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 January 18 deadline to repay loans from Canada’s Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program is “going to strangle loads of businesses,” Dan Kelly, the president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, told BetaKit. “The banks will not lend them more at this particular point in time because their balance sheets are not in order,” Kelly said. “This is literally the straw that will break the backs of thousands and thousands of businesses.”
Meanwhile, Merchant Growth announced at the beginning of December that it received a forward flow facility of $300 million CAD from Fortress Investment Group to use as part of its plans to help companies refinance their CEBA loans.
Other domestic FinTech lenders, such as Swoop Funding, OnDeck, and Levr.ai, are promoting CEBA options alongside Merchant Growth.
Kelly has some warnings for businesses if they go that route. You’ll definitely want to read the full story.
Drop me a line with your CEBA takes,
P.S. If you missed last week’s newsletter, I included a link to a reader survey. This questionnaire will help inform how BetaKit delivers the best Canadian tech newsletter to your inbox. Your response is greatly appreciated.
BetaKit’s Josh Scott broke news this week of Top Hat CEO Joe Rohrlich and CRO Matt Schurk leaving the EdTech company. It was just one in a growing sea of Canadian C-suite changes to kick off the year.
American growth-stage investor JMI Equity took a minority stake in BC-based Safe Software, resulting in one of its co-CEOs stepping down. Alida promoted Efrem Ainsley to CEO, effective immediately. Toronto-based data startup Cinchy has also found a new leader in Paul Patterson.
Commit co-founder and CEO Greg Gunn gets into what the GPT Store launch means for OpenAI’s strategy in an op-ed for BetaKit. The former Hootsuite VP believes the impact for entrepreneurs will be bigger than Apple’s App Store.
Read the full piece to understand why he thinks “it’s OpenAI’s race to lose.”
BetaKit recorded a number of key conversations with Canadian tech thought leaders at SAAS NORTH to close out the year. The ‘read more’ link will send you to a compilation super cut, while the links below feature extended conversations with each interviewee. Enjoy!
- Zapier’s Reid Robinson on AI integrations
- MedEssist’s Joella Almeida on going slow with AI in healthtech
- Solon Angel on which industries will be dominated by AI
- Growclass’ Sarah Stockdale on the new rules of marketing
- Danielle Gifford on expanding Canada’s investor funnel
- L-SPARK’s Patrick White on the state of SaaS
Developed by San Francisco-based research and consulting firm Cleantech Group, the Global Cleantech 100 showcases private cleantech companies globally that are predicted by a panel of experts to make a substantial impact on the market in the next five to 10 years.
The total number of Canadian companies on the 2024 list is up from 12 last year but tied with 2022. This year’s list places Canada as the second-most represented country on the list behind the United States.
Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs
SFO – AppDirect – $136M CAD
SUR – Safe Software – undisclosed amount
VAN – Operto to acquire Dack
TOR-ArenaX Labs – $6M
TOR-Requity Homes – $26M CAD
TOR-Spiffy acquired by Oliver Solutions
TOR-BenchSci lays off 17%
MON-Clinia – $10M CAD
MON-League Data acquires Technicost
The BetaKit Podcast
“We are so back.”
BetaKit reporter Josh Scott joins to play the most dangerous game: trying to beat his boss in identifying the biggest tech questions that will define 2024. With no answers given, no tech question is off the table.