Digital banking for good: Starling Bank bags €44.5M, to support small businesses hit by COVID-19

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.

Main image credits: Starling Bank

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Meniga raises €8.5M: How this Icelandic fintech wants to boost digital banking in Europe?

With the current COVID-19 pandemic placing most people in lockdown and our increasing reliance on the internet, it is only natural that most services are now going online. While Digital banking is not new, it is definitely adapting well. One of the largest digital banking providers Meniga has reached a new milestone. The Icelandic fintech startup has raised €8.5 million in a strategic investment round. The company was founded in direct response to the country’s financial crisis and is now keen to boost digital banking across Europe. 

Meniga’s strategic investment round led by big names 

The latest funding round for Meniga was led by some well renowned investors. The round was led by Customers Groupe BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France, along with Portugal’s Grupo Crédito Agrícola and the company’s long-standing strategic partner UniCredit. Current institutional investors such as Velocity Capital, Industrifonden & Frumtak Ventures also invested in the digital banking platform provider. The latest funding will be utilised by the company for Research and Development and for strengthening its sales and service teams to meet the growing demand.  

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Groupe BPCE and Crédito Agrícola to our growing group of strategic investors. Partnering closely with our customers is a key part of our strategy to be the preferred digital innovation partner to our clients. An equity relationship is an excellent way to strengthen such partnerships”, says Georg Ludviksson, CEO and Co-founder of Meniga. “We appreciate the continued vote of confidence and growing business we have with our impressive global client base“.

Meniga’s core mission since Iceland’s financial crash: Helping people lead better financial lives

Meniga was founded back in 2009 off the back of the financial crash in Iceland. In an exclusive interview with Silicon Canals, the company’s CEO and co-founder Georg Ludviksson said, “ From the start we set out to help people lead better financial lives and this is still our mission today. Over the past ten years, there has been a notable investor appetite for fintechs and challenger banks which, helped by regulatory changes such as PSD2 and Open Banking, has supercharged innovation within the financial industry. Consumers today are not settling for anything less than a world-class user experience and tools that can help them manage their day-to-day finances with ease. “ 

Meniga ensures that major banks and other financial services providers globally are able to compete with, and exceed, the value being offered by their competitors. The company’s digital banking platform enables its clients to use personal finance data so that they can innovate in their online and mobile channels. Their product offering includes data aggregation technologies, personal and business finance management solutions, cashback rewards and transaction-based carbon insights. 

Boosting digital banking across Europe

Meniga has continued its successful run over the years. The company’s headquarters are situated in London and it has offices in offices in Reykjavik, Stockholm, Helsinki, Warsaw, Singapore, and Barcelona. “Something that makes Meniga stand out is our global reach. With offices in London, Reykjavik, Stockholm, Helsinki, Warsaw, Singapore, and Barcelona, customers across 30 different countries, and reaching over 90 million end-consumers, we have a great understanding of the various needs of different markets. There is nothing we haven’t seen over the years and we have learned what works best where, how and for whom.” adds Ludviksson. 

Coronavirus’ impact on business and future plans 

The coronavirus has adversely impacted many businesses but Digital banking software has not slowed down because of it. Meniga has witnessed a surge in people demanding help with their personal finances ever since COVID-19. “We recently surveyed a cohort of senior European bankers and found that 90% of respondents acknowledged that a good digital banking user experience for their customers will be more important in the post-COVID era.” remarks Ludviksson.

Commenting on the current scenario, Ludviksson says, “We’re fortunate when it comes to our product offering. If anything, digital banking and personal finance becomes even more relevant in times of economic downturn, and this also means we have a core revenue stream that is fairly recession-resistant. One thing we’ve done in response to COVID-19 is to reposition the marketing message of our products, going back to our roots and focussing on selling core budgeting and personal finance management products.”

As for the current year, Meniga will be focused on offering its continued support to existing and new customers. “We will provide them with the best possible tools and services for people, to manage their finances during the turbulent times brought about by COVID-19. This is what we started out doing in the wake of the financial crash in 2009, so when it comes to our ‘crisis offering’ I’d argue it’s probably one of the strongest out there.” adds Ludviksson.

