News

15
Jan

Supercluster Scale.AI has chose 14 projects, invested $32 million since receiving funding

Scale AI has publicly invested more than $32 million to date into 14 projects, with the hopes of accelerating the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) within Canadian companies.

Scale AI was awarded $230 million from the federal government in December 2018 through the government’s Supercluster initiative. It received an additional $23.4 million in July from the Quebec government.

The recently announced projects are being conducted by nine companies and include more than 40 partners.

The various projects supported by Scale AI span a number of sectors including shipping to retail, aeronautics, healthcare, and supply chain, but all focus on adopting AI or machine learning into existing practices. After a call for applications in June, Scale AI has chose to invest in a cross sector of startups, corporations, thought leadership groups.

The Montreal-based Supercluster group announced the first projects to receive funding shortly following its call for applications – alloting a combined $5.1 million to four supply chain-focused projects.

More recently, Scale AI revealed it has invested another $27 million across 10 additional projects. The funding is broken down by $22.6 million from the Government of Canada and $4.2 million from the Government of Quebec.

Scale AI’s investments are made on the basis of companies making their own matching contributions. According to Scale AI, the combined total of capital committed to the 10 projects amounts to $75 million.

The recently announced projects are being conducted by nine companies and include more than 40 partners. The largest sum of capital was handed to Air Canada, which is leading two projects. Air Canada received $12 million from Scale AI, and $31.1 million overall, for a project using machine learning to optimize value chain and revenue management, and another implementing AI in its cargo operations.

Canadian startups that received funding include Rubikloud, which has developed AI software for enterprise retailers; AlayaCare, which recently raised $47.9 million CAD; Quebec City-based virtual, augmented, and mixed reality company OVA; open-source graphing-focused Plotly; and simulation software startup Stream Systems.

Ravel by CF, a startup spun out of commercial real estate giant Cadillac Fairview, which announced its investment from Scale AI in December, is also included in the 10 projects. Ravel received $4.8 million from the Supercluster and $13 million overall.

Other companies that received capital from Scale AI include Coveo, which recently raised $227 million CAD. Coveo is leading a project on cognitive supply chains and received $2.8 million from Scale AI and $10.8 million overall.

More information on the projects, partners, and what they are working on can be found here.

07
Jan

S&P Global Market Intelligence Enters into Strategic Alliance to Transition IR Webhosting Business to Q4 Inc.

New York/Toronto, January 7, 2019 – S&P Global Market Intelligence (S&P), a division of S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) and provider of data, essential insights, and powerful analytics, and Q4 Inc. (Q4), a leading global provider of cloud-based investor relations solutions, announced today a strategic alliance to transition S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Investor Relations (IR) webhosting business to Q4. 

The strategic alliance allows both parties to concentrate on their core competencies, ensuring existing and future clients have access to industry-leading IR tools, data and services. 

“Since the founding of Q4, we’ve been committed to innovation and delivering the highest level of customer experience through our products, data and partnerships. This new strategic alliance helps to strengthen this commitment and allows us to more deeply serve our clients across a broader set of industries, including financial services, banking and REITs,” said Darrell Heaps, CEO of Q4. “Over the last few months, we have worked hard to understand the needs of S&P’s IR webhosting clients and we look forward to welcoming them to Q4 and our innovative IR success model.” 

“We are excited to work with Q4, which has demonstrated a proven track record of providing industry-leading investor relations solutions, technology and analytics to public companies across multiple sectors,” said Greg Gartland, Chief Product Officer, S&P Global Market Intelligence. “This strategic alliance with Q4 will not only better serve our clients webhosting requirements, but also will allow S&P to enhance and add to the strategic workflow solutions we offer to investor relations officers and their staffs.” 

This alliance will also integrate S&P’s proprietary data into Q4’s portfolio of solutions, enabling further opportunities for commercial collaboration. In connection with transitioning its IR webhosting business to Q4, S&P has also made a minority investment in Q4. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

12
Dec

Sensibill deepens UK market expansion with Metro Bank partnership

Sensibill announced today that it will partner with Metro Bank, the first high street bank to open in the UK in over 100 years, to power its mobile receipt management offering. The partnership supports the bank’s mission to transform the digital experience for its small business banking clients. 

