Returning for its third year, Elevate is now simply too big for one event guide. So BetaKit has produced a guide to every event and stage taking place across the seven-day festival. You can find a link to each individual guide on our Guide to Elevate 2019 hub page.
ELEVATE TECH JAM
Where: Design Exchange
When: Friday, September 20 – Sunday, September 22
Event Details: click here
Throughout the festival week, Elevate will touch on the many milestones in building a tech business: from staying ahead of trends, to attracting the best talent, to seeing how innovators are using emerging technology today.
“Ask yourself: do you want to be creators or consumers?”
– Razor Suleman
Before a single speaker takes the stage, however, Elevate truly begins with a jam. Taking place over three days at the Design Exchange, Elevate Tech Jam is an opportunity for top talent to showcase their skills, working collaboratively with a team of four to six people. Over 500 researchers, developers, designers, artists, marketers, and students will work together to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.
“Ask yourself: do you want to be creators or consumers?” Razor Suleman, Elevate co-founder and CEO, told BetaKit. “We need to take big bets and have moonshots.”
A fun way to connect with the Canadian tech community, Elevate Tech Jam will provide benefits beyond networking. Top recruiters from some of the biggest companies in Canada will be on-site looking for talent that can approach problems in a smart and sustainable way.
Participants will receive a complimentary Elevate festival pass to make further connections and be inspired, as well as the opportunity to win additional prize packages.
Click here or use the code “ELEVATELOVESBETAKIT” to purchase your Elevate 2019 tickets at a 20% discount.
Following Bunz’s reduction of merchants that can accept its BTZ currency, Bunz Facebook groups have defected from the Bunz brand, rebranding to Palz.
“We do not want to profit. We do not want your app sign-ups. We do not want you to buy into an online currency that will let you down.”
– Palz admins
In a public statement explaining the ‘Bunxit’, Palz admins outlined their reasons for no longer associating the Facebook groups with Bunz.
“We were told that if things were going to fall apart there would be some kind of notice, so that we would have an opportunity to make a decision about what we wanted to do with this currency that we bought into,” said Farrell Rafferty, an admin of Palz Trading Zone, which has over 66,500 members. Rafferty told BetaKit he currently has about $700 worth of BTZ. “Which, as you know, didn’t happen.”
Merchants were asked to pay a $9.95 + HST subscription fee to accept BTZ, with one unsure if they would receive a refund. Cherie Lunau Jokisch, the owner of gift shop Beadle, said vendors like her were not informed of the changes beforehand, despite being promised 30 days notice of any major changes.
When reached for comment, CEO Sascha Mojtahedi said that Bunz would refund the merchant fee owed to partners that no longer have access to the program.
“Today, we would like to reclaim our communities,” Palz admins wrote in the statement about leaving Bunz. “We would like to bring Bunz back to what it once was. We want our groups to remember why they exist. We do not want to profit. We do not want your app sign-ups. We do not want you to buy into an online currency that will let you down.”
It’s not clear how much control Bunz has in this situation. In 2018, Facebook banned the sale of community groups, which are often set up and run by local volunteers. The ‘Bunxit’ will nevertheless be a hit to the company, which has been working to drive signups to the Bunz app. Bunz (now Palz) groups have hundreds of thousands of members, and could drive sign-ups to the app and get more people using BTZ.
In some cases, admins were also offered BTZ for volunteering their time on behalf of Bunz; admins were offered the choice of either cash or BTZ in exchange for working events that promoted the app. Shannon Dickson, former admin of Bunz Curvy Zone and Bunz Tattoo Zone, said that she worked for five hours over two days during Toronto Pride last year, promoting the app at a Bunz tent.
RELATED: Akira founder moves from healthtech to launch Newton cryptocurrency trading platform
“We were promised that the program was expanding and that more and more stores would take them,” Dickson said about why she and other admins chose BTZ over cash. “Speaking just for myself, I recognized that there was a certain risk involved with accepting a cryptocurrency as payment, but I believed that they were being given to me in good faith, and that if they were to lose value, we would be informed every step of the way.”
Yesterday, Bunz suddenly stopped allowing all non-food vendors from accepting BTZ. Fifteen staff were also let go; BetaKit has since learned that the entire development team was let go, as well as the majority of the sales team. Those remaining, one source said, include CEO Sascha Mojtahedi, and team members from sales, growth, and community.
