Berlin-based Elucidate raises €2.5 million to further develop its Financial Crime Index

Today Elucidate, the Berlin-based financial crime risk quantification agency, has announced closing a €2.5 million investment led by Silicon Valley-based 11.2 Capital. Other participants in the round include Seed X Liechtenstein, Apex Ventures, Big Start Ventures and SixThirty Ventures. The funding will enable Elucidate (2018) to further develop the company’s flagship product, the Elucidate FinCrime Index (EFI), and its ability to measure financial crime risk.

The EFI, built using probabilistic modelling and machine learning, uses data to score financial crime risk against an objective industry baseline. Unlike most financial crime offerings, which guide users to manually determine reactions to potential financial crime, the EFI uses data analysis to anticipate and prevent financial crime.

Filipe Garcia, co-founder and CTO at Elucidate, explains how the platform leverages cutting-edge technology to effectively manage risk: “We are in a unique position to be able to digitise an antiquated status quo. We apply methods that financial analyst John Moody could only have dreamed of when he started modelling risk a century ago. Applying deep learning in a dataset that is unparalleled in the industry allows us to see financial crime patterns that are not visible to the human eye. The repeatability of our algorithm allows us to set up a de facto financial crime risk baseline in the industry with speed and accuracy.“

Shane Riedel, co-founder and CEO at Elucidate, believes now is the right time to onboard investors: “Since launching in 2019, Elucidate has expanded data analytics coverage to over 2,500 financial institutions. The work of fully partnering with our users to enable them to move from basic risk detection to proactive risk prevention, however, requires ongoing investment in data analytics and machine learning capabilities. 11.2 Capital, as well as our other investors, bring both capital and expertise to this transformational objective.”

The investors of this round see maximum potential in Elucidate’s ambitions as part of a broader shift towards the application of deeptech in financial services. Shelley Zhuang, Founder and Managing Partner at 11.2 Capital, noted that “The ability to assess financial crime risk has been a subjective and unstandardized process, whereas Elucidate utilizes a structured framework built upon inherent risk factors, their impact, and enforcement actions to objectively quantify financial crime risk. This allows respondent and correspondent banks, regulatory agencies and regulated entities, trading partners and counterparties to determine financial crime risk on a systemic basis.”


Berlin-based Back lands €2.9 million to boost its employee request platform across the US and Europe

Today German HRtech startup Back Technologies, the employee service platform, announces that it has raised a seed round of around €2.9 million. The startup aims to help employees get their requests at work solved quicker, especially in this era of remote working, when face-to-face interactions are minimal and digital communications can easily get forgotten.

The investment was led by La Famiglia, with participation from Gradient Ventures (Google’s AI-focused venture fund) and angel investors such as Charles Songhurst (Microsoft’s former Head of Corporate Strategy), Matthias Hilpert (Orange’s former Board Member), Renaud Visage (Eventbrite’s founder), and the founders of Tourlane and Personio. Existing investors Point Nine Capital and Seedcamp also participated in the seed round.

From a broken keyboard, to finding payslips from last year, to getting a copy of company policy, there can be any number of issues that an employee can request help to solve. Add in email, messaging services like Slack, and workflow platforms, and HR managers and team leaders can easily lose track of such requests, leaving employees floating without an answer. 

This is where Back comes in. Its cloud-based employee service platform seamlessly integrates with popular workplace chat software (such as Slack) to quickly solve and manage employee requests. Many of these messages are repetitive employee requests, which Back can help to solve automatically by combining case management, project management, and knowledge automation.

So how does it work in more detail? Thanks to the software, a concierge bot for employees on Slack automatically answers questions based on previous answers or related knowledge documents. Alternatively, it will route the request to the appropriate team, and keep the employee updated on its progress. The platform offers 1-click integrations with knowledge management systems like Confluence and core HR systems like BambooHR and Personio to find related information for any request. Current customers include some of the fastest-growing tech companies in Europe, such as Choco, Marley Spoon, Personio, and Statista.

