The Retail Times is a weekly newsletter covering retail tech news from Canada and around the globe.
Subscribe to R|T using the form at the bottom of this page to ensure you don’t miss out on the most important retail tech news every week!
Toronto-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Voiceflow has raised $15 million USD ($20.1 million CAD) at a $105 million USD valuation.
Using Voiceflow, customers can save considerable time designing, testing, and deploying AI agents. As a result, teams build better conversational agents for customer support automation at twice the speed of traditional platforms, the company claims.
Instacart Plans for September IPO in Boost for US Listings
The largest US online grocery-delivery company, Instacart, could publicly file its plans for an IPO with the US Securities and Exchange Commission as soon as next week paving the way for a Nasdaq debut as early as September.
Non-profit Canadian tech member association The C100 has unveiled the participants in this year’s installation of its fellowship program, including founders of notable early Canadian startups such as VendorPM, Shakudo, and Moment Energy.
DTC brands are struggling to turn a profit. Shopify and some software startups aim to solve this by paying customers to shop
Catch pays users to shop by linking to their bank accounts or debit cards. When shoppers purchase from brands that partner with Catch, they'll get 5-10% back in credit to spend at that store while the retailer gets to avoid the credit card fees.
"If I swipe my American Express, that retailer is paying 3% to American Express, who just hands it back to me to spend within the American Express ecosystem," Catch CEO Nico Perdomo said. "What we're doing is saying, hey, do that same thing, but do it for yourself instead."
Canadian startups NL Patent, BorderlessHR, Monark crack Google’s Women Founders accelerator (BETAKIT)
Three Canadian startups are joining Google’s latest cohort for its women founders accelerator.
NLPatent, BorderlessHR, and Monark–which are respectively based in Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary–are among the 11 North American startups selected to take part in this year’s edition of Google for Startups’ Women Founders program.
University of Toronto’s law school accepted $450,000 USD last year from Amazon to fund research and discussion on antitrust issues and competition. The faculty did not publicly disclose the source of the money, or inform participants or academics of the company’s involvement.
The reach of Big Tech companies like Amazon is a matter of intense debate as the federal government considers reforms to ensure fair competition in the online marketplace.
Amazon Wants You to Pay With Your Palm. It’s a Sneak Attack on Apple and Google (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)
Amazon is making moves to centralize itself. Despite anti-trust concerns, Amazon is moving forward with imposing a fee on merchants that do not use its logisitcs service. Now, Amazon is making a play to become the central ID system of your whole life, starting with your palm.
By the end of this year, you’ll be able to scan your palm at any of the company’s more than 500 Whole Foods stores in the U.S., and join a service called Amazon One. Once enrolled, your hand is all you’ll need to pay there, Starbucks, and more
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.
JD.com beat analyst forecasts for second-quarter revenue on Wednesday, as the Chinese e-commerce giant's focus on lower-priced products paid off in the fight for customers in an economic slowdown.
The company said it attracted more vendors to its platform, helped by lower thresholds and costs for them to join, and that users shopped more frequently as its product range expanded.
Sea Ltd. fell its most ever after reporting disappointing revenue and outlining plans to increase investment in e-commerce, a strategic shift that could erode margins and trigger a price war with TikTok and Alibaba.
Sea CEO Forrest Li said the company intends to expand Sea’s online shopping arm, Shopee, and that “such investments will have impact on our bottom line and may result in losses.”
Why apps like Venmo are killing the mail-in rebate (MODERN RETAIL)
Mail-in rebates are quickly becoming a thing of the past as retailers increasingly adopt app-based reimbursement promotions using platforms like Venmo.
This week, California-based grocer The Save Mart Companies launched an alcohol cashback program using tech vendor Swiftly. Shoppers who are scrolling Save Mart apps can save the brand-funded offers to their loyalty ID given at checkout. Then after the point of sale, they’ll get the rebate sent to their Venmo or PayPal account.
Subscribe to The Retail Times
Don’t forget to subscribe to The Retail Times using the form below to make sure it hits your email inbox every week!