Waterloo Tech Highlights for November 2023

Our goal is to provide you with a monthly primer on significant news events from private Waterloo-based technology companies in 5 minutes or less.

Cavelo raised $5M in a round led by Inovia Capital and included existing investor Graphite Ventures.  The company has grown ARR by over 270% in the past year and added channel sales to account for half their revenue.


Monogram announced a premium mechanical keyboard that looks really cool.  It’s on Kickstarter until December 15 for those who didn’t get their shopping done last weekend.


eleven-x launched eXactnav proving real time navigation for drivers to open parking spaces.


Smile processed over 2.4M orders on Black Friday, an increase from last year but noted that the overall volume was much more spread out during the week before.  Apparently Cyber Monday was dead.


RouteThis launched a white label version of their solution with ADT called ADT Wifi Fix.


RideCo placed fourth on the Deloitte Fast 50 rankings released this month. VueReal made the Companies To Watch list.


Chris’ Thoughts

Here’s a story of hope.

On a Friday afternoon in late October 2008, it became obvious RIM needed an App Store to combat the one Apple launched. 

The decision came to a head in the space of about 90 minutes in a meeting with Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis and about five others including myself.

We had a couple options:  a) we could build our own store and with luck launch for Christmas 14 months from now or b) we could acquire a company with greater risk and with luck have something ready in just under a year.

Of course, this timetable was already crunched against dozens of other commitments and would probably have slipped either way.

One of Mike or Jim seized the initiative and began with the outcome – we had to launch a store next quarter, in Q1, 2009.  And in an ultimate “burn the ships” move we would put out a press release on Monday to announce it to the world.  We had no idea how we would accomplish it.

It was a wild five months but in the end we got there because:

1)   We committed publicly that it would launch.

2)   Mike and Jim expressed belief in us and tied their own reputations to our achievement.  They believed for us when we didn’t and committed to bring the resources to make it happen.

This wasn’t an isolated incident of leadership.  Jim and Mike, like many great leaders share an ability to eat ambiguity, stress and distraction, instead instilling effective confidence that it’s going to be ok and we can fight giants.  Not in a hand-waving grandmotherly gesture but in a real “I’ve got your back” way.

So, two suggestions for myself that you’re welcome to adopt as we reset and restart over Christmas:

A) Be Hope for somebody in a real “I’ve got your back” way.  I’m not talking about “You can do it champ!” but be Hope that reduces stress or ambiguity or obstacles, for somebody in your life, real or perceived.

B) Think about people who have invested enough to instill hope in you and thank them.  We could all use a bit more encouragement this time of year.

Thanks for reading and Happy December!


Waterloo Tech Highlights is a communication initiative run by a group of experienced investors and strategists who would like to receive and share real news about the vibrant Waterloo, Ontario tech community.

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Chris Wormald @cwormald