Over the last two decades, Victoria-based angel investor, Don Wharton, has made a successful career out of doing what he loves: growing cutting-edge software development companies.
In a career spanning two decades, his accomplishments include:
- Founding a software product business that grew to include 20 products and 130 global employees
- Acquiring a content-origination platform that grew to serve 50,000 clients
- Investing early in Internet Brands which was eventually acquired for $600 million dollars.
- Seeding a little known Canadian game developer with $2 million dollars that went on to become an award-winning firm
- Investing in Social Nature, a sustainable startup based in Canada that encourages people to live healthy lives by changing their shopping and eating habits
- Co-founding a bootstrapped SaaS consolidator that currently includes 40 high-potential acquisitions
Don’s latest venture is Wharton Stevenson Technology Partners (Wharton Stevenson). It is the culmination of his decades of experience founding, investing in, and acquiring SaaS business.
Wharton Stevenson is a metrics-focused firm with the goal of investing in the next wave of disciplined capital allocators in the SaaS space. Along with co-founder Dave Stevenson, Don uses his decades of experience investing in and growing startups to give Wharton Stevenson a significant advantage in identifying high-potential capital allocators.
What is Wharton Stevenson?
Wharton Stevenson is a venture from seasoned operators and investors looking to discover high-potential capital allocators with strong, future-focused leadership.
The new firm already has an impressive portfolio of invesments including:
- SureSwift Capital Fund B: An SaaS acquisitions fund led by Kevin McArdle that acquires and accelerates small SaaS firms (SureSwift Capital is also co-owned by Don). SureSwift Capital currently employs 100 people and has 40 products in its portfolio.
- Heron Rock Nest Fund: A growing fund run by Tim Williams with a number of early-stage startups.
- Calm Company Fund: A fund with the goal of empowering bootstrappers and opening the world of entrepreneurship to more people. The fund’s portfolio currently contains 40+ SaaS businesses, developer tools, membership sites, and communities.
What Makes Wharton Stevenson Different?
Don has made a career out of identifying new companies/technologies with immense long-term potential for growth. Wharton Stevenson operates the same way.
The companies goal is to find new companies with a clearly defined capital allocation strategy and leadership that never waivers from their mandate to improve Internal Rate of Return.
For example, they seek out companies with a permanent capital base. Permanent capital is, more or less, cash in the bank intended to be invested in perpetuity. This is the key advantage.
Unlike traditional funds that have a lifespan of 5-10 years (and that are always at the mercy of repaying investors), permanent capital is under no pressure to do anything except to be put to its best use for the fund.
This gives permanent capital the advantage of being highly flexible. You can repay dividends at the right times, buy back under-appreciated stocks, or raise capital when a target acquisition goes on the market at a lower price.
Instead of being at the mercy of the market and investors, permanent capital waits patiently for the market to present the best opportunity.
Don Wharton’s Career in SaaS
Don has always had a passion for SaaS businesses. From founding his own startup almost 20 years ago to creating dream exits with one of the leading acquisitions funds in the SaaS arena, Don has kept growing just like the companies he invests in.
Don sees it as a ladder. First, you found and grow your own company. Then, you acquire and grow others. Next, you start a fund that acquires and grows dozens of SaaS businesses.
Now, with Wharton Stevenson, Don can invest in the capital allocators themselves so he co-owns vast portfolios of products while they run day-to-day operations.
Both Don Wharton and his co-founder, Dave Stevenson, have made successful careers out of investing in the future. With Wharton Stevenson, they continue doing what they do best: investing in portfolios of SAAS companies led by the very best capital allocators.