Tech startups weekly: In-play ad startup funding, new €99,999,999 fund, TransferWise’s 70% revenue growth, and more

Undoubtedly, there has been an increase in funding activities across Europe as the tech startup ecosystem here seems to be eager to pick up the slack after the COVID slump. Several tech startups have started focusing on growing and taking their business to the next level. Many of these companies have started hiring fresh talent and forging strategic partnerships.

European tech startups weekly

As a part of a weekly roundup, here is a list of some of the most important tech startups that have hit the headlines in Europe this week.

Picture credits: Awell Health

Productivity, collaboration tools for healthcare industry

Based out of Belgium, Awell Health bagged £1.9M (nearly €2M) funding from LocalGlobe and Moonfire, London-based investors. With this investment, the startup will bolster its collaboration and productivity tools for the healthcare industry. This is crucial, especially during this COVID-19 crisis, as faster updating and easier implementation of patient guidelines is a priority.

Founded in 2018 by Thomas Vande Casteele, Awell Health enables healthcare organisations to create, implement, and update care pathways continuously to improve patient outcomes. The company believes that it is essential to focus on reorganising paper-based and disjointed processes. Traditionally, healthcare organisations have used text-based PDFs to create clinical protocols and care pathways and this slows down the practice.

Picture credits Admix

In-play ad startup

London-based in-play ad and game monetisation startup Admix secured an additional $ 1.5M (nearly €M) as a part of its Series A funding round. This round comes just three months after the initial funding of $ 7M (nearly €M) funding. This investment comes from Marcus Segal, the ex-COO of Zynga Studios and Nigel Morris, the ex-CEO of Dentsu Aegis in addition to a number of unnamed executives in the gaming and advertising industry.

This investment will be used to accelerate the development of Admix’s stack for game publishers and grow its team by the end of this year. Established by Joe Bachle-Morris, Mohammed Alisrawi, and Samuel Huber in 2017, Admix is a monetisation platform for game developers enabling non-intrusive, programmatic product placements within their content.

Picture credits: Point Nine

SaaS and marketplace VC debuts €100M fund

Germany-based Point Nine, a VC firm focused on Europe and US, has closed a new €100M (essentially €99,999,999) seed funding dubbed P9 V. Since its debut in 2011, this is the fifth fund closed by the VC firm. Point Nine will invest between €500k and €2.5M per startup and take part in Series A funding of all the startups it funds.

The firm was founded by Christoph Janz, Kolja Hebenstreit, Lukasz Gadowski, and Pawel Chudzinski. It will deploy the fresh capital to bring two new partners – Louis Coppey and Ricardo Sequerra Amram. To date, the company has invested in over 100 startups across 28 countries and is an early-stage investor in Delivery Hero, Revolut, Brainly, DocPlanner and more.

Picture credits: AccelerComm

Solution to supercharge 5G communications

AccelerComm, a semiconductor research and IP development company and Southampton University spinout has raised £5.8M (nearly €M) Series A funding from IQ Capital, along with participation from previous investors such as IP Group and Bloc Ventures, in order to scale its IP tech business.

AccelerComm debuted in 2016 by University of Southampton professor Rob Maunder. The startup reportedly helps telcos, OEMs and equipment vendors to supercharge 5G satellite and other wireless communications with digital signal processing that reduces latency and increases spectrum efficiency.

Picture credits: BotXO

Conversational AI for businesses

Danish startup BotXO has pocketed €4M funding in a round led by Seed Capital and The Danish Growth Fund. The investment will be used to bolster conversational AI tech for businesses. BotXO founded in 2017 by Henrik Fabrin in Copenhagen aims to help its customers to reap the benefits of the conversational web as fast as possible.

This startup’s no-code platform enables businesses of all sizes, especially e-commerce companies, to use conversational AI and machine learning to speed up their growth and engage with customers in a more efficient manner. BotXO claims a database of over 24,000 pre-made, industry-specific sentences and over 1 billion variations in a wide range of languages.

