R|T: The Retail Times – How trucking startup Convoy drove itself into the ground

a red transport truck driving toward the camera with an orange tinted backdrop
Plus: Post-Hopper, Expedia partners with Air Miles for new travel booking platform.

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

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Restaurant software startup Snappy secures $7-million Series A round (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based restaurant management software startup Snappy has raised $7 million CAD in Series A financing as the startup looks to beef up its North American presence.

Founded in 2016, Snappy offers restaurant management technology for customer touchpoints including point-of-sale, online orders, loyalty programs, reservations, waitlists, and custom-branded mobile apps and websites.

How Trucking Startup Convoy Drove Itself Into the Ground

On Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m, the mimosas started flowing at Convoy’s Seattle headquarters. It wasn’t a celebration.

After months of Convoy trying desperately to raise cash or find a buyer, employees had just been ordered to stop taking new orders and cancel existing shipments. The startup, which had raised more than $1 billion from backers ranging from Jeff Bezos and Bono to Fidelity and T. Rowe Price, was out of money and about to shut down.

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Canada losing its appeal to Indian tech workers following diplomatic tensions, affordability challenges (BETAKIT)

Nearly half of the 32,000 tech workers who moved to Canada between April of 2022 and March of 2023—15,097 in total—originated from India.

Not only has the geopolitical situation made it harder for Canadian employers to attract tech workers from India, but it’s also made life more difficult for those already here. The sudden suspension of visa services means Canadian citizens who don’t currently have a valid visa are unable to travel between the two countries.

Alibaba.com seeks to woo merchants from TikTok after ByteDance ends social commerce activity in Indonesia (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)

Indonesia has imposed a ban on e-commerce transactions via social media apps to protect the country’s small businesses.

Alibaba is trying to woo merchants from ByteDance-owned TikTok who sell in Southeast Asia after the short video app was forced to suspend e-commerce activities in Indonesia.

Conexus, Emmertech alum Sean O'Connor joins TechBrew Robotics as CEO (BETAKIT)

Sean O'Connor, former managing director of Conexus Venture Capital and Emmertech, has joined Salmon Arm, BC AgTech startup TechBrew Robotics as CEO, BetaKit has learned.

TechBrew, an Emmertech portfolio company that builds mushroom-picking robots, first hired O'Connor as interim CEO earlier this year.

In an exclusive interview with BetaKit, O'Connor laid out why joining TechBrew was a "natural" move for both parties, spoke about the startup's progress to date under Boudreau's leadership, and shared where the AgTech firm plans to go from here.

Air Miles announces hotel and vacation rental partnership with Expedia (TORONTO STAR)

Loyalty program operator Air Miles has announced a partnership for hotels and vacation rentals with Expedia as part of its of newly launched travel booking platform.

The partnership comes after Expedia terminated its partnership with Montréal-based travel booking startup Hopper in July, alleging that Hopper’s features “exploit consumer anxiety."

What Allen Lau learned from Wattpad's $754-million acquisition (BETAKIT)

Allen Lau, co-founder and former CEO of Wattpad, has had first-hand M&A experience leading his company to its $754-million CAD acquisition deal with Naver in 2021.

Now, Lau wants to share the lessons he learned with Canadian founders currently pursuing M&A in an ever-changing economy. Ahead of his TechExit appearance on October 25, Lau spoke to the current state of M&A, the value of mentorship, and what role VCs can play.

Uber Eats expands into 50 small cities and towns across Canada — beginning in Ontario (TORONTO STAR)

Uber Eats is taking a big step into small towns.

The delivery app announced this week that it’s expanding into 50 small cities and towns across Canada by the end of this year, including Woodstock, Chatham and Leamington, beginning Wednesday.

How Shein Decided to Partner With Rival Forever 21

When Shein announced a partnership with Forever 21 in August, it unveiled a deal that would align two firms that might otherwise be enemies: a China-founded online fashion retailer and a U.S. brick-and-mortar retail label that’s bleeding sales to e-commerce upstarts.

Ripple Ventures plants flag in Vancouver as firm envisions “coast-to-coast” Fund III (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based early-stage venture firm Ripple Ventures is setting up shop in Vancouver as it eyes the final close of its third venture fund later this year.

The move out west is a strategic one for Ripple Ventures. The firm is raising its third venture fund, which recently received a $7.5-million investment from the federal government’s renewed Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI). 

Ripple Ventures is looking to take a more coast-to-coast approach with Fund III, which presumably starts with building out a physical presence in Western Canada.

Getir bets big on the U.S. even as it bleeds cash (REST OF WORLD)

Late in 2021, the Turkish startup Getir rolled out its first dark stores in New York City, Chicago, and Boston.

“Just like every basketball player dreams of playing in the NBA, a startup dreams of playing in the U.S.,” founder and chief executive Nazim Salur said when his company arrived.

As Getir is maintaining its U.S. operation, it incurs a rough $100 million in costs per month and has lost 80% of its valuation since spring 2022.

Why BNPL platform Afterpay is rewarding customers for on-time payments (MODERN RETAIL)

Afterpay, the buy now, pay later platform owned by Block, is doling out brand-specific rewards for customers who pay on time.

A BNPL rewards partnership like the one between Afterpay and Nift is a “brilliant move,” Liz Kressel, CEO of the e-commerce consultancy firm Lizard Strategy, told Modern Retail. “If you think about it from the companies who are offering those rewards, it’s lowering customer acquisition cost,” she said.

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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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