Kraken Robotics, the St. John’s maker of underwater drones, was the top performing technology sector company on the TSX Venture in 2022, according to the exchange’s yearly Venture 50 rankings, which consider movements in businesses’ share prices, market capitalizations and trading volumes.
Shares in Kraken rose 52 percent over the course of the year to end at 56 cents, and have since rallied further to 58 cents. Its market cap likewise rose by 52 percent to just under $115 million, placing it among the most valuable startups in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history.
Kraken was the only Atlantic Canadian company to make the list. Other than the tech sector, the categories were cleantech and life sciences, diversified industries, mining and energy.
“In 2022, what drove our growth was multifaceted,” said CEO Greg Reid in a video statement. “In 2023, we expect continued strong growth, and that’s driven on a number of fronts.
“We now have a strong base of reference customers. We recently won a Canadian navy program, which is $50 million. In addition, our subsea battery business is starting to see really strong growth as well.”
The navy deal to which Reid was referring will see Kraken sell the Department of National Defence technology and support services for mine hunting and disposal work over the next seven years.
Founded by former Canadian Navy officer Karl Kenny, Kraken released a financial update in January saying it booked about $40 million in revenue in the fiscal year ended Dec. 31. The company expects to post 2022 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of between $5 million and $7 million.
Those represent increases from $15 million of revenue in 2021 and EBITDA of about $3 million.
Kraken ended 2022 with $8.2 million in the bank, compared to $6.8 million the year prior, and another $13 million in accounts receivable.
And in January, the company named a new CTO, David Shea — a Kraken veteran who previously held roles including senior vice president of engineering.