Employee lockdown, restructured runway
Sources close to Bunz said that Shop Local merchants could invoice Bunz for their products purchased with BTZ, to be later reimbursed in Canadian dollars. Bunz’s Medium post explaining the changes mentions that merchants and users have exchanged $1.4 million through the platform.
“In the interest of the community, our retailers and Bunz, as a business, we have locked all current and former employees wallets.”
– Sascha Mojtahedi
At the same time, former employees who had received millions in BTZ told BetaKit that they could no longer access their funds. Mojtahedi confirmed to BetaKit that current employees have also had their wallets locked. A source close to the matter told BetaKit that at least 15 employees had received $250,000 CAD worth of BTZ in 2018. Hypothetically, these BTZ could be exchanged for purchases at stores, meaning that Bunz would have to reimburse merchants for thousands of Canadian dollars.
“In the interest of the community, our retailers and Bunz, as a business, we have locked all current and former employees wallets,” Mojtahedi said.
Admins are reporting that they still have access to wallets, but at least one who requested anonymity expressed fear that admins would be next.
A source familiar with the matter said that, over the past several months, Bunz has been in talks with an American company about a possible acquisition. The source would not confirm the name of the company, but said that they were involved in building marketplaces and communities, and were interested in expanding to Canada. Multiple acquisition prices presented by Bunz to the American company were reportedly rejected.
“[Bunz] had basically reached the very, very end of its runway,” the source said. Bunz last publicly announced an undisclosed Series A from Fidelity in March 2018.
“So, the option was either to shut absolutely everything down from a company perspective and call it a day on this entire project, or fight to keep it alive, and the only way that could be done was to drastically reduce the amount of BTZ spent monthly,” the source said.
When asked about possible acquisitions, Mojtahedi did not directly confirm, saying “it’s common place to be in discussions with other companies and investors looking at different opportunities and potential partnerships.”
However, the CEO did confirm that Bunz’s recent changes were to extend the company’s runway.
“Knowing the value of the community, we made a very difficult decision to restructure the company so that this is not the end of our runway,” Mojtahedi told BetaKit. “We believe that this new structure will allow us to make Bunz as a platform usable by everyone for the foreseeable future.”
Since its launch in April 2018, the BTZ currency has been the subject of scrutiny. The company initially reported that BTZ was a cryptocurrency, before being pushed to say that this was not the case, as community members noted that it was not decentralized nor did it run on a blockchain.
Admins were also skeptical about the launch of a cryptocurrency for a community founded on a bartering system. Bunz was started in 2013 by Emily Bitze to exchange goods with friends, after she struggled financially.
“I had friends in a similar situation, and we were all living close to one another,” Bitze told BetaKit in 2017. “So I thought it would make sense to exchange things [amongst ourselves and with others].”
With files from Isabelle Kirkwood.
With the federal election now in full swing, the Liberal Party of Canada is making some promises to cut fees, reduce red tape, and create new funding sources for the country’s small business community.
The party also committed to eliminating fees for three agencies for business advisory services like mentorship and training.
Some of the Liberal government’s commitments include giving 2,000 entrepreneurs a year with as much as $50,000 to launch a new business and $250 to every new business looking to expand their online services. The party is also committing to eliminating all fees from the Business Development Bank of Canada, Export Development Canada, and Farm Credit Canada, for business advisory services like mentorship and training.
“Canada’s economy has rebounded, largely thanks to the hard work of Canadians who started their own businesses,” said leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “To keep that momentum moving forward, we cut the small business tax rate and now we’re making it possible for anyone with a good idea and a passion for what they do to start their own business and support their communities.”
The party also claimed it would cut the cost of federal incorporation by 75 percent, and eliminate the “swipe fee” on HST and GST for credit transactions, which it claims would save businesses nearly $500 million a year in fees. The government said these new commitments complement some of the government’s prior actions for Canadian SMBs, including regulation adjustments, the Export Diversification Strategy, and cutting the small business tax rate from 11 percent to 9 percent.
The party said although seven out of every 10 Canadians work for small and medium-sized businesses, the costs of doing business is a barrier for many entrepreneurs.
“More support for the wealthiest one percent won’t help the average Canadian get ahead,” said Mr. Trudeau. “Only Liberals have a plan to keep moving forward and give everyone a chance to succeed.”