Image credits: Meniga

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Meniga, the digital banking tech provider, raises €8.5M led by French bank Groupe BPCE

Meniga, the London-headquartered fintech that provides digital banking technology to some of the world’s largest banks, has closed a €8.5 million in additional funding.

Described primarily as a “strategic investment,” the round is led by Groupe BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France, alongside Portugal’s Grupo Crédito Agrícola and long-standing strategic partner UniCredit. All three are customers of Meniga.

The funding will be used for continued investment in Meniga’s R&D activities, as well as to strengthen the fintech’s sales and service teams to meet what it says is growing demand. Other participants in the round include current institutional investors Velocity Capital, Industrifonden, and Frumtak Ventures.

“We are very pleased to welcome Groupe BPCE and Crédito Agrícola to our growing group of strategic investors,” says Georg Ludviksson, CEO and co-founder of Meniga, in a statement. “Partnering closely with our customers is a key part of our strategy to be the preferred digital innovation partner to our clients. An equity relationship is an excellent way to strengthen such partnerships”.

Meniga’s digital banking platform helps banks and fintechs use personal finance data to innovate in their online and mobile offerings. Its various products include a software layer that bridges the gap between a bank’s legacy tech infrastructure and a modern API, making it easier to build consumer-friendly digital banking experiences.

Meniga‘s product suite spans data aggregation technologies, personal and business finance management solutions, cashback rewards and transaction-based carbon insights.

The company’s tech has also been designed to support and benefit from Open Banking, and helped by this, its products and services are already used by more than 90 million banking customers across 30 countries.

This saw it open new office locations in Barcelona and Singapore in 2019, adding to its existing presence in London, where the company is headquartered, and Reykjavi, where much of its R&D is located, alongside offices in Stockholm, Helsinki and Warsaw.

Meanwhile, lead investor Groupe BPCE first partnered with Meniga back in 2018. Cue statement from Groupe BPCE’s Yves Tyrode, chief digital and data officer, and member of the management board of Groupe BPCE: “Our partnership with Meniga has been extremely positive to date. Together, we have laid the groundwork for continued digital innovation at Groupe BPCE to better serve our customers in a very dynamic banking market. We look forward to continue transforming our digital customer experience and contribute to building the future of digital banking together with Meniga”.

Startups – TechCrunch

Blue Tulip Awards 2020 finals go digital: Here’s how to follow it live

Blue Tulip Awards finals

This is it. We’ve reached the finals of the Blue Tulip Awards 2020, a year-round ecosystem-driven program aiming to accelerate innovators, build powerful collaborations, and drive breakthrough innovation.

On June 11th, 10 innovation finalists in 8 categories will present their final pitches to the gathered judges, who will then proceed to choose a winner. For the past couple of months, we spoke with previous winners, current jury leads and experts in their field and we’ve highlighted contenders and finalists. Now all that’s left is celebrating the winners, and you can join.

Follow the Blue Tulip Awards 2020 Finals live online

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Blue Tulip Awards had to move from a packed venue to an online environment. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t planned an eventful day. This years’ winners will be announced live on June 11th from 19.00 CET. Curious who will claim the prize? The announcement of the winners is hosted by RTL Z and you can follow along on their website. If you want the full experience, then you are welcome to follow the finalists’ pitches as well. During the day they will present their solutions to the judges in an online event hosted by Boom Chicago. For more information and how to join all of the Blue Tulip Awards 2020 final event, please visit the Finals page.

‘I was blown away’

The Blue Tulip Awards 2020 is not just a nice trophy to hang on the wall. The year-round ecosystem-driven program offers award-winners a variety of services and products offered by partners of the Blue Tulip Awards, including personal coaching by industry experts, feedback by partners and plenty of media attention. “I had no idea how much interest it would attract,” said Kirk Gunning, whose startup Safened won the Finance-category last year. 

