Toronto startup Platterz, catering firm, secures $6.7m financing

Platterz, Toronto company, that makes it incredibly easy for companies to order shareable food from hundreds of top local restaurants and caterers, has received $6.7m in financing. This funding was provided by AltaIR Capital, Globalive Capital, Kevin Kimsa, Dennis Bennie, Ran Makavy and Oren Zeev.

The company right now is based in Toronto, Ontario and employs about 25 employees and is looking to double in size ASAP.

Eran Henig, Co-founder & CEO of Platterz said:

“We’re thrilled with the incredible traction we’ve seen so far in the market, and most importantly with the overwhelming positive feedback we’ve received from customers over the last year. Our customers appreciate that we’ve taken the time to truly understand their needs and develop the one-stop catering shop they’ve been waiting for all these years. We’re empowering them in ways that were simply not possible without technology.”

Video features Platterz catering services:

“Montreal is a Dying City” for Tech, Medium article reports

Well known Founder and CEO of Island , Greg Isenberg, wrote an opinion piece why Montreal and the whole province of Quebec was not for him, and why he left and took his business with him to San Francisco, California. Greg also builds marketing and social media campaigns for brands like FedEX, NASCAR, TechCrunch and WordPress.


His story got a lot of heat from Montreal / Quebec users who disagreed with him , and that is potentially why he decided to retract it and delete it from the site, Medium.com. We have sent a request asking him why he decided to delete it and waiting for feedback. 

Basically in his article Greg summarized why Montreal is not a good place for a tech company, his main point was that Montreal can not retain talent to stay in Montreal, most people leave it for other places. He discussed 3 points he thinks would make Montreal more attractive.

  1. His first point was to make Montreal an officially bilingual city, no more French language enforcement police scaring off English startups / students; provide English documents to companies willing to do business in Montreal;
  2.  his second point was that Montreal is seen in North America as Sex / Porn capital and this view should be squashed and that the City of Montreal / Province of Quebec should promote city as a good place to do business;
  3. Most McGill grads (McGill is a top tier school in North America) leave within few years of finishing school, only a small percentage stay – how to make it better for them to stay – what to do? what programs to launch?

The story first appeared on Medium (https://medium.com/@gregisenberg/dear-montreal-please-dont-give-up-fa03726537b6) but has since been deleted but still exists in Google Cache (https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:MWiBTFErOxYJ:https://medium.com/%40gregisenberg/dear-montreal-please-dont-give-up-fa03726537b6+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca) and is included below:

Dear Montreal, Please Don’t Give Up

Parce que j’ai confiance en toi

I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile. It’s one I’ve got a lot of feels for. This isn’t an attack on Montreal. This is critical feedback for the city I love. We do performance reviews for employees, so why not do it for cities from time to time? This is purely an economic performance review.

Caveat: I’m not going to write a fluff piece. We all know how Montreal’s quality of life is off the freakin’ charts, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss.

Here’s the truth: Montreal is a dying city.

Where other cities like Portland, Berlin and Oakland are on the up, Montreal stands still.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of people I meet in the US and abroad who only think of it as a bachelor party city, who have no idea what Montreal life is like or who haven’t even heard of the city. Breaks my heart.

The problem: Some of the smartest and most entrepreneurial leave Montreal in search for “opportunity”. Montreal has failed them. How do we fix that?

Here’s my top 3:

  1. Montrealers and Montreal needs to be a bilingual city. English in Quebec is only introduced in the 4th grade. For a city that is a mere 60 miles from the US border, that’s absolutely absurd. The more languages we know, the better. That is a global competitive advantage not a loss of our Quebecois identity. One language is not better than the other. One culture is not better than the other. We are brothers and sisters. I believe laws should be in place to protect our Quebecois and French language culture. However, some laws are completely onerous and it puts Quebec in the right hand lane when other cities are zooming by in the left lane. Get this — if you move to Montreal from outside Quebec, your children cannot go to an english public school unless you parents were educated in Quebec in english. How can a Montreal company attract top talent (usually from the US) when there are laws that make it downright uninviting and difficult to raise a family there? Why would a NYC entrepreneur start a company in Montreal when their french skills are limited and government paperwork is only in french? We are failing these folks. They will bring jobs, spend money, pay taxes and create change.
  2. Montreal has the opportunity to be the Berlin of North America; Berlin is similar to Montreal. Both suffered economic decline, both have excellent foodie and party scene, both are super cool, both are university towns, both are artistic towns and both are in the economic shadow of their bigger brother (Berlin has Frankfurt and Montreal has Toronto). Yet ask any hipster in this world, and Berlin is thriving. Companies like Soundcloud were founded and grown there. Thrillist calls Montreal “The Porn Capital”. I think Montreal could be known for a lot more than a city involved in the underbelly of the internet and promote companies that affect global change (Breather is a good example)
  3. Montreal needs to retain McGill graduates. It’s Montreal’s top school, one of the best in Canada and renown across the world yet McGill grads don’t stay in Montreal to start companies etc. How do we make it easy for them? What kind of programs can we put in place?

My question is do Montrealers want the city to become an influencer city? Or are you comfortable with the status quo?

I think Montreal has 2 options; either continue on this path to be the most relevant city in Quebec (which it is) or change course and become a more world-class city.

There is something really special about Montrealers and with the right push, more incredible art, companies and technology will come out of the city.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the people and the city deserve more.

Best,

Greg Isenberg

Montreal newly named Bus.com raises $5m, changes the name from ShareTheBus

Newly named Bus.com ridesharing compamy raised $5m USD in Series A. This company is not to be confused with another Montreal success story BusBud.com.

Bus.com removes all of the friction involved in bringing a group of people to an event or experience. The app makes it easy to organize, book, join and enjoy bus trips. Bus.com motto is

“organizing group travel should be just as easy and fun as the trip itself”.

Montreal company employs over 30 employees and is now looking to expand.

You can watch ShareTheBus (aka Bus.com) video posted on FounderFuel back in 2015:

Bus.com posted the following comment on the blog after raising the money:

When we started Sharethebus, we were set on increasing ridesharing on buses. We’ve accomplished that, and so much more. It began with festivals and then rapidly grew to include bus rides across North America to athletic events, collegiate competitions, and political rallies to name a few. We moved over 160,000 people – many of which were rideshares, but a large percentage were full bus transportation organized by our event partners.

That was our turning point.

As our company expanded, we’ve outgrown what the name Sharethebus implies. Our rebrand comes at a time where our goals have grown to include not only the needs of riders, but those of event organizers and bus partners as well.

Better busing is key for the future of travel. The rebrand and funding will help us improve the bus travel experience while reflecting a larger and more encompassing vision.

While today we celebrate how far we’ve come and our new identity, we also have big plans for tomorrow.

We’re looking to enhance our services for each of our stakeholders. This means empowering event organizers, strengthening relationships with bus partners, and elevating the rider experience. To do so, this coming year we’ll continue creating industry-leading technology while providing a simple booking process, experiential add-ons, flexible payment options, improved pricing, and access to new markets.

Thank you for getting us to where we are today. It has been a crazy ride so far, and we hope that you’ll join us as we continue on this journey.

Vancouver Startup TaskTop Secures $11.3M in Additional Funding

The money was raised by AVX Partners, as well as Austin Ventures and Yaletown Partners.

Company provides Software Lifecycle Integration with over 110 employees located mostly in Vancouver, BC.

Over one million users employ Tasktop’s Value Stream Integration technology to transform software development and delivery. Tasktop not only unifies the software development and delivery team, but also provides unprecedented visibility into the business critical processes of software delivery.

According to Neelan Choksi, COO and President, Tasktop,

“We’re excited to have received this continued vote of confidence from AVX Partners, Austin Ventures and Yaletown Partners. This round will enable us to speed up our efforts to meet the needs of development organizations struggling to realize the business-critical benefits of their enterprise Agile and DevOps initiatives.”

