F|T: The FinTech Times – Clearco, Coinsquare cut staff as Portage launches new late-stage fund

Plus: Caisse needs to explain its risky bet on crypto lender Celsius.

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Clearco cuts a quarter of staff amid “significant headwinds” (BETAKIT)

Co-founders Michele Romanow and Andrew D’Souza told Clearco employees about the cuts in an email on Friday morning. The email, shared with BetaKit, stated, “Today we have made the hard decision to reduce our workforce by 125 people and are considering strategic options for our international operations.”

Jack Ma Plans to Cede Control of Ant Group (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

Billionaire Jack Ma plans to relinquish control of Ant Group Co., people familiar with the matter said, part of the fintech giant’s effort to move away from affiliate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. after more than a year of extraordinary pressure from Chinese regulators.

Portage Ventures rolls out new late-stage FinTech fund, aims to raise up to $1 billion USD (BETAKIT)

Portage co-founder and CEO Adam Felesky told BetaKit that PCS will invest in securities that combine debt and equity features and do not require startups to lock in valuations as with traditional equity fundraising.

Crypto Exchange CoinFLEX Slashes Team Amid Cost-Cutting Push (COINDESK)

CoinFLEX’s job cuts come after the firm proposed a plan to compensate depositors and shore up its financial situation as it seeks to recover over $84 million in debt owed by a “large individual customer.”

Check out these Canadian tech venture funding reports for Q2:

All data sourced via briefed.in. BetaKit is a briefed.in Tech Report media partner.

Coinsquare lays off 24 percent of staff amid turbulent crypto market, shifted focus to regulation (BETAKIT)

The Toronto-based startup confirmed to BetaKit that it has laid off about 24 percent of its employees, which included contract workers. Coinsquare has seen its headcount reduced from 125 employees prior to the layoffs to approximately 95 workers now. The company also introduced a pay cut for its executives, though declined to disclose any further details.

Ethan Lou: Consolidation putting crypto sector on Competition Bureau’s radar (FINANCIAL POST)

In March, WonderFi Technologies Inc., a Vancouver-based crypto outfit backed by Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, closed on its $206 million acquisition of the exchange Bitbuy. Just a month later, WonderFI announced that it had entered into an agreement to buy Coinberry, another trading platform, in a $38.5 million deal.

So, the Competition Bureau came knocking.

From seed to fork: building better food systems through impact investing (BETAKIT)

“It has to start with providing all people—emphasis on all—with enough food and nutrients to nourish themselves,” said Ran Goel, founder of Fresh City Farms in Toronto. “That is the foundation. Then the question becomes: how do we do that in a way that can essentially carry on indefinitely into the future?”

VC fund Variant raises $450M, doubles down on Web3 amid ‘crypto winter’ (FORTUNE)

“We feel like in the next three to five years, we’re going to see a wave of really high quality projects that then drive us towards mainstream [crypto] adoption,” said Variant co-founder Li Jin.

Rocked by workplace scandals, Flutterwave now faces multimillion dollar fraud allegations in Kenya (REST OF WORLD)

Since April, Kenya’s Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) has launched investigations into transactions made by at least 10 firms and frozen dozens of bank accounts linked to Flutterwave, which ARA officials believe to be “conduits of international money laundering.”

Crypto custodian Balance completes SOC 2 audit to increase customer confidence (BETAKIT)

The startup claims that it is now the only Canadian digital asset custodian to achieve SOC 2 compliance for both its cold (offline) and warm (online) crypto storage systems.

The Caisse needs to explain why it made such a risky bet on crypto lender Celsius (GLOBE AND MAIL)

Canada’s second-largest pension fund manager has finally acknowledged that its US$150-million investment in Celsius Network is souring because the New Jersey-based cryptocurrency lender is mired in bankruptcy protection.

Now the Caisse needs to come clean about why its investment and risk management committee made such a bet in the first place, and the consequences those money managers will face for embarking on this costly misadventure.

Lemonade Lays Off 20% Of Metromile Employees Following Acquisition (CRUNCHBASE)

Lemonade said around 20% of Metromile’s team was affected. Lemonade is best known for providing homeowners, renters and pet insurance. Metromile focuses on car insurance. Both companies are fairly new to the public markets. New York-based Lemonade went public in 2020, while San Francisco-based Metromile went public last year in a SPAC deal.

BC securities regulator alleges Blok Technologies, former execs misrepresented share sale in 2018 (BETAKIT)

The British Columbia Securities Commission claimed in a release published on Thursday that Blok “made a statement to investors that it knew, or ought to have reasonably known, was a misrepresentation to investors and violated the Securities Act.” These allegations have not been proven.

Michael Edgar

Michael Edgar

Michael is a multimedia journalist working out of the U.K. and a staff writer for BetaKit.

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