“Using Back, we’re able to better serve our employees and help our team to work more efficiently. The technology has allowed us to reduce our response time to within a day and our resolution times by 71% on average,” said Laura Christenhuß, People Operations Manager at Marley Spoon.

With this new funding, the company plans to grow its market presence in the US, while also expanding across Europe. It plans to hire new talent for engineering, marketing and sales roles and hopes to double its team this year.

“Companies are struggling to rapidly adapt to digital communication environments. Back provides employees with a seamless experience while also helping companies reduce workload through clever automation. This is a game changer for any team in our hectic and remote work environment,” said Christian Eggert, CEO and cofounder of Back Technologies. “We’re pleased to have the support from our new investors which will help us to service more customers around the globe.”

“The remote-work economy is here to stay and existing solutions for internal case management are failing to meet the needs of workers,” said Darian Shirazi, General Partner at Gradient Ventures. “We’re excited by Back’s novel solution to automate the development of internal content and answer the questions workers have to excel at their jobs.”


Berlin-based VC Fly Ventures launches €53M Fund II to invest in deep tech seed-stage startups across Europe

Based out of Berlin, Fly Ventures is a VC firm focused on investing in deep tech seed-stage companies across Europe. In the latest development, the German VC firm has announced €53 million funding to uncover the next-generation of industry-defining founders in pan-European tech. This takes its total raised to €88 million since 2017. 

Gabriel Matuschka, the co-founder, says: “Fly is built with our founders in mind; structured to serve their most pressing needs – building complex, industry-defining technologies and selling it to large clients. Fly delivers on this through its two-team approach, combining the best commercial expertise with leading technical knowledge. A rarity in European venture and one that makes us the best partner for Enterprise and Deep Tech startups in Europe.”

Back startups that close the gap!

According to the company claims, many enterprise employees enjoy modern software in their personal lives but have outdated, legacy systems at work. Fly seeks to back startups that close this gap for enterprise clients. Furthermore, Fly Ventures believes it is a multi-trillion-dollar transition in the making.

Proprietary, specialised, and difficult to replicate!

In the deep tech space, investments are focused on founders and startups developing novel, advanced technology at the cutting edge of their respective sectors. 

These technologies should be proprietary and specialised, difficult to replicate, and often do not have a clear path to market or proven revenue case at the time of the initial investment. 

As per the German VC, this potential can only be unlocked through founders with deep expertise and unparalleled knowledge. Fly Ventures will use Fund II to make initial investments between €500k and €1.3 million

Fund I’s standout investment!

Talking about the Fund I, some of the standout investments include autonomous driving pioneers Wayve, clinical trials marketplace Inato, and cybersecurity startup GitGuardian. Notably, two of the 28 Fund I investments already exited. 

Also, Fly Ventures was an early investor in a couple of startups – Bloomsbury AI and Scape. Both companies were acquired by Facebook. 

Cross-functional team!

Fly Venture has a cross-functional team – Fredrik was one of the brains behind the Google Assistant program, while Gabriel opened and led the Berlin office for Partech Ventures before forming Fly in 2016. Also, Matt Wichrowski, who joined Fly Ventures from Entrepreneur First in March and is helping to establish Fly Ventures’ position in the UK. It’s worth mentioning that, with Fund II, existing members Marie Wennergren, Felix Wolf, and David Malinge have been promoted to partner. 

Matt Wichrowski, added: “We have a vast talent pool in Europe with deep expertise and experience. That talent has the potential to remake entire industries and that’s what we want our fund to unlock. The venture is pretty simple: find great people and make hard, risky bets that have huge outcomes. A lot of ventures today have lost this ethos. It’s become more reserved with risk-taking. We at Fly are going back to the heart of what VC is all about; using our vast expertise in building and selling to uncover, identify, develop and finally make use of the abundance of enterprise and deep tech talent to build super large outcomes for all involved.”

Eric Fourrier, the co-founder at GitGuardian, said: “Fly Ventures represents a rare breed of investor that not only shares our passion for technology and the complex problems we’re trying to solve but supports us in building and selling our products. They understand our vision, recognize our potential, and are willing to take risks because they, like us, understand just how important such technologies are.”

