F|T: The FinTech Times – Wealthsimple is starting to look like Canada’s next big bank

Plus: $4.6B flows into bitcoin ETFs on the first day after SEC gives the green light.

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Alberta Securities Commission orders crypto exchange Catalyx to cease trading following security breach, loss of assets

The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has extended an interim cease trade order it filed against Catalyx and its co-founder/CFO on December 21, 2023 following a security breach that led to a loss of crypto assets. The order prohibits trading or purchasing any securities and derivatives until January 2025. 

“Management suspects that this security breach, which may involve an employee, has resulted in the loss of a portion of the crypto assets held by the Company on behalf of its clients,” the Calgary-based company said in a statement. 

The allegations have not yet been proven in a hearing, the ASC said. 


Carta, the cap table management outfit, is accused of unethical tactics by a prominent startup

“This might be the end of Carta as the trusted platform for startups,” Linear CEO Karri Saarinen wrote in a LinkedIn post. 

Carta, the startup which invited investors, startups, and employees to use its software to manage their cap tables and later aspired to evolve into a “private stock market for companies,” has been accused of misusing sensitive business information entrusted to the company in pursuit of its own goals. 

Following Saarinen’s post, Carta CEO Henry Ward announced the company would exit the secondary trading business, but now has many questions to answer as its recent $8.5 billion valuation was based in part on the growth potential of that business, according to Axios


CDPQ invests $136 million CAD into AppDirect financing program for tech advisors

AppDirect chair, co-founder, and CEO Nicolas Desmarais told BetaKit that this CDPQ funding comes in the form of “a debt fund to support AppDirect Capital,” confirming that it is all going directly towards the initiative. 

Via AppDirect Capital, the company provides recurring revenue channel partners with flexible capital to scale, innovate, hire, or make outside investments while retaining full ownership of their businesses. 



ECM’s 2024 Rebound: Rebalancing the Equation

After a year of macro volatility, equity markets look set to rebound in 2024, with a return to micro fundamentals, a stronger breadth of transactions, and a new set of risks and rewards for investors and issuers to balance.

We are excited to share a special edition of RBC Capital Markets Strategic Alternatives podcast series, where our global equity capital markets experts break down what may be to come.

Get the full picture in our Global ECM Outlook.

Andreessen Horowitz backs British insurance startup in $73 mln funding round

U.S. venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has backed London-based insurance startup Hyperexponential in a $73 million funding round, the insurance software company said on Thursday.

The firm’s funding announcement comes during a slump in investment in Europe’s technology sector, which is expected to have plunged to $45 billion in 2023 from $82 billion in 2022, according to research from venture capital firm Atomico.

Hyperexponential provides insurance companies with mathematical modeling software, allowing them to price policies based on a wide range of data.


League Data acquires credit management software company Technicost from Co-operators

Bedford, Nova Scotia-based League Data has acquired credit management software company Technicost from Canadian financial services co-operative Co-operators. 

The Jan. 1 acquisition date marks five years since Technicost was last acquired by Co-operators, which offers insurance and investment products and services. 

League Data operates as the technology partner of the Atlantic Credit Union System, providing technology-based solutions and strategic guidance for its 42 member credit unions across Atlantic Canada.


SEC ends crypto drama by giving the green light to 11 bitcoin ETFs

SEC regulators gave money managers the green light to launch 11 spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), allowing everyday investors to get exposure to the world’s largest cryptocurrency without having to own it.

The ETFs saw $4.6 billion worth of shares trade hands as of Thursday afternoon, Reuters reported, as investors jumped into the landmark products that marked a watershed moment for the crypto industry. 

(Yahoo Finance)

Danielle Gifford on expanding Canada’s investor funnel

Early-stage investing is fraught with steep risks and a long, uncertain path to returns, but those facts shouldn’t necessarily deter new entrants, according to Danielle Gifford, former executive director at Movement51.

“What people don’t realize is that early-stage investing is very much a viable asset class,” Gifford said in a sit-down interview with BetaKit at SAAS NORTH 2023.


Wealthsimple is starting to look like Canada’s next big bank

Wealthsimple CEO Michael Katchen is not a fan of the idea that his company is starting to look like a big bank.

Many aspiring bank challengers have said this in the past – with a zero-per-cent success rate. Through their longevity, the ubiquity of their branches and undeniable acumen, the big banks have built one of the most competition-proof franchises in Canadian business.

(The Globe and Mail)

Fintech venture capital’s undoing

Fintech startups, the technology services trying to disrupt the antiquated financial services industry, raised over $100 billion in venture capital funding in 2021, a record for the sector, according to PitchBook. 

That party is long over. And now many of the venture capitalists that led those deals are also moving on.

(The Information)

Solon Angel explains which industries will be dominated first by AI

The influence of AI in our day-to-day activities is becoming more apparent. For Solon Angel, founder of MindBridge, we’re living in “a bit of an Internet moment.”

When it comes to industries with existing infrastructure, standards, and regulations, businesses can, as Angel puts it, “do a bit of judo.” This means using the weight of the opponent to your advantage, and focus on a very narrow entry point to improve existing processes. 


Property sharing investment firm Willow latest to get hit by rising interest rates

Willow, a commercial property-sharing startup recently acquired by online rental-services company Guiker, is the latest real estate venture to face trouble amid higher borrowing costs.

Willow LP was part of a new wave of property investing called “fractional investing or prop sharing” that became popular when the pandemic’s spike in property prices enticed more Canadians to invest in real estate.  Now, with higher interest rates, hundreds of small investors have seen the value of their investment decline between 50 and 60 percent.

(The Globe and Mail)

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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