UK challenger bank Starling Bank raises €44.3 million to support small businesses

Today UK challenger bank Starling Bank has raised approximately €44.3 million in a funding round led by JTC and Merian Chrysalis Investment Company Limited. The investment follows an approximate €66.5 million investment in February 2020, bringing the total raised by Starling in 2020 to around €110 million and making the total it has raised since its founding approximately €402 million.

Starling Bank, founded in 2014 by Welsh banking veteran Anne Boden, is taking its place as one of the top challenger banks. Voted the Best British Bank last year, it has opened 1.4 million accounts, including 155,000 business accounts, since launching its banking app in May 2017. Its deposit base has more than doubled in the last six months and it now holds more than €2.6 billion on deposit.

Starling is also the fastest-growing bank for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe and now holds a 2.6% share of the UK’s SME banking market. It has almost €554 million of SME lending on its balance sheet, with further commitments raising the total to almost €1.1 billion.

The new funding will enable the bank to continue its rapid growth and help it provide much-needed support to small business customers who have been hit by the coronavirus emergency.

The lockdown has accelerated the shift to digital channels. As an app-based bank, Starling has seen robust customer acquisition since the lockdown, especially in the business account channel, where daily sign-ups have accelerated from the start of the year.

Starling’s agile operating model also enabled it to step up its lending to SMEs in May, via a collaboration for around €323 million under the UK Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and direct to its customers under its own CBIL and Bounce Back Loan Schemes.

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.”


Italy’s Commerce Layer raises $6M led by Benchmark for its headless e-commerce platform

In the world of commerce, the last few months have underscored the fact that every retailer, brand and entity that sells or distributes something needs to have a digital strategy. Today, one of the startups that’s built a platform aimed at giving them more control in that process is announcing a Series A to continue expanding its business.

Commerce Layer, which has built a “headless” e-commerce platform — used to develop online sales strategies that use APIs to plug your inventory to take orders and payments from a variety of endpoints like other marketplaces, your own site and app (and the various payment systems you might use depending on the country you’re selling into), messaging services, social channels, and more — has raised a Series A of $ 6 million, which CEO and founder Filippo Conforti said the startup will be using to continue expanding in more geographies and adding in more endpoints to fit the needs of its current (and future) customers.

The funding is being led by Benchmark Capital, with participation also from Mango Capital, DAXN, PrimeSet, SV Angel, and NVInvestments. The startup is based out of Italy — specifically, just outside of Florence in Tuscany. And so the funding is notable for a few reasons: first, for the investors; second, what it says about this particular category in the tech ecosystem right now; and third, that even in what was at one point the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Western countries, we are seeing signs of recovery and activity in the tech ecosystem.

In fact, Commerce Layer was talking to Benchmark and others in the Valley well before the outbreak of the pandemic, and the term sheets with those investors were signed in January, also before things really kicked off in Italy. What took significantly longer was the process after, in which many individual investors in the startup, based in Italy, had to sign off paperwork related to the new investors and the fact that Commerce Layer was also incorporating in the US as part of that deal. All of that was handled remotely.

The world of e-commerce has changed a huge amount in the last couple of decades. The early days saw people ‘shopping’ online but ordering through email, eventually giving way to having your own site or selling perhaps on a marketplace like eBay or Amazon. Modern times have made that process both easier and more complex.

Complex, because brands and retailers now have a large array of options and permutations for how to sell something, both on their own sites as well as on a number of other platforms (some, as we have described before, have foregone sites altogether).

Easier, because the rise of APIs to enable developers to plug into a number of other systems without building everything themselves from scratch (including, even, platforms like RapidAPI, which has also recently raised $ 25 million, to help organise and manage how those APIs are used).

This is where Commerce Layer fits into the picture, with an API-based system that is able to manage multiple SKUs, prices, and inventory data to help its customers sell in any currency, with distributed inventory models, and global shipping that makes it easy to add or adjust where and when you are selling, be it across your site or app, or a different platform altogether.

There are a number of tools on the market today to enable the very smallest, and the very biggest, merchants to develop and power online sales for brick-and-mortar or pure-play e-commerce companies and brands; and there are even a number of “headless” options out there.

The wider list is pretty extensive, but some of the bigger names include Shopify, BigCommerce, Commercetools, and Ecwid and Strapi (both of which also announced funding just last week, see here and here).