Picture credits: 3i

European platform for home and garden projects

In a recent development, 3i Group has invested in German startup GartenHaus to build the leading European platform for home and garden projects. The 3i Group announced that it will invest £60M (nearly €65.6M) for a majority stake in A-Z GartenHaus, which is an online leader in garden homes, saunas, and sheds in the DACH region. Also, the management team and board of GartenHaus will invest to become shareholders.

Founded in 2002 by Sebastian Arendt, the German startup offers sheds, garden houses, terraces, carports, and other home and garden related products.

Picture credits: Daphni

French VC gets new fund and faces

Daphni, a French VC investor has secured its third fund that brings the overall assets to $ 350M. Also, it signals some notable high-profile departures. It has announced that the new fund is called Yellow and is worth $ 100M (nearly €M). Daphni is also working towards adding another $ 50M to the fund and invest in nearly 30 projects and invest between $ 1M and $ 5M.

Notably, Yellow is backed by corporations such as Bouygues and Accord, business angels – billionaire telecoms titan Xavier Niel, Jacques-Antoine Granjon of Veepee, and Romain Niccoli of Criteo. Even the startups that were backed by Daphni in the past such as Devialet and Back Market have invested in this fund.

UK fintech reports annual revenue growth

TransferWise, a UK fintech scaleup that handles over £4M (nearly €M) in cross-border payments each month from over 8 million customers has announced its results for the previous financial year. As per the report, it has reported a 70% growth in revenue reaching £302.6M (nearly €M) and a net profit of £21.3M (nearly €M) for the financial year that ended in March 2020.

Established by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann in 2011, TransferWise has launched new products across the US, Europe, APAC, and the Middle East in 2019. The company supports 2500 currency routes and 54 currencies on the whole. In July 2020, when TransferWise launched its secondary share sale, it reached a $ 5B valuation.

Main image picture credits: TransferWise

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Peterson Ventures, a firm that quietly backed Allbirds and Bonobos, just closed a $65 million fund

Peterson Ventures, a 12-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based seed-stage fund, has long operated fairly quietly, but many of its bets have become known brands in the respective worlds of consumer and enterprise software investing. Among these is the shoe company Allbirds; the men’s clothing company Bonobos (acquired a few years ago by Walmart); and Lucid Software, which closed its newest, $ 52 million round back in April.

Thanks to a newly raised $ 65 million fund — more than double the size of its $ 33 million second fund — Peterson has even more money now to write checks in the range of $ 250,000 to $ 1 million in a wide variety of startups.

We were in touch this week with Peterson partner Ilana Stern, whose own consumer startup, Weddington Way,  raised money from Peterson before selling to the Gap in 2016.  Stern, who joined the outfit last fall and is based in San Francisco, shared a bit more about the firm’s newest fund and where it’s looking to shop. Our exchange has been edited lightly for length.

TC: Peterson is part of a bigger platform called Peterson Partners. How many asset classes is Peterson Partners funding?

IS: Peterson Ventures is part of the Peterson Partners platform with funds that invest in lower middle market private equity and search funds. There are over 30 people firm wide, including a four-person full-time investing team [on the venture side. We’ll be looking to add one to two more members in the next year.

TC: How does the firm think about consumer versus SaaS, and is this different than in past years? For example, First Round Capital used to invest half its capital in consumer-facing startups, and that’s not the case right now, as Josh Kopelman told us a couple of weeks ago.

IS: Our first, $ 25 million fund, was close to a 50/50 split; in the second fund, we shifted to 65%/35%, focusing more heavily on B2B SaaS than consumer. Going forward, we expect to be investing around 60% to 70% SaaS and around 30% to 40% consumer. The bread and butter of the Utah market is SaaS, and we expect to continue to back great SaaS companies in Utah.  That said, there is a growing ecosystem of compelling e-commerce and consumer companies, including in healthcare and financial services where we see a continued ‘consumerization’ of those two sectors.

TC: What are two of the firm’s most recent bets, and what do they say about the way your team operates?

IS: Via and Tava Health are two of our new seed investments. Via connects businesses to their consumers on their favorite messaging and voice platforms. Commerce infrastructure is an area where we’ve been very active over the last five or so years, [including because it’s a] perfect cross section of SaaS companies selling into e-commerce and retail. Tava Health is a telemedicine platform for mental health for employees paid by employers, and healthcare SaaS is an area that we’ve also invested in a lot. In fact, its founder, Dallen Allred, is someone whose earlier company, Artemis Health, is another portfolio company.

