Tech startups weekly: Tech tackling growing waste crisis, cloud-based phone system, the rise of fintech

Europe is bouncing back to normalcy as the lockdown imposed due to COVID-19 is gradually easing a bit. In an attempt to revive the lost economy, the tech startups and other businesses are kicking back to normal and are striving hard to go back to the pre-COVID era. As a result, several tech startups in Europe have made headlines in recent times. Some have launched new products and services and some others have received funding to expand their business and take the same to the next level. Here is a roundup of what happened this week in the European tech startup arena brought to you by Silicon Canals, your most authentic source of European tech news with an edge.

Picture credits: Floryn

Dutch leading fintech gets funding from prominent Dutch VC

Dutch fintech startup Floryn, formerly known as InvoiceFinance, got €9 million from Endeit Capital recently, also supported by existing shareholders Peak Capital. The Dutch startup, based in Den Bosch, finances loans of up to €2 million for small and medium-sized companies. Floryn will use part of the investment to recruit additional staff for product development. The rest of the amount will be used to fuel its national, and international expansion as demand for business loans in Europe has witnessed a surge of 98%.

Founded in 2016 by Sven van der Biezen (CEO), Marijn van Aerle (CTO) and Gion van den Bogaert (CFRO), the Netherlands-based company has raised €6 million in equity in 2017 from Peak Capital (known for Catawiki and OneFit) and Kalo Bagijn, co-founder of BinckBank and Brand New Day. In 2019, €60 million in financing was provided by NIBC and private investors, and currently, the company employs around 50 people.

Picture credits: Greyparrot

London-based AI startup secures funding to tackle growing waste crisis

London-based Greyparrot that uses computer vision AI to scale efficient processing of recycling has secured £1.825 million (nearly €2.03 million) seed funding led by early-stage industrial tech investor Speedinvest along with participation from UK-based early-stage B2B investor, Force Over Mass.

The UK startup has trained a slew of machine learning models to identify various types of waste including glass, paper, newspaper, cardboard, cans and several types of plastic. This makes sorting recycling process more efficient and it applies automation and digitisation to the waste management industry. Greyparrot will use the fresh investment to further develop its product and expand into the global markets.

Picture credits: Claris

Claris launches its first open platform for developers

Claris, an Apple subsidiary announced the launch of FileMaker 19, its first open platform for developers to rapidly build sophisticated custom apps that leverage direct JavaScript integrations, AI via Apple’s Core ML, drag-and-drop add-ons, and more. With FileMaker 19, developers can be more productive and businesses can leverage its global community of developer resources to solve complex digital issues. FileMaker 19 is fast, smart and extensible. It lets developers create in a snap with plug-and-play add-ons, use readily available JavaScript libraries, build smarter apps and more. Its additional features include the ability to create apps directly in the cloud and host where you want including both Windows and Mac.

Picture credits: SumUp

SumUp expands e-commerce product lineup to support businesses

UK-based payments service SumUp has launched an online payment tool to help businesses adapt to the social distancing norms. The latest solution of SumUp is a part of the company’s ongoing push into the online retail industry as a part of its drive to provide a complete toolkit for merchants. With this new addition lets merchants showcase their products remotely enabling the making of taking of all payments for their businesses. The SumUp online store is a SaaS product and comes with a subscription pricing and multi-tiered model. It also lets SMEs quickly set up and design their own online stores sans any previous knowledge of web design or technology.

Picture credits: Aircall

Cloud-based voice platform gets funded

Paris-based Aircall, a cloud-based voice platform that helps businesses and teams to connect globally recently secured $ 65 million (nearly €58.6 million) Series C funding led by DTCP along with participation from new investors Adam Street and Swisscom along with existing UK-based existing investors Draper Esprit, Balderton Capital, eFounders, and NextWorld. This is the largest funding round secured by the French company till date taking its overall funding amount to $ 100 million (nearly €90.1 million). Aircall will use this investment to expand into new markets across the world, double its customer base in Europe, enhance its leading tech capabilities and hire 100 new staff by the end of this year.

Picture credits: Voi

Former Bird UK chief joins Voi

The UK government is all set to accelerate trials of e-scooter rentals to reduce crowding on public modes of transportation and adhere to social distancing norms. In this attempt, Sweden-based Voi Technology has hired Richard Corbett, the former head of e-scooter giant Bird UK to head its Ireland, Benelux, and UK operations. Corbett has helped the rival brand launch e-scooter rentals in the Netherlands. At Voi, Corbett will be responsible for leading the push into the UK market, where it expects to witness at least 50,000 rides per day in 2020 in London.

Picture credits: Stripe

Stripe expands to five European countries

Europe has some of the largest and fastest-growing online economies in the world. This growth has been driven further by the accelerated shift towards online during the COVID-19 crisis. Adyen’s arch rival lets more European entrepreneurs and businesses accept payments online from anywhere in the world within a few minutes. Already, Stripe exists in 39 countries, of which 29 are in Europe. Now, the US fintech is coming to more European countries to make payment acceptance and money movement faster and simpler for everyone. With this expansion, online companies in Czech Republic, Romania, Cyprus, Malta, and Bulgaria can gain access to Stripe’s product stack to launch, operate and scale their business globally.

Picture credits: Notion

SaaS/enterprise tech VC firm increases investment

European SaaS/enterprise tech VC firm, Notion VC, has increased investment in new companies by 89% in the last 12 months. This way, it increases assets under management to $ 0.5 billion. Besides this, the VC firm also promoted Itxaso del Palacio to Partner. And, she will be responsible for B2B SaaS investments across Europe. Palacio is a part of Notion since 2018 and has led investments into Yulife, Mya, and Forest Admin. This promotion comes at a time when Notion secured £125 million fourth venture fund in October last year and its recent hires roping in industry veteran Andy Leaver joining the firm. Notion has invested in more than 60 B2B tech startups since its debut in 2009 including companies such as GoCardless, Dixa, Paddle, Mews, CurrencyCloud, Unbabel, and Tradeshift.