#DYK as of 2017, 17,657 small businesses in #Mississauga employed 178,112 people? This accounts for 44.5% of the City’s employment! If re-elected, a Liberal gov't will keep this momentum going by cutting fees, reducing red tape & creating funds to support new business owners. https://t.co/UW0MslmepI
— Navdeep Bains (@NavdeepSBains) September 13, 2019
Image courtesy Alex Guibord
Agtech and foodtech companies have the chance to win $1.25 million USD in investment at the Nutrien Radicle Challenge Canada, which recognizes entrepreneurs at the seed and Series A stage.
“There is boundless potential in this region in ag and food.”
– Kirk Haney
Announced in May, the challenge is a partnership between Radicle Growth, a San Diego-based fund that invests in agtech and foodtech companies, and Saskatoon-based Nutrien, the largest produce of potash in the world. Companies will be competing for a $1 million USD investment, while seed stage companies will compete for a $250,000 USD investment.
“We need new ideas to feed a growing population and future generations,” said Kirk Haney, managing partner of Radicle Growth and one of the judges of the competition. “The Nutrien Radicle Challenge Canada brings together global leaders in agriculture and investment with the best new ideas for feed the future. It’s a history-making moment that we believe will change food production in Canada.”
Other judges for the competition include Chuck Magro, CEO of Nutrien; Mark Thompson, chief corporate development and strategy at Nutrien; Neil Gutterson, CTO of Corteva; Claudia Roessler, director of agriculture at Microsoft; and Steve Hansen, managing director of Raymond James.
“Canada’s GDP generated from agriculture and agri-food is more than the national GDP of two-thirds of the world’s countries at more than $110 billion each year. There is boundless potential in this region in ag and food,” said Haney. “We are thrilled to have partnered with one of the largest ag companies in the world to provide this opportunity to Canadian entrepreneurs. The Radicle Challenge concept has been incredibly successful because it not only provides much-needed capital for entrepreneurs, but also brings a partner to the table with deep ag expertise.”
The competition takes place from October 1 to October 2, with the winner being announced on day two. A shortlist of finalists is set to be announced this week.
Photo via Unsplash.
In the last week, three Canadian startups have added new members to their teams. Here’s a breakdown of who is joining, and what they bring to the table.
RenoRun Names Christian Lavoie VP Engineering
RenoRun, a Montreal-based construction material delivery service, has named Christian Lavoie as the company’s new vice president of engineering.
“I’m looking forward to helping RenoRun meet such a critical need in the construction industry.”
– Christian Lavoie
In his new role, Lavoie will work with RenoRun’s executives to define the industry pioneer’s engineering protocols, strategies and implementation. Lavoie’s previous experience includes technology and engineering consulting for startup companies, six years working in Silicon Valley as a senior tech lead for Google’s ads database, and a stint co-founding his own tech startup in Montreal.
“RenoRun is a fast-growing company, and I’m delighted to be joining such a talented and passionate team at an early stage,” Lavoie said. “Once I saw the team’s market approach, their philosophy, and the caliber of people I’d be working with, there was no hesitation. I’m looking forward to helping RenoRun meet such a critical need in the construction industry, as its success so far has demonstrated.”
RenoRun launched in Montréal in 2017 and quickly expanded to Toronto. The company raised a $3 million seed round in February, and announced at the time that it planned to expand to the United States. RenoRun claims deliveries of construction materials take less than two hours.
“Christian brings a lot to our team in regards to his experience in technology management, and we feel certain our engineering department will flourish under his guidance,” said Eamonn O’Rourke, CEO and founder of RenoRun. “His accomplishments in startup consulting will help shape our entire engineering strategy moving forward. Our executive team is made up of highly qualified, capable individuals, and we feel ready to take RenoRun into its next season of growth together.”
Universal mCloud hires three execs, appoints one board member
Vancouver-based Universal mCloud Corp, which provides asset management solutions combining IoT, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and analytics, has recently hired three new executives to its team, and has added a new member to its board of directors.
“Mr. Russell brings extensive experience in the global capital markets that will accelerate the company’s expansion.”
– Michael A. Sicuro
The company hired Jim Christian as vice president of emerging solutions and Patrick Kelly as director of solutions business development. mCloud also promoted Jason Brown to president of smart process industries. Ian Russell, CEO of the Investment Industry Association of Canada, has joined the company’s board of directors. Russell will serve on all of mCloud’s independent committees and will actively work to prepare mCloud for listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
“We are privileged to have Mr. Russell join mCloud’s board of directors,” said Michael A. Sicuro, mCloud’s non-executive chair. “As one of Canada’s most prominent figures in the investment industry, Mr. Russell brings extensive experience in the global capital markets that will accelerate the company’s expansion into new geographies and propel organic growth across all lines of business.”
