Briefing

Sidewalk Labs backs out of Quayside Venture Partners

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The Alphabet subsidiary had committed $10 million to the venture capital fund, set up to support early-stage companies working on smart-city technologies. Toronto-based Plaza Ventures, which was also involved in QVP, plans to continue the fund in some form with other investors. A spokesperson for the firm said either Sidewalk or Alphabet may still be involved in some capacity, despite pulling their funding. (BetaKit, The Logic)

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Talking point: Sidewalk’s retreat from QVP follows news it closed its Toronto office and laid off more than half of its staff there after abandoning plans to develop a mixed-use smart-city neighbourhood along the city’s eastern waterfront. Some leaders of Toronto’s business community had held on hope that Sidewalk leaving the Quayside wouldn’t necessarily be an end to its smart-city ambitions in the city: “We’re … pleased that they’re keeping a presence here in Toronto … because it shows that they see the opportunity here in Toronto in terms of working with the business community,” Farah Mohamed, a senior vice-president at the Toronto Region Board of Trade, told The Logic at the time. The company’s decision to leave QVP challenges assumptions it will keep investing in the local tech ecosystem.