S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Snap cuts senior execs amid sector-wide layoffs

Plus: Canadian cleantech startup scores in Latin America with global clients.

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Layoffs continue this week in the sector

The Information reported on Monday that Snap, the company behind popular image-messaging app Snapchat, had cut several senior executives in a round of layoffs that saw 10 percent of its staff cut. The executive cuts were reportedly part of an effort to reduce the amount of stock based compensation Snap was paying out to senior people.

On Tuesday, Docusign announced it was going to cut six percent of its workforce, or about 440 jobs, according to CNBC. The cuts are reportedly focused on the online signature platform’s sales and marketing teams as part of a broader restructuring plan.

The layoffs continued into Wednesday, where grammar-correcting plugin Grammarly said it would layoff 230 team members as it strengthened its focus on artificial intelligence, according to AIN.CAPITAL.

Northleaf Capital Partners completes final close of $285-million CAD growth equity fund

Toronto-based investment firm Northleaf Capital Partners has completed the final close for the Northleaf Growth Fund, its first growth equity fund, which now totals $212 million USD ($285 million CAD).

Northleaf says the new fund will focus on growth-stage North American technology and healthcare companies through a combination of direct co-investments and “opportunistic” secondary transactions.

Economic conditions have made secondary private equity an increasingly attractive asset class


Embattled Ottawa software firm Leonovus sells assets to Delaware company for $2.5M

An Ottawa software firm that spent years trying to find a market for its data transfer and storage technology has sold its assets to a U.S. company for $2.5 million.

The move marks Leonovus’s latest effort to stay afloat after failing to generate meaningful revenue from its software solution, which distributes and encrypts data across numerous cloud servers rather than a single on-premise location. 

The company’s shares, which were worth more than $5 in late February 2019, were trading at just four cents this week.

(Ottawa Business Journal)

With doubling revenue and Scotiabank partnership, Solfium is bringing solar power to Latin America

Calgary and Montréal-based cleantech startup Solfium might be a Canadian company, but its ambitions lie thousands of kilometres south.

“Latin America has the lowest level of solar penetration, despite ideal conditions and ideal unit economics for the end customer, and so we saw a big opportunity there,” co-founder and CEO Andres Friedman said. 

He described Solfium’s first iteration as a blend of “Uber plus Amazon” for the residential and commercial solar industry. Solfium’s tech helped it score big clients like like Scotiabank and Suzuki to decarbonize their value chains.


Confirmed: Entrust is buying AI-based ID verification startup Onfido, sources say for more than $400M

Onfido, an early mover in the world of identity verification using computer vision, machine learning and other AI tools, is getting acquired, TechCrunch has learned and confirmed. Entrust — the privately-held company that provides a range of certification and verification services around payment cards, passwords, network and website access, device access and more — is buying the London-based startup, sources say for a figure “well above” $400 million.


OneEleven taps Chris Greenfield as new managing director

The nearly 10-month-long search for OneEleven’s next managing director came to an end this week, as the Toronto-based innovation hub revealed the appointment of Chris Greenfield to the role.

The lengthy search amassed over 1,000 applications on LinkedIn alone. Sources familiar with the process indicated to BetaKit that a handful of candidates had been offered the role prior to Greenfield, extending the search beyond its original target of Fall 2023. 


Exclusive: Mozilla names new CEO as it pivots to data privacy

Mozilla Corp., which manages the open-source Firefox browser, announced today that Mitchell Baker is stepping down as CEO to focus on AI and internet safety as chair of the nonprofit foundation. Laura Chambers, a Mozilla board member and entrepreneur with experience at Airbnb, PayPal, and eBay, will step in as interim CEO to run operations until a permanent replacement is found.


How to make data-driven decisions in your startup

Collecting and analyzing data to inform decisions is key to any startup’s growth. But in a world of unlimited data, failing to choose the right metrics to measure actually inhibits high-quality decision-making.

This is a challenge that Dillon Mullaney, VP of Revenue at Mozart Data, sees regularly with clients. Speaking with BetaKit, Mullaney explained how he builds high-quality dashboards that drive specific, relevant action.


Pivotal Founder Rob Mee’s New Startup Is Using AI To Drag Ancient Mainframes Into The Cloud

For 30 years, Rob Mee helped big businesses modernize their software setup as founder of Pivotal Labs and later CEO of Pivotal Software. Now, he’s back with a startup that’s looking to solve one problem he was never able to crack: weaning those companies off of ancient mainframe computers.

Just sixteen months old, Mechanical Orchard reached $10 million in revenue by the end of 2023 and closed the year profitable, the company said. It recently raised $24 million in a new Series A funding round led by Emergence Capital that valued the startup at $95 million, up from its $25 million valuation from a $5 million seed round raised in October 2022.


Q4 Inc. delisted from TSX after Sumeru Equity Partners closes buyout

Toronto-based investor relations software company Q4 Inc. has been delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange and is now once again a private company.

The company’s $257-million CAD buyout agreement with Sumeru Equity Partners closed last Thursday, allowing Sumeru to acquire all issued and outstanding shares of Q4 Inc, other than those held by the “rolling shareholders” that will join the new ownership structure, at the agreed-upon price of $6.05 per common share. 


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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