Your week in Atlantic Canada business news
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The chip that makes you thirsty for pineapple rum
Months of taste-testing and market-mulling have finally borne fruit (or vegetable in this case). New Brunswick’s Covered Bridge is about to launch East Coast Lifestyle chips. So far there’s one flavour — Thick Cut Sea Salt — one that’s sure to whet the appetite for another ECL collaboration that plays to Newfoundlanders’ fondness for pineapple Crush and a broader weakness for rum.
A really big deal
We thought the $70-million GoInstant buyout by Salesforce eight years ago was big. Or the near-half-billion Danone purchase of Sparkling Springs a decade earlier. But Thursday’s US$2.75 billion cash price paid by Nasdaq Inc. for Verafin of St. John’s dwarfs them all. New markets for Verafin’s industry-leading software that detects and tracks fraud and money laundering for financial institutions will mean hundreds of new jobs.
Forget Black Friday, it’s Tech Thursday
Any other day, Fastspring’s purchase of Halifax-based SalesRight would have had top billing. Thursday’s news came with no price tag but it’s a big deal and will bring jobs to the city and a tidy sum to SalesRight’s founders. Congrats to CEO Bill Wilson, whose old company MindSea made an award-winning app for The Chronicle Herald back in the day.
No crew, no worries
XOcean started in Ireland and landed in Dartmouth a few years back. Now its tiny robo-boats are capable of making the return trip without crew or support. The solar-powered, sensor-laden platforms generate data for aquaculture, mining and energy extraction. The company was one of several to share in $3.4 million in ocean-related funding announced Thursday. Here’s who got what.
Checking in with SimplyCast
Saeed El-Darahali likes data, the kind that helps companies connect with customers. Now he’s turned his firm’s data-gathering expertise to the problem of contact tracing in a pandemic. SimplyCast’s solution requires no app and no handing over of personal information. Enter a restaurant, text your name and a code for the diner to 11011 and that’s it. For now the text check-in service is free.
Scotland’s loss is East Coast’s gain
Grieg Seafoods is shutting down its Scottish salmon farms and focusing on its home, Norway, and expanding operations on Canada’s East Coast. That means more salmon, more jobs—and likely more protests.
New tires from throwaway cups
Old tires go into cement kilns and old Styrofoam cups go mostly where the wind blows them. But there was a bit of good news this week from Pyrowave and Michelin Canada who both figure there’s a better way. They’ve just entered an agreement to test whether polystyrene and other plastics can be melted down with microwaves and used in making tires.
MOVERS AND MAKERS
And the award goes to ...
While some East Coast tech companies were busy being bought, others were making best-of lists. This week, Newfoundland’s Kraken Robotics was named one of Canada’s Top 50 Fastest Growing tech, media and communications companies.
A win for Parris-Drummond
Sylvia Parris-Drummond of Halifax's Delmore "Buddy" Daye Learning Institute was one of six winners named Wednesday at the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards in Toronto. Parris-Drummond took the Social Change Award. More than 8,000 women were nominated for the awards.
A move for High Liner's Brown
News Thursday that Peter Brown, former president of fish-seller High Liner Foods and most recently chief operating officer at Butterball, is taking over as president of Seaboard Foods. There's "sea" in the name, but it's a big US pork processor. True thing: Seaboard's parent company's president is Bob Steer.
CHARLEBOIS: Beyond Meat’s claim to be better than the four-hoofed protein is likely its undoing and a quiet distancing by McDonalds could be just the start of the fake meat maker’s worries.
CARMICHAEL: After buying a pipeline, backing a ketchup plant and paying Ford to stay in Canada, it might be time to spend a few tax dollars stopping the next exodus—intellectual property. Blackberry patents, anyone?
ZIOBROWSKI: Let’s say thanks to the people who bring you all that stuff from China and everywhere else, across the wintry seas, amid the pandemic and spend their Christmas on ships far from home. Check out the Shoebox program here.
That's the wrap! Back next Friday.
Until then, have glass of something warm—coffee, tea or stronger—and toast the sailors who brought it.
Brian Ward is SaltWire Network's managing editor for business.