The Short Report, October 2, 2019: Kin cryptocurrency, robot tax, health tech

Mark Mann
October 2, 2019

In a dramatic post, Kik founder and CEO Ted Livingston announced the Waterloo-based company will shut down its messaging service and focus exclusively on its cryptocurrency Kin. Livingston described a protracted battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over whether Kin should be labeled a security, which he says "would kill the usability of any cryptocurrency and set a dangerous precedent for the industry." The company has resolved to take drastic measures: shut down the Kik app; fire more than 100 employees, thereby reducing the team to 19 people; and focus exclusively on "converting Kin users into Kin buyers." - Medium

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Digital Ventures have come together to launch a venture incubator called Koru that will develop ideas emerging from within the OTTP's own portfolio of companies, currently worth $201.4 billion. Chief investment officer Ziad Hindo said in a press release that the incubator will help protect these companies against disruption by "finding opportunities to add significant mutual value along the way." - OTPP

As part of its election platform, the Green party of Canada proposed a "robot tax" that will be levied every time a company replaces a worker with a machine. The tax would be equivalent to the income tax paid by that laid-off employee. Green leader Elizabeth May said that the revenue would be applied to education and re-skilling programs for workers. The announcement prompted confusion and blowback on twitter. - CBC

Report on Business magazine posted its list of Canada's 400 top-growing companies, ranked by three-year revenue growth. The top spot went to Mississauga-based Fleet Optics Inc., specializing in "final-mile delivery software, analytics and transportation," which saw 10,147 per cent growth. - Globe and Mail

Montreal-based health-tech firm Chronometriq secured more than $20 million in Series B funding led by Full In Partners, a New York growth investor, to help the company secure its leadership in Canada and expand into U.S. markets. Chronometriq provides access-to-care and patient engagement tools to clinics and other health providers. - Chronometriz

New Brunswick-based software company MESH/diversity received nearly $1 million in investment to further develop its Diversity Intelligence Platform, a tool that uses predictive algorithms to help companies and organizations create inclusive cultures for hiring and employee retention. The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) contributed $250,000 to the round. - The Huddle


The University of Alberta's vice-president of university relations, Jacqui Tam, has resigned due to controversy over her approval of billboard advertisements promoting 2017 research that correlated climate change with better-growing barley. The ad stated that "climate change will boost Alberta’s barley yield with less water, feeding more cattle.” - Edmonton Journal

Rotman School of Management professor Dilip Soman has been given the Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Science and Economics. Soman directs the Behavioural Economics in the Action Research Centre at Rotman (BEAR), where he researches the application of behavioural science to consumer well-being, marketing and policy. - The Varsity

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