6 leading mobility VCs discuss the road ahead

Millions of consumers sheltering in place to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus sent shockwaves through the global economy. Transportation-related companies were not spared in the upheaval. Mobility startups consolidated, pulled back from some markets and reduced headcount. And yet, the industry — and the VCs who invest in it — is still rolling forward.

Founders are huddled with their teams, picking over spreadsheets and go-to-market strategies in search of ways to accelerate as their runways grow ever shorter. And while the pace of investments might have slowed, venture capitalists are still seeking out innovative tech and overlooked ideas.

TechCrunch spoke with six investors about the state of mobility, which trends they’re most excited about and what they’re looking for in their next investments:

Ernestine Fu, Alsop Louie Partners

What trends are you most excited about in mobility hardware from an investing perspective?

In-car cybersecurity. Today’s vehicles are highly sophisticated smart devices, and cybersecurity is becoming an integral part of automakers’ development efforts. We’re already seeing infotainment connectivity systems and over-the-air software updates in cars being vulnerable to cyberattacks. Vehicles will serve as the nodes of vast information networks, especially as personal mobility, autonomous driving and car connectivity drive our future. In-car cybersecurity threats will remain an ongoing concern — and a rich investment opportunity.

Stonly Baptiste & Shaun Abrahamson, Urban Us

What trends are you most excited about in mobility hardware from an investing perspective?

The most interesting thing is the continued reduction in costs of electric drivetrains and autonomous stacks. These are going to have a profound impact on total costs of fleets – lower labor, fuel and maintenance costs.

Startups – TechCrunch

German startup Spectrm that powers world’s leading chatbots scoops up €2.7M Series A funding from Runa Capital

Based out of Berlin, Spectrm is a conversational marketing platform that helps businesses effectively communicate with their customers, turning conversations into insights and revenue. The company has recently raised $ 3 million (approx €2.7 million) in Series A funding from international VC fund Runa Capital.  

Runa Capital is an international VC firm headquartered in Palo Alto, California that invests in early-stage deep tech (i.e., AI, machine learning, middleware, open-source), B2B SaaS, fintech, edutech and digital health startups.

“We will use it to develop our platform further and invest in our machine learning. This space is still just at the beginning of seeing the fundamental shift to messaging. We also want to increase further our footprint in the US,” Max Koziolek, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Spectrm told Silicon Canals. 

AI-powered Conversational Marketing Platform!

Established in 2016, the AI-powered platform helps marketers guide their customers from websites, ads, and messenger apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to final purchases by streamlining a usually disconnected, multi-touchpoint marketing funnel into a fun and interactive conversation. 

Talking about the product, Max Koziolek says, “Our product is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) platform to drive growth by designing conversations and connecting them to Messenger, Adlingo (conversational display ads) or other platforms. It’s different as the platform is designed for conversational marketing and growth, not customer service or anything in between. With our cutting edge natural language processing (recognised by Gartner as a cool vendor) we drive results other products won’t see.” 

In addition to Gartner, the social media giant Facebook named Spectrm a strategic development partner as well. Founded by Jendrik Höft, Manfred Stellenberg, and Max Koziolek, the German SaaS company focuses on mid-market and enterprise B2C firms in multiple verticals, powering companies like eBay, Purple, Ford, Groupon, Renault, KLM, and others.

Commenting on the event, Dmitry Galperin, Partner at Runa Capital, says, “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 .” 

6 million interactions per month!

In the past 12 months, the Spectrm platform enabled an average of 6 million interactions per month between brands and their customers. Combined with conversational AI and marketing automation tools to make all that declared data actionable, Spectrm is helping businesses turn messaging into an engine for growth. 

COVID-19 impact on Spectrm

The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) businesses are expected to be more resilient in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, due to their business model. However, Max Koziolek says the COVID-19 lockdown has affected them in a couple of ways

“As we are in the marketing space and some budgets are on hold, so that is constraining, but we also see additional growth as companies want to use the hundred thousands of messages from users as an opportunity to use machine learning to automate the questions and drive growth. That happened especially in the travel industry. When people ask when they can fly again safely, that is a question you want to automate and make sure you follow up once you can offer your service again and make sure they book with you.”

