R|T: The Retail Times – Shopify and Amazon strike a deal

Plus: Benitago files for bankruptcy.

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OMERS Ventures turnover continues with global head Damien Steel joining Deep Sky as CEO (BETAKIT)

At the beginning of 2023, head of venture capital Damien Steel laid out a bold vision for the future of OMERS Ventures. Now, he is leaving the firm.

Steel’s departure to become the CEO of cleantech startup Deep Sky severs one of the few remaining leadership bridges between the pre-pandemic and post-pandemic versions of OMERS Ventures.

Steel’s decision to join Deep Sky has some observers in the Canadian tech space raising eyebrows about the potential conflicts of interest, given the ongoing personal and financial relationships between OMERS, Deep Sky, and Hopper.

Shopify, Amazon strike deal to integrate 'Buy with Prime' in Shopify stores (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Two of the e-commerce world’s biggest rivals have brokered a surprise deal helping their merchants better take advantage of one another’s offerings.

Following a move to sell off its fulfillment division to Flexport, Shopify has announced a partnership with Amazon that will allow merchants to more easily integrate to Amazon’s sprawling fulfillment network within their Shopify stores.

The competing e-commerce companies said the deal centers on Amazon releasing an app within Shopify’s ecosystem, letting U.S. merchants that use Amazon’s fulfillment network add Buy with Prime to their Shopify checkout process.

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.

Gambit Partners aims to take some of the risk out of early-stage investing by leaning on its LPs (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based venture capital (VC) fund Gambit Partners aims to de-risk pre-seed investing with the help of its limited partners (LPs).

Co-founder Simon Sokol claims that Gambit's assembly of LPs is “uniquely situated” to help early-stage entrepreneurs with hiring, fundraising, and tech problems, noting that Gambit can bring in LPs to analyze prospective investments, solve issues at portfolio companies, or even join them.

E-commerce acquirer Benitago files for bankruptcy (TECHCRUNCH)

Benitago Group, an Amazon e-commerce business acquirer, filed for bankruptcy this week. The move comes after the New York-based company raised $380 million in equity and debt in the past two years.

Seven Canadian tech founders dish about their journey running a startup (BETAKIT)

So far, 2023 has been tough for entrepreneurs. Inflation has kept costs high and profits low, and investors have mostly kept their chequebooks closed. But in uncertain times, founders can lean on each other for wisdom and inspiration.

We talked to a diverse group of Canadian tech founders about what motivates them during tough times and the importance of learning from their customers and peers.

Shopify plans to introduce a new level of customer support for its largest enterprise merchants, as it works to attract bigger companies, leaked video reveals (INSIDER)

Shopify is developing a customer support offering for its enterprise-level merchants, according to an internal video that was viewed by Insider.

Though Shopify has historically been best known for serving small and midsize businesses, enterprise e-commerce has become a larger priority for the Canadian company this year.

Bonfire of the groceries (FINANCIAL TIMES)

Until the cash runs out, reality needn’t matter much to a unicorn.

Morgan Stanley finds that in the world of rapid grocery delivery, everything is down 90 per cent-plus except the valuations. App downloads, discount searches and new fundraisings are all a tenth of the peak, or worse, but primary equity rounds are still just 14 per cent lower on average.

Mysa, ReelData among nominees for Volta’s 2023 Ecosystem Impact Awards (BETAKIT)

Halifax-based innovation hub Volta has revealed the nominees for this year’s Ecosystem Impact Awards, which celebrates a group of organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions in Atlantic Canada’s tech ecosystem.

Some notable startups from this year’s roster includes smart-thermostat company Mysa, and ReelData, which uses AI for land-based aquaculture.

U of T law school to return Amazon cash amid integrity uproar, will disclose all future corporate gifts (THE LOGIC)

The University of Toronto’s dean of law said her faculty will return a US$450,000 gift to Amazon, which the e-commerce giant gave to fund the study of competition and other issues. The Logic‘s reporting revealed that the gift was not disclosed to faculty or students, prompting complaints from academic groups that it violated the university’s integrity standards.

Hopper continues embedded FinTech push with Air Canada partnership (BETAKIT)

Air Canada and Montréal-based startup Hopper have partnered on a new feature called Cancel for any Reason, allowing for immediate refunds up to 24 hours before a flight's scheduled departure.

The Air Canada partnership may be seen as part of Hopper’s ongoing push to create what it’s calling the first travel super app in North America. It’s also the first airline-focused instance of its successful Hopper Cloud B2B initiative, which lets travel businesses integrate FinTech products.

EU set to block Booking’s €1.63bn purchase of Etraveli

EU regulators are set to block US online travel site Booking Holding’s €1.63bn purchase of Sweden’s Etraveli Group following concerns that it threatens competition.

EU regulators are concerned that Booking’s acquisition of the flights-only company will further consolidate its position in the travel market and hurt rivals.

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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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