ATB Financial Acquires Grow Technologies

written by

Rhino Ventures

Acquisitions are a bittersweet event for us at Rhino Ventures. It crystallizes returns for our investors but also marks the end of a (formal) relationship with a team and business you deeply believe in. The acquisition of Grow by ATB Financial is no exception.  


For founders and investors, building an early stage technology company from ideation through initial product development and eventually into something that has meaningful commercial traction (commonly called product-market-fit) is rarely, if ever, a straight up and to the right experience. For Grow, this involved a pivot from a direct to consumer lending business (GroupLend) and culminated into a best-in-class microservices technology platform serving large Canadian financial institutions and their clients. While the general category of financial technology remained the same, just about everything else changed: the sales process, product delivery requirements, requests (often posed as demands) for customization, and our reliance on other software integration partners. We will spare you the details but the success of this business rested solely on the shoulders of the Grow team and their ability to be exceptionally resourceful.  


At Rhino, we have six criteria by which we measure founders:

  1. Founder-market fit - this is the “great problem to tackle but why will they be the ones to win” question, 
  2. Can they set a venture scale strategy, 
  3. Can they raise the required funds and/or operate the business such that they have the resources to execute on (ii), 
  4. Can they attract and retain the best talent, 
  5. Can they set a culture of accountability and urgency (especially important in Vancouver), 
  6. Can they communicate the vision both internally and externally with clarity and conviction. 


This “checklist” did not exist when we invested in Grow - Kevin Sandhu (Grow CEO and Cofounder) and his team were the mold we used to form it. Kevin has all of these attributes in spades and it has been a privilege to work with him during this journey. He has a saying that represents the relationship we had:


 “It’s not founder friendly - that implies you do as the founder demands - but founder supportive - where you challenge the points that need challenging but with a supportive demeanor”. 


We will miss our regular interactions with the Grow team and wish them nothing but the best in their endeavors with ATB.


Welcome to the Golden Crash!


-The Rhino Ventures Team

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