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Mobile dating app Clover nets $7 mln in Jackson-led deal

Toronto-based mobile on-demand dating service Clover has closed a $7 million equity and convertible debenture financing. Jackson Investment Group, a U.S. private investment firm, led the round. Launched in 2013 by Isaac Raichyk, the startup’s CEO, Clover has so far helped streamline the dating process for 4 million mobile users, most of them based in the United States and in the 18-to-34 age group. The company, which is also backed by Social Starts, plans to use the funds raised to expand its team, launch new features, and accelerate user acquisition.


Labour recruiter Hyr raises $1.6 mln in Flybridge-led round

Hyr, a Toronto- and New York-based labour marketplace for the new economy, has secured about $1.6 million (US$1.3 million) in a seed-stage financing. The round, which brings Hyr’s total funding to date to US$2.4 million, was led by Flybridge Capital Partners and joined by Newark Venture Partners and XFactor Ventures. Founded in 2015 by CEO Joshua Karam and CMO Erika Mozes, Hyr’s mobile platform connects businesses like restaurants, hotels and retailers with workers to fill shifts, on-demand. It will use the funds raised to expand, reach into new Canadian and U.S. locations, and add new sectors and workers to the platform.

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Fengate investment helps bring eStruxture’s funding to $180 mln

EStruxture Data Centers Inc has raised an additional investment from Fengate Real Asset Investments and a new, expanded debt financing facility, bringing its total funding to $180 million. Fengate joins Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Canderel, which last year capitalized the launch of eStruxture, a Montréal-based provider of network and cloud-neutral data centre solutions. The facility was provided by Scotiabank, National Bank of Canada and Investissement Québec. EStruxture said the additional funds raised will help it continue growing across Canada through both organic and inorganic expansion opportunities.

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Storytelling app Wattpad secures $61.2 mln in latest round

Wattpad, a Toronto-based multi-platform entertainment company for original stories, has raised about $61.25 million (US$51 million) in fresh funding. Investors included Tencent Holdings, BDC Capital, Kickstart Ventures, Peterson Group and Raine. Founded in 2006, Wattpad has created a social platform that builds direct connections between readers and writers. Its community now totals more than 65 million people. The company, which has so far secured US$117.8 million in venture capital, will use the latest funds raised to grow its team, invest in machine learning and interactive storytelling, expand its footprint in TV, film, digital media and publishing, and for other innovations.

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Ontario government earmarks $60 mln for venture capital funds

Ontario Capital Growth Corp (OCGC), an agency of the Ontario government, said it plans to commit $60 million to venture capital funds investing in sectors of interest to the provincial economy. OCGC, launched in 2009, will commit the capital alongside institutional, corporate and other investors in specialty funds focused on opportunities in clean technology, information technology, and life sciences. Led by President and CEO Steve Romanyshyn, OCGC reports its market activity has helped leverage more than $300 million invested in technology companies.

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CPPIB partners to invest in British build-to-rent sector

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Australian property and infrastructure firm Lendlease have launched an investment partnership focused on the United Kingdom’s build-to-rent private rental sector. The partnership will target an initial £1.5 billion ($2.6 billion) to investments with Lendlease developing and managing the build-to-rent homes. An investment of £450 million has already been made in the next phase of new homes at a Lendlease development in London’s Elephant and Castle. CPPIB will account for 80 percent of the deployment, with Lendlease investing the balance.

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Machine design platform Vention wins $3.5 mln in seed funding

Vention, a Montréal-based digital manufacturing platform dedicated to machine design, has secured $3.5 million in seed-stage financing. White Star Capital led the round with participation from Bolt, Real Ventures and several technology executives. Founded in 2016 by CEO Etienne Lacroix and CTO Max Windisch, Vention with the round announced the first public launch of its free, cloud-based 3D MachineBuilder, which with a modular component library allows users to design and assemble custom industrial equipment directly from a web browser in a short time. The company said it will use the funds raised to accelerate development of the platform on the hardware and software fronts.

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SMEs to boost investments to $140.5 bln in 2018: BDC

A study by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has found that Canadian small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) plan to invest more this year. Inspired by higher-than-expected economic growth in 2017, SMEs intend to invest $140.5 billion in 2018, up 3 percent from a year ago. Much of the increase in planned investment is due to an enhanced focus on acquisitions, which will account for $18.9 billion in 2018, up 79 percent year over year. SMEs also plan to invest more on R&D and employee training, an area that seen consistent growth since 2015. The BDC study is based on a survey conducted late last year of 4,019 business owners.

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Instacart acquires VC-backed digital grocery platform Unata

Instacart has acquired Unata, a Toronto-based provider of digital solutions to grocery retailers. Terms weren’t disclosed; however, Bloomberg reported the deal’s value at US$65 million. Instacart, a U.S. on-demand grocery delivery service, said the deal will create a one-stop shop for brick-and-mortar retailers to “effectively compete in an increasingly online world.” It added that Unata will retain its name and headquarters and continue to be led by CEO Chris Bryson. Founded in 2011, Unata was backed by GTANMantella Venture PartnersMaRS Investment Accelerator Fund and others. Instacart is backed by Andreessen HorowitzKPCBSequoia Capital and others.


