iPhone inside 30 mins? Germany’s Arive brings consumer brands to your door, raises €6M

In Europe and the US we are very much getting used to groceries being delivered within 15 minutes, with a huge battleground of startups in the space. Startups across Europe and the US have raised no less than $3.1 billion in the last quarter alone for grocery deliveries within 10 or 20-minute delivery promises. But all are scrambling over a market where the average order size is pretty low. What if it was in the hundreds, and didn’t require refrigeration?

This is probably going to be the newest “15/30minute” consumer battleground, as high-end consumer goods come to last-mile deliveries.

The latest to Arive in this space is… arive – a German-based startup that delivers high-end consumer brands within 30 minutes. It’s now raised €6 million in seed funding from 468 Capital, La Famiglia VC and Balderton Capital.

But stacking its shelves with well-known brands and spinning up last-mile delivery logistics, Arive is offering fitness products, cosmetics, personal care, homeware, tech and fashion. Consumers order via an app, with the delivery coming via a bike-only fleet in 30-minutes or less.

The behavior it’s tapping into is already there. It seems the pandemic has made us all work and play from home, leaving foot traffic in inner cities still below pre-Covid levels.

Arive says it works directly with brands to offer a selection of their products for on-demand delivery, offering them a new distribution channel to a new type of customer that wants speed and convenience.

arive is currently available in Munich and has recently launched in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg. The 30-minute delivery guarantee means it doesn’t need as many micro fulfillment centers as grocery players, helping it to keep infrastructure costs low.

Maximilian Reeker, co-founder of arive, said: “While the space for hyper-fast grocery delivery is increasingly crowded, we found the brands we love are still stuck in a three-day delivery scheme. For today’s time-poor consumers, this is too long.”

Bardo Droege, investor at 468 Capital, commented: “Our cities are dynamic, fast-moving places, and people living there want the tools and services that reflect their lifestyles so it’s no wonder the 15-minute groceries category has taken off so quickly. We’re confident the arive team will take this on.”

#balderton-capital, #berlin, #business, #co-founder, #delivery, #distribution, #economy, #europe, #frankfurt, #grocery-store, #hamburg, #marketing, #munich, #tc, #united-states

#DealMonitor – #EXKLUSIV Activant investiert in Workmotion – Balderton und La Famiglia setzen auf Arive – Picus investiert in Pectus Finance


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 9. August werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENT

Workmotion
+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Activant Capital investiert nach unseren Informationen rund 20 Millionen Euro in Workmotion, das 2020 von Carsten Lebtig gegründet wurde. Die Bewertung liegt bei rund 100 Millionen (Post-Money). Das Berliner Startup, früher als PeopleFlow bekannt, unterstützt Unternehmen beim HR-Management von Auslandsmitarbeitern. Workmotion managt dabei Dinge wie Gehaltsabrechnung, Sozialleistungen und Steuern. Picus Capital investierte bereits in der Unternehmen. Zudem verkündete die Jungfirma bereits den Einstieg von Business Angels wie Delivery Hero-Chef Niklas Östberg, Klarna-Gründer Victor Jacobsson, Personio-Gründer Hanno Renner und FlixMobility-Gründer Jochen Engert sowie Unternehmer Carsten Maschmeyer. 2,2 Millionen Euro sammelte Workmotion dabei zuletzt ein. International setzen etwa Omnipresent und Deel, das gerade Zeitgold übernommen hat, auf das Workmotion-Konzept. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Arive
+++ Der englische Investor Balderton Capital und der Berliner Geldgeber La Famiglia investieren nach unseren Informationen rund 5 Millionen Euro in Arive. Die Bewertung liegt bei rund 25 Millionen Euro )Post-Money). Das Startup aus München bringt das FastAF-Konzept nach Deutschland. Die Jungfirma, die von Linus Fries, Maximilian Reeker gegründet wurde, möchte Retailern mit Hilfe von Micro Fulfilment Centern und einer Marktplatz-App eine günstige Option für Lieferungen unter 60 Minuten anbieten. Dabei geht es gezielt nicht um Lebensmittel, sondern andere E-Commerce-Produkte. Der Venture Capitalist 468 Capital, hinter dem unter anderm Ex-Rocket-Macher Alexander Kudlich steckt, investierte bereits eine sechsstellige Summe in Arive. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Pectus Finance
+++ Der Münchner Geldgeber Picus Capital investiert nach unseren Informationen in Pectus Finance. Das Unternehmen, das von Peer Senghaas gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Finanztool für Unternehmen. In der Selbstbeschreibung heißt es zum Konzept: “Collaborative financial planning and controlling in real-time empowering finance teams to drive business performance and make better decisions”. Picus hält nun rund 30 % am Unternehmen. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Xayn 
+++ Die japanischen Investoren Global Brain und KDDI investiereren gemeinsam mit den Altinvestoren – darunter Earlybird Venture Capital – 10 Millionen Euro in Xayn. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 19,5 Millionen in die Jungfirma. “Das Unternehmen plant, die Series-A-Finanzierung für die Weiterentwicklung seiner App einzusetzen, die eine Suchmaschine, einen Discovery Feed und mobilen Browser in sich vereint. Das KI-Unternehmen expandiert außerdem zukünftig in den asiatischen Markt mit besonderem Fokus auf Japan”, teilt das Startup mit. Das KI-Unternehmen startete als Forschungsprojekt an der University of Oxford und dem Imperial College London. Xayn wurde 2017 von Leif-Nissen Lundbæk, Michael Huth und Felix Hahmann gegründet.

Deliveroo
+++ Der Berliner Lieferdienstvermittler Delivery Hero steigt beim britischen Wettbewerber Deliveroo ein und sichert sich 5 % am Unternehmen. Der Dax-Konzern müsste für den Deal mehr als 300 Millionen Euro auf den Tisch gelegt haben. “Deliveroo konkurriert in Großbritannien unter anderem mit Just Eat Takeaway.com aus den Niederlanden. Delivery Hero ist seit dem Verkauf von Hungryhouse an Just Eat nicht mehr in Großbritannien tätig, hält aber einen Anteil von mehr als sieben Prozent an Just Eat”, schreibt die WirtschaftsWoche.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#activant-capital, #aktuell, #arive, #balderton-capital, #berlin, #deliveroo, #delivery-hero, #earlybird-venture-capital, #fintech, #global-brain, #hr, #kddi, #la-famiglia, #munchen, #pectus-finance, #picus-capital, #quick-commerce, #venture-capital, #workmotion, #xayn

Powered by local stores, JOKR joins the 15 min grocery race with a $170M Series A

“We are true believers in the fact that the world needs a new Amazon, a better one, a more sustainable one, one that appreciates local areas and products.” It’s quite one thing to claim you are out to replace Amazon (just as its founder goes into space), but Ralf Wenzel, Founder and CEO of JOKR, certainly believes his company might have a shot. And he’s raising plenty of money to aim at that goal.

Today the fast-growing grocery and retail delivery platform has closed a whopping $170 million Series A funding round. The round comes three months after the company started operations in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. JOKR’s team consists of people who created both foodpanda and Delivery Hero, so from the outside at least, they have the chops to build a big business.

The round was led by Led by GGV Capital, Balderton Capital, and Tiger Global Management. It was joined by Activant Capital, Greycroft, Fabrice Grinda’s FJ Labs, as well as Latin America’s tech-specialized VC firms Kaszek and Monashees, as did HV Capital, the first institutional investor.

Based out of New York, where it launched last month JOKR plans to roll out across cities in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. Right now it’s live in nine cities, across Latin American countries, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, as well as Poland and Austria in Europe.

Wenzel said: “The investment we announced today will empower us to continue our expansion at an unprecedented rate as we continue to build JOKR into the premier platform for a new generation of online shopping, with instant delivery, a focus on local product offerings and more sustainable delivery and supply chains. We are proud to be able to partner with such a distinguished group of international tech investors to help us seize the enormous opportunity in front of us.”

JOKR’s pitch is that it enables small local businesses to sell their goods, sourced from other local businesses, via the platform, thus expanding their reach without the need for complex logistics and delivery networks on their own. But that local aspect also builds sustainability into the model.