“There was so much energy throughout the whole process. I was really blown away,” Gunning continues. Babak Mohammad Mirzaie has similar experiences. His Eindhoven-based startup Expivi AR and 3D-tech startup Expivi won the Working & Living category in 2017, which opened a lot of doors: “You meet great C-level people who are almost impossible to get in touch with.”

Groundbreaking and out of the box ideas

Now several ideas are at the brink of following Gunning and Mirzaie in their footsteps. Eight categories with the top ten solutions each. Some pitches are practical and with the potential of massive impact, while others showcase out of the box thinking and creative problem-solving. To battle climate change, for instance, some ideas that made it to the finals involve robots to fix windmills, batteries that run on seawater and an alternative to fossil fuel. Similar groundbreaking ideas can be found among the finalists in the Living & Working category. Pitches include noise-cancelling windows, high-tech air purifiers based on plants and a new social network.

In the category of Finance, the finalists bet on safe, fast and reliable transactions between companies, banks, consumers and insurers in many different ways while the finalists in the Health category employ AI, VR, wearables and virtual braille to make the life of patients better. 

Further reading: These startups are selected for the Blue Tulip Awards finals

Judges looking for ‘the vibe’

So what will the jury be looking for in this years’ winners? You can follow their deliberations live during the online event. But we spoke with many of them beforehand to get an idea of what’s going on in their field of expertise. “It’s all about impact,” said Kees de Gooijer in an interview with Silicon Canals. As Chief Inspiration Officer for the centre of knowledge and innovation for the Dutch agricultural sector (TKI Agrifood), he will be judging the ten finalists in the Nutrition category. “Generally, during a good pitch, I instantly feel the vibe. I’m not looking for fully developed ideas. It is important that an idea has an impact on the entire chain.”

Similarly, the finalists in the category of Education will have to make a broad impact with their ideas. Daniel Roos, jury lead in this particular category and founder and CEO of Amsterdam educational institute JINC said in an interview: “If a solution only works for a couple of students, it’s not interesting enough”. Finalists in the Security-category will have to convince chief information and security architect at Nationale Nederlanden and jury lead Nadeem de Vree that they are working towards a safer and more open society. 

Sometimes the judges also consult their own gut feeling, as Debby Woesthuis told us. As division manager of buses with Amsterdam municipal public transport operator GVB, she’ll be judging the finalists in the Mobility-category. One of the questions she’ll be asking herself is: “Does it make me greedy? Is it something I want to have?”

So don’t forget to tune in to the Blue Tulip Awards 2020 live event, hosted by Accenture, RTLZ and Boom Chicago on June 11th. You are invited to watch the finalists’ pitches during the day and see the finale in the evening at 19.00 on the website of RTL Z. See you over there! 

This article is produced in collaboration with Accenture. Read more about our partnering opportunities.

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Startups – Silicon Canals

The EIT Digital Challenge 2020: Conquering COVID-19 crisis with innovation

EIT Digital Challenge 2020 Covid-19

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.” 

Dr. Baher Al Hakim from Medicus

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.” 

Read also: EIT Digital Challenge 2020 registration now open, 3 previous winners reveal why you should apply now 

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.”

Tryggvi Thorgeirsson, CEO of Sidekickhealth

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 after EIT Digital Challenge

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.

This article is produced in a collaboration with EIT Digital. Read more about our partnering opportunities.

The post The EIT Digital Challenge 2020: Conquering COVID-19 crisis with innovation appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

EIT Digital Challenge: Previous winners share their experience

The EIT Digital Challenge is a fast-paced and exciting competition, in which high growth European tech startups can win a full-year of acceleration worth €50K, access to EIT Digital’s innovation network and international visibility (and, if you are the top selected startup, a further €100K).

Applications are still open, with the deadline to apply in 1 week, on 7 June 2020. EIT Digital is looking for startups that are tackling the world’s biggest challenges, particularly in Digital Tech, Digital Cities, Digital Industry, Digital Wellbeing and Digital Finance. 

