News roundup: Shopify starts lending to small businesses, ReturnBear’s new boss, and Swedish candy on demand


The personalities of the news

E-commerce giants lend money: Shopify and Square are the introduction of loan programs to offset declining e-commerce revenue streams. In exchange for a percentage of future sales, companies offer loans to small businesses in need of financial support. “If they’re going through a tough time and we’re able to keep them in business over time, we’re able to help them survive,” Square Banking’s Luke Voiles said. Globe and Mail.

Crypto companies want trust: Nine Canadian companies, including Toronto-based Wealthsimple and Coinsquare, are joining US industry group Travel Rule Universal Solution Technology (TRUST). TRUST was created to create a standard approach for cryptocurrency companies to combat international money laundering.

ReturnBear has a new boss: Former Shopify Managing Director Sylvia Ng Has Joined ReturnBear as CEO. The Toronto-based company offers retailers an end-to-end solution to manage product returns at physical locations. The company was started by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in-house venture capitalist Koru to meet a growing demand for help with e-commerce product returns from partners, including Cadillac Fairview.

talk about money

Forma raises $45M Series B: Sales performance management start-up Forma AI raised $45M Series B led by ACME Capital. Forma’s software is designed to help companies optimize sales compensation through artificial intelligence.

Fable gets $10.5 million: Toronto-based Fable Tech Labs announced a US$10.5 million investment led by Five Elms Capital with backing from Toronto financier John Ruffolo. The startup helps companies make their products accessible to customers with physical disabilities. “We believe that by helping them, we unlock access to many more users on the net,” said Fable Founder and CEO Alwar Pillai. Globe & Mail.

Humi closes $31M Series B: HR startup Humi announced a $31 million Series B round led by Kensington Capital Partners. The company reported a fivefold increase in the number of users during the pandemic. In addition to its cloud-based HR solution, Humi now offers its clients professional insurance options, a benefits marketplace, and recruiting and onboarding tools.


Ryna makes renting easier and safer for women: Sheryl Song and KD Dao are behind Ryna, a platform that helps like-minded women, BIPOC community members and allies find safe and affordable housing to rent. Ryna uses an algorithm to connect compatible roommates and has partnered with some institutional landlords to find safe rental accommodations.

Architect by day, potter by night: Garbo Zhu has turned his ceramic hobby into a full-time business with Grumpy Kids Studio. Zhu, a graduate of the architecture program at Metropolitan University of Toronto, took up ceramics as a hobby at a local pottery studio. Today, she creates colorful mugs and other tableware that sells out quickly with every release.

The hustle and bustle on the Swedish candy side: Toronto publicist Jen Knox has launched an online store featuring delicious Swedish treats. Knox’s stepfather was from Sweden and introduced him to the country’s sweets. Knox tried ordering from a US-based online store during a pandemic-fueled craving, but shipping costs to Canada were too high. She started looking for distributors online, and that’s when the idea for Konfekt, an online shop for sweets made in Sweden, was born. “It was like, wait a second, I’m not the only person who likes this stuff,” Knox said. Toronto life.

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