Canadian VCs are less confident about 2024

Plus: Crypto stakeholders raise alarm on stablecoins.

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Good evening, 

The Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) has insights to share on the 2024 private markets outlook.

The industry association did a gut check on its members: more than 90 percent of respondents plan to deploy capital to existing and new investments this year, but 82 percent say securing financing and liquidity will be a challenge.
Sounds like it’s business as usual for liquid VCs, while those fundraising are having a hard time getting LPs to return their calls. Reporter Josh Scott recently covered the trials and triumphs CBIV faced closing its first fund.

CVCA survey respondents are also mixed on whether portfolio valuations will increase. More than a third expect “a slight increase” in valuations while 28 percent anticipate “a slight decrease.”

Interestingly, on a scale of one to 10, investors’ average confidence level in the long-term growth prospect of Canadian private capital fell from 7.4 last year to 6.7. 

On a scale of one to 10, how are you feeling? My inbox is open. 

‘Til next week, 
Bianca Bharti
Newsletter Editor

Solfium is bringing solar power to Latin America

Calgary and Montréal-based cleantech startup Solfium might be a Canadian company, but its ambitions lie thousands of kilometres south.

Latin America comprises one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable regions and has some of the lowest levels of solar power in the world. This is just one of the reasons that the founders of Solfium, including co-founder and CEO Andres Friedman, see massive potential in this region.

“We are at a level of penetration that is so low, so the market opportunity is massive,” Friedman told BetaKit.

Solfium, which has developed a supply chain ecosystem for solar panels aimed to reduce friction for consumers, installers, and component manufacturers, is now working with large corporations, like Scotiabank and Suzuki, to decarbonize their value chains.

(Read more)

Nord Quantique achieves quantum milestone

Nord Quantique says it has demonstrated the ability to reduce errors on a single qubit by 14 percent, without relying on the traditional method of using additional qubits to do so.

Though some in academia, including pioneering researchers at Yale University, have achieved similar results already, Nord Quantique co-founder and CEO Philippe St-Jean told BetaKit this milestone is still “a huge deal” for the startup.

“It’s the first time that a company [has] actually [been] able to do that, which we’re really proud of because we were able to get there in essentially a couple of years,” he said.

(Read more)

Google finally launches its chatbot in Canada

Google has rebranded its Bard chatbot to Gemini, which is based on Google’s large language model of the same name first unveiled in December.

The Canadian launch comes almost half a year after Google released Bard to a majority of countries around the world except Canada, Russia, China, Iran, Afghanistan, and North Korea.

At the time, Google was in fierce negotiations with the Canadian government over the Online News Act, legislation designed to require digital platforms to compensate news publishers for the use of their content online. Google initially said it would pull news from Google Search and other products in Canada should the act become law.

In November, the feds struck a deal with Google that guarantees the continuation of its news indexing in Canada.

(Read more)

Canadian crypto industry raises alarms on stablecoins 

In a recent letter, a broad swath of cryptocurrency players operating in Canada have called on the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) to rethink its approach to regulating fiat-backed stablecoins.

The letter urges the CSA to rescind or defer that deadline, modify its requirements for crypto platforms, and launch a public consultation regarding how to regulate issuers of fiat-backed stablecoins.

“By treating fiat-backed stablecoins as securities or derivatives and attempting to impose additional requirements that are out of step with other major jurisdictions, the CSA’s approach will almost certainly exclude virtually all fiat-backed stablecoins from Canada,” states the letter.

(Read more)

OneEleven taps Chris Greenfield as new MD 

The nearly 10-month-long search for OneEleven’s next managing director came to an end this week, as the Toronto-based innovation hub revealed the appointment of Chris Greenfield to the role.

Greenfield brings decades of experience working within and around Canada’s startup ecosystem, including as a founder of FinTech startup TipTap, as the head of Canadian Tire’s Innovation Discover Group, as well as an advisor to startups of all shapes and sizes.

(Read more)

How to make data-driven decisions in your startup

Collecting and analyzing data to inform decisions is key to any startup’s growth. But in a world of unlimited data, failing to choose the right metrics to measure actually inhibits high-quality decision-making.

This is a challenge that Dillon Mullaney, VP of Revenue at Mozart Data, sees regularly with clients. Speaking with BetaKit, Mullaney explained how he builds high-quality dashboards that drive specific, relevant action.

(Read more)

Funding | M&A | Layoffs

CGY – – $1.5M 
KIT – Code – $6.5M 
HAM – NGen Canada invests $32.3M in 15 tech-enabled manufacturing projects
TOR – Hivello – $3.3M CAD
TOR – Q4 Inc. acquired by Sumeru Equity Partners
TOR – Northleaf Capital Partners closes $285M CAD fund 
NYC – Dexa – $6M 

The BetaKit Podcast

Taylor Swift and the Apple Vision Pro are the biggest tech stories of the year (so far). Rob and Douglas play an escalating game of identifying and arguing for the biggest tech news stories: new kit like the Apple Vision Pro, Arc browser, and Nightshade, new (potential) banks like Koho, and yes, Taylor Swift. By the end of this episode, you’ll either be fearless or seeing red.

“I’m just holding out hope for Nightshade (Taylor’s Version). Arm the Swifties, they’re our only hope.”

Bianca Bharti

Bianca Bharti

Bianca Bharti is the newsletter editor at BetaKit, where she spearheads coverage and analysis of tech news in related products. Before BetaKit, Bianca covered the nexus of markets, industries and policy in a variety of formats as a reporter for the Financial Post. There, she won silver in SABEW's 2021 Best in Business Journalism Awards in the personal finance category for one of her pieces. In her free time, she enjoys swapping her reporter hat for a baseball cap to hit up some hiking trails with her dog. She also weirdly loves debating monetary policy.

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