Metro Bank has invited select small business customers to join a free beta trial of its forthcoming receipt management solution within their mobile app, with a public release set to launch to all business customers in early 2020. Small businesses will be able to capture, store and organize their receipts, allowing for easy expense tracking and management. In turn, the solution helps these business owners audit-proof their business and maximize tax deductions.

Beyond offering a valuable tool for Metro Bank’s client base to use, Sensibill provides the ability to gather deep insights on customer purchase behaviors through the itemization and categorization of receipt data, providing the opportunity in which to truly personalize communications and products to customers. 

“Metro Bank is building a suite of compelling tools that will help transform the small business banking experience in the UK,” said Corey Gross, Co-Founder and CEO of Sensibill. “Our partnership with Metro Bank demonstrates our shared focus to deliver customer-centric solutions that improve the financial well-being of banking customers. We’re excited to support Metro Bank’s commitment to strengthening its relationship with their customers through digital innovation.”

Paul Riseborough, Chief Commercial Officer at Metro Bank, says: “Accounting tasks, along with chasing invoices and staying on top of receipts, are major pain points for SMEs. By partnering with Sensibill, we’re offering an innovative, digital solution that solves real problems for our customers, saving them time spent on admin and allowing them to focus on running and growing their business. And this is just the first piece in the puzzle as we set about developing a major new digital ecosystem of services to help SMEs.”

The partnership is continued proof of the widespread acceptance of digital receipt solutions, the value of item-level data, and Sensibill’s position as the preferred provider and market leader in the UK and the broader sector.

11
Dec

ScribbleLive acquired by Brazil based Rock Content

Brazilian content marketing startup Rock Content has announced the purchase of US sector player ScribbleLive, creating one of the largest companies in the segment in the Americas.

The buyout, announced exclusively to Forbes, is the continuation of the company’s international expansion, which began in 2017 with the launch of operations in Mexico. With the addition of ScribbleLive (SL), which has offices in Boca Ratón and Toronto, the enlarged Rock organization will boost its 400-strong workforce with about 100 employees. The two companies combined have a freelancer base of about 80,000 professionals.

The new company also brings a client portfolio that includes names like Red Bull, Cisco, FedEx, Dell, Reuters, Deloitte and American Express. Some of the organizations in this consolidated portfolio of over 2,000 customers that were existing clients, such as Oracle, will be catered for with services in Portuguese, Spanish and English, as well as other content-related products offered by the group.

“Being able to help our customers consolidate their content marketing efforts across multiple geographies and languages is the most exciting piece this acquisition brings,” said Rock co-founder Diego Gomes. “Our network of creative professionals is a unique feature that no other content platform can offer.”

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but, according to Gomes, the price tag is in the “tens of millions of dollars” and involved the exit of about a dozen SL investors, such as Summerhill Venture Partners, First Ascent Ventures and Fidelity Growth. The buyout was supported by a small funding round from Rock’s current investor base, which includes e.bricks Ventures, Provence Capital and Unbox Capital.

05
Dec

CIBC Innovation Banking Provides First Ascent Ventures with a Capital Call Line of Credit

Innovation Banking today announced that it has provided a capital call facility to First Ascent Ventures. The capital call facility provides First Ascent Ventures with the flexibility to make investments in portfolio companies prior to calling capital from the fund’s limited partners.

Since the firm’s founding in 2015, First Ascent Ventures has invested in emerging Canadian technology companies that are building the next generation of disruptive, enterprise B2B software that leverages the cloud, big data, analytics, mobility, AI and machine learning.

The founding partners of the Fund, Richard Black and Tony van Marken, have been involved with over 35 technology companies as founders, operating executives, advisors, and investors and have a successful growth and return track record.

First Ascent Ventures is targeting companies with growing monthly recurring revenue, a strong product offering and top tier customer references, investing from the Series A round and onwards.

