Canadian startup news of the week (5/01/22)

Plus: Bonsai lays off a third of employees shortly after $21 million Series A, citing shift to growth strategy.

Welcome to BetaKit’s startup stories of the week! Here, you will find the week’s most important news, features, and editorials published on BetaKit. If you prefer this update hit your inbox every week, make sure to subscribe to the BetaKit Newsletter using the form at the bottom of this page.

Top Stories of the Week


Meet the Canadian marketing VCs that help vet Marc Andreessen’s memes

Led by Canadian co-founders Daniel Eckler and Wisam “Wiz” Abdulla—a pair of marketing-focused entrepreneurs-turned-investors with two exits each under their belts—Spacecadet is positioning itself as ‘the marketing VC.’


CVCA argues SEC’s proposed disclosure requirements for private investment funds will hurt Canadian investors

The Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) is warning that a set of rules proposed by the United States (US) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will negatively impact Canadian investors.


Startup Genome ranks Vancouver, Toronto-Waterloo among top global AgTech, new food ecosystems

Startup Genome has published its first AgTech and New Food report, naming two of Canadian ecosystems to its list of the best 35 cities and regions for AgTech and “new food” startups in the world.


Ontario 2022 budget continues innovation focus, but heavy on previously announced commitments

The Ontario government’s 2022 budget was long on innovation promises, but many of them were previously announced initiatives from the government rather than new commitments.


Bonsai lays off a third of employees shortly after $21 million Series A, citing shift to growth strategy

Embedded commerce startup Bonsai has laid off 29 employees (about 34 percent of its team) less than a month after securing $21 million in Series A capital. The move was a proactive one, according to Bonsai CEO Saad Siddiqui.


Yuan Shi joins The51 as Food and AgTech Fund targets $50 million

The former Vancouver director for the Creative Destruction Lab has joined The51. Yuan Shi comes to The51’s previously announced Food and AgTech Fund as a principal, bringing experience and expertise in the climate, food, and agriculture ecosystem.


Bonsai lays off a third of employees shortly after $21 million Series A, citing shift to growth strategy

On the #CIBCInnovationEconomy podcast, Lapierre explained how feedback became critical to her success with TealBook and her response to critics who say she listens to too much feedback.


Latest Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs

  • CAN – Government of Canada launches $15M inclusive women VC initiative (read more)

  • VAN – Later acquired by Mavrck (read more)

  • VAN – HiSports acquired by Québec-based Spordle (read more)

  • VAN – Terramera – $1M (read more)

  • AB – Government of Alberta allocates $30M towards AI (read more)

  • CAL – Userful – $10M (read more)

  • CAL/TOR – OneVest – $5M (read more)

  • LET – Verge Ag – $7.5M (read more)

  • MIS – Technation receives $60M from federal government (read more)

  • TOR – Shipfusion – $51.2M (read more)

  • TOR – Think Research – $25M (read more)

  • TOR – Swtch Energy – $16.5M (read more)

  • TOR – Signal 1 – $12.7M (read more)

  • TOR – Connected acquired by Thoughtworks (read more)

  • TOR – Stablecorp – $1.9M (read more)

  • TOR – Part3 – $625K (read more)

  • SHE – Government of Québec invests $16M in University of Sherbrooke (read more)


CAN THE FEDS BUILD A TALENT STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL NOMADS?

“Is it a silver bullet, is this one policy going to fix everything? No.”

CCI president Ben Bergen and VP Dana O’Born join to tackle the big talent changes that pre-empted #Budget2022, before channelling our inner Paul Wells to investigate the light on details Canadian Innovation and Investment Agency and Canada Growth Fund.


DO CANADIAN FINTECHS WANT BANK KICKBACKS OR COMPETITION?

“That kind of gives me a brain boner. I get pretty excited.”

Changes to the Competition Act are coming. Can a “whole of government” approach break Canada’s oligopolies? Policy wonk Vass Bednar joins to read the tea leaves from Budget 2022.


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Cameron Chaddad

Cameron is a fourth-year journalism student at Carleton University, with a minor in business. Originally from Ottawa, ON, his family roots are both Italian and Lebanese.

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