Main image credits: Spectrm

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news

The post German startup Spectrm that powers world’s leading chatbots scoops up €2.7M Series A funding from Runa Capital appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

German startup Spectrm that powers world’s leading chatbots scoop up €2.7M Series A funding from Runa Capital

Based out of Berlin, Spectrm is a conversational marketing platform that helps businesses effectively communicate with their customers, turning conversations into insights and revenue. The company has recently raised $ 3 million (approx €2.7 million) in Series A funding from international VC fund Runa Capital.  

Runa Capital is an international VC firm headquartered in Palo Alto, California that invests in early-stage deep tech (i.e., AI, machine learning, middleware, open-source), B2B SaaS, fintech, edutech and digital health startups.

“We will use it to develop our platform further and invest in our machine learning. This space is still just at the beginning of seeing the fundamental shift to messaging. We also want to increase further our footprint in the US,” Max Koziolek, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Spectrm told Silicon Canals. 

AI-powered Conversational Marketing Platform!

Established in 2016, the AI-powered platform helps marketers guide their customers from websites, ads, and messenger apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to final purchases by streamlining a usually disconnected, multi-touchpoint marketing funnel into a fun and interactive conversation. 

Talking about the product, Max Koziolek says, “Our product is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) platform to drive growth by designing conversations and connecting them to Messenger, Adlingo (conversational display ads) or other platforms. It’s different as the platform is designed for conversational marketing and growth, not customer service or anything in between. With our cutting edge natural language processing (recognised by Gartner as a cool vendor) we drive results other products won’t see.” 

In addition to Gartner, the social media giant Facebook named Spectrm a strategic development partner as well. Founded by Jendrik Höft, Manfred Stellenberg, and Max Koziolek, the German SaaS company focuses on mid-market and enterprise B2C firms in multiple verticals, powering companies like eBay, Purple, Ford, Groupon, Renault, KLM, and others.

Commenting on the event, Dmitry Galperin, Partner at Runa Capital, says, “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 .” 

6 million interactions per month!

In the past 12 months, the Spectrm platform enabled an average of 6 million interactions per month between brands and their customers. Combined with conversational AI and marketing automation tools to make all that declared data actionable, Spectrm is helping businesses turn messaging into an engine for growth. 

COVID-19 impact on Spectrm

The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) businesses are expected to be more resilient in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, due to their business model. However, Max Koziolek says the COVID-19 lockdown has affected them in a couple of ways

“As we are in the marketing space and some budgets are on hold, so that is constraining, but we also see additional growth as companies want to use the hundred thousands of messages from users as an opportunity to use machine learning to automate the questions and drive growth. That happened especially in the travel industry. When people ask when they can fly again safely, that is a question you want to automate and make sure you follow up once you can offer your service again and make sure they book with you.”

Main image credits: Spectrm

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news

The post German startup Spectrm that powers world’s leading chatbots scoop up €2.7M Series A funding from Runa Capital appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Can Domains Win a War With Covid-19? A Dozen Leading Brokers Weigh in On Business Conditions Now …

 DNJournal: A new Cover Story is out at DNJournal.com. With the Covid-19 pandemic upending all kinds of businesses could domains be an exception to the rule?
Domaining.com

[BioCatch in Find Biometrics] BioCatch Warns that COVID-19 is Leading to More Mule Accounts

There is mounting evidence to suggest that fraud is indeed increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic. BioCatch is now reporting that a full two-thirds of all financial institutions have modified their 2020 projections in response to the outbreak, and are now preparing to deal with higher rates of fraud than initially expected.

Read more here.

The post [BioCatch in Find Biometrics] BioCatch Warns that COVID-19 is Leading to More Mule Accounts appeared first on OurCrowd.

