In the recent development, the UK digital Bank, Starling Bank has raised an additional £40 million (approx €44.5 million) in funding led by existing backers, Harry McPike’s JTC and Merian Chrysalis Investment Company Limited.
The company is planning to use the funding to continue its rapid expansion as it disrupts the banking industry and to provide support for small business customers, who have been affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
Founded by Anne Boden and John Humpish, the Starling Bank has opened 1.4 million accounts, including 155,00 business accounts since launching its banking app in May 2017. According to TechCrunch, the UK digital bank now holds somewhere around £2.4 billion (€2.67 billion) in deposits.
Anne Boden, founder, and chief executive of Starling Bank, said: “This additional funding from our existing investors demonstrates their commitment both to Starling and to our small business and personal customers who need our support now more than ever.”
A few days back, Starling Bank and Funding Circle, the UK’s largest small business loan platform, have entered a strategic partnership to provide £300 million (approx €334 million) of lending to small businesses under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
The London-headquartered mobile banking application offers personal, business, joint, and euro current accounts on Android and iOS. The Starling Marketplace offers customers in-app access to a selection of third-party financial services. On top of that, it has B2B banking and payment services as well. The UK digital bank has offices in Southampton, Cardiff, and Dublin.
I've worked on an Android application for the last 2 months and just finished it today. It requires somewhat close proximity with other people (about 20 metres?) and/or for people to sit in restaurants/coffee shops. Should I launch and market or wait for the pandemic to be over?
The Presso team first piqued my interest in a trip to Hong Kong last summer. The startup promised a clever approach to dry cleaning that involved setting up robotic kiosks in hotel hallways. The product is aimed at traveling business people looking for a quick clean of rumpled up clothing ahead of an important business meeting. Best of all, it cuts out pricey hotel laundry services.
Obviously, a lot has changed in late-August, and like many others, the team has attempted to find a way to leverage its technology in the battle against the spread of COVID-19. The solution is a bit more niche than some, but Presso is still a fairly small team. The company has added a disinfecting element to its robot in line with CDC guidelines and has begun selling a limited number of units to TV and film production companies.
“My family in India actually contracted coronavirus and my mom and grandparents had to be hospitalized,” cofounder and CEO Nishant Jain told TechCrunch. “They are all safe now thankfully. If we can play even a small part in keeping clothes sanitized and people safe, we’d be honored. Even our team members have been quite active with helping out their local communities by sourcing masks and PPE for hospitals and designing ventilators.”
The move comes as California governor Gavin Newsom has announced plans to get film production back on track. Many studios are balking at such a rush to return to work, but for those who are still interested, Presso is offering up units for sets looking to remove the potential spread of the highly contagious novel coronavirus.
Presso’s latest push is fueled in part by an additional $ 250,000 in funding, bringing the team’s total up to $ 511,000. The company says it’s seen a 200% growth in orders from one month to the next, including high profile clients like Disney/Marvel, HBO, CBS an FOX.
TRAVEL booking startup Klook on Monday announced the launch of its new home-based experiences initiative Klook Home, as it directs its focus towards domestic offerings to combat the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The current pandemic of the novel coronavirus is creating unprecedented challenges for everyone. To find the way out of this brand new situation, we also need brand new ideas and rapidly deploy and scale them. Just the thing the most innovative startups are known for. With the EIT Digital Challenge 2020 in full swing, we look at previous winners and how they took up the challenge by doing what they do best: innovate.
Medicus.ai launches CoVive to fulfill its duty
2018 Challenge-winner Medicus.ai has always been on the forefront when it comes to offering smart triage-solutions. The Austrian startup offers an AI-based platform that explains and interprets blood tests and medical reports to provide personalised health tips, actionable recommendations and lifestyle coaching. So when COVID-19 started to spread more and more, Dr. Baher Al Hakim of Medicus.ai figured his company should play a role in stemming the spread: ” We’re doing our duty as a health-tech company.”
Founded in Dubai in 2015, and with total €20.9 million funding raised so far, Medicus.ai has reworked it’s solution to cover the COVID-19 in a slick mobile app called CoVive. With the app users can assess their risk of having the virus, connect to a doctor, monitor key parameters and trigger notifications to health authorities in case of emergency. According to Al Hakim, the app currently has well over 25,000 users. “For the developments we were able to use some components from our existing product. But we also did new development. For instance, the entire COVID-19 assessment in the app is new. ” To achieve the quality they needed, Medicus.ai partnered with BioneXt medical laboratories from Luxembourg. Al Hakima adds: “We did the design and development of the app. They have an advisory role. After all, they are the ones working in the field, testing the patients.”