Winners and participants of the competition can look forward to getting huge visibility, sales opportunities, connection with potential investors, and insights from business developers and fundraising experts operating from 17 cities across Europe and Silicon Valley.

With this in mind, we turned to last year’s winners to hear about their experience. Here’s what they said.

Visibility

The EIT Digital Challenge will put your startup in front of the media, get you international coverage, and in doing so, increase your global reputation and boost your message to the right people and organisations.

SideKickHealthBeing one of last year’s winners has really increased our visibility and awareness. EIT Digital leverages powerful media and social channels, which have been utilised to give us an additional platform to amplify our message.”

Cerbair – “In less than 6 months, EIT Digital has already proved to provide us huge media coverage, some welcome financial support as well as numerous sales opportunities in Europe for which we are very grateful”.

Zelros “EIT Digital’s communication initiatives helped us gain more visibility in our target markets in Europe, and we look forward to the outcome of our joint business development efforts”.

International expansion support

Many startups used their EIT Digital experience as a launchpad to expand abroad, making use of the insights given to them by experts, as well as networks they gained access to.

Enerbrain“The EIT Digital Challenge is ideal for companies that already have significant traction in their home market and are ready to expand internationally.”

Cerbair “Winning the EIT Digital Challenge helped us seize a couple of major deals for which we were waiting for the clients’ final decisions.”

Oculavis  “The EIT Digital Challenge enables us to win customers across Europe. Eleven people from EIT Digital support our European sales activities. This is great support!”

Access to EIT Digital’s innovation network

By joining the programme, startups open up their network to a whole world of new contacts including potential investors, partners and collaborators.

LORIOT“The EIT Digital team has been extremely supportive by opening up to its network of companies and investors and giving us the opportunity to participate in international tech events. We are confident that we will soon be able to tell some great success stories. The best is yet to come!”.

Of course, these are just snap shots of what the programme will bring your startup, and the whole experience will involve many more positive aspects. For more information, check out  the EIT Digital Challenge websiteDon’t miss the deadline and make sure to get your application in before the deadline next week, on 7 June, 2020.

Editor’s Note: This post has been created in collaboration and with financial support from EIT Digital. If you’re also interested in partnering with us, just reach out.

EU-Startups

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

With an ex-Uber exec as its new CEO, digital mental health service Mindstrong raises $100 million

Daniel Graf has had a long career in the tech industry. From founding his own startup in the mid-2000s to working at Google, then Twitter, and finally Uber, the tech business has made him extremely wealthy.

But after leaving Uber, he wasn’t necessarily interested in working at another business… at least, not until he spent an afternoon in the spring of 2019 with an old friend, General Catalyst managing director Hemant Taneja, walking in San Francisco’s South Park neighborhood and hearing Taneja talk about a new startup called Mindstrong Health.

Taneja told Graf that by the fall of that year, he’d be working at Mindstrong… and Taneja was right.

“I was intrigued by healthtech previously,” said Graf. “The problem always was… and it sounds a little too money-oriented… but if there’s no clear visibility around who pays who in a startup, the startup isn’t going to work,” and that was always his issue with healthcare businesses. 

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 21: Daniel Graf accepts a Webby award for Google Maps for iPhone at the 17th Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on May 21, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The Webby Awards)

With Mindstrong, which announced today that it has raised $ 100 million in new financing, the issue of who pays is clear.

So Graf joined the company in November as chief executive, taking over from Paul Dagum, who remains with Mindstrong as its chief scientific officer.

“Daniel joined the company as it was moving from pure R&D into being something commercially available,” said Taneja, in an email. “In healthcare, it’s increasingly important to understand how to build for the consumer and that’s where Daniel’s experience and background comes in. Paul remains a core part of the team because none of this happens without the science.”

The company, which has developed a digital platform for providing therapy to patients with severe mental illnesses ranging from schizophrenia to obsessive compulsive disorders, is looking to tackle a problem that costs the American healthcare system $ 20 billion per month, Graf said.

Unlike companies like Headspace and Calm, which have focused on the mental wellness market for the mass consumer, Mindstrong is focused on people with severe mental health conditions, said Graf. That means people who are either bipolar, schizophrenic or have major depressive disorder.

