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
With FinTech funding mired in a global slump, Luge Capital believes it has the record and strategic partners to capitalize in a market coming down from its “sugar rush.”
The Montréal and Toronto-based FinTech-focused VC firm announced today a $71-million first close of its target $100-million fund.
That Luge has been able to secure new funding with relative ease is a bright spot for a sector that has seen venture funding nosedive globally since mid-2022 from the highs of 2021.
As consolidation continues in the e-commerce space, Shopify and Faire announced a new global partnership that makes Faire the recommended wholesale marketplace for Shopify.
According to the two companies, the partnership joins the two in retail and commerce to expand Shopify’s B2B offerings, help drive growth for the brands, and the independent retailers the two companies serve.
Cohere, a competitor of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, along with other Canadian AI startups announced they were signing on to Canada’s new voluntary artificial intelligence (AI) code of conduct.
François-Philippe Champagne, Canada's minister of innovation, science and industry, announced "Canada’s Voluntary Code of Conduct on the Responsible Development and Management of Advanced Generative AI Systems," which is effective immediately. Champagne shared the news at the All In Conference on AI in Montréal.
Toronto-based FinTech startup Wealthsimple announced it secured provisional approval to join Interac’s e-transfer service, becoming the first participant under its expanded access guidelines.
On Elevate’s FinTech stage, which was programmed by BetaKit, Zaidi expressed her satisfaction with a deal that “allows for greater connectivity for users,” but noted that Canada “still needs a real-time rail (RTR) system.”
Front Row Ventures, the university student-led fund that invests in student-led startups, has closed $5.5 million for its first pan-Canadian fund.
Historically, Front Row Ventures has focused on investing in early-stage, student-led Canadian startups. The fund received $600,000 in 2017 from Real Ventures to invest in 24 student-led startups over the next four years.
Toronto-based password-management startup 1Password has added David Faugno to its C-suite as president and chief operating officer (COO).
Faugno marks 1Password’s latest addition to an ever-expanding executive team. Since 2021, 1Password has more than doubled its C-suite, adding the likes of Erin Zipes as chief legal officer and Katya Laviolette as chief people officer.
In its blog post, LinkedIn highlighted difficulties faced by startups this year, such as venture capital deals in Canada dropping by 71 percent on an annual basis in the first quarter, higher interest rates, and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
Despite that, the list of Canada's top 15 startups reflects the resilience of FinTech and artificial intelligence (AI) startups, with just over half of the ranked startups involved in either of those sectors.
Elevate kicked off this year’s tech and innovation festival on its main stage by announcing its acquisition of the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) and a partnership with MaRS and Kids Help Phone to launch a $2-million innovation challenge aimed at improving youth mental health.
Additionally, the inaugural $450,000 Elevate Women + Pitch Prize went to Waterloo, Ont.-based healthtech startup Medreddie.
Latest Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs
BRN – Loop Energy cuts staff (read more)
SSK – Vendasta cuts staff (read more)
SSK – 7shifts cuts staff (read more)
SSK – Andgo Systems cuts staff (read more)
WAT – Medreddie – $450,000 (read more)
TOR – Pollin Fertility – $20M (read more)
TOR – Cognota –$5.5M (read more)
TOR – Homecare Hub – $3.4M (read more)
TOR/MTL – Luge Capital secures $71M first close (read more)
MTL – Front Row Ventures closes $5.5M fund (read more)
UK – Captain AI – $2.1M (read more)
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Innovative student talent works across industries in Canada and globally. On the 2023 Narwhal list, 17 of the 19 tech companies on their way to "unicorn" status are powered by Waterloo co-op students.
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The BetaKit Podcast
"We don’t need more referees in Canada. We need more builders. Let other countries regulate while we take the more courageous path."
Hot takes on the latest AI lawsuits, new uses to combat climate change, and the new Voluntary Code of Conduct for generative AI (which Shopify's CEO won't support).
“Everybody’s trying to run their own business. Apple’s trying to sell you devices. Google’s trying to sell you ads. Our job is only to make you more secure.”
Passkeys are here, and along with them renewed interest in the future of passwords from Apple and Google. 1Password CEO Jeff Shiner joins to discuss how passkeys will change the internet, and what they change (and don’t change) about his company’s business.