Tom provides strategic advice on corporate finance, venture capital, securities, M&A and corporate governance matters to clients across various industry sectors, with an emphasis on the technology and not-for-profit sectors.
Tom has particular expertise in technology start-ups and has assisted many companies from formation through successful exits. Many transactions have involved cross-border elements, both on investments and acquisitions. Tom initiated and oversees Dentons’ involvement in C100, a preeminent organization formed to facilitate mentorship of Canadian technology start-ups by successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors, including sponsorships of a number of GROW and Accelerate events.
In recent years, Tom has also become more actively involved in providing corporate governance advice to industry associations and others in the not-for-profit sector.
- SeaWell Networks Inc.: Acted for a leader in multi-platform video delivery software for network operators, in its acquisition by ARRIS (Nasdaq: ARRS) (April 2014).
- Relay Ventures: Acted on a CA$2.3 million seed financing round led by Relay Ventures in Mojio Inc., a Vancouver-based startup that is developing a cloud-based device for cars that integrates with a smart phone (October 2013).
- Blumberg Capital: Acted in its secondary sale of shares in social relationship platform provider Hootsuite as part of Hootsuite’s CA$165 million Series B financing round led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation by Accel Partners and existing investor, OMERS Ventures. This transaction is recognized as one of the largest rounds of global venture capital financing, and the largest deal ever in Canadian venture capital history for a software company (August 2013).
- 500px: Acted as Canadian counsel for photographer-centered platform provider 500px on its CA$8.8 million Series A financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Harrison Metal (August 2013).
- Silect Software Inc.: Acted in its sale to BridgeWays, Inc. (March 2013).
- Energy Advantage Inc.: Acted on its strategic agreement with Delta Energy Services (March 2013).
- Canadian Medical Association: Acted on the sale by its subsidiary of its electronic medical records business to Telus Health (February 2013).
- BTI Systems: Acted in its US$10 million Class C financing (December 2012).
- SeaWell Networks Inc.: Acted for a leader in multi-platform video delivery software for network operators, in its CA$8 million Series B financing (April 2012).
- Echologics Engineering Inc.: Counsel in its acquisition by Mueller Water Products, Inc. (December 2010).
- CognoVision Solutions Inc.: Counsel in its acquisition by Intel (November 2010).
- TerraChoice Inc.: Counsel to in its acquisition by ULC Standards (August 2010).
- Bridgewater Systems: Counsel to a telecommunications software provider in its 2007 TSX initial public offering and secondary offering.
- DragonWave Inc.: Counsel to a telecommunications equipment provider in its 2007 dual-listed TSX and AIM initial public offering.
- Confidential clients: Acted on numerous cross-border acquisitions of Canadian-based technology companies.
- Celtic House Venture Partners: Acted for one of Canada’s leading venture capital companies, on many transactions.
- SiGe Semiconductor Inc.: Counsel to on approximately CA$100 million in venture capital financing transactions.
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada 2015 as one of Canada’s leading lawyers in the areas of Corporate Law (2006-2015), Mergers and Acquisitions Law (2012-2015), Private Funds Law (2013-2015) and Technology Law (2006-2015)
- Recommended by The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 as a leading lawyer in the areas of Computer & I.T. Law, Corporate Finance & Securities, Technology Transactions, Private Equity, M&A and Corporate Mid-Market
- Selected as Best Lawyers 2014 Ottawa Corporate Law "Lawyer of the Year"
- The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2013 has distinguished members of our Ottawa Technology Group with its highest ranking in the Technology sector in Ottawa
- Rated AV Preeminent in Martindale-Hubbell
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada 2013 as "Lawyer of the Year" in Technology Law (Ottawa)
- Endorsed as a leading lawyer in Practical Law Company’s PLC Venture Capital multi-jurisdictional guide 2012 in the area of venture capital
- Recommended by The 2012 Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada as a leading lawyer in the area of Technology Transactions law
- Endorsed in the Practical Law Company's PLC Which Lawyer? 2011 directory as a leading lawyer in Venture Capital for Canada
Honors and Awards
- Awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 by the Governor General in recognition of contributions to Canada
In the Media
Activities and Affiliations
- Member of the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA)
- Member of the Invest Ottawa
- Member of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA)
- Sponsor of C100
Community Involvement and Pro Bono
- Member of the Dean's Council of the Faculty of Law, Queen's University
- Member of the Finance Committee of the Royal Ottawa Golf Club
- Past Member of the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Art Gallery
- Past Member of the Board of Directors of the United Way/Centraide Ottawa
- Past Member of the Board of Directors of the Rideau Lakes Environmental Foundation
- Past Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
- Past Chairman of the Finance Committee and Member of the Board of Governors of Elmwood School
- Past Member of the Queen’s University Business School Capital Campaign
- Part-time Professor (Major Business Transactions), University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, 2004-2005
- Part-time Professor (Securities Regulation), University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, 1988-1992
- Instructor, Business Law Section, Ontario Bar Admission Course, 1985-1994
- A Report from the desk of Tom Houston, Member, CATAAllliance National Leadership Council, and Partner, Dentons on the Chair’s Advisory lunch hosted by Howard Wetston, Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, March 6, 2014
- Presented to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on the new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act on November 21, 2012
- Appeared in a CATAnet TV video interview on December 8, 2009, sponsored by the CATAAlliance advocacy Campaign, advocating changes to tax legislation to facilitate cross-border venture capital investments in Canada
- Panelist at an event held in Newton, Massachusetts on March 20, 2008, which was organized by ACG Boston (American Corporate Growth) entitled “DealMakers Breakfast”, the topic was “Opportunities & Landmines of Investing In and Acquiring Businesses in Canada”
- Presentation on IP Considerations in Venture Capital and M&A Transactions at a Continuing Legal Education program on October 17, 2006 organized by the County of Carleton Law Association entitled "Intellectual Property Rights - Practical Advice for the Non-I.P. Practitioner"
- Presentation on “Current Cross-Border VC Trends and Legal Issues” at the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation’s 45th Circuit on June 7, 2005, which overviewed current Canadian and U.S. trends of venture capital financing transactions and addressed recent case law relating to both technology companies and venture capitalists
- Lead a workshop entitled “Documenting the Deal from Term Sheet to Closing” at the Venture Skills Summit in Toronto organized by Federated Press on February 4, 2004 focusing on the latest Canadian and U.S. trends in VC financing of technology companies
- Participated as a panelist in the Intellectual Property Solutions Conference organized by Brain Storm Associates on November 13, 2003, focusing on key due diligence issues relating to intellectual property in venture capital transactions and acquisitions
- Delivered paper entitled “Due Diligence - Legal Issues” focusing on due diligence issues relating to strategic acquisitions at a KPMG conference entitled “Maximizing Value Through Strategic Partnerships” held in Ottawa on May 6, 1999
- Delivered paper entitled “Cross-Border Strategies For Technology and Other Emerging Companies” focusing on comparative advantages and disadvantages of Canadian versus U.S. IPO’s at “World Conference on American Law For International Business” held in Toronto on May 5, 1998