It’s a much larger population than most Americans think, and they face a critical problem in their ability to receive adequate care, Graf said.

“1 in 5 adults experience mental illness, 1 in 25 experience serious mental illness, and the pandemic is making these numbers worse. Meanwhile, more than 60% of US counties don’t have a single practicing psychiatrist,” said Joe Lonsdale, the founder of 8VC, and an investor in the latest Mindstrong Health round, in a statement.  

Dagum, Mindstrong Health’s founder, has been working on the issue of how to provide better access and monitoring for indications of potential episodes of distress since 2013. The company’s technology provides a range of monitoring and measurement tools using digital biomarkers that are currently being validated through clinical trials, according to Graf.

“We’re passively measuring the usage of the phone and the timing of the keyboard strokes to measure how [a patient] is doing,” Graf said. These smartphone interactions can provide data around mental acuity and emotional valence, according to Graf — and can provide signs that someone might be having problems.

The company also provides access to therapists via phone and video consultations or text-based asynchronous communications, based on user preference.

“Think of us more as a virtual hospital… our care pathways are super complex for this population,” said Graf. “We’re not aware of other startups working with this population. These folks, the best you get right now is the county mental health.”

Mindstrong’s Series C raise included participation from new and existing investors, including General Catalyst, ARCH Ventures, Optum Ventures, Foresite Capital, 8VC, What If Ventures and Bezos Expeditions, along with other, undisclosed investors.  

And while mental health is the company’s current focus, the platform for care delivery that the company is building has broader implications for the industry, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic, according to Taneja.

“I expect that we’ll see discoveries in biomarker tech like Mindstrong’s that could be applied horizontally across almost any area of healthcare,” Taneja said in an email. “Because healthcare is so broad and varied, going vertical like Mindstrong is makes a lot of sense. There’s opportunity to become a successful and very impactful company by staying narrowly focused and solving some really hard problems for even a smaller part of the overall population.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Apply For The EIT Digital Challenge 2020 To Accelerate Your DeepTech Business Today!

The EIT Digital Challenge is Europe’s flagship DeepTech competition for emerging digital scaleups. 20 companies developing solutions across any of their five thematic areas will be shortlisted. Finalists will pitch their solutions to win from a prize package totaling €350.000.

The competition intensifies this year with 1 winner across all focus areas standing the chance to receive €100.000, furthermore, five companies will be selected to join the EIT Digital Accelerator for 12 months (€250.000 overall incentive).

Why Your DeepTech Scaleup Should Apply

The EIT Digital Accelerator will support the EIT Digital Challenge winners with a team of 40+ business developers and fundraising experts operating from 17 cities across Europe as well as a hub in Silicon Valley to support international growth, helping them to secure target customers and raising capital. Since 2012, the Accelerator has supported 300 startups which have raised a total of more than €800 million in venture capital. In addition, your business gains:

  • Access To International Markets
  • Access To Funding & Strategies
  • Access To Networking with 200+ Pan-European Innovation Partners
  • International Visibility

The shortlisted scaleups will pitch their solutions in front of a panel consisting of international corporates and investors.

Focus Areas For Digital Innovation

The EIT Digital Challenge 2020 focuses on emerging B2B scaleups innovating in five main categories:

  • Digital Technology: Inventing the digital future with core technologies providing secure, robust, responsive, and intelligent communications and computation.
  • Digital Cities: Serving the cities with digital technologies addressing urban mobility, citizen inclusiveness and engagement, and city safety.
  • Digital Industry: The digital transformation of the industry, from production to logistics to retail.
  • Digital Wellbeing: Safeguarding health for the youth, the working professional, and the elderly by analyzing sensor data.
  • Digital Finance: The disruption of digital transactions and institutions with technologies that allow transparency, efficiency, security, and trust.