Picture credits: PlusDental

Digital dentistry platform from Berlin secures funding

PlusDental, a Berlin-based digital dentistry platform has secured €32 million Series C funding from international investors. The investment was led by Hong Kong-based Ping An Global Voyager Fund, which joins it as a new investor. The others that have invested in the healthtech company include Christian Wegner, the founder of Re-commerce platform Momox, Lakestar, and HV Holtzbrinck.

Specialising in digital dentistry and aesthetic orthodontic treatments with clear aligners,. PlusDental will use this fresh Investment to develop its proprietary digital dentistry platform and continue expansion of business in Germany and Europe.

Picture credits: MaaS

MaaS Global teams up with Finnish fintech startup

Maas Global, a leading Mobility as a Service provider has teamed up with Enfuce, the largest fintech startup in Finland to launch a card payment offering in the former’s all-inclusive mobility app, Whim. This partnership lets MaaS Global issue Mastercard prepaid cards securely and expand its offering to new markets. Notably, MaaS Global revolutionises urban mobility by gathering all public and private transport services in convenient, travelling subscriptions. In partnership with Enfuce, MaaS Global accessed a flexible and fully scalable payment infrastructure solution. Enfuce’s close guidance will let MaaS Global offer Whim customers a reliable, efficient and most of all easy payment experience.

Picture credits: EZ Factory

EZ Factory secures growth boost

EZ Factory, a supplier of mobile apps used in production environments has secured €720k growth boost. With this investment, the company is expected to break even by the end of this year. Notably, the Eindhoven-based tech startup, develops innovative and user-friendly apps to support operational teams in factories. These tools let them work more efficiently and improve the process continuously. They developed EZ-GO, a digital application that facilitates autonomous maintenance, work instructions, inspections, and audits. This makes factories safer and more
efficient, allows operators to suggest improvements, and makes results available in a real time
dashboard.

Main image picture credits: Floryn

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news.

The post Tech startups weekly: Tech tackling growing waste crisis, cloud-based phone system, the rise of fintech appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

10 of Europe’s most promising food box startups speeding through 2020

Recipe and ingredient subscription boxes are definitely a convenient way to make meals without planning recipes and going to the supermarket.

By delivering the exact amount of each ingredient needed for each recipe together with cooking instructions, they not only provide a convenient service, but also save waste. With the corona virus outbreak making these home delivery food companies more popular than ever, many of these teams have gone from fast-growing to super sonic.

With this in mind, we scouted out the startups founded in the last 5 years, analysing their team size, expansion initiatives, funding and more, to curate a list of the coolest and speediest teams operating in Europe.

Mindful Chef – Mindful Chef is a health-focused recipe box service from London launched in 2015 by school friends Giles, Myles and Rob. The company delivers ethically sourced ingredients from small UK farms and producers to create nutritious and low-carb meals. On top of that, for every ordered meal, the startup donates a school meal to a child in poverty. So far, Mindful chef have delivered over 1 million meals across the UK. In 2019, the startup nabbed a €6.6 million Series A investment.

Pasta Evangelists – Pasta Evangelists is the recipe box service which offers a weekly changing menu of fresh pastas, sauces and garnishes sourced from Italy and available for delivery across the UK including Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and Scottish Isles. The startup was founded in 2016 in London by Genoa-born Alessandro Savelli with the mission to enable customers to prepare a restaurant-quality pasta dish at home. In February 2020, Pasta Evangelists raised around €3.9 million investment to accommodate their growth. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the company has experienced a considerable increase in new customers.

Frichti – This Parisian startup is an “everyday caterer” whose mission is to allow all those who want to eat well but do not have time to cook to do so. Frichti combines an online supermarket with recipe kits service, including pizza, pasta, burger, tacos, desserts and many other kit types. Founded in 2015, the startup raised around €7 million Series B investment in 2019, and has grown a team of 200+ people. Starting with delivery around Paris, the company has been extending its services as recently as April of this year. What’s more, Frichti relaunched their B2B canteen 2.0 service to guarantee the safety of their customers with their 100% digital meal delivery service during the confinement.

My cooking box – My Cooking Box is an elegantly branded pack that contains everything necessary to recreate an Italian gourmet dish at home, sticking to a chef’s recipe. The ingredients are all Made in Italy and long-life, to ensure that a customer can cook whenever they want and with no waste. The delivery is made in Lombardia region, including Milan, Brescia and Bergamo. The startup founded by Chiara Rota in 2015 raised €1 million in 2019 for the development of boxes with traditional recipes of each Italian region. During the pandemic they’ve been successfully serving their growing community, and just a few days ago launched a new box in collaboration with Calvé sauces and CHILI entertainment.

Ekomenu – Founded in Amsterdam by Jack Stroeken, Ekomenu is a foodbox scheme focusing on healthy menus for the conscious consumer and consumers with specific needs, including vegetarian, vegan, low carb, gluten free, lactose free, pregnancy, diabetes, weight loss, protein rich and other diets. Founded in 2017, the startup delivers a meal kit which comprises 20-30-minute recipes and fresh 100% organic ingredients via home delivery and pick up in the Netherlands and Belgium. Ekomenu prides in its no waste policy, with the exact amount of ingredients needed. In 2019 the startup secured €313K equity crowdfunding via Symbid, and during the pandemic launched a new box collaboration: the ‘Green Pharmacy’ of herbs and greens.

Allplants – Allplants, founded in 2016, has been doing rather well lately, having raised €3.9 million via an equity crowdfunding campaign this March. The London-based veggie meal delivery company works by choosing 6 meals (from 22 options) to go in the box, which is then delivered to the customer’s door whenever they like. All packaging materials are sustainable, in line with their philosophy. So far, the team has grown to 60+ employees, and shows no signs of stopping.

