StoreToDoor closes seed raise
Saskatchewan-based tech startup StoreToDoor announced the closure of a seed round on Mar. 11, raising $1.25 million. StoreToDoor is a tech platform for retailers to offer same-day delivery service. The round saw participation from Calgary’s Inverted Ventures, Regina’s LEX Capital Corp., Saskatoon’s Golden Opportunities Fund and Startup TNT, and numerous angel investors from across Western Canada.
“When the vision for StoretoDoor came to me in 2019, I was most concerned with our local retailers and the impact they were seeing from large e-commerce companies like Amazon. When Covid-19 hit, and this was even more apparent, it gave me and my fellow founders the sense of urgency to launch a solution to make sure these businesses stayed in our communities and continued to create jobs and support our local ecosystems. We did that in early 2021 and the support has been beyond expectation,” said Scott Love, founder and CEO.
StoreToDoor is currently operating in markets from 25 cities in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario and expects to reach 50 Canadian cities by the end of the year.
Leadership changes at The Hill Companies
On Mar. 10, Regina’s The Hill Companies announced changes to their leadership team. Rosanne Hill Blaisdell has been appointed president and CEO of Harvard Developments Corporation and all other Canadian real estate affiliates. Matthew Hill has been named president and CEO of Harvard Diversified Holdings, a Hill Company. Both Hill Blaisdell and Hill represent the fourth generation of the Hill family to lead the within The Hill Companies.
Hill Blaisdell joined the company in 1997, and in 2018 was appointed managing director and chief operating officer of The Hill Companies. In her new role, she will oversee The Hill Companies’ head office in Regina and further develop the company’s real estate growth.
Hill became managing director of Diversified Group of The Hill Companies in 2019. In his new role, he will manage the The Hill Companies Diversified portfolio interests including Harvard Western Insurance, Western Surety, Harvard Media, Harvard Energy, Harvard Investments, and Harvard Integrations.
Clutch expands to Saskatchewan
Clutch, a Canadian online car retailer, has announced expansion to Saskatchewan. Customers within 400 km of Saskatoon will be the first to experience buying pre-owned vehicles through a totally online buying platform. Customers outside the area can drop off or pick up cars from set locations.
“A car is the second biggest purchase that most people will make in their lifetime, yet 91 per cent of those we surveyed in Saskatchewan believe that there is a lack of transparency between car sales reps and customers,” says Brent Gudelot, General Manager of Central Canada. “We want our customers to feel empowered to pick a car that best fits their needs and we want them to enjoy the process. With Clutch, they will now be able to access a convenient and transparent car-buying experience with a large selection of quality cars at competitive prices.”
Clutch, the first and largest online car retailer in Canada, now serves Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island.
Coconut Software implements four-day weeks
Saskatoon-based tech firm Coconut Software announced on Mar. 8 that the company would make a permanent move to a four-day work week after a successful pilot in 2021. The company staff will work four day weeks from Monday to Thursday, with Fridays off, totaling 32 hours per week. There is no reduction in salary to accommodate the change. In addition, Coconut’s customer service staff will alternative with days off on Mondays and Fridays to ensure full coverage.
“We believe that if we take care of our people, they will, in turn, take great care of our customers and business,” says Katherine Regnier, Coconut Software CEO. “That’s why it’s so critical we ensure our employees have time to rest, recharge, and be ready to tackle the week’s challenges. Coconut is very results-driven. Based on the data, performance has remained strong and, in some cases, the team’s productivity has increased.”
ISC named Top Employer for 2022
Information Services Corporation (ISC) was named as one of Saskatchewan’s Top Employers for 2022, the 14th consecutive year that ISC has been recognized on the list. The company was recognized for its flexible work arrangements, maternity and parental top-up payments, and its pandemic response team.
Saskatchewan’s Top Employers is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, recognizing the Saskatchewan employers that lead by offering exceptional places to work. Private and public sector employers with a head office or principal place of business located in Saskatchewan may apply to the competition.
Forestry sector sets record
The Government of Saskatchewan announced on Mar. 8 that the provincial forestry sector set an all-time record in product sales, reaching $1.8 billion in 2021. The 60 per cent increase in sales from 2020 was led by increasing market prices for lumber and oriented strand board (OSB), growing Asian economies and increased housing starts in the United States.
In 2021, the sector also saw the announcement of timber allocations for four major forestry projects. The projects include One Sky Forest Products’ proposed new Oriented Strand Board (OSB) mill in Prince Albert, Paper Excellence’s restarting of the Prince Albert Pulp Mill, and expansions of Dunkley Lumber’s mill at Carrot River and the Carrier Forest Products’ sawmill in Big River.
SaskTel expands 5G in Saskatoon and Regina
On Mar. 10, SaskTel announced the company has begun rolling out its 5G wireless network in Saskatoon. As well, SaskTel has added 15 more towers in Regina to its 5G network, including the downtown area. The company plans to have its 5G wireless network throughout the majority of Saskatoon and Regina by the end of 2022.
“Today’s announcement is an important step forward as we strive to bring 5G service to our customers throughout the province,” said Doug Burnett, SaskTel President and CEO. “Combining unparalleled wireless data speeds with incredible network capacity and near real-time connections, our 5G network raises the standard for connectivity and paves the way for exciting technological innovations that will transform the way we connect to the world around us.”
SGI issues rebates
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) announced Mar. 4 that the company will issue rebate cheques to customers. SGI customers will receive a $100 dollar rebate for each vehicle they had registered as of March 9, 2022. All classes of vehicle (private, commercial, farm etc.) are eligible. Trailers and snowmobiles are not.
Saskatchewan adds jobs
Statistics Canada released February jobs numbers this week, showing Saskatchewan added 30,100 jobs last month – an increase of 5.6 per cent from the same time last year. The unemployment rate fell to 4.7 per cent, the second lowest among the Canadian provinces.
Sask Polytech works with Cameco on mining innovation
Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Digital Integration Centre of Excellence (DICE) – the province’s first and only Technology Access Centre (TAC) – announced a first this week. For the past two years, Sask Polytech has been working with Cameco on a research project that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve uranium mining processes.
That project collaboration has created a prototype artificial intelligence model for Cameco that “shows potential to better predict process outcomes for mining uranium with about 90 per cent accuracy,” according to Sask Polytech.
“We have created and refined a unique cutting recipe to make the jet boring system more precise. This not only improves processes, but also saves valuable time. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning removes the labour-intensive component of the mining planning process,” said Dr. Terry Peckham, Sask Polytech DICE TAC director.
The project combined Cameco’s uranium mining expertise with Sask Polytech’s experience in artificial intelligence and machine learning. “This is the first uranium mining project using artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize mining processes,” says Peckham. “It’s an exciting project for our research team and students.”
“Uranium mining is a highly competitive global industry,” says Jeremy Breker, Cameco’s vice-president of Technical Services. “Every efficiency improvement reduces our production costs and strengthens our ability to compete.
The DICE – Cameco project was funded by Cameco, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Mitacs and International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII).