Tag Archives: BetaKit

Traction on Demand, Axonify among GPTW’s best workplaces in tech list | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


Great Place To Work, a company that recognizes the world’s best workplaces, announced its 2017 list of Canada’s Best Workplaces in Technology.

A few of the companies mentioned in the recently released list include Burnaby-based Traction On Demand, Waterloo-based Axonify, Toronto-based Wave, and Toronto-based BlueCat, which wassold to a US private equity company earlier this year for $400 million.

GPTW outlined key attributes that they found in the companies on this year’s list, including strong employee communication, caring for employees, and empowering employees to do good work.

“The digital revolution is redefining not only how we work, but who our competitors are. The ‘tech sector’ no longer exists. We are all tech firms.”

“Each of the organizations named on our Best Workplaces in Technology list has been successful in creating a high-trust culture that supports employees and empowers them bring their best to work, driving superior results for the whole organization,” the GPTW report reads. “Over 95 percent of employees at these winning organizations agree their workplace is great and 93% are willing to give extra to get the job done. And the proof is in the pudding – these same organizations collectively averaged 40 percent growth last year.”

GPTW compiles these lists based on feedback from more than 300,000 employees working in GPTW-certified organizations across Canada. Employees are asked to complete an anonymous Trust Index survey, which includes questions about transparency of communication, degree of collaboration, quality of benefits programs, opportunity for professional development, and support for work-life balance. For the organization to become GPTW certified, 70 percent of the feedback has to be positive.

Along with the list, GPTW also showcased a recent study conducted by Paris-based Capgemini Group that identified outdated company culture as the number one barrier to digital transformation. “Regardless of industry, the digital revolution is redefining not only how we work, but who our competitors are. Some experts are now musing that the ‘tech sector’ no longer exists,” GPTW said. “We are all tech firms, and companies that are slow to accept this new reality will find themselves in the crosshairs of disruptive startups or shareholders who will force the issue.”

This year’s list — and the ongoing work at GPTW — attempts to take a closer look at what’s working in tech companies in Canada and around the world, and how these strategies can encourage digital transformation in all organizations and all industries.

See the full list here.

Photo via Axonify

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Source: Traction on Demand, Axonify among GPTW’s best workplaces in tech list

Teams from over 32 countries attend Ethereum hackathon in Waterloo | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


ETHWaterloo hackathon — which calls itself the world’s largest Ethereum hackathon — hosted its inaugural competition this weekend.

The event, run by a volunteer group of hackers and Ethereum enthusiasts, developed what organizers and participants hope will be the future of decentralized technology over 36 hours.

The hackathon brought together 400 attendees from over 32 countries across the world. During the course of the event, hackers were mentored by leaders in the cryptocurrency industry like Joseph Poon, founder of the Lightning Network; Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin; and Ryan Zurrer, a Partner at Polychain Capital.

On Sunday, at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the top eight teams pitched their projects to their peers and a panel of judges. In the end, the winners were awarded 1,000 tokens of their choice.

The top eight teams selected this year were:

  • Happy ENS, a DNS server able to resolve .eth addresses in any browser, without any third-party plugins
  • Third eye, a platform for developers to audit smart contracts.
  • TrustUs, a simple platform to get started with smart contracts
  • Pocket, a gamification platform created to educate children about the value of currency and developing good saving habits
  • Provt, an application offering an easier way to safely download and verify files on the blockchain
  • Congruence, a tool that allows the exchange of service tokens for healthcare and insurance providers.
  • Rufflet, a tool that provides contract information and shows deeper insights to how methods are being used over a period of time
  • MetaMask Brave Integration: added support for the MetaMask extension into the Brave browser, allowing the Brave browser to run ÐApps

Photo credit Ben Arnon

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Source: Teams from over 32 countries attend Ethereum hackathon in Waterloo

Gov’t nixes proposed tax change targeting capital gains, will restrict income sprinkling | #VentureCanvas

Jessica Galang | Beta Kit


The federal government is cutting the small business tax rate from 10.5 percent to nine percent by 2019, and confirmed that it is not moving forward with at least one of its three proposed tax changes affecting entrepreneurs.

The announcement was made at a press conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, and Minister of Small Business and Tourism in Stouffville, ON. According to the CBC, the government will not be moving forward with its proposal to limit access to the lifetime capital gains exemption, noting “potential unintended consequences associated with the proposed measures.”

However, the Liberals said they still plan to restrict income sprinkling by January 1, which allows business owners to transfer income to a child or spouse who would be taxed at a lower rate.

In an op-ed on BetaKit, entrepreneur Bruce Croxon said that this will affect partners supporting the business by “holding the home front” while entrepreneurs build the company. Family members that don’t contribute to the business will not be eligible for income sprinkling, though the government has not been specific in how that will be determined.

“It’s not the people who are the problem, it’s the system,” Trudeau said.

The third proposed tax change called for limits on private companies making passive investments unrelated to the company, which would curb the ability of business owners to convert regular income of a corporation into capital gains, which are typically taxed at a lower rate.

Liberal backbenchers who were also among critics of the changes were briefed this morning. Morneau has already said that the proposals could see adjustments.

“I feel very, very positive. For the first time in a couple months, I’ve got a bit of a smile on my face,” said Saint John MP Wayne Long. Long was kicked off two Commons committees for voting against the government earlier this month on a Conservative motion calling for further consultations on the proposed reforms.

Photo via CTV News

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Source: Gov’t nixes proposed tax change targeting capital gains, will restrict income sprinkling

Today in company updates: Bridgit announces new CRO, Element AI brings on key hires | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


This week, several startups have made announcements launching new features and partnerships. Here’s the latest on company updates.

TruRating integrates into CT-Payment POS terminals in Canada

TruRating and CT-Payment have partnered to integrate TruRating’s customer rating solution into CT-Payment’s POS terminals in Canada.

This marks the Canadian launch of TruRating’s retail feedback app, which has collected five million pieces of data collected in the UK and Australia.

The series of questions presented to customers at the time of payment rotates, allowing merchants to gather a variety of information, including experience, value, product, and likelihood to recommend. The customers are also given the option of rating their experience on a scale of zero to nine. Activating TruRating also enables merchants to add their own questions and ratings on a dashboard.

“We are pleased to have partnered with TruRating. They are truly an innovative feedback platform that gives merchants a secure, simple way to collect consumer ratings” said Denis Robert, CEO of CT-Payment. “Through the integration with our payment application Canadian merchants now have access to a valuable tool that can help them understand their business performance and identify growth potential opportunities”.

Bridgit announces new CRO

Bridgit, which offers a construction project management platform, announced that Sean Erjavec is its new CRO.

Erjavec will be taking this leadership role after 10 months as Bridgit’s EVP sales.

“Our software has seen major improvements in 2017, including the launch of our Android app and our data-driven Project Insights feature,” said Mallorie Brodie, Bridgit’s co-founder and CEO. “Now we’re ready to push our revenue growth even further. Given his experience and successes at other tech startups, Sean will be a powerful leader for our team.”

“When I joined Bridgit, I knew this startup had massive potential.”

Erjavec has global experience in the technology and business sector, and has worked as a CRO for Toronto-based Polar. He moved from New York City to the Kitchener-Waterloo tech scene in January 2017, and the company said that he’s been responsible for onboarding key American enterprises to the platform.

“When I joined Bridgit, I knew this startup had massive potential,” said Erjavec. “This year, we’ve seen some great success in American markets. But this is only the beginning—by uniting Bridgit’s sales, marketing, and customer success efforts, I’m excited to drive the company even further.”

Leaders in the scientific community join Element AI

Element AI, which helps companies adopt AI solutions, announced that Dr. Denis Therien and Dr. Valérie Bécaert will join its team.

The company says that Therien and Bécaert will support its goal of strengthening academic collaboration, and support in-house fundamental research to make AI accessible to all organizations.

“Connecting fundamental research to real business challenges is key to being a world leader in AI.”

Therien is the former CIFAR (Canadian Institute for Advanced Research) VP of research and partnerships, served as VP of Research and International Relations at McGill University from 2005 to 2010 and was awarded a James McGill Chair in 2002. He has published over 100 research articles on computational complexity in top-tier journals.

“Leaving academia for the private sector is an extraordinary step in my career,” said Therien. “Element AI’s novel view of enabling business to interact with the research community is the perfect balance to achieve the next level of my career and continue giving back to the larger academic community. I am very excited to play an important part in redefining and solidifying this new model of collaboration.”

Bécaert was director of CIRAIG, an international centre of expertise on life cycle analysis, co-founder of CIRODD, the interdisciplinary centre for the operationalization of sustainable development, and the director of partnerships at the Institute of Data Valorization (IVADO).

“I strongly believe that connecting strong fundamental research to real business challenges is the key to being a world leader in AI,” said Dr. Bécaert. “Over the last two years, I extended the reach of Montreal’s hub to build strong relationships and networks. Element AI is setting the pace in Montreal’s AI hub, and there is much to do. I am ecstatic to be part of this amazing team.”

 

Photo via Unsplash

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Source: Today in company updates: Bridgit announces new CRO, Element AI brings on key hires

W|W: The Wearable Weekly – Magic Leap’s $1 billion round | #VentureCanvas

Tom Emrich | Beta Kit


Welcome to The Wearable Weekly, your trusted guide to all things wearable tech. If you only have time to read one thing about wearables this week, this is it.

Don’t forget to subscribe to The Wearable Weekly using the form below to make sure it hits your email inbox every week!