Main image credits: Fly Ventures

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Berlin-based Contentful secures €71.3M funding to accelerate expansion; ropes in new CMO

Berlin-based Contentful, which is a global leader in headless CMS (content management systems) has announced the completion of Series E funding. The company has secured $ 80 million (nearly €71.3 million) funding in a round led by Sapphire Ventures along with participation from Salesforce Ventures, General Catalyst, and other new and existing investors.

Intends to accelerate expansion

With the latest investment, the overall funding raised by the company is now $ 158 million (nearly €140.8 million). And, it has been announced that Contentful will accelerate its expansion process to meet the demands and momentum for the omni-channel platform in the market.

“Since pioneering headless CMS six years ago, Contentful has been transforming how companies manage and deploy content across all of their properties,” said Andreas Weiskam, Managing Director of Sapphire Ventures, which also led Contentful’s Series D funding. “As consumers access digital content across more channels, legacy CMS suites are unable to support the demand. We believe Contentful’s API-first approach makes it easy for companies to integrate hundreds of tools and scale up their digital presence on any channel.”

Ropes in new CMO!

Besides the Series E funding, the Berlin-based startup has roped in Bridget Perry as its new CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) to lead partnerships and marketing. Notably, late last year, the company expanded its senior leadership team by roping in Steve Sloan as its CEO and Margo Smith as its Chief Legal Officer. On the whole, eight members have joined the senior leadership team of Contentful last year.

“As a marketing leader responsible for ensuring brand consistency, I know firsthand how challenging it is for builders to deliver a consistent digital customer experience while using outdated technology,” said CMO Perry. “Established CMSes and digital experience platforms (DXPs) aren’t agile enough to manage and deliver dynamic, omnichannel content. Contentful’s agile content platform is on a fast path to disrupting the market.”

Adapts to post COVID-19 era

Berlin-based Contentful is leading the industry with its next-generation content platform. This platform is touted to let developers, content creators, and designers to create as well as deliver digital experiences for any device or channel. The company is helping businesses compete in the massive shift to a digital-first economy.

Well, Contentful is helping brands adapt to the changing digital landscape by scaling up its offerings. During the COVID-19 outbreak, brands had to rely more on digital channels and this has become the new normal for customer engagement. With its omni-channel content platform, Contentful is helping businesses respond quickly to the digital-only economy that has set in suddenly.

The rapid adoption has helped Contentful witness strong growth. Notably, 28% of the Fortune 500 and 2,200 customers across the world use its platform to manage and deliver content across channels such as websites, digital displays, mobile apps, and wearables.

In a bid to replace the existing CMS or extend the capabilities of CMS or DXP, companies adopt advanced content platforms. The notable capabilities include global campaigns, e-commerce, knowledge bases, and in-app content. Some most valuable global brands that use the content platform of this Berlin-based startup include Spotify, Aldo, The British Museum, Bang & Olufsen and Lenovo. And, its ecosystem of over 300 partners includes top-tier digital agencies such as Publicis Sapient, Huge, Valtech and AKQA.

Main image picture credits: Contentful

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Berlin-based Homeday snaps up €40 million for its hybrid brokerage solutions

Today Berlin-based Homeday, the brokerage firm financed by Project A, will receive a further €40 million. Axel Springer SE and Purplebricks are also investing and expanding their shares.

Homeday, founded in 2015, is one of the fastest growing nationwide brokerage companies in Germany. Homeday offers real estate sellers a full brokerage service with experienced local agents, with no commission charged. Buyers also pay less than usual on the market and therefore have more money at their disposal. Overall, the Homeday service saves all parties involved thousands of euros. 

Today a team of almost 200 employees and 180 independent Homeday brokers accompanies real estate sellers and buyers in Germany through the entire brokerage process, from the intention to sell to the conclusion of the contract.

The lead investor in this round was Project A, a leading venture capital company in Europe with offices in Berlin, Munich and London. Uwe Horstmann, partner and managing director of Project A, commented: “As a partner and investor from the very beginning with Axel Springer SE and Purplebricks, we are extremely pleased about the impressive development of Homeday. Project A and Homeday have had a particularly close relationship for a long time. We have not only accompanied the company financially, but Project A has supported Homeday in many areas such as the development of marketing or business intelligence. We also provided operational support for technological and product-related development.”

