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Shopify reveals AI suite, business credit card, dropshipping-like feature in latest product showcase (BETAKIT)
Earlier this month, Ottawa retail-tech giant Shopify unveiled its AI assistant for merchants, Sidekick, which the company claims can craft and complete administrative tasks such as responding to customer inquiries and making design changes to the online storefront.
Now, the company has unveiled several new products and updates for its merchants as part of its 2023 Summer Editions. This includes a business credit card for everyday expenses, created in partnership with Stripe, and dropshipping-like capabilities through its new Shopify Collective offering.
JPMorgan’s Greek Fintech Unicorn Draws Regulatory Blitz
When JPMorgan Chase signed a deal last year to buy 49% of Greek payments fintech Viva Wallet for $800 million, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hailed the purchase as a “vote of confidence in the country.”
What wasn’t widely known is that Viva Wallet was squarely in the crosshairs of financial regulators across Europe, and it had pushed out numerous compliance employees who raised concerns about the business to management.
Ottawa-based artificial intelligence (AI) company MindBridge, which describes itself as “the world’s leading AI-powered financial risk discovery platform,” has raised $60 million USD.
The investment follows the recent departures of MindBridge founder and chief development officer Solon Angel and CEO Leyton Perris. Bill Hewitt, a senior advisor with PSG and a veteran American software executive, has since been appointed interim CEO.
Elevate Festival, Canada’s premiere tech and innovation festival, takes place from Sept. 26-28 in the heart of Toronto. This year’s Main Stage speakers include Knix CEO & Founder, Joanna Griffiths; acclaimed journalist & broadcaster, Lisa LaFlamme; Astronaut & Elevate Co-Chair, Col. Chris Hadfield; Executive Director of Action Canada, Farrah Khan, and Chief Diversity Officer of Meta, Maxine Williams!
Highlights include 8 content tracks featuring important discussions in AI, Cybersecurity, Fintech, Future Societies, and more; a Tech Talent Zone for job seekers; Elevate Goes Late parties with live music & street eats; 1:1 meetings for Startups with Canada’s top investors; a dedicated Women+ in Tech stream, and infinite chances to network, cultivate community, and level up!
Grab your tickets now at elevatefestival.ca/tickets.
Sam Altman’s Worldcoin crypto project begins international rollout (FINANCIAL TIMES)
Sam Altman’s cryptocurrency project, the Worldcoin Foundation, is rolling out its services around the world with its specialty eye-scanning “orb.” Worldcoin’s founders say the orb is required to distinguish between humans and robots in the future.
The company’s goals face being stymied by US regulators cracking down on digital assets based on fears over cryptocurrencies being used as a vehicle for speculation and fraud, and won't be available in the US on launch.
Montréal-based travel booking startup Hopper is partnering with Nubank, one of the largest digital banks in Latin America, to power its travel portal.
The travel portal is powered by Hopper’s B2B Cloud offering and is expected to launch next year. Hopper launched its B2B initiative in 2021. Nubank is its latest new client and follows the likes ofCapital One and Uber.
Nova Credit has partnered with Scotiabank to offer newcomers a “credit passport,” which allows customers to access their foreign credit history instead of starting from scratch.
"We allow people to be able to land here and access credit as if they’ve lived their entire lives,” said Misha Esipov, founder and CEO of Nova Credit.
Canadian venture status report: Q2 2023 (BETAKIT)
New data from briefed.in gives an optimistic outlook on the venture health of Canada's biggest tech ecosystems in Q2 2023.
Following a sluggish start to the year, Toronto and British Columbia's tech ecosystems saw a resurgence in venture funding in the quarter, mostly due to larger deals between fewer companies.
Alberta tech is on pace to eclipse its 2022, with companies raising a lively $123.8M in Q2 2023. Québec followed suit, maintaining an upward trajectory in the quarter, growing 42 percent from Q1 2023 and 81 percent year-over-year.
Meanwhile, venture deal volume in the Waterloo Region reached a three-year low in the second quarter of 2023, but unreported deals could be shaping an unfair perception of the local tech sector.
Sequoia Capital Slashes Crypto Fund as It Downsizes Amid Startup Crunch (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)
Sequoia Capital pared back the size of two major venture funds, including its cryptocurrency fund, as part of a dramatic downsizing the storied venture firm is undertaking amid a broad startup downturn.
Sequoia cut the size of its cryptocurrency fund to $200 million from $585 million and the size of its so-called ecosystem fund, which invests in other venture funds, to $450 million from $900 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
Toronto-based Foxquilt, which offers online insurance solutions for small businesses, has raised $12 million in Series B funding.
Foxquilt develops, underwrites, and distributes a line of its own commercial insurance products, leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to match businesses to the insurance products that are most tailored to their specific needs.
Toronto’s Wellfield Technologies, operator of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinmama, has reached a definitive agreement to buy Ottawa-based digital-asset custodian Brane Trust.
The acquisition, which values Brane at nearly $10 million, marks the latest step towards consolidation in Canada’s crypto sector, following the recent three-way merger of WonderFi, Coinsquare, and CoinSmart.
Jack Ma-Backed Ant Plans Restructuring, Paving Way for HK IPO
Ant Group Co. is planning a restructuring that will break off some operations that aren’t core parts of its China financial-related business, paving way for the company to revive an initial public offering in Hong Kong.
The move comes after Chinese regulators wrapped up an almost three-year long probe into the fintech giant founded by Jack Ma by imposing a 7.12 billion yuan ($995 million) fine this month.
Canadian tech unicorns Ada, Clio, Lightspeed among first cohort of Canada’s Global Hypergrowth Project (BETAKIT)
Canadian tech unicorns Ada, Clio, and Lightspeed are among the eight businesses selected to take part in the first cohort of the Government of Canada’s Global Hypergrowth Project (GHP).
According to the federal government, GHP is meant to help its selection of businesses become “anchor firms,” which it defines as companies with annual revenues of over $1 billion and employees numbering more than 1,500 people.
How the Partnership Between Apple and Goldman Sachs Soured
Apple and Goldman Sachs were in test runs before embarking publicly on one of the biggest-name partnerships ever between tech and finance.
Engineers from the Silicon Valley giant and the Wall Street titan were pulling an all-nighter a few months before launch, scrambling to find a solution to a problem that had cropped up: The Apple CEO himself, Tim Cook, couldn’t get approved for an Apple Card.
Though Canada's new H-1B visa program was only announced weeks ago, it’s already having a profound impact. In developing a visa program unapologetically piggybacking on America’s H-1B visa process—and in many ways, offering a clear contrast to its limitations—the IRCC appears to have struck a nerve.
When the program's online portal launched on July 16, its 10,000 application limit had been reached by the next evening.