BetaKit – S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Inside Janet Bannister’s new fund for B2B software startups

S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Inside Janet Bannister’s new fund for B2B software startups
2023-04-14Plus: Salesforce is culling management layers.

The post S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Inside Janet Bannister’s new fund for B2B software startups first appeared on BetaKit.
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The SaaS Weekly is a weekly newsletter covering major SaaS news from Canada and around the globe.

Subscribe to S|W using the form at the bottom of this page to ensure you don’t miss out on the most important SaaS news every week!


Janet Bannister launches Staircase Ventures with $22 million first close (BETAKIT)

Bannister launched Staircase just six months after stepping back from the managing partner role at Real Ventures and wants to raise $30 million for the fund overall.

Bannister is the sole managing partner of Staircase, which will invest in the same types of companies as Real Ventures: Canadian B2B software startups at the seed stage. She is taking a unique approach with Staircase by giving portfolio founders a portion of fund profits.


SoftBank invests another $100 million in cyber unicorn Cybereason, replaces CEO (CTECH)

SoftBank Corp. is investing another $100 million in Cybereason. The new investment will make the Japanese conglomerate Cybereason’s leading shareholder.

In addition, Cybereason announced that Eric Gan will serve as the company’s new CEO, replacing current CEO and Co-Founder Lior Div, who will transition to the role of advisor.


One year in, competition in Ontario’s iGaming market remains red hot (BETAKIT)

As one of North America’s largest markets by adult population, Ontario was initially pegged to generate approximately $570 million in iGaming revenue in 2022; the results were almost three times higher.

As the iGaming market heads into its second year in the province, companies are doubling down on unique growth strategies to gain an edge.


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Quantexa raises $129M at a $1.8B valuation to help navigate online fraud and customer data management (TECHCRUNCH)

London-based Quantexa — one of the big startups providing AI and other tools to major banks and others in financial services, governments and other major organizations to tackle online fraud — is announcing $129 million in funding, a round that underscores how services like these are being viewed in the market today, and Quantexa’s specific traction within it.


VCCI-backed Kensington Capital Partners secures $158 million first close for third venture fund (BETAKIT)

Now over halfway towards its $290 million target, Kensington is the first of four fund managers selected by the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative to announce it has closed its financing.

With its first close, Kensington Venture Fund III (KVFIII) surpassed the $150 million size of Kensington’s last venture fund. KVFIII will serve primarily as a fund-of-funds, backing Canadian venture capital funds, with a quarter of its capital reserved for direct investments in tech startups.


Meet the Canadian startups participating in Y Combinator’s Winter 2023 Demo Day (BETAKIT)

Around six Canadian-related startups are participating in Y Combinator’s Winter 2023 cohort, with just half of those actually based in Canada.

One of those participants is Vancouver-based IcePanel, which provides a collaborative diagramming tool that helps software engineering and product teams create a map of their software systems, meant to give them full context about how they work.


Salesforce is culling management layers, making some managers individual contributors (BUSINESS INSIDER)

Salesforce is undergoing a major flattening this week as the company eliminates some layers of management in response to pressure from activist investors to become more efficient.

One of the goals is to reduce the “spans” and “layers of control” across Salesforce by giving managers a certain number of direct reports. This is designed to cut the number of management layers from the CEO down.


High performance computing platform Agnostiq closes $6.1 million seed extension round (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based Agnostiq closed a $8.22 million CAD ($6.1 million USD) seed extension funding round to accelerate the development of its high performance computing (HPC) platform, Covalent.

Covalent is designed to unify access to cloud and on-premise HPC resources, allowing enterprises to integrate new computing paradigms into their stack, including quantum computers and other specialized hardware.


What happened when Uber’s CEO started driving for Uber
(THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

Dara Khosrowshahi and other executives realized drivers’ complaints were valid. They revamped the app, helping Uber attract workers and extend its lead on Lyft. Driver pay remains a sticking point.


How startups can access an untapped pool of talent in Canada (BETAKIT)

Pablo Listingart, Executive Director of tech skills school ComIT, explains what founders need to be aware of when hiring rural employees.


Substack’s crowdfunding complication (AXIOS)

When newsletter platform Substack last month launched a crowdfunding campaign, its writers and fans responded with more than $7.5 million in demand at a $585 million pre-money valuation.

What none of those new investors knew, however, were Substack’s recent financials. They still don’t. And won’t.


How Chess.com became ‘the wild west of the streaming world’
(THE INFORMATION)

When Michael Brancato began working with Chess.com in late 2017, it wasn’t particularly popular. A product manager at Twitch, Brancato was tapped to spearhead a two-year partnership between the chess site and the video streaming giant, hoping to grow the 1,500-year-old game’s reputation as a legitimate e-sport. He had his work cut out for him.


Fidu places third at American Bar Association pitch competition (BETAKIT)

Saskatoon-based Fidu placed third place at a pitch competition held by the American Bar Association (ABA) for legaltech startups, placing highest amongst five other Canadian startups that were finalists.

Fidu created a platform that is designed to eliminate the need for billable hours by helping firms provide legal services on a subscription basis. It helps firms provide monthly and yearly services to clients, which it claims to be “more sustainable and scalable” than hourly rates.


The post S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Inside Janet Bannister’s new fund for B2B software startups first appeared on BetaKit.


S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Inside Janet Bannister’s new fund for B2B software startups

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