H|T: The Healthtech Times – New Spring Impact Capital fund targets early-stage healthtech startups

Spring Impact 2023
Plus: AbCellera decimates staff in biotech slump.

The Healthtech Times is a weekly newsletter covering healthtech news from Canada and around the globe.

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BetaKit partners with Good Future

BetaKit has announced a new strategic partnership with Good Future to fuel the growth of Canada’s leading startup and technology publication.

Good Future, the family office of Canadian entrepreneurs Arati Sharma and Satish Kanwar, will support the advancement of BetaKit’s business and inject capital as the new majority shareholder. Good Future’s investment will accelerate the growth of BetaKit’s editorial and business teams from coast to coast, with new hires already on the way!


AbCellera cuts 10 per cent of staff as biotech slump hits Vancouver antibody developer

AbCellera Biologics has cut 10 per cent of its staff, joining a growing list of biotechnology companies that are reducing jobs as they face a prolonged sector slump.

The company cut 63 jobs, mostly in Vancouver where it is based, as it shifts its focus away from discovering antibody drugs for other pharmaceutical companies and toward developing its own treatments.


Spring Impact Capital launches $20-million fund to back cleantech, healthtech startups

Vancouver-based Spring Impact Capital is rolling out a new impact-focused venture capital fund targeting early-stage Canadian firms developing scalable climate and health solutions.

Spring Impact Capital was founded in January by leaders from Vancouver impact investing incubator and accelerator Spring Activator (Spring). The VC firm recently secured its first close toward its $20-million CAD target from Spring and a group of other undisclosed individuals.

Montréal-based venture builder and investor, Diagram Ventures, also launched its ClimateTech Fund this week, securing nearly $50 million CAD in commitments as part of its initial closing.


Amazon Once Inspired Fear in the Health-Care Industry. No Longer

Over the past eight years or so, Amazon has started and abandoned multiple health-care initiatives. Today, Amazon mostly relies on a pair of pre-existing businesses—One Medical and PillPack, a mail-order pharmacy acquired in 2018.

To understand why Amazon hasn’t made more progress, Bloomberg interviewed dozens of current and former employees, patients, competitors and industry analysts who closely followed the company’s efforts to break into health care.


Sun Life makes $9.5-million investment into digital pharmacy Pillway

Toronto-based digital pharmacy Pillway has secured a $9.5-million CAD strategic investment from Canadian insurance giant Sun Life.

Pillway aims to modernize the traditional pharmacy model by delivering medications directly to patients’ homes as fast as the same day and connecting doctors, pharmacists, and patients to help patients manage their medications.


Charlie Health taps former Tinder, Optum execs to build out tech and product design teams as it looks to scale

Virtual mental health provider Charlie Health is making big investments in its engineering and design teams and has tapped former Tinder and Optum executives to lead its technology roadmap.

The three-year-old startup brought on board Udi Milo, who has product leadership experience at consumer brands Tinder, Lyft and LinkedIn, as its new chief product officer. Charlie Health also hired former Optum tech leader Donald Johnson as its new head of digital innovation.

At first glance, building products at companies like Tinder and Lyft wouldn’t seem to translate to healthcare but Milo saw an opportunity to help build virtual solutions at a company that also “does good for the human race,” he said.


Two years after Graphite Ventures spinout, MaRS IAF is ready to invest again

Since its launch in 2008, the Toronto-based MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) has grown into one of the country’s most active early-stage venture capital (VC) firms. But after Graphite Ventures was spun out from IAF in late 2021 as a private sector fund, IAF lost nearly all of its employees. Emil Savov was hired and tasked with rebuilding the IAF team.

His work is now getting closer to completion.

“We’re ramping up,” Savov, IAF’s managing director, told BetaKit in an exclusive interview. “The idea is to bring [IAF] to the strength that it was before the [Graphite] spinoff, and maybe even go beyond that.”


AI-enabled imaging company Aidoc raises $30M

AI-enabled imaging company Aidoc announced that it has secured $30 million in funding to develop a comprehensive AI imaging model and a new category of products based on that model.

Aidoc offers radiologists tools to find and triage injuries and health conditions based on imaging results. It also provides coordination software for stroke and cardiovascular care, alerting relevant care team members and sharing data and images.


How talent across Canada can break into tech

Despite layoffs and economic uncertainty, Canada still faces a tech talent shortage. Yet many viable candidates who could help fill the gap often struggle to build the networks and skills necessary to break into the industry.

Speaking with BetaKit, Pablo Listingart, Executive Director of ComIT, explained more about how Team-UP’s programming and structure help people successfully break into tech.


Cradle’s AI-powered protein programming platform levels up with $24M in new funding

Biotech and AI startup Cradle is finding success with its generative approach to protein design, landing big customers and a hefty $24 million of new investment.

The company exited stealth a little over a year ago, and while many AI companies in biotech train models to natively understand molecular structure; Cradle’s insight was that the long sequences of amino acids that make up the proteins in our bodies are akin to “like an alien programming language.”

It may not be possible for a person to learn that language, but an AI model could — and a person could work with that instead.


Getting hybrid work right requires building a long-term plan

The future came early for Canadian businesses, as hybrid work shifted from a COVID-19 emergency response to a permanent reality. Now, some sixty-five percent of Canadian knowledge workers work in a remote or hybrid format.

In a recent BetaKit Live, three experts—Denis Gaudreault, the country manager for Intel Canada, Michael Almeida, a business unit leader at Softchoice, and John Trougakos, a professor at the University of Toronto—all shared their perspectives on how other companies of all sizes can get hybrid work right.


Nashville’s startup scene is booming as health-tech investors and founders flock to the Music City

Nashville is home to more than 680,000 people who love the city for its Southern charm and small-town vibe. But while the community might feel quaint, Nashville is a titan of the health-care industry. The city supports more than 900 health-care companies that generate a total of $97 billion in revenue each year, according to the Nashville Health Care Council.

CNBC spoke with a dozen founders, investors and executives in Nashville who described a tight-knit, supportive health-tech community that’s growing larger by the day.


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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