Canadian startup news of the week (5/15/22)

Plus: OMERS Ventures' Damien Steel wants you to stop reading tech headlines.

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


Wattpad co-founder Allen Lau to step down as CEO, become executive advisor

Just over a year after Wattpad was officially acquired by Naver, the company has announced that co-founder and CEO Allen Lau is transitioning to a new role, in a move Lau described as “the final curtain call.” Lau will become executive advisor for both Wattpad and Webtoon, while Wattpad President Jeanne Lam will take over leadership of Wattpad’s operations.


Dapper Labs launches $725 million ecosystem fund for Flow blockchain innovation

The Flow blockchain was developed by Dapper Labs, the company behind CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot, in 2019. Powered by Cadence, an original programming language built specifically for digital assets, Flow is an open, decentralized platform created as a solution to the problem of blockchain scalability for consumer applications such as games and digital collectibles.


Maverix leads $83.5 million USD investment in Shopify-focused ecommerce aggregator Agora

Agora Brands’ business model is to acquire small-to-medium sized direct-to-consumer businesses with $1–20 million in annual revenues, primarily within the Shopify ecosystem.


White Star Capital, Coveo alum-led Lighthouse Labs closes $9.1 million CAD to build a search platform for the metaverse

Lighthouse has narrowed its focus: building a metaverse search engine that will enable users to search for places, events, friends, creators, assets, and experiences across and inside blockchain-based virtual worlds, most of which have been built on Ethereum.


Meet the biotech startup that received funding from both Garage Capital and Maple Leaf Foods

Evolved Meats (formerly known as CaroMeats), is part of a growing group of cultivated meat companies that have sought to develop more sustainable, lab-grown methods of meeting global demand for meat—which represents a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.


Siri Agrell explains why she’s embracing tech (but not Twitter) in her run for public office

Siri Agrell, OneEleven’s former ED who worked in the offices of John Tory and Kathleen Wynne, explains why she nixed social media for her political campaign.


What businesses are getting wrong about SR&ED tax credit claims

Boast AI’s Jeff Christie explains how to benefit from the Canadian Government’s SR&ED program to qualify for tax credit claims and grow a culture of innovation.


Latest Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs

    • VIC – Certn – $65.1M (read more)

    • VAN – Fobi AI to acquire Basket (read more)

    • AB – Alberta IoT secures $1.5M from PrairiesCan, Alberta Innovates (read more)

    • TOR – Clutch secures $150M in debt funding (read more)

    • TOR – WhereiPark acquired by Spacer Technologies (read more)

    • TOR – Habitat Learn acquires Temmer (read more)

    • TOR – Vector Institute awards nearly $2M in scholarships (read more)

    • MTL – Plusgrade to acquire Points (read more)

    • MTL – Vention – $123.7M (read more)

    • MTL – CarbiCrete – $6M (read more)

    • MTL – Tengiva – $5M (read more)


OMERS VENTURES’ DAMIEN STEEL WANTS YOU TO STOP READING TECH HEADLINES

“That impact that’s being felt in the public markets will start to trickle down to the earlier rounds.”

Damien Steel, managing partner and head of ventures at OMERS Ventures, takes umbrage with how valuations – or more specifically, the sticker price placed on funding rounds – are paraded in the media.


HOW DO YOU MEASURE CULTURE IN THE REMOTE AND HYBRID WORKPLACE?

“Human-to-human connection is ultimately what we’re craving, even if we are working in a digital-by-design or remote-first environment.”

Shawn Hewat, CEO and co-founder of Wavy, joins to discuss burnout and talent churn in the new remote & hybrid world, and how tech companies are trying to manage and measure culture.


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Michael Edgar

Michael Edgar

Michael is a multimedia journalist and Carleton Journalism alumni working out of Ottawa and Montreal. Follow him on twitter @mwedgar.

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