Oddbox – Oddbox, founded in 2016, is a sustainable fruit and vegetable box delivery service. Created by a husband and wife team, the startup is on a mission to solve food waste and deliver a box of funny and odd shaped vegetables to your doorstep, ready for cooking. The UK startup has achieved over 400% growth the past 12 months, and raised funding of €3.2 million this March. Right in the middle of the pandemic they received so many requests from outside their ambit, that they quickly expanded their reach to meet fast-growing customer demand.

Marley Spoon – Marley Spoon, founded in 2014, is all about meal kit boxes. The startup takes care of all aspects of cooking preparation, from getting the right ingredients, weighing out exactly what you need, and providing the recipe. Benefits include leaving behind the hassle of grocery shopping, producing zero food waste and having more time to cook. Originating in Berlin, the company now delivers in many countries (Austria, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, US), partnered up with Martha Stewart the famous cook for their US launch and has a team of 400+. We interviewed their CEO a few years ago, if you’d like to check it out.

GRIM – Founded in 2018, GRIM is on a mission to deliver boxes of healthy vegetables, which might not fit the typical appearance criteria of being sold in a supermarket, right to people’s homes. In 2019, they grew their revenue by 700%, and closed their crowdfunding campaign at 400% over the target. The Copenhagen-based team is expanding their team due to the growth they’ve seen recently and announced just last week that they will be expanding to many new areas in Denmark to serve over half of the Danish population.

Food in the Box – Based in Madrid, this team is bringing the recipe box idea to Spain. Created by Fabián León, a finalist from the Spanish version of MasterChef, the team is young and has quite a strong social media following. Since starting in 2015, the food box has grown to offer different weekly meal boxes, such as paleo, vegetarian and vegan, each with all ingredients and recipe included. Users can check the recipes coming up for the next week online, and order accordingly. The startup has so far closed both seed and angel funding rounds, and is positive for the future.

By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!

EU-Startups

Fintech regulations in Latin America could fuel growth or freeze out startups

It may have entered the game later than other leading regions such as Europe and North America, but Latin America’s fintech industry is dynamic and growing fast. The sector was recently given a valuation of more than $ 150 billion and continues to expand year-on-year.

And while the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on the sector is yet to be determined, there’s no doubt that the demand for certain fintech solutions is on the rise. As smaller financial institutions across the region are under pressure to digitize, many are calling on fintechs to help them along this journey. In addition, a number of SMEs are seeking out digital loan services to help them get through the crisis.

The sector’s speedy expansion has meant that regulators in LatAm are under increasing pressure to enact legislation that addresses the murky waters of fintech activity, providing confidence to consumers and investors alike. However, regulation across the region must be careful to not quash innovation, while startups must figure out how to be agile in an environment which is becoming increasingly regulated. Let’s take a closer look at what impact regulation has had so far in LatAm, and what needs to happen to strike a balance between sector growth and public trust.

The development of fintech regulation across LatAm

Mexico is currently leading the way when it comes to fintech regulation in LatAm, thanks to its comprehensive 2018 fintech Law. The law covers most fintech activities, including crowdfunding, virtual wallet, transactions carried out with cryptocurrencies and open banking. In addition, Mexico has certain financial laws that regulate financial entities in their execution of transactions using fintech. The law also provides a regulatory sandbox for both licensed and non-licensed companies.

Brazil is the furthest ahead after Mexico, as it individually legislates crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, while a special congressional commission is working on a broader legislative strategy. Brazil’s Central Bank also endeavors to make open banking legislation effective by the third quarter of 2020, which will pave the way for a thriving open banking ecosystem.

Startups – TechCrunch

Thoughts on Collaborative Kickstarter for Startups?

Hey ya'll!

As a multiple-time founder, I've experienced the pitfalls of working solo:

  • Getting attached to a bad idea
  • Not figuring out how to grow/monetize upfront
  • Having great ideas but no time to execute (e.g. full-time job)
  • Difficulty getting feedback from the right people
  • Difficulty paying the right talent for design, dev, marketing

I'm looking to launch a meta-startup, based on the principle that: The best way to change the world is through collaboration, not competition.

Angelic would help founders leverage the experience and passion of others:

  • People share their ideas in a large, crowdsourced, prioritized pool
  • There's a process to collectively refine ideas (solution, distribution)
  • Assumptions for the most promising ideas are tested via MVP (paper prototype, product, etc.)
  • The cream of the crop are crowdfunded and launched, with support from Angelic participants.

What do you think? Is this something you would or wouldn't want to be a part of? Why?

If you would want to use it, what are the main benefits you'd hope for?

Many thanks in advance,

submitted by /u/nathanlippi
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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Will the impending recession during and post the current pandemic result in a new crop of startups, like the ones post 2008?

It seems that post a recession a new crop of startups displaces the current players, as in the case of 2001, 2008. Would you expect to see a new crop of startups that would dominate the scene in the next 5 years that would start during/post recession due to the pandemic?

submitted by /u/aszora
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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

10 most promising Slovenian startups to watch in 2020

Somewhere between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea lies a country with unspoilt nature, friendly people and delicious food. Slovenia is also home to young entrepreneurial minds, who have been enjoying the thriving startup community. The scene has gained momentum, with a few global success stories, venture capital funds and the famous PODIM conference.

As with all of our lists, the selected startups were founded in the last 5 years, are growing their team and product quite fast, are doing something quite cool and have won funding or recognition in the past few years. They are not the only interesting startups in Slovenia, but are some that we think we should keep a close eye on.

So without further ado, are 10 Slovenian startups with potential to skyrocket in 2020.

