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Report on Small Business Newsletter: Kitchener startup helps small business owners unplug from work

OpenPhone founders Mahyar Raissi and Daryna Kulya. OpenPhone photo A pair of Kitchener, Ont.-based entrepreneurs are trying to give smartphone-dependent small-business owners some much-needed work-life balance with their OpenPhone voice-over-IP (VOIP) application.

OpenPhone


Kitchener startup OpenPhone helps small business owners unplug from work

A pair of Kitchener, Ont.-based entrepreneurs are trying to give smartphone-dependent small-business owners some much-needed work-life balance with their OpenPhone voice-over-IP (VOIP) application.

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OpenPhone is a monthly subscription service that gives users a local or toll-free phone number that can be used for business calls and texts on their personal smartphones. The app, which costs $12.49 a month in Canada and $9.99 in the United States, also allows multiple employees to use the same number to answer business calls and text messages.

The service, which came out on Android phones in mid-June after launching on iOS in Apple’s App Store in January, adds credibility to the business, users say. Full story

Employers turn to online therapy programs to boost worker productivity

The clients Lindsay Killam sees as an alcohol-abuse counsellor are often professionals: people who don’t have a lot of free time and typically don’t want to broadcast that they’re in treatment. That’s why they meet with her online. Full story

Canopy buying Hiku Brands, owner of Tokyo Smoke coffee shops

Canopy Growth Corp. is acquiring Hiku Brands Co. Ltd., the owner of the Tokyo Smoke chain of coffee shops that sells cannabis accessories and clothing. The Smiths Falls, Ont.-based marijuana producer struck an all-share deal on Tuesday to acquire the retailer. Hiku says the deal is worth about $350-million on a fully diluted basis, which includes warrants and options. Full story

Calgary startup pulls plagiarized marketing materials ahead of coin offering

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A Calgary-based technology startup has pulled the marketing materials for a planned cryptocurrency offering after it was discovered that large sections were copied wholesale from another firm’s documents. Full story (Globe subscribers)

The tech guru who captivated Canada, then fled to China

Sun Yian was living the Canadian dream. The Chinese immigrant found fortune harnessing Canadian talent to develop cutting-edge technology, everything from semiconductors to facial recognition, to take back to China. His company grew to more than 1,500 employees across China and North America, and was lauded by Canadian officials as a model for unlocking the Chinese market to create homegrown prosperity. Full story

Local startup ApplyBoard secures more than $13 million in funding from Silicon Valley based Artiman Ventures

Martin Basiri knows all about the challenges that come with looking for a school to attend overseas and deal with the uncertainty of whether you’ve made the right decision. “Just to tell you how challenging it is, name five universities in Korea,” said Basiri, who hears dead air on the phone. “That’s the same for the Korean students who want to come here, they couldn’t name five schools. Full story

Calgary photographer fills local film processing void

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As many labs over the years shutter their film processing services, one Calgary man is shooting for a small business where he can do what he loves: work with old cameras. Full story

Small airlines and bush pilots forced to cut back northern flights in wake of Canadian pilot shortage

As Canada faces a serious pilot shortage, northern airlines are losing out to national companies in the competition for staff, forcing some to cut back service. “In the old days, used to be people would get their licence and go up north somewhere to fly for a few years, get their hours up, and go to a regional airline and then a major airline after that,” said bush pilot Dan Wettlaufer. Full story

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