S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Slack has a new CEO, again

Slack CEO Lidiane Jones imposed over an image of the Slack logo with her hands apart
Slack CEO Lidiane Jones
Plus: Google and Microsoft are fighting, again.

The SaaS Weekly is a weekly newsletter covering major SaaS news from Canada and around the globe.

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Slack CEO Lidiane Jones to depart after a year in the role (BETAKIT)

Lidiane Jones, CEO of Salesforce-owned, Vancouver-founded workplace communication platform Slack, is set to leave the company and take over for Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd in the coming months.

Bumble announced the leadership change, noting that Jones will remain with Slack until the end of 2023. With Jones soon to be out after just a year as Slack CEO, US customer relationship management software giant Salesforce had to find a new person to lead Slack for the third time in as many years, tapping longtime Salesforce exec Denise Dresser to take the helm.

Mark Zuckerberg Taps the Strengths of WhatsApp

When Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion nearly a decade ago, Mark Zuckerberg made a promise: The Facebook chief said he wouldn’t meddle often with the messaging app so as not to mess with a good thing.

Now, WhatsApp has become increasingly crucial to Meta.

Certn acquires European ID verification company Trustmatic (BETAKIT)

Victoria-based background screening startup Certn has acquired Trustmatic, a European remote identity verification company. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This comes just over a year after Certn acquired Australian company InterCheck, a competitor in the identity verification space and seven months after Certn closed a $30-million USD Series B extension to fuel its international growth.

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Former CEO John Proctor leaves Martello Technologies after six years at helm (OTTAWA BUSINESS JOURNAL)

Martello Techologies CEO John Proctor has left the company after nearly six years at the helm.

The Kanata-based software firm announced Proctor’s departure Monday morning. Martello chief financial officer Jim Clark will assume the top job on an interim basis effective immediately while the board of directors searches for Proctor’s replacement.

Private equity firm Vertu Capital acquires developer platform ActiveState (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based private equity firm Vertu Capital has acquired Vancouver software company ActiveState. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal marks Vertu’s first publicly announced acquisition since closing $300 million for its first fund earlier this year.

Google and Microsoft Are Fighting Again (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

Satya Nadella wanted to make nice with longtime rival Google when he became chief executive of Microsoft almost a decade ago. Those days now feel like a distant memory.

Google’s antitrust trial has provided a stage for Microsoft to air long-simmering grievances about the search giant’s market dominance. It also has opened a window into the events that led to a straining of relations between the two companies, a dynamic that has grown increasingly tense during the boom in artificial intelligence.

Cavelo secures $5-million Inovia-led seed round to help financial services firms protect their data (BETAKIT)

Kitchener-Waterloo-based cybersecurity startup Cavelo has closed $5 million CAD in seed financing to fuel its United States (US) expansion plans as it looks to bring more financial services firms to its platform.

Cavelo has built a platform that scans, identifies, classifies, and reports on data that companies might want to protect in the event of a breach, such as credit card and passport information.

Dapper Labs, Nesto, Certn, top Deloitte’s 2023 Technology Fast 50 list (BETAKIT)

Deloitte has announced the 2023 winners of its Technology Fast 50, a list meant to highlight Canadian companies demonstrating rapid revenue growth.

Deloitte said this year’s Technology Fast 50 winners have an average three-year revenue growth rate of 2,213 percent, a significant reduction from last year’s average of 3,093 percent, while Dapper Labs topped the list at a whopping 16,910 percent.

This year’s top three was rounded out by Noibu, an error-detection startup for e-commerce websites, in second place with a 12,865 percent three-year growth rate and BioRender, a Canva-like platform for scientific-modeling, in third.

Snap Lays Off Product Managers as Spiegel Revamps Workforce

Snap has laid off nearly 20 product managers, the latest shakeup at the social app after several top departures over the last three months.

Separately, Snap’s longtime vice president of engineering, ​​Nima Khajehnouri, told employees earlier this week that he was leaving.

Government of Alberta proposes changes to clear path for tech firms to use ‘software engineer’ title (BETAKIT)

The Government of Alberta has tabled changes designed to enable technology companies in the province to use the ‘software engineer’ title to attract and retain skilled talent.

Engineers Canada and the country's provincial and territorial engineering regulators sent a letter to Alberta Premier Danielle Smith expressing strong opposition to the government's decision to change the province's Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act.

Acton Capital closes $240-million USD Fund VI to invest in tech startups across Canada and Europe (BETAKIT)

Acton Capital has closed its sixth venture capital (VC) fund, securing $240 million USD to back tech startups across Canada and Europe.

To date, Acton has backed nine Canadian tech firms. Acton partner Hannes Blum, based in Vancouver, has led the firm’s investments in Canada for the past seven years. According to Blum, Acton intends to back 15 to 20 startups in total through Fund VI, including another two to four Canadian startups.

Exclusive: Coho Growth offers a new funding path for SaaS entrepreneurs (VANCOUVER TECH JOURNAL)

Many VCs and funding engines forget that software firms don’t have to rank in the top percentages to have a profitable, thriving business — making it harder for companies to get cash if they’re not on a trajectory for a hot IPO. But for Coho Growth, a new capital outfit launched today, there are big returns to be made by helping smaller ventures scale up.

ChargeLab taps Newlab, Flipp alums Shaun Stewart and Patrick Smith to leadership team (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based ChargeLab has added two new members to its executive team. Shaun Stewart has joined as president and Patrick Smith is joining as vice president (VP) of engineering.

The leadership additions come roughly seven months after the startup, which develops operating systems for electric vehicle (EV) chargers, secured a $15-million USD Series A extension.

Trio of Canadian tech companies show progress towards profitability in earnings this week (BETAKIT)

Amid a prolonged period of high inflation, rising interest rates, and economic uncertainty, tech stocks have fallen and capital has become scarce.

This week, at least four Toronto Stock Exchange-listed firms announced their financial results: Vancouver software company Thinkific Labs, Québec City-based artificial intelligence platform Coveo, Vancouver FinTech firm Mogo, and Montréal-based payments company Nuvei. Their earnings reports offer insight into how some Canadian tech companies are working to meet investor expectations.

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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