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.
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Top Stories of the Week
CANADA LOSING ITS APPEAL TO INDIAN TECH WORKERS FOLLOWING DIPLOMATIC TENSIONS, AFFORDABILITY CHALLENGES
Nearly half of the 32,000 tech workers who moved to Canada between April of 2022 and March of 2023—15,097 in total—originated from India.
Not only has the geopolitical situation made it harder for Canadian employers to attract tech workers from India, but it’s also made life more difficult for those already here. The sudden suspension of visa services means Canadian citizens who don’t currently have a valid visa are unable to travel between the two countries.
DESPITE STRONG 2022 FOR CLEANTECH, EDC REPORT FINDS CANADA LAGS PEERS ON R&D SPENDING, FUNDING, CONVERTING STARTUPS TO SCALEUPS
Despite its growth, Canada’s cleantech sector still faces an array of challenges.
This includes inadequate levels of private research and development spending per capita and difficulty converting startups to scaleups compared to fellow member countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
EDC argues that there is still plenty of room for Canada to increase its cleantech competitiveness on a global scale, particularly as it relates to tech development, funding, and at-scale demonstrations.
Toronto-based early-stage venture firm Ripple Ventures is setting up shop in Vancouver as it eyes the final close of its third venture fund later this year.
The move out west is a strategic one for Ripple Ventures. The firm is raising its third venture fund, which recently received a $7.5-million investment from the federal government’s renewed Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI).
Sean O'Connor, former managing director of Conexus Venture Capital and Emmertech, has joined Salmon Arm, BC AgTech startup TechBrew Robotics as CEO, BetaKit has learned.
In an exclusive interview with BetaKit, O'Connor laid out why joining TechBrew was a "natural" move for both parties, spoke about the startup's progress to date under Boudreau's leadership, and shared where the AgTech firm plans to go from here.
Vancouver media tech firm BBTV Holdings, which currently trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), announced on Oct. 17 that it has entered into an agreement to go private.
BBTV has struggled. Since 2021, BBTV’s revenue has fallen, its losses have grown, the company has cut staff, brought on a new CFO, and contended with a messy public dispute with one of its higher-profile clients.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES CONSULTATION ON AI’S COPYRIGHT IMPLICATIONS AS PRIVACY WATCHDOG SEEKS INPUT ON NEW BIOMETRICS GUIDANCE
The Government of Canada and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) are seeking feedback from Canadians on the intersection of generative AI and copyright, and the OPC’s updated guidance for dealing with biometric data, respectively.
These moves come as the Government of Canada and affiliated agencies explore how to navigate new and evolving technologies, such as AI, fingerprinting, voice identification, and facial recognition, which pose a challenge to both copyrighted works and individual privacy.
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA TARGETS $50 MILLION WITH NEW INNOVATION FUND, ANNOUNCES FIRST INVESTMENT IN AI SYSTEM CONTROL STARTUP
The University of Alberta has launched a new donor-backed innovation fund to invest in local startups, and has announced artificial intelligence (AI)-firm RL Core Technologies as the fund’s first investment.
The university, which hopes to raise $50 million for the fund through donor support, said in a statement that the fund will focus on AI, health, energy, and agriculture as part of the university’s plan to increase its research impact over the next decade.
Allen Lau, co-founder and former CEO of Wattpad, has had first-hand M&A experience leading his company to its $754-million CAD acquisition deal with Naver in 2021.
Now, Lau wants to share the lessons he learned with Canadian founders currently pursuing M&A in an ever-changing economy. Ahead of his TechExit appearance on October 25, Lau spoke to the current state of M&A, the value of mentorship, and what role VCs can play.
Latest Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs
VAN – BBTV to go private (read more)
VAN – Procurify – $68M (read more)
VAN – Hiive – $5.7M (read more)
VAN – Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business – $500,000 (read more)
CGY – StellarAlgo lays off 21 employees (read more)
KW – Miovision – $36M (read more)
TOR – Snappy – $7M (read more)
TOR – Astrus – $3.6M (read more)
OTT – Case IQ acquires Whistleblower Security (read more)
MTL – Cycle Momentum accelerator secures $22.25M (read more)
MTL – Entrepreneur training org EEQ secures $2.7M (read more)
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The BetaKit Podcast
“So many Canadian organizations today are sending their dollars, their economic capital, to AWS, to Azure, to Google. There really is no Canadian response to this today."
Eric Duffy explains why Tenstorrent's leadership pedigree and open standard tech have attracted interest from Korean auto manufacturers and consumer electronic companies alike, before discussing the opportunities and gaps before Canadian hardware companies competing with Apple, NVIDIA, and Intel.
“So there are good things about the state of the market today compared to where we were in the 2000s. There are things that are not as good, and then you have fundamental issues that occurred in the aftermath of the dotcom era that never got solved.”
Investor and Canadian tech archeologist Matt Roberts (CMD Capital) discusses his journey to investigate the last 20-plus years of venture capital in Canada, what he learned, and which parts of our past continue to rhyme.