Adapting to a pandemic has been challenging, ever for an agile health-tech company as Medicus. “The hardest part was getting the all important CE-certification in just a couple of weeks”, says Al Hakim. “Any app that handles personal information is supposed to be CE-certified. If it’s not, it is probably breaking regulations. But the main learning for us is that we need to move faster next time around. If we feel that we can contribute, we shouldn’t talk and discuss but just go for it. We will also involve partners immediately. They are on the ground, where it happens. They are the people that hear from patients, doctors and governments.”
SideKick-app making Icelandic healthcare more efficient
Meanwhile in Iceland, Sidekickhealth developed a similar app for their home market. Their digital therapeutic platform already proved its worth by having an impact on health outcomes such as diabetes mortality risk, cardiovascular fitness, weight, blood glucose and anxiety in many countries. The platform was already scalable to over 40 chronic diseases, and COVID-19 is now one of them, says Sidekick’s co-founder and CEO Tryggvi Thorgeirsson: “Sidekick’s platform is clinically validated, so we started with an excellent foundation to rise to the challenge. We could add new features such as a COVID symptom reporting and adopt it in record time to help healthcare professionals triage and monitor patients in home isolation, diagnosed with COVID-19.”
Once Sidekickhealth realized the spread of the novel coronavirus could become a real problem, they decided to jump in, says Thorgeirsson. “We wanted to help where we could, and without much deliberation we came to the conclusion that we should go ahead and adopt the platform and offer our service for free, starting in our native Iceland.” Sidekick’s solution is now adopted nationwide in Iceland, one of the countries that is credited with stemming the spread of the virus early on. Thorgeirsson: “In conjunction with high levels of testing, the remote monitoring and care approach in Iceland has been credited with favorable patient outcomes such as an ICU admission rate of 1.5% of cases, compared to 5-10% in neighboring countries, and an ICU mortality rate of 15%. The adoption of Sidekick’s solution has also helped healthcare professionals to better allocate resources, ensuring that patients receive appropriate care in a timely fashion, avoiding more serious illness.”
3Yourmind ramps up manufacturing
The Berlin-based startup and 2014 EIT Digital winner, 3Yourmind has put their skills creating agile manufacturing to the greater good. Once the virus hit, they rapidly developed Covid >>> Response, to make sure there are enough resources manufactured and distributed to the right place at the right time. Covid >>> Response is a collection of software tools to contribute to the containing of the virus.
The platform includes three key parts. First there’s a digital inventory of 3D-parts that have been culled and minimise risk for doctors who choose to use them. Secondly they’ve created a submission system for new parts that will evaluate for potential use. Lastly they’ve set up an ordering platform to match hospitals, clinics, suppliers of medical equipment with 3D printing services and additive manufacturing departments in OEMs. “It is important that we do not only print parts that look like medical equipment,” says Alexandre Donnadieu, VP of operations of 3Yourmind in North America. “But also that we produce items that can truly serve needs in the medical community with proper designs, proper materials and sterile production and handling procedures. This is the legwork that we are performing with medical facilities to make sure that we are serving a true need in this crisis.”
Oculavis enables working from home for many others
Some ideas however seem to be made for a post-COVID world from the start. With working from home as the new standard and social distancing as a worldwide mantra, Oculavis’ solution seems to fit perfectly. The German startup won the EIT Digital Challenge in 2019 for their remote maintenance solution. “During corona, the benefits of our system became much more visible,” says Oculavis director Martin Plutz. Oculavis has developed Oculavis Share, a video-based AR-solution to let experts and technicians provide service and maintenance to machinery, without having to be physically present.
Oculavis Share allows technicians to assist workers through video. Plutz: “It’s not just video calling. There’s an AR-part where you can point out important components in the machinery. It also allows you to freeze the video and render a high-res image, even when there is not a good signal on the factory floor. QR-codes on the machines can connect a user to the right experts straight away, or provide technical documentation.” To make it even more sci-fi than your average Zoom call, Oculavis works best with smart glasses.
Helping factory workers to fix their own stuff is important. If technicians no longer have to travel the world, the chances of them spreading or catching the coronavirus is greatly reduced. Plutz: “We have many more requests for a live demo since the virus hit, we can see an increasing curve.” Because their solution fits the current situation, Oculavis has decided to offer Ocalavis Share for free during a trial period of six weeks.