Statistics and Forecasts

Games account for over half of the 3 million ARKit-powered app downloads, 62 percent of revenue (TechCrunch)


Device Announcements

Oculus announces $199 Oculus Go headset (The Verge)

Oculus Santa Cruz wireless VR dev kits coming in 2018 (Engadget)

Samsung’s Gear Sport smartwatch, IconX buds will be available from October 27th (9to5 Google)

Nokia shuts down VR camera unit (Variety)


Funding & M&A

Myant commits $100 million to the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster (Newswire)

AR mystery startup Magic Leap looking to raise as much as $1 billion in Series D round (TechCrunch)

New XR Basefund preps €50 million fund for VR and AR early stage startups (VentureBeat)

Mapbox raises $164 million to expand its location platform to cars, VR, AR, and Asia (TechCrunch)

Bigscreen raises $1 million in funding (TechCrunch)

Japan’s mobile gaming company Akatsuki launches $50 million AR fund (Variety)


Major milestones

Oculus working on Avatar Platform that works cross-system (VR Focus)

‘Oculus for Business’ launches to help enterprises build VR (TechCrunch)

Oculus Rift getting customizable VR home room and desktop window support (The Verge)

Facebook launching “Venues” for watching concerts, sports, and movies in VR (TechCrunch)

Upskill updates AR platform for easier enterprise deployment (ZDNET)

NVIDIA opens up its Holodeck VR design suite (Engadget)


Rumours

Apple exploring 360-degree full VR helmet concept (Apple Insider)


Subscribe to The Wearable Weekly

Don’t forget to subscribe to The Wearable Weekly using the form below to make sure it hits your email inbox every week!

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Source: W|W: The Wearable Weekly – Magic Leap’s $1 billion round

A|I: The AI Times – Doubling down on deep learning | #VentureCanvas

Amira Zubairi | Beta Kit


The AI Times is a weekly newsletter covering the biggest AI, machine learning, big data, and automation news from around the globe. If you want to read A|I before anyone else, make sure to subscribe using the form at the bottom of this page.

A|I is powered by:
 
RBC AI Times Newsletter
 


BetaKit

Ross Intelligence raises $13 million Series A

The company plans to launch new product lines outside of legal research.


RBC

RBC RECOMMENDS: Founder of theBoardlist on humility as a secret weapon

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy outlines which traits make for great leaders and how they pitch a global vision.


TechCrunch

AWS and Microsoft double down on deep learning with Gluon, a simplified ML model builder

Amazon and Microsoft have launched Gluon to help developers build and run machine learning models for their apps and other services using open-source AI software.


VCcircle

Deep learning startup ParallelDots raises $1.4M

ParallelDots, an AI and deep learning solutions provider, raised the funding from Multipoint Capital LLC.


BetaKit

Microsoft Ventures launches competition to fund AI startups

The competition is open to North America, Europe, and Israel.


CNBC

AI startup Petuum is the latest company to get a big check from SoftBank

Petuum, which has developed software to train and deploy artificial neural networks on services and computers, raised $93 million from SoftBank.


BetaKit

DeepMind opens second international lab in Montreal

DeepMind’s partnership with McGill University will provide funding to AI research and sponsorship of PhD students.


Telegraph

AI implants will allow us to control our homes with our thoughts within 20 years, government report claims

Artificially intelligent nano-machines will be injected into humans within 20 years to repair and enhance muscles, cells, and bones, according to a senior inventor at IBM.


BetaKit

Thales launches AI lab with IVADO, MILA, and Vector Institute

Thales says this will create 50 new jobs for AI researchers and developers.


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Source: A|I: The AI Times – Doubling down on deep learning

IBM partners with Dream Payments to help financial institutions adopt mobile tech | #VentureCanvas

Jessica Galang | Beta Kit


IBM has partnered with Toronto-based Dream Payments to help financial institutions more quickly deploy mobile payment offerings in the US.

Financial institutions have historically been slow to bring new products to market due to legacy systems and heavy regulations. As Dream Payments provides a solution that allows businesses to sell from anywhere and accept payments from any tablet or mobile device, the goal is to help SMBs and financial institutions deliver mobile solutions faster.

Specifically, IBM and Dream Payments are rolling out Dream Payments Cloud to US financial institutions. Dream Payments Cloud is a scalable platform that enables financial institutions to provide business customers with secure mobile and digital payment services. Delivered via the IBM Cloud, financial institutions can avoid investing in the expensive and lengthy IT projects required to build these services in-house.

“The combination of IBM’s banking and financial services expertise along with IBM Cloud has allowed Dream Payments to build and scale its cloud infrastructure, right down to bare metal hardware access, to maintain bank-grade security, PCI compliance and data sovereignty,” said Chad Whittaker, CIO of Dream Payments.

For example, financial institutions can leverage Dream Payments’ offering to rapidly launch solutions that work with emerging payment technologies like mobile wallets, CHIP cards, and contactless payments.

Dream Payments also plans to leverage IBM Managed Security Services, including IBM QRadar on Cloud, a network security intelligence and analytics offering to help detect and take action against cybersecurity attacks and network breaches and improve their response to incidents.

“Financial service leaders and FinTechs recognize the need for digital reinvention to compete and win in the banking market,” said Frank Attaie, VP of Financial Services at IBM Canada. “IBM provides clients the global cloud footprint and unified architecture they need to navigate regulatory and compliance demands while improving the customer experience.”

Last year, Dream Payments launched a Moncton office to support its growth in the US and Canada. The company also raised a $10 million Series A to focus on its US expansion.

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Source: IBM partners with Dream Payments to help financial institutions adopt mobile tech

Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal make list of world’s 25 most high-tech cities | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


Canada’s three largest cities made World Economic Forum’s list of the world’s most high tech cities.

This recent ranking was based on ten factors in the scope of technological advancement, including the number of patents filed by a city’s inhabitants, the number of tech startups and tech venture capitalists in the area, and the level of smartphone use. Business Insider consulted 2ThinkNow, an Australia-based data innovation agency, to put together a final list of 25 cities.

Toronto appeared in ninth place, followed by Vancouver at 14th, and Montreal at 18th. The report says that Toronto fared well because it is home to one-third of Canada’s IT companies and an increasing number of startups. For Vancouver, the report looks at the city’s tech-focused universities and low corporate tax rates as assets. Montreal is seen as a world-class innovator for virtual reality and wearable technologies — which is what landed the city a place on the list — and an emerging identity as a vibrant programming and industrial design community.

“Cities are the way of the future. In less than 35 years, the World Health Organization estimates that two-thirds of the world population will be living in urban areas. That’s an additional 2.5 billion people,” the report says. “The cities that will flourish the most are those that rely on cutting-edge technologies and create opportunities for people to develop new ones.”

Photo via Pixabay

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Source: Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal make list of world’s 25 most high-tech cities

#SUCanSummit: Kindred’s Suzanne Gildert wants to merge with AI | #VentureCanvas

Jessica Galang | Beta Kit


Between announcements on government investments and lab launches, most in the startup ecosystem are wondering what it will take to make Canada a leader in AI tech.

But for Kindred.AI founder and CSO Suzanne Gildert, the question is much bigger: once AI itself becomes more developed, will we need to establish robot rights?

Gildert tackled the question during the SingularityU Summit’s first Canadian event, which gathered thought leaders in sectors like AI, health, and finance to talk about the effect of exponential tech.

“We have to give them rights and responsibilities and we shouldn’t be afraid of it.”

Kindred.AI — which has been low-key about its developing — is working on human-like robots that can learn from humans wearing exoskeletons that perform certain tasks. She shared why she thinks robots should be built humanlike; it’s easier to augment them to our world built for humans than it would be to build entirely new infrastructure.

But the actual reason that she’s interested? It would be easier for human bodies to merge to AI if they’re built more humanlike.

“We can more easily merge with AI if it inhabits a similar body to ours,” said Gildert. “I want to augment my body and connect my brain to the cloud, and be part of the singularity. You only need to believe one of these arguments I’ve given to know that humanlike AI is definitely coming. That’s my big science fiction big picture.”

However, she acknowledges that this won’t happen anytime soon. In the meantime, as we build AI, we need to consider ethical issues in its development. Reinforcement learning – which requires giving robot a sense of good and bad, and therefore programming extreme pleasure and pain for them to learn the difference — could amount to torture.

At the same time, AI minds have data stored electronically to the cloud, and are subject to the same issues with data security. “But it’s not just passwords and not just personal information, it’s thoughts and dreams and personality.”

And, will humans have the right to delete AI minds as they develop their experiments? “Every time I reach for the delete button, I get an uneasy feeling. I’m wiping a being out of existence,” said Gildert. “Simple AI, I’m pretty sure I’m not causing suffering, but who knows in the future. At what point does it become not just an uneasy feeling, but unethical to press that button?”

She added that humans must expect AI to make mistakes, and that organizations like AI safety research committees are at odds with the idea that AI must learn from doing things wrong. To her, robots should be afforded a “childlike” phase.

“As a civilization, we’re giving birth to AI, and I don’t think that will cause us to lose humanity — but I think it’s a test of humanity,” Gildert said. “If we can pass this test and live with these beings and monsters, we can mature as a civilization. We have to give them rights and responsibilities and we shouldn’t be afraid of it, we should be humbled by it. And we as a species have some growing up to do alongside of them.”

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Source: #SUCanSummit: Kindred’s Suzanne Gildert wants to merge with AI

Navdeep Bains says not-for-profit model will keep superclusters accountable | #VentureCanvas

Jessica Galang | Beta Kit


Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Navdeep Bains announced the last shortlisted supercluster yesterday in Vancouver, where he said BC’s focus would be on the Digital Technology Supercluster. Telus, D-Wave, and six postsecondary institutions are part of this cluster.

Bains has spent the past week unveiling the shortlisted superclusters — which will take a piece of $950 million allotted by the government — in each region.