Christian has previously held positions with Exxon, Honeywell, and Siemens. He has three decades of experience in applying emerging technologies to the oil and gas, refining, and petrochemical industries. Kelly is also a former Honeywell executive, and he will be responsible for driving new revenues for mCloud, pertaining to smart process solutions. Brown will be responsible for scaling mCloud’s reach to new oil and gas centres globally.
Finaeo taps Steve Henry as CTO
Toronto-based Finaeo has hired Steve Henry as chief technologyy officer. Henry, formerly CTO of ScribbleLive, will scale the company’s carrier integrations and drive the startup’s marketplace expansion.
RELATED: Finaeo raises $5.35 million CAD to help create ‘the Amazon of the insurance industry’
“Steve has a unique blend of technology, go-to-market and executive experience to help take Finaeo to the next level,” said Aly Dhalla, CEO and co-founder of Finaeo. “In addition, Steve is fundamentally dedicated to helping grow talent, which is a core tenant of our philosophy. We couldn’t be more excited to have Steve’s leadership and expertise on our team to help bring our vision to life.”
Finaeo, was founded in 2016 by Dhalla, as well as Donald Chu, now CCO. The company launched the beta of its digital assistant platform in early 2017, looking to provide insurance advisors with an AI-enabled digital assistant and sales coach informing advisors of upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Now, it has a front-end software platform for insurance advisors that helps with repetitive tasks, such as auto-filling applications. It also offers real-time application submission, adjudication, and application status of insurance claims.
Image courtesy Unsplash
Recently, the federal government announced two new investments, one for an Ontario-based startup, and the other for a number of organizations and institutions nationwide. Here’s the latest on government funding.
Eleven organizations receive $6.4 million from Accessible Technology Program
Twelve new projects from across Canada will receive funding through the Accessible Technology Program, totalling about $6.4 million. This is in addition to the three projects funded under the program that were announced earlier this year.
“We are setting the bar higher and leading the way on increasing accessibility and our awareness of its importance.”
With these investments, recipient organizations will offer support for the development of assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies to make it easier for Canadians with disabilities to participate in the digital economy. The funding comes from the federal government’s $22.3 million Accessible Technology Program. In total, 15 projects from across Canada, including the 12 projects announced today, have received investments from the program.
“As we work to build an innovation nation, one that is inclusive and works for everyone, our focus is squarely on our greatest asset: our people,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “The Accessible Technology Program is helping to empower Canadians with disabilities. By working with great organizations across the country, we are setting the bar higher and leading the way on increasing accessibility and our awareness of its importance.”
The recipients are:
Assistyv Inc.: $21,000
Technologies HumanWare: $1 million
Reality Controls Inc.: $47,000
Ryerson University: $331,000
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital: $698,000
Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières: $635,000
Issist Assistive Technologies: $998,000
OCAD University: $1.68 million
Speech Mobility Inc.: $503,000
University of Ottawa: $48,000
Tetra Society of North America: $529,000
BioConnect receives $3.9 million from FedDev Ontario
Biometric tech and software startup BioConnect is receiving a FedDev Ontario contribution of up to $3.9 million to scale its operations.
BioConnect, which provides identity management solutions for both digital applications and physical spaces, will use the investment to strengthen its product portfolio, commercialize new technology, and increase its labour force to expand into new markets.
“Virtually every aspect of our modern lives depends on information technology,” said Bains. “The Government of Canada is supporting Canada’s cybersecurity firms, like BioConnect, in the development and commercialization of their innovative technology to compete in new markets, while providing new solutions to safeguard digital security and privacy. We continue to invest in innovative, forward-thinking companies to ensure Canada remains at the forefront of advanced information technology, creating good jobs and keeping our economy globally competitive.”
Element AI has closed a much-anticipated venture round, raising a $200 million CAD ($151.4 million USD) Series B from the Government of Quebec, pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), and McKinsey & Company, among others.
The $200 million in funding is one of the largest venture capital rounds in Canadian history, and follows a record-breaking year for Canadian tech.