“By providing First Ascent Ventures with a capital call facility, CIBC is supporting a great team of investment managers that have enhanced the Canadian technology ecosystem for many years,” said Rob Rosen, Managing Director, CIBC Innovation Banking.  “It is our pleasure to facilitate the firm’s investment thesis.”

“The CIBC Innovation Banking team are veterans of the Canadian technology ecosystem and are a proven partner to portfolio companies and VC funds. They understand the operational needs of venture capital firms and we look forward to a long and successful partnership,” said Tony van Marken, Managing Partner, First Ascent Ventures

About CIBC Innovation Banking

CIBC Innovation Banking delivers strategic advice, cash management and funding to North American innovation companies at each stage of their business cycle, from start up to IPO and beyond. With offices in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Denver, Menlo Park, Montreal, Reston, Toronto and Vancouver, the team has extensive experience and a strong, collaborative approach that extends across CIBC’s commercial banking and capital markets businesses in the U.S. and Canada.

 Additional information is available at www.firstascent.vc

04
Jul

Digital receipt player Sensibill raises $31.5m

Sensibill, a Toronto-based AI-powered digital receipt startup targeting freelancers and small business owners, has raised US$31.5 million in a Series B funding round joined by National Bank of Canada.

The round, led by AI-focused venture fund Radical Ventures, and joined by Information Venture Partners and First Ascent Ventures, brings Sensibill’s total financing to $46.5 million.

Founded in 2013, Sensibill works with banks such as TD and Scotiabank to incorporate its digital receipt technology into their apps, enabling personal and business customers to manage line item receipts from their phones.

The platform uses machine learning to structure receipt data and give both banks and their customers rich insights such as product information, return policy tracking and auto-categorisation.

Since its 2017 Series A round, the firm has doubled its headcount, opened a London office and has now won more than 30 bank deals in Canada, the US and UK, many with Tier 1 players such as RBS.

Corey Gross, CEO, Sensibill, says: “What we’re trying to do at Sensibill is bridge the gap between what banks are good at today, and where they need to be in five or ten years to protect their relationships from disruption. Tools beyond core banking, an incredible customer experience, and meaningful customer insights for banks–that’s what we bring to the table.”

17
Jun

Dialogue concludes a $40-million round of financing

DialoguePR_image

Dialogue, the leading virtual healthcare platform in Canada, today announced the closing of a $40-million round of financing led by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Holtzbrinck Ventures. The company will use the funds to maintain its leading position in Canada and continue its expansion in the European market.

Also participating in the financing round were First Ascent Ventures, Portag3 Ventures, White Star Capital, Walter Capital and National Bank of Canada (TSX: NA).

Dialogue offers companies services to directly access front-line health-care professionals. Using a virtual technology platform that provides optimized triage, the companies’ employees and their family members can contact a professional using a mobile application or the internet.

Founded in 2016 with the support of incubator Diagram Ventures, Dialogue quickly positioned itself as a leading player in its sector. The company now has over 400 clients of all sizes, including companies such as National Bank, Lightspeed, Industrial Alliance, Air Canada Vacations, Stingray, Cirque du Soleil, Hopper and WSP.

In addition to its service offering for companies, Dialogue also provides its platform, which facilitates and increases the accuracy of triage through the use of artificial intelligence, to hospitals. A pilot project is underway with the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) and the technology will soon be deployed at the world-famous Hospital Berlin-Buch to support triage in its emergency rooms.

“We are privileged to have the backing of a quality institution such as CDPQ,” said Cherif Habib, CEO and Co-founder of Dialogue. “This new financing from our partners will help push our company to new heights by consolidating our Canadian expansion and continuing to grow in Europe. None of this would be possible without the significant contribution of all the other partners involved in this round of financing, whom I sincerely thank.”