The Oceans Supercluster was the first supercluster announced in Halifax early this week, while Quebec had two superclusters: Mobility Systems and Technologies, and AI-powered Supply Chains.

“It’s not about one particular sector, it’s about platforms that can impact so many different sectors.”

In Toronto, the government announced two superclusters for the province of Ontario: the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, which encourages collaboration between technology and manufacturing sectors to create new solutions. Communitech, MaRS, Miovision, the University of Waterloo, and Maple Leaf Foods are part of this cluster.

The Clean, Low-energy, Effective, Engaged and Remediated (CLEER) Supercluster will tackle global energy and environmental challenges in Canada’s mining sector while also working to position the country as a cleantech leader. The Canada Mining Innovation Council, Agnico Eagle Mines, and Barrick Gold are part of this cluster.

Speaking with BetaKit, Bains said that the supercluster plan is about promoting collaboration between parties with vastly different perspectives. “That’s where a lot of new ideas are generated, that’s where the opportunities exist, and that’s when companies grow. So for us, it’s an opportunity to promote a culture of collaboration.”

Two more superclusters were announced in Calgary for the prairies, including the Smart Agri-food Supercluster, which will work to add informatics, connectivity, and traceability in the crop, livestock, and agri-food processing sectors. TELUS, Farmers Edge, BIXSco., and Olds College are part of this cluster.

The Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure (SSRI) Supercluster will work to revolutionize the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure. The plan is to use advanced digital communications and interconnected applications and services to make Canada a leader in this sector. PCL Construction ManagementLedcor Group of Companies, and Barry Johns Architecture are part of this cluster.

In Saskatchewan, Bains announced the Protein Innovations Canada cluster, which will work to take advantage of export market opportunities for safe plant-based food and feed by stimulating collaboration in tech and supply-chain infrastructure. AGT Food and Ingredients, Dow AgroSciences Canada, and the University of Saskatchewan are part of this cluster.

While entrepreneurs in the past have been vocal about the need for the government to pick winners, there have been critics that say the supercluster plan could turn into another regional economic subsidy.

However, Bains stresses that it’s a business-led initiative and that the government can’t ‘prescribe’ innovation. He also lauded the fact that the government is promoting competition to foster new ideas.

“We firmly believe we need to identify areas of high growth, and the way we do that is through the $950 million commitment of matching investment that are made by these superclusters,” Bains said. “These are initiatives led by the private sector, and we determine those plans that have the best economic benefits, ones that are focused on jobs, and lock a lot of money for research and development, promote more commercialization of ideas, and really strengthen supply chains.”

While Canada’s tech ecosystem is known for its strong healthtech startups, healthcare is a sector notably missing from the list. To that, Bains said that it’s a space that intersects with some of the clusters actually chosen.

“It’s not about one particular sector, it’s about a lot of platforms that can impact so many different sectors. AI has the ability to impact to so many different parts of our economy, including the healthtech sector,” he said. “If you look at advanced manufacturing, that had a lot of emphasis on biotech. If you look at digital platforms, that too impacts many different aspects of our economy. It’s also promoting platforms that can generate growth opportunities in so many different sectors, including the health and biotech sector.”

Shortlisted applicants have until November 24 to submit their full applications, will five clusters ultimately chosen by 2018. To keep chosen clusters accountable, Bains said that it will employ a not-for-profit model.

“The money goes to the consortium, and there will be metrics around governance. We will make sure we look at diversity at the governance level, inclusion, measures around where commitments are made, how money is being deployed; is it meeting the mission and objective,” he said. “The not-for-profit model and governance aspect will provide that level of accountability.”

The government obtained 50 proposals involving over 1,000 firms and 350 participants. The goal of the $950 million initiative is to include companies, startups, not-for-profit, and academia into consortia with a common goal.

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Source: Navdeep Bains says not-for-profit model will keep superclusters accountable

Uber will continue operations in Quebec, says it’s open to negotiations | #VentureCanvas

Sameer Chhabra | Beta Kit


It looks like Uber won’t be leaving Quebec after all. At least, not yet anyway.

Under the conditions of Uber’s pilot project renewal, previous transport minister Lessard said that Uber drivers would need to take part in 35 hours of mandatory training, as well as undergo a police background check.

As a result of the government’s new rules, Uber Quebec’s general director Jean-Nicolas Guillemette said in a September 26th, 2017 media conference that the company would cease operations as of October 14th, 2017.

Guillemette said that the government didn’t consult with the company before making the announcement and he also argued that the mandatory training would discourage Quebecers from signing up to drive with Uber.

According to CBC News, the company has now announced that it will not cease operations on October 14th, 2017, saying that it is interested in engaging in a “constructive dialogue” with Quebec’s new transport minister Andre Fortin.

The company also said that it received information that the 35 hours of mandatory training “will not be enforced for a few months after the rules come into effect,” according to CBC News.

Fortin took over the post from Laurent Lessard on October 11th, 2017 in a Quebec cabinet shuffle.

In an interview with CBC Montreal‘s Daybreak, Quebec’s transport minister Andre Fortin clarified that the government will remain firm on the guidelines it established on September 22nd.

“My job is to put a regulatory framework in place,” said Fortin, in the interview with CBC Montreal. “Whether a specific private company decides to operate within it, it’s not for me to be for or against that.”

MobileSyrup has reached out to Uber for comment and will update this story with a response.

This article was originally published on MobileSyrup

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Source: Uber will continue operations in Quebec, says it’s open to negotiations

Report: US tech workers more likely to search for Canadian jobs | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


Indeed has released a report that studies the rise in numbers of US tech workers applying for jobs in Canada.

In particular, the report identifies a greater interest among tech job seekers than in any other sector. The new data could represent a growth in opportunities for talent, especially in tech hubs such as Ottawa or Toronto.

The report credits the recent boom in the Canadian technology industry to investments from global tech companies, and the eagerness of Canadian cities to host Amazon’s second headquarters. This project is will cost over $5 billion and create 50,000 jobs.

In addition to the appeal of the current technology scene in Canada, the opposition to the administration in America is also mentioned as a reason for this increased interest in moving to Canada. The Indeed data shows that the 2016 presidential election prompted a spike in US job searchers in Canada, with a greater size of tech spikes compared with the spikes for all workers. A recent Hired report also confirmed this sentiment, with Canada being considered a top choice for US tech workers considering relocation.

 

The report, released earlier this month, looks at search trends, specifically US to Canada search patterns with the existing advantages of proximity and cultural similarity in mind. The data, which studies the total share of clicks on Canadian jobs that come from US job seekers, shows that when US job seekers search in a foreign market, about 12 percent of them are selecting Canadian jobs. A preference for Canadian tech postings is made clear, with 30 percent of all US job seekers selecting tech postings outside the US in a six-month period that ends in May 2017. This number is 23 percent more from the same period last year.

 

Overall, the report establishes that though US job seekers account for just under two percent of total Canadian clicks, the US is still the largest source of international searches for Canadian jobs. The point to consider is that the number of searches for tech jobs is slightly higher. The findings also indicate that the most popular roles with US tech job seekers are software engineer, database administrator, and machine learning engineer.

Indeed data highlights the most appealing cities for US tech workers, with Toronto accounting for the highest share of any city. The report states that Toronto received 46 percent of all clicks on Canadian tech jobs, and considers the fact that Toronto gets the highest share of US clicks for all jobs. Vancouver and Montreal take second and third position with 15 and seven percent of clicks respectively.

indeed job search

 

The study factors in city area size to compare each area’s share of US tech clicks to its share of US clicks for all jobs. “Of the top ten most populated metro areas, five receive a higher share of tech clicks than clicks for all jobs, meaning those metro areas are disproportionately popular with US tech-job seekers,” the report reads.

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Source: Report: US tech workers more likely to search for Canadian jobs

BlackBerry QNX test drives self-driving car in Ottawa | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


BlackBerry QNX’s driverless car hit the road in suburban Ottawa yesterday.

This public demonstration is said to be the first public autonomous vehicle (AV) test in Canada. The partnership with BlackBerry QNX, who opened an AV innovation centre in Ottawa last year, gave the province the facilities and technology to advance their vision of becoming a hub for developments in AV.

“Ottawa has established itself as an innovative and smart city, is home to a diverse technology hub, and has the expertise, new technology and talent needed to spark autonomous vehicle innovation,” said said Jim Watson, mayor of Ottawa. “With support from BlackBerry QNX and its Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Center and by working closely with all our partners, we are facilitating smart initiatives and research, and fueling innovation and job creation in Ottawa.”

The streets were closed in the Kanata North Technology Park as the grey Lincoln MKZ took off for this milestone test with Watson, councillors Marianne Wilkinson and John Wall, and general manager of BlackBerry QNX onboard.

The test area surrounding the technology park was equipped with transmitters on traffic lights that communicate with the car, LED street lights, and repainted street lines. The ultimate goal is that the AV will be able to operate with traffic and pedestrians on city streets.

With this public demonstration and over 70 companies in its autonomous vehicle ecosystem, Ottawa is a leader in AC technology in Canada. The next phase of development will include contributions from Nokia, specifically the addition of LTE and 5G capability to the route.

Another public driving test area has been announced for Stratford, Ontario, as part ofOntario’s plan to invest $80 million over five years to create an Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network.

“Thanks to the city of Ottawa, our AVIC was able to help establish a functional, real-life test route for our autonomous vehicle concept car, which will benefit our growing ecosystem of customers, partners and developers,” said John Wall, general manager of Blackberry QNX. “Anybody who has driven in Ottawa in February knows that no matter who is behind the wheel, driving isn’t easy when it comes to ice, sleet and snow. We believe these conditions coupled with the City’s commitment to supporting research and development from BlackBerry and its partners, makes Ottawa a fantastic place to advance autonomous vehicle technology.”

