R|T: The Retail Times – Shopify adds new merchant tools, loses long-time VP

Plus: Shein makes an aggressive pitch to woo US Amazon sellers.

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Long-time VP and product leader Satish Kanwar departs Shopify (BETAKIT)

Satish Kanwar is leaving Shopify after 10 years.

The long-serving Shopify vice president of corporate development and head of product acceleration announced the news on Twitter and LinkedIn, noting that he intends to spend more time with his family, angel investing, and working on his family office.

Stitch Fix Thinks Outside the Box With CEO Do-Over

Stitch Fix’s new CEO, Matt Baer, grew up in South Florida, working at his family’s chain of furniture stores. He studied business in college, worked for a hotshot lawyer, and kickstarted a decade of e-commerce work when he joined startup Fab in 2011.

Despite those experiences, Baer wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice to fix Stitch Fix, the once-hot tech firm which has slumped in recent years.

Tickets are still available for Elevate Festival!

Elevate Festival, Canada’s premiere tech and innovation festival, takes place from Sept. 26-28 in the heart of Toronto. This year’s Main Stage speakers include Knix CEO & Founder, Joanna Griffiths; acclaimed journalist & broadcaster, Lisa LaFlamme; Astronaut & Elevate Co-Chair, Col. Chris Hadfield; Executive Director of Action Canada, Farrah Khan, and Chief Diversity Officer of Meta, Maxine Williams!

Highlights include 8 content tracks featuring important discussions in AI, Cybersecurity, Fintech, Future Societies, and more; a Tech Talent Zone for job seekers; Elevate Goes Late parties with live music & street eats; 1:1 meetings for Startups with Canada’s top investors; a dedicated Women+ in Tech stream, and infinite chances to network, cultivate community, and level up!

Grab your tickets now at elevatefestival.ca/tickets.

Shopify reveals AI suite, business credit card, dropshipping-like feature in latest product showcase (BETAKIT)

Earlier this month, Ottawa retail-tech giant Shopify unveiled its AI assistant for merchants, Sidekick, which the company claims can craft and complete administrative tasks such as responding to customer inquiries and making design changes to the online storefront.

Now, the company has unveiled several new products and updates for its merchants as part of its 2023 Summer Editions. This includes a business credit card for everyday expenses, created in partnership with Stripe, and dropshipping-like capabilities through its new Shopify Collective offering.

AI is coming for e-commerce—but businesses should approach with caution, warns a leading investor (THE LOGIC)

Seventy-five firms whose AI products could shake up e-commerce raised a record $503 million in venture capital investment in 2022, according to new research.

Wittington Ventures director Qasim Mohammad warns that fellow investors and retailers should be cautious amid the hype as many questions around how best to incorporate AI into services remain unanswered.

Hopper to power travel portal for Brazilian digital banking giant Nubank (BETAKIT)

Montréal-based travel booking startup Hopper is partnering with Nubank, one of the largest digital banks in Latin America, to power its travel portal.

The travel portal is powered by Hopper's B2B Cloud offering and is expected to launch next year. Hopper launched its B2B initiative in 2021. Nubank is its latest new client and follows the likes ofCapital One and Uber.

Shein Makes an Aggressive Pitch to Woo U.S. Amazon Sellers

The world’s most valuable private e-commerce company is coming for Amazon on its home turf.

Shein is pushing further into incumbents’ territory by trying to recruit U.S. brands that are already big on Amazon and Shopify, part of its plan to transform into an online “everything store” where shoppers can buy a wide range of goods from outside sellers and Shein alike.

Canadian venture status report: Q2 2023 (BETAKIT)

New data from briefed.in gives an optimistic outlook on the venture health of Canada's biggest tech ecosystems in Q2 2023.

Following a sluggish start to the year, Toronto and British Columbia's tech ecosystems saw a resurgence in venture funding in the quarter, mostly due to larger deals between fewer companies. 

Alberta tech is on pace to eclipse its 2022, with companies raising a lively $123.8M in Q2 2023. Québec followed suit, maintaining an upward trajectory in the quarter, growing 42 percent from Q1 2023 and 81 percent year-over-year.

Meanwhile, venture deal volume in the Waterloo Region reached a three-year low in the second quarter of 2023, but unreported deals could be shaping an unfair perception of the local tech sector.

TikTok Wants to Sell Made-in-China Goods to Americans

TikTok is launching an e-commerce business in the U.S. to sell made-in-China goods to consumers, stepping up its rivalry with popular shopping platforms Shein and Temu.

Similar to Amazon.com’s “Sold by Amazon” program, TikTok will store and ship items—including clothes, electronics and kitchen gadgets—on behalf of manufacturers and merchants in China. It will also handle marketing, transactions, logistics and after-sale services.

Canadian tech unicorns Ada, Clio, Lightspeed among first cohort of Canada’s Global Hypergrowth Project (BETAKIT)

Canadian tech unicorns Ada, Clio, and Lightspeed are among the eight businesses selected to take part in the first cohort of the Government of Canada’s Global Hypergrowth Project (GHP).

According to the federal government, GHP is meant to help its selection of businesses become “anchor firms,” which it defines as companies with annual revenues of over $1 billion and employees numbering more than 1,500 people.

SoftBank Ups Stake In Symbotic in Joint Venture Deal

SoftBank Group Corp. is setting up an artificial intelligence-oriented warehousing joint venture with Symbotic Inc. and buying more shares in the supply-chain-services company.

The Wilmington, Massachusetts-based company helps companies save money by using robots to help fulfill customer orders. Walmart Inc. is among its most important clients, with plans to implement Symbotic systems in all 42 of its regional distribution centers.

Impact of Canada’s H-1B visa talent grab may go well beyond 10,000 applicants (BETAKIT)

Though Canada's new H-1B visa program was only announced weeks ago, it’s already having a profound impact. In developing a visa program unapologetically piggybacking on America’s H-1B visa process—and in many ways, offering a clear contrast to its limitations—the IRCC appears to have struck a nerve.

When the program's online portal launched on July 16, its 10,000 application limit had been reached by the next evening.

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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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