Coffee Briefing December 13, 2022- Google for Startups Accelerator applications; SAP holiday shopping data; BMO and Extend partner; and more


Coffee Briefings are timely deliveries of the latest ITWC headlines, interviews, and podcasts. Today’s Coffee Briefing is delivered by IT World Canada’s editorial team!

Missed last week’s Coffee Briefing? We’ve got you covered.

What’s new this week

Google for Startups Accelerator Canada applications now open
Source: Google

Applications are now open for the fourth Google for Startups Accelerator Canada, which launches in March 2023. The accelerator brings Google’s programs, products, people, and technology to Canadian startups that are leveraging machine learning and AI through their work. 

The accelerator provides mentorships and technical project support, as well as workshops focused on product design, customer acquisition, and leadership development for founders.

Google will select up to 12 Seed to Series A tech startups based in Canada. Participating companies will receive technical training and high-level strategic development opportunities with its machine learning, people, product, and growth labs.

Applications are open until Feb. 1, 2023 with the accelerator kicking off in March 2023. 

For more information and the application link, click here

SAP holiday shopping data reveals shoppers’ willingness to spend

Holiday shopping has begun, and SAP reports that SAP Commerce Cloud powered over US$8.3 billion in digital commerce gross merchandise value (GMV) for Cyber Week with their retail customers, seeing a 22.3 per cent increase in average order value (AOV) year over year (YOY)

For Black Friday, overall site traffic for SAP Commerce Cloud customers increased 23 per cent versus last year. And on Cyber Monday, overall site traffic increased 53 per cent.

In addition to site traffic, retail customers leveraging SAP Commerce Cloud saw Black Friday conversion rates of 3.4 times that of 2021.

Based on SAP’s data, shoppers are looking for the best deals they can find. Black Friday traffic for retailers running SAP Commerce Cloud that executed sales events was 33 per cent higher YOY, versus a 16 per cent increase for the total data set. On Cyber Monday, overall site traffic increased 53 per cent, 40 per cent more than the daily average. 

BMO and Extend partner for virtual card distribution 
Source: BMO

BMO and virtual card and spend management platform provider Extend are partnering to announce the addition of a set of payment functionality to BMO Corporate Cards. Through its existing relationship with Mastercard, BMO Commercial Bank clients across North America can now use Extend’s mobile and desktop app to create, send, and manage virtual cards for simplified payment and reconciliation processes.

BMO is the first organization to work with Extend in Canada and will make Extend solutions available to all corporate card clients across North America. 

Extend’s platform offers BMO clients the ability to control vendor payments, manage receipts and recurring expenses, as well as subscriptions. BMO clients can also set spending limits and create, modify, send, and cancel virtual cards in real-time.

“Our Corporate Card clients want to keep their spending secure and controlled, while reducing costs,” said Derek Vernon, head of product management and enterprise payments modernization, BMO Commercial Bank. “The Extend for BMO app solves this critical need with the power of virtual cards that retain all the benefits our clients already enjoy with their Corporate Card program while helping them make real financial progress.”

This agreement builds on the bank’s recently announced partnerships with FISPAN and Xero.

Two Montreal teams winners at the global IBM Call for Code competition

At an awards ceremony at the United Nations in New York last week, IBM honoured winners of its annual global Call for Code competition, which included Canadian teams that placed third and fourth.

Call for Code lets innovators around the globe help speed up sustainable development and fight climate change through technology solutions powered by open source software.

The finalists from Canada were two Montreal-based companies. The third place winner was Nearbuy, a shopping assistant designed by a team of Morgan Stanley developers that integrates with existing online shopping sites and automatically notifies users if similar items can be found locally. Nearbuy was awarded US$25,000. 

ESSPERA, a machine learning application from SIA Innovations that helps farmers choose the best seeds to plant for the next harvest, taking into account both published seed trial data and local weather forecasts, won fourth place and was awarded US$10,000. 

More to explore 

Google urges developers to build more secure software

Since the compromise of the SolarWinds Orion update mechanism two years ago this month, governments and the IT industry have made strides in trying to reduce the attack surface of applications.

Toronto Pwn2Own hacking contest awards over $980,000 to bug hunters

Security researchers picked up US$989,750 in prizes for demonstrating 63 unique zero day vulnerabilities in consumer and small office products during the four-day Toronto edition of the Pwn2Own hacking contest.

Rackspace outage crashes share price; Silent teleport steals data from financial institutions; Open source Cryptonite “accidentally” destroys data. This Week in Ransomware – Sunday, Dec 11, 2022

On Dec. 2, Rackspace experienced an outage for its Hosted Exchange environment. The company blamed a “security incident.” A status update issued by the company noted, “We proactively shut down the environment to avoid any further issues while we continue work to restore service.”

Ad-free search platform launches in Canada

Search engine Neeva launches today in Canada to provide users with a tracking-free and ad-free alternative to search platform Google.

Government of Canada to invest $30 million in AI in robots

The federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, recently announced an investment of $30 million in Sanctuary Cognitive Systems Corporation, a Vancouver company specializing in AI and robotics.

A happy holiday gift guide – part 1

Tis the season for worrying about what to buy for friends, colleagues, and loved ones – and what we would like to find under the tree for ourselves. So in honour of the season, we offer the first of our weekly gift guides that we hope will spark inspiration.

Happy holiday gift guide: Part Two

It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is approaching quickly and gift buying is probably taking over your mind. If you’re stumped on what to buy and need some inspiration, take a look at part 2 of our holiday gift guide!

Technicity West: Innovative economies are built on four key pillars

Creating an innovative economy can only happen if four key pillars are adopted that will allow municipal growth to happen in new ways, the city manager of Lethbridge, Alta. said this week.

Climate Neutral wins the top prize in WEtech Alliance’s ScaleUP Accelerator

Cleantech company Climate Neutral, which develops digital tools to accelerate climate action, has been awarded the C$20,000 top prize from WEtech Alliance’s ScaleUP Accelerator program.

Aeris to acquire IoT business from Ericsson

Ericsson has signed an agreement for the transfer of its IoT Accelerator and Connected Vehicle Cloud businesses to San Jose based-Aeris Communications, a provider of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

Channel Bytes December 9, 2022 – Broadcom announces plans for VMware; CYREBRO appoints global channel sales VP; U.S. Pentagon blocks resellers; and more

Staying informed is a constant challenge. There’s so much to do, and so little time. But we have you covered. Grab a coffee and take five while you nibble on these tidbits.

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Trending

Maryland is the most recent state to ban TikTok in government agencies, Amazon accused of stealing delivery driver tips, and the EU sets a deadline for device manufacturers to switch to USB-C for their data and charging ports.

Listen to the latest episode of Cyber Security Today

This episode reports on the results from the Toronto Pwn2Own contest, a possible way to hack air-gapped computers, a report on improving the software security supply chain and more.

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Tendances (Hosted by Direction Informatique)

If you live in Quebec, or prefer to consume the latest technology news in French, our sister publication Direction Informatique has you covered. Follow them on Twitter as well.