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Report on Small Business Newsletter: Meet Tamara Levitt, the Toronto woman who soothes millions on the Calm app

Tamara Levitt poses for a photograph in the her studio in Toronto, on Friday, August 3, 2018. (Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail)

Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Meet Tamara Levitt, the Toronto woman who soothes millions on the Calm app

You can scarcely go out the door in California without bumping into a Zen master or meditation practitioner. And yet, when it came to choosing a voice for one of the world’s most popular mental wellness apps, the founders of San-Francisco-based Calm.com Inc. turned to a Torontonian. Downloaded 30 million times, the Calm app relies on the tranquil tones of Tamara Levitt, 46, who writes, produces and narrates its mindfulness and meditation sessions. Full story

Looming legalization gives rise to wave of cannabis startup accelerators

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Cannabis legalization is attracting hordes of hopeful entrepreneurs to the sector. Yet when they have questions about complex regulatory issues and other business challenges, there have been relatively few mentors and programs to offer guidance. A new crop of cannabis-focused incubators and accelerators is hoping to change that by launching programs to assist fledgling firms in the marijuana sector. Full story (Globe subscribers)

Sidewalk Labs taking steps to control intellectual property on Toronto’s ‘smart city,’ document shows

Canadian governments and businesses stand to lose intellectual-property and economic benefits from Sidewalk Labs’ proposed “smart city” development in Toronto, IP experts say. A new document obtained by The Globe and Mail asks potential building-design partners to hand over all rights to their designs' intellectual property – and with it, the potential to further commercialize that work on subsequent projects worldwide – to Sidewalk Labs. The company is a division of Alphabet Inc., the parent of Google, and is focused on using technology and data to improve urban planning. Full story (Globe subscribers)

Worker shortages are a ‘new norm’ that will last a decade: BDC

Canada’s small and mid-sized companies must find ways to adapt to a “new norm” of worker shortages that will likely persist for a decade, says Pierre Cleroux, chief economist for the Business Development Bank of Canada. “They represent about 50 per cent of the Canadian economy. So they are very important. Also, they are very important in smaller communities,” Cleroux said in an interview ahead of a report issued Wednesday by the federal Crown corporation. Full story

Toronto legal AI software firm Kira Systems raises $50-million

Kira Inc., a Toronto artificial intelligence software firm that helps cut much of the drudgery of legal contract review, has raised US$50-million from New York venture capital giant Insight Venture Partners. The deal values the seven-year-old startup - which is believed to generate about $20-million in annual revenue and doubling year over year - at more than US$100-million and is one of the largest investments in Canada’s teeming AI sector this year. Full story (Globe subscribers)

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Andreessen Horowitz picks Canadian woman as general partner

The prominent Silicon Valley venture-capital fund Andreessen Horowitz has promoted Ottawa native Angela Strange to general partner, making her one of few Canadian women to reach the upper echelons of the U.S. venture-capital industry. Ms. Strange is a Stanford University graduate, a former entrepreneur, past product manager on Alphabet Inc.'s Google Chrome browser and a recent economic-policy adviser to the Canadian federal government. As a partner with Andreessen Horowitz for nearly four years, she has focused on financial services and technology, helping source investments such as Earnin', which lets users access their pay faster than a traditional paycheque. Full story (Globe subscribers)

Canadian entrepreneur begins ride-hailing venture in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

After capturing most of the market in the tiny east African nation of Rwanda with his ride-hailing app, Canadian expat Barrett Nash was looking for the next opportunity. He found it next door – a vast, untapped market in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tech startups such as Mr. Nash’s have been picking up speed throughout Africa in recent years as smartphone penetration grows rapidly in the continent. But the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been largely ignored, mostly due to an unstable political climate, high crime and low smartphone use. Full story (Globe subscribers)

WHAT WE’RE READING ELSEWHERE

MovetheDial founder Jodi Kovitz joins Toronto Mayor John Tory's re-election committee

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MovetheDial founder and CEO Jodi Kovitz has joined the re-election campaign committee for current Toronto mayor John Tory. Kovitz joins former Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth, Brad Duguid, and Think Research director of strategic partnerships, Tom Allison, as co-chairs on the committee. Betakit

Liberals promise 4-year freeze on NB Power rates for homeowners, small businesses

A Liberal promise to freeze power rates for residential customers and small businesses drew sharp criticism from opposition parties Wednesday. Liberal Brian Gallant said the party would introduce legislation to freeze rates for some customers over the next four years and force NB Power to cut jobs and spending. CBC

Want a job in Canadian tech? Don’t worry about that university degree

Google, Apple and IBM are all able to hire the savviest and smartest people on the planet. But lately, the tech giants have decided a four-year university degree is no longer the best indicator of a candidate’s aptitude. In fact, 15 of North America’s top technology companies don’t require potential employees to have a post-secondary education, according to research by Glassdoor, an employment website. The trend is evident in Canada as well, with top employers like Shopify, an e-commerce platform, identifying talent in new and novel ways. Canadian Business

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