Conforti — who got his start in e-commerce a decade ago when building online commerce solutions for Gucci — acknowledges that the competitive landscape is indeed very big, but also believes that the key lies services like his being significantly younger, and thus more modern and easy to use, than even the legacy headless systems or services developed by older e-commerce enablers.

“Being headless is mandatory in order to provide a truly omnichannel experience to customers,” Conforti said. If you’re not API-first that is a flag, he added. “Everyone knows it’s the future, and the present.” He said that he considered Commercetools, another European company, “the only real competitor” although “they were born 15 years ago so you get some older technology. Commerce Layer is more fresh with more modern APIs.”

Customers of Commerce Layer include Chilly’s (the fashionable water bottle company), Au Depart, Richard Ginori and more, who Conforti says help shape what his startup builds next: for example one of its customers wants an integration with Farfetch, the high-end fashion marketplace, and so they are building that to subsequently offer it as an option to others.

Eric Vishria, a general partner at Benchmark who is joining the board of the startup with this round, said that the distinction is great enough between what Commerce Layer has built and what already exists on the market to take a bet on the company.

“Right now there is a huge gap between the mom-and-pop, give-me-a-generic-template-based-storefront-quickly, and the invest-a-hundred-engineers-and-millions-of-dollars-to-build-everything-from-scratch,” he said. “The most likely approach to fill that need is the JAM stack and API approach – like Commerce Layer, which will give companies radically more flexibility to create unique experiences than a template. But allows them to build quickly and inexpensively by assembling building blocks rather than everything from scratch.

“We committed to investing in Commerce Layer before the pandemic took hold, but I couldn’t be more delighted to invest in a company founded in Italy right now. The fact that the team continued to build and grow in Italy through this all is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit.

Benchmark once had a full European arm, which separated and now goes by the name Balderton. Meanwhile, it has also continued to invest in a number of startups in the region from its own funds, including Zendesk (Denmark), Elastic (Netherlands), Contentful and ResearchGate.

Startups – TechCrunch

Truthset raises $4.75M to help marketers score their data

Data, the cliché goes, is the new oil of the digital economy. But Truth{set} co-founder and CEO Scott McKinley wants to know: “Why does no one care about the quality of that fuel?”

That’s an issue McKinley saw in his seven years as an executive at Nielsen, where he said he realized that marketing data products are “all built on massive error.” As evidence, he pointed to recent studies showing that bad data leads marketers to waste 21 cents of every dollar, and that in many cases, consumer data is “similar to or even worse than what you’d get if you used random chance to create a target list.

McKinley argued, “You wouldn’t drive a car to a gas station where there’s no octane rating on the pump.” He created Truth{set} to provide that octane rating to marketers, and to “shine the light on that whole ecosystem.”

More specifically, the company scores the consumer data that marketers are buying on accuracy, on a scale between 0.00 and 1.00. To create these scores, Truth{set} checks the data against independent data sources, as well as first-party data and panels.

“In order for us to do this, we had to develop a perspective on what is truthful and what is not,” McKinley said. “And so instead of building our own data sets, we said, ‘Let’s be smarter than that, let’s verify everybody else’s data with these independent sources of truth.’ ”

Truthset screenshot

Image Credits: Truthset

In addition to coming out of stealth, Truth{set} is also announcing that it has raised $ 4.75 million in seed funding from startup studio super{set}, WTI, Ulu Ventures and strategic angel investors.

The company says it’s compatible with demand-side platforms, data management platforms and customer platforms. It also integrates with the leading data providers, including Facebook, LiveRamp and The Trade Desk.

McKinley added that the platform can even “suppress” consumer IDs that don’t meet a marketer’s standards, so that they’re not used in targeting.

Throughout our conversation, he emphasized the idea of independence, arguing that in order to provide trustworthy scores, “You cannot have a conflict of interest.” At the same time, Truth{set} is working closely with the data providers to score their data and to help them improve their accuracy. The goal is to create an expectation among marketers that if data is accurate, it will come with a score from Truth{set}.

“There’s a FOMO thing here — if you’re not being measured, what are you hiding?” McKinley said.

