Canadian startup news of the week (5/22/23)

Former Toronto Mayor John Tory and Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave speaking at the first Collision in Toronto in 2019.
Then-Toronto Mayor John Tory and Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave speaking at the first Collision in Toronto in 2019.
Plus: Sam Altman says this Canadian city should be the next AI hub.

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


MAYOR TORY’S DEPARTURE, COMPETING BIDS, AND FINANCIAL PRESSURE ON PROVINCE AND FEDS PLACE COLLISION’S FUTURE IN CANADA IN DOUBT

While major North American tech conference Collision has privately communicated intentions to extend its Toronto stay by at least another year, no official agreement has been reached, BetaKit has learned. Securing that agreement might be harder than in years past.

The conference has upped its ask to north of $40 million CAD for an extended three-year stay, as five other cities vie to host the conference.


CVCA: CANADIAN VENTURE CAPITAL CONTINUES TO FALL BACK TO PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS

While Canadian venture capital investment fell quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, the amount invested is a return to pre-pandemic levels and sets the time period of 2021 to early 2022 as a potential outlier for Canadian venture capital.


“THE REVOLUTION HAS LAUNCHED”: OPENAI’S SAM ALTMAN CHARTS THE PROMISE AND PERIL OF AI AT TORONTO EVENT

In a fireside chat at Toronto's Design Exchange with Shopify co-founder and CEO Tobias Lütke, Altman expressed a great deal of optimism about the current pace of AI research and development, while also noting the risks.


QUÉBEC ATTRACTED MORE VENTURE FUNDING THAN ANY OTHER CANADIAN REGION IN Q1 2023

Despite seeing a decline in venture funding both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, Québec attracted more investment than any other Canadian region in the first quarter of 2023.


ALBERTA’S TECH SECTOR REMAINED RESILIENT IN FIRST QUARTER OF 2023

According to briefed.in’s latest report, startups in Alberta raised $225.5 million in the first quarter of 2023. This represents a 30 percent increase in investment from the previous quarter and a 10 percent increase year-over-year.


CAUCUS GROUP LAUNCHED TO DEAL WITH EMERGING TECHNOLOGY LIKE AI, BLOCKCHAIN

Citing blockchain and artificial intelligence as two forms of tech rapidly impacting Canada’s social and economic fabric, Michelle Rempel Garner and Colin Deacon said they launched the cross-partisan working group of Canadian parliamentarians.


LIGHTSPEED COMMERCE MAKES GAINS IN FISCAL 2023, FOURTH QUARTER

Despite the better numbers, shareholders are still not pleased with the company’s performance. At presstime, shares in the TSX-listed Lightspeed had fallen by $2.83 CAD to $17.17, not far off of its 52-week low of $17.06.


HOW INKBOX CFO LOUISE HUCAL HANDLED THE PROCESS OF BEING ACQUIRED BY A GLOBAL CORPORATION

Louise Hucal has worked in Fortune 500 companies and been involved in multiple M&A deals as an employee. However, pen maker Bic’s acquisition of temporary tattoo startup Inkbox felt more personal.

“We were not in the ‘be acquired’ head space at all at that point in time and were still comfortably funded by our venture partners," Hucal said.


Latest Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs


  • VAN – Withe – $1.1M (read more)

  • TOR – Peak Power – $47M (read more)

  • TOR – Bloom – $7M (read more)

  • TOR – Vault – $5M (read more)

  • TOR – MCI OneHealth sells five Calgary clinics to Well Health (read more)

  • TOR – Tough Commerce – $2M (read more)

  • OTT – Tehama management buys company out of bankruptcy (read more)

  • MTL – Stathera – $20M (read more)

  • MTL – ChrysaLabs – $15M (read more)


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    The BetaKit Podcast


    WHAT'S NEXT FOR SHOPIFY?

    "This announcement communicated two things: this thing we're getting rid of isn't primary to our mission—it's a side quest, we don't actually care about this; and we have a cultural problem at our company with who we've hired and what they're focused on."

    Madeline Stone, retail and e-commerce writer for Business Insider, joins to discuss the future of Shopify's "main quest" after cutting staff and selling off its logistics division. Co-hosts Rob & Doug then take over to discuss whether or not Shopify is the victim of Canada's tall poppy syndrome.  


    DO THE FEDS HAVE AN INNOVATION STRATEGY?

    "I don't necessarily know if the government understands what an innovation strategy is."

    CCI president Ben Bergen joins to answer listener-submitted questions about: the Canada Innovation Corporation, open banking, SR&ED reform, and why the feds are behind on so many innovation files.  


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Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a freelancer with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in history, tech, and gaming. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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