Waterloo Tech Highlights for May 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. 

Summatti has been acquired by PartnerHero, a Boise-based firm.


Skywatch won a $1.1M deal from the Canadian Space Agency for AI & Big Data for Advanced Autonomous Space Systems.


Intelllijoint customer Accelus sold their REMI Navigation system, powered by Intellijoint’s core technology for US$55M.


Palitronica has joined forces with 4 other companies, including Raytheon and L3Harris to form Team Northern Sentry for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of Canada’s CF-18 places.


KA Imaging continues to sign distributors adding at least six in the past couple months, many focsed on the non-destructive testing market.


FluidAI has signed a distribution deal with CHS, to distribute their Stream product in Canada.


Vena Medical got their third patent granted.


Scispot launched GLUE, a data extraction and preparation tool for life science companies.


Clearpath Robotics launched the Husky Observer, an all-terrain robot designed for field inspections.

Chris’ Thoughts

Much ado has been made about the BlackBerry movie.  Many former RIM employees have taken time to either meticulously point out inaccuracies from Sean McCabe’s analysis to Matt Wandel’s video or articulate how it’s tone misses the mark (Dennis Kavelman’s article).  These are great reads.


My problem with the movie is that it’s not a story that gives you anybody to cheer for something that’s an essential element of any good story and frankly an important part of RIM’s story.  In the movie Jim is a criminal sociopath, Mike is a temperamental weak-willed, poorly dressed guy who gets bulldozed by everybody and Doug Fregin is party-all-the-time who prioritizes fun over all work.  No audience member cheers for these characters to win as they they succumb to their shortcomings instead of growing.  How does that make a good story?  Especially when it could have been a story of an improbable duo who made themselves and everybody around them better, changing the way we communicate forever through equal parts vision, force of will and luck.


RIM’s presence in Canada and in Waterloo has left us all better off.  Waterloo Region is materially better today because of RIM than it would be otherwise.  The suggestion that we should have some amount of shame for associating with the company or these people is crazy.  Waterloo region has massively benefited from RIM’s rise and the knock-on effects in terms of skill concentration, startup activity and reinvested wealth into the tech ecosystem to say nothing of the philanthropic institutions like Perimeter and CIGI that continue to attract the world’s best and brightest.


The mood of the public has swung from tech-founders as heroic visionaries to Jeff Bezos-is-a-villain and the source of all our problems.  We’re hungry for blame and this movie feeds us cotton candy instead of a meal.  The popular press depiction of Zuckerberg, Gates, Musk, Thiel and others has turned markedly dark in the past couple years.  For sure there are people like Gates who might have a secret life that is worthy of contempt, but ultimately America moves forward because of great visionaries and risk takers and places like Europe remain stuck without a culture that inspires great risks and rewards.  You can’t have one without the other.

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