Constellation buys PE-backed Acceo Solutions for $250 mln

N. Harris Computer Corp, an affiliate of Constellation Software Inc (TSX: CSU), has acquired Acceo Solutions Inc, a Montréal-based provider of software solutions and services in the fields of management, accounting, and e-business development. The purchase price was $250 million. Jeff Bender, CEO of Harris, said the deal will help build his company’s presence in Québec. Founded in 1988, Acceo was acquired in 2012 by Capital régional et coopératif DesjardinsFonds de solidarité FTQ and Investissement Québec from France’s Gfi Informatique SA for $75 million. Constellation is a Toronto-based acquirer and builder of vertical-market software companies.

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Pacific Road to buy $19.2 mln of equity in newly formed Equinox

Pacific Road Resources Funds, an Australian mining private equity firm, said it will exercise non-dilution rights to acquire additional equity in Vancouver-based mining company Equinox Gold Corp (TSX-V: EQX), formerly known as Trek Mining Inc. The deal will provide Equinox with proceeds of about $19.2 million and increase Pacific Road’s interest in the business to about 10.1 percent of outstanding common shares. Pacific Road took the step as a result of the December formation of Equinox through the merger of Trek with NewCastle Gold Ltd and Anfield Gold Corp. The new entity’s current focus is bringing its Aurizona Gold Mine in Brazil to production.

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SeaFort’s Cooper Equipment acquires Modern Rentals

Cooper Equipment Rentals Ltd has acquired Modern Industrial Rentals (1978) Ltd, a construction and industrial equipment rental company based in Calgary. No financial terms were disclosed. Cooper, a Mississauga, Ontario-based provider of compact, aerial and heavy construction and industrial equipment, said the deal broadens its presence in Western Canada, and introduces it to Southern Alberta. Founded in 1972, Cooper today operates 30 rental locations across Canada. It was acquired by Canadian private equity firm SeaFort Capital in 2013.

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Cybersecurity platform Cybeats pre-seeded in iNovia-led round

Toronto-based cybersecurity company Cybeats has raised an undisclosed pre-seed financing. The round was led by Canadian venture capital firm iNovia Capital, giving Principal Magaly Charbonneau a seat on the board. Maple Leaf Angels, Dr Richard Reiner, Brian O’Higgins and Brian Bourne also invested. Founded two years ago by CEO Dmitry Raidman, VP R&D Peter Pinsker and Embedded Director Vlad Kharbash, Cybeats provides a cyber defense solution for enterprise internet-of-things infrastructure. The funds raised will be used to scale the sales team, develop platform capabilities, and expand into Asian and European markets.

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Québec funds invest initial $1 mln in agtech company ESA

Sherbrooke, Québec-based agricultural technology company Énergie Solutions Air (ESA) has raised $1 million in an initial round of financing. The investors included Innovexport Fund, Desjardins Capital, Développement économique Canada pour les régions du QuébecSherbrooke Innopole and two members of Anges Québec. Founded in 2010, ESA makes heat-recovery air exchangers for poultry and pig farming buildings that increase efficiency and curtail the production of greenhouse gases. The company plans to use the funds raised to intensify marketing in Canada and begin marketing in the United States.

True Fit's new headquarters at 60 State Street, Boston, MA (Photo: Business Wire)

Georgian leads $55 mln Series C financing of True Fit

True Fit, a Boston-based data-driven personalization platform for footwear and apparel retailers, has secured US$55 million in a Series C financing. The round was led by Canadian growth equity firm Georgian Partners. It was joined by Cross Creek Capital, Intel Capital, Jump Capital and Signal Peak Ventures. Founded in 2010, True Fit has built rich apparel and footwear data through partnerships with top brands and consumers, which it uses with artificial intelligence to enable personalized fashion solutions. The funds raised will help develop the AI-data platform and grow True Fit’s offerings.

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Surveillance company EhEye raises $480k from NBIF, others

New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) has made an investment of $150,000 in EhEye Inc, a Saint John, New Brunswick-based provider of automated public safety and video surveillance. EhEye CEO James Stewart said the commitment from NBIF leveraged an additional $330,000 from other investors, including a $100,000 loan from Business Development Bank of Canada. Founded in 2016, EhEye provides surveillance recognition technology that uses analytics and artificial intelligence to detect suspicious behaviours, objects and people, and then generate real-time alerts.

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Fintech startup Ratehub nets $12 mln in Elephant-led Series A

Toronto-based financial technology startup Ratehub Inc has raised $12 million in a Series A financing. The round was led by Elephant, a U.S. venture capital firm, and joined by Simon Nixon, co-founder of U.K.-based MoneySuperMarket. As a result, Elephant General Partner Jeremiah Daly has joined the board. Founded in 2010 by Alyssa Furtado and James Laird, Ratehub owns and operates, a financial product comparison site, and CanWise Financial, a national mortgage brokerage. The company will use the funds raised to build a digital platform for the mortgage process and invest in insurance policy comparison tools.

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Castlelake, other investors commit $100 mln to Nevada Copper

Vancouver-based metals and mining company Nevada Copper Corp (TSX: NCU) has agreed to raise US$100 million of equity financing from institutional investors, including U.S. private equity firm Castlelake, which is committing US$35 million. The deal forms part of a US$378 million package of recapitalization and construction financing announced last month. As a result, Pala Investments, a Swiss private equity firm, will reduce its commitment to the package, while Castlelake will gain a 19.8 percent interest in the company and a seat on the board. The funds raised will support bringing Nevada’s Pumpkin Hollow project to first production and related priorities.