R|T: The Retail Times – Life House CEO departs following mismanagement accusations

Plus: Travel perks platform Plusgrade gets a new major investor.

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Life House CEO Departs After The Information’s Report on Company

The founder and CEO of the hospitality startup Life House, Rami Zeidan, has resigned and left the board, board member Chris Hemmeter told shareholders in an email on Monday. The board hired two travel industry veterans to take over the company’s management.

The shakeup follows a February 14 report in The Information which cited customers and employees accusing Life House of misrepresenting its technical prowess and mismanaging the operation of its customers’ hotels.

BetaKit previously reported: Life House secured $77 million CAD ($60 million USD) in a Series C round led by Inovia Capital to start selling its software to independent hotels in late 2021. During the pandemic, Life House saw its business grow by 600 percent.

(The Information)

General Atlantic becomes major investor in travel perks platform Plusgrade

Montréal-headquartered Plusgrade has reportedly changed hands as New York-based private equity firm General Atlantic made a significant investment in the ancillary travel revenue company.

General Atlantic said in a statement it intends to partner with Plusgrade to support the company’s continued growth, which includes a focus on new business segments, go-to-market efforts, and merger and acquisition opportunities.


Amazon Pumps the Brakes on Global Domination

Less than two years ago, Amazon had big plans to continue its march into the sizable areas of the world where it hadn’t yet officially opened an online store for business.

But most of those plans haven’t yet come to pass.

The pullback on its international ambitions is another sign of Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s efforts to rein in costs at the company over the last two years.

(The Information)

Ziing acquires Metroland Parcel Services from TorStar

Calgary-based last-mile delivery startup Ziing has acquired Metroland Parcel Services (MPS) from TorStar Corp. for an undisclosed amount.

The deal closed on February 20, less than a month after Ziing acquired fellow Calgary company HubTrotter Logistics.

Ziing said it intends to expand across North America and approach unicorn status, a $1-billion valuation, within three to five years by reaching new clients and continuing with its “aggressive” acquisition strategy.


How Klarna’s IPO Prep Got Tangled Up in a Boardroom Drama

The last thing Sebastian Siemiatkowski needed was boardroom drama.

The 42-year-old chief executive officer of the Stockholm-based fintech Klarna had spent months getting his company in better shape ahead of a possible public markets debut.

Klarna in January had appointed a new executive from the venerable venture fund Sequoia Capital to the board: Matthew Miller. Within weeks, though, Miller was looking to make governance changes and sought to oust Klarna’s longtime chairman – and former Sequoia heavyweight – Michael Moritz.

Their fight, it turns out, reflects an uglier skirmish between Siemiatkowski and his co-founder Victor Jacobsson.

(BNN Bloomberg)

Lack of inclusion, unclear parental leave still hamper retention of women in Canadian VC

According to Roxanne Leduc, a Canadian Women in VC board member, LPs and the VCs they back have focused less of their efforts on inclusion—and this is likely why some Canadian funds are struggling to retain the women and visible minorities they hire.

“When markets are tough, unfortunately, if it’s not mandatory, it will not be a priority for any fund. I think it’s more important than ever in this economic downturn to reemphasize the importance of inclusion and equity, and not just diversity.”


Rural commerce startup Rozana raises $22.5 Mn led by Bertelsmann India

Rural commerce startup Rozana has raised $22.5 million led by Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) with participation from Fireside Ventures and existing investors.

Rozana operates an e-commerce platform and logistics network focused on serving the needs of rural communities in India.

The new proceeds will be used to expand Rozana’s warehousing and logistics reach into new districts, enhance its technology platform, and ramp up hiring across technology, product and operations teams.


Passwords are showing their age. Here’s the tech set to replace them

Despite leaning on passwords, small businesses aren’t confident about their cybersecurity.

“With Canadians increasingly targets of fraud, cyber preparedness can’t be an afterthought. It needs to be a priority for both consumers and businesses,” Aviva Klein, Vice President of Digital Payments & Cybersecurity Solutions at Mastercard noted.

Klein recently shared with BetaKit two key technologies aiding in the fight against these challenges, and how Mastercard is using them to improve the cybersecurity posture of both consumers and businesses.


Topsort helps e-commerce create ads without being ‘creepy’

Regina Ye says she and Topsort co-founder Francisco Larrain have learned a lot in the two years since their auction-powered advertising startup launched.

The company raised $8 million in seed funding in 2022 to value the company at $110 million. Topsort develops retail media technology for small businesses to use auctions as a way to create effective advertising.


Canadian businesses are optimistic about growth in 2024. Here’s why

Higher interest rates, rampant inflation, looming recession fears, and geopolitical turmoil are all contributing to a seemingly bleak outlook for the year ahead.

However, Zoho Canada has revealed a wave of optimism among Canadian SMBs. Zoho surveyed thousands of small business owners in Canada across a variety of industries over the last year, and nearly 75 percent expect to grow by one to 20 percent in the next year.


Feature image of Rami Zeidan by Daniel Dorsa, courtesy of Life House.

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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