S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Is Bill Gates still the real brains behind Microsoft?

Bill Gates
Plus: 1Password’s new product looks to secure unmanaged devices.

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Bill Gates never left

Publicly, Gates has been almost entirely out of the picture at Microsoft since 2021, following allegations that he had behaved inappropriately toward female employees. In fact, Business Insider has learned, Gates has been quietly orchestrating much of Microsoft’s AI revolution from behind the scenes. Current and former executives say Gates remains intimately involved in the company’s operations — advising on strategy, reviewing products, recruiting high-level executives, and nurturing Microsoft’s crucial relationship with Sam Altman, the cofounder and CEO of OpenAI.

(Business Insider)

1Password looks to help businesses secure unmanaged devices with a new offering

Toronto-based 1Password has launched Extended Access Management (XAM), a new offering to help businesses secure connections from unmanaged applications and devices.

XAM provides real-time device trust detection, which will force users to solve security concerns before providing access to company applications, and contextual access management, which guides end users through securing their devices when access is blocked.

Some of XAM’s features stem from Kolide’s platform, a Boston-based contextual access management firm 1Password acquired for an undisclosed amount in February.


Can a Canadian ride-hailing startup compete with Uber and Lyft?

Harrison Amit is leading a small startup with a big idea.

“The vision for the company is helping over 10 million drivers,” said the 28-year-old CEO of Hovr (pronounced Hover).

Hovr’s yet to provide a single ride, but Amit believes his company’s approach could shake up the ride-hailing industry because of how it will pay drivers.

“Our tagline at Hovr is 100 percent fare is 100 percent fair. And what that means is that the drivers take home 100 percent of the fare from every ride that they receive.”


Galatea secures $2.7 million to help oil and gas companies tackle waste disposal

As regulatory pressure mounts south of the border, Calgary-based Galatea Technologies has raised $2.7 million in seed funding to export its waste management logistics software to the United States

Galatea has built a solution to help commodity producers track and dispose of wastewater and other hazardous byproducts more safely and efficiently and established a foothold at home, where it claims to serve half of Western Canada’s oil and gas firms.


beehiiv attracts $33M to make its newsletter publishing platform more sticky

New York-based beehiiv has raised $33 million, funding that it will be using to expand its business as well as the technical capabilities of its platform.

In the last year, the startup also built and launched an advertising network that sits alongside a range of pricing tiers based on different features and functionalities.

CEO and co-founder Tyler Denk described the ad network it’s introduced as a “holy grail” for advertisers because of how it can link up specific campaigns to niche audiences that might be most attuned to seeing and responding to them.


Versaterm acquires American mental health platform for first responders

Ottawa-based public safety tech firm Versaterm is acquiring Mindbase, a Logan, Utah-based mental health and wellness platform provider, for an undisclosed amount.

Mindbase describes its platform as a tool for public agencies to both monitor the mental well-being of their first responders and proactively provide care and support to first responders. Its mobile app gives first responders access to tracking and resources for mental health and fitness, as well as connections to peer support networks.


LastPass goes independent over a year after serious breaches

It’s been over a year and a half since LastPass suffered back-to-back high-profile hacks, and the company now says it has separated from its parent company, GoTo.

GoTo announced that it would spin LastPass off as its own company back in December 2021, six years after buying the company. Now, the password vault company will operate under a shareholder holding company called LMI Parent.

(The Verge)

Shopify’s Tobi Lütke headlines special BetaKit Town Hall on May 7

Canada currently faces many headwinds. The federal government’s response to these issues and our looming productivity crisis have left many in Canadian tech demanding better.

BetaKit has organized a special Town Hall bringing together Canadian founders and leaders from across the technology ecosystem for a pulse check on the state of innovation, productivity, optimism, and more.

The event will feature a discussion and AMA with Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke and conversations with Cohere co-founder Ivan Zhang, MedEssist co-founder Joella Almeida, and Tulip Retail founder Ali Asaria. We hope to see you there!


Google lays off hundreds of ‘Core’ employees, moves some positions to India and Mexico

Just ahead of its blowout first-quarter earnings report on April 25, Google laid off at least 200 employees from its “Core” teams, in a reorganization that will include moving some roles to India and Mexico, CNBC has learned.

The Core unit is responsible for building the technical foundation behind the company’s flagship products and for protecting users’ online safety, according to Google’s website.

Core teams include key technical units from information technology, its Python developer team, technical infrastructure, security foundation, app platforms, core developers, and various engineering roles.


Beyoncé’s former digital director thinks your culture is meaningless

Do ping pong tables, office dogs, and a casual dress code add up to a genuine “culture”?

Dr. Marcus Collins says no. The man who will deliver the keynote address at Inventures 2024 in Calgary this May lives at the intersection of marketing and culture. His career has seen him direct digital strategy for Beyoncé and award-winning campaigns for industry giants like Apple and Nike. Collins believes tech companies regularly tout “culture,” yet often fail to practice what they preach.


SafeBase taps AI to automate software security reviews

Entrepreneurs Al Yang and Adar Arnon met at Harvard Business School and quickly realized that they had an interest in common: cybersecurity.

“We’ve witnessed an evolving business climate that brought along with it an unprecedented need for improved security processes,” Arnon told TechCrunch. “Security’s importance has increased exponentially … [it’s] non-negotiable for technology buyers.”

Yang and Arnon decided to turn this interest into something more, so they started SafeBase, which was accepted into Y Combinator’s accelerator program during the pandemic.

SafeBase on Tuesday announced that it raised $33 million in a Series B round led by Touring Capital.


Five things you’ll want to do at the world’s most interesting crypto conference

Described as The Super Bowl of blockchain meets the Cannes Film Festival of Web3, Consensus 2024 is a three-day event in Austin, Texas from May 29-31 organized by CoinDesk.

The event is known for bringing together the most influential members of the cryptocurrency, blockchain, and Web3 communities, from Wall Street titans and AI innovators to ecosystem builders, protocols, and startups.


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Feature image courtesy European Union via Wikimedia Commons.

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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