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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Top Stories of the Week
The third quarter of 2023 marked Canada’s slowest quarter for venture capital (VC) activity in three years, according to a new report from the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA).
The CVCA partly attributed the slowdown in investment to a decline in megadeals during the quarter and its resulting impact on average deal size. Per the report, only seven megadeals closed in Q3, nearly halving the average deal size quarter-over-quarter to just $8.9 million.
A coalition of Canadian tech leaders have penned a new letter to Canada’s finance minister, pressing for a clear roadmap on the long-overdue rollout of open banking.
The letter, which was coordinated by the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), has 36 signatories as of Wednesday afternoon, including executives from Canada’s FinTech startups and scale-ups.
Toronto-based accounting software company FreshBooks has cut six percent of its staff, laying off employees and closing down its operations in Raleigh, North Carolina.
President Mark Girvan and CEO Don Epperson are also stepping down, and two existing leaders—Mara Reiff (chief customer officer) and Wayne Jackson (chief financial and administrative officer)—have been appointed as interim co-CEOs.
Just over two years after going public on the TSX, Toronto-based investor relations software company Q4 Inc. is entering into a $257-million CAD buyout agreement that will take it private.
With the buyout, Q4 Inc. is set to join a wave of other Canadian tech companies that went public during the pandemic, have seen their stock prices fall and fail to recover amid the tech downturn, and elected to go private once more.
Salmon Arm, BC-based mushroom-picking technology startup TechBrew Robotics has changed its name to 4AG Robotics and secured $17.5 million CAD in Series A funding.
The moves come shortly after the AgTech startup hired Sean O’Connor as chief financial and operating officer.
4AG intends to ramp up the production of its robots and grow its 37-person team to 60 with hires in mechatronics, research and development, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and manufacturing.
Bitbuy, a subsidiary of Toronto cryptocurrency company WonderFi, has purchased all of the client accounts of Calgary-based Bitvo.
With Bitvo, WonderFi has now either wholly acquired or purchased assets from nearly half of Canada’s regulated crypto trading platforms, including Coinsquare, CoinSmart, Bitbuy, and Coinberry.
InBC Investment Corp. (InBC) has announced $29 million CAD worth of investments into two tech startups and two venture capital (VC) funds with a presence in British Columbia (BC).
With these investments, InBC has now committed $54 million of its $500 million mandate across 4AG and Clarius, and five funds (a group that also includes Evok Innovations, Raven Capital, and Yaletown Partners).
The finance department touches every single area of the business, from internal operations to customer contracts. Yet the finance function has been relatively stagnant, often seen as “bean counters” warning of new spending while the rest of the organization embraces technology and new techniques.
A recent report by Float featured interviews with startup finance experts, exploring in detail why financial transformation is essential for startups now, impacting their people, processes, and systems.
Latest Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs
- VAN – Clarius Mobile Health – $5M (read more)
- VAN – Pender Ventures secures $10M from InBC for Fund II (read more)
- SAL – 4AG Robotics – $17.5M (read more)
- CGY – Ambyint moves back to Calgary, secures new funding (read more)
- CGY – Bitvo customers acquired by WonderFi (read more)
- TOR – Q4 Inc. to go private with $257M buyout deal (read more)
- TOR – FreshBooks lays off six percent of staff (read more)
- TOR – WonderFi cuts 37 percent of staff (read more)
- OTT – Four startups win over $210,000 at SAAS NORTH 2023 (read more)
- MTL – Deep Sky – $57.5M (read more)
- MTL – Amplitude Ventures secures $10M from InBC for Fund II (read more)
- MTL – Pathway – $5M (read more)
- HFX – Volta secures $6.8M from feds, province (read more)
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The BetaKit Podcast
“Capital efficiency is actually really sexy.”
Satish Kanwar (Good Future) and Katy Yam (Real Ventures) join for a special episode recorded live on the BetaKit Keynote Stage at SAAS NORTH, discussing the different paths available for Canadian entrepreneurs, and why 100,000 fewer are choosing to walk them compared to 20 years ago.
“We all have to thank Elon Musk for all that amazing innovation and disruption that’s happening. Many changes that he has brought to X are now driving that interesting innovation.”
Buffer Chief Product Officer Maria Thomas discusses how social media has changed over the company’s 13-year history and how the company is building a headless ecommerce equivalent for posting ‘content’ on a fractured internet.