Hans Tung, Managing Partner at GGV Capital, and newly appointed member of JOKR’s board said: “Ralf has put together an all-star team for food delivery that will transform the retail supply chain. The combination of food delivery experience and the sophisticated data capabilities that optimizes inventory allocation and dispatch, set JOKR apart. We look forward to working with the team on their mission to make retail more instant, more democratic, and more sustainable.”

JOKR is joining other fast-delivery grocery providers like Gorillas and Getir in providing a 15 minute delivery time for supermarket and convenience products, pharmaceuticals, but also ‘exclusive’ local products that are not available in regular supermarkets. Although, so far, it only has an app on Google Play.

Speaking at an interview with me Wenzel said: “We are close to the equivalent of Instacart, strongly grocery focused. Our offering is significantly broader than the ones of Gorillas because we’re not only focusing on convenience and all kinds of different grocery categories, we’re getting closer to a supermarket offering, so the biggest competing element would be the traditional supermarkets, the offline supermarkets, as well as online grocery propositions. We are vertically integrating and hence procuring directly, cutting out middlemen and building our own distribution warehouses.”

#activant-capital, #amazon, #austria, #balderton-capital, #brazil, #ceo, #colombia, #delivery-hero, #distribution, #europe, #food-delivery, #foodpanda, #getir, #ggv-capital, #gorillas, #grocery-store, #hans-tung, #hv-capital, #instacart, #jokr, #latin-america, #managing-partner, #mexico, #new-york, #online-food-ordering, #online-shopping, #peru, #pharmaceuticals, #poland, #premier, #ralf-wenzel, #retailers, #tc, #tiger-global-management, #united-states

With new Partner Colin Hanna, and Shikha Ahluwalia as Associate, Balderton puts down roots in Berlin

As of now, one fo the UK’s biggest and most active tech VCs has a new partner. Principal Colin Hanna has spearheaded several of Balderton’s deals in the past couple of years, and has now been appointed a Partner. But there’s a twist to this plot. He will be officially based in Berlin (where he’s lived since 2019), thus giving the VC a more powerful reach, being based, as it is, solely in London.

Hanna said: “Having been with Balderton for five years, I am humbled to now call my mentors my Partners. I look forward to strengthening Balderton’s unique approach from Berlin as we engineer serendipity for European founders with planet-scale ambition.”

Bernard Liautaud, Managing Partner of Balderton commented: “We are delighted to announce Colin’s promotion to Partner. Since he joined Balderton in 2016, Colin has had a significant impact on both Balderton and our portfolio… Colin has strengthened our position in DACH by establishing our permanent presence in Berlin and bringing in Shikha Ahluwalia, whom we are delighted to have. In addition, he was instrumental in the definition of the Balderton Sustainable Future Goals. We have no doubt Colin will be highly successful in his new role.”

The story does not end there, however. Joining him will be tech entrepreneur and founder Shikha Ahluwalia as an Associate covering the DACH region.

co-founded SBL, the D2C women’s fashion e-commerce company in India. Prior to that she was had a tech advisory boutique, and was previously with JP Morgan’s Investment Banking Division in London.

Balderton has 10 current investments across DACH including Contentful, Infarm, SOPHiA Genetics, McMakler, Demodesk, and vivenu.

Ahluwalia commented: “Over the past few years, I have seen the DACH start-up ecosystem evolve rapidly. We at Balderton believe the next European giant will be a technology company and know that the DACH ecosystem plays a significant role in helping form category-leading technology companies. As a former founder myself, I have first-hand experience with the unique challenges of running young businesses. I am excited to contribute and support founders on their own journey as part of Balderton Capital.”

Speaking to me over an interview Hanna said: “Shikha’s hiring deepens our commitment to the local Berlin ecosystem and to the DACH region more broadly. We have been actively supporting Founders in Germany for more than a decade.”

After spending his childhood in Jakarta and Hong Kong, and picking up a degree in Political Economy, Hanna has carved out a career in venture investing – at Balderton since July 4, 2016 – looking at it through the prism on the rise of urban living, grassroots-driven technologies like open source and crypto, and the political ramifications of technology.

He sits on the Board of companies like e-bikes startup VanMoof, Finoa (a crypto custodian), Rahko (quantum computing drug discovery, and helped lead on investments into Traefik and Luno and Vivenu).

One these you might pick up from all those is that they err towards the ‘purpose-driven’ side of the equation.

He told me: “I believe the next generation of Founders, particularly in Europe, care more about just their bank accounts and want to build companies that generate impact and are not afraid to take a view on how they want the world to change. Measuring this is a challenge and something we are trying to do with our SFGs at Balderton which I helped spearhead. I believe that when companies like Coinbase and others go “apolitical” they commit themselves to defending the structural status quo rather than becoming agents of deliberate change.”

“My point about purpose driven companies is that when I think when employees want to work with companies believe in their values and you try to tell them those aren’t important, that could be viewed as political. I don’t think we should be we should be muffling the employees.”

Does he think Coinbase, and also recent more recently Basecamp / 37 Signals were wrong to so-called ‘depoliticize’ their businesses?

“I think, I think every CEO is free to run their company how they see fit. But I think that that poses challenges for them on the talent side. I understand, as an American, how charged and how destructive the political climate became, and so I can really understand and empathize why certain choices were made at that time, because you get to a point where that where the conversation becomes toxic… I hope that the steps that they’ve taken, don’t strangle dialogue and conversation that’s constructive about how we want to make an impact and change the world, either as individuals or with the companies we work for,” he said.

Hanna also told me that he think VCs should be wary that the shift to remote will make it easier to invest more widely. “You have to more background checks on founders now, and things like that. But is it a ‘little bit’ more dangerous or is it ‘50% more dangerous’ the fact that people aren’t meeting up in person?”

#balderton, #balderton-capital, #basecamp, #berlin, #bernard-liautaud, #ceo, #coinbase, #colin-hanna, #companies, #drug-discovery, #europe, #finance, #germany, #india, #jakarta, #jp-morgan, #london, #managing-partner, #sophia-genetics, #startup-company, #tc, #technology, #united-kingdom, #vanmoof

Security startup Tessian, which uses AI to fight social engineering, trousers $65M

In the latest chunky funding round out of Europe, UK-based email security startup, Tessian, has closed $65 million in Series C funding. The startup applies machine learning to build individual behavior models for enterprise email use that aims to combat human error by flagging problematic patterns which could signify risky stuff is happening — such as phishing or data exfiltration.

The Series C round was led by March Capital. Existing investors Accel, Balderton Capital, Latitude and Sequoia Capital also participated, along with new investor Schroder Adveq.

The latest financing brings Tessian’s total raised to-date to $120M+, and values the company at $500M, it said today.

The 2013 founded startup last raised back in January 2019 when it closed a $40M Series B (news that was scooped by former TCer, Steve O’Hear). Prior to that it grabbed a $13M Series A in mid 2018.

Tessian has around 350 global customers at this stage, across the legal, financial services, healthcare and technology sectors — name-checking the likes of Affirm, Arm, Investec and RealPagem among them.

Over the past year there has been much coverage of the security risks associated with the pandemic-sparked remote working boom, as scores of white collars workers started logging on from home — expanding the attack surface area which enterprises needed to manage.

It’s a risk that’s been good for Tessian’s business: The startup says it tripled its Fortune 500-level customer base last year — “as enterprises required a solution that could protect them against human layer security threats”, as it puts it.

It says the new funding will go on expanding its platform’s capabilities; helping companies replace their secure email gateways and legacy data loss prevention solutions; and on growing its team (it plans to triple headcount in short order with a particular focus on growing its sales team in North America).

The Series C funds will also support a plan to expand beyond email to offer security protections for other interfaces such as messaging, web and collaboration platforms — which it says is on the cards “soon”.

Commenting on the round in a statement, Jamie Montgomery, co-founder and managing partner at March Capital said: “Human activity — whether inadvertent or malicious — is the leading cause of data breaches. In Tessian, we found a best-in-class solution that automatically stops threats in real-time, without disrupting the normal flow of business. It is rare to hear such overwhelmingly positive feedback from CISOs and business users alike. We came to the same conclusion; Tessian is rapidly emerging as the leader in human layer security for the enterprise.”

A number of UK-based AI security startups have been building momentum in recent years, with others like Red Shift and Senseon also getting traction by applying machine learning to tackle risks.