This growing interest in AV is wide-spread in North America, with auto parts firm Magna International . announcing that it will be developing a self-driving system by 2021 in Canada, and Uber and Google’s parent company, Waymo, testing self-driving cars on city streets in the United States. 

Transport Canada started evaluating the safety of driverless cars earlier this year while three test vehicles arrived on Ontario roads as part of a new pilot program.

While automotive and tech companies race to develop self-driving cars, BlackBerry QNX is focused on designing the infrastructure of this new technology and figuring out how the signals come in. Another public driving test area has been announced for Stratford, Ontario, as part of Ontario’s plan to invest $80 million over five years to create an Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network.

“Ottawa is a global leader in autonomous vehicles and related technologies, leveraging decades of innovation and industry leadership in information and communications technologies (ICT), next-generation networks, wireless, and related hardware and software. Our region has the expertise and capabilities required to develop, commercialize, and adopt new vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) solutions,” said Michael Tremblay, CEO of Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards. “These technologies can be integrated into global supply chains and sold around the world.  This new testbed adds critical capability to our ecosystem, enabling innovators to test and commercialize these AV technologies.”

Photo via CBC News

Continue reading …


Source: BlackBerry QNX test drives self-driving car in Ottawa

BlackBerry QNX test drives self-driving car in Ottawa | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


BlackBerry QNX’s driverless car hit the road in suburban Ottawa yesterday.

This public demonstration is said to be the first public autonomous vehicle (AV) test in Canada. The partnership with BlackBerry QNX, who opened an AV innovation centre in Ottawa last year, gave the province the facilities and technology to advance their vision of becoming a hub for developments in AV.

“Ottawa has established itself as an innovative and smart city, is home to a diverse technology hub, and has the expertise, new technology and talent needed to spark autonomous vehicle innovation,” said said Jim Watson, mayor of Ottawa. “With support from BlackBerry QNX and its Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Center and by working closely with all our partners, we are facilitating smart initiatives and research, and fueling innovation and job creation in Ottawa.”

The streets were closed in the Kanata North Technology Park as the grey Lincoln MKZ took off for this milestone test with Watson, councillors Marianne Wilkinson and John Wall, and general manager of BlackBerry QNX onboard.

The test area surrounding the technology park was equipped with transmitters on traffic lights that communicate with the car, LED street lights, and repainted street lines. The ultimate goal is that the AV will be able to operate with traffic and pedestrians on city streets.

With this public demonstration and over 70 companies in its autonomous vehicle ecosystem, Ottawa is a leader in AC technology in Canada. The next phase of development will include contributions from Nokia, specifically the addition of LTE and 5G capability to the route.

Another public driving test area has been announced for Stratford, Ontario, as part ofOntario’s plan to invest $80 million over five years to create an Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network.

“Thanks to the city of Ottawa, our AVIC was able to help establish a functional, real-life test route for our autonomous vehicle concept car, which will benefit our growing ecosystem of customers, partners and developers,” said John Wall, general manager of Blackberry QNX. “Anybody who has driven in Ottawa in February knows that no matter who is behind the wheel, driving isn’t easy when it comes to ice, sleet and snow. We believe these conditions coupled with the City’s commitment to supporting research and development from BlackBerry and its partners, makes Ottawa a fantastic place to advance autonomous vehicle technology.”

This growing interest in AV is wide-spread in North America, with auto parts firm Magna International . announcing that it will be developing a self-driving system by 2021 in Canada, and Uber and Google’s parent company, Waymo, testing self-driving cars on city streets in the United States. 

Transport Canada started evaluating the safety of driverless cars earlier this year while three test vehicles arrived on Ontario roads as part of a new pilot program.

While automotive and tech companies race to develop self-driving cars, BlackBerry QNX is focused on designing the infrastructure of this new technology and figuring out how the signals come in. Another public driving test area has been announced for Stratford, Ontario, as part of Ontario’s plan to invest $80 million over five years to create an Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network.

“Ottawa is a global leader in autonomous vehicles and related technologies, leveraging decades of innovation and industry leadership in information and communications technologies (ICT), next-generation networks, wireless, and related hardware and software. Our region has the expertise and capabilities required to develop, commercialize, and adopt new vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) solutions,” said Michael Tremblay, CEO of Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards. “These technologies can be integrated into global supply chains and sold around the world.  This new testbed adds critical capability to our ecosystem, enabling innovators to test and commercialize these AV technologies.”

Photo via CBC News

Continue reading …


Source: BlackBerry QNX test drives self-driving car in Ottawa

Barry Bisson named CEO of Propel ICT | #VentureCanvas

Jessica Galang | Beta Kit


Propel ICT, Atlantic Canada’s startup accelerator, announced that Barry Bisson, former president of SHAD Valley International, will join the organization as its new CEO.

“I am thrilled for Propel and the startup community within the region,” said Steven Burns, chairman of Propel ICT. “With Barry’s leadership, I believe we will be able to build a strong vision for the region and execute on that vision.”

Bisson led SHAD Valley International for 12 years, building deep ties with the entrepreneurial community in the Kitchener-Waterloo region and throughout Canada. Bisson begins his new role as Propel ICT CEO next week. In the coming weeks, he will visit the four Atlantic Provinces to meet Propel’s current cohort companies and its community partners in the region.

“As the former leader of SHAD, a national organization, I witnessed firsthand the tremendous impact that can be created when organizations and individuals set aside the interests and priorities of their jurisdiction to support a cause that is for the greater good of the nation,” said Bisson. “In this new role, I am determined to be an effective advocate, fostering collaboration among many stakeholders, all for the greater good of Atlantic Canada and our country.”

Photo via Carleton

Continue reading …


Source: Barry Bisson named CEO of Propel ICT

Ask an Investor: What are the signs of a bad term sheet? | #VentureCanvas

Sarah Marion | Beta Kit


Welcome to a BetaKit weekly series designed to help startups and entrepreneurs. Each week, investors tackle the tough questions facing founders today. Have a question you would like answered? Tweet them with the #askaninvestor hashtag, or email them here.


When fundraising, it can be tempting to limit your focus to maximizing valuation. On face value, this seems great — you’re minimizing dilution for yourself (and for your existing investors and employees) and you’re sending a signal to the market that your company has strong revenues (or your team is so strong that you’re able to command revenue multiples higher than the norm).

This tunnel vision is more appealing the less you’re relying on investors for “soft” qualities beyond capital, and the more you’re dealing with sophisticated investors with a strong reputation for being fair. Pre-money valuation is the easiest and most obvious comparison to make — all things being equal between smart investors, why not take the term sheet with the highest valuation?

However, pre-money valuation is not the only important point of consideration. Accepting a clean term sheet at a lower valuation can be more advantageous depending on the specific exit scenario you’ll eventually face down the road. With that in mind, there are a few clear signs of a bad term sheet to watch out for.

1. Be wary of investors who include “review periods” but haven’t actually done much diligence on the opportunity.

Good VCs will get to know your business, build a relationship between your respective teams, and get most of the hard work done before actually creating a legal contract. However, some term sheets will include a “review period” that enables them to pull the term sheet after it’s been signed. Term sheets are technically non-binding, so including this term doesn’t actually grant the investor any additional ability to pull out of the deal. However, good investors won’t issue a term sheet until their business diligence is done and they are very confident that they want to do a deal with you. Including a review period is a signal that your investor assumes there’s a very real chance the deal will fall through, which is counter to investor norms.

When in doubt, if the only diligence left is legals and customer calls, you’re in the clear. If the investor hasn’t yet dug into customer engagement data, the competitive landscape, or market trends, they likely haven’t built enough conviction to put down a term sheet (or don’t have enough buy-in from the rest of their investment team to get the deal done).

Very few terms are absolutely positive or negative – as with most negotiations, it’s a balance of interests.

This is doubly concerning if it’s accompanied by a no-shop clause, as it effectively halts your ability to continue conversations with serious parties. No-shop clauses are relatively standard in term sheets and aren’t a cause of concern by themselves. A no-shop clause alone simply indicates a willingness on both sides to stop pursuing alternative investors/competitive investments and begin the negotiation process in earnest.

How should you respond? Force your investors to do the work before you sign the term sheet. If you feel like your VC hasn’t yet done enough diligence to get their investment team truly comfortable with the opportunity, you can sit on the term sheet. Make it clear that you’re having other conversations in parallel and don’t want to lock either side into a commitment until you both feel confident in moving forward.

2. Any term sheet that includes a guarantee of the exit horizon is a red flag.

A term sheet that promises a return to investors within some pre-determined exit horizon is an indication of an inexperienced or overly controlling investor. Wanting an eventual return of capital is a very fair expectation. Institutional VCs need to repay their LP base, corporate VCs need to demonstrate an ROI, and angels often have a finite pool of capital to invest in (and thus can’t invest in other startups until they’ve liquidated some capital).

However, lots of opportunities for capital to be returned will arise organically over the life of your company. Secondaries (where a VC invests new capital that buys out existing shareholders rather than directly adding to the balance sheet) are quite common and don’t necessarily have a negative signalling effect (especially when capital is going to an investor who’s either been in the company for a long time or has a very clearly defined investment stage and holding pattern).

Ultimately, expecting payment within a pre-planned timeline is a sign that your investor is focused on mitigating their downside – a strategy that will backfire as buyers will want to understand the cap table and term sheets in advance of a transaction, and this type of clause will lower your negotiating power in an acquisition scenario as potential buyers realize that you’re under pressure to get a deal done.

