S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Ex-Salesforce VP claims company lied about data platform capabilities

Plus: Athennian navigates scaleup growing pains with layoffs, leadership changes.

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Legaltech scaleup Athennian navigates growing pains with layoffs, leadership changes (BETAKIT)

Athennian has experienced some familiar growing pains since closing its Series B round last year.

The Calgary-based startup, which sells entity management software to law firms and corporations, has made multiple rounds of staff cuts, and seen its co-founder and COO, CTO, and a pair of VPs depart, while recruiting another two to its team.

A former executive says he was fired by Salesforce after raising concerns about software said to process and organize customer data in milliseconds: 'It was all a lie.' (INSIDER)

Karl Wirth, who was Salesforce's vice president of product management when he joined the company in 2020 before being promoted to senior vice president in January 2022, said in a lawsuit filed on July 28 that the company falsely advertised the capability of its Customer Data Platform (CDP).

The court documents say the software does not operate as fast as the term "real-time" suggests, and "in fact many of its processes took several hours." The lawsuit alleges that just hours after bringing up his concerns with Salesforce CTO Parker Harris, Wirth was fired.

Cybersecurity startup Field Effect on the hunt for acquisitions following $30-million CAD debt facility from Scotiabank (BETAKIT)

Field Effect has secured a $30-million CAD debt facility from Scotiabank’s Technology Innovation and Banking Group to scale its suite of cybersecurity solutions for businesses.

Field Effect was founded by Matt Holland (CEO) and Andrew Loschmann (COO) in 2016. Prior to building this startup, the duo spent years working at the Communications Security Establishment—Canada’s cyberspy agency.

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.

Innerspace reveals $10-million Series A round to scale workspace utilization tech (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based Innerspace, which provides an analytics software for space utilization, has revealed it raised $10 million CAD in Series A funding as it taps the growing opportunity of companies’ return-to-office plans.

Thomson Reuters dealt blow as U.S. judge certifies class action over ‘tremendous’ alleged privacy harm (THE LOGIC)

A California judge has greenlit a class-action lawsuit against Toronto-based media conglomerate Thomson Reuters, in a scathing ruling that underscored the “tremendous” harm that the company’s controversial investigation software Clear allegedly caused.

The lawsuit claims that the company profited from collecting and selling the intimate personal data of millions of Americans without their consent.

Horizn acquired by US conversational AI firm Inbenta (BETAKIT)

Texas-based Inbenta has announced its acquisition of Toronto software firm Horizn, which provides easy-to-embed interactive product demos.

The acquisition will see Horizn’s tech integrated into Inbenta’s artificial intelligence (AI) customer experience platform, while Horizn co-founder and CEO Janice Diner will become Inbenta’s head of marketing.

Databricks, After $380 Million Loss, in Talks to Raise More Cash

Enterprise software firm Databricks is in early discussions with investors for a new cash infusion, likely totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, as it looks to capitalize on the fervor over artificial intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.

The investment talks come as Databricks has moved closer to break-even, after losing a total of about $900 million, excluding depreciation and amortization, in its last two fiscal years. The operating loss accompanied revenue growth of more than 70% to over $1 billion in sales, which the company has disclosed publicly.

Canadian startups NL Patent, BorderlessHR, Monark crack Google’s Women Founders accelerator (BETAKIT)

Three Canadian startups are joining Google’s latest cohort for its women founders accelerator.

NLPatent, BorderlessHR, and Monark–which are respectively based in Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary–are among the 11 North American startups selected to take part in this year’s edition of Google for Startups’ Women Founders program.

SUSE to flip back into private ownership after just two-and-a-bit years (THE REGISTER)

Linux-loving software house SUSE is to quit the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and become a private company again, just two years after it listed in 2021.

On Wednesday the developer announced that its majority shareholder, an entity called Marcel LUX III SARL, intends to take it private by delisting it from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and merging it with an unlisted Luxembourg entity.

Founders of VendorPM, Shakudo, Moment Energy among C100’s 2023 fellows (BETAKIT)

Non-profit Canadian tech member association The C100 has unveiled the participants in this year’s installation of its fellowship program, including founders of notable early Canadian startups such as VendorPM, Shakudo, and Moment Energy.

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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