New investors included CDPQ, a long-term institutional investor, McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm and owner of advanced analytics company QuantumBlack, and Gouvernement du Québec. Existing investors from this round include DCVC (Data Collective), Hanwha Asset Management, BDC Capital, Real Ventures, among many others, the startup said, bringing the total amount raised so far to $340 million CAD ($257 million USD).
“Operationalizing AI is currently the industry’s toughest challenge, and few companies have been successful at taking proofs-of-concept out of the lab, imbedding them strategically in their operations, and delivering actual business impact,” said Element AI CEO Jean-François Gagné. “We are proud to be working with our new partners who understand this challenge well, and to leverage each other’s expertise in taking AI solutions to market.”
The $200 million in funding is one of the largest venture capital rounds in Canadian history, and follows a record-breaking year, which saw Burnaby, BC-based legal tech startup Clio close a $330 million CAD round just last week, and Montreal’s Sonder raise $274 million CAD earlier this year.
News of Element AI’s plans to raise a Series B broke more than a year ago, with BNN Bloomberg reporting that the Montreal-based AI startup was looking to raise $250 million USD. Sources indicated to BNN that the sum would give Element AI a valuation of $1 billion.
It was reported by The Globe and Mail, in August, that the Quebec government, through Investissement Québec as well as CDPQ, contributed a collective $100 million USD to the round. Quebec’s Economy and Innovation Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon told the Globe at the time that Investissement Québec put up $25 million USD, with CDPQ contributing up to $75 million USD, giving it the right to appoint a director to Element AI’s board.
It has been a breakthrough year for Element AI, with the company announcing its first customers and launching its first products since it was founded by Gagné and one of the godfathers of deep learning Yoshua Bengio in 2016. Following its launch, Element AI became one of the world’s biggest AI startups. Despite only coming out of what Gagné has previously called the startup’s “stealth phase” in February, Element AI already has five offices globally and continues to partner with academia, businesses, and governments to advance research in AI.
RELATED: Element AI coming out of “stealth phase,” launching product with National Bank
In 2017, the startup raised a historic $137.5 million Series A funding round from a group of investors including Intel, Microsoft, National Bank of Canada, Development Bank of Canada (BDC), NVIDIA, and Real Ventures. At the time the startup announced plans to hire 250 people globally by January 2018, as well as 100 people for its Toronto office. At its height Element AI had more than 500 employees, including 100 PhDs. The company’s headcount currently sits at around 450 employees globally.
In December 2018, Element AI received a $5 million loan from the federal government through the Quebec Economic Development Program.
Element AI has positioned itself as a global leader in AI, helping to further Quebec’s sector and working with the federal government and global organizations to promote ethical AI policies on an international stage. The startup helped bring about the Toronto Declaration in May 2018, which helped set international standards for ethical AI. Gagné also sits on the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, which supports the implementation of the European Strategy on Artificial Intelligence.
However, despite early fanfare, Element AI has faced difficulties getting products to market. According to The Globe, the startup has faced high operational costs, setbacks on the development of two of its flagship products, causing it to lay off staff, and minimal revenue.
The $200 million raise also comes amidst news that CEO Gagné may be planning to leave the company, despite sources indicating to BetaKit that this was not true. The Logic recently reported that his decision caused delays in finalizing the deal because of complications around the negotiation of Gagné’s compensation package. It was also reported that Anne Martel, fellow co-founder and Element AI’s SVP of operations, as well as Gagné’s spouse, is also expected to leave the company. Element AI told BetaKit it does “do not comment on rumours.”
“With this transaction, we are investing capital and expertise alongside partners who are ideally suited to transform Element AI into a company with a commercial focus that anticipates and creates AI products to address clients’ needs,” said Charles Émond, executive vice president and head of Québec investments and global strategic planning at la Caisse. “This transaction is part of the CDPQ-AI Fund recently created by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to accelerate the commercialization of artificial intelligence solutions. “Through this fund, la Caisse wants to actively contribute to build and strengthen Québec’s global presence in artificial intelligence.
With files from Meagan Simpson
Image courtesy Element AI
The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) has launched Amii Innovates, a program aimed to guides teams and businesses in AI adoption.
Amii Innovates is one of four program areas within Amii, and works closely with Alberta-based businesses to grow their internal AI capabilities. The organization’s Innovation Affiliates were selected based on their readiness for machine intelligence adoption and potential for commercial success. Amii said it has worked collaboratively with these 24 companies over the past year, four of which have already become alumni.
