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International Focus: Toronto, Canada


Booking.com Celebrates Women in Tech

Booking.com President and Chief Executive Officer Gillian Tans

E-commerce giant Booking.com celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th by honoring women in technology. Events and initiatives based in Toronto including mentorship opportunities recognized the achievements of women in the tech sector. A partnership with Canada Learning Code produced a two-part workshop to teach coding skills. “Connecting with strong female role models is crucial to help women advance their careers, especially in the tech industry. Our research revealed that 90 percent of female respondents would be inspired to chase their dreams just by seeing more women in leadership roles,” says Booking.com CEO Gillian Tans.

Financial Tech Startup Partners with Mastercard

Dream Payments, a Toronto-based fintech startup, is partnering with Mastercard, to make use of the Mastercard Send service to transmit insurance payouts to transform the way insurance claims are handled across the country. The Dream Payments Hub – through the Mastercard Send service – will streamline the process by which insurance claims are reimbursed. The service also provides an alternative method or insurers to receive premiums from customers.

Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge

A hackathon was recently held in the City Hall of Brampton, in the greater Toronto area. The hackathon was part of the nationwide Smart Cities Challenge, a competition open to all local and regional governments across Canada that impels communities to address issues with smart city technologies. The 12-hour competition featured teams of students from grade 8 through the first year of university competing for up to $2,000 in prizes. The Smart Cities Challenge offers a top prize of $50 million to the community that adopts the best smart city inspired approach to social, environmental and other challenges.

L'Oreal Acquires Augmented Reality Firm

ModiFace, a Toronto-based augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) firm, has been acquired by French cosmetic company L’Oreal. ModiFace focuses on AR and AI applications in the beauty industry. ModiFace enables users to try cosmetic products including lipstick and eyeshadow virtually through smartphone apps and in-store mirrors equipped with AR technology.

Google Plans Smart Neighborhood in Toronto

Sidewalk Labs – an “urban innovation organization” owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet Labs – plans to build a “smart neighborhood” on the Lake Ontario waterfront. The company has committed $50 million to the neighborhood, named Quayside. Plans include cameras and sensors to enable selfdriving cars, as well as improvements to the traffic system and electrical grid. Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff says the intention is to make Toronto the “first truly 21st century city.” The plans are pending approval from the city of Toronto.

Mark Chisholm, Consumer Technology Association

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