News Pick – Toronto appoints Chief Transformation Officer to help the city become a more innovative public service – Betakit

Toronto

May 15, 2017 – “The search is finally over; Toronto has found its Chief Transformation Officer (CTO). Michael Kolm will be Toronto’s first-ever CTO and will report directly to city manager Peter Wallace. Kolm is set to begin on May 29th, 2017. Kolm will be responsible for setting “the overall strategic direction for the Transformation Office by establishing the vision, goals, objectives, and priorities of transformation initiatives that align with the City’s strategic directions, Council priorities, and the Long-Term Financial Plan.”” Read more at Betakit


News Pick – Prime Minister, Toronto Mayor talk tech and innovation – Techvibes

Trudeau

May 11, 2017 – “Today OneEleven, a “scale-up innovation hub,” celebrated the grand opening of their space in downtown Toronto. The occasion featured a Tech Town Hall with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and an evening reception with Toronto Mayor John Tory. The grand opening event introduced the first phase of OneEleven’s 250,000 square-foot-expansion at Front St. and Blue Jays Way in Toronto. It is the first building in the planned Oxford Properties Union Park innovation hub project. “[Our] mission is to create the conditions for Canada’s next billion-dollar tech company,” said Bilal Khan, a founder of OneEleven.” Read more at Techvibes


News Pick – As U.S. closes its doors, Canada has a chance to attract top talent – G&M

Canada

May 10, 2017 – “Silicon Valley is, and is likely to remain, the epicentre of the global tech industry. But with anti-immigration sentiment spreading across the United States – as President Donald Trump seeks to impose travel bans on citizens of other countries and to restrict the use of the H1B visas that allow foreigners to work in the United States – international talent has reason to feel unwanted. That provides an opportunity for other countries, and especially Canada, to attract the best and brightest minds. That was the sentiment at last week’s Collision conference, an annual gathering of startups and veterans in various fields within the technology industry. A number of talks at the New Orleans event focused on how the Trump administration might impact the U.S. technology industry, with titles like “The importance of immigration to Silicon Valley,” “The first 100 days: How has Trump affected tech?” and “Regulation and the new administration.”” Read more at The Globe and Mail


News Pick – Google is planning a 12-acre high-tech city in Canada – Fortune

Smart City

May 9, 2017 – “Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has applied to develop a strip of land in downtown Toronto in order to create a brand new high-tech city “from the Internet up.” The application is the latest initiative from Sidewalk Labs LLC, the company’s urban innovation unit, and is part of a vision to create a large-scale urban district modeled after a tech company. “I’m sure many of you are thinking this is a crazy idea. We don’t think it’s crazy at all. People thought it was crazy when Google decided to connect all the world’s information. People thought it was crazy to think about the concept of a self-driving car,” said Sidewalk CEO Dan Doctoroff in remarks reported by State Scoop. Prior to filing the Toronto application, Sidewalk Labs had considered Denver and Detroit as candidates for the high-tech city and has long pondered the idea of building “from the Internet up,” according to Bloomberg.” Read more at Fortune


News Pick – Private Equity seduced by Software-as-a-Service Companies

Private Equity

May 9, 2017 – “Private equity suitors are giving strategics a run for their money in the hunt for SaaS targets. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) and the cloud computing infrastructure underpinning it are attracting healthy levels of private equity interest, showing how those technologies have gone mainstream. The PE firms are drawn to “anything with SaaS that shows sustainable, recurring revenue streams — that’s just a very attractive space for private equity,” says Bill Stoffel, US Private Equity Leader at EY. Buyout shops are lured by the steady cash flows of SaaS business models, as well as their versatility. A SaaS platform can be applied across sectors, from ecommerce to energy, explain other advisors. Interest from PE – in addition to strategic buyers — is expected to continue into 2018, they note.” Read more at Forbes