Smart Optometry – Smart Optometry (2015) is developing digital solutions for the eye industry, to ensure eye and vision health. Their first product is a professional application Smart Optometry for eye specialists, which enables basic eye screening and diagnosis, while their second product, AmblyoPlay, is a vision training application for children between 4 and 14 years of age who experience eye problems. The startup has been backed by corporate investors and healthcare accelerators, most recently with a 150K seed investment from Salus.

MAG-LEV Audio – Good news for vinyl lovers. MAG-LEV Audio is bringing you the ultimate audio experience with the world’s first levitating turntable. More precisely, they have developed a deck that supposedly eliminates the need for a motor, using magnets and an electric current to rotate the platter above the plinth, and as such, enhances the experience of listening to vinyl records. By pushing the frontier of audio technology, they were able to integrate the uplifting experience of music into the turntable design itself, bringing the feeling of zero gravity into the living room. Now sit back, relax and enjoy. 

ICONOMI – A pioneer among Slovenia’s blockchain movement, ICONOMI is helping users make their first investment step with cryptocurrency. Designed as a digital asset platform, it gives users the possibility to invest in a variety of cryptocurrencies with one click, through a number of digital asset arrays – cryptocurrency funds and indices with varying levels of expected yields and risk profiles. As holders of the most funded Kickstarter campaign in Slovenia, they raised over 5 million to further transform the way people invest in the blockchain space. 

Eligma – Launched in 2018 with the aim to make cryptocurrencies part of daily life, Eligma is a facilitator of seamless and secure crypto payments. Their product, Elipay, is a unique infrastructure that enables merchants to accept instant crypto payments at their points-of-sale. The buyer makes a purchase by scanning the product’s QR code at the store via their smart mobile, picking a cryptocurrency to pay and the seller then gets the payment in euro. In 2019, the startup secured backing of €4.4 million from famed bitcoiner Roger Ver and Swiss investment firm Pangea Blockchain Fund.

Hive Terminal – One of the biggest blockchain successes in Slovenia, Hive Terminal (2017) is a fintech startup offering a blockchain-based invoice-financing platform. Hive terminal cuts costs, automates processes, and eliminates invoice duplication to open up new sources of financial liquidity to small businesses, creating high-return investment opportunities for invoice buyers in the process. In April 2020, the startup secured an investment by Swiss Venture Investment, slowly reaching their goal to become a full marketplace with advanced trading analytics for peer-to-peer lending. 

PredictLeads – Founded in 2016 and backed by YCombinator, 3VC Seed and several high profile angel investors, Predict Leads helps venture capital firms and sales teams identify high-growth companies, i.e. potential investments and potential customers, using AI and machine learning. By extracting deep business insights at scale, such as recent customers, partners, technology suppliers, hiring trends, investment areas, product launches, expansions, Predict Leads saves companies a lot, a lot of time.

Beeping – Named Slovenian Startup of the Year 2018, Beeping is a fast, safe and effective way of hiring verified cleaners to one’s home. The guarantee for the service quality, vetted and trained cleaners or “Beepers”, time flexibility, online payments, and responsibility insurance are just some of the features of the platform. Future plans include using artificial intelligence and machine learning to ensure better matching between user and cleaner preferences, thus ensuring a more personalised user experience.

CargoX – The Ljubljana-based blockchain startup offers blockchain-based Smart Bill of Lading (Smart B/L) solution. It is built atop the Ethereum, to enable logistics, financial, manufacturing, trading, energy, and services companies, along with governmental and regulatory agencies, to transfer original documents digitally, efficiently and securely, without the possibility of tampering, loss, or theft. In February 2020 the multi-award winning startup became the first public blockchain Bill of Lading provider approved by the International Group of P&I Clubs.

Viberate – If you’re working in the music industry, brace yourself for something epic. Viberate is a crowdsourced live music ecosystem and blockchain-based marketplace, where musicians are matched with booking agencies and event organizers. So far, over 450k artists, 130k venues, 2k booking agencies and 500k music events have joined the platform. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the event industry is currently on hold. So, Viberate set up a special website where festivals and concert enthusiasts can track which festivals are cancelled or will be postponed.

Chipolo – Forget lost bags, phones, and wallets. Chipolo is here. Currently the startup offers two products: Chipolo ONE, a smart pendant which uses a wireless Bluetooth connection and helps you find misplaced or lost items by using your smart-phone, and Chipolo CARD, perfect for your wallet, passport pouch and remote control. Via the Chipolo app, a registered unit can be shared with as many friends and family members as desired and its locations recorded. Nothing will ever be lost again.

By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!

EU-Startups

E-mobility startups in France: COVID-19 boost for micromobility?

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages, public life in many countries is grinding to a halt. While there is an exponential increase in both the patient caseload and casualties across the world, there is an economic downturn that has forced businesses to either slowdown or shut down operations. Among the worst-hit businesses is the mobility industry.

COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to have a lasting impact on the mobility industry as it brings about changes in the technology, consumer behaviour, and regulatory trends. The transmission of the disease might make many people less inclined towards the use of shared mobility but accelerate the deployment of electrification of vehicles that will reduce CO2 emissions.

In the meantime, a report by Bike and Scooter Rental market estimates the global bike and scooter rental market to rise to nearly $ 7 billion by 2026. This rise in market value can be attributed to the growth of demands for environment-friendly and emission-free modes of transportation.

Furthermore, a recent study by Harvard University highlighted the correlation between air pollution and COVID-19 mortality. It concludes that even a slight increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in COVID-19 death rate. This makes it important for mobility solutions to come forward and reduce the particulate matter in air during the COVID-19 crisis. And, this scenario has increased in the demand for e-mobility solutions with startups such as Cityscoot, Lime, Uber, Lyft, Bird, etc. dominating this industry.