“We strongly believe that machine intelligence will be the primary driver of sustainable growth for Alberta’s economy.”
“We’re proud to work with organizations that understand the transformative potential of machine intelligence across every sector, and who are working to innovate within their industries,” said John Shillington, president and CEO of Amii. “We strongly believe that machine intelligence will be the primary driver of sustainable growth for Alberta’s economy, and that this program will help bring our province’s bright future into focus.”
Amii Innovates comprises four core offerings: a machine intelligence roadmap, project validation, advisory and mentorship, and research support. The roadmap is a two-day session allowing teams to collectively to identify processes that are ideal machine learning opportunities. Project validation offers the chance for companies to work with machine learning scientists and advisors to refine a company’s business problem statement.
Through Amii’s advisory and mentorship services allow companies to consult with machine learning scientists for guidance and oversight, which involves regular check-ins with technical staff and strategy formulation. Finally, Amii Innovate’s research support offering enables companies to use its Machine Learning Process Lifecycle, to ensure research on a business problem drives toward a clear objective.
RELATED: Alberta tech sector holds its breath as province pauses innovation programs
Amii will bring together Innovation Affiliates and members of business and technology communities for Amii Innovates launch events in Edmonton and Calgary. These events aim to showcase the first cohort of Innovation Affiliates, feature other Amii partner businesses, and officially unveil the Amii Innovates program offerings.
“In keeping with the high standard of providing leading edge trading software, our company is pleased to have partnered with Amii to work towards expanding our internal AI capacity,” said Tim Gunn, president of Net Energy Exchange. “Working with Amii has substantially expanded our company’s knowledge in the area of Machine Learning. This knowledge has enabled our company to begin hiring and training our own AI support team, paving our way into the future.”
Founded in 2002 as the Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Machine Learning, Amii is one of Canada’s three AI centres of excellence established through the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy. Over 200 technologies have been created since the organization’s inception, including algorithms, architectures, theories, methodologies, approaches and applications)
The first cohort of Innovation Affiliates includes:
Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (alumnus)
The Climate Corporation (alumnus)
Dot Technology Corp.
Imperial Oil Limited
Mikata Health Inc.
Net Energy Exchange (NE2)
Shell Scotford Refinery (alumnus)
Willowglen Systems Inc.
Image courtesy Unsplash
Vancouver-based FinTech startup WealthBar is partnering with Assante Wealth Management a new online investing platform for Assante’s clients.
“Canadians will benefit immensely from not only the investment expertise, but from knowing that their trusted advisor is always available.”
The new platform, called Assante Connect, will be built with WealthBar’s robo-advisor technology to pair portfolio managers with digital advice services. WealthBar provides low-cost investing options through diversified portfolios, financial planning tools, and an online investor dashboard. Assante Wealth Management said this partnership will widen the scope of its advice offering through using WealthBar’s technology.
“What makes Assante Connect distinct is the combination of leading-edge technology and award-winning portfolio management at a competitive price,” said Chris Nicola, president and chief technology officer of WealthBar. “Canadians will benefit immensely from not only the investment expertise, but from knowing that their trusted advisor is always available.”
Assante’s platform offers users diversified portfolios, access to portfolio managers, daily portfolio monitoring, and 24/7 access to investments. Assante Connect’s model portfolios will be constructed using actively managed exchange traded funds issued by First Asset Investment Management Inc. Users will not be charged commission or fees on any trades that occur within a user’s portfolio. The platform does require a 0.4 percent investment management fee.
WealthBar was founded by Tea and Chris Nicola in 2014, offering a suite of investment services that combine technology with human advisors. The startup said its hybrid model provides the opportunity for engagement between clients and advisors and a more personalized investment experience.
The startup raised $5.5 million in 2016, led by Nicola Wealth Management, and in February 2018, launched a robo-advising solution for independent financial advisors. The newest platform will be availably exclusively to Assante’s clients.
RELATED: What Wealthbar’s Tea Nicola learned from the company’s first 1,000 customers
“Assante Connect will broaden the reach of our advice by leveraging technology and an appealing and accessible digital experience combined with advice from experienced financial professionals,” said Sean Etherington, president of Assante. “What we’ve heard from clients is that over time their needs and the level of support they desire changes. This platform provides Assante advisors with the flexibility to stay connected with these clients and adapt to their evolving goals and complexity.”
