Waterloo Tech Highlights for January 2021

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.

Clearpath Robotics raised US$5M of convertible debt from BDC, giving them a total raise in the past year of US$43M. They also released a case study video of the largest autonomous mobile robot deployment in manufacturing.

AceAge raised $5M from Longliv Ventures and Bloom Burton Investment Group.

Kenota Health raised US$9M of funding led by Draper Associates with Y Combinator, BoxOne Ventures and others also participating.

TruLocal is a little less local. They've been acquired by Emerge for $16.8M after generating $19.8M of revenue in 2020.

Athena Software has been acquired by Social Solutions.

Bridgit experienced 2.5x revenue growth and a 6x increase in users in 2020.

Plum closed a $650k deal with Sitel Group to deploy to 5000 employees. They're also helping Onyx Initiative to help enterprises hire more Black University and College students in Canada.

Mappedin announced an integration and distribution partnership with ServiceNow. They launched 101 new venues despite stiff pandemic headwinds.

Auvik released their Network Field Report, showing that the majority of the "professionals" employed to run a network don't really know what's going on. They have over 46,000 networks under management.

Miovision's platform aspirations took a step towards reality. First example of a third party using their APIs to create a vaccine distribution dashboard.

Intellijoint hired David Simpson to run Commercial Operations and drive (more) growth.

KA Imaging hired a VP Sales and VP Operations. They also produced a cool infographic showing how much radiation we get exposed to in various activities.

Local Line launched their own POS feature with Square, giving them both online and in-person sales capabilities.

SSIMWAVE won an Emmy award. They also announced a partnership with Firstlight Media to improve monitoring and management of video streams.

Vena Medical got a paper published in the American Journal of NeuroRadiology. [Paywall but the Abstract makes great bedtime reading for your kids.]

Acerta announced an expansion of their global distribution deal with Global Alliance Automotive.

Avidbots announced a distribution deal with SUNGJU in South Korea. They also noted a number of commercial wins including Champagne Center and London Health Sciences Center

Darwin AI's COVID-NET continues to grow and see increased use and accuracy. Impressive credibility for this young team.


Chris’ Thoughts

Your Greatest Day

What was your best day ever? If you want to brighten somebody up, ask them about their greatest day. It's a guaranteed winner and you'll learn a lot about them in the process. Our family spent a night at dinner debating and the conversation tuned into an awesome and fun debate.

Rapid Response and Competitive Advantage

Business strategists spend lots of time talking about moats, channel strength, supply chains and financial resources. But what about the ability to respond more rapidly than your competitors or the rest of your value chain when threats or opportunities emerge? With Gamestop trading blowing up hedge funds, we're witnessing what happens when a fleet-of-foot usurper comes up against groups with more power, information, money and authority. It's not unlike the hordes of e-commerce companies unleashed by Shopify to decimate traditional retailers. The ability to mobilize resources quickly and effectively might become the most important strategic weapon a business can employ - especially if you're a leader who can achieve startup dexterity without giving all your employees whiplash or burning them out in the process. Shopify could have tried to build a better Amazon and probably would have blown up, but instead they wrote an Operating System and enabled a tidal wave. Contrast that with an example of the opposite situation: despite having nine months to prepare governments around the world have shown themselves largely unable to execute on a plan to distribute a COVID vaccine, blaming and distracting instead of executing. CEOs are constantly faced with forces from boards and committees who want to slow down, say no, remove risk and maximize certainty, but at what expense? Companies who can build a system that creates more flexibility to enable rapid and effective resource allocation will certainly run ahead of their competitors in the next decade.


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