“This transaction aligns well with our Québec investment strategy. In addition to supporting the company’s expansion into new international markets, CDPQ is again supporting an innovative, new economy company that integrates artificial intelligence into its business solutions to enhance its performance,” stated Thomas Birch, Managing director, Venture capital and Technologies at CDPQ. “This is an investment by our Fonds CDPQ-IA, announced this winter, which focuses on accelerating the commercialization of Québec artificial intelligence solutions.”

The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

ABOUT DIALOGUE
Dialogue is a virtual platform offering integrated health care services for employers to keep their employees happy, healthy, and performing at their highest potential. A full range of health professionals (nurses, physicians and allied health practitioners) is available at the click of a button via mobile phone or computer to help employees optimize their work-life balance. To learn more, visit dialogue.co, follow us on Twitter @godialogue or visit our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

ABOUT CAISSE DE DÉPÔT ET PLACEMENT DU QUÉBEC
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As at December 31, 2018, it held CA$309.5 billion in net assets. As one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and private debt. CDPQ is present in India through its subsidiary CDPQ India, located in New Delhi. For more information, visit cdpq.com, follow us on Twitter @LaCDPQ or consult our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

03
Jun

BusinessWire partners with IR provider Q4

deleo

SAN FRANCISCO: Business Wire has partnered with investor relations cloud platform Q4.

The exclusive partnership is combining Business Wire’s distribution and newswire services with Q4’s communications and intelligence platforms, according to a statement from the companies.

“Business Wire and Q4 have known each other for a long time,” said Richard DeLeo, COO at Business Wire. “We’re both preferred providers to the New York Stock Exchange IPO program. The opportunity to give [Q4] access to distribution and Business Wire clients access to their best-in-class IR services was attractive to us.”

DeLeo added that this is only “phase one” of their partnership.

“We’re going to put our heads together about how we can integrate further and create more products,” he added.

Business Wire has not used the acquisition-heavy strategy of its competitors, such as Meltwater and Cision, who have been trying to drive innovation through consolidation.

“We are always looking at ways that we can enhance the news-distribution process as well as deliver ROI and metrics to our client base,” DeLeo said.

Q4 services DeLeo highlighted include web-hosting capabilities, as well as analytics and intelligence in IR. Pooling Q4 and Business Wire’s resources will “help simplify complex workflows, drive valuation, reduce volatility and deepen stakeholder engagement,” according to a statement from the companies.

The deal “makes sense as a partnership,” according to Burton-Taylor International Consulting associate Christopher Porter.

“We were also struck by the mention of webcasting as an area of cooperation. Webcasting is an area of particular focus for West [Corporation], who since 2018 are the owners of GlobeNewswire, which Burton-Taylor considers to be the next-largest press-release-distribution business in the world after Business Wire,” Porter added.

Business Wire was identified as the fourth-largest player in the comms tech industry in a report by Burton-Taylor.

In February, Business Wire expanded its Paris office adding staff and pursuing growth in France and southern Europe.

Business Wire once partnered with TrendKite, the digital PR platform that was acquired by Cision this year. Trendkite provided its analytics to Business Wire, packaged in its NewsTrak reports. That partnership has ended.

Berkshire Hathaway acquired Business Wire in 2006 for an undisclosed amount.

18
Mar

Venture capital funding flat in 2018, but industry players say investment ecosystem is strong

A total of $3.7 billion in venture capital was dispersed to Canadian companies in 2018, according to a report by the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.

While the number marked a two per cent decline from 2017, Kim Furlong, CEO of the CVCA was still calling it a win.

2017 was just like a home run, so 2018 is a continuation of that growth trajectory

Kim Furlong, CEO of the CVCA

“This report signals that there’s maturity in the system. We saw an amazing year in 2017 — the best year we’d had to date in growth, in seven consecutive years,” she said. “2017 was just like a home run, so 2018 is a continuation of that growth trajectory.”

The numbers in the CVCA report offer a glimpse into the shape of startup funding across Canada, especially in the information and communication technology sector which accounted for more than two thirds of VC dollars and deals.

Toronto tops deals, followed by Montreal and Vancouver

Toronto is far and away the centre of gravity, with 197 venture capital deals happening in the city, and more than $1.5 billion invested in 2018. Montreal was the second busiest spot in Canada for startup investment, with 119 deals totalling $901 million, and Vancouver was third, with 71 deals totalling $400 million.