In April, Cambridge-based Darktrace — a category pioneer — led the pack by floating on the London Stock Exchange where it saw its shares pop 32% in the IPO debut.

While, last year, the UK government pledged to ramp up R&D spending on AI as part of a major defense spending hike.

#artificial-intelligence, #balderton-capital, #computer-security, #darktrace, #data-security, #europe, #fundings-exits, #information-technology, #machine-learning, #march-capital, #north-america, #recent-funding, #schroder-adveq, #security, #sequoia-capital, #startup-company, #startups, #tessian, #united-kingdom

StudySmarter books $15M for a global ‘personalized learning’ push

More money for the edtech boom: Munich-based StudySmarter, which makes digital tools to help learners of all ages swat up — styling itself as a ‘lifelong learning platform’ — has closed a $15 million Series A.

The round is led by sector-focused VC fund, Owl Ventures. New York-based Left Lane Capital is co-investing, along with Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen (ex WhatsApp, Uber and Dropbox; now GP at Balderton Capital), and existing early stage investor Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures (aka DvH Ventures).

The platform, which launched back in 2018 and has amassed a user-base of 1.5M+ learners — with a 50/50 split between higher education students and K12 learners, and with main markets so far in German speaking DACH countries in Europe — uses AI technologies like natural language processing (NLP) to automate the creation of text-based interactive custom courses and track learners’ progress (including by creating a personalized study plan that adjusts as they go along).

StudySmarter claims its data shows that 94% of learners achieve better grades as a result of using its platform.

While NLP is generally most advanced for the English language, the startup says it’s confident its NLP models can be transferred to new languages without requiring new training data — claiming its tech is “scalable in any language”. (Although it concedes its algorithms increase in accuracy for a given language as users upload more content so the software itself is undertaking a learning journey and will necessarily be at a different point on the learning curve depending on the source content.)

Here’s how StudySmarter works: Users input their study goals to get recommendations for relevant revision content that’s been made available to the platform’s community.

They can also contribute content themselves to create custom courses by uploading assets like lecture slides and revisions notes. StudySmarter’s platform can then turn this source material into interactive study aids — like flashcards and revision exercises — and the startup touts the convenience of the approach, saying it enables students to manage all their revision in one place (rather than wrangling multiple learning apps).

In short, it’s both a (revision) content marketplace and a productivity platform for learning — as it helps users create their own study (or lesson) plans, and offers them handy tools like a digital magic marker that automatically turns highlighted text into flashcards, while the resulting “smart” flashcards also apply the principle of spaced repetition learning to help make the studied content stick.

Users can choose to share content they create with other learners in the StudySmarter community (or not). The startup says a quarter (25%) of its users are creators, and that 80% of the content they create is shared. Overall, it says its platform provides access to more than 25 million pieces of shared content currently.

It’s topic agnostic, as you’d expect, so course content covers a diverse range of subjects. We’re told the most popular courses to study are: Economics, Medicine, Law, Computer Science, Engineering and school subjects such as Maths, Physics, Biology and English.

Regardless of how learners use it, the platform uses AI to nudge users towards relevant revision content and topics (and study groups) to keep extending and supporting their learning process — making adaptive, ongoing recommendations for other stuff they should check out.

The ease of creating learning materials on the StudySmarter platform results in a democratization of high-quality educational content, driven by learners themselves,” is the claim.   

As well as user generated content (UGC), StudySmarter’s platform hosts content created by verified educationists and publishers — and there’s an option for users to search only for such verified content, i.e. if they don’t want to dip into the UGC pool.

“In general, there is no single workflow,” says co-founder and CMO Maurice Khudhir. “We created StudySmarter to adapt to different learner types. Some are very active learners and prefer to create content, some only want to search and consume content from other peers/publishers.”

“Our platform focuses on the art of learning itself, rather than being bound by topics, sectors, industries or content types. This means that anyone, regardless of what they’re learning, can use StudySmarter to improve how they learn. We started in higher education as it was the closest, most relevant market to where we were at the time of launch. We more recently expanded to K12, and are currently running our first corporate learning pilot.”

Gamification is a key strategy to encourage engagement and advance learning, with the platform dishing out encouraging words and emoji, plus rewards like badges and achievements based on the individual’s progress. Think of it as akin to Duolingo-style microlearning — but where users get to choose the subject (not just the language) and can feed in source material if they wish.

StudySmarter says it’s taken inspiration from tech darlings like Netflix and Tinder — baking in recommendation algorithms to surface relevant study content for users -(a la Netflix’s ‘watch next’ suggestions), and deploying a Tinder-swipe-style learning UI on mobile so that its “smart flashcards” can to adapt to users’ responses.

“Firstly, we individualise the learning experience by recommending appropriate content to the learner, depending on their demographics, demands and study goals,” explains Khudhir. “For instance, when an economics student uploads a PDF on the topic of marginal cost, StudySmarter will recommend several user-generated courses that cover marginal cost and/or several flashcards on marginal cost as well as e-books on StudySmarter that cover this topic.

“In this way, StudySmarter is similar to Netflix — Netflix will suggest similar TV shows and films depending on what you’ve already watched and StudySmarter will recommend different learning materials depending on the types of content and topics you interact with.

“As well, depending on how the student likes to learn, we also individualise the learning journey through things such as the smart flashcard learning algorithm. This is based on spaced repetition. For example, if a student is testing themselves on microeconomics, the flashcard set will go through different questions and responses and the student can swipe through the flashcards, in a similar way to Tinder. The flashcards’ sequence will adapt after every response.

“The notifications are also personalised — so they will remind the student to learn at particular points in the day, adapted to how the student uses the app.”

There’s also a scan functionality which uses OCR (optical character recognition) technology that lets users upload (paper-based) notes, handouts or books — and a sketch feature lets them carry out further edits, if they want to add more notes and scribbles.

Once ingested into the platform, this scanned (paper-based) content can of course also be used to create digital learning materials — extending the utility of the source material by plugging it into the platform’s creation and tracking capabilities.

“A significant cohort of users access StudySmarter on tablets, and they find this learning flow very useful, especially for our school-age pupils,” he adds.

StudySmarter can also offer educators and publishers detailed learning analytics, per Khudhir — who says its overarching goal is to establish itself as “the leading marketplace for educational content”, i.e. by using the information it gleans on users’ learning goals to directly recommend (relevant) professional content — “making it an extremely effective distribution platform”, as he puts it.

In addition to students, he says the platform is being used by teachers, professors, trainers, and corporate members — ie. to create content to share with their own students, team members, course participants etc, or just to publish publicly. And he notes a bit of a usage spike from teachers in March last year as the pandemic shut down schools in Europe. 

StudySmarter co-founders, back from left to right: Christian Felgenhauer (co-founder & CEO), Till Söhlemann (co-founder); front: Maurice Khudir (co-founder & CMO), Simon Hohentanner (COO & co-founder). Image credits: StudySmarter

What about copyright? Khudir says they follow a three-layered system to minimize infringement risks — firstly by not letting users share or export any professional content hosted on the platform.

Uploaded documents like lecture notes and users’ own comments can be shared within one university course/class in a private learning group. But only UGC (like flashcards, summaries and exercises) can be shared freely with the entire StudySmarter community, if the user wants to.

“It’s important to note that no content is shared without the author’s permission,” he notes. “We also have a contact email for people to raise potential copyright infringements. Thanks to this system, we can say that we never had a single copyright issue with universities, professors or publishers.”

Another potential pitfall around UGC is quality. And, clearly, no student wants to waste their time revising from poor (or just plain wrong) revision notes.

StudySmarter says it’s limiting that risk by tracking how learners engage with shared content on the platform — in order to create quality scores for UGC — monitoring factors like how often such stuff is used for learning; how often the students who study from it answer questions correctly; and by looking the average learning time for a particular flashcard or summary, etc.

“We combine this with an active feedback system from the students to assign each piece of content a dynamic quality score. The higher the score is, the more often it is shown to new users. If the score falls below a certain threshold, the content is removed and is only visible to the original creator,” he goes on, adding: “We track the quality of shared content on the creator level so users who consistently share low-quality content can be banned from sharing more content on the platform.”

There are unlikely to be quality issues with verified educator/publisher content. But since it’s professional content, StudySmarter can’t expect to get it purely for free — so it says it “mostly” follows revenue-sharing agreements with these types of contributors.