Talking about the impact of COVID-19, Paris saw a 60% drop in NO2 emissions and a 20-30% improvement in air quality and reached a level that was not seen in the past 40 years, adds a report. These improvements are highly related To the absence of fuel burning vehicles that brings in a necessity for electric vehicles. Eventually, there is a need to accelerate electric vehicles to bring about a better living environment. Here is a slew of French electric mobility startups that are shining well during the COVID-19 crisis.

Picture credits: EcoVelo

EcoVélo

Founder/s: Sébastien Bourbousson.
Funding: €2 million
Founded year: 2013

EcoVélo is a turnkey solution for self-service electric bikes for cities. With onboard technology and XXL ticketing revolutionises the use of self-service bicycles. It is available both in classic and electric versions wherein the latter can be installed sans civil engineering or electrification of terminals. Users can choose from a wide range of vehicles designed for self-service such as city bikes, electric bikes, mountain bikes, cargo bikes and more. The box fitted on these bikes provides access to a range of functions such as NFC, GPS, screen keyboard interface, updates, and assistance levels among others.

Picture credits: Zeway

Zeway

Founder/s: Amaury Korniloff, Stéphanie Gosset
Funding: €15 million
Founded year: 2019

Zeway works with the mission to reinvent the electric scooter market segment. The company wants to bring major urban changes to respond to environmental challenges, and come up with an unconstrained electric mobility solution. Zeway is a new player in the French e-mobility market offering personal electric mopeds with swappable batteries in a network of stations installed throughout the city. The swappable batteries can be recharged in less than one minute. This innovative service aims to foster the shift towards electric mopeds with a smarter and faster way.

Earlier this month, Zeway secured investment from Fonds de Modernisation Ecologique des Transports (FMET) managed by Demeter alongside others such as InnovAllianz fund managed by Allianz France, WaterStart Capital fund managed by NCI to launch the service.

Picture credits: Carlili

Carlili

Founder/s: Arnaud De Cazenove, Vincent Moindrot, Matthieu Charron
Funding: €3.1 million
Founded year: 2015

Carlili redefines vehicle rental standards such as pooling of private fleets, digital services, and leading delivery service to promote a change in the mobility industry. Carlili offers an efficient service and platform that is easy to use so that it can meet the existing challenges in the industry and the evolutions of the future. The on-demand car rental solution lets users book a vehicle in a few clicks and get it delivered at their doorsteps. The delivery and collection are managed by professional agencies and carsitters. In March 2020, Carlili secured funding of €2 million from Caisse des depots.

Picture credits: Cityscoot

Cityscoot

Founder/s: Bertrand Fleurose
Funding: €78.6 million
Founded year: 2014

Cityscoot is one of the leading scooter-sharing service providers that lets users book scooters via its official app in just a few clicks. This startup lets users access a network of electric scooters for short distance trips in the city. Via this app, users can pick up and drop off electric scooters any time. Back in 2019, Cityscoot teamed up with Uber to let commuters in Paris book electric mopeds and pay directly via the Uber app. Earlier this year, Cityscoot secured €23.5 million funding from Demeter and Allianz France with the intention to open its service in two new European cities this year and expand its fleet of electric mopeds.

Picture credits: Pony

Pony

Founder/s: Clara Vaisse, Paul-Adrien Cormerais
Funding: €2.2 million
Founded year: 2017

Pony aims to decentralise ownership of vehicles as it believes that shared vehicles should belong to those who use them. It is the first shared micro-mobility scheme that lets users acquire and share ponies and ensure that profits remain within the local economy. Pony changes the way the world goes around by eliminating limits, hassle and docking of its vehicles. Recently, the startup revealed that future Pony bikes and scooters will have renewable batteries that can last up to 10 years. And, the carbon footprint from the company’s vehicles is likely to be reduced by 52%.

Picture credits: Moustache Bikes

Moustache Bikes

Founder/s: Emmanuel Antonot, Grégory Sand
Funding: NA
Founded year: 2011

Moustache Bikes is the strong conviction that electric bikes represent an incredible opportunity for the development of the use of the bicycles. It operates with an innovative, contemporary and qualitative vision. Being a customer-centric mobility service, it offers unique bikes that combine comfort, design, and ergonomics. There is a balance bike for learning and is the only one sans electric assistance. The bikes offered by this startup have contemporary handlebars and each bike is unique and is recognisable giving a strong Identity to these bikes.

Main image picture credits: Cityscoot

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news.

The post E-mobility startups in France: COVID-19 boost for micromobility? appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Amsterdam-based AI startups Lalaland and Syntho sweep Philips’ Innovation and Rough Diamond League awards

The Philips Innovation Award is the largest student-entrepreneur award in The Netherlands that is organised for students, by students. It is a platform that’s not only meant to be beneficial for winners, but where each participant can profit. The 2020 leg of the award has concluded and the Amsterdam based startup Lalaland has won the 15th Philips Innovation Award. In addition, another Amsterdam based startup Syntho bagged the Rough Diamond Award. 

Amsterdam-based AI startups steal the show

The winning startup, Lalaland, leverages neural networks for creating images of artificial humans. This is specifically used in transforming a customers’ standard online shopping experience into a customised one. In an exclusive interview with Silicon Canals, one of the startups’ founders Michael Musandu says, “Lalaland redefines the future of eCommerce for the fashion and apparel industry. With its next-generation generative AI solutions, we embrace diversity and inclusion by offering a diverse library of AI-generated human models.”

The Rough Diamond award winner Syntho employs deep learning software. Without raising privacy and GDPR concerns, the software is capable of generating synthetic data that can be shared without any concerns. The company’s co-founder Wim Kees Janssen told Silicon Canals, “We enable organizations to boost data-driven innovation in a privacy-preserving manner through our AI software for generating – as good as real – synthetic data. The idea is that you use synthetic data as if it is real data, but without privacy restrictions.”