Digital brokerage solutions have been revolutionizing the real estate market for several years now, and Homeday was able to increase its brokerage orders in 2019 by 515% compared to the previous year. To date, Homeday has brokered real estate valued at around €3 billion.


Doctorly: Berlin-based digital platform for doctors raises €5M funding

Based out of Berlin, Doctorly is a digital-first, cloud-powered, fully centralised, practice management platform for doctors. Recently, the company has secured $ 5.6 million (approx €5 million) led by Speedinvest. Other investors including Seedcamp, Target Global, Force Ventures, and UNIQA Ventures also participated.  

Founded in 2018, doctorly is made up of an international team of serial tech entrepreneurs, doctors, technology experts, and product design specialists. As per the company claims, around 130,000 medical practices in Germany still uses a DOS-based system to manage patients’ records. 

“Our first step to making this vision a reality is saving doctors and medical staff from their DOS-based, efficiency killing, highly regulated Practice Management Software.”

Right now, the German company is on a mission to replace the outdated practice management software being used by doctors in Germany and internationally. With B2B and B2C models, Doctorly provides all of the digital technology, tools, and support, via a single system, for a doctor to efficiently and digitally manage their practice, and to engage with their patients like never before. 

On the other hand, Doctorly wants to offer digital personalized services and tools to patients via the health app patient portal, technology working perfectly in sync with their doctors.

“Raising a significant round of funding during a health crisis and subsequent economic downturn was not easy, but our vision to enable truly meaningful digital disruption in healthcare resonated more than ever. Changing the way healthcare ‘works’ isn’t easy, but we are excited and incredibly motivated to make it happen.”

Main image credits: Doctorly

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Berlin-based Bryter, a no-coding toolbox, secures €14.1 million to expand in the US

Today German automation startup Bryter, who has built a no-coding platform for enterprises, has raised €14.1 million. The funds will be used to accelerate its international expansion, particularly in the US, and help enable international adoption across their growing global customer base.

Bryter, founded in 2018, is a leading no-code platform enabling experts to automate decision-making. Basically, it supports a range of organizations, like consulting firms, banks, corporates, and public administration across the globe, to digitalise and scale their services, without needing programming skills. So far the startup has offices in Berlin, Frankfurt, and London, and supports professionals at over 30 major companies like ING, PwC, Deloitte, Baker McKenzie, and Taylor Wessing. 

This new round was led by venture capital firms Dawn Capital and Accel, who also led the startup’s seed round. Also participating in the round were existing investors Notion Capital and the fund of SaaS veteran Mike Chalfen of Chalfen Ventures. 

CEO and co-founder, Michael Grupp said: “Building on our early momentum in the compliance and legal markets, this funding round will allow us to bring our enterprise no-code platform to more customers both in additional geographies and industries, and power our momentum for continued international growth. And we are thrilled to receive such high-skilled experience and support helping us achieve this.”

Evgenia Plotnikova, Partner at Dawn Capital, said: “BRYTER was founded just two years ago and has already made rapid progress. We at Dawn are hugely excited to witness the growth ahead as the business continues to scale globally.”

Luca Bocchio, Partner at Accel said: “We’ve been impressed with the impact BRYTER has already had, in such a short space in time, in unleashing the potential for business experts to participate in digital transformation without the need for specific programming skills. We’re excited to see the company continue its rapid growth and increased adoption amongst blue-chip global enterprise customers.” 


Berlin-based Vara raises €6.5 million for AI-powered breast cancer screening software

Today Vara, the Berlin-based company on a mission to save lives by making breast cancer screening accessible worldwide, has raised a €6.5 million Series A funding round, led by OMERS Ventures. German digital health pioneers Merantix, Think.Health, Soleria Capital, and Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play also participated in the round. 

