The “useless” lobbying against capital gains

Chrystia Freeland
Plus: BetaKit breaks news on BDC and Collision’s next stop.

Those waiting with bated breath to see if the government would amend or scrap changes to the capital gains tax let out a defeated sigh this past week. Along with doctors and farmers, the tech sector spent months lobbying, with polling data showing nearly three in five founders think the proposed changes “will deter innovation and investment.”

While the deterrence concern is the flashpoint for the tech community, Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) president Ben Bergen told me it’s unclear whether those concerns he and other advocates presented to the Liberal government were taken to heart, adding they won’t know until the legislation moves forward. 

The outcry from the ecosystem didn’t move many hearts and minds on Parliament Hill. The Liberals, NDP, and Bloc Québécois set the stage on Tuesday to bring updated legislation by July. It’s been a long time since the tech sector has rallied so strongly around an issue. So why did it go unheeded?

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre blamed “useless lobbyists” who were “utterly ineffective” and should be fired, calling out by name the CFIB, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and Business Council of Canada (but not CCI). 

I also spoke with CCI board chair John Ruffolo, who said Poilievre called out the Chamber and Business Council because their members are Canada’s major CEOs, afraid to speak out openly against the tax increase, whereas CCI has brought its members into discussions with the government.

“If [the CEOs] want change, they need to speak … out directly by themselves and articulate why they believe [in] the position that they’re taking and not relying upon lobbyists to do their dirty work,” Ruffolo said.

Now, hopeful industry eyes have turned toward one item left out of the vote: the Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive (CEI). As it stands, founders who IPO or take majority funding from foreign investors won’t qualify. 

Policy observers told BetaKit that the omission might indicate changes could be made to the program before legislation is introduced next month. We’ll see.

Thanks for reading on and ’til next week,

Bianca Bharti

Newsletter Editor


Jérôme Nycz out as BDC Capital head

After more than a decade leading the activities of BDC Capital, Jérôme Nycz announced his retirement from Canada’s largest and most active venture capital investor, BetaKit has learned.

Multiple sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told BetaKit that Nycz made the announcement in a brief statement to the BDC Capital team during a conference call. The announcement was abrupt and surprising, with some participants in tears. BDC Capital confirmed he will remain in his role until July 19.

In a separate announcement earlier in the week, the crown corporation appointed Paula Cruickshank to serve as senior vice-president of fund investments at BDC Capital.

(Read more)

Vancouver will host rebranded Collision in 2025 and beyond

Vancouver has an agreement with Collision parent company Web Summit to bring a rebranded version of the major North American technology conference to the West Coast in 2025, BetaKit has learned.

Speaking with BetaKit on condition of anonymity, multiple sources familiar with these efforts indicated that local tech leaders are preparing to host the event next year, with Vancouver locking in a three-year deal that was planned to be announced Thursday.

For those ready to make the most of the last ever Collision conference in Toronto, kicking off on June 17, BetaKit will remain your go-to source for breaking news and conference insights.

In the meantime, we’ve created The BetaKit Guide: Collision Week 2024, presented by Interac.

The BetaKit Guide outlines the most anticipated speakers, recommendations for side parties and local hot spots, as well as tips for getting around, all provided by you, our readers.

(Read more)

French private equity firm Jolt Capital to open North American headquarters in Montréal

Jolt Capital, a private equity firm based in Paris, France, is crossing the pond, choosing Montréal as the site of its North American headquarters.

Clement Bourgogne, the former COO of Scale AI, Canada’s publicly funded AI innovation agency, has been tapped to act as Jolt’s director of investor relations for Canada. Meanwhile, Eoghan Hickey, one of the fund’s partners and a former professional rugby player, will move to Montréal to become the managing director of Canada.

(Read more)

Toronto, Vancouver slip in Startup Genome’s 2024 rankings as Montréal, Calgary, Ottawa rise

Canada’s two largest tech ecosystems saw their rankings inch down in Startup Genome’s 2024 latest global startup ecosystem report.

