Waterloo Tech Highlights for October 2022

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.

A good amount of “non-news” this month and not as much substance as normal for October for some reason.

Auvik acquired Saasilo and Boardgent. Because working on one acquisition isn’t enough.

Miovision acquired Rapid Flow Technologies to round out their Tech stack. Based in Pittsburgh, it goes against the flow of American firms buying our Canadian startups.

eleven-x won parking contracts with the City of Guelph and the County of Arlington, Virginia, the VA one is 3x their previous largest deal ever.

NERV is now FluidAI Medical. They didn’t get acquired – just changed their name.

KA Imaging appeared on Meet the Drapers, hosted by famous investor Tim Draper. Still unsure how they did although word is they made it to the finals…

Voltera launched Nova, an electronic printer that works with flexible materials.

Chris’ Thoughts

The Trouble With Single Sourcing

Geopolitical food and energy insecurity, floods and heat waves, currency spikes and COVID have all conspired to cause high profile supply chain disruptions, that will shape our world for the coming decade. Through this there’s a chance to revisit one of the first lessons our parents learned in business that we’ve forgotten - it’s high risk to have a dependency of more than 20% on any one customer or supplier.

We’ve become masters of single sourcing without recognizing the fragility of the tower we have built. Take Ukraine - responsible for only 5% of the world’s wheat, the World Food Program depends on Ukraine for 40% of its supply. Disproportionate impacts of systems that go asymptotic at limits we didn’t forsee.

This pattern also impacts other industries. America is racing to de-leverage reliance on China, especially for microchips in a move that will cost $50-100B and contribute to inflation for a decade at least.

I wonder if ISO will develop a standard for supply chain redundancy. If securities regulators were even remotely forward-looking, they’d require robust supply-chain disclosure in public company filings. We recently chose our new furnace based on country of origin and likelihood of getting replacement parts – something that would never have crossed our minds a couple years ago. I suspect the coming decade will uncover how much consumers and companies will pay for security of supply in various markets like food, computer chips, and other essentials.

I was recently forced to cannibalize the bike of a friend’s daughter for a brake lever that’s just not available in any stores right now. Luckily, she won’t be back from university for a while. As part of a bike warranty if they added assurance of replacement parts, I’d definitely lean towards that brand.

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Chris Wormald @cwormald