S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Peek inside Canva’s battle plan against Adobe

Plus: Ontario school boards sue social media giants for $4.5B.

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The Financials Behind Canva’s Corporate Sales Battle Plan Against Adobe

Software startup Canva, which has grown to a $26 billion valuation with a message that it is “democratizing design” for people without professional training, is increasingly pinning its fortunes on selling its suite of editing tools to the biggest companies in the world.

The privately held Australian company told prospective investors late last year that its nascent corporate sales business would grow roughly 60% this year, to about $650 million in annual recurring revenue.

The projections preceded Canva’s largest ever acquisition last week of British professional design software maker Affinity, which Canva will use to drive corporate sales.

Canva increasingly has to go head-to-head with Adobe, which started selling its Creative Express design software to corporate customers last year.

(The Information)

Flare acquires US-based competitor Foretrace

Montréal-based cybersecurity startup Flare has acquired fellow United States-based data exposure company Foretrace for an undisclosed amount.

In a statement, Flare CEO Norman Menz said the deal is aimed at broadening Flare’s capabilities for collecting emergent threat data. As part of the deal, Foretrace founders Nick Ascoli and Matt Mosley will be joining the company as senior product strategist and vice president of strategic partnerships, respectively.


Ontario school boards sue Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok

The public district school boards of Toronto, Peel and Ottawa-Carleton, along with Toronto’s Catholic counterpart, are looking for about $4.5 billion in total damages from Meta Platforms Inc., Snap Inc. and ByteDance Ltd., which operate the platforms Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok respectively, according to separate but similar statements of claim filed Wednesday.

“These social media companies … have knowingly created a product that is addictive and marketed to kids,” said Rachel Chernos Lin, the chair of the Toronto District School Board, on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning on Thursday. “We need them to be held accountable and we need them to create safer products.”


Notman House is for sale. A startup-led effort wants to buy it back

Montréal startup space Notman House is officially on the market, and local real estate investment and rental startup Guiker wants to buy it with the help of community investors.

The proposal comes after the OSMO Foundation defaulted on its debts to the Business Development Bank of Canada and Investissement Québec, who provided initial grants to finance Notman House.

“We’re really kind of on the brink of losing Notman House,” Gabriel Sundaram, co-founder of Mission.dev, told BetaKit. “What we believe is that our initiative is the only one that gives an opportunity for Notman’s mission to continue to exist.”


The unstoppable rise of Fortnox: Swedish software group attracts short sellers

While some technology chief executives transform their industry, few have redefined it the way Tommy Eklund has at Fortnox.

After a year under Eklund, Fortnox decided its total addressable market was actually 1.5mn businesses, more than that counted by Sweden’s statistical agency.

The discrepancy has attracted the attention of skeptical hedge funds and analysts, who wonder how Fortnox increased customer numbers and revenues with metronomic regularity, immune to trends in economic growth and a marked rise in bankruptcies; the firm added 10,000 customers in the third quarters of 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

At stake is the company’s $4.6bn market capitalization, a 23x multiple of forecast sales that has made it one of the world’s most highly valued software groups, more expensive on that metric than Nvidia.

(Financial Times)

C100 launches new Growth Program to support later-stage companies

C100 has launched a new program aimed at supporting the growth of later-stage Canadian technology companies.

The new Growth Program is designed to address challenges faced by fast-growing tech companies in Canada, such as the scarcity of risk-tolerant capital, a lack of senior talent capable of assisting with global expansion, and insufficient personalized mentoring for the founders of scaling firms.


Exclusive: Software industry calls for more UK government support

Britain’s government has been urged to provide more support for the software industry with measures including tax incentives and talent visas.

More than 120 industry leaders have called for government intervention to improve conditions for European software companies.

The recommendations of the white paper, a policy document setting out proposals for future legislation, include expanding talent visa schemes in order to attract and retain workers from abroad, and introducing bigger tax allowances for research and development spending.


Idealist Capital receives $50 million from Canada Growth Fund

Montréal-based climate impact fund Idealist Capital has secured $50 million from the federal government’s cleantech-focused Canada Growth Fund.

Idealist marks CGF’s first investment into a cleantech fund, and its third investment overall.

When Idealist announced its fund, it was set to make up to 10 investments with cheques between $25 million to $75 million. With CGF’s investment, Idealist co-managing partner Steeve Robitaille said the fund will be able to support much larger capital rounds and bring capital into the energy transition ecosystem faster.


Trump’s Truth Social is now a public company. Experts warn its multibillion-dollar valuation defies logic

Trump Media & Technology Group, the owner of struggling social media platform Truth Social, began its long-delayed journey as a public company at Tuesday’s opening bell under the ticker symbol “DJT.”

The stock surged about 56% at the open, to $78, and trading was briefly halted for volatility. Trump Media shares stabilized around $70 before fizzling. By the closing bell, Trump Media ended at $57.99, up by a more modest 16% on the day.

Despite the late-day slide, Wall Street is still assigning Trump Media an eye-popping valuation of nearly $11 billion — a price tag that experts warn is untethered to reality.


Québec to invest nearly $42 million in new AgTech innovation centre

The Government of Québec is investing nearly $42 million in AgTech incubator Zone AgTech to establish an innovation centre in L’Assomption, a city approximately 50 kilometres north-east of Montréal.

The new innovation centre will include laboratories, technological workshops, conference rooms, and training rooms, to innovative companies in Québec, Zone AgTech said in a statement. There will also be specialized infrastructure and equipment for research and development, such as growth chambers, wet labs, and drones.


Apple, Meta, and Google targeted by EU in DMA non-compliance investigations

The European Commission is opening five non-compliance investigations into how Apple, Google, and Meta are complying with its new Digital Markets Act antitrust rules, the regulator announced today.

In particular, the Commission plans to investigate Google and Apple’s anti-steering rules in their app stores and whether Google is guilty of self-preferencing its own services within its search engine. Apple’s browser choice screen for iOS is also being investigated as well as Meta’s “pay or consent model” for ad targeting.

(The Verge)

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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