S|W: The SaaS Weekly – The US could ban TikTok. Will Canada follow?

Plus: MDF Commerce agrees to go private, but some shareholders raise a fuss.

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Ottawa secretly ordered national security review of TikTok

The federal Liberals ordered a national security review of popular video app TikTok in September 2023 but did not disclose it publicly.

The revelation comes after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday to ban TikTok unless its China-based owner sells its stake in the business.

“We’re watching, of course, the debate going on in the United States,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday when asked whether Canada would pursue a similar move.

“As you know, Canada made the determination that no government phones or devices can have the TikTok app. That’s a matter of security and safety,” Trudeau said Thursday.

“I can’t comment on national security reviews.”

(National Post)

MDF Commerce to go private in $255-million acquisition by New York-based KKR

Montréal-based e-commerce solutions company MDF Commerce is going private after entering a $255 million definitive agreement that will see it acquired by New York-based investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR).

MDF was founded in 1996 and provides software-as-a-service solutions for e-commerce interactions between buyers and sellers.

The Globe and Mail reported: several shareholders have come out against the deal. While none of the dissenting investors are among [MDF]’s largest shareholders, all of them say the $5.80-per-share offer price is too low.


Enterprise SaaS investment makes a comeback — but not where you’d expect

Last year was another down year for venture investment into enterprise SaaS. Global data per PitchBook shows that the number of enterprise SaaS venture deals fell 32% to 2,764 last year, while the value of those transactions slipped by 33.3% to $72.9 billion.

If you asked us which categories were on an upswing in the final months of 2023, customer relationship management probably wouldn’t have been at the top of the pile. Yet PitchBook reported that CRM was the leading growth category in enterprise SaaS in Q4 2023.


TrueContext to be acquired by Battery Ventures in latest Canadian go-private deal

Continuing a broader trend in Canadian tech over the last year, Ottawa-based workflow and data collection platform TrueContext has entered a $150 million agreement that will see it acquired and taken private by Boston-based investment firm Battery Ventures.

The platform allows clients to dispatch jobs to workers with attached data and collection tools such as notes, pictures, and geolocating. The platform also supports various integrations such as ServiceNow, Salesforce, and Dropbox.


Reddit gets ready for IPO, setting a top valuation of $6.4 billion

Reddit on Monday disclosed that it plans to raise up to $748 million in its initial public offering, at up to a $6.4 billion valuation.

It would be the first U.S. social media company to go public since Pinterest in 2019.

Reddit turned a profit in the fourth quarter of 2024, and opened a new revenue stream by selling data to AI companies.

That Q4 profit was an exception to Reddit’s historical rule, and AI-enabled search may eventually eat into Reddit’s traffic.


Yamaha Motors leads Joyride’s $7-million CAD Series A as startup sets sights on enterprises and OEMs

Toronto-based software startup Joyride has closed $7 million CAD ($5.2 million USD) in Series A funding as it looks to sell its mobility software to larger customers.

The startup aims to simplify fleet management and Internet of Things connectivity with a branded rider app, backend analytics, multimodal vehicle integrations, and insurance access.

Since its founding, Joyride has been focused on serving small and medium-sized operators, but after closing its $4.6-million CAD seed round, saw an opportunity to help more enterprise businesses and original equipment manufacturers with its platform.


Oracle jumps as ‘large’ new cloud contracts spur revenue growth

Oracle Corp. surged 11 per cent after signaling that growth in its closely watched cloud computing business is stabilizing, showing progress in its bid to capture more market share in the competitive market.

The Austin-based company, known for its database software, is focused on expanding its cloud infrastructure business to compete with Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. That effort has faced headwinds in recent quarters as growth rates slowed.

(BNN Bloomberg)

DevOps platform Codezero raises $3.5-million seed round

Vancouver-based developer operations platform Codezero has secured $3.5 million in seed funding.

The round was led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Ballistic Ventures, joining a list of angel investors that have previously backed Codezero, including Github CEO Thomas Dohmke, Peloton chief product officer Nick Caldwell, and former Reddit CTO Marty Weiner.

Codezero’s Teamspaces acts as a cloud-based alternative to local code testing, duplicating the final product on the cloud for developers to test their code before sending it in for review.


Telegram hits 900mn users and nears profitability as founder considers IPO

Telegram has 900mn users and is nearing profitability, according to the owner of the secretive messaging app, as the company moves closer to a potential blockbuster stock market listing.

Durov, who fully owns Telegram, said the company had “been offered $30bn-plus valuations” from potential investors including “global late-stage tech funds”, but has ruled out selling the platform while it explores a future initial public offering.

(Financial Times)

Music collaboration startup BeatConnect raises $2.25 million CAD

Montréal-based music-tech software startup BeatConnect has closed $2.25 million CAD ($1.86 million USD) in funding as it gears up to launch the latest iteration of its music collaboration platform.

Founded by CEO Alexandre Turbide and CTO Nicholas Laroche, both CBC Radio-Canada alumni, BeatConnect offers a digital collaboration-based music platform, which includes a multiplayer digital audio workstation, that allows users to connect with other music makers globally.


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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