Ultimately, you can avoid seeing most of this financial engineering if you deal with investors who you have vetted.
 

How should you respond? Strike this from the term sheet. Technically you could update the language to reflect that the exit horizon is on a “best efforts basis,” but any investor who thinks this is a fair (or realistic) ask is one you don’t want to have on the cap table.

3. Financial gymnastics guaranteeing a return multiple aren’t an absolute cause for concern, but you should have a good grasp of the impact in various exit scenarios and current market norms.

When building a term sheet, investors will build a waterfall analysis to understand what the liquidation outcome looks like under a variety of exit prices. Almost all term sheets will include a 1x liquidation preference, which is relatively standard and fair. This provision essentially means that investors (that invested in preferred shares) get their cash back ahead of common shares if the company is sold for less than the valuation they invested. If the company is sold above that valuation, proceeds are split and each shareholder’s return will correspond to their fully-diluted ownership (FDO).

Some term sheets will include some multiple on the liquidation preference (i.e. a 3x liquidation pref) or specifically that the liquidation preference is participating (which lets investors participate fully in any remaining proceeds after they’ve withdrawn their first pool of capital). In these instances, your investors will get a larger share than their FDO. These are less common terms for straightforward early-stage investments, but become more frequent for distressed companies, when the perceived risk of investment in higher, and/or when the investor has more negotiating power.

ask an investor

An early-stage investor being over-focused on terms does indicate that investors are optimizing for downside protection and/or don’t fully understand the binary nature of venture returns.

How should you respond? The ultimate inclusion of this depends a bit on your alternatives and what’s normal in the market when you’re raising. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Venture Deals to familiarize yourself with the specifics of terms. Asking your investors for a coherent rationale (beyond “it’s standard”) for including specific terms is a fair request, but as with all negotiations, you’ll have better leverage if your investor perceives you to have other financing alternatives.

As highlighted in the opener, this might be an instance where you’re better off lowering your pre-money valuation in exchange for removing liquidating terms, as a multiple liquidating preference essentially cuts the pre-money value. If you’re insisting on a pre-money valuation that’s dramatically above what your investors think is fair, don’t be surprised if they offset it with a multiple or participating preference to bring the effective valuation back to what they’re comfortable with.

When calculating your FDO and building your own exit waterfall, you should also clarify details related to the option pool. Specifically, confirm if the option pool is calculated pre-money or post-money. Post-money is the most “founder-friendly” as it includes the new investor in the dilution, but pre-money is the most likely as it maximizes the new investor’s ownership. Both are acceptable – just make sure you know which you’re agreeing to so you fully understand what the cap table will look like post-financing.

4. An undiscussed change in management is clearly concerning.

Terms specifying a change of management are unlikely to be explicitly written into the term sheet as your board of directors can ultimately replace your CEO without specifically including the term (depending on the number of directors and ensuing founder/investor/independent voting split).

There’s no right way to run your company and bringing an experienced executive on board to join the management team can be a solid executional decision that helps propel your company to success.

However, some term sheets are written after a prior discussion of an advisor or third-party joining as CEO with founders transitioning into a CTO or COO role. There’s no right way to run your company and bringing an experienced executive on board to join the management team can be a solid executional decision that helps propel your company to success (albeit a decision that typically comes after working with an executive coach and weighing the impact of losing the moral authority that a founding CEO brings to the role). However, an undiscussed mention of replacing you as CEO should give you pause as it’s both unnecessary, and frankly, rude.

How should you respond? If you haven’t talked about this with your investors before the official term sheet, remove it. Investors rarely want to invest in a company where they immediately hope to remove the CEO, so this is hopefully indicative of naiveté rather than malice.

Closing Thoughts

Ultimately, very few terms are absolutely positive or negative – as with most negotiations, it’s a balance of interests and the most important thing is to feel that both sides are working together towards a fair outcome. Seeing how your investor negotiates the term sheet gives you a window of insight into how they approach other tough conversations and negotiations.


Christian’s take:

Christian Lassonde

Great investments are built on a strong partnership between investors and founders. Term sheet negotiation is a give and take where ultimately, the goal should be that both sides should win big in the end. Sarah has done an exemplary job of outlining the major pitfalls and warning signs that the partnership being considered may not be a strong one.

That said, this can’t be an exhaustive list as investors are always coming up with new and innovative ways to financially engineer term sheets. Some examples I’ve seen include taking common shares, warrants and/or options along with their investment into preferred shares (this effectively is creating a uncapped multiple liquidation preference, as discussed above) to special committees of the board, controlled by the investors, to effectively wrest control from the CEO, and many zany things in between.

If you aren’t familiar with term sheets, everything may look out of the ordinary. This is why having both mentors with term sheet experience and great counsel is so critical to have at your side as you go prepare to fundraise.

Ultimately, you can avoid seeing most of this financial engineering if you deal with investors who you have vetted. Do your due diligence on your potential investors and avoid those who don’t pass muster.

Got a question for the investors? Email them here.

Photo via Unsplash

Continue reading …


Source: Ask an Investor: What are the signs of a bad term sheet?

Canada FinTech Forum panel shares what banks need to adopt smart contracts | #VentureCanvas

Amie Watson | Beta Kit


Three main points arose during the Smart Contracts and Financial Services panel at the 2017 Canada Fintech Forum in Montreal: smart contracts are only as smart as the code they run, not every blockchain innovation will be as destructive as it sounds, and that it could be a decade before the appearance of a fiat-backed digital currency.

“If you’re a FinTech startup and you walk into the room, you just need to say blockchain, AI, maybe throw in some big data, and millions of dollars will be thrown your way,” joked panel moderator Robert Dawkins, an associate at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. “but technological determinism of that kind isn’t necessarily the best way to improve the customer experience.”

Defined by Dawkins as “computerized transaction protocols that execute the terms of a contract,” smart contracts can potentially lower fraud loss, arbitration enforcement costs, and other transaction costs by automating a series of transparent transactions where all parties have agreed to the terms, he says.

Every transaction is a smart contract, and every smart contract is a transaction. Without the satisfaction of those terms, the next transaction in the blockchain cannot proceed.

“The current regulatory structures and mandates have not evolved to the point that they can support smart contracts.”
– Soumak Chatterjee

For example, a transfer of funds after a payment following the receipt of goods requires the final recipient, the shipper, the manufacturer, and any intermediaries involved to have all agreed to the blockchain contract, which is timestamped to be easily verified at each block in the chain. In a real-world example, users can now buy flight delay and cancellation insurance from fizzy, a new platform from French insurance company AXA, which is designed to pay out automatically when a flight is cancelled.

But “smart contracts aren’t smart and they aren’t contracts,” says Dawkins. According to Koho CTO Kris Hansen, they’re just code that run.

“Whether they’re a good and effective process remains to be seen,” added Dawkins. Their perceived intelligence comes from how well they’re defined when creating the blockchain contract, meaning there will still be a need for lawyers and auditors in the near future.

A former auditor herself and now founder of ColliderX Blockchain R&D Hub, Iliana Oris Valiente said that blockchain depends on such a high level of transparency that conducting all business transactions on blockchain in the future, though perhaps more efficient, isn’t likely.

Smart contracts might not be smart, but those who see their potential value are learning.

“Say you’re auditing client A and they have the majority of their business with supplier B, and you send a note to supplier B with a sample of transactions that party A has on their books, and you ask supplier B to confirm the transactions. And you ask them to send you back a confirmation letter.”

She adds that blockchain automatically creates a confirmed ledger that tells you the “state of the union” at any given time that’s confirmable and no one can modify — meaning a lot of the activities may become redundant.

“But ask yourself one question: if you work very closely with a small group of parties — which businesses do — would you feel comfortable opening up access to your database? And saying, ‘Okay suppliers and customers, you are my most trusted group of 10 parties that I deal with regularly,” she said. “Instead of you keeping your set of books and me keeping my set of books and spending a lot of time doing reconciliations, paying for internal and external audit functions, why don’t we just write things to a shared ledger and I’ll just give you access to my whole SAP instance?’ If you were to propose that to your leadership and say that this is to become far more efficient, you’ll probably get laughed out of the room and possibly escorted out by the security team because it’s a ludicrous prospect.

What we’re seeing with blockchain is a tool that enables these trusted parties to share information and transfer value without the proverbial complete opening up of the SAP databases.”

What data-sharing companies are willing to do with each, however, will prove the potential of blockchain and smart contracts for financial industry disruption – which shouldn’t be underestimated, says Catallaxy co-founder Francis Pouliot. Atomic swaps, for example, could undercut financial institutions with instant blockchain foreign exchange transactions.

“Imagine the amount of intermediaries, settlement, auditors, and clearing banks when you’re doing a forex transaction. With atomic swaps, different cryptocurrencies are automatically settled on each party’s blockchains,” he explained. “Now, atomic swaps are only possible on cryptocurrencies, but when we have widely distributed fiat-based crypto-currencies, we’re going to be able to do forex instantly on the blockchain. You’re looking at a major revenue of financial institutions that’s just going to go away.”

State-backed digital currency could come within a decade, said Soumak Chatterjee, senior manager of payments, blockchain and product innovation at Deloitte Canada. “By that, I mean a digital form of the currency that is backed by legal tender and is accepted as a form of money. And I think that will remove a lot of friction from the system.”

But until that happens, he doesn’t expect to see an end-to-end smart contract for regulated financial institutions in Canada. “The current regulatory structures and mandates have not evolved to the point that they can support it. Regulators are smart. They’re figuring things out. So today, no, but definitely over the next 10 years,” said Chatterjee.

