F|T: The FinTech Times – Bitfarms bites back at activist takeover

Three physical Bitcoins
Plus: Nesto eyes controlling stake in CMLS Financial.

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Riot Platforms publicly discloses rejected $950-million USD proposal to acquire Bitfarms

Colorado-based Riot Platforms’ proposal to purchase fellow Bitcoin mining company, Toronto-based Bitfarms, for $950 million was rejected. Now, it said it plans to hold a special meeting aimed at bringing “needed change” to Bitfarms’ board.

“We are deeply concerned that the founders on the Bitfarms board—Nicolas Bonta and Emiliano Grodzki—may not be acting in the best interests of all Bitfarms shareholders,” Riot CEO Jason Les said.

Bitfarms said a special committee of its board “carefully considered” Riot’s proposal when it was received in April, and determined that “it significantly undervalues the company and its growth prospects.” The company added it is reviewing “strategic alternatives to ensure it achieves maximum shareholder value,” including a merger or similar transaction, a sale of the company, or a continuation of its current business plan.


Online mortgage lender Nesto in talks to buy controlling stake in CMLS Financial, sources say

Online mortgage lender Nesto Inc. is in talks to buy a controlling stake in Canada’s third-largest non-bank mortgage lender CMLS Financial Inc., according to three people familiar with the matter.

The deal, which has not been finalized, would allow Montreal-based Nesto to diversify into new lines of business, particularly commercial mortgage lending − a segment of the market Nesto does not currently serve, one of the sources who is close to the negotiations told The Globe and Mail.

(The Globe and Mail)

BCV leads second round in Relay, as SMB-focused FinTech closes $44-million CAD Series B

Toronto-based FinTech startup Relay has secured approximately $44 million CAD ($32.2 million USD) in Series B funding led by existing investor Bain Capital Ventures to build on its growth and fuel its product development plans.

In an interview with BetaKit, Relay co-founder and CEO Yoseph West said that amid what has become a challenging market for tech companies and FinTech firms in particular, the timing was right for Relay to invest in growth.


PayPal Is Planning an Ad Business Using Data on Its Millions of Shoppers

PayPal hopes to boost its growth by starting an ad network juiced with something it already owns: data on its millions of users.

The digital payments company plans to build an ad sales business around the reams of data it generates from tracking the purchases as well as the broader spending behaviors of millions of consumers who use its services, which include the more socially-enabled Venmo app.

(The Wall Street Journal)

Consensus crypto conference coming to Toronto in 2025

A long-running conference dedicated to digital assets, blockchain, Web3, and artificial intelligence has announced it’s coming to Toronto for the first time in 2025.

Consensus 2025 will take place from May 14 to May 16, 2025, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Consensus chair Michael Casey announced on the Consensus 2024 main stage in Austin, Texas on Thursday.

Consensus says it is the longest-running crypto and Web3 event globally, with more than 15,000 attendees, 750 journalists, and 550 speakers at this year’s conference.


Elevate reveals speakers, content tracks ahead of 2024 tech festival

Elevate Festival has revealed its lineup of speakers and content tracks for its 2024 event.

This year’s conference will feature a diverse range of tech-focused content tracks. The FinTech stage will bring together experts from across the financial industry to discuss the future of the sector and discuss the state of Canadian FinTech relative to that of other nations. BetaKit is an Elevate media partner and is excited to curate the program for Elevate’s FinTech stage this year.


Bootstrapped for over a decade, this Dallas company just secured $110M to help people pay bills by text

Solutions by Text, a company that gives people a way to pay their bills and apply for loans via text messaging, has secured $110 million in new growth funding.

Solutions by Text is not your typical startup raising capital. The company was founded in 2008 by brothers Danny and Mike Cantrell, who bootstrapped it until 2021 when Edison Partners wrote its first check into the company as part of a $35 million growth round.

Since its raise late that year, [CEO David] Baxter said, SBT has seen its revenue increase by “more than 3x” though he declined to say what the base revenue was.


Ecosystem Spotlight: Alberta tech is striking gold

Less than a decade ago, Alberta’s global reputation had little to do with its tech ecosystem. But according to Joe Timlin, Managing Director at CIBC Innovation Banking, the province is quickly emerging as a key destination for investment and impact.

“We’ve just seen the ecosystem mature to the point where a number of name brand venture capital and private equity firms have done their first investments in Alberta, and now I think they’re eager to do more after seeing the opportunity set there,” Timlin told BetaKit.


Mastercard launches P2P crypto network, vanity address system

Mastercard is launching a peer-to-peer platform for cryptocurrency users in Europe and Latin America.

The Mastercard Crypto Credential network, which is in pilot mode, supports transactions on Bit2Me, Lirium and Mercado Bitcoin exchanges, enabling cross-border payments across the Atlantic, Mastercard said Wednesday in a statement. The P2P platform’s rollout forms part of the payments company’s push to leverage digital assets for cross-border payments, a growing payments services sector.

(The Block)

When the classroom works to scale

Last month, Amanda Fong found herself in Santiago, Chile, presenting a benchmarking analysis to the CEO and management team of a local agriculture-focused venture capital firm.

Originally from Ottawa and now settled in Toronto, Fong has a commerce degree and work experience as a Product Manager for the PC Health portfolio at Loblaw Companies Limited. But she found herself on a two-week study tour of Peru and Chile as part of an optional course in her MBA in Technology Leadership, offered by the Schulich School of Business at York University.

“The pace of change in the business world is unprecedented,” she explained. “To remain competitive and effective, I knew I needed to invest in myself, continually develop my skills, and challenge the status quo.”


What’s good, readers?

It’s time to tell us what you think! We’re checking in with the BetaKit community as the Collision conference rolls into Toronto for its 5th year. Let us know if you’re going, which speakers you’d most like to see on stage and share your recommendations for tech sector visitors to Toronto during the conference.

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Feature image by Dmitry Demidko via Unsplash

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

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

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