Proving their mettle, both the startups walked away with not only prizes worth thousands of euros, but also a lot more. Lalaland received a prize worth €50,000 and has won the title to call itself the most innovative student start-up of the Netherlands. Syntho took home a prize worth €10,000. 

“The Philips Innovation Award has already helped many participants take their first steps as an entrepreneur,” said Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips, and chairman of the jury. “In these testing times, it is more important than ever to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in the Netherlands and encourage the leaders of tomorrow to realise their ideas.”

Lalaland’s sensational achievement and its future plans

Winning the Philips Innovator Award is akin to receiving a big boost in terms of launching a successful startup. Along with the cash prize, the winning company receives assistance in registering patents, creative services, consulting advice and more. Speaking more on winning the award, Musandu says, “We are honoured and delighted that we were announced as the winner of the Philips Innovation Award 2020! It’s a sensational achievement to have been recognized amongst other incredible innovative startup companies, deliberated by an expert jury consisting of top entrepreneurs and captains of industry.”

As for its future plans, the company is ready to disrupt the e-commerce and fashion industry with its innovation. “We are delighted that the award and the support of the partners will help us pull this off. We believe that winning this award will help our company gain recognition and credibility, boost employee morale, attract talent and grow our business,” adds Musandu.

Syntho’s synthetic data paves the way!

In order to answer the currently prevalent data security issue, the startup Syntho has come up with an ingenious solution. The company uses its Syntho Engine, which is trained on original data, and generates completely anonymous synthetic dataset. Janssen says, “Applying AI to capture the value of the original data is what makes us unique. The bottom line is, our synthetic data can be used as if it is real data, but without any privacy risk. This is the preferred solution when compromises on both data quality and privacy protection are not desired.”

Syntho’s service draws from the company’s mission, which is to enable an open data economy for free sharing and use of data while preserving people’s privacy. “What if we don’t need to choose between privacy and data innovation? We offer a solution to this dilemma. We ensure that your innovation manager and compliance officer will become best friends.” adds Janssen. 

Syntho was founded in early 2020 by Marjin Vonk, Win Kees Janssen and Simon Brouwer. The three friends know each other from the University of Groningen all were active with data-driven innovation. The three decided to start Syntho because of how privacy posed challenges for them. 

Winning the Rough Diamond Award and future plans 

Even though it was founded recently, Syntho managed to accomplish a lot in such a short span of time. “Our Syntho Engine works, we have 3 successful pilots and we started in an incubator program. All realized in a few months with no need for external resources. Now, on top of this, we also won the Philips Innovation Award 2020!” remarks company’s co-founder Janssen. 

As for how it feels winning the prestigious Rough Diamond Award, Janssen says it is “Amazing.” “It feels like the rocket was just launched! To win at such a great event is an honour and privilege, and we are taking this as a step forward in our mission to solve the data privacy dilemma and boost data-driven innovation.” 

Syntho’s future plans include launching a Software As A Service solution. This move is expected to benefit anyone who is inclined to use the service and to realise this, the company is exploring collaboration with an external investor. “The journey of participating in the Philips Innovation Award already brought us valuable coaching and feedback, which helped us strengthen our business model and proposition. Winning the award is bound to accelerate our proposition in the market. This will enable our synthetic data solution to help numerous organisations in solving their data privacy dilemmas.” 

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

The post Amsterdam-based AI startups Lalaland and Syntho sweep Philips’ Innovation and Rough Diamond League awards appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

10 food delivery startups smashing it in 2020

Online food ordering has been soaring the last two months all across Europe. Customers aren’t just dabbling in grocery delivery from online supermarkets – they are sampling direct-to-consumer meal kits and prepared meals more than ever before too.

While some food delivery companies are having turbulent times, the others are booming and experiencing the unprecedented number of orders. With this in mind, we have compiled this list of 10 fast-growing European startups focusing on ready-made food delivery. Maybe some are even running in your city.

Kitch – The Portuguese startup Kitch is building delivery-first kitchens to house a selection of the city’s favourite restaurants and most creative chefs. The startup was founded in 2019 by Rui Bento and Nuno Rodrigues, two former executives of Uber. Kitch has recently announced raising a €1 million pre-seed financing round which will allow the team to develop and scale its operations and to take a first step to making food delivery more sustainable.

i-lunch – i-lunch is digital canteen startup founded by Victoria Benhaïm in 2017. The French company provides a delivery platform for balanced chef-cooked meals, connected to health data intended to create an ideal week’s diet. Since the beginning of the confinement, i-lunch has been supporting Parisian care-workers by distributing free snacks and fruit baskets.

Wetaca – Wetaca is a Madrid-based foodtech company that delivers healthy and varied chef-made meals vacuum packed to guarantee freshness up to 8 days. Founded in 2015, Wetaca has been profitable since the very beginning. In the last few months, the startup has experienced growth in the number of clients and orders– especially in Madrid (120% increase) and Barcelona (70%). With its recent €275K investment in March 2020, Wetaca is planning to grow and expand across Spain, including the cities of Bilbao, Murcia and Granada.

Keatz – Keatz has been operating since 2016 as a family of virtual restaurants that provides contemporary dishes for delivery. The company creates recipes, process, and packaging to ensure that the meals which arrive at people’s doors have the same quality that those leaving the kitchen. Currently it operates a total of 10 virtual restaurants in Berlin, Munich, Madrid, Amsterdam and Barcelona, employing around 200 people and focusing exclusively on food ‘made for delivery’, with minimal capital expenditure and time. In 2019, the startup completed a €12 million Series B funding.

