S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Summertime Sadness for Saskatoon software startups

Plus: 1Password has a president.

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David Faugno latest addition to 1Password as first-ever president and chief operating officer (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based password-management startup 1Password has added David Faugno to its C-suite as president and chief operating officer (COO).

Faugno marks 1Password’s latest addition to an ever-expanding executive team. Since 2021, 1Password has more than doubled its C-suite, adding the likes of Erin Zipes as chief legal officer and Katya Laviolette as chief people officer.

VPN maker Nord Security nets $100mn in funding led by Warburg Pincus (FINANCIAL TIMES)

Nord Security, which makes a leading virtual private network, has nearly doubled its valuation in a year to $3 billiob after raising $100 million in funds from a US private equity group as the software provider taps growing demand for online safety.

Saskatoon software startups Vendasta, 7shifts, Andgo Systems make layoffs (BETAKIT)

Vendasta, 7shifts, and Andgo Systems recently laid off employees, BetaKit has learned.

In Vendasta’s case, the move follows a slew of recent acquisitions and marks part of a push toward profitability as investor priorities have shifted.

For 7shifts and Andgo, they come after both startups failed to meet growth targets as economic conditions have deteriorated.

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D2L for Business: Kitchener-based education company pursues corporate-training market (COMMUNITECH)

Kitchener-based D2L is making a big push into the corporate-learning market with the recent unveiling of a new platform offering one-stop shopping for businesses looking to upgrade the skills of their employees.

In an interview with Tech News, Baker said it’s never been more important for companies to improve the skills of their employees, given all the recent disruptions in the economy – rapid advances in artificial intelligence, the pandemic, climate change, skills shortages and more.

Cognota closes $5.5-million USD Series A to make corporate LearnOps a thing (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based Cognota has secured $5.5 million USD in Series A funding to fuel the growth of its operations software for corporate learning and development (L&D) teams.

Armed with a new name, product, and fresh capital amid a challenging fundraising environment, Cognota is set on expansion, as it looks to help more businesses both manage and measure the return on investment of their internal L&D programs.

AlphaSense, an AI-based market intel firm, snaps up $150M at a $2.5B valuation (TECHCRUNCH)

AlphaSense, a market intelligence firm, is announcing a significant fundraise of $150 million to double down on growth opportunity as AI-based innovations such as ChatGPT threaten to cannibalize the market.

AlphaSense’s spin and unique selling point is that it positions itself as a platform that is part data crawler, part insights extractor.

Elevate announces CIX acquisition and new $2-million innovation challenge for youth mental health (BETAKIT)

Elevate kicked off this year's tech and innovation festival on its main stage by announcing its acquisition of the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) and a partnership with MaRS and Kids Help Phone to launch a $2-million innovation challenge aimed at improving youth mental health.

Why Linda Yaccarino took on the wildest job in Silicon Valley (FINANCIAL TIMES)

On May 11, Linda Yaccarino, the head of global advertising for NBCUniversal, had been making edits to her teleprompter text with a small group. As they worked, Elon Musk tweeted: “Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!”

The incoming message on Yaccarino’s phone read: “Is ‘she’ you . . . ?”

With one characteristically sensational tweet, Musk had blindsided her and now she, in turn, looked as though she had blindsided NBCUniversal.

Neo Financial, Float, and Cohere headline LinkedIn’s sixth annual list of Canada’s top 15 startups (BETAKIT)

In its blog post, LinkedIn highlighted difficulties faced by startups this year, such as venture capital deals in Canada dropping by 71 percent on an annual basis in the first quarter, higher interest rates, and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Despite that, the list of Canada's top 15 startups reflects the resilience of FinTech and artificial intelligence (AI) startups, with just over half of the ranked startups involved in either of those sectors.

Letterboxd, Online Haven for Film Nerds, Gets a New Owner

Matthew Buchanan and Karl von Randow, Letterboxd’s founders, announced on Friday that they were selling a majority stake in the film-based social media service to Tiny, a public company in Victoria, British Columbia.

The deal values Letterboxd at more than $50 million, a source said.

Q&A: GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke talks AI, supercharging productivity, and the future of software (YAHOO FINANCE)

GitHub, a software development platform, has been collaborating with ChatGPT-maker OpenAI to build a coding-specific AI chatbot called Copilot, which launched for developers in 2020.

Yahoo Finance caught up with CEO Thomas Dohmke to talk about AI and where it's headed, along with the economic impact he's expecting to see from the technology.

Front Row Ventures closes over-subscribed $5.5-million CAD pan-Canadian fund (BETAKIT)

Front Row Ventures, the university student-led fund that invests in student-led startups, has closed $5.5 million for its first pan-Canadian fund.

Historically, Front Row Ventures has focused on investing in early-stage, student-led Canadian startups. The fund received $600,000 in 2017 from Real Ventures to invest in 24 student-led startups over the next four years.

Epic Games cuts around 830 jobs (THE VERGE)

Fortnite developer Epic Games is expected to lay off 16 percent of its workforce, or around 830 people, as a result of "spending way more money than we earn," according to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.

According to The Verge, the company was seeking investment and speculated layoffs as a means to reduce expenses might make it easier to raise funds.

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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