R|T: The Retail Times – Tobi Lutke granted a nine-figure Shopify compensation package

Tobi Lütke Shopify
Plus: Sonder faces class action, Busbud continues LATAM push.

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Shopify gave CEO Tobi Lutke $200-million in options, shares, in February

Shopify granted stock awards to chief executive officer Tobi Lutke valued at close to $200-million, making it one of the largest compensation packages in Canadian history.

The Ottawa-based company granted Mr. Lutke 2.6 million options and close to 470,000 restricted shares on Feb. 22, the filings show.

Experts offered mixed reactions to the compensation, with some saying it serves as a useful incentive for Mr. Lutke to take steps to improve the company’s share price, and others questioning the motivation for granting the executive such a large compensation package.

(The Globe and Mail)

Busbud continues Latin American expansion with acquisition of Buson

Montréal-based ground travel booking platform Busbud has acquired Brazilian bus booking marketplace Buson as it continues to expand its presence in South America.

The terms of the deal remain undisclosed, but Busbud co-founder and CEO LP Maurice told BetaKit that this was the company’s largest M&A transaction to date “by a significant margin,” and was completed with a mix of cash and equity.

Busbud says it now has over 600 partnerships with bus operators in Latin America, “thousands” globally, as well as approximately 225 employees worldwide.


Uber leads $100M investment in African mobility fintech Moove as valuation hits $750M

Moove, an African mobility fintech that offers vehicle financing to ride-hailing and delivery app drivers, has raised $100 million in a funding round as it plots expansion into new markets.

The four-year-old mobility fintech buys fleets of vehicles, which it then sells to drivers through the platform. Its software offers financing to drivers through a credit-scoring system, enabling drivers to buy new vehicles for ride-hailing, logistics and deliveries.


Sonder faces class action investigation after delaying financial results due to errors in past statements

Montréal-founded, San Francisco-headquartered Sonder, which leases and manages a portfolio of short-term rental units, has announced that it is delaying the release of its fourth quarter and full year 2023 financial results.

After Sonder’s announcement, shareholder rights law firm Johnson Fistel, LLP released its own statement announcing it was commencing a class action investigation into whether Sonder or any of its executive officers or others violated securities laws by “misrepresenting or failing to timely disclose material, adverse information to investors.”


EU Regulation Forces Retailers to Rethink Loyalty Programs

Read anything about the recent March 7 enforcement date for the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) and you’ll inevitably see a focus on big tech companies, potential fines and a general sense that this is a salvo in the EU’s desire to become “a digital cop.” Some of that is accurate and relevant. But when the dust settles on the DMA, the biggest and most immediate impact may be at retail.

As Beresford explains it, the DMA opens the market up for more retail payment methods and will foster their interoperability. Among the changes he expects: face-to-face contactless payments and transactions from a third-party banking or wallet app.


Nuvei stock rises as company confirms discussions following report of potential buyout

In a late March 17 statement, Nuvei confirmed that it is in talks with “certain third parties” about a potential takeover transaction that could lead to the Montréal payments company going private.

Nuvei shares responded on market open Monday by jumping up nearly 20 percent on the TSX, going from $29.48 per share on Friday’s close to $37.57 at 11:30 am EST Monday.

Having once traded as high as $171 per share in 2021, Nuvei would join a wave of Canadian tech companies going private following significant stock value declines.


CDPQ’S $250-million Equity 25³ Fund is done after only four investments

Less than three and a half years after launching the largest Canadian fund of its kind, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has quietly shuttered Equity 25³, BetaKit has learned.

At the time, CDPQ dedicated $250 million CAD towards increasing diversity and inclusion through Equity 25³ and claimed it was “the largest Canadian fund ever created to target companies leveraging diversity as a vector of development and expansion.”

BetaKit has learned that Equity 25³ made just four investments in that timeframe. Meanwhile, Wils Théagène, formerly a senior director of private equity at CDPQ and the architect of Equity 25³, is no longer with CDPQ or the fund.

“With my next venture, I wanted to address the gap at [Series] A and then move up [and] continue to do growth,” said Théagène, who claimed that CDPQ’s Equity 25³ has now given him “the recipe” for his next fund.


Temasek-Backed ShopBack Cuts 24% of Jobs in ‘Pay-Later’ Defeat

ShopBack, an online shopping rewards app backed by Temasek Holdings Pte, is cutting about a quarter of its workforce as it retreats from the buy-now-pay-later space.

The company is eliminating 195 roles, or 24% of its staff, to become more focused and self-sustainable, Chief Executive Officer Henry Chan said in a note to employees on Tuesday. ShopBack had started freezing salaries for leaders and paying out lower bonuses since 2022, but sustainable growth remained a challenge, he said.

(BNN Bloomberg)

One year later, what filled the hole SVB left in Canadian tech lending?

One year after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, venture capitalists and lenders BetaKit spoke with said the ecosystem is missing one of a small number of doors to knock on for debt funding.

The bank’s four-year run in Canada changed the tech lending landscape significantly, with its presence prodding the Big Five banks to start competing for startups’ business and giving smaller companies better access to bank pricing for debt.

With those banks hoovering up former SVB Canada talent and customers in the past year, the country’s major financial institutions are set to be more active tech lenders.


DoorDash begins piloting drone deliveries in the US

DoorDash is expanding its partnership with Alphabet’s Wing to bring its drone delivery pilot to the U.S., the company announced on Thursday. Select users in Christiansburg, Virginia will be able to order eligible menu items from their local Wendy’s.

Most of Wendy’s items will qualify for drone delivery, but certain items may not be eligible if they exceed volume and weight restrictions. If the order contains more than what one drone can carry, DoorDash will deploy up to three drones to deliver the order.


The BetaKit Keynote Stage lands in Vancouver for INNOVATEwest 2024

The BetaKit Keynote Stage is heading west, set to host captivating conversations with tech leaders at INNOVATEwest 2024.

On April 16 and 17 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the stage will feature a roster of tech luminaries, including Canva chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki, key figures from Canada’s quantum sector, and a lively conversation between Koho founder and CEO Daniel Eberhard and Wealthsimple co-founder and CEO Michael Katchen.


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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