Love troubles? There’s an AI chatbot for that.

Plus: #CDNtech startups pivot and refocus in 2024.

Welcome to BetaKit’s startup stories of the week! Here, you will find the week’s most important news, features, and editorials published on BetaKit.

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If you’re still in a lovey-dovey mood after Valentine’s Day, we’ve got an interesting bit of tech-related news: Couply, winner of Collision’s 2021 startup pitch contest, launched an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot for couples this week.

The Couply app offers daily questions, quizzes, date ideas, and curated advice to help couples form deeper connections. Its new AI feature, called Couply AI, leverages user data to provide tailored relationship coaching. Users can ask questions about a range of issues, from how to approach a significant other about a difficult topic — the AI can factor in his or her communication style when responding — to getting help finishing the last few stanzas of a poem.

Couply was the brainchild of two Wattpad alums, Tim Johnson and Denesh Raymond, and the two secured financing in 2022 from their old boss, Ivan Yuen, co-founder of the blogging website.

Since the app launched in 2019, Couply has more than 400,000 downloads. That data has helped the startup finetune CouplyAI, which is powered by OpenAI’s large language model.

“What’s so awesome about this [chatbot] is the immediacy; this is something that’s available for you 24/7,” Johnson told BetaKit. “And you’re going to get supportive, customized advice.”

Can AI help us love better? My inbox is open.

Thanks for reading on,

Bianca Bharti 

Newsletter Editor

C-suite shakeups: Dasilva back in CEO seat

Two years after stepping down, Lightspeed Commerce founder Dax Dasilva is now back at the firm’s helm as interim CEO following the recent crash of its stock. Effective immediately, Dasilva replaces his former successor and longtime Lightspeed executive, Jean Paul (JP) Chauvet. BetaKit has been tracking the unprecedented wave of leadership changes at #CDNtech companies. Recently, Unbounce, WeCook, and Aifred Health, among others, all made C-suite changes.

(Read more)

Shopify beats Q4 estimates, but stock still drops

A strong holiday shopping season boosted Shopify’s fourth-quarter earnings, which narrowly surpassed analyst forecasts. But it wasn’t enough to prevent the e-commerce giant’s stock from falling. Shopify generated $2.14 billion USD in revenue in Q4 2023, a 25 percent year-over-year increase that translates to 30 percent when accounting for the sale of Shopify’s logistics business, according to the firm’s latest earnings report.

(Read more)

Supply chain software company Nulogy gets strategic backing from US private equity firm Rubicon

Toronto-based Nulogy secured a major strategic investment from Colorado-headquartered Rubicon Technology Partners to ramp up the expansion of its supply chain collaboration platform. After years of efficient, organic growth, CEO Jason Tham believes Nulogy now has the right partner and enough funding to explore new ways to scale. Founded in 2002, Nulogy offers a collaboration software platform for suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors, aiming to bring more transparency and visibility to supply chains. The company hasn’t made any acquisitions to date, but this latest funding could open that door, Tham told BetaKit.

(Read more)

EdTech game developer Prodigy Education adds CFO to refreshed leadership team

Toronto-based EdTech company Prodigy Education has hired finance veteran and experienced consumer education executive Jeff Cassidy as CFO.

The change comes after a major reset for the EdTech company, which saw massive growth during the pandemic, raised a large financing round, and in 2022, opted to “reset.” Now, with a smaller workforce, a revamped leadership team, and a renewed focus on its core business and market—learning-based games in the United States—Prodigy co-founder and co-CEO Rohan Mahimker says the EdTech company is ready to grow again.

Back when the pandemic fuelled a big rise in demand for Prodigy’s tech, the company raised $159 million CAD in Series B to scale its business.

“With the growth off the back of COVID, and with a lot of possibilities in front of us and a curve that was almost vertical, it became easy to say yes to a lot of opportunities that we would have otherwise said no to,” said Mahimker.

(Read more)

Fuelled by Well Health partnership, Healwell looks to apply AI to preventative care

In 2021, Toronto’s MCI Onehealth made its public debut on the Toronto Stock Exchange. While the company still trades on that exchange, the business today looks vastly different.

Now operating as Healwell AI, the company has shed its old skin—the clinical business is gone, replaced by a narrowed focus on using AI for early disease detection.

“There aren’t many publicly traded, healthcare and AI-focused companies with genuine AI technology and a commercial track record,”CEO Alexander Dobranowski said. “We feel we’re in a strong position, especially with our partner in Well Health, to really grow something both quickly and something of value.”

(Read more)

Vector Institute leaders chart AI hub’s progress and the challenges that remain

Last week, Toronto-based Vector Institute, an AI hub, celebrated its successes over the past seven years and the opening of its new office at the University of Toronto.

Built around AI godfather Geoffrey Hinton, Vector’s work is financed by the federal and Ontario governments and private sponsors. Asked how he reconciles his belief that AI poses an existential threat to humanity with Vector’s work to help Canadian firms adopt AI solutions, Hinton said, “I think it might actually be rational to stop AI now … but that’s not going to happen—there’s no way that’s going to happen because of competition between nations and because it’s just so valuable.”

Given that the development of increasingly advanced AI is inevitable, Hinton argued that “the best we can do is try and stay a bit ahead of the game.”

(Read more)

Professor Esma Aïmeur discusses the double-edged sword of GenAI ahead of the World AI Cannes Festival

Esma Aïmeur, a professor at the computer science department of Université de Montréal (Canada), focuses her academic body of work on how humans interact with and are impacted by AI.

Speaking with BetaKit ahead of her talk at the World AI Cannes Festival (WAICF), Aïmeur shared more about the explosive power of GenAI and why she calls it a double-edged sword.

(Read more)

Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs

PAL – – $4M USD 
VAN – Zafin to be acquired by Nordic Capital 
CGY – GeologicAI acquires Resource Modeling Solutions 
KIT – Evercloak – $2M 
TOR – Float – $50M CAD 
TOR – Nulogy secures strategic backing from Rubicon Technology Partners 
TOR – Think Research acquired by Beedie Capital
TOR – Staircase Ventures announces first four investments
MTL – Sibli – $6M CAD
QBC – Levio – $125M
HFX – Xeos acquired by Satlink 


Koho’s CEO on going from challenger bank to actual bank.

Koho CEO Daniel Eberhard joins to explain why the FinTech startup decided to pursue a banking licence, why it necessitates splitting the company in two, and the potential benefits for Canadians living in a culturally reinforced oligopoly.

“If we had a bank licence today, I’m confident in saying we’d have the highest savings rate in the country.”


Prepare for a deep dive into the world of mergers and acquisitions at Vancouver, coming to the Vancouver Convention Centre on May 8, 2024.

Connect with top-tier tech entrepreneurs and M&A advisors as they unveil the triumphs and tribulations of their acquisition and exit journeys. With expert speakers covering every angle of the M&A process, from corporate buyers to seasoned startup CEOs, is your gateway to mastering actionable strategies in response to acquisition interest. Save 25% on your tickets when you use the code BetaKit25!

Discover the Conference Overview

Bianca Bharti

Bianca Bharti

Bianca Bharti is the newsletter editor at BetaKit, where she spearheads coverage and analysis of tech news in related products. Before BetaKit, Bianca covered the nexus of markets, industries and policy in a variety of formats as a reporter for the Financial Post. There, she won silver in SABEW's 2021 Best in Business Journalism Awards in the personal finance category for one of her pieces. In her free time, she enjoys swapping her reporter hat for a baseball cap to hit up some hiking trails with her dog. She also weirdly loves debating monetary policy.

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