TC: Out of curiosity, how did Peterson get involved with Bonobos?

IS: Co-founders Andy Dunn and Brian Spaly were students of our founding partner, Joel Peterson, at Stanford GSB. GSB is a key area of deal flow for us. Joel has been teaching there for almost 30 years. Ben [Capell, a partner with Peterson since 2010] has been involved in backing over 20 companies in the last 8 years led by Stanford GSB alumni, and I’ve been guest lecturing there for seven years.

TC: You don’t invest exclusively in Utah, but you spend much of your time with local startups. How has the Utah scene changed since Peterson swung open its doors?

IS: Peterson dates back to 1995, so we’ve been fixtures in the Utah market for 25 years as a firm. When we started Peterson Ventures in 2008 investing Joel’s personal capital — it’s now a mix of institutions, family offices and high net worth individuals — there were no seed-stage firms. Now there are three institutional seed-stage firms, several Series A firms that will also invest in seed stage startups, and active family offices and angel investors.

Also, where the firm used to have to work hard to convince coastal firms to invest in Utah we now have an abundance of mid- and late-stage investors from both coasts spending significant time and
investing meaningful dollars here.

Startups – TechCrunch

Point Nine launches a new €99,999,999 seed fund for B2B SaaS and B2B marketplace startups

Today Point Nine, the Pan-European early stage venture capital firm focused on SaaS and digital marketplaces, launches its fifth fund called ‘P9 V’, a €99,999,999 seed fund. With ‘P9 V’, Point Nine will double down on its strategy to back seed-stage B2B SaaS and B2B marketplace startups anywhere in the world. The new fund will…

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GoDaddy launches the Tomorrow Fund to support employees in need

On September 19, GoDaddy launched the Tomorrow Fund worldwide for all its employees. It’s designed to help employees recover from unanticipated events or natural disasters, something many are facing now across the country and globe.

I’ve been at GoDaddy a really (really) long time. Granted, it’s not like the old days when someone would do more than 30 years at a motor company—days when someone would start at a company single and retire with grandkids and a timeshare in Montana. We measure longevity in the tech world a little like we measure dog years. One year in at one company in tech? That’s at least three years.

Now that I’ve spent more than 15 years at GoDaddy, I feel like I’ve got some explaining to do.

GoDaddy’s Tomorrow Fund is a perfect way to explain why I’m still at GoDaddy and why I still do what I do. It’s a little cliche to say it feels like a family here, but I’ll say it anyway:

It feels like a family here.

 

We join forces to feed each other and our friends and families. We help each other start side-hustles and businesses. When someone is sick, we check on them. When someone wins, we cheer. When someone loses, we stand by to help. I’ve seen small armies of people find homes for dogs, build skateboards for kids, and raise money for artists.

After all this time, it still feels like I’m part of a garage band. Each member is a big deal. We can’t play our best without someone fancy on keys. We can’t jam if we’re missing percussions. We can’t groove if we forgot our bass player in an underground pub Prague. We need each other to make this work.

rock band playing concert
Photo: Emery Meyer on Unsplash

I’ve been no other place where almost all the people I work with believe that they succeed when others succeed. This is why I’ve worked at GoDaddy for 45 tech-years.

This is the spirit behind the Tomorrow Fund.

GoDaddy started the fund with a $ 100,000 contribution. Employees and non-employees alike can donate any amount to add to that. For employees who need help, the fund will give grants between $ 250 and $ 1,000 (or local currency equivalent) to help offset costs associated with necessities such as food, clothing and transitional housing.

How does GoDaddy decide who gets help? They don’t. They leave decisions up to the experts who know how to do this sort of thing. The Tomorrow Fund is managed by an outside vendor, Emergency Assistance Foundation. It’s a well-known employee assistance fund manager. All donations to the Tomorrow Fund are tax-deductible in the U.S.

2020 has been a helluva year.