Startups – TechCrunch

Storage marketplace Warehouse Exchange raises $2.2M

Warehouse Exchange, a startup that describes itself as the Airbnb of warehouse space, has raised $ 2.2 million in seed funding.

The company was founded Jonathan Rosenthal (CEO of Saybrook Management) and Dan Pimentel (previously CFO/COO of startup Hub TV). They recently brought on former eHarmony CEO Grant Langston as the Warehouse Exchange’s chief executive.

Langston admitted that his new job might sound pretty different from running an online dating company, but he said that in both cases, it’s really about using technology to build a marketplace.

In the case of Warehouse Exchange, Langston said the opportunity lies in the fact that “businesses that wanted warehouse space were not welcome in warehouses.” Specifically, there are plenty of new e-commerce companies that want “smaller footprints for shorter periods of time and want to handle their own inventory,” but particularly pre-pandemic, most of the third-party logistics companies (known as 3PLs) operating warehouses weren’t interested in that business.

So Warehouse Exchange has created a marketplace connecting renters with flexible warehouse space — Langston said businesses are renting space through the marketplace for an average of 11 months (though it usually starts with a shorter amount of time and then gets extended).

Warehouse Exchange CEO Grant Langston

Warehouse Exchange CEO Grant Langston

In fact, the company said it’s seen 22,000 searches on its site in the past 18 months. The warehouse space, meanwhile, might not come from traditional warehouse operators, but instead from other organizations that have extra space that they want to monetize.

Langston added, “3PLs are typically not interested in this small e-commerce demand, but what has happened in the last eight weeks is that a lot of these companies have lost their anchor tenant and need to rethink their revenue.”

In order for a warehouse shift to this model, Langston said some rethinking is required, but “the infrastructure is quite light” — usually, you just partitions to separate different parts of the warehouse.

Given the broader concerns about warehouse safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, I also asked about who is responsible for those issues within the warehouses. Langston said it’s up to the individual tenants, noting that in many cases it’s just one person running an e-commerce business, and that “in a general sense, there’s not a lot of intermingling between tenants.”

The new funding comes from investors including Xebec Realty. Langston said he’s already working to raise a Series A, with a target of $ 6 to $ 7 million.

Startups – TechCrunch

MakeSpace Raises $55M for its Affordable and Flexible On-Demand Storage Solution

In 2012, Rahul Gandhi was living in Brooklyn when Hurricane Sandy hit. The amount of destruction and flooding required the need for temporary storage. That experience led to the founding of MakeSpace with the mission to change the complex, expensive, and labor-intensive experience of self-storage. Fast forward to today and MakeSpace is now available in 31 markets across North America, with over 30,0000 customers and has raised a total of $ 142.6M across seven rounds. Gandhi shares more about the impressive journey and future plans…

Cookware startup Caraway raises $5.3M as it eyes new product categories

Caraway, a direct-to-consumer startup selling ceramic pots and pans, is announcing that it has raised $ 5.3 million in seed funding.

Founder and CEO Jordan Nathan (previously a brand manager at e-commerce holding company Mohawk Group) told me that he became interested in cookware after burning a Teflon pan and learned more about the dangers of Teflon poisoning.

In fact, although nonstick materials like Teflon are used most of the cookware sold in the United States, it turns out that that there are real health risks when those pots and pans are overheated.

So Nathan said Caraway offers non-toxic, eco-friendly pots and pans that are also well-designed and premium quality. The four-item cookware set costs $ 395 and also comes with pot and lid holders (Nathan noted that many consumers also struggle with storage).

When I brought up some of the broader issues facing direct-to-consumer startups before the pandemic, particularly around costly user acquisition, Nathan said, “Caraway has been focused on sustainable growth since day one. We’re only a few months old and growing very fast, but at the same time, we’re focused on cutting cost and making sure every dollar returns a profitable first purchase from consumers.”

Caraway racks

Image Credits: Caraway

Caraway isn’t revealing any sales numbers, but Nathan suggested that the company has definitely benefited from increased consumer interest as everyone is stuck at home and doing more cooking.

And he said that interest extends beyond buying Caraway products: “It’s been a really good time to activate our community. There’s been a lot more engagement, a lot of sharing of user generated content, sharing on Instagram — not just for cookware and pans, but education around cooking, around storage, around design.”

