Holy moly, what a month! Waterloo Region’s tech community tore it up in October with IPOs, multimillion-dollar deals and a cascade of headline news.

Online-education powerhouse D2L made the biggest splash with an IPO plan that aims to raise CDN$200 million. One report (paywall alert) suggests that the Kitchener-based company may have to scale that back a touch, but D2L’s bid to trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange is still on track.

Serial founder Dave Caputo continues to build great things. His latest venture, Trusscore, announced a CDN$26 million Series A raise. The money will help the Kitchener-based maker of sustainable building products expand its production, marketing, sales and R&D capabilities. 

Sticking with construction, Bridgit founders Mallorie Brodie and Lauren Lake announced a Series B raise of CDN$24 million. The cash infusion will help the Kitchener-based company hire more staff, further develop its workforce-intelligence solution and increase market share.

Meanwhile, Magnet Forensics has followed its successful IPO with a plan to raise an additional CDN$950 million. As BetaKit reports, the Waterloo-based cybersecurity firm has filed a preliminary short-form base-shelf prospectus to sell subordinate voting shares, preferred shares, debt securities, warrants, and subscription receipts over a 25-month period.

And in a different growth play, Waterloo-based HockeyTech was sold to Flosports of Austin, Texas. HockeyTech provides data technology to hockey clubs. It also livestreams hockey games. Flosports, a larger outfit in a similar space, plans to keep the HockeyTech team in Waterloo and grow other sports-related offerings right here.

Talent, talent, talent

You hear it again and again – the recruitment and retention of talent is the biggest challenge facing tech founders. In an ongoing series, The Logic reported on Communitech’s successful Outposts program, which helps Canadian tech companies hire skilled employees wherever they live in the world.

Communitech CEO Chris Albinson, who was quoted in the Outposts story, was also quoted in a CBC piece about an Ontario government proposal to prohibit employers from requiring employees to sign non-compete agreements, a change that Albinson says will level the playing field with jurisdictions such as California.

Always eager to help on the talent front, Communtech hosted another successful Tech Jam From Home job fair last week. The virtual event garnered headlines and attracted 494 job-seekers and 187 company reps.

If you’re on the hunt for a new job, take a gander at columnist Melanie Baker’s piece on deciphering the job-posting code that often creeps into help-wanted ads. 

And last but not least... frontline workers may be the heroes of the pandemic, but a survey commissioned by Waterloo-based Axonify shows that even superheroes reach a point where they want to hang up their capes. Nearly half of respondents plan to leave their jobs due to burnout, the survey found.

Betting on hybrid

Speaking of talent, a hot topic on everyone’s mind is the future of the workplace. In-office? Remote? A mix of both? Tech News took a deep dive and found that the demand for office space in Waterloo Region is picking up as tech companies and other businesses bet on the hybrid approach.

Furniture that feeds you

Hydroponic tech firm Just Vertical makes “furniture that feeds you” – stylishly designed units that grow vegetables and flowers indoors. A Toronto company with ties to Waterloo Region, Just Vertical recently announced a seed raise of $625,000 that will help boost production and increase its marketing efforts to urban residents, restaurants, schools and businesses.

In other tech-for-good news, columnist Alex Kinsella caught up with Olympic boxer and former Communitecher Mandy Bujold to talk about the Waterloo-Wellington Community Haul. The Haul is a monthly subscription box of locally-made items that Bujold set up to raise funds for local hospital foundations.

Kinsella also brings us the story of Union Co-operative, an innovative Waterloo Region organization that aims to create more affordable housing in the area. Unlike traditional non-profit co-ops, members of Union can invest up to $10,000 and receive dividends from those investments. 

Social ills

Social media continues to make news as platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have been called to account for questionable practices. Contributing writer James Jackson tells us about his efforts to dump social media cold turkey and become a more attentive parent in the process. 

While you’re chewing on that drumstick, check out Melanie Baker’s column on making social more sociable, as well as her piece on lessons learned from the Great Facebook Outage.

In other news

  • Kitchener-based cybersecurity startup Agilicus has been named to the 2021 edition of CIX Canadian Innovation Exchange Top 20 most innovative technology companies.
  • The Record featured the work of Kitchener biotech startup Scispot to speed up the time required to develop new drugs.
  • A national study using Kitchener-based Cloud DX’s Connected Health platform proves remote patient monitoring improves patient outcomes, the company says.
  • Amber French, Director of Strategic Capital at Communitech and co-founder and managing partner at Catalyst Capital, was quoted in a Globe and Mail article about the challenges that small Canadian companies have in accessing growth capital.
  • The Council of Canadian Innovators, which involves a number of Waterloo Region tech leaders, has launched a program to train business people to be directors and board members. According to BetaKit, the program hopes to further diversity and education in key areas such as intellectual property.
  • Rohinton Medhora, President of the Waterloo-based Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), contributed to a recent international report on digital health, called Governing Health Futures 2030: Growing up in a digital world.