OurCrowd

10 promising European deeptech startups leading us into the future

Deeptech refers to companies founded on a scientific breakthrough, which seek to make the world a better place. Coined by Swati Chaturvedi, it can refer to robotics, smart cities, medtech, cleantech, quantum computing and more.

In the last five years there has been an increase in funding for deeptech companies across Europe, with €7.7 billion invested in 2019. This is an increase of almost three times compared to 2015. Artificial intelligence dominates the capital invested, as quantum has yet to make its rise in Europe.

However, there still is a wide venture capital gap compared to the US or China. This could be explained by European investors’ lack of experience in the industry and the perceived higher investments necessary for deeptech to succeed. But several scaleups such as Ynsect, DataIku and Orcam have demonstrated they can generate long term value on global markets.

The UK is leading deeptech investments in Europe, followed by France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Looking beyond the top 10, Romania stands out due to the large investments into UiPath, Europe’s fastest-growing deep tech.

With a global pandemic on our hands policy makers are seeking now more than ever ways to rebuild Europe’s tech and science capabilities. Not only for current economic purposes but also for better responses to future crises, as most governments have been criticised for their crisis management response while their citizens uncovered their total dependency on China for manufacturing or production.

Some European countries have started lifting lockdown measures and we are seeing deals been signed. One such startup Xampla, a spin off from the University of Cambridge, recently received €2.2 million in seed funding. Moreover, venture capital firms are creating funds for deeptech startups such as Runa Capital who is ready to invest €144 million.

If you want to know who to follow, here are some of the deep tech startups who will continue to rise in the next months.

AImotive – AImotive provides AI-powered self-driving technology. Founded in 2015 by Laszlo Kishonti, David Kiss and Jussi Havu, the company has offices Budapest, Mountain View, and Tokyo, employs over 200 people and has raised around €115 million in funding.

Beit – Beit is on mission to control quantum computers with algorithms able to solve hard problems. The company was founded in 2016 by Wojtek Burkot, is headquartered in Krakow, Poland, and has received funding from the European Commission for a quantum computer project.

FiveAI – FiveAI leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to build navigation systems to power autonomous cars. Founded in 2015 by John Redford, Ben Peters, Steve Allpress and headquartered in Cambridge, UK the startup employs more than 100 people.

Graphcore – Bristol-based unicorn Graphcore has created a new processor, the Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), designed for artificial intelligence. The IPU’s unique architecture lets AI researchers undertake new types of work, not possible using current technologies. Founded in 2016, it has over 300 employees and has raised around €418 million.

IQM – IQM was founded in 2018 by Jan Goetz and Kuan Yen Tan and is a spin-off of the Quantum Computing and Devices research group of Aalto University. IQM is headquartered in Espoo, Finland, and landed seed funding of €11 million in July 2019, around a year after its founding.

Kiutra – Kiutra is developing next-generation cooling devices for basic research, quantum technology, and detector applications based on magnetic cooling. Founded by Jan Spallek and Tomek Schultz in 2018, the startup is headquartered in Munich, Germany. The team raised around €1 million in funding in 2019 via two different rounds.

LTU – Founded in 2018 by Alexandre Winter, LTU employs more than 70 people with headquarters in Paris, France. LTU is a computer vision platform that provides unique image signatures for visual search and image recognition. Just this month they landed €4.5 million of funding.

Lilium – Co-founded in 2015 by Daniel Wiegand, Sebastian Born, Patrick Nathen and Matthias Meiner, Lilium is based near Munich, ​Germany. Lilium is developing an on-demand air taxi service and is already employing more than 400 people. In March of this year they closed a round of €224 million.

Nivaura – Nivaura offers modular platform technology to enable process automation for the insurance and administration of instruments such as loans and bonds. Nivaura was founded in 2015 by Alessio Menini and is headquartered in London, UK. In February 2019, they raised €17.5 million.

Tibber – Tibber is on a mission to change the way we buy and consume electricity. Founded in 2016 by Daniel Lindén and Edgeir Aksnes, Tibber is heaquartered in Stockholm, Sweeden. The startup employs over 40 people.

