Canadian tech companies hit with executive exodus amid sector downturn.
Following mass layoffs, several Canadian tech companies have announced significant changes to their executive teams or boards of directors within the last week.
Thinkific, WonderFi, and VerticalScope are the latest companies to publicly announce departures in their leadership teams as the tech sector grapples with a volatile market.
Vancouver-based SaaS company Thinkific announced early this week that its co-founder and COO Miranda Lievers is transitioning to an advisory role with the company as “Thinkific enters its next phase of growth and development.”
Lievers co-founded Thinkific with brothers Greg and Matt Smith, as well as Matt Payne, with a mission to provide a platform for course creators and businesses looking to educate existing and potential clients.
“It would be easy to dive into something new, but when I dive in, I’m all in.” – Miranda Lievers, Thinkific
Prior to Lievers’ departure, Thinkific publicly announced two rounds of layoffs within the last year, seeing approximately 176 employees let go in total. Speaking to the first set of layoffs in March 2022, Thinkific CEO Greg Smith cited a need for the company to cut costs and preserve cash amid tough fundraising market conditions.
A spokesperson for Thinkific told BetaKit that Lievers’ last day as COO for the company was on February 7th, and that her stepping away was a mutual decision.
Thinkific said in its press release that Lievers’ moving into an advisory role will also allow her to pursue connecting with Thinkific creators, and return to her “entrepreneurial roots focusing on small business and technology.”
In her personal LinkedIn statement, however, Lievers wrote that she doesn’t plan to “start another business for at least six months.”
“It would be easy to dive into something new, but when I dive in, I’m all in,” Lievers said.
Vancouver-based crypto company WonderFi revealed on Wednesday that its chief financial officer, John Rim, will be leaving the company effective immediately to “pursue other opportunities.”
Rim joined WonderFi in 2022 after previously working as a CFO for other organizations including Canadian crypto mining company Bitfarms, and Quarterhill, a public technology holding company that focuses on solutions for transportation systems and intellectual property.
WonderFi has appointed vice president of finance Andeena Wen to assume the role of interim chief financial officer. “We plan to appoint new team members with experience in our existing and future verticals, while focusing on profitability,” a WonderFi spokesperson told BetaKit regarding the company’s search for a new CFO.
RELATED: WonderFi releases public statement following Coinsquare merger report
The CFO swap comes amid several other changes within WonderFi’s organizational structure as the company weathers a brutal downturn for crypto. In October last year, WonderFi’s founding CEO Ben Samaroo was replaced with Dean Skurka, who was previously WonderFi’s head of exchanges and president of Bitbuy (acquired by WonderFi).
The volatility has also helped fuel consolidation in the sector, including WonderFi reportedly being in advanced merger talks with Coinsquare, its competitor in Canada, following the collapse of the latter’s acquisition of CoinSmart.
Toronto-based VerticalScope, which offers a software platform for online communities of enthusiasts, unveiled a number of changes to its board of directors after the arbitration for its majority shareholder NordStar concluded.
Paul Rivett, the former chair of VerticalScope’s board and nominee of NordStar; as well as Marina Glogovac, who was appointed to lead the Toronto Star as president and CEO, then reportedly dismissed after the arbitration concluded, have both resigned from the board.
Philip Evershed, who is a managing partner at PointNorth Capital, was appointed to replace Rivett as NordStar’s nominee, Rob Laidlaw, the founder and CEO of VerticalScope, was tapped to lead the board as chair. Wayne Bigby was appointed as lead independent director.
VerticalScope has not responded to requests for comment by the time of publication.
RELATED: VerticalScope becomes latest public tech firm to make layoffs with 22 percent staff reduction
Smart thermostat company Hilo, is also reportedly losing its chief technology officer, David Saint-Germain, according to The Logic. Hilo has not responded to requests for comment by the time of publication.
Hilo, which is a subsidiary of Hydro Québec, appointed Saint-Germain to his position in 2020. Saint-Germain leaving Hilo follows a string of other executives leaving Hydro Québec in recent weeks, including its CEO Sophie Brochu, who said she will step down on April 11. Le Journal de Montréal reported that Hydro Québec dismissed Hilo CEO Sébastien Fournier last October.
A spokesperson for Hydro Quebec reportedly told The Logic that Saint-Germain’s departure will take place on the first day of March, and that Saint-Germain will be taking up a position at Montréal-based satellite-based data company NorthStar Earth&Space.
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