HungryPanda – Founded in 2016 in the UK, HungryPanda is a food and beverage online platform which provides delivery services from Asian restaurants and supermarkets. This startup is seen as one of the key players in the field of catering delivery specialising in Chinese food. First launching its service in Nottingham, HungryPanda is currently operating in 6 countries and 30+ cities including the UK, France and Italy. In February 2020, the startup announced raising €18.3 million which will be used for hiring, product development and global expansion, particularly in the United States.

Bella&Bona – Bella & Bona is a Munich-based foodtech startup offering a premium quality food delivery service. They offer a workplace food programme with customised healthy and balanced Mediterranean lunches delivered to the companies. Founded in 2018, the company raised a €2.7 million round in January 2020 led by Plug and Play, with additional funding from investors with a strong entrepreneurial background.

AllPlants – Driven by their mission to build Earth’s most forward-thinking food company, AllPlants offers vegan hand-prepared meal delivery service across the UK. To incentivise more plant-based living, they create delicious and nutritionally balanced dishes made from 100% plants delivered frozen to customers for freshness, taste and convenience. In February 2020, allplants completed a €3.9 million funding round through investment platform Seedrs. Funds will be used to develop new food categories and serve over 60,000 meals a week from their London-based production kitchen.

FoodCheri – Foodcheri is a foodtech pioneer founded in 2015 by former LaFourchette executives, which delivers chef-prepared meals to busy professionals via smart phone. The French startup operates from a central kitchen with its own culinary team and chefs integrating the entire value chain from meal prep to delivery. In 2018, Sodexo, quality of life service provider, took a majority stake in the company which provided FoodCheri with a cash injection to expand its operations nationwide.

Parsley Box – Parsley Box was founded in 2017 by Gordon and Adrienne MacAulay after trying to find easy and nutritious ready meals for Gordon’s mother who lived alone. This Edinburgh-based startup prepares and delivers delicious and convenient meals which can be stored up to 6 months in the cupboard because of the innovative steam fresh packaging system. In 2019, Parsley Box raised €3.3 million investment topped up by an additional €1.7 million the same year. The investment followed its record sales month with over 30,000 deliveries to customers throughout the UK and will be used to accelerate growth and expand the startup’s product offering.

Taster – Founded in 2017 by Anton Soulier, Taster is a family of restaurants of a new type currently operating in London, Paris and Madrid. The company has 3 virtual food brands with meals prepared at cloud kitchens and delivered via third-party platforms. Bringing together talented chefs and fresh ingredients, Taster focuses on the food-making and customer experience. In 2019, the company raised a €7.3 million funding round with the plans to launch three new brands and open more kitchens.

By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!

EU-Startups

Growth Strategy for Startups – The Ultimate Guide

GROWTH STRATEGY

Your vision for the startup lies 3 storeys up, but this time, you won’t use the stairs or the elevator to reach the top, you use a ladder.

Yes, a ladder.

Each rung on the ladder signifies a challenge you have to overcome to move on to the next one.

One wrong step, and you’ll have to start over.

Each rung signifies your growth strategy and the ladder altogether is your path to success.

Only a good idea cannot sustain a business in the long run. Without a growth strategy, without a plan, you’re bound to lose your balance.

Did you know?

Only about 50% of businesses survive their fifth year while a mere 30% make it to the ten-year mark.

So, if your startup does not have a growth strategy yet, it’s time to formulate one and this article is here to guide you.


What is a Growth Strategy?

Growth strategy refers to a method adopted by a company to capture a larger share of the market. This strategy sustains the business in the long run and its formulation goes beyond the current market conditions.

Several factors influence the formulation of a growth strategy, as listed below –

  • Market conditions
  • Target audience and potential or untapped audience
  • Existing competition in the market
  • Distribution channels

When you climb up that ladder, you need to be very cautious about the steps you take. There will be competitors who’d try to pull you down, hoping you fall. The weather might be windy, it might rain. What would you do then? How will you continue climbing?

Thus, it’s not wise to only focus on the vision. Or even worse, have no vision in mind and climb aimlessly.

However,

Don’t confuse Growth Strategy with Growth Hack:

Growth Strategy vs. Growth Hack

Growth hacks yield massive growth in a short period and are often cheap processes. Growth strategy, on the other hand, is a long-term process that requires testing several approaches to foster growth.

You can majorly distinguish them on the following basis –

  • Results: Upon implementation, results for growth strategy are steady and slow. Whereas, for growth hacks, you can see quick results.
  • Implementation Speed: Growth strategy is implemented over a long period and through this, small businesses aim to grow their customer base and try different channels.

On the other hand, a growth hack is focussed on growing user base quickly and at a low price by executing a particular technique on a specific channel.


Develop A Growth Strategy For Your Startup

Following are key factors you should be well versed with as you develop a growth strategy for your startup:

  1. Information on the market through market analysis. This includes understanding –
    1. Industry
    2. Audience
    3. Competition
  2. Long Term Growth Strategies each of which will be explained in detail, so you can select which strategy best suits your company.
  3. Growth Milestones form the framework for the execution of selected long-term strategy.

Market Analysis

To get a clear picture of the service that you can offer, you need to understand the audience you seek to serve, the market conditions and services offered by your competitors.

Competitor Analysis and understanding the audience’s demographics gives you a clear idea of where you’ll stand if you enter the market.

Often competitors don’t fulfil the consumers’ needs, however, due to lack of alternative the consumer has to stick with that product or service.

You can gain an edge here and offer services that your competition doesn’t.

This is what DuckDuckGo did.

With the value proposition “The search engine that doesn’t track you”, DuckDuckGo was competing against Google Chrome. From its commencement in 2008 to now, it boasts of 30% annual growth.

DuckDuckGo separated itself from the competition early on in terms of privacy that no other search engine had ever offered.

This is an example of how you can serve the repressed demands of the customers.