Finally, I could not end this article without tackling diversity within European deeptech startups or scaleups. The EIT Digital female-led deeptech startups and scaleups landscape from 2019 showcases over 60 startups in Europe who have a female CEO. Among them there are startups like Trick, Third Space Auto, Evertrace, Immersive.io, Bold, Biocore, Futrli, Omni:us, Cosmian or SeedLink. I hope they will inspire all the founders and investors out there to be more inclusive in the long run.

EU-Startups

[DailyPay in Olean Times Herald] America’s Leading Employers Commit To Pay Different In The Wake Of COVID-19

NEW YORK, May 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — DailyPay, the leading fintech platform and premier provider of the daily pay benefit, today announced the launch of a new comprehensive campaign, “Pay Different.”

Read more here.

The post [DailyPay in Olean Times Herald] America’s Leading Employers Commit To Pay Different In The Wake Of COVID-19 appeared first on OurCrowd.

OurCrowd

London-based Peanut snaps up €11 million to become the leading women’s social network

London-based femtech startup Peanut today announces closing an €11 million Series A funding round, led by the EQT Ventures fund. The startup will use the fresh funds to push its femtech app to the next level and become the leading social network for women globally. Having recently included Peanut in our list of 10 promising femtech startups to watch in 2020, they are certainly living up to expectations.

Peanut was launched in 2017 by Michelle Kennedy, who previously served as the Deputy CEO at multi-billion dollar dating app Badoo, and was integral to the launch of dating app Bumble. Peanut grew first as a femtech app for mothers to chat to, meet up with, and learn from like-minded women that happen to live in their neighborhood. Featured in Apple’s ‘Best Apps of 2017’ list, and having raised a total of €20.1 million, the startup has now moved on to bigger ambitions.

Late last year, Peanut successfully launched Peanut TTC (Trying to Conceive) and has become a vital tool and voice for women facing fertility challenges. Women engaging in fertility discussions interact 7x more across the app, demonstrating the need for this community. Peanut now plans to launch new communities beyond fertility and motherhood, including a first-of-its-kind space for women living with menopause. By 2025, there will be over one billion women experiencing menopause in the world and it’s currently an untapped market.

Additionally, this month, Peanut launched ‘Mute Keywords’, a feature allowing users to remove certain discussions from their feeds and notifications. For example, if a user wants to see less content around COVID-19, they can mute this keyword. Similarly, if someone is going through fertility challenges, they can mute conversations around ‘pregnancy’ that may be emotionally triggering. This highlights the work Peanut is doing to ensure that each woman has a personalised experience, including safeguards for those dealing with stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. 

The British startup’s new funding round, which was led by the EQT Ventures fund and also participated in by Index Ventures and Female Founders Fund, also means that Naza Metghalchi from EQT Ventures will join Peanut’s majority-female board, alongside Hannah Seal from existing investor Index Ventures. 

The new cash injection will be used to expand Peanut’s product offering to women at different life stages and accelerate building the product and engineering teams globally. Lyle Fong, Partner at EQT Ventures, will use his expertise in community-focused products to aid Peanut’s next stage of growth, establishing Peanut as the leading social network for women. 

We’re thrilled to welcome EQT Ventures, Naza Metghalchi and Lyle Fong to our existing roster of backers. Lyle’s unprecedented experience of building and scaling community-focused products will be vital as we undertake our next stage of growth in raising the bar in terms of product excellence as we enter new communities beyond fertility and motherhood” comments Peanut’s CEO, Michelle Kennedy. 

“Peanut’s user engagement metrics are a testament to the app’s ability to act as a true emotional companion throughout women’s journeys,” said Naza Metghalchi, venture lead and investment advisor at EQT Ventures. “The EQT Ventures team is excited to partner with Michelle and continue to grow Peanut into a platform that serves all women at different life milestones, exploring topics beyond fertility and motherhood which have already seen such huge traction.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, engagement across Peanut is up 30% and there has been a 40% increase in content consumption. This puts Peanut in a unique position to provide a safe and supportive environment for women during this unprecedented time. The community has grown from 1 million users in December 2019 to 1.6 million in April 2020, proving that Peanut has become the online destination for women at similar life stages to build friendships, find support and learn from one another.

