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After a soft launch at the beginning of this year, Pine officially launched in Ontario today, with plans to expand to the rest of the country within the year. Pine has sparked the interest of a group of notable investors from Canada and Silicon Valley, including backers of Blend, which started off in online mortgages and has since expanded to broader loans and payments.
Bolt, Facing Challenges, Cuts Costs and Lowers Growth Target (THE INFORMATION)
As startup markets sour, Bolt is trying to become a symbol of the new, leaner environment: After laying off around 250 employees last week, Bolt told employees on Wednesday that it plans to continue cutting costs to stem monthly losses that have more than tripled since summer 2021. And, in a sign that reality is finally piercing the Silicon Valley bubble, Bolt is now aiming this year to bring in customers that generate $8 billion of transactions, down from $20 billion.
The move, which has been anticipated for some time, ensures Wealthsimple users will be able to access the startups’ core services, from stock and crypto trading to spending, through a single interface.
Gemini lays off 10% of workforce as the ‘crypto revolution’ enters its ‘contraction phase’ (TECHCRUNCH)
All employees will be provided a separation package and healthcare benefits. The company closed its physical offices, the co-founders wrote, “so that these conversations will be held remotely to protect the privacy of each impacted individual. Our highest priority throughout will be to treat everyone affected with compassion and respect.”
With Canadian tech IPOs on pause, private markets face a higher bar.
Yep. Billions—and a lot of it goes unused.
It wasn’t that long ago that the “pandemic effect” helped drive a record-breaking IPO boom among Canadian technology companies. Fast forward a year, however, and the landscape has completely changed with private market growth capital once again the financing pathway of choice for tech firms.
Manzil looks to expand Halal financial services platform with $2.44 million CAD, acquisition of Muslim Will (BETAKIT)
Since its official launch in 2020, Manzil has seen an appetite for its offerings in the Canadian market. “The demand is there, the product-market fit is there,” said Sawwaf. “It’s really just all about now scaling the platform.”
Nathaniel Chastain, a former employee of OpenSea, is accused of using confidential information about which NFTs were going to be featured on OpenSea’s homepage to secretly buy the digital assets and then sell them for 2x to 5x the original price, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The pace of the pivots can feel almost frenetic. One Ottawa-based entrepreneur, worried the world was passing him by, surprised his employees on a company Zoom call by saying he was pivoting the entire company into Web3. “I said, ‘Guys, this is the future and this is where everything is going,’” he said. “‘If we miss this boat, I don’t think we can ever get back on.’” (The company, which had been a print-on-demand platform, now helps creators build 3D NFTs to sell to fans in the metaverse.)
“Every time I left the company, I joined the next one in an earlier and a more senior role, and less cash comp and more stock,” said Damir Hot. “And then eventually there was nowhere to go but start from ground zero, and so I found an amazing co-founder and then off we went.”
“Adapting quickly and acting now will help us to successfully navigate this macro environment and emerge even stronger, enabling further healthy growth and innovation,” Chief People Officer L.J. Brock wrote in a company memo, shared publicly to Coinbase’s blog. Brock added that the hiring freeze will persist as long as the macroeconomic downturn continues, and that the freeze will also apply to backfills.
Lendified expressed doubts about moving forward as a company after posting first quarter loss (BETAKIT)
“If the company is unable to obtain additional funding and attain profitable levels of operation, the company may be unable to continue to realize on its assets and to discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business,” Lendified warned in its filing.
Klarna just launched a physical card for users as BNPL players push to bring their services offline (INSIDER)
Swedish buy now, pay later fintech Klarna is expanding its offerings in the US even further with a new physical card that will allow customers to use the BNPL service almost anywhere they shop, Insider can exclusively report.
Big Whale Labs, a startup building a social protocol to facilitate pseudonymity through zero knowledge and crypto, exclusively told The Block that it has raised $3.8 million in a Seed round. The round was led by M13 and Road, with participation from Slow Ventures, C2, Goodwater, Panache, NFR, and angel investors Balaji Srinivasan (ex-CTO of Coinbase) and Roman (founder of Tornado Cash), along with others.
Parvis raises $2.6 million seed round for blockchain-enabled real estate investment management platform (BETAKIT)
Parvis works with property developers across North America to bring curated residential real estate projects to their digital platform. Parvis positions itself as different from real estate investment trusts (REITs), by claiming that its platform will enable investors to choose specific properties, instead of investing in a blind pool of real estate offerings.
Most of the duping — totaling $575 million — came in the form of phony investments, frequently guaranteeing eye-popping returns. Some even came with fake dashboards to track “growth” or offered of small test withdrawals designed to fool consumers into trusting the schemes, the FTC said.