 

Wildfires in California have turned the sky in San Francisco a post-apocalyptic orange. We’re in the middle of an unpredictable global pandemic. We’re wandering the streets wearing face masks. A massive windstorm shaped like a scythe ripped through middle America. It took down farm buildings and homes and trees older than anyone any of us know.

Many people feel like once they get back on their feet they get knocked back down again and again and again. I believe humans are resilient. People are resilient. Families are resilient. We find a way. But it’s fair to say we find a way a little faster when we team up. It’s easier to find a way with a little help from our friends.

Photo: Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

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Kindred Capital closes €88.1M second fund; will repay €5.4M to founders under ‘Equitable Venture’ model

What if a founder could become a co-owner of the fund that’s investing in their company? While it may sound a bit out of ordinary, this is exactly what the VC firm Kindred Capital envisions. The company has come up with a new model for VC and it seems to be working, as the firm has announced paying back €5.4M to founders of the companies it has invested in. The announcement comes after Kindred Capital revealed it has secured €88.1M in its second seed funding round. 

Kindred’s portfolio displays higher funding success 

Quoting Dealroom data, Kindred says, about 19% of startups that raise seed funding go on to raise Series A within 36 months. On the other hand, the firm says that 54% of its Fund I portfolio successfully raised Series A funding within 3 years, which can be attributed to the equitable venture model. 

In Fund I, Kindred Capital invested in 29 companies across Europe. Some notable investments include Five, the company creating software layer for autonomous vehicles; Paddle, which enables firms to sell their software products; Pollen, the invitation-only peer-to-peer marketplace for experiences and travel; Disperse, the AI enabled construction startup and more. Kindred has also commenced investing from its second fund with 10 seed investments in companies such as BotsAndUs, Gravity Sketch and Beit.

“We are delighted with the success of our first fund, and excited to announce that our second fund was significantly oversubscribed and which we’ve now closed at €88.1M. We originally entered the UK seed stage ecosystem with ambitious goals, to invest in around thirty high quality UK technology companies per fund, and to introduce ‘Equitable Venture’ as a totally new way of practicing our craft,” says Partner Leila Zegna.

Equitable Venture method works?

The Equitable Venture model was introduced by Kindred Capital and the company says it works. From Fund I, the company estimates that around £5m (€5.4M) will be returned to the founders, which would otherwise have gone to General Partners of Kindred. The whole model works on the idea that Kindred Capital will share its carry with the founders in which the fund invests. It offers a collective model, wherein founders are said to actively help each other achieve their goals.

Image Credits: Kindred Capital

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Kindred Capital closes €88.7 million second fund, returning around €5.4 million to founders

Today, Kindred Capital has closed its second seed fund at approx. €88.7 million. Through its ‘Equitable Venture’, the firm gives exceptional seed-stage entrepreneurs co-ownership in the fund that invested in their businesses. Since its launch in 2015, the firm has now invested in 39 technology companies across Europe and Israel, with ten of those investments…

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EU-Startups

The #Torrent Man : Winner of PirateBay.org auction using it to fund movie!

 DomainGang.com: The winner of the domain auction for PirateBay.org essentially spent $ 50,000 dollars to fund “The Torrent Man” movie. Using a notorious domain of a peer to peer repository as the seed for a crowdsourced project breaks new grounds, and the new registrant wants $ 1.99 million dollars for PirateBay.org. PirateBay.org now offe…
Domaining.com

As the Western US burns, a forest carbon capture monitoring service nabs cash from Amazon & Bill Gates-backed fund

Pachama, the forest carbon sequestration monitoring service that tracks how much carbon dioxide is actually captured in forestry offset projects, has raised $ 5 million in fresh funding from a clutch of high-profile investors, including Amazon and Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

The investment is one of several deals that Amazon has announced today through its Climate Pledge Fund. Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the firm backed by Bill Gates and other billionaires, led the round, which brings Pachama’s total haul to $ 9 million so it can scale its forest restoration and conservation emissions reduction monitoring service, the company said.

With the Western United States continuing to burn from several fires that cover acres of drought-impacted forests and deforestation continuing to be a problem around the world, Pachama’s solution couldn’t be more timely. The company’s remote verification and monitoring service using satellite imagery and artificial intelligence measures carbon captured by forests.

