Elevate unveils lineup: Toronto’s Elevate conference has announced a lineup of speakers that includes tennis superstar Venus Williams and Raquel Urtasan, founder of autonomous vehicle startup Waabi. The conference is  returning as an in-person event this September,  having been virtual in 2020 and 2021.

Ryerson renamed: Ryerson University announced a new name for the 73-year-old school: Toronto Metropolitan University. The new name follows pressure from students, alumni, and Indigenous leaders. It was originally named after Egerton Ryerson, a Canadian teacher and minister who was partially responsible for the residential school system.

Q4 Changes: Long-time Q4 Inc. finance chief Ryan Levenberg is stepping down from his role at the  investor-relations software company. Levenberg played a critical role in the company’s stock market listing last year. Chief operating officer Donna de Winter will act as the interim finance head as the company searches for a replacement.

Money talk

Vester raises $37.8 million: Pet tech startup Vester announced an oversubscribed $37.8-million Series B. The company’s platform connects pet owners with vets. U.S.-based PetMed Express committed $5-million to the round and will help Vester expand its services into American markets.

$12.7-million seed round for Signal 1: Healthtech startup Signal 1 announced a $12.7-million seed round with investments from Inovia Capital and renowned artificial intelligence researcher Geoffrey Hinton. Signal 1 provides technology to hospitals that integrates AI insights into their existing workflows.

EV charging startup raises $16.5-million: Toronto-based Swtch Energy has raised $16.5-million to expand its vehicle charging service into the U.S. Swtch Energy works with property developers to build charging stations into their buildings. With gas prices rising across North America, co-founder Carter Li told BetaKit it is the right time for the company to expand. “It becomes quite a financial motivation to own an EV for more moderate income households because now they’re not paying $2 a litre for gas anymore.”

Making it

Inclusive fashion for trans and non-binary youth: A Toronto father who created a swimwear line for his trans child is expanding to producing a bra for trans and non-binary teens. Jamie Alexander created Rubies in 2020 with swimsuits designed to make trans kids feel comfortable while being active. Alexander told BlogTO that his customers’ feedback was the inspiration for the new product. “They told me there were limited options available and that their kids wanted desperately to fit in with their cis friends who were developing.”

Celebrating Black Fashion and Beauty: The inaugural Black Fashion & Beauty Gala is coming to Toronto on September 24. Originally scheduled for September 2020, the event will celebrate creatives and businesses in the Black community working in the fashion and beauty industry.

Cheese whizzes: Journalist Mark Pupo has profiled the Pristine family, owners of Toronto’s fame Cheese Boutique, for Toronto Life. The store opened in 1970 when Hysen and Stella Pristine arrived in Canada after immigrating from Albania. Today, it’s a popular shopping spot for celebrities including Raptors and Leafs players, Drake and Dustin Hoffman.

BIPOC farmers’ market: A new farmers’ market featuring Black and Indigenous providers is coming to East York this spring. The market will run every Sunday morning from May through September.

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