The company’s supply chain has also been affected by the pandemic. Nathan said his team has done work to expedite shipments, but “where we’ve put our focus has really just been communicating with customers that there will be delays.”

The new funding comes from more than 100 investors, including Republic Labs, Springdale Ventures, Wesray Social, Bridge Investments, WTI, CompanyFirst, G9 Ventures, Super Angel Syndicate (led by Ben Zises), Five Four Ventures, alongside Bonobos co-founder Andy Dunn, PopSugar co-founder Brian Sugar (PopSugar), Glossier and Arfa founders/executives Henry Davis and Bryan Mahoney, One Kings Lane co-founder Ali Pincus and Nik Sharma of Sharma Brands.

In a statement, Dunn said:

Many people think direct-to-consumer brands are going to struggle in this new economy. From being an investor in two dozen brands, the truth is more nuanced: some are really flourishing. Caraway had strong momentum at launch, with a clear vision from founder Jordan Nathan around the future of home goods. The COVID-19 pandemic then amplified that momentum with the surge of in-home cooking. Caraway’s out of the gates growth rate is in the top 1% of what I’ve seen in DTC brands. This is not a pots and pans company, this is a disruptor to traditional brick and mortar multi-category home brands.

To that last point, Nathan said Caraway has already expanded into kitchen linens, and there are plans for other home products.

“With every new product we launch, we’re bringing the same focus [that we brought to] cookware,” he said. “The same colors, the same sleek and timeless design, the non-toxic, eco-friendly material. And every product we launch will have a storage solution built into it.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Stackin’ raises $12.6M Series B to help millennials navigate the crowded fintech space

Fintech’s funding boom for the past decade has led to a flurry of new consumer startups tackling a wide range of money-related issues, from saving apps to investing platforms.

Should you download Robinhood, Stash, Public, Acorns, or Truebill? The fintech craze creates confusion for consumers when it comes to figuring out which startup is the best to handle your money.

That clutter has created room for Venice-based Stackin’, a curated marketplace for fintech apps that today raised $ 12.6 million in a Series B funding round led by Octopus Ventures. According to CEO Scott Grimes, Stackin’ “wants to be the simplest entry point into finance” for millennials. Today’s raise brings the company’s total known funding to $ 19.6 million. Other investors in the company include Experian Ventures, Cherry Tree Investments, Dig Ventures, Mucker Capital, Unlock Venture Partners, TechStars and Wavemaker Partners.

How it works

Stackin’ uses text messaging to give money tips to young consumers, which it meets by advertising on platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. Think of Stackin’ as a more friendly and less nerdy “robo-advisor” that sends you advice on how to save, and from time to time, recommends you an app that you might enjoy in the fintech space.

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“Sometimes you’ll get some education, sometimes we’ll send you something funny via text,” said Grimes. “So the text messages themselves are not always built for response. They’re built to keep you engaged. They’re built to teach you something.” Tips look like how to manage a stimulus check, or how to save $ 500 on your couch.

The texts for the first 30 to 60 days are tailored to how someone finds Stackin’. If users come in from a TikTok around investing, the first two months are around investing tips. After that time period, the knowledge becomes more general.

When Stackin’ has enough information on a user to see that they might be interested in opening an investment account, for example, they present three options to the user of platforms they can use.

Stackin’ added one million active users in a little over a year, up 500,000 active users from when it raised last July. It has sent over 100 million text messages to date.

The easiest way to understand how Stackin’ makes money is to think of it as an advertising agent for other fintech brands. It’s yet another channel that Robinhood or Chime can use to market itself, and Stackin’ drives leads to younger customers. Stackin’ makes money when users either click into one of their product recommendations or download an app, depending on the contract. The company’s base rate is determined on a contract-by-contract basis.

Grimes said that the text messaging service, built atop Twilio, incurs “a lot of costs” for the company, which is not yet profitable. But he hopes that as the company captures more users, their recommendations will get better and revenue will increase.

Many fintech startups have a financial literacy component similar to Stackin’, but their education is only effective after a consumer decides to download their app in the first place. Stackin’s competitive edge is that it brings in potential customers to fintech before they are in the “download a robo-adviser” stage of their financial journey. Grimes describes them as the “pipes that port people around fintech.”

