The Short Report, January 28, 2020: Late-stage growth investing; AI for the steel supply chain; quantum computing with lasers

At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Innovation minister Navdeep Bains and Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga announced a joint investment to establish the new global Intelligence and Cyber Centre in Vancouver, B.C. MasterCard is investing $510 million, of which  $420 million is eligible under the Strategic Innovation Fund, while Ottawa is investing $49 million to support the project, which aligns with the Government of Canada’s National Cyber Security Strategy and will create 270 jobs by 2029. Mastercard will qualify for federal and provincial R&D tax credits. The Centre will focus on creating technologies and standards to protect personal and financial information shared over the internet on connected devices and to enable businesses and organizations to better integrate cybersecurity technologies. –, The Globe and Mail

Round13 Capital announced two new funds that will bring the value of capital that the firm manages to over $325 million. The first of these, Round13 Fund II, has so far closed approximately $125 million, and shares the same strategy as Round13’s original Founder’s Fund: to support Canadian tech companies that are ready to scale their sales and marketing activities. The second, called Round13 Growth, is a late-stage growth equity fund that will be led by Sanjiv Samant, technology advisor and financier who’s worked for National Bank, Canaccord, RBC, and CIBC. Round13 Growth has so far closed $100 million. – BetaKit, Yahoo! Finance

American investor and philanthropist George Soros has created a $1-billion global network called the Open Society University Network (OSUN) with the stated aim “to integrate teaching and research across higher education institutions worldwide.” The network will consist of “deep, long-term partnerships based on reciprocity, not vertical integration,” and sharing a “commitment to advance open society and address fundamental global challenges,” according to Bard College, a primary OSUN partner alongside the Central European University.  – Inside Higher Ed, Bard College

Canadian companies Peer Ledger (Halifax) and Mavennet (Toronto) will receive $150,000 each from Innovative Solutions Canada to develop a proof of concept for a digital tracing system enabled by blockchain and artificial intelligence for the steel supply chain. The funding will support research and development activities to build a prototype specific to the steel supply chain. If selected to continue to the program’s next stage, one of the two companies could receive up to $1 million over two years to refine its prototype. –

Canadian quantum hardware and technology company Xanadu has received $4.4 million from  Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to further develop its photonic quantum computers and make them available over the cloud. Photonic technology, which uses laser light to carry information through optical chips, is inherently more power-efficient than electronics. Xanadu is working to make quantum computers that can perform calculations at room temperature, thereby eliminating the need for power-hungry cooling systems required by most other types of quantum computers. – Newswire

In its Annual Head Office Survey for 2018, Statistics Canada revealed that the number of head offices in Canada increased by 0.3% to 2,737, thanks in part to the cannabis sector, which compensated for closures in other sectors. – StatCan

Innovative Solutions Canada announced five new challenges in two separate announcements: Low-cost sensor system for patient monitoringNanocomposite fabrics production systemAI software for photonics semiconductor fabricationSurveying objects across an air-water interface; and, Secure and confidential rule matching.


Seymour Schulich increased his investment in the Schulich Leader Scholarships to $200 million, doubling the number of annual awards from 50 to 100. Offering the largest payout of any undergraduate scholarship program in Canada, half of the awards will go to students pursuing an undergraduate degree in engineering and the other half will go to students pursuing a STEM degree at one of 20 Canadian partner universities. – The Globe and Mail, Newswire

OCAD University named Ana Serrano as its new president and vice-chancellor. Serrano is coming from her post as chief digital officer at the Canadian Film Centre. She founded the CFC Media Lab and launched IDEABOOST, a digital media and entertainment accelerator, along with founding partners Shaw Media, Corus Entertainment and Google. – The Globe and Mail