Wonderflow for free to adapt to new working situation
Among the 2019 winners of the EIT Digital Challenge, Wonderflow also stepped up during the pandemic. They realised that workplaces all around the world were severely disrupted. With an unprecedented situation for both employers and employees, gathering and analysing employee feedback suddenly became an essential tool for businesses to keep their workplace going.
With their solution WonderWork, Wonderflow employs Natural Language Processing to interpret honest, unfiltered and unstructured feedback from employees. Since that is something many businesses could use right now, they decided to create a free version during the pandemic. “Over the past weeks, we have heard from the managers and employees that they feel isolated during these unprecedented times and ever-changing circumstances,” Riccardo Osti, Wonderflow’s CEO, shared. “The speed of change has increased tenfold, and digital transformation is accelerating as a result of the crisis.”
With the launch of WonderWork, we are able to help companies to stay connected with their employees, as well as assess their well-being and specific needs, especially in these times of crisis. Whether you’re a smaller business or part of a team inside a large organisation, you can request free access to WonderWork.”
EIT Digital Challenge 2020 registration is open
Does your company have an equally innovative mindset? Do you have a deep tech startup or scaleup based in one of the member states of the European Union, United Kingdom, or in one of the Horizon 2020 associated countries? Is your company younger than 10 years, with an annual revenue of over €300.000 or at least €2 million in funding? Then get ready to take your business to the next level in the EIT Digital Challenge 2020. Register now, the deadline for applications is 7 June 2020.
“David Talby, CTO of John Snow Labs, echoed the sentiment. ‘Healthcare data scientists & analysts need the right data and context to succeed, and we’re committed to clearing the way to get them there. The combination of our medical domain expertise, three levels of quality reviews, and always-current data with data.world’s discovery, community, and enrichment capabilities are a natural match to help accelerate the healthcare research community.’”
Earlier this month, OurCrowd invested in Hub Security, a startup that offers military-grade cybersecurity solutions for Fintech, cloud, blockchain, and data storage in general, in a $ 5 million Series A funding round led by AXA Ventures. Details of the investment were not announced.
As France is recovering from the COVID-19 outbreak and is returning the normalcy, there is a need for sustainable and safe modes of transportation. To make this possible, BlaBlaCar and Voi Technology make this possible by joining hands to provide commuters with BlaBla Ride scooters. This will enable the two mobility players to build a seamless and integrated experience.
With their expertise, both Voi Technology and BlaBlaCar will help make scooters reliable and available across large cities in France and provide a responsible service adhering to local guidelines and regulations.
How is it beneficial?
The 18 million members of BlaBlaCar in France will be able to access the services of BlaBla Ride scooter via the app using their BlaBlaCar account. Members can choose a scooter to rider on the last mile of a longer carpool or bus trip. This way, BlaBla Ride scooter service provides a convenient and environmentally efficient door-to-door trip.
On June 5, the first step of the partnership will take place with the co-branding of Voi app and scooters as BlaBla Ride. There won’t be any major changes for the existing in France other than the re-branding on the Voi app and scooters.
“I am very pleased with this partnership. We are both leaders in our field and share the passion of reducing car emissions and fostering shared mobility. By working together, we will create the best of both worlds and at the same time both companies can focus on their respective strengths – so it’s a win-win all around”, said Fredrik Hjelm, CEO of Voi Technology.
“Voi and BlaBlaCar have a common enemy: inefficient car usage and CO2 emissions. By joining forces, we can go one step further in making mobility smarter and more efficient in cities. This cooperation has been a long time in the making, but now it seems more than ever relevant to our members in the wake of Covid-19, and as regulation creates a clearer playing field for micro-mobility. Scooters and micro-mobility can transform the way that people live, work and move through cities just as carpooling has transformed long-distance travel”, said Nicolas Brusson, co-founder and CEO of BlaBlaCar.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages, public life in many countries is grinding to a halt. While there is an exponential increase in both the patient caseload and casualties across the world, there is an economic downturn that has forced businesses to either slowdown or shut down operations. Among the worst-hit businesses is the mobility industry.
COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to have a lasting impact on the mobility industry as it brings about changes in the technology, consumer behaviour, and regulatory trends. The transmission of the disease might make many people less inclined towards the use of shared mobility but accelerate the deployment of electrification of vehicles that will reduce CO2 emissions.
In the meantime, a report by Bike and Scooter Rental market estimates the global bike and scooter rental market to rise to nearly $ 7 billion by 2026. This rise in market value can be attributed to the growth of demands for environment-friendly and emission-free modes of transportation.
