London Start-up Acquired for $28 Million

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Running technology company Race Roster began its journey in London, accelerated its suite of products and services thanks to local talent and resources, and has now crossed the finish line to acquisition by athletic industry giant ASICS Corporation.

A group of five high-school friends founded Race Roster in 2012 after organizing a 10K race and finding the running industry was in dire need of better technology. Since then, Race Roster has partnered with more than 5,000 organizers to grow, manage and execute events through a suite of tools to handle marketing and promotion, fundraising, registration, timing and data tracking, event and revenue management, customer service and communication.

Race Roster handles everything from 1K kids runs to ultramarathons and events ranging in size from 50 to 50,000 participants. The platform is also used for cycling, duathlon, triathlon, ultra-running, walking, and swimming events. It’s used all across Canada, and the U.S. and has recently expanded into Australia and the U.K.

Race Roster’s 429 per cent growth between 2015 and 2018 earned it a ranking of No. 256 on Deloitte’s 2019 Fast 500 among the fastest-growing North American technology companies, and No. 40 on its Fast 50 list of the fastest-growing Canadian technology companies.

Japan-based ASICS acquired Race Roster in a US$28 million deal in October 2019 and has formed a new Canadian subsidiary, Race Roster North America. The company anticipates over the next three years that it will add about 30 positions to Race Roster’s current complement of close to 80 employees.

“It’s a big deal for our business, a big deal for London and a big deal for all of our employees. Everyone is very excited,” company founder and CEO Alex Vander Hoeven told The Londoner.

Vander Hoeven cited the talent coming out of Western University and Fanshawe College, along with government programs that support technology businesses among the advantages London offers his company.

He stressed that Race Roster will be staying put, to grow in its hometown, where it started in a tiny office above a downtown pizza parlour. It’s now located in new 15,000-square-foot digs in a historic building at 186 York Street across from London’s Via Rail station.

“We’re firmly committed to London, Ontario, where we started, and actually to show that commitment, we’re moving into a bigger space in London, where we’re going to put RACE ROSTER up in big letters right across from the train station,” Vander Hoeven, told just a day after the deal was announced.

“This means Race Roster will hire more employees and bring in more talent to London, Ontario—where we started and where we’re going to grow well beyond geographic boundaries.”