Success (and a shutter)

With the new financing and COVID-19, Stackin’ is doubling down on its text-messaging business and stripping the company of its other plays in the product field. In the fall, Stackin’ launched a new investment feature similar to Acorns to encourage users to invest. In June, it launched a no-fee, checking and savings account feature in partnership with Radius Bank. The company recently ended its partnership with Radius Bank and will continue its small investing operations, an “unraveling” move that the CEO says was so “Stackin did not look like it competes with its customers.”

“As a referral product, we don’t even want the appearance that we’re trying to compete with the neo-banking space,” Grimes said. “Our core focus as we move forward is going to be 100 percent built around how we can be the most efficient company on the planet and use data to refer people into the products they need when they need them.”

Stackin’ has 18 employees, and will use the new funding to expand its messaging service, user growth, and marketplace to the United Kingdom later this year.

Startups – TechCrunch

Video news startup Stringr raises $5.75M from Thomson Reuters and others

Stringr, a video-focused startup that says it can help news organizations adapt to the challenges of COVID-19, is announcing that it’s raised $ 5.75 million in new funding.

When I wrote about the the company at the end of 2015, it was creating a marketplace that connected news organizations with videographers who could provide them with news footage. Since then, co-founder and CEO Lindsay Stewart (a former TV news producer herself) told me the network has grown to more than 100,000 videographers.

At the same time, Stringr has added new tools for things like live streaming, transcription and editing, creating what Stewart described as “the most efficient video production platform.”

And she suggested that media companies need a platform like this more than ever. Yes, some Stringr customers are just using the service when they need footage, but she said others see Stringr as a purely cloud-based solution for producing news programming “when nobody’s coming into the office.”

And speaking of footage, newsrooms are going to need help on that front too, particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic having a dramatic impact on the media industry’s bottom line.

“I don’t think it’s lost on anyone that media companies … the business model, even more than before COVID, has been challenged,” Stewart added. So those companies are turning to Stringr for help in figuring out “how they become as cost effective as they possibly can, while still providing a valuable service to society overall.”

Stringr has also launched a division called Embed Studios that taps into the startup’s videographer network to create content for brands including Corcoran, Zillow, HBO Max, Amazon, Lightworkers, TikTok, Mastercard, United Way and MGM.

The company has now raised a total of $ 7.25 million. The new funding comes from Thomson Reuters, as well as previous investors G5 Capital and Advection Growth Capital.

It sounds like the Reuters investment is part of a broader partnership where the wire service’s customers can request video footage from Stringr. In fact, Stewart said that the startup’s work with Reuters is also pushing it to recruit videographers globally, starting in western Europe. (It was previously focused on the United States and the United Kingdom.)

Startups – TechCrunch

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

The post Meniga raises €8.5M: How this Icelandic fintech wants to boost digital banking in Europe? appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Copenhagen-based Podimo raises €15 million to build a global podcaster ecosystem

Today Podimo, a fast growing podcasting provider, has announced snapping up €15 million in a round led by 83North, with participation from existing investors and Heartcore. The Danish startup aims to bring smart curation, discoverability features and intuitive design to listeners, as well as a new revenue stream to creators.

Founded in 2019, Podimo is a podcast and short-form audio platform that offers personalised recommendations for users, and supports podcast creators through a revenue share model, driven by their subscription-based service. Podimo’s ambition is to deliver an outstanding podcast experience for both creators and consumers globally.

“Podimo’s long-term ambition is to create robust revenue streams to the podcasting community and to be a positive partner to everyone within the ecosystem”, says Morten Strunge, CEO and Founder. “Our dream is to be part of developing the podcast industry, where we can help match audiences with content they love and create incremental income to support creators, allowing them to focus on creating great content. Our focus is solely on podcasts and short-form audio.”

As we are entering a new decade of podcasts, we see that Podimo is a key player in revolutionizing the industry and has a leading role in reshaping consumer and creator experiences”, says Arnon Dinur, Partner, 83North. “Podimo has a very strong team in place and a proven track record. We are excited to be part of the journey.”

So far the service is currently live in Denmark and Germany. The fresh funds will be used to drive market expansion across the rest of Europe, as currently more than 20% of the European population listen to podcasts. The finance will also be used to develop the platform, invest in content and creators, develop a podcaster studio and build the team.