According to the World Health Organisation, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women, with 2.1 million women being diagnosed each year. Early detection is key, with stage 1 patients seeing a high survival rate, but stage 4 patients’ survival chances dropping to below 15%. Screening is of course key to early detection, however, the process of analysing mammograms is time-consuming and repetitive, with each study requiring manual assessment. 

Vara, founded in 2016, offers a CE-certified machine learning software, which helps radiologists focus on detecting cancers in mammograms. After Vara has intelligently ruled out a normal mammogram it pre-writes a report which physicians can then double-check and easily sign off with a single click. Potentially suspicious mammograms can be viewed through Vara’s highly optimised workflow software, which has been purposefully designed to cater to radiologists’ specific requirements and has enabled early customers to significantly speed up their reporting process.

By significantly reducing workload, Vara helps radiologists detect breast cancer at a much earlier stage, which is crucial for survival rates, and increases the number of studies that can be read, meaning more women are able to receive critical breast cancer screenings. More than just an algorithm, however, the Vara platform is an end-to-end workflow and reporting system, and can be used across multiple workstations.

Trained and tested on one of the world’s largest breast cancer datasets of 2.5 million images, Vara is a highly accurate algorithmic safety net that augments human capabilities. In fact, it has already been implemented by leading screening providers across Europe.

To date, Vara has raised €9.5 million. It will use this new round of funding to expand further across Europe, as well as leverage its vast data pools to improve financial and clinical outcomes for both screening providers and governments.

Vara CEO and co-founder Jonas Muff comments: “It is our mission to broaden access to breast cancer screening, with too many women around the world not able to receive critical examinations. In screening, 97% of mammograms are healthy, so the reality is that incredibly well-trained radiologists spend the majority of their time performing assembly-line work that is repetitive and time-consuming. Early detection of breast cancer is critical for survival rates, and by accurately ruling out normal mammograms we enable physicians to focus their attention on the women who need it the most. This results in fewer lives lost, and by streamlining the whole process, from detection to report-filing, even more women can get access to critical screenings.”

OMERS Ventures Associate Director Bryony Marshall adds: “Vara has developed a truly pioneering platform that can significantly improve the outcome for breast cancer patients, and reinforces the value that AI can bring to the health sector. The company is addressing one of the biggest issues that radiologists face worldwide – the laborious processes that can prevent them from prioritising those screening mammograms that appear to show suspicious results. Vara has built a world-class team who put their customers’ needs at the very core of what they do.”

The AI company, which has a team of over 25 medical specialists, engineers and entrepreneurs, has already formed alliances with radiology groups and teleradiology providers to bring Vara to screening programmes across Europe, including Germany, Spain, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and is in advanced discussions to set up collaborations in the United Kingdom.


Berlin-based Spectrm, an AI-driven conversational marketing platform, raises €2.7 million

Today German startup Spectrm, a marketing platform that helps businesses turn customer conversations on messaging apps into insights and revenue, raised €2.7 million in Series A funding from international venture capital fund Runa Capital.  

Spectrm, founded in 2016, automates personalised one-to-one conversations to engage and convert customers. The AI-powered platform helps marketers guide the customers from websites, ads, and messenger apps like Facebook Messenger to final purchases. It streamlines a usually disconnected, multi-touchpoint marketing funnel into a fun and interactive conversation. The result is a personalised, instant and effortless buying journey that generates declared data on customer preferences. Spectrm also helps marketers leverage the data collection to build meaningful segments, optimise their funnel and build stronger customer relationships. 

The startup has already got some global attention, with Facebook naming Spectrm a strategic developer partner and Gartner also labelling the company a Cool Vendor in the Natural Language Processing space, recognising the background technology behind the platform. 

According to Global WebIndex research, social media users are now spending an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes per day across eight social networks and messaging apps. Сonversational marketing remains one of the best and the most effective communication channels – Facebook Messenger marketing has 10-80 times better engagement than email. Despite such impressive results, conversational marketing remains underestimated as only 1 out of every 100 businesses engages customers automatically or with chatbots— an approach with massive reach and greater interactivity. 

