With the warm weather kicking in, Waterloo tech news got even hotter this month. Big names like MasterClass and Verily have announced expansions into the region while local tech scale-ups Faire, ApplyBoard, SkyWatch and Tulip raised a combined $683M. There’s a lot to cover, but we’re here to fill you in.
Here are the top stories from April 2021:
MasterClass announces an engineering hub in Waterloo
The San Francisco-based streaming service officially announced plans to launch a new engineering headquarters in Waterloo, along with its first two hires. Matt Elgie (Barracuda FX, Broadway Technology and Sandvine) and James Spere (ProNavigator, Roadmunk and D2L) will be leading MasterClass’ engineering, product and technical teams in Canada.
Verily expands to Kitchener
Verily, a sister company to Google focused on research and innovation in healthcare announced its expansion to Kitchener this month. They will be opening a site dedicated to health care engineering, data science and product development, located at the expanding Google complex.
UWaterloo ranks amongst the top 150 universities in the world
For the first time, UWaterloo moved up into the top 150 universities in the world, according to the QS World University Overall Rankings, which grade institutions on reputation, teaching, research and global outreach across all disciplines. This comes on the heels of an earlier QS ranking that put UWaterloo in the top-40 for Engineering and Technology and, more specifically, 23rd overall for computer science, 35th for mathematics and 48th for electrical and electronic engineering.
Faire raises $260M and reaches $7B valuation
After going from startup to unicorn and beyond in just four years, Faire has announced its Europe expansion after raising $260 million in Series F funding round. According to the company, the potential for rapid growth is even stronger in Europe than in the US. Faire is currently operating in the largest markets in Europe, including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Italy, with plans to expand across all of continental Europe this year.
UWaterloo driverless shuttle hits the road
The University of Waterloo has launched Canada’s first driverless, autonomous 5G shuttle that will transport students and staff around campus. Developed entirely by a research team at the UWaterloo, this is a significant step in technological advancement as the shuttle is the first in the country to operate remotely over Rogers 5G network.
ApplyBoard raises $375M and triples its valuation
Edtech giant ApplyBoard has reached $4 billion valuation after its recent Series D Funding round. After achieving unicorn status just a year ago, ApplyBoard has expanded its platform to offer access to international educational programs in the UK, Australia and the United States. Their team has grown to match with a workforce of more than 1,000. The new funding will help further expand the company’s product offerings, destination countries and support for international students seeking to study abroad.
Tulip raises $28M in Series C Funding
Tulip, a cloud-based retail platform based in Kitchener, has announced a US$28 million raise in their Series C round. This was led by Arrowroot Capital of Santa Monica, Calif. with participation from BDC Capital and existing investors. The funding will “aid plans for future expansion in this exciting time for retail".
Waterloo spacetech innovator SkyWatch raises $20.9M
After a successful $20.9M raise, SkyWatch announced a five-year contract to deploy its new software on 14 commercial satellites that will be launched by SatRevolution, a commercial satellite company headquartered in Wroclaw, Poland.