The SaaS Weekly is a weekly newsletter covering major SaaS news from Canada and around the globe.
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Vertu Capital closes first private equity fund with over $300 million (BETAKIT)
Led by founder and managing partner Lisa Melchior, Vertu Capital appears to be Canada’s first private equity firm founded by a woman. Prior to launching Vertu Capital, Melchior spent 17 years at OMERS Private Equity, where she led the Ontario pension giant’s North American technology investment group as managing director.
Magnet shareholders approve $1.8 billion Thoma Bravo acquisition as campaign against deal proves unsuccessful (BETAKIT)
Despite public opposition from Nellore Capital on the grounds of undervaluation, Thoma Bravo has agreed to pay $44.25 per share to holders of Magnet’s subordinate voting stock, a more than 15 percent premium to Magnet’s January 19 closing price.
China says it opposes forced sale of TikTok
(THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)
China said it would strongly oppose any forced sale of TikTok, responding for the first time to a Biden administration demand that the short-video app divest itself from its Beijing-based parent ByteDance Ltd. or face a nationwide ban.
The comments came hours before TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew testifies Thursday at a congressional hearing over national-security concerns about user data.
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Proptech startup Operto raises $34.4 million CAD to open the door to new markets, literally (BETAKIT)
Operto provides property automation and Internet of Things operating system software for the hotel, multi-family, vacation and short-term rental industries designed to manage the check-in and check-out process for hotel guests.
Centana Growth Partners led the Series B financing round with participation from Thayer Ventures, FUSE, Blackpines Capital Partners, and Derive Ventures. The funding prompts Operto to expand in the global short-term rental and hotel markets.
UK regulator warns on Broadcom’s $69bn VMware deal
The UK competition regulator said US chipmaker Broadcom’s $69bn takeover of cloud software company VMware could make computer servers more expensive, warning it may launch an in-depth probe if its concerns are not addressed.
BC suffered biggest year-over-year venture funding drop among all Canadian ecosystems in 2022 (BETAKIT)
According to a new report from briefed.in, startups in BC raised a total of $1.3 billion in 2022 down by 67.5 percent from 2021, but up by 34 percent from 2020. Of all the Canadian tech regions tracked by briefed.in, BC saw the most significant year-over-year decline in funding.
JPMorgan Chase buys data platform for startups in push to serve venture capital investors (CNBC)
JPMorgan Chase is acquiring a data analytics provider for startup investors called Aumni as part of a broader push to deepen relationships with venture capital investors and their companies. Aumni is a data platform that helps users analyze and understand their holdings via a simple dashboard.
While terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, JPMorgan is paying roughly what the startup was valued for at its last fundraising in 2021, according to a source. Aumni was worth $232 million after that round, according to PitchBook.
How 1Password plans to build a passwordless future (BETAKIT)
Over the past year, the Canadian company with “password” in its name has been explicit about its desire to build a future without them. Since joining the FIDO Alliance in June, 1Password has signalled that it’s all in on passkeys, and its acquisition of Passage in November marked a new step towards this vision.
Indeed lays off 2,200 people, or 15% of staff, as job postings drop (THE INFORMATION)
Indeed CEO Chris Hyams broke the news to employees in an all-hands meeting on Wednesday morning, saying that the cuts would affect teams across the company and attributing the decision to broader economic pressures.
Rewind cuts 27 percent of staff as its growth slows in parallel to Shopify (BETAKIT)
Rewind, which derives the majority of its revenue from Shopify merchants, saw demand for its backup tech boom amid the pandemic-fuelled rise of Shopify and e-commerce. Like Shopify, Rewind has seen its growth slow as the pandemic and demand for online shopping has waned and has cut 37 of its 135-person staff in response.
PLATO: How an educational computer system from the ’60s shaped the future (ARSTECHNICA)
Bright graphics, a touchscreen, a speech synthesizer, messaging apps, games, and educational software—no, it's not your kid's iPad. This is the mid-1970s, and you're using PLATO. Many of the computing innovations we treat as commonplace started with this system, and even today, some of PLATO's capabilities have never been precisely duplicated.
Québec budget aimed at stimulating the economy with investments in tech sectors, skilled labour (BETAKIT)
Québec Finance Minister Eric Girard released the 2023-2024 budget, making clear that the provincial government is betting on economic growth. The plan earmarks $900 million towards new initiatives intended to stimulate economic productivity and innovation, and $615 million to address the labour shortage.
Symend reduces team by 25 percent in restructuring, four months after $54 million round (BETAKIT)
These cuts mark Symend’s second staff reduction since November, as its headcount now sits at 186, down more than a third from the 296 employees the company had as recently as June 2022, according to data from LinkedIn.
Though Symend remains well-capitalized, co-founder Tiffany Kaminsky noted that like many other Canadian tech startups, Symend is taking “a really conservative approach” to its spending amid current economic conditions.
BBTV among 10 BC orgs receiving total $25.7 million from PacifiCan to help job retention amid tech layoffs (BETAKIT)
Ten tech companies and organizations based in Vancouver are receiving a cumulative $25.7 million investment from the federal government to help retain and expand employment opportunities amid tech layoffs.
This influx of capital into several British Columbia businesses comes at a time when startups in the province and beyond are experiencing the crunch for funding, leading to mass termination events. Most recently, the provincial government extended its tax credit for digital media companies in an effort to lower employment costs.