According to the report, which ranks global regions based on the strength and quality of their startup ecosystems, both Toronto-Waterloo and Vancouver maintained their positions within the top 40 global startup ecosystems. Toronto-Waterloo ranked as the eighth best ecosystem in North America, while Vancouver ranked 15th on the continent.

(Read more)

Sonya Shorey officially named president and CEO of Invest Ottawa

Invest Ottawa has taken the interim tag off president and CEO Sonya Shorey, cementing her as the economic development agency’s newest leader.

Shorey held the leadership role in an interim capacity after Michael Tremblay departed the firm in November 2023 to become the president of IT and cyber solutions at Calian. Before taking the CEO chair, Shorey had been Invest Ottawa’s vice president of strategy, marketing and communications since 2017.

(Read more)

A match made by AI

The pitch to the recruiter was compelling.

No, the candidate didn’t have five years of experience, which had been listed as a prerequisite for the position. They did, however, boast comparable skills and relative experience within their four years of work history.

And they were actively looking for a role, unlike many of the others who would appear to be qualified candidates.

In short, this was not someone who should be overlooked. At least, according to AI.

(Read more)

Michelle McBane knows how to play the long game

It’s fitting that Michelle McBane’s first foray into venture capital was a bet that paid off.

Her journey in the space began as a short term assignment, when she was seconded by her employer to Primaxis Technology Ventures, one of its early-stage investments.

“As far as the idea that you put $1 in here and you’re going to get $2 back out, these companies aren’t at that point at all, and I like that early-stage gray area,” she said.

(Read more)

Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs

VAN – Copperleaf goes private in $1B deal
BUR – Kardium – $143M CAD
CGY – CreditApp – $2.7M CAD
EDM – Zero Point Cryogenics – $2.67M
KWL – Descartes Systems Group acquired BoxTop Technologies for $18M CAD
TOR – Two Small Fish Ventures Fund III – $41M CAD 
TOR – Northleaf Capital and Kensington Capital close VCCI-backed funds
TOR – Alexi – $15M CAD
TOR – Parity – $26.1M CAD
MTL – Inovia Capital Growth Fund III – $300M USD
MTL – Sharethrough merges with Equativ 
QBC – Flo – $136M CAD

The BetaKit Podcast

WWDC: Did Apple just kill your AI company?

“OpenAI has nothing to lose and Apple had to move. They are the last player in this space, they had to do something.”

The gang reviews the latest announcements from Apple’s WWDC event, including a major partnership with OpenAI, before handing out grades for Big Tech’s AI progress. Also evaluated: whether or not Apple killed any tech companies this week, 1Password included.

B|K: The BetaKit Newsletter is powered by AWS.

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Engineering solutions to real world problems

Join us for “AI in Action: Transforming the Real World,” hosted by BetaKit and Intuit Canada. Held during the week of Collision, this is a chance to hear from some of the top minds in Canadian tech as they discuss the groundbreaking work and real world engineering challenges being tackled with AI.

Featuring Dr. Anna Goldenberg, AI in Medicine for Kids, SickKids Research Institute, Salim Teja, Partner at Radical Ventures (Cohere, Waabi, Xanadu), and Greg Coulombe, Engineering Director at Intuit, as they share their insights with BetaKit CEO Siri Agrell.

Feature image courtesy Wikimedia Commons under CC BY 4.0

Bianca Bharti

Bianca Bharti

Bianca Bharti is the newsletter editor at BetaKit, where she spearheads coverage and analysis of tech news in related products. Before BetaKit, Bianca covered the nexus of markets, industries and policy in a variety of formats as a reporter for the Financial Post. There, she won silver in SABEW's 2021 Best in Business Journalism Awards in the personal finance category for one of her pieces. In her free time, she enjoys swapping her reporter hat for a baseball cap to hit up some hiking trails with her dog. She also weirdly loves debating monetary policy.

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