It is also sharing data on learning trends and to help publishers reach relevant learners, as mentioned above. So the information it can provide education publishers about potential customers is probably the bigger carrot for pulling them in.

“We are very happy to say that the vast majority of our content is not created or shared on StudySmarter for any financial incentive but rather because our platform and technology simply make the creation significantly easier,” says Khudir, adding: “We have not paid a single Euro to any user on StudySmarter to create content and do not intend to do so going forward.” 

It’s still early days for monetization, which he says isn’t front of mind yet — with the team focused on building out the platform’s global reach — but he notes that the model allows for a number of b2b revenue streams, adding that they’ve been doing some early b2b monetization by working with employers and businesses to promote their graduate programs or to support recruitment drives. 

The new funding will be put towards product development and supporting the platform’s global expansion, per Khudir.

“We’ve run successful pilots in the U.K. and U.S. so they’re our primary focus to expand to by Q3 this year. In fact, following a test pilot in the U.K. in December, we became the number one education app within 24 hours (ahead of the likes of Duolingo, Quizlet, Kahoot, and Photomath), which bodes well!” he goes on. 

“Brazil, India and Indonesia are key targets for us due to a wider need for digital education. We’re also looking to launch in France, Nordics, Spain, Russia and many more countries. Due to the fact our platform is content-agnostic, and the technology that underpins it is universal, we’re able to scale effectively in multiple countries and languages. Within the next 12 months, we will be expanding to more than 12 countries and support millions of learners globally.”

StudySmarter’s subject-agnostic, feature-packed, one-stop-shop platform approach sets it apart from what Khudir refers to as “single-feature apps”, i.e. which just help you learn one thing — be that Duolingo (only languages), or apps that focus on teaching a particular skill-set (like Photomath for maths equations, or dedicated learn-to-code apps/courses (and toys)). 

But where the process of learning is concerned, there are lots of ways of going about it, and no one that suits everyone (or every subject), so there’s undoubtedly room for (and value in) a variety of approaches (which may happily operate in parallel). So it seems a safe bet that broad-brush learning platforms aren’t going to replace specialized tools — or (indeed) vice versa.

StudySmarter names the likes of Course Hero, StuDocu, Quizlet and Anki as taking a similar broad approach — while simultaneously claiming they’re not doing it in “quite the same, holistic, end-to-end, all-in-one bespoke platform for learners” way.  

Albeit, some of those edtech rivals are doing it with a lot more capital already raised. So StudySmarter is going to need to work smart and hard to localize and grab students’ attention as it guns for growth far beyond its European base.

 

#anki, #apps, #artificial-intelligence, #balderton-capital, #duolingo, #education, #europe, #fundings-exits, #holtzbrinck-ventures, #lars-fjeldsoe-nielsen, #learning, #left-lane-capital, #munich, #natural-language-processing, #netflix, #new-york, #nlp, #ocr, #optical-character-recognition, #owl-ventures, #quizlet, #studysmarter, #tc, #tinder, #united-kingdom

#DealMonitor – Vivid Money bekommt 60 Millionen – Finoa sammelt 22 Millionen ein – Lime Technologies kauft Userlike


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 29. April werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Vivid Money
+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Greenoaks Capital, der gerade erst in Gorillas investierte, und Altinvestor Ribbit Capital investieren 60 Millionen Euro in die Berliner Neobank Vivid Money. Die Bewertung des FinTechs liegt dabei nach Firmenangaben bei 360 Millionen Euro. Das frische Kapital “soll überwiegend für die weitere Expansion sowie Produktentwicklung verwendet werden”. Der amerikanische Risikokapitalgeber Ribbit Capital investierte zuletzt 15 Millionen Euro in Vivid Money, das 2019 von Alexander Emeshev und Artem Yamanov gegründet wurde. Insgesamt flossen bereits mehr als 100 Millionen Euro in Vivid Money. “Nur acht Monate nach dem Start im Juni 2020 nutzen bereits über 100.000 Kund:innen die Produkte von Vivid Money in Deutschland, Frankreich und Spanien”, teilt die Jungfirma mit. Mehr als 200 Mitarbeiter:innen wirken bereits für das Unternehmen. Mehr über Vivid Money

Finoa
+++ Jetzt offiziell: Balderton Capital investiert – wie bereits Anfang April im Insider-Podcast berichtet – in Finoa. Balderton Capital investiert gemeinsam mit Coparion, Venture Stars und Signature Ventures sowie einem weiteren, nicht genannten Investor 22 Millionen US-Dollar in das Unternehmen aus Potsdam. Das Blockchain-Startup, das 2018 von Henrik Gebbing und Christopher May gegründet wurde, verwahrt die Kryptoassets von Anlegern. Der Münchner Geldgeber Venture Stars, Signature und Coparion investierten zuvor bereits eine Millionensumme in Finoa, das Branchenkenner als “Coinbase für B2B” umschreiben. “Finoa wird die Finanzierung nutzen, um seine Produkte und Dienstleistungen auszubauen, das Team zu vergrößern, das schnell wachsende institutionelle Interesse an digitalen Vermögenswerten zu bedienen und die Teilnahme an innovativen Finanzdienstleistungen über die Verwahrung und das Staking hinaus zu ermöglichen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Mehr über Spread

Bluecode
+++ Das Family Office Hopp, das von Daniel Hopp (Sohn von SAP-Mitgründer Dietmar Hopp) geleitet wird, investiert gemeinsam mit Altinvestoren 20 Millionen Euro in das österreichische FinTech Bluecode. Die Mobile-Payment-Lösung, die bargeldloses Bezahlen per Smartphone und Smartwatch ermöglicht, wurde von Michael Suitner und Christian Pirkner gegründet. Die Bewertung soll bei über 100 Millionen Euro liegen. In der Presseaussendung heißt es: “Das Wachstumskapital wird Bluecode vor allem für den Ausbau seines Ökosystems für mehrwertbasiertes mobiles Bezahlen in Österreich und Deutschland einsetzen und sich als Technologiepartner für Banken und Handel in Europa positionieren”. Zuvor flossen beriets mehr als 24 Millionen Euro in Bluecode. Mehr über Bluecode

Spread
+++ Unternehmer Till Reuter, früher Chef von KUKA, investiert in Spread. Das Berliner Startup, das 2019 von Daniel Halbig, Philipp Noll und Robert Göbel gegründet wurde, möchte Maschinen beibringen, komplexe Produkte zu verstehen. Cavalry Ventures, La Famiglia sowie Business Angels wie Sebastian Borek, Felix Jahn, Johannes Schaback und Just Beyer investierten bereits in das Unternehmen. 3 Millionen flossen bereits in Spread. Mehr über Spread

Aufzughelden
+++ Das familiengeführte Bau- und Immobilienunternehmen Goldbeck investiert in Aufzughelden. Das junge Berliner Startup, das 2020 von Simon Vestner gegründet wurde, kümmert sich um Aufzug- und Gebäudemanagement. “Mit der Finanzierungsrunde und strategischen Partnerschaft wird Aufzughelden sein Angebot weiterentwickeln und ausbauen”, teilt das PropTech mit.

EXITS

Userlike
+++ Die Lime Technologies Gruppe, ein CRM-Unternehmen aus Schweden, übernimmt Userlike. Lime lässt sich die Übernahme 19,8 Millionen Euro kosten. “Das operative Geschäft wird davon nicht beeinflusst: Userlike wird weiterhin als eigenständiges Unternehmen mit eigener Produktlinie innerhalb der börsennotierten Lime-Gruppe agieren”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das 2011 von von Timoor Taufig und David Voswinkel gegründete Kölner Startup entwickelte sich in den vergangenen Jahren vom Live-Chat-Dienst zum Unified Messaging-Anbieter. Das Unternehmen beschäftigt derzeit rund 40 Mitarbeiter:innen. Für Lime bedeutet die Übernahme von Userlike “auch einen strategischen Eintritt in den deutschen Markt”. Gründer Voswinkel hielt zuletzt knapp 49 % an Userlike, auf seinen Mitstreiter Taufig entfielen knapp 44 %. Mehr über Userlike

Anzeige
+++ In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar abonnieren und 30 Tage kostenlos testen!