Furthermore, a recent study by Harvard University highlighted the correlation between air pollution and COVID-19 mortality. It concludes that even a slight increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in COVID-19 death rate. This makes it important for mobility solutions to come forward and reduce the particulate matter in air during the COVID-19 crisis. And, this scenario has increased in the demand for e-mobility solutions with startups such as Cityscoot, Lime, Uber, Lyft, Bird, etc. dominating this industry.
Talking about the impact of COVID-19, Paris saw a 60% drop in NO2 emissions and a 20-30% improvement in air quality and reached a level that was not seen in the past 40 years, adds a report. These improvements are highly related To the absence of fuel burning vehicles that brings in a necessity for electric vehicles. Eventually, there is a need to accelerate electric vehicles to bring about a better living environment. Here is a slew of French electric mobility startups that are shining well during the COVID-19 crisis.
Founder/s: Sébastien Bourbousson. Funding: €2 million Founded year: 2013
EcoVélo is a turnkey solution for self-service electric bikes for cities. With onboard technology and XXL ticketing revolutionises the use of self-service bicycles. It is available both in classic and electric versions wherein the latter can be installed sans civil engineering or electrification of terminals. Users can choose from a wide range of vehicles designed for self-service such as city bikes, electric bikes, mountain bikes, cargo bikes and more. The box fitted on these bikes provides access to a range of functions such as NFC, GPS, screen keyboard interface, updates, and assistance levels among others.
Founder/s: Amaury Korniloff, Stéphanie Gosset Funding: €15 million Founded year: 2019
Zeway works with the mission to reinvent the electric scooter market segment. The company wants to bring major urban changes to respond to environmental challenges, and come up with an unconstrained electric mobility solution. Zeway is a new player in the French e-mobility market offering personal electric mopeds with swappable batteries in a network of stations installed throughout the city. The swappable batteries can be recharged in less than one minute. This innovative service aims to foster the shift towards electric mopeds with a smarter and faster way.
Earlier this month, Zeway secured investment from Fonds de Modernisation Ecologique des Transports (FMET) managed by Demeter alongside others such as InnovAllianz fund managed by Allianz France, WaterStart Capital fund managed by NCI to launch the service.
Founder/s: Arnaud De Cazenove, Vincent Moindrot, Matthieu Charron Funding: €3.1 million Founded year: 2015
Carlili redefines vehicle rental standards such as pooling of private fleets, digital services, and leading delivery service to promote a change in the mobility industry. Carlili offers an efficient service and platform that is easy to use so that it can meet the existing challenges in the industry and the evolutions of the future. The on-demand car rental solution lets users book a vehicle in a few clicks and get it delivered at their doorsteps. The delivery and collection are managed by professional agencies and carsitters. In March 2020, Carlili secured funding of €2 million from Caisse des depots.
Founder/s: Bertrand Fleurose Funding: €78.6 million Founded year: 2014
Cityscoot is one of the leading scooter-sharing service providers that lets users book scooters via its official app in just a few clicks. This startup lets users access a network of electric scooters for short distance trips in the city. Via this app, users can pick up and drop off electric scooters any time. Back in 2019, Cityscoot teamed up with Uber to let commuters in Paris book electric mopeds and pay directly via the Uber app. Earlier this year, Cityscoot secured €23.5 million funding from Demeter and Allianz France with the intention to open its service in two new European cities this year and expand its fleet of electric mopeds.
Founder/s: Clara Vaisse, Paul-Adrien Cormerais Funding: €2.2 million Founded year: 2017
Pony aims to decentralise ownership of vehicles as it believes that shared vehicles should belong to those who use them. It is the first shared micro-mobility scheme that lets users acquire and share ponies and ensure that profits remain within the local economy. Pony changes the way the world goes around by eliminating limits, hassle and docking of its vehicles. Recently, the startup revealed that future Pony bikes and scooters will have renewable batteries that can last up to 10 years. And, the carbon footprint from the company’s vehicles is likely to be reduced by 52%.
Founder/s: Emmanuel Antonot, Grégory Sand Funding: NA Founded year: 2011
Moustache Bikes is the strong conviction that electric bikes represent an incredible opportunity for the development of the use of the bicycles. It operates with an innovative, contemporary and qualitative vision. Being a customer-centric mobility service, it offers unique bikes that combine comfort, design, and ergonomics. There is a balance bike for learning and is the only one sans electric assistance. The bikes offered by this startup have contemporary handlebars and each bike is unique and is recognisable giving a strong Identity to these bikes.
Israel-based ThetaRay, a provider of Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI)-enhanced analytics tools, has launched FastStart, a product that aims to address the requirements of financial institutions during the COVID-19 crisis.