The transition to the use of blockchain itself, however, could be smoother, its potential value already being widely acknowledged. Managing partner and founder of ConsenSys Enterprise Igor Lilic says his company is the blockchain city advisor for Dubai, which plans to be on blockchain by 2020.

And while a 2017 Deloitte survey of 300 executives from US companies found that 39 percent still have little or no knowledge of blockchain, more than half of the 61 percent remaining felt that their company would be at a competitive disadvantage if it failed to adopt the technology.

Smart contracts might not be smart, but those who see their potential value are learning.

Continue reading …


Source: Canada FinTech Forum panel shares what banks need to adopt smart contracts

Aiva Labs, Oneiric Hockey take top prizes at Lion’s Lair | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


Five startups were awarded prizes of up to $180,000 at the seventh annual Lion’s Lair Award Gala.

Hosted in Hamilton by the Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, this event aims to celebrate achievements in the local startup ecosystem. Finalists included Aiva Labs, BridesMade, Dash MD, Dolled Up Desserts, Gene Blueprint, HealthyPets.io, HiNT, Lumago, Nanophyll, and Oneiric Hockey.

In the end, only three startups were chosen for the top prizes. The winners for this year were

  • Sarosha Imtiaz and Adnan Somani from Aiva Labs for their marketing campaign builder for small business. They received  $79,020 in support including prizes from VA Partners, Adventus Research & Consulting, KPMG, Epiphany Coaches, Jan Kelley, and CoMotion, and $20,000 in cash.
  • Emily Rudow and Kayla Nezon at Oneiric Hockey and their protective base layer apparel for hockey. They were awarded a prize pack worth $59,000, including in-kind prizes from Albanese Branding, Communica, Orbital, Corus Radio Hamilton, CoMotion, and $15,000.
  • Lumago and their aquaponics systems for local greenhouses. They received a prize pool of $43,250 from Gowling WLG and KPMG.
  • Dolled Up Desserts, a wholesale bakery offering gluten-free and vegan treats and baking mixes. They won the Hamilton prize of $7,500.
  • BridesMade, which allows bridesmaids to rent size-adjustable dresses, got the people’s choice award.

 

Photo via LiON’s LAIR.

 

Continue reading …


Source: Aiva Labs, Oneiric Hockey take top prizes at Lion’s Lair

Hack To Start Ep.169: Ajay Yadav, founder and CEO of Roomie | #VentureCanvas

Franco Varriano | Beta Kit


Ajay Yadav is the founder and CEO of Roomie, the leading marketplace for shared housing and apartments.
Yadav has built several companies before Roomi, which was bootstrapped for the first two years and has raised over $6 million to date.

Yadav shares how he approached building the platform in the early days, from a Tumblr + Google forms MVP to building the first version of the mobile app himself.

Today, Roomi has acquired a few other startups in the same industry and has a remote team of over 40 people.

Yadav joins us to share his story, how he got into startups, what it was like building companies in the early days of the web, how he approaches fundraising, what it’s been like building and scaling a marketplace, and much more.

Hack To Start is a weekly podcast focused on interesting people and the innovative ways they achieve success hosted by @FrancoVarriano and @TylerCopeland.

Continue reading …


Source: Hack To Start Ep.169: Ajay Yadav, founder and CEO of Roomie

Andreas Antonopolous explains how bitcoin scales trust at #SUCanSummit | #VentureCanvas

Jessica Galang | Beta Kit


At the inaugural SingularityU Canada Summit in Toronto, Andreas Antonopolous — one of the leading experts in bitcoin — explained why the technology is so revolutionary.

“We are living in a world where we can’t trust news, young people don’t have jobs, where they can’t trust institutions like banks, where they feel betrayed by government disenfranchised by democracy,” he said. “The common institutions of society are failing to scale.”

“Trust moves from a person to a mathematical process that’s neutral.”
– Andreas Antonopolous

While he acknowledges that these institutions have moved humanity forward, they’re no longer able to fulfill their original purpose. A hierarchal society means that decisions, information — and ultimately, power — flow to the top. “They get more and more power, and they get more and more detached from the people,” he said, adding that this ultimately leads to corruption.

At the same time, he says that these institutions aren’t made for a world where borders are nonexistent thanks to the internet. Because of this, there is a need for structures that support decentralization.

Bitcoin has the potential to be a transformative technology that changes the way these structures function, specifically because it can scale trust. On a flat P2P, non-hierarchical network where no one knows or trust each other, this network can engineer a ledger that records transactions that cannot be modified.

“Trust moves from a person to a mathematical process that’s neutral called consensus, which is fundamental invention behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, “ he said. “This is the way to achieve massive trust at scale on a completely flat network.”

The most obvious purpose for such a technology, understandably, is payments — even if banks haven’t been the most supportive proponents of bitcoin. But considering that bitcoin can scale trust, he encourages people to think beyond currency.

“You can use it for voting, you can use it to build massively decentralized corporations with tens and thousands of directors participating in decision making. You can have a company with a billion shareholders, none of whom are named or owned,” he said.

Photo via Twitter

Continue reading …


Source: Andreas Antonopolous explains how bitcoin scales trust at #SUCanSummit

Thomson Reuters announces $124 million expansion of technology centre | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


Thomson Reuters is dedicating $124 million towards establishing a permanent presence for its technology centre in Toronto, just one year after the launch of its first tech hub in the city.

The Centre has been temporarily located in Bremner Tower, and at the time of its opening, the organization said it planned to create 1,500 jobs. The Centre focuses on developing cloud computing, big data analytics, and machine learning solutions for customers.

“This investment is indicative of how much potential we believe exists in the area and the leadership role we want to play in Canada,” said Jim Smith, CEO of Thomson Reuters. “We are thrilled with the talent we have been able to attract in year one. Once fully staffed, the Centre will house one of Canada’s largest technology hubs dedicated to developing the next generation of products and capabilities for our global customers.”

This long-term facility, which will be located in Toronto’s Entertainment District, is expected to be ready for occupancy at the beginning of 2021 and will accommodate up to 1,500 employees. The new office will come with amenities like a café, health club, and on-site concierge services.

Through the Centre, Thomson Reuters hopes to foster collaboration Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto’s tech ecosystems. 

“Our team operates as a catalyst for our global network of technologists working to provide our customers with the information, expertise and software they need,” said Shawn Malhotra, vice president of Thomson Reuters Technology Centre. “This building will allow us to bring together our growing team in a collaborative work environment, in a prime spot rooted firmly in the culture and creativity of downtown Toronto.”

 

Photo via Markets Insider

Continue reading …


Source: Thomson Reuters announces $124 million expansion of technology centre

Pelmorex acquires Addictive Mobility as part of shift to provide data solutions | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


Pelmorex has acquired mobile advertising company Addictive Mobility.

With over 40 million consumers globally, Weather Network’s parent company is working to move past its identity as a weather information service and evolving into a data-driven business. To reflect this, Pelmorex launched its Pelmorex Weather Networks Division and the Pelmorex Data Solutions Division, and recently added a location tracking section dedicated to stores and airports.

“Today’s acquisition strengthens our position as a mobile advertising leader in Canada, enabling us to deliver more data and deeper insights to our Canadian marketing partners,” said Sam Sebastian, CEO of Pelmorex and former Canadian head of Google.

“We’re excited to leverage Addictive’s expertise in targeting, creative development and media buying. Over the past seven years, the company’s end-to-end solutions have helped marketers better understand mobile data to plan, execute, and optimize programmatic advertising campaigns.”

Addictive Mobility reinforces existing goals at Pelmorex, including a focus on weather and media, sharing user location data, and studying the ways in which its services are used. Through this acquisition, Pelmorex will be able to have better access to information that will allow it to easily execute mobile advertising campaigns. Addictive Mobility will track users through IDs attached to mobile devices and help in targeting users with advertisements that appeal to their lifestyle and needs.

“We’re looking forward to working with Pelmorex to provide richer offerings in the Canadian market, powering programmatic reach extension to increase scale in both media and data,” said Naveed Ahmad, CEO of Addictive Mobility. “As a leader in the Canadian mobile ad-tech space, we will continue to deliver the premium quality of service and technological innovation, however, this time with the support of Pelmorex.”

Photo via Unsplash.com

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Source: Pelmorex acquires Addictive Mobility as part of shift to provide data solutions

F|T: The FinTech Times – Building a bank from scratch | #VentureCanvas

Amira Zubairi | Beta Kit


Welcome to the FinTech Times, a weekly newsletter covering the biggest FinTech news from around the globe. If you want to read F|T before anyone else, make sure to subscribe using the form at the bottom of this page.

Brought to you by:

STACK FinTech Times


BetaKit

Goldmoney announces $30 million in financing to fuel blockchain offerings

Last week, Goldmoney announced that clients can buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrencies with nine global currencies.


Stack

STACK RECOMMENDS: Royal Bank of Canada using blockchain for U.S./Canada payments – executive

“Great to see Canadian financial institutions acknowledging the opportunity in blockchain.”
– Miro Pavletic, CEO and co-founder of STACK


BetaKit

TD dedicating $3.25 million to helping early-stage FinTechs navigate patents

TD is also opening a cybersecurity office in Tel Aviv.


TechCrunch

N26, Revolut and Monzo founders to talk about starting a bank from scratch at Disrupt Berlin

These three speakers all think that retail banks have been too greedy and too slow. It’s time to let users control their money from their phone. In fact, sending money should probably be as easy as sending a tweet.


Business Insider

Aviva takes majority stake in ‘robo’ investment startup Wealthify

Insurance and investment giant Aviva has become the majority shareholder in Cardiff-based Wealthify, which lets people make low-cost investments online. The product will be integrated into Aviva’s online portal MyAviva.