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #aufzughelden, #balderton-capital, #berlin, #blockchain, #bluecode, #coparion, #finoa, #fintech, #goldbeck, #greenoaks-capital, #lime-technologies, #neobank, #potsdam, #proptech, #ribbit-capital, #signature-ventures, #spread, #userlike, #venture-capital, #venture-stars, #vivid-money

EU-based digital assets platform Finoa inks $22M Series A funding led by Balderton Capital

Institutions need to keep their crypto assets somewhere. And they aren’t going to keep it on some random, or consumer-grade crypto operation. This requires more sophisticated technology. Furthermore, being in the EU is going to be a key barrier to entry for many US or Asia-based operations.

Thus it is that Berlin-based digital asset custody and financial services platform
Finoa, has closed a $22 million Series A funding round, to do just that.

The round was led by Balderton Capital, alongside existing investors Coparion, Venture Stars and Signature Ventures, as well as an undisclosed investor.

Crucially, the Berlin-based startup works with Dapper Lab’s FLOW protocol, NEAR, and Mina, which are fast becoming standards for crypto assets. They are going up against large players such as Anchorage, Coinbase Custody, Bitgo, exchanges like Binance and Kraken, and self-custody solutions like Ledger.

Finoa says it now has over 250 customers, including T-Systems, DeFi-natives like CoinList and financial institutions like Bankhaus Scheich.

The company says its plan is to become a regulated platform for institutional investors and corporations to manage their digital assets and it has received a preliminary crypto custody license and is supervised by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

The company was founded in 2018 by Christopher May and Henrik Ebbing, but both had previously worked together at McKinsey and started working in blockchain in 2017.

May commented: “We are proud to have established Finoa as Europe’s leading gateway for institutional participation and incredibly excited to accelerate our growth even further. We look forward to supporting new exciting protocols and projects, empowering innovative corporate use cases, and adding additional (decentralized) financial products and services to our platform.”

Colin Hanna, Principal at Balderton Capital, who leads most of Balderton’s Crypto investments, said: “Chris, Henrik, and the entire Finoa team have built a deeply impressive business which bridges the highest levels of professionalism with radical innovation. As custodians of digital asset private keys, Finoa needs to be trusted both with the secure management of those keys and with the products and services that allow their clients to fully leverage the power of native digital assets. The team they have assembled is uniquely positioned to do just that.” 

May added: “We identified a lack of sophisticated custody and asset servicing solutions for safeguarding and managing blockchain-based digital assets that successfully cover the needs of institutional investors. Finoa is bridging this gap by providing seamless, safe, and regulated access to the world of digital assets.”

“Being in the European Union requires a fundamentally different organizational setup, and poses a very high entry to new incumbents and other players overseas. There are few that have managed to do what Finoa has done in a European context and hence why we now see ourselves in a leading position.”

#anchorage, #articles, #asia, #balderton-capital, #berlin, #binance, #bitcoin, #bitgo, #blockchain, #coinbase, #colin-hanna, #cryptocurrencies, #decentralization, #decentralized-finance, #digital-currencies, #europe, #european-union, #kraken, #mckinsey, #t-systems, #tc, #united-states

#DealMonitor – Kaia Health sammelt 65 Millionen ein – Geizhals übernimmt tarife.at – Endeit Capital legt neuen Fonds auf


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 28. April werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Kaia Health
+++ Ein nicht genannter “führender Wachstumsfonds” sowie die Altinvestoren Optum Ventures, IdInvest, 3VC, Balderton Capital, Heartcore Capital, A Round Capital und Symphony Ventures, das Investment-Vehikel des US Profi-Golfers Rory McIlroy, investieren 65 Millionen Euro in das Münchner Health-Startup Kaia Health. Das Unternehmen, das 2016 von Konstantin Mehl, Gründer von Foodora, und Manuel Thurner gegründet wurde, entwickelt digitale Therapien für chronische Erkrankungen. “Die Mittel werden verwendet, um die Behandlung von muskuloskelettalen Beschwerden (MSK) und der chronisch obstruktiven Lungenerkrankung (COPD) mit digitalen Produkten zu verbessern und einen breiteren Zugang zu wirksamen Therapien für eine Vielzahl von Personen zu ermöglichen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 110 Millionen Euro in Kaia Health. Nach eigenen Angaben nutzen bereits “mehr als 500.000 Anwender die digitalen Therapieprogramme von Kaia Health”. Mehr über Kaia Health

Baufi24
+++ btov und der Helvetia Venture Fund investieren 6,7 Millionen Euro in Baufi24. Das Hamburger Fintech, ein Immobilienfinanzierungsvermittler für Baufinanzierung, Bausparen und Kredite, plant “das frische Kapital zum Ausbau der Marktposition als einer der führenden digitalen Immobilienfinanzierer einsetzen”. Baufi24 startete 2006 als Suchmaschine für Baufinanzierungen, seit 2017 positioniert sich das Unternehmen “als ganzheitlicher, unabhängiger Immobilienfinanzierungsvermittler”. Zur Baufi24-Gruppe gehören die Konsumentenangebote Baufi24, Kredit24, LoanLink24 und FinLink. Das Unternehmen beschäftigt über 100 Mitarbeiter:innen. Mehr über Baufi24

Seniovo
+++ Villeroy & Boch investiert in das PropTech Seniovo. Das Berliner Startup, das 2015 von Jonathan Kohl gegründet wurde, ermöglicht das pflegebedürftige Personen durch den barrierefreien Umbau ihrer Wohnung, weiter zuhause wohnen bleiben können. PropTech1 Ventures, IBB Ventures und Co. investierten zuletzt 2,5 Millionen Euro in das PropTech. Mehr über Seniovo

EXITS

tarife.at
+++ Der Preisvergleich Geizhals übernimmt tarife.at. “Gegen einen mittleren Millionenbetrag gliedert sich Österreichs größtes Mobilfunk-Vergleichsportal in den führenden heimischen Preisvergleich-Konzern ein”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. tarife.at aus Wien soll weiterhin als unabhängige Marke, unter der Geschäftsführung von Maximilian Schirmer, bestehen bleiben. Die Wurzeln von tarife.at gehen zurück bis in Jahre 2010, als Grüner  Schirmer unmittelbar mit Erreichen der Volljährigkeit sein erstes Gewerbe anmeldete. “Schirmer finanzierte das Ein-Personen-Unternehmen (EPU), das seit 2017 als GmbH firmiert, rein aus Erspartem und Taschengeld. Der spätere Informatiker programmierte sämtliche Algorithmen in Eigenregie und etablierte das junge Unternehmen erfolgreich als ernstzunehmenden Player in der Telekom-Branche”, heißt es in der Firmenhistorie weiter.

VENTURE CAPITAL

Endeit Capital
+++ Der niederländisch-deutsche Kapitalgeber Endeit Capital legt seinen dritten Fonds (250 Millionen Euro) auf. In der Presseaussendung heißt es dazu: “Mit dem Fonds wird Endeit Capital in europäische Wachstumsunternehmen investieren, die mit ihren Produkten und Dienstleistungen die digitale Transformation der europäischen Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft beschleunigen und somit langfristig den europäischen Wirtschaftsraum stärken”. Zu den aktuellen und früheren Portfoliounternehmen von Endeit gehören: Bux, Gastrofix, Comtravo, Contorion, Chronext und Tourradar.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#3vc, #a-round-capital, #aktuell, #balderton-capital, #baufi24, #btov-partners, #endeit-capital, #fintech, #geizhals, #hamburg, #heartcore-capital, #helvetia-venture-fund, #idinvest, #kaia-health, #munchen, #optum-ventures, #preisvergleich, #proptech, #seniovo, #symphony-ventures, #tarife-at, #venture-capital, #villeroy-boch, #wien

Kaia Health grabs $75M on surging interest in its virtual therapies for chronic pain and COPD

New York headquartered Kaia Health, which offers AI-assisted digital therapies via a mobile app for chronic pain related to musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders and for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), has raised a $75 million Series C.

The round was led by an unnamed leading growth equity fund with support from existing investors, including Optum Ventures, Eurazeo, 3VC, Balderton Capital, Heartcore Capital, Symphony Ventures (golfer Rory McIlroy’s investment vehicle), and A Round Capital.

