S|W: The SaaS Weekly – The “mother of all breaches” and more layoffs at Salesforce

Plus: The Vancouver startup partnering with Napster (in 2024).

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

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Mother of all breaches reveals 26 billion records: what we know so far

The supermassive leak contains data from numerous previous breaches, comprising an astounding 12 terabytes of information, spanning over a mind-boggling 26 billion records. The leak, which contains LinkedIn, Twitter, Weibo, Tencent, and other platforms’ user data, is almost certainly the largest ever discovered.

Everyone should use strong, hard to guess passwords, enable multi-factor authentication on all important accounts, keep an eye for phishing and spear phishing attempts, check for password duplicates and immediately set up new protection for accounts that share the same passwords.


Beatdapp unveils $22.9 million CAD, partnerships with Universal Music Group, SoundExchange, Napster

Vancouver-based Beatdapp, which develops fraud detection technology for the music industry, has revealed $22.9 million CAD ($17 million USD) in growth financing and three new partnerships with industry players.

Beatdapp will work with one of the world’s largest music labels in Universal Music Group to gain a data-driven understanding of the problem of streaming fraud while Napster and SoundExchange are using Beatdapp’s fraud detection technology to ensure the integrity of their reporting to their rights holder partners.


Salesforce Laying Off 700 Workers in Latest Tech-Industry Downsizing

Salesforce is laying off around 700 employees across the company in the latest round of layoffs to hit the tech industry, said a person familiar with its plans.

The layoffs comprise around 1% of the roughly 70,000-person company that makes cloud-based customer-relationship management software. One year ago, it cut 10% of its workers or around 8,000 employees, amid pressure from investors to reduce costs.

(The Wall Street Journal)

Spellbook secures $27-million CAD Series A to scale “AI copilot for lawyers”

Toronto-based legaltech startup Spellbook, which provides legal practitioners a generative artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tool for contract review and drafting, has secured $20-million USD ($27-million CAD) in Series A funding.

Spellbook said it plans to use the funding to quickly scale its solution to 30,000 law firms worldwide while continuing to add new functionalities that mimic “the style of a lawyer” to its platform.


SAP plans job changes or buyouts for 8,000 employees in restructuring plan

SAP said on Tuesday that it aims to carry out voluntary buyouts or enable job changes for 8,000 employees as part of a restructuring program for 2024.

The restructuring plan will affect over 7 percent of SAP’s workforce of about 108,000, but headcount should be the same by year end, the company said.

Management is looking to accelerate growth, partly through artificial intelligence, as it continues a push to become cloud-centric. 


Bagel Network closes $4.18 million CAD for machine learning data network

Toronto-based artificial intelligence and Web3 startup Bagel Network has closed a $4.18-million CAD ($3.1-million USD) pre-seed funding round as it looks to launch its machine learning data network.

Bagel Network is developing a marketplace where machine learning engineers, researchers, and artificial intelligence agents work together to build, trade, and license datasets.


Figma to boost employee equity packages after Adobe’s $20 bln deal collapses – source

Figma will refresh equity packages for employees and offer an optional program to those who wish to leave the cloud-based designer platform with a hefty package after its deal with Adobe fell through, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

San Francisco-based Figma will provide employees with more equity at a $10 billion valuation as they signed up after Adobe’s buyout offer valued the company at $20 billion, the source said.


Vinod Khosla headlines CIX 2024 investment summit

Elevate, the nonprofit behind the Toronto tech festival of the same name, will host the first CIX investment summit this March after acquiring the brand.

Founded in 2008 as the Canadian Innovation Exchange, the annual conference aimed to showcase and award Canada’s most promising early-stage and scaling startups.

Elevate has also announced one of its keynote speakers for CIX 2024: Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and founder of Khosla Ventures, which has invested in over 1,000 startups, including Canadian tech companies Deep Genomics and Blockstream. 


Barstool Deal Boosts Video Site Rumble’s Value by $400 Million

A partnership with Dave Portnoy’s Barstool Sports is powering shares of video platform Rumble Inc. higher. Investors flocked to the company backed by billionaire Peter Thiel, driving shares up 36 percent — adding about $502 million to its value.

It was the biggest intraday share move since the company began trading in September 2022. The pact announced Monday will provide Rumble users access to all of Barstool’s sports and entertainment content on the platform and includes an advertising arrangement.

BetaKit previously reported on Rumble going public via special purpose acquisition company deal with CF Acquisition Corp. VI.

(BNN Bloomberg)

Interest rates remain unchanged (for now). What does that mean for Canadian tech in 2024?

Though it maintained interest rates on January 24, the Bank of Canada signalled it is beginning to contemplate cuts.

Canada’s tech sector could be poised for a recovery if interest rates do drop, but the playbook is much different this year for founders and investors, cautioned several industry insiders speaking to BetaKit.

The fastest hiking cycle on record, the Bank of Canada’s rate increases over the last two years battered the white-hot tech sector as deal flows slowed and valuations dropped. With those rates unchanged (for now), here’s what Canadian tech should expect in 2024.


FTC Orders Maker of TurboTax to Cease “Deceptive” Advertising

The Federal Trade Commission has ordered the maker of TurboTax to stop what it called years of widespread deceptive advertising for “free” tax-filing software.

The order, released Monday, was accompanied by a 93-page opinion that harshly criticized Intuit, the Silicon Valley company behind TurboTax. Intuit’s “deceptive ad campaign has been sufficiently broad, enduring, and willful to support the need for a cease-and-desist order,” the commission’s opinion stated.


Climate tech VC ArcTern Ventures closes $450-million CAD Fund III from large institutions

Toronto-based ArcTern Ventures has secured $450 million CAD ($335 million USD) in commitments in the final close of its third climate technology fund.

ArcTern’s third fund will focus on “early growth-stage” companies that are developing software, hardware, and marketplace solutions capable of reducing emissions in fields like renewable energy, clean mobility, the circular economy, sustainable food, and agriculture and industrial decarbonization.


Kittl raises another $36M for its browser-based design tool

Just a year after raising $11.6 million, Kittl raised another $36 million in a Series B round led by IVP with some existing investors participating once again. The Berlin-based startup has been working on a graphic design tool that you can use in your web browser without having to install an app.

The company is trying to build a design tool that is more powerful than Canva and that doesn’t carry all the legacy of Adobe’s applications.


Feature image courtesy Emily Morter on Unsplash.

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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