Max Koziolek, co-founder and CEO of Spectrm said: “At Spectrm, we believe conversation is a deeply human experience that is more effective and more insightful than any other format in marketing. Our vision is to combine the power of conversations with the reach of the largest platforms in the world”. 

Dmitry Galperin, Partner at Runa Capital adds: “Today businesses all over the world are facing the greatest challenge of how to attract and retain customers. Instead of trying to cover all marketing communication channels, it is much more effective to direct efforts to those that generate the most customer insights and highest ROI. Conversational marketing is one of those channels. Thus, the solution offered by the Spectrm team is widely relevant across industries. We are excited to support the project.”   

Spectrm focuses on mid-market and enterprise B2C firms in multiple verticals, powering companies like Ebay, Purple, Ford, Groupon, Renault, KLM, and others. In the past 12 months, the Spectrm platform enabled an average of 6 million interactions per month between brands and their customers.


Berlin-based MEDWING secures €28 million to solve hospital staff shortages

This morning German healthtech MEDWING, whose platform helps healthcare professionals find opportunities and solves staff shortages, announces having successfully closed its €28 million Series B financing round, led by Cathay Innovation, with participation from existing investors Northzone, Atlantic Labs, Cherry Ventures and Adevinta. 

Founded in 2017, MEDWING’s mission is to make working in the healthcare sector more attractive and to solve the shortage of healthcare personnel. The Berlin-based company wants to empower healthcare candidates to work in a way that suits their individual lifestyles and to support hospitals and care facilities in recruiting and human resource management. This is achieved through the combination of innovative matching, communication technology and personal consultation.

According to the World Bank, the global shortage of health professionals is expected to rise to around 20 million by 2030. In Germany, according to a survey by the Ipsos Institute, 6 out of 10 Germans (61%) believe that the shortage of healthcare professionals is the main issue of the German healthcare system.

In short, the healthcare sector needs to better manage its existing personnel, avoid misplanning and increase transparency. This is where MEDWING comes in, offering digital solutions for this purpose and aiming to become the leading one stop shop for jobs in the healthcare sector.

So far MEDWING has more 200,000 professionals and 2,500 partner hospitals, nursing homes and medical practices registered Germany-wide, making it the largest personnel pool and the most modern job matching system for the European healthcare sector. Every month, the startup registers more than 15,000 new candidates, places over 100 health care experts in permanent positions and fills more than 2,000 individual shifts via its own platform all over Germany.

With the fresh funds, MEDWING will develop further its features, products and services, which are specifically aimed at health professionals, hospitals and care facilities. The capital will also be used to expand its international business and team of 200 employees from Germany, France and the UK, to more countries.

Johannes Roggendorf, founder and Managing Director at MEDWING: “Our goal is to address the global shortage of healthcare workers and to improve access to healthcare globally. Today, we have the technology to think and live healthcare completely differently – making it better for everyone. For example, we can balance work  and family life for healthcare professionals in a way that no one needs to be stressed out anymore. We make it possible for well-trained nursing staff who give up their job after a few  years  and  do  something  completely  different to return to their actual calling. It is not acceptable that hospital wards have to be closed due to staff shortages. We solve these important societal challenges. A goal that we share with our investors.”

Jacky Abitbol, Partner at Cathay Innovation:“The digitalisation of work and digital health are among Cathay Innovation’s core investment themes. MEDWING stands exactly at this crossroad and it is therefore no coincidence that with the returning of Costanza Carissimo to Europe, we chose the company for our first investment in Germany. MEDWING’s platform has already brought positive changes to the recruitment, human resources management and care of many hospitals and institutions, especially highlighted during this covid-19 crisis. We strongly believe in Johannes and Timo’s vision and are excited to leverage our global platform to support them as they expand further across Europe.”

It’s also worth mentioning that MEDWING is also leading the charge pro bono in the fight against the coronavirus, by placing nurses, doctors and non-medical volunteers in hospitals, nursing homes and private households, as part of the initiative ‘WIR WOLLEN HELFEN’. With this nationwide initiative in Germany, the company is helping to reactivate the ‘hidden labour force’. Within a month, over 10,000 professionals and volunteers have already registered with the initiative.