Waterloo Tech Highlights for July 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.


Profound Impact raised C$2.2M of equity to help researchers find funding partners with less friction.


Liberum Bio raised $1.8M in an investment round from TechU Ventures, SOSV and Savantus Ventures.  They aim to enable rapid synthetic protein production.


Intellijoint surpassed 50,000 surgeries performed using their technology.  They made a video featuring their early adopter surgeons.


Kenota announced an FDA submission for both a 510(k) and CLIA waiver after conducting allergy tests with their system on over 360 patients in their trials.


RideCo received multiple favourable rulings in their patent litigation with Via.  They’re due to begin a jury trial in Texas this December.  They also announced a partnership deal with Uber for overflow transit.


Vena Medical had their Canadian and (more importantly) Japanese patent issued.  They now have four patents across two families.


Axonify continues to quietly grow, signing their biggest deal ever last month.  In addition, they’ve expanded their partnership with local Grand River Hospital to enable training and certification for other hospitals as well.


Skywatch launched EarthCache Enterprise, moving the company from image acquisition to the higher value-add image management and distribution parts of the business.


KA Imaging launched a new mobile imaging system in partnership with Del Medical.

Chris’ Thoughts

Some thoughts on worthwhile books I've read recently.

The End of the World Is Just the Beginning

Take three commonly held beliefs, examine the future consequences of them coming to pass and publish.  Namely, what happens when a) China and the West stops having enough babies to replace their population, b) we begin unwinding globalization, and c) climate change really starts to take hold?

I can all but guarantee you’ll want to high-five the author at one point and punch him in the face 10 minutes later.  The book is engaging, rapid and deep.  It’s a curious counterpoint to the narrative that China is taking over the world – I don’t think I’ve heard a more articulate bear case on China.  It’s sticky material - I’ve probably referenced it more than anything I’ve read in the past 5 years.


Annie Duke writes a counter-point to Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers.  Quit explains the importance of hedging our bets and spending a non-zero amount of time looking for the next best thing.  I’d love to hear a debate between these two people and how they reconcile their beliefs.  While Outliers tells us how to build a society of outstanding achievers (who are happy because they’re the best) Quit tells us how to build a society of happy people who are emotionally balanced (whose happiness spurs them to outstanding achievements).  

I’ve always believed that quitting is the hardest skill to get right and the author does a great job outlining why it’s difficult and gives us some heuristics to think about quitting more constructively in the moment.  Useful stuff.


The House of Morgan

A deep chronicle of America's rise to power through the eyes of its biggest bank.  The period around the two World Wars make especially interesting reading, illustrating through a financial lens how the whole debacle of WW1 left everybody but America worse off setting the stage for WW2 with massive reparations payments and unfixed problems.  Germany had to pay France and England who had to repay loans to America who loaned the money to Germany to keep the wheel spinning, until it stopped.  Well researched and written, it’s full of timeless lessons.

The Everything Store

Details Jeff Bezos’ maniacal focus on customers at the expense of everything else.  Like Steve Jobs, he knows who they are and lives to delight them at the expense of literally anybody else in his ecosystem.  The story of the launch of Prime and how Amazon had no financial plan but did it anyway provides great details for those who believe that strategy is born in a spreadsheet.  Reminded me of our BlackBerry story in many respects.  You’ll probably finish with equal amounts of dislike and respect for Bezos and how he pulled it all together.  It does a great job showing the measures of luck, finesse and guts required to thrive in our winner-take-all world.

All four of these have great Audible readers and will suit a long roadtrip, making provocative conversations.

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Chris Wormald @cwormald