January 16, 2023: Riding the AI Wave
plus: Meet the CEO of Pine, join us tonight IRL to kick-off 2023 and more!
Quick Takes: Riding the AI Wave
What is the news?
The New York Times and Betakit have reported that Radical Ventures is raising a new $550m USD fund focused on AI.
While the fund has been announced and had a first close the entire $550m has not been raised.
What is Radical Ventures?
Radical is a Toronto-based VC fund focused on AI investments.
They previously raised three funds including a seed fund, a large institutional fund, and an opportunity fund. They invest North America-wide but are based in Toronto due to Canada's AI talent, and have invested in quite a few local companies including:
What makes them unique in the Canadian ecosystem?
Radical has a unique position in the Canadian ecosystem for being a large theme-based fund and as players who are willing to pay high valuations for relatively early-stage / unproven companies. This stands true from when they invested in Xanadu and co:here.
Why were they able to raise?
They raised for three reasons:
The background of the GPs
Their current portfolio has several high-profile companies
AI has become extremely hot again
What are the takeaways for the Canadian tech community?
Be bold and aggressive.
Radical is very "unCanadian" as they have quickly scaled up the size of their funds, compete for deals globally, and are willing to make bold investments.
We need to see more of this in Canada from our founders and investors. If you are an AI-enabled company raising an A round, Radical has the means to support you, and you should be speaking with them.
Many founders and employees chase trends (e.g. Web3 and ClimateTech) as they become hot. It feels like the timing is right, money is easy to raise and everyone is talking about the space, especially now.
The reality is, if you are entering a space without a competitive advantage when it becomes hot it will be difficult to succeed. The people who have been working in the space already have a large competitive advantage based on knowledge and network alone. Trends go up and down, but the key is:
*Reply to this email and let us know your takes on the news from the ecosystem and what you'd like to hear us cover on the show, and in an upcoming newsletter
We return with another episode of Quick Takes on January 26. Episodes dropping every other Thursday all year long!
Catch up on past episodes here, while you wait.
What is Pine?
Pine is transforming the Canadian residential real estate industry. Our first product is a direct-to-consumer mortgage.
What was the inspiration/motivation that led you to start Pine?
I spent 5 years in the US working on digital mortgage products and during that time had the opportunity to bring some of those innovations to the Canadian market. I was shocked at how complacent the incumbents were and their resistance to embracing new technology. Due to that experience, I came back to Canada to start Pine.
How did you know you were ready to found a company?
Previously I worked at 2 successful startups in silicon valley. That prepared me well to take the next step and start my own company. I always encourage people who want to be founders to work for another startup first!
What has been the hardest part of your journey so far?
Everything is hard! But that's why it's worth doing. Particularly, building a fantastic team is difficult, but incredibly important to long-term success.
What is some advice you'd pass on to others?
Be aware of how quickly things around you can change and be prepared to adapt.
What do the next 12 months look like?
We want to be Canada's best mortgage company. I believe we are already there but I want everyone to know more about who we are in the next 12 months.
Who are the Canadian startups you like in your market currently?
Who are two Canadian companies you admire outside of your market?
Constellation Software and Canada Goose
*You can catch an in-depth conversation with Justin at tonight's TechTO: Together Event at OneEleven!
If you haven't yet registered, grab your tickets while they last! It will also give you exclusive access to our After Party!
Headlines and Content
#ICYMI - Catch up on past newsletters if you hadn't yet subscribed!
Canadian startup news of the week - READ HERE
Properly makes adjustments as housing market shifts - READ HERE
Actually set realistic work goals for 2023. Here's how
Will ChatGPT change how we work? - READ HERE
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Events and Links
Check out the interesting content, events, and happenings for the community here:
TechTO Together | Toronto: January 16, 2023 - TONIGHT! And did we mention there's an After Party?! - REGISTER HERE
TechTO Together | Montreal: January 31, 2023 - Join us LIVE from Montreal and kick off the year with the Montreal tech ecosystem - REGISTER HERE
TechTO Together | Toronto: February 6, 2023 - Announcements coming soon! - REGISTER HERE
TechTO Talent | Virtual | February 22, 2023 - Meet and mingle with top tech talent and employers hiring now! REGISTER FOR FREE
Want to showcase your company, events, and opportunities to 60,000 subscribers across the Canadian Tech Eco-system? Reach out to [email protected] to learn more!