News Pick – Canada wants Silicon Valley's tech employees – The Atlantic

MaRS

May 19, 2017 – “Despite talk of a business-friendly administration, the U.S. tech sector may face some pretty serious employment challenges under President Donald Trump. First, there was the immigration ban that threatened to stop immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, then the uncertainty about H-1B visas for skilled workers, and finally questions over how the Trump’s administration’s “Buy American, Hire American” strategy would affect sectors that rely on outsourced or imported talent. For foreign countries looking to build their own urban tech scenes, the situation poses a welcomed opportunity: With some of the best tech talent in the world anxious about losing their work visas in the U.S., tech hubs around the world are making a push to get skilled labor to their shores instead.” Read more at The Atlantic


News Pick – A Trump dividend for Canada? Maybe in its A.I. industry – NYT

MaRS DD

May 9, 2017 – “Amir Moravej, an Iranian computer engineer in Montreal, quietly worked last year on building software to help people navigate the Canadian immigration system. He saw it as a way for others to avoid the same immigration travails he suffered a few years earlier. Then came the American presidential election. “Trump accelerated everything,” said Mr. Moravej, 33, the chief executive of a software start-up named Botler AI. With immigration taking center stage in American politics and elsewhere, Botler AI began putting more resources into building a chatbot tailored to one of Canada’s immigration programs. On Wednesday, the start-up plans to announce that Yoshua Bengio, a research pioneer in artificial intelligence and director of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, is joining the fledgling company as a strategy adviser. Mr. Bengio is adding his intellectual firepower to ease the way for what could become a migration of high-tech talent. Canada stands to benefit from the American political climate and the Trump administration’s efforts — stalled in court so far — to sharply restrict travel into the United States from six predominantly Muslim nations. After Mr. Trump’s election, applications to Canada for student and temporary visas surged.” Read more at The New York Times


News Pick – Silicon Valley Bank sets sights on Canada – G&M

Silicon Valley Bank

May 4, 2017 – “A leading U.S. bank catering to technology companies and venture capitalists is putting down roots in Canada, hoping to be a lender of choice for the next wave of Canadian innovators. Silicon Valley Bank, based in Santa Clara, Calif., filed an application Thursday with Canada’s banking regulator for a license to open a lending branch in Toronto. Its push into Canada comes just as the federal government has unveiled an innovation-friendly budget pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into venture capital investments, clean technology firms and the flourishing artificial intelligence (AI) sector. In early 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pitched Canada as a hub for technological innovation to billionaires and global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos.” Read more at The Globe and Mail


News Pick – 2017 Tech IPOs are on a tear compared to last year – TechCrunch

Snap IPO

May 1, 2017 – “By this time last year, one tech company had gone public. Already this year, nine tech companies have gone public on U.S. exchanges. Needless to say, public exits are looking up. That comparison becomes starker when you compare SecureWorks, 2016’s first IPO, to Snap, which went public in 2017. SecureWorks priced under range, and it has since fallen nearly 38 percent from its IPO price. Snap, in contrast, priced above range and then saw its share price quickly ascend. It’s too early to compare 2017’s IPO crop closely to 2016’s. That said, we can still parse out some interesting numbers from the cadre of newly public tech companies in 2017. So, under that edict, let’s explore.” Read more at TechCrunch


News Pick – The Startups Economy is Finally Stablizing – Bloomberg Technology

Startups

April 28, 2017 – “After a prolonged retrenchment, startups in the U.S. are finally seeing better days. The Bloomberg U.S. Startups Barometer rose 0.6 percent from a year earlier, marking the first year-over-year increase since the end of 2015. Bigger funding totals and more exits buoyed the index. Snap Inc. and MuleSoft Inc. are among the companies that went public in recent weeks. Initial public offerings give investors a chance to cash out and reinvest their money into younger businesses, making them a leading indicator of the funding environment for startups. “We think there will be anywhere from 30 to 35 venture-backed IPOs this year,” said Scott Raney, a partner at Redpoint Ventures, which manages $4 billion of investments. “By all measures, it feels like it’ll be a much better year.” Read more at Bloomberg Technology