Earlier this year, WealthBar was acquired by CI Financial, which offers global asset management and wealth management advisory services, through which WealthBar continued to operate as a stand-alone business. Assante supports 850 advisors, who oversee approximately $45 billion in assets for 300,000 clients in Canada.
“Pairing online investing with wealth management advice is essentially a new segment in Canadian financial services and CI Financial is uniquely positioned to lead this space with our state-of-the-art digital platform and leading advisory firm in Assante,” said Kurt MacAlpine, CEO of CI Financial. “Assante Connect combines two of our wealth management businesses, enabling clients to access the expertise and services they need in the way that is most convenient for them, while supporting advisors in serving a broader range of clients more effectively.”
Image courtesy WealthBar
Every day, Canada’s tech startups post their latest and greatest job opportunities on Jobs.BetaKit, powered by Jobbio. From early-stage to Series B and beyond, Jobs.BetaKit helps startups from all over the country hire Canada’s top tech talent.
Each week, BetaKit will highlight a selection of the job roles posted to Jobs.BetaKit. If you’re a candidate looking for a position at a tech Canadian startup, survey the selection below or view all the posted positions here. For companies in need of top candidates, scroll to the bottom of this post to learn how to get your roles posted to Jobs.BetaKit!
Jobs of the Week (September 13, 2019):
Loopio – Event Marketing Manager
The company is looking for a creative, enthusiastic, and highly-organized event marketing manager to lead their marketing events strategy and execution. In this role, you’ll have a unique opportunity to bring your passion for events to life and create remarkable brand experiences that will help to create a long-lasting impression of Loopio’s brand.
LMN – Full Stack Developer
HiMama – VP of Sales
The company is currently looking for a Vice President of Sales to join their high-growth technology company based in downtown Toronto as they look to increase the scope of their social impact on families, early childhood educators, and the children they love and serve. Ideal candidates will enjoy leading high performance teams where team members challenge each other at all levels to be better and do better.
SHIFT – Growth Manager
You’ll be joining a small but expanding Growth team, reporting to and working closely with the Head of Growth. This will be a high-output role where you will be responsible for a breadth of things including providing detailed direction to a team of Growth Analysts as the company works toward refining the nuances of their growth campaigns, designing and running data-driven experiments to test our hypothesis around new and different ways of connecting with clients, and more.
iNTERFACEWARE – Senior QA Analyst
The company is adding a Senior Quality Assurance Analyst to their Client Solutions team. They need a creative thinker who wants to push the boundaries of QA; someone innately curious and deeply perceptive. This is not just a newly created opportunity but, a new approach to embedding the quality assurance function into our product feedback workflow including diving into the code to assist developers to investigate defect causes. It’s a chance to exercise your curiosity, apply your analytical mindset and build out a unique QA testing approach.
Statflo – Scrum Master
As ScrumMaster, you’ll be responsible for facilitating the product development process for multiple teams building the SaaS platform. You will be keeping the various stakeholders accountable to their roles in the Agile process: making sure that backlogs are maintained, groomed and prioritized and helping the team deliver on their commitments by removing impediments and tracking down clarifications. You will be communicating with multiple stakeholders both internal (product owners, developers, executives) and external (customers, partners), shepherding everyone towards iterative features being delivered and deployed in a predictable manner.
KUBRA – Product Manager
KUBRA HQ is looking for a few talented Product Managers to oversee all aspects of the company’s iMail, EZ-PAY or iDoxs product. This oversight includes using industry expertise to create plans for future development, coordinate ongoing development activities, support delivery team resources working to implement the product, collaborate with sales and marketing and work with executive management and other product managers to help realize the overall company vision.
Array – Director, Finance Planning and Analysis
As the company transforms and builds out their financial organization, they need a strategist and an executor who can take ownership for leading the day-to-day activities. This is an exciting opportunity for someone who has 1-2 years of investment banking and wants to transfer to a private company; someone who wants to be right-hand to the VP Finance, working closely with private equity members while planning, forecasting and budgeting.
Motion – Regional Manager
This is a team calling out for leadership, support, and guidance. You will assess the need for additional resources across all groups and manage the recruitment process from end-to-end. You will hold daily, weekly, and monthly meetings to ensure a high level of transparency and clear communication. You will collaborate with our experienced sales team to make sure Motion is the top mobility equipment provider in BC. You will offer insights, guidance, and motivation; supporting sales efforts, setting targets and empowering the team to exceed expectations. You will step in to build relationships within the community to support the region’s growth.
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