Author: BetaKit raises $2 million for AI-powered shopping assistant

Montreal-based Heyday, a digital shopping assistant and live chat solution, has announced the close of a $2 million oversubscribed seed round led by Innovobot. The financing round also includes investments from Desjardins Capital and several strategic investors with deep marketing and retail expertise.

“We’re on a mission to give AI superpowers to CX teams, so they can deliver an unparalleled level of service at scale.”
-Etienne Mérineau

Founded in 2017, Heyday’s platform combines conversational AI and automation with sales and support teams. It has e-commerce and customer relationship management integrations with Shopify, Lightspeed, and Magento. Client brands include Ford, Lincoln, Decathlon, and food product company Danone. Etienne Mérineau, co-founder and CMO of Heyday told BetaKit the company was bootstrapped by its first 20 employees. The company’s headcount currently sits at 20 full-time team members, and five part-time freelancers.

Heyday said this round will help further ..

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Tease Tea opening doors for underrepresented entrepreneurs with new fund

Applications are currently open for a new fund, created by Toronto-based online tea boutique, Tease Tea. The company’s new four-month digital incubator aims to give women-identifying and non-binary entrepreneurs access to funding, mentorship, and resources to accelerate their business.

“I am excited and privileged to be able to give back and provide women-identifying entrepreneurs with access to funding, mentorship and community.”

Created by Tease Tea CEO, Sheena Brady, the Tease Tea Founders Fund is a non-repayable, non-equity investment of up to $20,000 CAD.

The fund is designed to offer participants’ the fundamental aspects of mentorship and feedback, and tackle some of the barriers women-identifying and non-binary entrepreneurs face.

“This has been in my heart and mind for a while now to give back and give opportunities to budding entrepreneurs who are struggling to access support networks,” said Brady. “I am excited and privileged to be able to give back and provide women-ide..

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3 things I wish I’d known before scaling tech companies

It’s no secret that Canada has a scale-up problem. Often, we cite finite resources—talent, money, expertise—as the major barriers to scaling our tech companies at the same rate as our neighbours.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve been the co-founder of two SaaS businesses, and a senior leader at two rapidly scaling companies, including Hootsuite. Now I’m a Managing Director at PwC.

I’ve learned that it’s often the little details and impossible-to-predict moments that are the hardest to navigate. It’s the due diligence emails that need a reply by 8:00 am but require more detailed attention and work than there’s time for. It’s the minutiae of structuring shareholder agreements that retain your top performers. And it’s the unexpected surprises and challenges that arise when expanding into new markets.

Unfortunately, many first time founders—myself included—don’t know where to look for help. Here are some insights I wish I’d known and lessons I’ve learned along the way.

1. Be measured and ..

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True North 2019 announces speakers and ‘Bridges, Not Walls’ theme

For its second iteration, Communitech’s annual True North conference has announced its theme will be ‘Bridges, Not Walls’ in order to examine our interconnected roles as citizens, neighbours, tech creators, and users.

The conference aims to look at the ways technology can be used to impact digital democracy, create new medical technologies, and connect global citizens. The program will include a smart city plan that puts people ahead of tech, the ongoing fight against killer robots, the rise of social enterprise, and ideas for strengthening democracy with tech.

The speakers True North’s for Bridges, Not Walls themed event includes:

Kara Swisher, editor-at-large of Recode: Swisher is also the host of the Recode Decode podcast and executive producer of the Code Conference. A well-known Silicon Valley journalist, Swisher shines a light on the Web’s major players and the Internet policy issues that both unite and divide us.
Tobi Lütke, founder and CEO of Shopify: Lütke has changed the w..

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