R|T: The Retail Times – Former Shopify leader launches AI imaging tool for merchants

Plus: Shein and Temu call off US legal spats.

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Stuart Lombard, Ecobee founding CEO and president, announces retirement (BETAKIT)

In the 16 years since its founding, Toronto-based thermostat company Ecobee has helped customers save over 28 terawatts of energy—enough to take all the homes in Los Angeles and Chicago off the grid for a year.

Now, the firm’s founding CEO and president who led Ecobee to a $770 million USD acquisition by Generac Power Systems in 2021, Stuart Lombard, has made the decision to retire, effective November 10.

Low-cost e-commerce rivals Shein and Temu shelve US court cases (REUTERS)

Fierce rivals Shein and PDD-owned Temu have applied to end their legal fights with each other in the U.S., documents show, marking a truce even as a global market share battle between the low-price online platforms heats up.

Shein's lawsuit against Temu, filed last December in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleged that Temu told social media influencers to make disparaging remarks about the fast-fashion retailer, and tricked customers into downloading the Temu app using "imposter" social media accounts.

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QuoteMachine adds $3.7 million in new funding to streamline the sales stack for merchants (BETAKIT)

Montréal-based retail tech startup QuoteMachine has raised $3.7 million in new seed financing as the startup looks to personalize the online selling experience for merchants.

Founded in 2018, QuoteMachine has developed software aimed to help retailers take custom big-ticket sales online and deliver more streamlined and personalized sales experiences, from quoting to order fulfillment and payment.

Amazon shares jump as analysts praise third-quarter results (CNBC)

Shares of Amazon jumped more than 6 percent Friday after the company released third-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates and showed the company’s cost-cutting efforts are working.

Amazon’s revenue rose 13 percents to $143.1 billion in the third quarter. The company’s net income more than tripled to $9.9 billion from $2.9 billion a year earlier.

As semiconductor re-shoring efforts heat up, SILICAN urges feds to provide more targeted domestic chip support (BETAKIT)

The Semiconductor Industry Leadership and Innovation Canada Action Network (SILICAN) has published its first policy report, laying out a series of recommendations for how the federal government can bolster the country’s chip industry.

In an interview with BetaKit, Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) president Benjamin Bergen noted that because Canada can’t compete with the US in financial support, this policy report offers guidance on where the country can focus its available resources to better compete on the world stage.

UPS To Buy Reverse Logistics Specialist Happy Returns from PayPal (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

United Parcel Service agreed to acquire Happy Returns, a software and reverse logistics company that handles returns for retailers, from PayPal.

UPS said that by combining Happy Returns’ digital experience with the package-delivery company’s small package network and brick-and-mortar locations, label-free returns will soon be available at thousands of locations in the U.S.

Version One Ventures explains how to fundraise when capital is no longer a commodity (BETAKIT)

What’s a founder to do if you’ve only just started your company in 2023—right on time to miss the COVID-19 stimulus-fueled boom cycle and see capital dry up?

Angela Tran, General Partner at Version One Ventures, on the #CIBCInnovationBanking podcast shared more about the first major venture “winter” since the Great Recession and what founders can do about it today.

Hello Bello files for bankruptcy amid supply chain setbacks

Unconditional Love Inc. — which does business as Hello Bello, founded by actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to facilitate being acquired by private equity firm Hildred Capital Management.

CEO Erica Buxton said in court documents that Hello Bello experienced the negative impacts of higher shipping costs, increased purchase prices and delayed raw materials shipments from the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to get hybrid work right for the long term (BETAKIT)

Experts in support of remote work say employee difficulties are the fault of leadership, while leaders driving the return-to-office push say hybrid work is fundamentally flawed.

For John P. Trougakos, a professor of organizational behaviour at the University of Toronto and a workplace productivity consultant, both parties have a point, so what are businesses to do?

Speaking with BetaKit, Trougakos explained how to truly get hybrid work right—and why no two organizations should use the same strategy.

Flexport Is in Talks to Buy Failed Freight Firm Convoy’s Technology

Flexport is in talks to buy the technology of collapsed digital freight startup Convoy, a move that would expand the freight forwarder’s push into the domestic U.S. trucking market as the company seeks to climb back into profitability.

As part of the deal, Flexport would bring on a small team of business, product and tech experts from Convoy, a one-time darling of venture-capital investors that ceased operations this month. The company wouldn’t acquire Convoy’s overall business, nor any physical assets such as truck trailers or real estate.

Ex-Shopify and Deliverr workers say layoffs, compensation issues at Flexport capped a 15-month rollercoaster: 'Honestly a bit relieved that it's over' (INSIDER)

Flexport's layoffs came as a relief for some. Former Deliverr and Shopify employees told Insider last week's layoffs at Flexport capped the end of a multiyear rollercoaster marked by multiple complicated acquisitions and integrations, compensation issues, and culture clashes.

Many employees who had joined the freight-forwarding company with its acquisition of Shopify Logistics in May were let go in Flexport's latest round of layoffs, which affected 20% of the company overall.

Shopify's former head of its app ecosystem business is launching an AI imaging tool for online sellers (INSIDER)

When Fatima Yusuf decided to leave Shopify after leading its ecosystem business in the summer of 2022, she planned to spend more time with her family and think about what she wanted to do next.

But it wasn't long before Yusuf was ready to launch her own business. She ended up starting two businesses, one of which is ImagineCreate AI, an AI imaging tool that officially launches Tuesday with an undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding from Precursor Ventures.

How to navigate the “imperfect storm” of startup cybersecurity (BETAKIT)

What would you do if your business was the victim of a cyberattack—and to top it off, you lost half your customers because of it?

In a recent BetaKit Live conversation, three expert panellists discussed the very real business risks of a cyberattack and how small business and startup owners should engage with those risks.

Learn about the rapid growth of cybercrime from Aviva Klein, VP of Digital Payments & Cybersecurity Solutions at Mastercard in Canada, Darryl Julott, Managing Lead at Digital Main Street, and Charles Finlay, Executive Director of the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Salsify cuts over 100 jobs, moves some roles abroad (BIZJOURNALS)

Salsify is shrinking its team and moving some roles abroad as the company aims to set itself up for a “more agile and competitive future,” according to Jason Purcell, Salsify’s CEO and co-founder.

The Boston-based e-commerce software “unicorn” said 110 employees were impacted by layoffs last week.

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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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