Finextra

BofA turns to Microsoft Cloud for digital transformation

Microsoft Office 365 will provide modern, cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools to some of the Bank of America’s 200,000 employees.


BetaKit

Square launches contactless payments and chip reader in Canada

The product is a white square that can be connected to the company’s Square Stand card reader.


TechCrunch

Startups say this FinTech ‘lab’ is giving them needed access to Wall Street and regulators

FinLab aims to find and nurture FinTech startups that are helping Americans save, access credit and build assets, and it is itself fueled by a $30 million, five-year grant from JPMorgan.


CNBC

FinTech startup Curve adds cloud-based accounting software to its app to simplify expenses

Curve, which allows users to consolidate all their bank cards into a single card, has partnered with accounting software Xero to remove much of the friction involved in filing expenses.


BetaKit

Stack partners with STK Global Payments to allow POS cryptocurrency payments

Stack will implement STK Tokens, allowing customers to make payments at POS in brick-and-mortar stores.


Forbes

FinTech startup Yoco is making payments in South Africa go mobile

Yoco, which enables SMEs to accept card payments and provides card readers to merchants, say its growing by 1,200 merchants a month and processes over R1 billion in transactions per year.


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Source: F|T: The FinTech Times – Building a bank from scratch

RBC integrating Wave’s financial services platform into SMB banking service | #VentureCanvas

Jessica Galang | Beta Kit


RBC and Wave have partnered to integrate invoicing, accounting, and business financial insights into RBC’s online business banking platform.

Wave’s platform, which services 3 million businesses, includes free invoicing, accounting, payment processing, receipt scanning, reporting. The service will be available through a business owner’s RBC online banking site, providing an easy-to-read interface with insights into their business, which combines banking and accounting information.

“Entrepreneurs and small business owners have a range of financial activities and tasks they need to accomplish. On a daily basis, they’re sending invoices, processing payments, and doing their bookkeeping.” says Kirk Simpson, CEO and co-founder of Wave. “By embedding Wave’s complete small business tools into RBC’s online business banking platform, small business owners now have one single destination to manage their financial life.”

RBC, notably, was one of the leads in Wave’s $32 million round in May. The partnership represents a positive step forward for the company, which has been moving away from its reputation as an accounting platform into a full-service financial platform for entrepreneurs.

“We’re always exploring how we can use emerging technologies to simplify the complex issues our small business clients face and help them achieve their goals,” says Jason Storsley, VP of small business at RBC. “Small businesses generally don’t have dedicated accounting and billing staff; it’s typically the owner of the business who is managing the finances, and completing these tasks takes up valuable time. Working with Wave, we’ve created a unique platform where the business owner’s financial life is contained under one roof, making it easier for them to manage their business. This means a small business owner can spend more time being the CEO of their business and less time being the CFO.”

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Source: RBC integrating Wave’s financial services platform into SMB banking service

#NACOSummit panel explains when companies should use AI | #VentureCanvas

Amie Watson | Beta Kit


Last week, more than 450 angel investors, entrepreneurs, and other key industry players came together at the annual NACO World Angel Investment Summit in Montreal, which combined keynote addresses from successful angels and founders with networking and panel discussions, ranging from AI, to talent acquisition, to the rise of Canadian FinTech.

The four-day event is mostly aimed at angels, but is also known to end with more than a few deals signed between angels and founders who pitch them during networking breakfasts, lunches, and cocktail events.

“The event has grown from 120 participants when I started five years ago,” said NACO CEO Yuri Navarro.

The Summit also offers business opportunities for legal firms specializing in startup immigration law, says Dentons Canada Startup Program director Andre Garber. “Being at the NACO conference keeps us attuned to the current issues that angels face in Canada,” he said. “Certain angel groups can make an even bigger impact by investing in and supporting top international founders in relocating their headquarters to Canada.”

For some startups and angels, a big draw is the announcement of the NACO’s annual awards. This year’s winners were Portl Media for Most Promising Canadian Startup of the Year, Hykso for Most Promising International Startup of the Year, Daiya Foods and Michael Volker for 2017 Exit of the Year, and Sophie Forest of Brightspark Ventures for 2017 Canadian Angel of the Year Award.

The conference panels focused on the challenges of, but overall healthy state of angel investing in the country, starting with the opening cocktail and pitch session where Quebec Minister of Economy, Science, and Innovation Dominique Anglade expressed her pride in the recent announcement of Quebec’s $100 million investment in AI development and the importance of accelerating Startup Visas.

Day three’s Attracting the Best in the World session, however, ended on a less optimistic note after a comment on how proposed Canadian tax changes could discourage business owners from investing corporate profits in passive asset classes, and make Startup Visas — which require minimum $75,000 Angel investment or $200,000 VC investment — and diversity hiring moot points for many Canadian companies.

According to Ekagrata CEO Prashant Pathak, the proposal will make it harder for angels to invest in Canada and for startups to raise capital.

“The tax structure will be unattractive for people doing angel investing in Canada,” said Pathak. “Trump, no Trump, whatever. The fact is, you have to embrace diversity, but we cannot be ignorant to the fact that there are certain economic structures that America has created. And if you want to think about it as an entrepreneur, we have to say we can recreate that structure in Canada.”

Allen Lau, panelist and CEO of Toronto-based Wattpad, however, was optimistic about the ability of Canadian companies to compete with the US in attracting talent.

“Don’t go and sit with angel investors until you’ve A/B tested your product. Don’t have the wrong numbers in the slide because your slide is out of date. It’s like preparing to go to the Olympics.”
– Magaly Charbonneau

“I believe Canada has a much better chance of creating startups today because the cost in San Francisco is so high right now,” said Lau. “In Silicon Valley, if you are running a 10-person company or 100-person company, you’re not going to get the A-player, or even the D-player. You’re going to get the G-player, H-player because Facebook and Google are getting the A and B-players. The D-players are going to Uber and Airbnb. When some of my investors asked me to move the company to the Valley a few years ago, my answer was there’s more talent there in sheer number, but my advantage is I’m one of the biggest fish in a smaller pond and I’ll be able to attract all the A-players in my market and outrun a similar company in the Valley.”

Pathak and panelist Semyon Dukach of One Way Ventures disagreed. “If that were true, the Valley would be famous for several giant companies and no startups,” said Dukach.

“How many unicorns come out of Silicon Valley and how many come out of Canada?” added Pathak.

But Lau sees potential in immigration and population growth. “That’s why we have to grow from 35 million to 100 million or 300 million.”

Dentons Canada’s Garber says there are still advantages for startups to choose Canada over the US, and the firm’s team of immigration lawyers has seen an increase in business. “If you start a company in Canada under the Startup Visa Program, if your business fails, you still keep your permanent resident status.”

The Attracting Talent panel overlapped both with the How Women are Changing the Face of Angel Investing breakout session, and the day three keynote by Skip The Dishes founder Joshua Simair, who sold his Saskatchewan and Manitoba-based online food delivery platform to Just-Eat.ca in 2016 for $110 million. Skip The Dishes caters to cities with populations ranging from 100,000 to one million.

While Lau insisted on the advantage of being a big fish in a small pond, he added that there’s a critical mass necessary to do so.

“Today, data is what users were in the era of the social network.”

“Extremely rarely will you see a highly successful tech company coming out of a town with 500,000 people,” said Lau. “Skip The Dishes proved that they can do that. But below that, it’s probably getting harder. You can’t build a tech company in a 5,000-person small town. There may be two Java developers there.”

Other highlights included the day one keynote Coveo CEO Louis Têtu, former CEO of Taleo, and chairman of Pedal MD. He explained the science of his investing strategy, his application of the rule of 40, and the metrics behind why he avoids the gaming industry and other non-sticky investments.

In 2001, when he raised $35 million for Taleo from Bain Capital for 36 percent of the company, he credits the company’s ability to break down key metrics.

“We understand how much it costs to acquire a customer, how much that customer will bring to us on an annual recurring basis, what’s the gross margin of that customer, and therefore what’s the recurring gross margin using an NPV with discount rate of 15 percent – how that customer is sticky,” he said. “That’s why I hate the gaming industry, because it’s not sticky. Because how can you land a customer and cross-sell and upsell?”

As for the rule of 40 – that growth rate and profit should add up to forty percent – Têtu explained that in his experience, in order to grow efficiently, you need gross margins anywhere from 68 percent to 80 percent and a growth rate minimum of 30 percent.

“30 is good, 40 is better, 50 is great,” he said. “Above 60 is exceptional. We see it with Shopify in Canada and some others. Very high retention rates are fundamental because if I don’t have a product that customers will continue to use and pay me for, I need to replace the business every year. From a net retention perspective, anything above 110 is good. We prefer 125-150. I’ve got about 130.”

He also advised angels to not be afraid of losing money as a company scales, because as long as the math supports the growth, you’re creating value.

“Seventy percent of companies pitching at seed stage today say they’re doing AI, but less than five percent of them actually need AI in there.”
– Jeremy Barnes

“If we’re an early stage company, we’ll send roughly $1.50 to acquire that customer. We’ll go as high as two to one. We understand how much upsell that customers going to give us. And if you’re using those metrics, essentially those are companies that on the public market will be rewarded, and even on the PV side, will be rewarded at a multiple of anywhere between four and eight times revenue. So fundamentally, if you start doing the math, even if you lose $10 million a year, you’re effectively at a minimum creating a shareholder value. Any investor will do that all day long.”

Têtu’s latest investment, Pedal MD, which manages doctors’ schedules, runs a cloud-based messaging platform and will soon use AI to optimize the deployment of resources within hospitals. It linked directly to his keynote address with the day three panel AI is Eating the World. While hospitals are paying $16 to $30 a month per doctor for the use of the platform that comes with insight into their own facility, he said some provinces don’t care about the aggregated view of the medical industry in Canada that the app could provide.