Apart from this,

Sometimes customers don’t realise that there is a possibility of an alternative. Back in 2009, when Whatsapp was launched, BlackBerry Messenger, SMS, and G-Talk were the few means to exchange virtual messages.

The founders of Whatsapp understood the need of the customers (SMS-like internet messaging to actual phone contacts) and launched an app with the tagline “No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!”. Needless to say, they’ve stuck by it ever since.

This is an example of how your startup can become an alternative for people.

So, you see:

It all comes down to your value proposition. How is your startup bettering customer’s lives? What incentive do they have upon consumption of your product or service?

For any startup to succeed, it is important to fully understand the need of the customers and identify areas where your competition lacks.

Competitor analysis can help you ascertain the areas you can better serve and areas you can venture into. That said, your competition can be the cause of your failure if not monitored with caution.

Here’s an example of ShareChat’s Growth Strategy:

When India was already dominated by Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram, ShareChat came up with the unique proposition of a social media platform sharing information in vernacular language. ShareChat today, boasts of 60 million monthly active users.

The app appealed to the customers not because they could share messages, but because they could do so in their own language. An idea as simple as this, turned ShareChat into a $ 650 million dollar company. It successfully made the customers realise its value and created a need for the application.

Long Term Growth Strategies

Once you’re through with market analysis and have a clear idea of the product or service you offer, the biggest task is to decide which long-term growth strategy you’ll adopt.

So, let’s look at some realistic strategies for startups along with examples of growth strategies.


Network Effect

The Network Effect simply means that a product or service increases in value as more people use it.

There are six forces that usually contribute to network effect:

Buyer-to-Seller Cross Side Buyer Same Side
Direct-to-buyer Seller-to-Buyer Cross Side
Seller Same Side Direct-to-Seller

You can understand them with the help of the following examples:

  1. Buyer-to-seller cross side: “You should list your place on Airbnb. I want to rent it”.
  2. Buyer same side: “Don’t list your place on XYZ website, list it on Airbnb, it’s trustworthy”.
  3. Direct-to-buyer: Airbnb advertisement asking people to book their stays through Airbnb.
  4. Seller-to-buyer cross side: “I’ve listed my place on Airbnb, you can make your reservation now”.
  5. Seller same side: “I listed my place on Airbnb, you should too”.
  6. Direct-to-seller: Airbnb advertisement aimed at asking sellers to rent their place at Airbnb and make easy money.

Consider the example of Segment.

Segment has used the network model to increase its users. The company models the aforementioned six growth channels and assigns quantitative metrics to them.

Segment uses this model to make data-informed decisions and identifies which channel to invest in, to maximise profit.

You too, can choose your primary market segment as a specialised market niche and plan for gradual expansion intro the market through building a network.

However,

To convince your users to refer the product/service offered by your company, you should:

  • Provide good customer service
  • Define your value proposition
  • Ensure your system can handle the growth

Remember:

Network effect evolves positively for a startup if its users derive both inherent value and network value upon consuming and referring the product.

In-Person Approach

The in-person strategy refers to increasing awareness of the brand and its usage by contacting prospective customers in person.

Tinder’s clever strategy is best to explain this approach.

Tinder targeted specific demographics and successfully took over the online dating scene. Initially, to grow its user base Tinder organised social events, gatherings, and parties for college students where only those people who had installed the application were allowed.

They also took to college campuses and very quickly the application gained popularity. Users understood its value as summarised in the following points –

  • Free and easy-to-use interface
  • Hassle-free sign up
  • Tangible opportunity to meet people in person

There were hardly any players in the field of online dating and Tinder became the online dating solution.

There is a lot to learn from Tinder’s growth strategy. They give users complete control over who they wish to talk to and offer a very realistic experience.

Free Product Strategy

As you might have guessed by the name, you can get all key stakeholders to try your product through this strategy.

Clearbit, a marketing data engine, exploited this strategy so much that it was their single biggest traffic driver.

How they did it?

Clearbit launched a logo API where a company could directly design their logo. They prioritised instant gratification and soon, drove over 60,000-page views in their first week.

It was a valuable tool given away for free which helped generate insane brand awareness.

Matt Sornson, CMO at Clearbit, stated that free giveaway of their service led to a surprising amount of inbound from large enterprise customers.

This method is especially useful for highly technical or SaaS products.


Referral Bonus Strategy

The aim of this strategy is to incentivise the customers for the company’s growth.

PayPal got its early users through this strategy.

The company got its early users to refer them to others and gave them money to do so. The bonus was set at $ 20 for signups.

Naturally, word spread and users grew quickly. And as they grew, signup bonuses were reduced to $ 10 and then $ 5.

This was highly effective for PayPal as the referral program helped them grow to 5 million daily users and the company now has an active user base of 305 million.

We can conclude that, although this strategy requires high capital investment in the beginning, the returns are commendable if executed after proper research.

Growth Milestones

Once you have selected the growth strategy for your startup, it is time for you to share your vision with your teammates.

Break down the long-term strategy into defined annual and quarterly plans.

Strategic annual and quarterly plans will help you:

  • Divide tasks amongst team members
  • Hold each person accountable
  • Reinforce the vision
  • Empower each team member
  • Improve decision making

Strategic plans will force your team to consciously take into account the internal and external factors affecting the business.

Establishing KPIs also support and influence business objectives. They demonstrate how effectively you are working toward the set goals.

Ask yourself what targets you should fulfil to achieve success.

Final Thoughts

So now that you’re ready with your product:

You can create a network of people including your friends and family and ask them to test it first. Their feedback can help you ascertain areas of improvement and also help you make assumptions about the target audience.

No matter which industry you’re in, the climb to the top will never be easy. It is thus important to not lose sight of your vision and continue climbing, one rung at a time.


Go On, Tell Us What You Think!

Did we miss something? Come on! Tell us what you think of our article on growth strategy for startups in the comments section.


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