It also couldn’t be more personal. Pachama’s founder, Diego Saez-Gil, lost his own home in the wildfires that tore through California earlier this year.

“We will need to restore hundreds of thousands of acres of forests and carbon credits can be the funding mechanism,” Saez-Gil wrote in a direct message.

Pachama joins two other companies that are jointly financed by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund.

Other big corporate investors also backed Pachama. Groupe Arnault’s investment arm, Aglaé Ventures, and Airbnb’s alumni fund, AirAngels invested, as did a number of prominent family offices and early-stage funds. Sweet Capital, the fund investing the personal wealth of gaming company King.com’s management team; Serena Ventures (the investment vehicle for tennis superstar Serena Williams) and Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon Capital fund also invested in the round, along with Third Kind Ventures and Xplorer Ventures.

“There is growing demand from businesses with ESG commitments looking for ways to become carbon neutral, and afforestation is one of the most attractive carbon removal options ready today at scale,” said Carmichael Roberts, of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, in a statement. “By leveraging technology to create new levels of measurement, monitoring, and verification of carbon removal—while also onboarding new carbon removal projects seamlessly—Pachama makes it easier for any company to become carbon neutral. With its advanced enterprise tools and resources, the company has enormous potential to accelerate carbon neutrality initiatives for businesses through afforestation.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Crista Galli Ventures launches evergreen fund to revolutionise healthtech investing in Europe

Today marks the launch of Crista Galli Ventures, an early-stage healthtech fund that offers patient capital and deep healthcare expertise. Crista Galli Ventures partners with early-stage founders at Seed and Series A to build world-leading companies, and has tailored its strategy to the needs of ambitious healthtech entrepreneurs, and the unique industry in which they…

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EU-Startups

Belgian startup Antelope Dx raises €9M to fund development of at-home self tests for STDs and COVID-19

Over the past few years, investments in the healthcare diagnostic industry have been building momentum due to the growing awareness about the health benefits of early diagnosis and preventive care. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA), home tests can be cost-effective, quick, and confidential. 

As at-home diagnostic testing gains more acceptance, many medical device manufacturers are embracing the opportunities to develop a wide range of low-cost tools, and tests along a continuum of wellness and prevention. This ranges from chronic-disease management to identifying future risks of illness.

Antelope Dx secures €9M funding

Ghent-based Antelope Dx is one such company that develops a palm-sized home test diagnostic device that allows individuals and primary healthcare professionals to access key health parameters immediately. 

Recently, Antelope Dx secured €9M funding in a Series B round. The round was subscribed in a 50/50 ratio by an investment consortium led by Whitefund, and the Existing A-round investors.. 

A few weeks back, Antelope Dx also received a €2.2M grant from the Flanders Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) to expand the use of its at-home diagnostic testing platform. The new round brings the company’s total funding amount, raised till date, to €14.1M. 

According to Hilde Windels, CEO of Antelope Dx, Michel Baijot, chairman of Whitefund will join  Antelope Dx’s board, together with Hugues Wallemacq – a Noshaq investment manager with a broad experience in the medical field. 

What Antelope brings to the test

The Belgian company will utilise the funding to initiate clinical development of the urine-based self-test for Chlamydia trachomatis  (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG). 

Furthermore, the company is developing respiratory Influenza A/B and Sars-CoV-2 tests using a single swab sample, that would allow patients to test in their home. It’s also working on quantitative measurement of protein biomarkers in finger-prick blood samples. 

According to the company, the fact that it offers the rare trifecta of “clinical lab performance with the ease-of-use of a pregnancy test at a consumer price tag” is its differentiating factor. The platform is based on lab-on-chip technology and aims to perform tests on any bodily fluid, without requiring complex user operations or sample preparation.

Michel Baijot, Chairman of Whitefund, comments: “We were very pleased to lead this financing round involving other solid private partners and to count Antelope Dx as Whitefund’s first investment. Antelope Dx’s innovative technology platform allows us to address the real need for home diagnostic testing as pointed and urgently requested by the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

Main image credits: Antelope Dx

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