Welcome to BetaKit’s startup stories of the week! Here, you will find the week’s most important news, features, and editorials published on BetaKit.
Top Stories of the Week
In the face of beating Q1 revenue estimates, Shopify announced the layoffs of 20 percent of its workforce and the sale of its logistics division in a company letter that CEO Tobi Lütke sent out on May 4.
In response, the company’s stock price soared by 30 percent heading into the weekend. Lütke said the dramatic changes are needed as “we are heading into a decade of high velocity and massive change.”
Geoffrey Hinton, who has been internationally distinguished for his work on artificial intelligence, has resigned from Google to warn about the dangers of the technology.
As AI systems continue to be improved exponentially, Hinton worries about how the pace of their development could surpass people’s capabilities to control it.
In the first quarter of 2023, deals in Canada’s tech ecosystem plummeted. The latest data from Briefed.in shows Canada experienced a 82 percent decline in amount invested compared to the same time last year, and a 67 percent drop in number of deals.
Diagram Ventures remains bullish on FinTech companies as it launches its latest venture fund with a first close of $100 million CAD.
This bullish focus on FinTech comes as the state of the sector has been a mixed bag over the last year.
BRIGHTSPARK SEEKS TO RECREATE ITS “HOME RUN” EXITS OF THINK DYNAMICS, RADIAN6 AS IT LAUNCHES $120-MILLION FUND
Brightspark Ventures thinks now is the right time to be investing in early-stage Canadian tech companies as it holds the first close for its latest fund, which has a target size of $120 million CAD.
Alongside Google and other tech giants like Apple and Amazon, Toronto-based 1Password is part of the FIDO Alliance, an open industry association whose mandate is to help reduce the world’s reliance on passwords.
Montréal-based construction tech startup RenoRun has shut down operations, according to multiple employees terminated by the company.
While RenoRun shuttered its business after failing to secure financing or hail mary acquisitions, the sale of its assets continues to roll through Québec courts as part of an insolvency process.
BlackBerry announced it will initiate an assessment of the corporation’s businesses as it explores “strategic alternatives to drive enhanced shareholder value.” Among these alternatives include the potential separation of “one or more of BlackBerry’s businesses.”
Latest Funding, Acquisitions, and Layoffs
TOR – Odaia – $34M (read more)
TOR – DMZ awards $35K to Black-led startups (read more)
OTT – Shopify invests in Nigeria-based FinTech Nomba (read more)
MTL – BrainBox AI secures $27M, acquires ABB tech (read more)
MTL – FX Innovation to be acquired by Bell (read more)
MTL – Startup Montréal awards $400K to startups (read more)
The BetaKit Podcast
“We have industrialized grift in a way that is kind of unprecedented in human history.”
Canadian YouTuber Dan Olson (Folding Ideas) explains his battle against internet grifts, how his career changed after a viral video on NFTs, why Bill C-11 is a “legislative mess” and the future is a dead mall.
“Once Apple showed up, BlackBerry had to do everything right and get on it on the double. And they did everything wrong.”
“And for whatever reason we thought, oh, there’s something to this story that feels funny to us.”
Losing the Signal co-author Sean Silcoff and BlackBerry producer and co-writer Matthew Miller join to discuss Canada’s former tech darling ahead of the forthcoming major motion picture release.
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