Tech beat followups: Fundraising, flight, and a fight

· The Pulse

Just because a story is written doesn't mean it's over. Here are some updates on tech stories we covered in 2022:

Startup TNT founders to launch venture capital fund (Feb. 24, 2022)

The original story: Startup TNT co-founders Zack Storms and Tim Lynn were planning to launch a venture capital fund to deploy money from investors who may not have time to participate in the organization's investment summit and to build capacity for more VC.

Then what? The fund did not get off the ground as early as hoped, but Storms told Taproot in an email in late November that the initial formal close was now targeted for early January. The fund did however participate in all the winning deals from Investment Summit VI, writing $50,000 cheques for each of them and "then pairing these companies with members of our venture partner network to help the companies get to their next major financing milestone," Storms wrote. Meanwhile, the organization achieved its goal of expanding across the Prairies, with team leads, summits, and TNT Happy Hours in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg. The organization has now raised more than $8 million for 60+ companies.

Samdesk offers free monitoring and alerts as the Ukraine conflict worsens (March 4, 2022)

The original story: Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, samdesk offered its crisis monitoring and alerts service available for free to first responders and NGOs until governments and journalists were able to establish more robust reporting.

Then what?: The company published Conflict in Ukraine: Airspace Risks, a look at how the war reduces the amount of safe airspace for routes between Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. It's part of a growing stream of self-produced media that includes The Breakdown and the SitRep Podcast. Meanwhile, samdesk is now working with DoorDash to provide real-time safety alerts to drivers, customers, and merchants, warning them of emergencies and suspending operations when danger arises in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

New $10M ScaleGood Fund puts first investment into Areto Labs (April 21, 2022)

The original story: Areto Labs graduated from the first cohort of the TELUS Community Safety and Wellness Accelerator with a nice parting gift: investment from the newly launched ScaleGood Fund, a fund launched to invest in companies solving complex social issues with the promise of a strong financial return.

Then what? Areto Labs, which detects and responds to online abuse, ended up raising $1 million, in a pre-seed round led by Accelerate Fund III with participation from ScaleGood, The51, the UCeed Social Impact Fund, and angel investors. It went on to be part of the first cohort of the Alberta Innovates Revenue Accelerator powered by GrowthX and has published findings on online abuse and women's sport as it continues to focus on the sports market. Meanwhile, the ScaleGood Fund has added five other companies to its portfolio, and applications for the next cohort of the TELUS Community Safety and Wellness Accelerator close on Jan. 4.

Zack Storms on stage, a dashboard of Ukraine alerts, a portrait of Lana Cuthbertson, the OSAM-1 satellite, a portrait of Omer Choudhary, Sam Pillar at a fireside chat

Catch up with the rest of the story on Startup TNT's fund, samdesk's alert service, Areto Labs' investment, a space-bound customer of G2V Optics, developments at Truffle, and Jobber's fight with APEGA.

G2V Optics soars on aerospace opportunities (June 28, 2022)

The original story: G2V Optics announced a deal with NASA, sending its solar simulators to the Goddard Space Flight Center to aid in the testing of OSAM-1, a satellite to be launched in a few years to help increase the life expectancy of satellites and thus reduce the accumulation of space junk.

Then what?: The OSAM-1 project received $227 million in funding in the omnibus bill that made it through the U.S. Congress at the end of December, so it appears to still be a go. G2V Optics is pursuing growth through the ScaleUp program from the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, alongside fellow Edmonton companies Future Fields and Wyvern. Meanwhile, G2V now has representation in Europe via Phototonic Solutions.

Truffle raises $2.3M to help restaurants go digital (July 12, 2022)

The original story: Truffle, which makes restaurant management and point-of-sale software, raised $2.3 million in a round led by Accelerate Fund III with participation from Sprout Fund and Birchcliff Partners.

Then what?: Truffle went on to win an international business award for its app. It continues to publish case studies, including one from EDO Restaurants. It has also developed smart food lockers for order pickup.

Tech leaders seek easing of rules around 'software engineer' designation (Oct. 17, 2022)

The original story: Several members of Alberta's tech community signed a letter from the Canadian Council of Innovators calling on the provincial government to intervene in a dispute with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) over the unauthorized use of terms such as "software engineer."

Then what?: After a media blitz in October, Jobber CEO Sam Pillar did a Q&A with the Canadian Council of Innovators in December indicating that his company's legal dispute with APEGA was ongoing. He said APEGA's stance posed an "existential threat" to software companies in Alberta. "So we will do whatever is necessary to make sure that we're the company that builds the winning product in the space that we're competing in," said Pillar, whose company was hailed this year for revenue growth and being an inclusive workplace. "If that means exploring relocating the business to a more accommodating environment, then we'll look at all options."