top performers in Canada’s technology sector.

Fiscal 2017: a growth year

Branham Group was pleased to report that Canada’s ICT sector set yet another revenue record. A total of $106.5 billion in revenue is remarkable.

We were also pleased to see many companies that are new to the list this year. These include:

  • Novanta, revenue of $677.2 million
  • Altus Group, revenue of $478.1 million
  • Real Matters, revenue of $393.6 million

If there is a downside this year, it is that growth has slowed.

Top 25 Up and Comers by Province

However, the Top 250 has seen growth every year since 2009 and the recent downturn is largely attributable to the purchase of large Canadian companies by non-domestic firms. Canada needs successful domestic companies, and on that basis it is sad to see control of Canadian firms pass beyond our borders, but it is also true that companies are purchased because they represent significant value to the buyer. It could be the in-house technology, the expertise of the staff, an established client base or a combination of those.

And as much as the Branham300 is built on ranks and places moved, the message to be taken from the lists as a whole is that the Canadian tech industry is strong in a business sense and deep in its technical ability and innovation. It is also vital to the nation. Statistics Canada reported that in 2016, the ICT sector created 3.3% of the country’s employment. Employment growth of the sector was 1.7% that year, far outstripping the 0.7% jobs growth in the overall economy.

The 250 companies on our main list—the best performing ICT firms in Canada—contributed a great deal to the revenue and job growth of the tech sector, and it is our privilege to celebrate that accomplishment every year in the Branham300.

Peter Wolchak, director, Branham Group
Wayne Gudbranson, CEO, Branham Group

Thank you to our industry sponsors

Esri Canada, a world-class enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions company, joins us again this year to map the results of our main lists.

Billingham Agency, the full-service digital agency that handles our Web design and content, manages the lists online, and oversees our creative photography and video content.