The funding fast-follows a $26M Series B closed last summer. The pandemic has accelerated the uptake of telemedicine, generally — and Kaia has, unsurprisingly, seen a particular surge of interest in its virtual treatments.

After all, DIY home working set-ups are unlikely to have done much good for the average information worker’s back in the pandemic-struck year. Kaia’s real-time feedback generating motion coach is also able to offer treatment for neck, hip, knee, shoulder, hand/wrist, and foot/ankle pain.

A digital health solution may have been the only lockdown-friendly option for treating conditions considered ‘elective care’ during COVID-19 — meaning suffers of chronic pain may have faced restrictions on accessing physical healthcare provision like in-person physiotherapy. Kaia says it grew its business book 600% in 2020.

Given the U.S. healthcare sales cycle is heavily focused on January onboarding of new medical benefits by employers — who are key customers for Kaia in the market, where it now has around 50 employer and health plan clients — it’s expecting another big onboarding bump next January. And while it hadn’t been looking to raise again so soon after the Series B, doing so was “a very easy process”, says co-founder and CEO Konstantin Mehl.

“We actually planned to start the raise in the end of this year and then the pandemic happened and of course we had a huge boost because the healthcare system was pretty much shut down for in person elected treatments and chronic diseases are considered to be elected treatments which I think is a bit of a mistake.

“The thing is that the big b2b partners they are really scared that they will have this big backlog of surgical interventions that are very expensive… Pre-pandemic I think 20% of employers in the US were even interested in offering a digital therapy and then that changed to 100% immediately. So that was a big boost,” he goes on. “The other thing is that our market got really hot. We don’t really need the money right now but we met these investors and it was a very easy process.”

Kaia says that globally its digital MSK platform is accessible to 60M patients — which it claims makes it by far the biggest player in the space in terms of covered lives. (Other startups in the space include Hinge Health and Sword Health which are both also focused on MSK; and Physera, a virtual physical therapy provider that was acquired by Omada last year.)

The plan for Kaia’s (unexpectedly rapid) funding boost is “to be much more aggressive in building out our commercial team”, Mehl tells TechCrunch. “We are very proud of being a product focused company but it also gets a bit stupid at the point where you just need to bring the product in front of the relevant customer so we are investing a lot in that and also in computer vision because it’s still our USP.”

Kaia’s digital therapies rely on using computer vision to digitize proven treatments so they can be delivered outside traditional healthcare environments, with the app helping patients perform exercises correctly by themselves.

The user only needs a smartphone or tablet with a camera for the app to do real-time, posture-tracking and provide feedback. No wearables are required. Although Kaia is researching how 3D data from depth-sensing cameras which are now being embedded in higher end mobile devices may further feed the accuracy of its body tracking models.

“We basically can have the same correction functionality in your home that you have can have with a PT [personal trainer],” says Mehl. “We want to invest a lot more in computer vision and build out that team so we can also do that more aggressively now [with the Series C funding] which is cool.”

Kaia has started to use motion-tracking in another way in its patient-facing chronic pain app — as a way to track progress. So as well as asking patients to quantify their pain (which is a subjective measure) it can have an objective biomarker alongside patients’ pain assessments by getting them to do regular tests that track their body movements.

“We started to use motion-tracking besides the correction-tracking functionality also as a biomarker. So we basically can measure your body functionality. Now we can, for example, see which body parts are less flexible and that’s how we can measure the disease progression, instead of asking you how is the pain level today,” he explains. “Pain is the number one cause for work disability and the reason is because your body functionality decreases so if we can measure that correctly then we can also escalate it to the right speciality doctor, for example.”

Kaia can also quantify the progress of COPD patients in a similar way — by tracking them performing a sit-down, stand-up test.

Care for COPD has had a particular imperative during the pandemic as people with the chronic inflammatory lung disease who catch COVID-19 have the highest mortality rate among COVID-19-infected patients, per Mehl.

At the same time, pulmonary rehabilitation centers have been shut down during the pandemic because of the risk of infection to patients. So, once again, Kaia’s app has provided an alternative for suffers of chronic conditions to continue their rehab at home.

In the US Kaia focuses on activation rate as a percentage of the employer population — and Mehl says this stands between 5%-10%, depending on how the app is communicated to potential users. “We also had a company that had 15% of their population active it one year but you always have these outliers,” he adds.

Looking ahead to the coming 12 months, he says he expects to be able to grow revenue 5x-10x as a number of bigger partnerships kick in.

In Germany, where Kaia plans to start prescribing its app (via doctors), he’s hopeful they’ll be able to get 10,000 prescriptions done over the same period, once it has approval to do so under a national reimbursement system.

Plugging Kaia into wider healthcare provision

Integrating into a wider care pathway by being able to loop in healthcare providers where appropriate has been a big recent focus for Kaia.

In February it kicked off a major integration of its patient-facing MSK therapy/pain-management app with a referral system that plugs into services offered by other healthcare providers — using an escalation algorithm and screening and triage system, which it calls Kaia Gateway — to identify patients at risk of needing more invasive or intense treatment than the digital therapies its app can provide. It’s working with a number of premium partners for this referral path (i.e. within an employer or health plan’s ecosystem).

Its partners can provide additional medical services to relevant patients, both general and specialty care solutions, including disease management programs, PT, telemedicine, care navigation, and expert medical opinion services. Partners also get access to detailed treatment history on referred patients from Kaia, including via APIs.

“Besides being just an app-based therapy we want to expand more down the treatment path,” explains Mehl. “And also work with external medical providers — doctors etc — and bring our users at the right point to the right doctor to prevent any deterioration in pain that we cannot treat in the app. I think that brings a lot of trust, also, to the app.

“Because I think what’s happening now is that there’s so many digital therapies popping up everywhere. And one thing that is happening in the beginning when you’re small, like us three years ago, we just offered this app and said we don’t really know what’s happening before or after… Now we really want to integrate.”

“We have some cool partnerships coming up in the U.S. — partner with bigger medical providers that have thousands of medical providers on their payroll,” he goes on. “And then integrate with them so we can optimize the full treatment path. Because then the patients can really feel safe and say hey they don’t keep me in the app-based therapy when they know I should actually see somebody else because it’s not the best care anymore.”

“We have this platform approach but then we saw now it really makes sense to go deeper in these two diseases,” Mehl adds. “We start with our chronic pain approach in the U.S. and say we really want to go down the treatment path. And because the main problem is if people then start to be frustrated in our app and say I need something else and then they get back to this, for example, pain killers, opioids, surgery, cycle, and then they’re back in the system where we actually wanted to help them getting out of it so that’s why we say it’s not really possible to not integrate with healthcare professionals.

“You need to integrate them. If not you cannot always offer best care and then the patients realize at one point this app is not enough — but I also don’t get directed to a medical professional who could offer a new diagnosis or a different prescription. And then your trust is lost.”

“The other point is when you think about different levels of chronification, because we’re so scalable we can catch people much earlier in their chronification journey when the disease is still reversible. And even if our app is still the best treatment it helps to get an additional medical professional involvement to validate a diagnosis — or to just talk with a patient so that they really know that they’re safe here. So just reassuring, motivation and also diagnosis, to really say okay just to be sure we should make this diagnosis just to be sure you are getting best care. So I think that’s a huge product task and operational task for us.”

Kaia is starting by doing case referrals manually in-house — by setting up a medical case review team, staffed by doctors and therapies it employs — aided by a triage system that automatically flags patients for the team to review. But Mehl hopes this process will be increasingly assisted by AI.

“We assume yellow flags from what they told us in the entry test or from their exercise feedback or therapy feedback. Or from the interactions they have with their motivational coaches,” he explains of how the case review system works now. “Then [the case review team] has a look at them and decides if they should see an external medical provider partner and at what time.”

“Over time this should get more and more automated,” he adds. “We hope that we can make this better and better with machine learning over time and show that we can optimize the treatment path much better than just having this manual oversight. And that’s a huge challenge. If you think about what you need to do to get there I think it will define our product roadmap for years… But that’s also where the most value is to increase the quality of care. If not you just have siloed solutions everywhere… and the patient suffers because the treatment path is torn apart and it doesn’t feel like one thing.

“We will always need this clinical oversight. But where we can use machine learning is to help these medical professionals to look at the right patients at the right time. Because they cannot look at everybody all the time so there needs to be some filtering. And I think that filtering — or that triage — that can be really done by machine learning.”

