It's been an emotional roller coaster ride here for a few months. My wife and I are thrilled to be expecting the arrival of another daughter any day now, but I’ll confess, that’s not what's been preoccupying me.
After spending most of my adult life building CEO.CA, I just signed a deal to sell it to a friendly listed company, subject to exchange and other customary approvals.
I believe this transaction will see CEO.CA become what I have always hoped it could be.
The small team you know and love (cough) of Murat, Vaughan and myself are sticking around, and we will be complemented by new blood and greater resources.
How this deal came together begins with a donkey ride in Colombia in 2014.
That’s when I first met GoldSpot founder Denis Laviolette. He was a young geologist doing due diligence on the Buritica gold project in Colombia for a pro investor. CEO.CA was a couple years old and I was there to write a story. Denis and I struggled up the mountain on our borrowed mules. We compared notes and tasted (excellent) tamales at the peak.
In the years since Denis has done some incredible things as a young mining entrepreneur. He helped build a land bank of exploration projects at bear-market prices called Palisade Gold Corp. Recently Denis and his team made an exceptional Canadian gold discovery with New Found Gold (TSXV:NFG), now worth $1.5 billion.
I was doing housework (following my wife's orders) in June one afternoon when Denis called. I asked him to tell me about his great discovery. He’d scoured the globe assessing countless projects. The culmination of that multi-year effort was one day stepping out of a helicopter in remote Newfoundland and seeing visible gold in the rocks under his feet! Incredibly, much of the area was open for staking. And the rest is history.
Denis told me about his passion for a company he co-founded called GoldSpot Discoveries (TSXV:SPOT), alongside Cejay Kim, another brilliant resource analyst. GoldSpot is helping exploration companies such as New Found make discoveries with big data and AI and has rapidly grown its portfolio and team in the past year. Their vision is to grow GoldSpot into the leading mining tech company globally. Billionaire mining investor Eric Sprott holds a 20% stake.
Denis caught me off guard when he suggested we should consider merging CEO.CA together with GoldSpot, and join in his vision. In his mind, the site was a great channel for his business, and he had a deep well of ideas to grow it. We were not looking to sell, but Denis called again a few days later to convey his seriousness.
CEO.CA CTO Murat Ayfer has been the visionary behind our technology and is my partner in the business. After a banner year in 2020, CEO.CA was in good shape and growing. We agreed that we had been conservative in our expansion, and new investment and energy would be positive for us.
While brainstorming with the team at GoldSpot, Murat and I were attracted to their culture. Their senior managers (Vincent Dubé-Bourgeois, Cejay Kim, Josh Duggan, and Denis) were fun, thoughtful and responsive, which impressed us. This dynamic has been present in other successes we have experienced, such as Lithium X or HIVE.
There were times when it looked like a deal with GoldSpot wouldn’t happen, but the prospect led Murat and I to have a number of heart to heart discussions.
Like Denis had stumbled into gold, our community had taken off more than we ever anticipated. We realized that for it to become more valuable it needed an infusion of capital and expertise that is greater than we can provide independently.
And so here we are. A definitive deal has been signed, and we will work towards closing before the end of October, subject to customary approvals, including TSXV approval. Fingers crossed.
The roadmap we are focused on begins with our need to improve new user authentication; to make it easier for new users to join and for existing users to trust them; and to stem abuse and increase moderation.
The team at GoldSpot has expertise in data visualization and machine learning and will help us improve organization and presentation of data (including insider channels and connected companies, watchlist and newsroom filters (sector, market cap, etc). We may also look to expand market access soon.
There will also be investment in content - stories for the benefit of our community around emerging companies and commodities.
All of this is simply more than we can do on our own, and I’m delighted to have found partners who want to help us take CEO.CA to the next level.
I want to express my gratitude for the community who has believed in us and helped make us successful— especially early on. This includes contributors, CEO.CA Pro customers, contractors, colleagues, clients and friends. Not long ago I was determined to make a mark in the Canadian stock market but unsure exactly how. Your support has meant everything to me.
Relationships have always been and will always be what makes CEO.CA special.
Thank you all. Go GoldSpot, and bring on the new baby!