R|T: The Retail Times – Has the FTC taken the first step to break up Amazon?

Plus: Behind the scenes of Shopify's Buy with Prime deal and Flexport's ousting of CEO Dave Clark.

The Retail Times is a weekly newsletter covering retail tech news from Canada and around the globe.

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Attabotics, Urbx settle litigation over robotic storage patents (BETAKIT)

In 2021, Calgary-based robotics startup Attabotics alleged that Urbx, a Boston, Mass.-based fulfillment automation company, infringed on two of its patents. Since a US judge partially rejected a motion to dismiss in June, the pair recently announced an amicable resolution to the litigation between them.

Inside the clash between Amazon and Shopify over Buy with Prime (INSIDER)

Amazon has been trying to get its Buy with Prime service on Shopify's merchant platform for months. It finally happened on Wednesday. But the untold story of how it happened reveals that Shopify exerted a surprising amount of leverage over the negotiations.

In one part of the Amazon document, it described Shopify as the "largest turnkey ecommerce service provider in the market." And when the final deal was announced, Shopify's payment-processing service ended up being the one used for all Buy with Prime transactions on the Shopify platform, a major concession by Amazon.

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.

Meet the Y Combinator Summer 2023 cohort startups with Canadian connections (BETAKIT)

Learn more about the seven Canadian-affiliated tech startups participating in Y Combinator’s Summer 2023 Demo Day.

Decoda Health, Greenlite, LifestyleRX, Spine AI, Tempo Labs, Terminal, and VaultPay will all get the opportunity to pitch to a select group of investors.

Why Dave Clark and Ryan Petersen Butted Heads at Flexport (THE INFORMATION)

Dave Clark, a veteran Amazon executive who helped transform the company into a logistics juggernaut, made a huge splash last summer when he announced he was joining Flexport. In his last days at the company this past week, he was suddenly told by Flexport's founder, Ryan Peterson, that he could resign immediately or be fired the next day by the company’s board.

Following the surprise departure, the company has told employees to expect cost and, potentially, job-cutting. Rick Watson, an eCommerce strategy consultant, called Flexport's situation a "dumpster fire" in a LinkedIn post while offering some analysis on where Flexport is headed amongst dropping freight rates and valuations.

Cultivator’s incubated startups surpass $100 million in private funding (BETAKIT)

Cultivator was launched in 2019 to help buttress the region’s visibility on the national tech stage by addressing the gaps and barriers in Saskatchewan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

This week, it hit a new benchmark: the companies nurtured through Cultivator have collectively raised more than $100 million in private capital since 2019.

E-Commerce Software Startup Shop Circle Raises $120 Million To Support Growing Number Of Online Merchants (FORBES)

London-based e-commerce software startup Shop Circle has raised $120 million in Series A funding, the company announced Wednesday.

Today, Shop Circle functions as a “suite” of tools all under one umbrella, including everything from referral programs to restock alerts to a mobile app builder. Shop Circle solely works with Shopify sellers, and offers merchants 37 different tools to build their businesses on Shopify.

Sean O'Connor steps down as managing director of Conexus Venture Capital, Emmertech (BETAKIT)

Sean O’Connor is stepping down as managing director of Regina, Sask.-based Conexus Venture Capital and Emmertech.

Under O’Connor’s leadership, per CVCA reports, Conexus Venture Capital has grown into one of the country’s most active early-stage VC funds and played an important role in the growth of the tech ecosystem in both Saskatchewan and the Prairies. With AgTech-focused Emmertech, its impact has been felt across Canada.

Kyle Scott, who has served as co-managing director alongside O’Connor since 2021, will continue to head the two funds.

Getir valuation slashed to $2.5bn as delivery start-up raises new cash (FINANCIAL TIMES)

Getir, the Turkey-based grocery delivery company, is raising $500mn in a deal that prices one of the hottest start-ups of the pandemic at less than a quarter of its value 18 months ago.

The Istanbul-based company’s round is another sign of how the extended downturn in venture capital markets is forcing start-up founders and investors to accept dramatically reduced valuations in order to raise new funds.

Nulogy CFO offers tips for fundraising in a chaotic environment (BETAKIT)

Founders looking for growth capital are having a harder time than ever amidst record lows in VC funding. However, trading equity for VC cash is not the only path forward.

Nulogy is taking advantage of different financing paths, and its CFO, Sanjay Dhawan, shared details about his company’s $20 million raise in March 2023 while offering advice for founders fundraising in turbulent times.

Future workforce: where Gen Z wants to work and how startups can support them (BETAKIT)

The Work-Learn Institute (WxL) at the University of Waterloo asked Gen Z what they look for in a company or career path and recently released a full data report on its findings.

Speaking with BetaKit, Ross Johnston, Executive Director for the University of Waterloo’s Co-operative Education, shared his thoughts on WxL’s data and how startups can support and cultivate Gen Z talent.

FTC Antitrust Suit Against Amazon Set for Later This Month After Meeting Fails to Resolve Impasse (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

Amazon officials haven’t offered concessions to the Federal Trade Commission in pursuit of a settlement over antitrust claims, paving the way for the regulator to file a lawsuit later this month.

The lawsuit will target a number of Amazon’s business practices, such as its Fulfillment by Amazon logistics program and pricing on Amazon.com by third-party sellers. The lawsuit will suggest that Amazon makes “structural remedies” that could lead to a break up of the company.

Former Global Founders Capital partner launches Northside Ventures to back pre-seed Canadian entrepreneurs across North America (BETAKIT)

Armed with $6.25 million USD and buy-in from big-name investors and experienced operators, Canada finally has a new pre-seed focused venture fund Northside Ventures.

After spending the past few years building out the Canadian tech investment operations of Germany’s Global Founders Capital, Northside head Alex McIsaac is targetting a fund size of $15 million to back Canadian founders on both sides of the border.

The End of Airbnb in New York (WIRED)

Thousands of Airbnbs and short-term rentals are about to be wiped off the map in New York City.

Local Law 18 is so strict it doesn’t just limit how Airbnb operates in the city—it almost bans it entirely for many guests and hosts. From now on, all short-term rental hosts in New York must register with the city, and only those who live in the place they’re renting—and are present when someone is staying—can qualify.

VentureLab appoints semiconductor industry leader Hugh Chow as CEO (BETAKIT)

Following the departures of Melissa Chee and Matt Skynner this summer, hardware and semiconductor-focused Markham, Ont. tech hub VentureLab has found its next leader in Hugh Chow.

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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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