Would Kaia ever consider becoming a healthcare provider itself? Combining a telemedicine service with some digitally delivered treatments is something that Sweden’s Kry, for example, has done — launching online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) treatments in its home market back in 2018 while also offering a telehealth platform and running a full healthcare service in some markets.

Mehl suggests not, arguing that telemedicine companies are by necessity generalists, since they are catering to “the top of the funnel”, handling and filtering patients with all sorts of complaints — which he says makes them less suited to focus deeply on catering to specific disease.

While, for Kaia, it’s deeply focused on building tech to treat a few specific diseases — and so, likewise, isn’t best suited to general medical service delivery. Partnering with medical service providers is therefore the obvious choice.

“I think about the patient journey and for the telemedicine companies… they might have some treatment paths integrated but they’re never as good as completely owning one chronic disease as we can be,” he says. “Most of chronic disease patients they just want to start a treatment because they talked with so many doctors. They want to find something that helps them and then at the right moment talk to the right medical professional. So that’s a difference in how telemedicine companies are doing it.

“The other question is how much of the medical provider job of the treatment path do we want to internalize? And we really are a tech company. We’re not very keen on becoming a medical provider. And we see that there are so many amazing medical providers in the landscape here — in different countries — that during COVID-19 had to become more digital, so it’s easy to partner with them, and why would we want to learn how to run a hospital where there are all these people who did it for decades and are really good at it, and we are really good at tech.”

“It’s really cool for the patient in the end. They know they get the best of both worlds and it’s optimized and ideally these offline medical providers get data from us so they can make better decisions — so they can also have a higher quality of decision-making because they have more data than just talking with a patient for two minutes. They can see our complete dashboard and how the patient progressed over time and everything — so the quality of decision-making gets higher.”

The U.S. overtook Europe as Kaia’s biggest market in recent years so it’s inexorably been focusing a lot of energy on serving its growing number of U.S. customers. The size of the addressable market in the U.S. is also massive, with ~100M chronic pain patients in the country, or around a third of the population.

But Kaia continues to develop its proposition in a number of European markets, including Germany which was where the business started. Mehl says its team in Munich is looking at how to make a recent reimbursement law for app-based health treatments will work for it in practice. It hasn’t yet obtained the necessary reimbursement code for doctors there to start prescribing its tech to their patients but it’s taking steps to change that.

At the same time, Mehl concedes that learning how to make doctors want to prescribe its app is an “open challenge” in the market.

“Some startups started doing it but — at scale — I still think there have to be some learning to be made to really scale it up,” he says of the German app prescriptions, adding that it’s preparing to hand in its application in relation to its COPD app which it will be bringing to market in Europe with a pharma partner.

“We also closed a partnership with a pharma company for Germany, UK and France to distribute our app through the pulmonologists — which is pretty cool. So we’re launching that partnership now,” he adds. “That will be exciting to see where the prescriptions start.”

Mehl professes himself a fan of Germany’s approach to digital healthcare — saying that it makes it easy to obtain a general reimbursement code which then gives the app-maker a year to prove any cost savings and deliver the care they say they do — couching that as a compromise between the “really long” process of getting approval for a medicine and the data-driven needs of startups where founders need to be able to show traction to get investment to build and grow a business in the first place.

“Healthcare’s already tough because you have to do clinical trials and it’s already a bit slower. So a longer approval process makes it even more difficult to launch something useful and I can see the UK, France, the Nordics bringing out some similar legislation to facilitate that,” he adds.

“We expect in other European countries — and in other countries in generally, like Canada, Australia and in Asia too — that they update their regulation to cover digital therapies. And then that will be good because we will know how to get apps prescribed and we know the other way, like in the U.S., [i.e. without needing to go through a doctor first]… And so with our app being so scalable we could easily launch in these countries compared to other companies in the market that are more reliant on one specific healthcare system or on hardware or anything that limits the scalability.”

 

#artificial-intelligence, #balderton-capital, #canada, #chronic-disease, #chronic-pain, #digital-health, #eurazeo, #europe, #fundings-exits, #germany, #health, #healthcare, #heartcore-capital, #kaia-health, #machine-learning, #mobile-devices, #munich, #new-york, #omada, #optum-ventures, #pain, #physera, #physical-therapy, #telehealth, #telemedicine, #united-states

Armed with $160M in funding, LatAm’s Merama enters the e-commerce land grab

Merama, a five-month old e-commerce startup focused on Latin America, announced today that it has raised $60 million in seed and Series A funding and $100 million in debt.

The money was raised “at well over a $200 million valuation,” according to co-founder and CEO Sujay Tyle.  

“We are receiving significant inbound for a Series B already,” he said.

LatAm firms Valor Capital and Monashees Capital and U.K.-based Balderton Capital co-led the “massively oversubscribed” funding round, which also included participation from Silicon Valley-based TriplePoint Capital and the CEOs of four unicorns in Latin America, including Uala, Loggi, Rappi and Madeira Madeira. 

Tyle, Felipe Delgado, Olivier Scialom, Renato Andrade and Guilherme Nosralla started Merama in December 2020 with a vision to be the “largest and best-selling set of brands in Latin America.” The company has dual headquarters in Mexico City and São Paulo.

Merama partners with e-commerce product sellers in Latin America by purchasing a stake in the businesses and working with their teams to help them “exponentially” grow and boost their technology while providing them with nondilutive working capital. CEO Tyle describes the company’s model as “wildly different” from that of Thras.io, Perch and other similar companies such as Valoreo because it does not aggregate dozens of brands.

“We will work with very few brands over time, and only the best, and work with our entire team to scale and expand these few businesses,” Tyle told TechCrunch. “We’re more similar to The Hut Group in the EU.”

Merama expects to sell $100 million across the region this year, more than two times the year before. It is currently focused on Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Already, the company operates “very profitably,” according to Tyle. So the cash raised will go primarily toward partnering with more brands, investing in building its technology platform “to aid in the automation of several facets” of its partners’ brands and in working capital for product innovation and inventory purchases. 

The 42-person team is made up of e-commerce leaders from companies such as Amazon, Mercado Libre and Facebook, among others. Tyle knows a thing or two about growing and building new startups, having co-founded Frontier Car Group, which sold to OLX/Naspers for about $700 million in 2019. He is also currently a venture partner at Balderton. 

It’s a fact that Latin American e-commerce has boomed, particularly during the pandemic. Mexico was the fastest-growing e-commerce market in 2020 worldwide, yet is still in its infancy, Tyle said. Overall, the $85 billion e-commerce market in Latin America is growing rapidly, with projections of it reaching $116.2 billion in 2023.

“Merchants are seeing hypergrowth but still struggle with fundamental problems, which creates a ceiling in their potential,” Tyle told TechCrunch. “For example, they are unable to expand internationally, get reliable and cost-effective working capital and build technology tools to support their own online presence. This is where Merama comes in. We seek to give our partners an unfair advantage. When we decide to work with a team, it is because we believe they will be the de facto category leader and can become a $1 billion business on their own.”

Merama collaborates with e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Mercado Libre, and several executives from both companies have invested in the startup, as well.

Daniel Waterhouse, partner at Balderton Capital, says his firm sees “huge potential” in Merama.

“In our two decades scaling businesses in Europe, we have seen firsthand what defines eCommerce category leaders,” he said in a written statement. “What they have already achieved is breathtaking, and it is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Valor Capital founding partner Scott Sobel believes that creating superior products that connect with consumers is the first key challenge D2C companies face.

“That is why we like Merama’s approach to partnering with these established brands and provide them unparalleled support to scale their operations in an efficient way,” he added.