Vancouver startup GoFetch.ca raises $1.4m

GoFetch.ca , 10+ people startup based in Vancouver, raised $1.4m valuing the company at $7m.

Founded in June of 2015, GoFetch.ca is Canada’s largest community marketplace connecting dog owners with trusted dog walkers and sitters. With GoFetch, dog parents can discover, book, and manage personalized care for their dogs, including dog boarding, sitting, and dog walking. New sitters and walkers go through a background check, provide references, give GoFetch a dog-care plan, and go through the GoFetch vetting process.

Thousands of Canadians have used and have had positive experiences on GoFetch. GoFetch is venture-backed and has launched across Canada. GoFetch is one of the fastest-growing tech companies in Canada, and Canadian leader online marketplaces where owners can find services for their pets. The company started with dog walk and is expanding into other services.

You can watch Canadian CTV news profiled the company back in 2016:

Ottawa tries to attract tech talent with Work in Ottawa campaign

Invest Ottawa agency announced new campaign called Work in Ottawa to attract tech talent to move to Ottawa.

The campaign highlights that median salary in Ottawa is almost  $92k , while housing in Ottawa is much cheaper at around $370k vs Toronto at $800k and Vancouver at $1m. The website said that Ottawa is home to more than 1,700 technology companies.

Former Microsoft executive and now head of Invest Ottawa, Michael Tremblay said:

We are very proud to announce our Work in Ottawa campaign which aims to help companies across our thriving ecosystem, attract and retain the top talent needed to succeed.

Their online portal acts as a marketing tool to attract talent to existing tech jobs in Ottawa. You can visit it here: https://www.investottawa.ca/why-ottawa/

Not sold yet? Maybe you read the news that Ottawa was picked as the most boring city in Canada? Then maybe watching the following video will change your mind:

Toronto IT salaries are 11% more than San Francisco when adjusted for cost of living, Hired reports

Update: Article below is based on #s from 2016, please see an updated article based on 2017 report numbers – Toronto Tech Salaries Grew 7% Last Year, But Still Fall Way Behind the US salaries.


A new study from Hired, employment website for IT, says that even though San Francisco salaries are double than some other cities in the US or Canada, it is lower when you consider the cost of living. This report is similar to another one posted recently by Savills Real estate firm.

The study was conducted with over 280,000 engineer profiles. San Francisco salary clocked in at average of $134,000 USD and was trailed by Seattle at $128,000 and New York City at $120,000. Average salary in Toronto was $74,000 USD (or $97,000 Canadian).

The higher salaries do not mean much though when you have to consider the cost of rent and / or buying a house or condo. When you take that (how much more you get for your dollar) into consideration cities like Toronto are coming in at $149,000 and Boston at $156,000 and are better value than San Francisco. The best city for your dollar? Austin , Texas where you will get almost $200,000 when adjusted for cost of living. The worst in North America? New York and San Francisco at $133,000 and $134,000. Cities in Europe and Asia did not do too well even after adjustment. London and Paris came in at $104,000 and $98,000 respectively.

Tech Candidates Salaries adjusted for cost of living
European Cities adjusted for cost of living

Hired also mentioned that “huge # ” of candidates are attracted to cities in Texas for example and 60% of them are out of state, due to the low cost of living.

Diversity

Diced also discovered that Black, Latinos and Asian candidates receive lower pay when compared to their White peers with exactly the same skills.

Average pay for white was $125k, Black $115k, Latinos $120k, and Asian $122.5k.

Report said:

The average white candidate on our platform, for software engineering roles in New York and San Francisco, asks for a preferred salary of $126K and ultimately receives an average offer of $125K. While African-American candidates are much more likely to get hired, they are also asking for and receiving a significantly lower salary ($113K and $115K, respectively). Latino and Asian candidates ask for and ultimately receive salaries that are more on par with white candidates, but their hire rate is also negatively impacted.

It’s unclear if African American candidates are receiving more offers because they are more qualified, their preferred salaries are lower, because of diversity initiatives, or a combination of those and other factors.

 

You can read the report here: https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/09/what-software-engineers-are-making-around-the-world-right-now/