R|T: The Retail Times – Amazon reduces private-label operation as it battles costs, regulators

Plus: FinTech platforms are leaning more heavily on buy now, pay later.

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Nova Scotia government invests $1.3 million in home-sharing platform Happipad (BETAKIT)

Happipad, which first partnered with the Nova Scotia to aid those displaced in the spring’s wildfires, is now available to people across the province. The provincial government is investing $1.3 million CAD over two years in the expansion.

Happipad, a Canadian non-profit organization based in Kelowna, BC, matches prospective renters with homeowners who have a room in their home available to rent, provides contracts, a payment platform, and support in case there is an issue.

Amazon Cuts Dozens of House Brands as It Battles Costs, Regulators (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

Amazon is jettisoning dozens of its in-house brands as part of a significant reduction of its private-label operation as it works to fend off antitrust scrutiny and shore up profit, so far eliminating 27 of its 30 clothing brands, such as Lark & Ro, Daily Ritual and Goodthreads, according to people familiar with the matter.

When clearance is completed, its house-label clothing division will have just three brands: Amazon Essentials, Amazon Collection and Amazon Aware.

Addressing Canada's talent gap in the tech industry boils down to removing the barriers for equity-deserving groups.
The Advanced Digital and Professional Training (ADaPT) program is a cost-free digital and professional skills development initiative that bridges the employment gap. It equips students in their final semester and post-secondary graduates with in-demand skills for entry-level tech roles.

ADaPT supports a diverse group of talent from varied educational backgrounds, with 81% of participants identifying as belonging to at least one equity-deserving group. Backed by 70+ hours of intensive training, the program exposes participants to tech career pathways.

The ADaPT program is funded by the Government of Canada's Future Skills Centre and led by Toronto Metropolitan University's Diversity Institute in collaboration with TECHNATION Canada.

To support future talent in thriving tech careers within Canada's changing job market and become an ADaPT employer, find out more here.

After only four years in market, OMERS Ventures is pulling out of Europe to focus on North America (BETAKIT)

Pulling out of the European market, OMERS Ventures has opted to refocus its investment efforts on Canada and the United States (US) amid the market downturn.

The retreat comes just four years after OMERS Ventures began ramping up its focus on the region with a €300-million fund for European startups followed closely by its first $750-million USD transatlantic fund.

Going forward, the majority of OMERS Ventures’ new investments will be in North American firms, where it also plans to open a new New York office.

Alibaba’s Sales Beat Estimates in First Step of Comeback Effort

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. returned to growth across all its main divisions, defying China’s economic turbulence to take a first step toward a long-awaited comeback after more than a year of malaise.

The strong showing marks a step toward the revival of a national icon grappling with a post-Covid consumption funk, up-and-comers like PDD Holdings Inc. and the lingering effects of China’s blistering crackdown on the private sector.

Brookfield and Sequoia Heritage's reported new fund is well-positioned to scoop up discount tech startups (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management and Silicon Valley’s Sequoia Heritage have reportedly teamed up to take advantage of the current economic environment, creating "an investment vehicle to capitalize on plunging valuations of venture-backed companies.”

Per the Financial Times, the two companies are investing $250 million USD apiece to found a new company called Pinegrove Capital Partners.

Coupang to ramp up investment in Taiwan after four quarters of profit (TECHCRUNCH)

Coupang, a Seattle-headquartered e-commerce company, said it will accelerate its investment in Taiwan after four straight quarters of profits. Coupang was the most downloaded app in the second quarter of this year in Taiwan, the company said in an earnings call on Wednesday.

Fintech platforms are leaning more heavily on BNPL (MODERN RETAIL)

Buy-now-pay-later services, though controversial for the potential to rack up debt, have become a popular way for some consumers to finance an e-commerce purchase via installment plans.

Fintech companies are reporting growth in the volume of BNPL payments, with major players like PayPal and Block aiming to shore up market share in a crowded sector.

As startups look to US for capital, Antler's Shambhavi Mishra calls on Canadian VCs to lead more rounds (BETAKIT)

Coupled with geopolitical tensions, rising interest rates, and inflation, funding for startups in Canada and beyond has dried up, leaving some to make layoffs or close up shop.

According to Antler’s director of growth and portfolio Shambhavi Mishra, the fact Canadian founders still find it easier (and faster) to secure capital from the United States is among several taboo topics early-stage founders have raised at Startupfest this year.

Kenyan logistics startup Sendy shuts down, embarks on asset sale (TECHCRUNCH)

Sendy, a Kenyan logistics startup that enabled retailers to purchase FMCGs directly from manufacturers, among other services, is shutting down its operations and exploring a sale of its assets, TechCrunch has learned.

According to several sources, the company ran out of funds two months ago and had been scrambling to cut costs for the past year to remain afloat.

RBCx Capital's 'Capital Whisperer' Sue Umapathy on "return to due diligence" (BETAKIT)

Following the record-breaking peaks for venture funding in 2021, investors’ approach to capital deployment have shifted, with some calling it a “return to due diligence.”

RBCx Capital vice president Sue Umapathy, who’s been given the nickname ‘Capital Whisperer’ by her team, shared the firm’s approach to due diligence with BetaKit, confirming that timelines for that process have been increased.

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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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