S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Certn gets investigated by privacy watchdogs

Plus: BlackBerry asks court to throw out workplace misconduct suit.

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Federal, BC privacy watchdogs investigating Certn over its use of personal data

The federal and British Columbia privacy commissioners have launched a joint investigation into Victoria-based background-check technology startup Certn.

Both agencies are looking into Certn’s use of personal data and compliance with Canadian and BC privacy legislation, particularly as it relates to the startup’s tenant-screening services.

In a statement sent to BetaKit on June 5, Certn said it is fully co-operating with the joint investigation.


BlackBerry moves to strike some claims from harassment lawsuit by former female executive

BlackBerry has asked a court to throw out some claims by a former female executive suing the company and CEO John Giamatteo for sexual harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination, stating she was let go amid a corporate restructuring and due to her “habitual mistreatment of her coworkers.”

Jane Doe alleges she rejected an invitation from Mr. Giamatteo shortly after his arrival at the company in 2021 to travel together and work directly for him, and that they later attended a dinner during which he made her uncomfortable and tried to get close to her and woo her.

(The Globe and Mail)

Tiny appoints WeCommerce head Jordan Taub as its new CEO

Victoria, BC-based holding company Tiny has appointed Jordan Taub, the head of its e-commerce software platform WeCommerce, as its newest CEO.

Tiny says co-founders Andrew Wilkinson and Chris Sparling, who were acting as the firm’s co-CEOs, will “remain actively involved” as chairman and vice-chair, respectively, and work closely with Taub on capital allocation and operational execution.


Adobe responds to vocal uproar over new Terms of Service language

Lately, as gen AI tech overall faces an increasing number of critics and doubters, Adobe has found itself in hot water over new “Terms of Service” language that it is requiring users to agree to before continuing to use its apps.

In particular, users have objected to Adobe’s claims that it “may access, view, or listen to your Content through both automated and manual methods…using techniques such as machine learning in order to improve our Services and Software and the user experience,” which many took to be a tacit admission both of surveilling them and of training AI on their content, even confidential content for clients protected under non-disclosure agreements or confidentiality clauses/contracts between said Adobe users and clients.


After validating “enterprise farming playbook” in the US, IntelliCulture closes $3.5 million

Kitchener-Waterloo AgTech startup IntelliCulture has been busy over the last two years.

Since closing its seed round in 2022, the software company has continued to make inroads in the United States in securing large customers. Now, with a fresh funding round totalling $3.5 million CAD, IntelliCulture is looking to grow its team and double down on the safety and compliance features of its platform for high-value crop growers.


New fee for streaming companies serves Canadian interests at Americans’ expense, U.S. says

American streaming companies are being unfairly targeted by a new Canadian fee that “disproportionately” serves interests north of the border, the United States is charging.

This week, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission directed foreign streaming companies such as Netflix and Spotify Technology to put 5 percent of their Canadian revenues toward local news and Canadian content.

Members of the U.S. Congress and trade organizations have raised concerns over the mandate, saying it discriminates against American companies.

(The Globe and Mail)

Valsoft nabs Progitek in sixth acquisition of 2024

Montréal-based Valsoft Corporation has acquired Québec City-based dental practice management software company Progitek for an undisclosed amount.

The deal marks Valsoft’s sixth software acquisition since securing $229 million CAD ($170 million USD) in growth financing to expand its portfolio in January.


A social app for creatives, Cara, grew from 40k to 650k users in a week because artists are fed up with Meta’s AI policies

Artists have finally had enough with Meta’s predatory AI policies, but Meta’s loss is Cara’s gain. An artist-run, anti-AI social platform, Cara has grown from 40,000 to 650,000 users within the last week, catapulting it to the top of the App Store charts.


MaRS makes layoffs as part of business model “resetting”

MaRS Discovery District has made reductions to its staff as the Toronto innovation hub looks to get back to its “original vision,” BetaKit has learned.

Multiple sources indicated to BetaKit that the hub made a staff reduction this week. Alison Nankivell, CEO of MaRS, confirmed the layoffs with BetaKit, stating the hub is examining how its spaces, programs, and community can “propel Canadian innovation in a shifting global context.”

Sources who spoke with BetaKit under condition of anonymity indicated that at least 20 roles were cut, including MaRS’s chief delivery officer Krista Jones.


SAP to acquire digital adoption platform WalkMe for $1.5B

Enterprise software giant SAP on Wednesday said it is acquiring “digital adoption” platform provider WalkMe for $1.5 billion in cash.

SAP’s $14-per-share offer represents a premium of about 45% on WalkMe’s closing price of $9.64 on Tuesday.

WalkMe was initially designed to simplify website navigation by providing real-time, on-screen guidance. Over the years, the company moved its headquarters to San Francisco and bolstered its platform with more features, focusing more on both consumer and enterprise applications — for instance, to guide users through new features or to onboard new employees.


Feds resume SDTC funding under NRC following damning AG report

The federal government has resumed funding for Sustainable Development Technology Canada as it prepares to bring the embattled cleantech agency under the National Research Council of Canada in the coming months.

The restoration of funding is being announced amid the release of a damning report by Canada’s Auditor General Karen Hogan, which found “significant lapses” in SDTC’s governance and management of public money. The federal government has also appointed new positions to lead the agency through the upcoming transition.


Bain Capital to take PowerSchool private in $5.6 bln deal

Buyout firm Bain Capital will take PowerSchool Holdings private in a deal valuing the education-software provider at $5.6 billion, PowerSchool said on Friday.

Bain Capital will pay $22.80 per share in cash to PowerSchool shareholders. Existing investors Vista Equity and Onex will continue to have minority interest in the company after the deal closes.


Feature image courtesy Unseen Studio via Unsplash.

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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