R|T: The Retail Times – WeWork cuts Canadian locations, Shein IPO targets $90B valuation

Plus: Inside Indigo's plan to return to profitability.

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Acton Capital closes $240-million USD Fund VI to invest in tech startups across Canada and Europe (BETAKIT)

Acton Capital has closed its sixth venture capital (VC) fund, securing $240 million USD to back tech startups across Canada and Europe.

To date, Acton has backed nine Canadian tech firms. Acton partner Hannes Blum, based in Vancouver, has led the firm’s investments in Canada for the past seven years. According to Blum, Acton intends to back 15 to 20 startups in total through Fund VI, including another two to four Canadian startups.

WeWork to shut four Canadian locations as part of insolvency restructuring plan (THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

WeWork, the office-sharing company once valued at tens of billions of dollars, wants to shutter four of its Canadian co-working spaces as part of its plans to restructure, after filing for U.S. bankruptcy protection at the beginning of this week.

The spaces in Toronto, Vancouver, and Burnaby are on the chopping block along with 65 other WeWork locations in New York, Boston and other U.S. cities, according to a Tuesday filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey.

Dapper Labs, Nesto, Certn, top Deloitte’s 2023 Technology Fast 50 list (BETAKIT)

Deloitte has announced the 2023 winners of its Technology Fast 50, a list meant to highlight Canadian companies demonstrating rapid revenue growth.

Deloitte said this year's Technology Fast 50 winners have an average three-year revenue growth rate of 2,213 percent, a significant reduction from last year's average of 3,093 percent, while Dapper Labs topped the list at a whopping 16,910 percent.

This year's top three was rounded out by Noibu, an error-detection startup for e-commerce websites, in second place with a 12,865 percent three-year growth rate and BioRender, a Canva-like platform for scientific-modeling, in third.

Shein Targets Up to $90 Billion Valuation in US IPO, Sources Say (BNN BLOOMBERG)

Shein is touting its hopes for a valuation of as much as $90 billion as it lays the groundwork for an eventual US initial public offering, a level that far exceeds the $50 billion to $60 billion the fast-fashion giant is valued in private trades.

The timing of the share sale remains uncertain given the market volatility, according to the people.

Report: Diversity gap persists in senior ranks of Canadian VC firms (BETAKIT)

Despite year-over-year gains in the representation of women and visible minorities at Canadian venture firms, senior-level diversity in the industry is still lagging, according to a new report from BDC Capital.

BDC Capital’s report found that overall, diversity at the senior levels of the private asset industry remains low—almost half of venture firms are entirely male owned, while eight percent are entirely visible minority owned and two percent are entirely woman or Indigenous owned. Only 31 percent of venture firms reported having gender parity.

Toast’s stock crumbles after earnings, with outlook change deemed ‘disappointing’ (MARKETWATCH)

Shares of Toast Inc. were getting singed in Tuesday’s extended session after the maker of software and payments tools for the restaurant industry slightly lowered the upper range of its full-year revenue forecast, a move one analyst deemed “disappointing.”

Toast shares plunged nearly 20% in after-hours trading.

Rebate management software startup Enable raises $120M in funding to hit unicorn status (SILICONANGLE)

Rebate management software startup Enable International Inc. said it has closed on a hefty $120 million late-stage funding round, bringing its total amount raised to $276 million and its valuation to $1 billion.

Enable is the creator of a rebate management software platform that helps manufacturers, distributors and retailers use rebates as a strategic lever for growth.

Tax Court disqualifies government loan spending from SR&ED, with potentially devastating implications for Canadian tech (BETAKIT)

In late May the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal application seeking to overturn an earlier decision by the Tax Court, which deemed below-market federal loans a form of government assistance, excluding them from being used in conjunction with SR&ED.

As such, Canadian organizations may see some of what previously qualified for SR&ED benefits no longer eligible for the widely used tax incentive program if those expenses were paid for via a low or no-interest loan from a federal institution. According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), SR&ED provides more than $3 billion in tax incentives to 16,000 businesses annually.

Ontario Teachers’ fund backs Indian logistics unicorn Xpressbees in $80 million funding (TECHCRUNCH)

Xpressbees, an Indian logistics firm that works with several e-commerce firms in the country, has raised $80 million in a new funding round led by Ontario Teachers’ late-stage venture growth fund amid a surge in the country’s online shopping activity.

The Canadian pension fund has acquired a stake in the Pune-headquartered startup at about $1.4 billion valuation, the same value at which the startup raised a Series F tranche earlier.

Shopify shares jump after company’s Q3 revenue, profit beat analyst expectations (BETAKIT)

Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify posted higher-than-expected revenue and profit during the third quarter of 2023 after cutting costs and teaming up with Amazon on fulfillment.

Shopify posted $718 million in net income during Q3, a jump from the $159 million the Ottawa-based company lost during the same period last year.

In other earnings news this week, Lightspeed also exceeded its outlook, recording its first period of positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBIDTA) as a public company in Q2, posting a slim, $200,000 profit by this metric, beating its prior forecast of negative $4 million.

In a statement, Lightspeed CEO Jean Paul Chauvet hailed reaching positive EBITDA as “a significant achievement” for the firm.

Indigo launches transformation plan in hopes of returning retailer to profitability (TORONTO STAR)

Following a number of executive changes and a massive cyberattack that downed its systems, Indigo says it's embarking on a transformation plan.

On a Wednesday call to discuss the company's second quarter, chief executive Heather Reisman mentioned the plan has both short- and long-term initiatives but offered no specifics beyond saying it is meant to “fully re-energize our connection to our customers.”

Government of Alberta proposes changes to clear path for tech firms to use ‘software engineer’ title (BETAKIT)

The Government of Alberta has tabled changes designed to enable technology companies in the province to use the ‘software engineer’ title to attract and retain skilled talent.

Engineers Canada and the country's provincial and territorial engineering regulators sent a letter to Alberta Premier Danielle Smith expressing strong opposition to the government's decision to change the province's Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act.

Amazon makes online grocery available for non-Prime members, starting with Amazon Fresh (TECHCRUNCH)

Amazon announced changes to its grocery delivery service designed to make ordering from Amazon Fresh more competitive with rivals like Instacart, Walmart, Target-owned Shipt, DoorDash and others.

The company says that, now, customers will no longer need an Amazon Prime membership to order groceries from Amazon Fresh for delivery or free pickup.

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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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