AI is Eating the World panelists Alec Saunders, Microsoft Business AI Principal; Stradigi CSO Carolina Bessega; TandemLaunch general partner Helge Seetzen; and Element AI chief architect Jeremy Barnes all agreed that datasets are often overvalued. “Today, data is what users were in the era of the social network,” said Seetzen.

According to Bessega, “A company that’s main purpose is to acquire data and get data, that’s probably not a good investment, unless there will be a lot of other people who will be interested in the data because it’s difficult to acquire.” Two examples that work are when there are huge data sets involved, and when companies can label raw data to make it easier to crunch as a buyer, she added.

“Know the names of angels. Don’t downplay the risk.”
– Sylvie Pinsonnault

The panelists also agreed that AI will continue to grow, but that it’s misused. “Seventy percent of companies pitching at seed stage today say they’re doing AI, but less than five percent of them actually need AI in there,” said Barnes. “So if they say they’re doing AI and they don’t need it, it’s a big red flag.”

Saunders gave the example of a robot built by a Microsoft team, “a screen that you put up in the lobby of a hotel that could essentially act as a virtual concierge – nifty idea,” he said. “We went and talked to the big hotel chain owners and they all said the same thing: “I can hire a concierge for $40,000 a year. I don’t think I need this.”

The same rule of usefulness extends across industries, as Power Financial executive co-chairman Paul Desmarais III demonstrated when he referenced American company Addepar in a second-day session The Rise of Canadian FinTech. Addepar is an independent financial services platform that allows companies to consolidate client accounts from multiple banks.

“We’re an investor in Addepar, but it was because we were a user of it that we understood the benefit of it and value of it,” said Desmarais III. “When we’re looking at investments, from a strategic standpoint, we ask if there’s something that we can use. Because if we can use it, there’s value for other people. It’s sort of like a due diligence check.”

Desmarais III and fellow panelists Brendan Holt Dunn of Holden Family Office and Hurt Capital director Claudio Rojas agreed that there is still lots of opportunity in FinTech, despite a suggested industry bubble especially in insurance – but you’ll most likely have to be patient with your investment.

“Assets scale over a long period of time. And the time that it takes to create trust in a consumer is a lot,” said Dunn. “What we find is that the average person opens an account with $10,000, but has $100 000 in investable assets, in another account. And it takes three, four, five years for them to gradually transfer those assets. So the long lead times in order to sustain these things are really complicated.”

As for advice to founders, several sessions echoed the advice of seeking out angel networks that offer mentoring pre-funding, said Probal Lala, founding member of Toronto-based Maple Leaf Angels.

“Don’t go and sit with angel investors until you’ve A/B tested your product,” said Intel Security Group BD Specialist Magaly Charbonneau. “Don’t have the wrong numbers in the slide because your slide is out of date. It’s like preparing to go to the Olympics. Once you have a great team and the data, your chances of closing are much higher.”

Sylvie Pinsonnault, VP of innovation and innovative manufacturing at Investissement Quebec, added, “Know the names of angels. Don’t downplay the risk. Either you think we’re stupid or you are naïve. Be concise and brief. Too many presentations last two hours and you finish and think, what was that again?

Next year’s NACO summit will take place in Toronto, Ontario.

Feature photo via Twitter

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Source: #NACOSummit panel explains when companies should use AI

Creative Destruction Lab expands into New York City | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management announced its latest expansion to New York City.

CDL will partner with the Stern School of Business at New York University to establish the lab. The location will support three groups: highly successful serial entrepreneurs and angel investors, founders of pre-seed stage startups in science and technology, and Stern faculty/MBA students through a nine-month program. This initiative will provide a coaching process that looks at how to evaluate, finance, and manage technology businesses.

CDL was founded in 2012 and has a strong list of alumni, including Thalmic Labs (Waterloo), Atomwise (San Francisco), Deep Genomics (Toronto), Nymi (Toronto), Automat (Montreal), Kyndi (Palo Alto), and Heuritech (Paris).

This expansion to New York City comes after the cross-Canada expansion of CDL: CDL-Rockies at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business; CDL-Montreal at HEC Montréal; and CDL-Atlantic at Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business in Halifax.

The application process for CDL New York will begin on January 1, 2018, giving approximately 25 early-stage science and technology startups the opportunity to get first-hand advice from researchers and professionals with experience in commercializing companies.

The applicants selected will begin the program in September 2018 and will be mentored by successful entrepreneurs and NYU science and technology faculty. They will also receive business development support from Stern faculty and MBA students.

“Our model for developing massively scalable science-based ventures has proved successful in Canada,” says Ajay Agrawal, founder and academic director of the Creative Destruction Lab. “And we anticipate it will be similarly successful for our partners at NYU.”

The lab recently started a new program that focuses on startups in quantum machine learning, and continues to expand its reach.

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Source: Creative Destruction Lab expands into New York City

Microsoft Ventures launches competition to fund AI startups | #VentureCanvas

Aeman Ansari | Beta Kit


Microsoft Ventures launched a global competition that is looking to invest in startups using AI for intelligent apps, services, or platforms.

The firm is partnering with Madrona Venture Partners, Notion Capital, and Vertex Ventures to host the competition for early-stage AI companies in North America, Europe, and Israel.

“At Microsoft, the future is rooted in the advancement of AI technologies,” said Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president and global head of Microsoft Ventures. “We’re excited to launch this competition with a strong group of venture capitalists that recognizes the importance of leveraging these technologies to amplify human ingenuity and power innovation in AI forward.”

“AI is impacting every industry at extraordinary speed.”
– Chrysanthos Chrysanthou
 

In a pitch-off early next year, Microsoft and its partners will judge 10 eligible applicants from each region, which include startups that have raised more than $4 million in funding and working on some kind of AI/ML-related problem. One startup in each region will be awarded $500,000 in funding and $500,000 in Azure credits, while one prize will be reserved for an applicant that uses AI to better society.

“Startups are already able to create significant businesses based on AI at the platform and application levels,” said S. Somasegar, managing director of Madrona Venture Group.”Now that they are leveraging emerging AI platforms, opportunities are increasing to create not only a great business, but one that has a strong and positive impact on society. As partners with our companies, we work every day to foster the kind of innovation that will change lives, and we are excited to work with Microsoft Ventures to identify passionate founders and teams that will build the next generation of intelligent applications.”

The firm will be accepting submissions from October 10 to December 31, 2017, as a way to advance its core principle of making AI more accessible to people around the world.

This is not the first time Microsoft has invested in AI innovation internationally; Montreal-based Element AI and Maluuba are two Canadian companies that have recently received funding from Microsoft.

“Businesses have always had to fight for their lives in a competitive environment, but in today’s world, the pressures are greater than ever. AI is impacting every industry at extraordinary speed,” said Chrysanthos Chrysanthou, partner at Notion Capital. “Through this partnership with Microsoft Ventures, we are excited to meet entrepreneurs who are harnessing AI to redefine entire industries on a massive scale.”

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Source: Microsoft Ventures launches competition to fund AI startups

Ross Intelligence raises $13 million Series A | #VentureCanvas

Jessica Galang | Beta Kit


Ross Intelligence has raised an $13 milion ($8.7 million USD) Series A, according to a report from TechCrunch.

The funding was led by iNovia Capital with participation from Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Real Ventures, Dentons’ NextLaw Labs, and angel investors.

Ross’ platform allows lawyers to search through case law to find details relevant to new cases — a process that can take days or weeks. Using machine learning to improve keyword search, Ross speeds up the process and improves the relevance of cases found.

Ross offers products in both bankruptcy and intellectual property law, and is looking to expand into other types of law like labour and employment, simultaneously moving down to serve smaller firms.

Ross, which was founded by three University of Toronto students, is currently based in San Francisco. The company recently opened a research and development lab in Toronto. The company also previously raised a $4.3 million USD seed round led by iNovia.

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Source: Ross Intelligence raises $13 million Series A

Tariq Haddadin named Program Manager of Techstars Toronto | #VentureCanvas

Jessica Galang | Beta Kit


Techstars Toronto has named Tariq Haddadin its new program manager, two months after naming Sunil Sharma its managing director for the city.

Haddadin started his career as an intern at PwC and then the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, eventually moving up to senior associate of the tech hub’s business acceleration program. For the past several years, Haddadin has been working as Techstars associate in London, UK.

“Techstars Toronto has been incredibly well received within an obviously vibrant Toronto tech ecosystem,” said Sharma. “Moreover, Techstars Toronto represents a Canada-wide opportunity for the best startups to join an elite global program without having to leave Canada to do it.”

“The talent and companies can stay in Toronto, leading to a better ecosystem all around.”
 

“We have an incredibly strong applicant pool for this Techstars program,” said Nicole Glaros, chief innovation officer of Techstars. “It is exciting for Toronto because previously, startups have had to move their companies elsewhere to get the kind of global support that Techstars can provide. Now, with Techstars in Toronto, the talent and companies can stay in Toronto, leading to a better ecosystem all around.”

The accelerator first announced it was entering the city in March 2017 in partnership with Real Ventures.

“Real Ventures is thrilled to partner with Techstars on the launch of the first Toronto cohort,” said Janet Bannister, partner at Real Ventures. “We’ve seen great enthusiasm from startups across the country, and are excited to watch this first group maximize their potential and scale and grow world-class companies.”

Applications to the Techstars Toronto program are open until October 15. The Winter class will begin on January 22, 2018.

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Source: Tariq Haddadin named Program Manager of Techstars Toronto