F|T: The FinTech Times – Canadian crypto’s Bizarre Love Triangle ends in three-way merger

Plus: Bob Lee, creator of Cash App, stabbed to death.

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WonderFi, Coinsquare, CoinSmart to merge as Canada’s crypto industry consolidates (BETAKIT)

WonderFi, Coinsquare, and CoinSmart Financial announced that the three companies reached an agreement to combine and create what they claim will be “Canada’s largest regulated crypto asset trading platform.”

Collectively, Vancouver-based WonderFi, and Toronto’s Coinsquare and CoinSmart have over $600 million CAD in assets under custody and more than 1.65 million users.

Bob Lee, creator of Cash App and former CTO of Square, stabbed to death (TECHCURNCH)

Bob Lee, the chief product officer at MobileCoin, was killed in a fatal stabbing in San Francisco. On Tuesday morning, at 2:35 a.m., the San Francisco Police Department responded to a report of a stabbing near the 300 block of Main Street in SoMa. Lee was taken to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries.

Following the news, there was an outpouring of grief in the tech community. “It’s real. Getting calls. Heartbreaking. Bob was instrumental to Square and Cash App. STL guy,” Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Block, wrote on nostr.

LayerZero Labs raises $120 million at $3 billion valuation to enable more multi-blockchain apps (BETAKIT)

Vancouver-based Web3 startup LayerZero Labs is now valued at $3 billion after closing a $120 million Series B funding round. LayerZero previously had a valuation of $1 billion when it raised $135 million in March 2022.

The Vancouver startup claims its platform connects over 30 blockchains, allowing developers to create projects that can exist across several blockchains without the need for an intermediary to facilitate cross-chain interactions.

Osler releases multi-year study of 350+ Canadian VC and growth equity financings

For the second year, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP has released its comprehensive study of 353 anonymized venture capital and growth equity financings from 2020–2022, valued at more than US$6 billion, providing data and insights for founders, entrepreneurs, investors and advisors contemplating transactions this year and beyond.

Join members of Osler’s Emerging and High Growth Companies Group April 26, 2023, at 12 p.m. ET, for a special one-hour virtual event when they provide insights and analysis from this important report.

Register for our Deal Points Report event

Un-Unicorn: Clearco seeks funding that would slash tech financier’s value (THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Clearco, the Canadian e-commerce merchant financier co-founded by Dragons’ Den star Michele Romanow, is pursuing a complex recapitalization plan that would wipe out most of its previous US$2-billion-plus valuation.

The company is hoping to raise US$20-million to US$25-million in an equity deal that would value the company at US$200-million including the new cash, slashing the value of early investor holdings.

VCCI-backed Kensington Capital Partners secures $158 million first close for third venture fund (BETAKIT)

Now over halfway towards its $290 million target, Kensington is the first of four fund managers selected by the Government of Canada's Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative to announce it has closed its financing.

With its first close, Kensington Venture Fund III (KVFIII) surpassed the $150 million size of Kensington's last venture fund. KVFIII will serve primarily as a fund-of-funds, backing Canadian venture capital funds, with a quarter of its capital reserved for direct investments in tech startups.

SEC charges founder of financial aid startup Frank with defrauding JPMorgan (TECHCRUNCH)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Charlie Javice, the founder of student financial aid startup Frank, with fraud in connection with the $175 million sale of the company to JPMorgan Chase Bank in 2021.

The complaint alleges that as JPMorgan pressed Frank executives for customer data, Javice allegedly sought to generate synthetic data to make it appear as if Frank had 4.25 million customers.

How startups can access an untapped pool of talent in Canada (BETAKIT)

Pablo Listingart, Executive Director of tech skills school ComIT, explains what founders need to be aware of when hiring rural employees.

Bing Newcomb, Whose E*Trade Transformed Stock Trading, Dies at 79

Bing Newcomb, who co-founded the company E*Trade and wrote the computer code that allowed investors to trade stocks from their home computers in the 1980s, died on Jan. 29 at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 79.

With no open banking update in #Budget2023, FinTech executives are increasingly jaded about timeline for delivery (BETAKIT)

Despite the open banking advisory committee’s call for the federal government to move aggressively to implement the first phase of the system by January 2023, and the Liberal Party’s 2021 election promise to implement a made-in-Canada model “no later than the beginning of 2023,” the system remains delayed.

The federal budget, tabled March 28, didn’t include a mention of the future system.

Stripe says volume growth slowed even with more large customers (BNN BLOOMBERG)

Stripe Inc., one of the world’s most valuable startups, said growth in payments volume slowed last year after a pandemic surge, even as it helped more large business clients handle payments over the internet.

The $50 billion valuation it received at a funding round last month was well below the $95 billion it was last valued at when it raised $600 million from investors in 2021.

PureFacts acquires Xtiva to bolster its revenue management solutions (BETAKIT)

According to Toronto-based PureFacts, the deal combines its infrastructure for gross and net fee calculations and reporting, with Xtiva’s technology and expertise in incentive and performance compensation management. This consolidated entity, which will operate under the PureFacts umbrella, is expected to offer a “complete” revenue management solution.

Checkout.com faces exec team exodus and makes layoffs ‘by stealth’ (SIFTED)

Just over a year after raising $1 billion in a Series D funding round, Europe’s gilded payments startup Checkout.com is facing an exodus from its executive team and making a series of unannounced layoffs.

After publicly cutting staff by five percent in September last year, sources also tell Sifted that Checkout has made further cuts in a series of “layoffs by stealth” over the last three months and six executives have quit or been fired in the past nine months.

Binance Rejected Justin Sun’s Offer to Buy His Huobi Stake: Source (COINDESK)

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, recently turned down an offer to acquire Tron blockchain founder Justin Sun’s ownership stake in rival exchange Huobi, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Binance wasn’t interested because of rumors that Huobi has ties to mainland China, which Binance wants nothing to do with, according to the person, who requested anonymity.

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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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