Is it possible to get funding to buy a Canadian non-profit company and turn it for-profit


I'm going to be vague and have used a new anonymous account to hide my identity because I don't want the other parties involved to know about my question.

I'm a developer who has been working on contract basis for a Canadian non-profit (not charity) for the past 5 years. My business partner started working on contract basis for the non-profit 10 years ago and in that time we have been the only developers of the software and have completely re-written the software from the code that existed at the time my partner started working on the software. The entire reason for the existence of the non-profit is the sale of software we develop to other non-profits and government agencies. The development of the software has been funded through customers paying for new features or through grant funding. The vast majority of features that make the software worthwhile have been the ideas of either myself or my partner.

I think that the company, which has no actual employees, is being mismanaged and that the software has great potential both inside and outside the current industry it is focused on.

I have been thinking about how to go about buying the company and don't have the funds to do this myself, nor do I have a clue where to start putting a value on a company that does not have profit generation as a goal. Is getting funding to go out and buy another company something that is done? If I can find an investor to assist with the purchase would it likely be worth it. What are the implications of turning a non-profit into a for-profit especially given that the organization has received funding grants from the government?

To be clear, I think that my partner and I are 90% of the reason for the success of the organization, I think the software has merit and a lot of potential for making money and the software involved is of significant size and complexity.

Edit: We've thought about recreating the software (we have all the knowledge of how everything works) but the software as it stands is 250k-300k lines of code, and I am not sure how long it would take to get to a minimum viable product and losing all the effort would be hard.

Also, if it matters, the product is software as a service through the web rather than installed on customer computers.

Funding Software Non Profit

asked Oct 23 '12 at 05:23
9 points
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  • is it for sale? – Littleadv 11 years ago
  • It is not explicitly for sale but they are at a point where they need to make a decision about what they want the company to be, since the software has grown to big to fund as they are but there are no employees and no one responsible for growth in customer base. A reputable consultant in the space of non-profits with knowledge of the sector they target suggested selling to a for-profit competitor as one of their options. – Justgottaknow 11 years ago
  • this is wrong on so many levels, I feel ashamed as a Canadian. Not all of us are this evil or arrogant. – Kim Jong Woo 10 years ago

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Funding Software Non Profit