Governments are a big part of venture capital funding in Canada

The CVCA report also makes it clear that governments are a big part of venture capital funding in Canada. Scanning down the list of the top 10 most active venture capital firms, the federal Business Development Corporation appears twice on the list — both as an overall funder, and separately as an investor through several sector-specific funds — and government entities like the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation and the MaRS Innovation Accelerator Fund appear on the list.

The venture capital sector has also received help from government through programs like the federal Venture Capital Action Plan and the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative — each worth $400 million.

Rick Nathan, who leads the venture capital program at Kensington Capital Partners — one of the recipients of VCCI investment — said the government money has leveraged a lot more private capital.

“They’re important from a stimulative impact on the market as a whole,” he said.

“Every government in the world where there is a technology industry has a very active role — including the United States which has more government support for its venture capital industry than any other country in the world. But if you look at Israel, if you look at Europe, if you look across Asia, it is an important feature of any market where there is a budding tech sector.”

70% of venture capital deals in 2018 were valued at less than $5 million

The biggest publicly disclosed venture capital deal of the year was $161 million in late-stage funding which went to Assent Compliance Inc, a supply chain data management company based in Ottawa.

Quebec-based Hopper Inc. and Milestone Pharmaceuticals Inc. also scored late-stage investment rounds valued at more than $100 million.

But according to the CVCA data, 70 per cent of venture capital deals in 2018 were much smaller, valued at less than $5 million.

In aggregate, Nathan said the numbers reflect investor confidence in Canada’s startup sector. He pointed to the initial public offering by Montreal-based Lightspeed POS as the latest example of a successful startup exit.

“We had the Lightspeed IPO a week ago, which is a great story. It’s a fabulous company. But it’s just kind of the next one on the list,” Nathan said.

“We probably have about 20 companies across the country that are in the half a billion to one billion valuation range.”

The Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association Names New Chief Executive Officer

Canadian tech venture capital funding hits eight-quarter high thanks to AI

21
Feb

Q4 announces new IR Success Platform

darrel

New York and Toronto – February 21, 2019 – Q4 Inc., a leading global provider of cloud-based investor relations solutions, announced today the launch of its “IR Success Platform.” The platform combines Q4’s market-leading IR product suite, with a new white-glove customer experience model that partners with IROs to help them achieve both their tactical and strategic objectives, from daily tasks to annual program goals.

“The rise of new technologies, along with a constantly changing regulatory landscape are disrupting today’s capital markets. But while the scope of the IR role has expanded, in most cases, resources and budgets haven’t increased. You’re being asked to do more with less.” said Darrell Heaps, Q4’s CEO. “We believe that by working with the right partner and arming yourself with the right technology, you can overcome these challenges, to drive strategic value and ‘take a seat at the boardroom table.’ Our new IR Success Platform is designed to help IR teams, of all sizes and shapes, optimize processes and run impactful programs.”

Leveraging the latest in IR technology and tools, combined with dedicated IR professionals, Q4 is committed to delivering best-in-class customer experience. The IR Success Platform provides IROs with a truly dedicated “partner” committed to helping them drive strategic IR value, and is the first of its kind in the market. The IR Success Platform is designed to:

  • Reduce IR workload and streamlining processes;
  • Build a robust ownership base and target the right investors;
  • Improve IRO visibility and engagement with management and the Board; and
  • Drive stronger valuation relative to market peers.

“We recognize that no two IR teams are the same, and therefore, your needs also differ. With our IR Success Platform, we match you with the right technology and dedicated service team, based on your own unique objectives and challenges. We have you covered, from website and webcasting, to CRM, market intelligence and surveillance, and everything in between, ” said Matt Tractenberg, IR Partner at Q4. “The incredible benefit to our clients and their limited resources is that this is all being provided as a value add, at no additional expense to our clients.”