EU-Startups

[C2A Security in PR Newswire] C2A Security Joins Leading OEMs and Tier 1s in Partnership With Global Automotive Platform Consortium AUTOSAR

JERUSALEM, April 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — C2A Security, a leading provider of trusted automotive cybersecurity solutions, announced today a Development Partnership with AUTOSAR, a global automotive platform consortium of OEM and Tier 1 companies including Core Partners BMW Group, Bosch, Continental, Daimler, Ford, GM, PSA Group, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Read more here.

The post [C2A Security in PR Newswire] C2A Security Joins Leading OEMs and Tier 1s in Partnership With Global Automotive Platform Consortium AUTOSAR appeared first on OurCrowd.

OurCrowd

In the News: Meet MigVax, Israel’s leading candidate for the coronavirus vaccine

There is nothing more important for the world right now than developing a vaccine against the coronavirus. That is why this past week, OurCrowd proudly announced our decision to lead the $ 12M investment for Israel’s leading coronavirus vaccine candidate being developed by MigVax, based on research from the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute. See the coverage as featured in TechCrunch, New York Times, and Forbes, and read our six reasons why OurCrowd is investing.

It turns out that Israel’s response to the coronavirus crisis, at least in the startup sector – has been fast-paced, innovative, and encouraging. After MigVax made global headlines, the company joined OurCrowd execs, Israel’s Ministry of Economy and two more companies on the coronavirus frontlines – Sight Diagnostics and PulmOne – for a discussion about Israel’s response to COVID-19. Watch the recording and discover how you too can get involved.

MOE webinar

I enjoyed speaking on Sky News Australia about the race to the vaccine and the overall tech investment scene – watch it here.

Sky News

As we near Israel’s 72nd birthday, one can’t help but feeling pride reflecting upon the technological contributions and innovations our small country continues to develop for the world – Happy Israel Independence Day!

Daily Dose

Here’s the latest from Daily Dose: one-minute insight videos based on the news, technologies, and stories I’m seeing and hearing each day. For the whole playlist, click here and catch up. 

 

Screen Shot 2020-04-23 at 20.05.11

Featuring Barcode Diagnostics 

Vaccine daily dose

Featuring MigVax

cybermdx

Featuring CyberMDX

Top Tech News

SaNOtize announces that its tests at the Antiviral Research Labs at Utah State University show that their Nitric Oxide Releasing Solution inactivated more than 99.9% of SARs-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, within two minutes, in laboratory tests, and Health Canada approves human clinical trials to begin immediately

On Israel’s Channel 13 news I discussed how technological developments and innovations are helping combat the virus, and what we are seeing from investments today. Watch here.

Channel 13 interview

US regulator grants exemption for drone flight during lockdown: The company, which regulators have not named, received permission this month to use industrial drones made by Airobotics, a US-Israeli start-up, to surveil critical infrastructure.

“Shouldn’t there be some kind of technological-intelligence solution that can help hospitals effectively secure, manage and optimize their healthcare assets?” Meet CyberMDX – giving hospitals efficiency during COVID-19.

Congratulations to smart LED lighting OurCrowd portfolio company Juganu, on the $ 18M funding round.

Watch the latest from OurCrowd

MeMed Diagnostics‘ blood test determines within 15 minutes whether a patient has a bacterial or viral infection, and whether or not to treat with antibiotics. Watch my interview with MeMed CEO Eran Eden to learn about how the company plans to assist critical hospital triage during the coronavirus crisis as well as its hopes to develop a universal diagnostic apparatus for viral infections.

MeMed tofl video

 

Looking to connect

With open positions at our global portfolio companies, here are a few of the most exciting:

Search and filter through OurTalent to find your next challenge.


The post In the News: Meet MigVax, Israel’s leading candidate for the coronavirus vaccine appeared first on OurCrowd.

OurCrowd