EIT Digital Challenge 2020 Eligibility Criteria

Apply for the challenge if you are developing solutions in any of the 5 focus areas and also meet the following eligibility guidelines:

Nationality

  • A member of the EU 27 States or UK
  • A member of the H2020 Associated Countries

Growth Stage

  • Less than 10 years since founding, and
  • A minimum revenue of €300,000 in 2019, or
  • A minimum revenue of €300,000 in 2020 until date of submission, or
  • A minimum total funding of €2,000,000 until now.

Building On A Successful Track Record

Since its launch in 2014, the EIT Digital Challenge has received a total of 2.100 applications from 35 countries. With 279 scaleups from 33 countries, 2019 saw a record 40% jump in the number of participants, making the EIT Digital Challenge Europe’s flagship DeepTech competition.

2019’s top 10 European scaleups were Oculavis, Wonderflow, R3, QuoScient, Mecuris, SidekickHealth, CERBAIR, LORIOT, Zelros, and Minna Technologies.

Ioannis Bizimis, CFO & Co-Founder QuoScient, shares his experience with EIT Digital: “QuoScient is honored to receive the award by EIT Digital. The momentum of the digital transformation keeps progressing and growing. While new opportunities, technologies, and innovation are created, risks and threats increase with it as well. We need to collaboratively defend the digital economies in Europe, and QuoScient is the ideal partner due to our technology, capabilities, and experts. The support of the EIT Digital Accelerator will enable us to grow even faster and make an important contribution to the cybersecurity of the European economies.”

Leveraging the EIT Digital Challenge prize package LORIOT joined the EIT Digital Accelerator’s scaleup growth program. Already active in Eastern and Central Europe, DACH region and the Nordics, LORIOT plans to use EIT Digital’s support to further expand in other European countries, such as France, Italy, Spain and UK (where already significant steps forward have been taken) and to prepare for the next fundraising round. “The EIT Digital team has been extremely supportive by opening up to its network of companies and investors and giving us the opportunity to participate in international tech events. We are confident that we will soon be able to tell some great success stories. The best is yet to come!” says Yannik Kopp, Business Development Lead at LORIOT.

Apply for the EIT Digital Challenge 2020 by June 7 to take your scaleup international!

 

 

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Contentsquare, the digital experience analytics platform, scores $190M Series D

Contentsquare, the cloud-based platform that helps businesses understand how and why users are interacting with their app, mobile and web sites, has closed $ 190 million in Series D funding.

The round is led by BlackRock’s Private Equity Partners team, with participation from previous investors. In addition, as part of this round, Sapiance Capital Limited is providing credit to the company.

It brings total funding for Contentsquare to $ 310 million. Previous backers include Canaan, Eurazeo Growth, GPE Hermes, Highland Europe, H14 and KKR, most of whom we’re told participated in this round. The company’s $ 60 million Series C round took place in January 2019.

Founded in 2012, Contentsquare wants to empower brands to create “better experiences”. Its SaaS analyses customer behaviour through billions of anonymous web, mobile and app interactions. It then provides recommendations, with the goal of helping companies increase revenue, engagement and growth.

In other words, Contentsquare claims it can tell a company why conversion rates are low and, most importantly, what can be done to improve them. This can include making changes to specific page or content elements, or a combination of the two. To enable this, the software integrates a broad set of data including content, UX, product, pricing, acquisition channel and technical performance — spanning the entire digital customer journey.

To date, Contentsquare says its platform is used by more than 700 enterprise customers including 30% of the Global Fortune 100. This includes large companies such as American Express, Best Buy, Dell, Ikea, LVMH, T-Mobile, Salesforce, Sephora and Toyota.

“This investment during these uncertain times is a proof of the fantastic job done by our teams”, said Jonathan Cherki, founder and CEO of Contentsquare, in a statement. “It validates the strength of our vision for the next 5 years to further extend our global leadership in experience analytics at a time when these capabilities are critical to all businesses.

Meanwhile, Contentsquare says the new capital will help it continue to invest in innovation, including “AI-based and predictive analytics”. It is also planning further expansion across the Americas, Europe, Asia and Middle East.

Startups – TechCrunch