The IR Success Platform includes three customer experience offerings:

“Communicate” includes web design and webcasting, supported by an IR lead and 24/7 customer service for daily IR tasks.

“Engage” includes Q4’s CRM, web and webcasting, supported by a dedicated IR manager who is focused on executing tactical support across all IR functions.

“Elevate” includes web design, webcasting, CRM and Intelligence products and offers the highest level of strategic experience. It’s supported by a dedicated IR Partner, an ex-IRO with the core mandate to align with client strategies and partner on helping reach their objectives, whatever they may be.

The IR Success Platform is a value add service offered to all Q4 clients, with product configuration being rolled-out over the coming days. For more information please see www.q4inc.com or contact sales@q4inc.com .

For more details visit: https://www.q4inc.com/success-platform/default.aspx

 

AI STARTUP RUBIKLOUD TO BE ACQUIRED BY OTTAWA-BASED KINAXIS FOR $81.4 MILLION CAD

OTTAWA, ON, June 15, 2020 – Kinaxis® Inc. (TSX: KXS), the authority in driving agility for fast, confident decision-making in an unpredictable world, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Toronto-based Rubikloud, a disruptive, emerging provider of AI solutions that automate supply chain prescriptive analytics and decision-making in the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries.

Globally-recognized retailers and CPG manufacturers in the health and beauty, household and grocery segments use Rubikloud’s AI-based products today. Their offerings include demand forecasting and automation to manage and optimize trade promotions, pricing and assortment to drive product demand and dramatically improve financial results. Kinaxis will enhance RapidResponse’s demand planning capabilities with the Rubikloud offerings, anticipating initial opportunities in the company’s rapidly-growing CPG customer base and over time for other industries such as life sciences. The acquisition also offers Kinaxis a springboard into the enterprise retail industry.

“Rubikloud has capabilities and value that we can offer our CPG customers today, leads us into the retail industry with some bellwether accounts, and adds a group of approximately 80 people to an already-impressive AI and machine learning (ML) team here at Kinaxis. Over time, this enhanced group will contribute to new and existing AI-powered capabilities across the full Kinaxis RapidResponse® platform and applications,” said John Sicard, President and CEO of Kinaxis. “This acquisition reflects the growing importance of AI and ML to power intelligent automation and augment human decision-making to better deliver on customer promises, remove waste and increase resiliency for effective risk management.”

Rubikloud’s SaaS-based ML offerings empower retail and CPG manufacturers to transform their core operations by improving and automating complex, profit-generating decisions. Rubikloud’s proven AI capabilities and intuitive tools enable users to leverage disparate data sources to improve forecast accuracy, site-level allocations, inventory availability and promotion plans by allowing users to run boundless simulations in real time.

“We founded Rubikloud with the belief that purpose-built AI could be used to solve some of the most complex industry problems and we have spent the last seven years building a fantastic product that receives validation from global customers every day,” said Kerry Liu, CEO, Rubikloud. “We’re excited at the prospect of joining Kinaxis, which helps us bring our innovations to a much broader customer base at a faster pace than on our own. Not only that, being two strong Canadian companies we see great cultural synergy and look forward to working on the complex problems we know RapidResponse and concurrent planning can solve for customers.”

Terms of Agreement
Kinaxis will acquire Rubikloud for US$60 million in an all-cash transaction that is expected to close within 60 days. Based on Rubikloud’s current revenue and expense profile, the company’s fiscal 2020 revenue and Adjusted EBITDA guidance, as reiterated in its May 6, 2020 news release, remains unchanged. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

About Kinaxis Inc. 
Everyday volatility and uncertainty demand quick action. Kinaxis® delivers the agility to make fast, confident decisions across integrated business planning and the digital supply chain. People can plan better, live better and change the world. Trusted by innovative brands, we combine human intelligence with AI and concurrent planning to help companies plan for any future, monitor risks and opportunities and respond at the pace of change. Powered by an extensible, cloud-based platform, Kinaxis delivers industry-proven applications so everyone can know sooner, act faster and remove waste. For more Kinaxis news, follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.