#amazon, #argentina, #balderton-capital, #brazil, #chile, #daniel-waterhouse, #e-commerce, #ecommerce, #europe, #european-union, #facebook, #frontier-car-group, #funding, #fundings-exits, #latin-america, #merama, #mercado-libre, #mercadolibre, #mexico, #mexico-city, #monashees-capital, #naspers, #olx, #paypal, #rappi, #recent-funding, #retailers, #sao-paulo, #silicon-valley, #startup, #startups, #sujay-tyle, #tc, #techcrunch, #the-hut-group, #triplepoint-capital, #unicorn, #valor-capital, #venture-capital, #websites

#DealMonitor – #EXKLUSIV Index investiert in Taktile – Balderton investiert in Finoa – Earlybird investiert in Hive – Porsche investiert in Fanzone


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 5. April werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Taktile
+++ Index Ventures investiert nach unseren Informationen 6 Millionen Euro in Taktile. Das Berliner Startup, das 2020 von Maximilian Eber und Maik Taro Wehmeyer gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als eine Art Low-Code-Plattform für Machine Learning. “Taktile enables enterprises to easily develop business critical Machine Learning applications. We focus on production-readiness, user experience and safety, bridging the gap between cloud infrastructure and business value”, teilt die Jungfirma in eigener Sache mit. Taktile war zuletzt bei Y Combinator an Bord. Details gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Anzeige
+++ In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar abonnieren und 30 Tage kostenlos testen!

Finoa 
+++ Balderton Capital investiert nach unseren Informationen wohl bis zu 12 Millionen Euro in Finoa. Das Blockchain-Startup, das 2018 von Henrik Gebbing und Christopher May gegründet wurde, verwahrt die Kryptoassets von Anlegern. Der Münchner Geldgeber Venture Stars, Signature und Coparion investierten zuvor bereits eine Millionensumme in Finoa, das Branchenkenner als “Coinbase für B2B” umschreiben. Details gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Hive
+++ Earlybird Venture Capital investiert in Hive. Die Berliner wollen Direct-to-Consumer-Marken (D2C) helfen, ihre Produkte schnell und unkompliziert zum Kunden zu bekommen. Das Berliner Unternehmen wurde von Oskar Ziegler, Franz Purucker und Leonard von Kleist gegründet. Picus Capital schob das Startup 2020 gemeinsam mit den Gründer an. Zuletzt investierten unter anderem die Flixbus- und Forto-Gründer in Hive. Details gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Fanzone
+++ Porsche Ventures investiert in Fanzone. Das Berliner Startup Fanzone setzt auf digitale Sammelkarten. Das Schlagwort lautet dabei Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT). Die Nutzer:innen können ihre Karten sammeln und handeln, sowie an Fantasy Sports Challenges teilnehmen. Hinter der Jungfirma steckt unter anderem Seriengründer Dirk Weyel. Details gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Airbank
+++ Speedinvest investiert in Airbank. Das Startup, das 2021 von Christopher Zemina, zuletzt Principal bei Speedinvest, und Patrick de Castro Neuhaus gegründet wurde, dann mal als eine Art CFO-Cockpit bezeichnen. In eigener Sache teilt die Jungfirma mit: “Unify your bank accounts, PayPal, Stripe and Shopify into a single place. Pay bills, set team permissions, get cashflow insights and allocate unused cash with ease”. Details gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Trana
+++ Der junge Geldgeber Visionaries Club investiert in Trana. Das Bielefelder Startup, das von Felix Buschkotte gegründet wurde, bietet eine “Software zum Erstellen von digitalen Trainings für Unternehmenskunden, Partner oder Arbeitnehmer” an. Die Jungfirma schreibt dazu: “Create & publish trainings the easy way – Build powerful online academies for the web as easy as writing a Word-Doc”. Details gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Vly
+++ Global Founders Capital (GFC), der Investmentableger von Rocket Internet, investiert in das Food-Startup Vly – siehe Gründerszene. Das Unternehmen, das von Nicolas Hartmann, Niklas Katter und Moritz Braunwarth gegründet wurde, bietet eine Erbsenproteinmilch an. Derzeit arbeiten 15 Mitarbeiter für die junge Foodfirma. “Unser Umsatz lag 2020 im mittleren Millionenbereich. Dieses Jahr wollen wir zehn neue Produkte auf den Markt bringen, darunter Schokodrinks”, sagte Vly-Macher Hartmann kürzlich im Interview mit deutsche-startups.de. Im vergangenen Jahr waren die Vly-Macher in der Vox-Show “Die Höhle der Löwen” zu Gast. Ein Investment gab es damals nicht, den Löwen war die Bewertung zu hoch.

apaleo
+++ Der englische Geldgeber Force over Mass, Redalpine und Bayern Kapital investieren 4,5 Millionen Euro in das Münchner Startup apaleo. Das Unternehmen, das 2017 von Ulrich Pillau, Martin Reichenbach, Philip von Ditfurth und Stephan Wiesener gegründet wurde, bietet eine cloud-basierte Software rund um das Thema Hotel-Management an. “Für die Entwicklung neuer Apps ist apaleo zum De-facto-Standard in der Branche geworden. Viele innovative Teams starten ihr Entwicklungsprojekt direkt auf der apaleo-Plattform mit der offenen API. Das bedeutet, dass apaleo-Nutzer immer die ersten sind, die Zugang zu bahnbrechenden Hotel-Apps haben”, teilt das Unternehmen mit.

PODCAST

Insider #99
+++ Schon die neue Insider-Ausgabe mit Sven Schmidt gehört?  In der aktuellen Folge geht es um Taktile, Finoa, Wisemarkt, Hive, Alexander Samwer, den VC-Markt, Iconi, den Spac-Boom, WeFox, Lilium, Airbank, Trana, Fanzone, Roadsurfer, Deliveroo, Gorillas, Flink und den Thrasio-Hype.

Abonnieren: Die Podcasts von deutsche-startups.de könnt ihr bei Amazon Music – Apple Podcasts – Castbox – Deezer – Google Podcasts – iHeartRadio – Overcast – PlayerFM – Podimo – Spotify – SoundCloud oder per RSS-Feed abonnieren.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#airbank, #aktuell, #apaleo, #balderton-capital, #bayern-kapital, #berlin, #bielefeld, #blockchain, #earlybird-venture-capital, #fanzone, #finoa, #fintech, #food, #force-over-mass, #global-founders-capital, #hive, #index-ventures, #logistik, #porsche-ventures, #redalpine, #speedinvest, #taktile, #trana, #venture-capital, #visionaries-club, #vly, #y-combinator

#DealMonitor – Will.i.am und Mario Götze investieren in Sanity Group – vivenu bekommt 12,6 Millionen


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 1. Dezember werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Sanity Group
+++ Der amerikanische Rapper Will.i.am, Schauspielerin Alyssa Milano, TV-Moderator Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, Fußballspieler Mario Götze, Ex-Fußballer Dennis Aogo, Sportexperte Jonas Hummels und das deutsche Model Stefanie Giesinger investieren in das Berliner Cannabis-Startup Sanity Group. Zuletzt hatte bereits Bitburger Ventures in das junge Unternehmen investiert. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 25 Millionen in die  Sanity Group, die 2018 von Finn Hänsel und Fabian Friede gegründet wurde. Das junge Cannabis-Startup ist derzeit mit Vayamed (früher: Sanatio Pharma), Vaay und neuerdings der Kosmetiklinie This Place unterwegs.

vivenu
+++ Balderton Capital, Redalpine und der American-Football-Verein San Francisco 49ers investieren 12,6 Millionen Euro in das Düsseldorfer Startup vivenu. “vivenu is also the first European investment of Aurum Fund LLC, the fund associated with the San Francisco 49ers. Also investing in the round are notable Angels including Sascha Konietzke (Contentful), Chris Schagen (Contentful), Sujay Tyle (Frontier Car Group) and Tiny VC”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. vivenu wurde von Simon Hennes, Jens Teichert und Simon Weber gegründet. Das Startup positioniert sich als “API-first and fully-featured ticketing platform”.

PayPense
+++ Nicht genannte Geldgeber investieren eine hohe sechsstellige Summe in das Unternehmen PayPense. Die Jungfirma betreibt eine sogenannte Expense-Lösung, die es ermöglicht, jegliche finanzielle Vorleistung durch Mitarbeitende zu vermeiden. “Mit dem frischen Kapital will sich das Bamberger Startup an die weitere Expansion sowie Produktentwicklung wagen und weitere Features launchen”. Das Startup wurde von Christopher Hecht und Andreas Eichler gegründet.

EXITS

Tribe
+++ Das Berliner Brillen-Startup Mister Spex übernimmt das Deep-Tech-Unternehmen Tribe. “Mit diesem Schritt unterstreicht Mister Spex seinen Anspruch, die Customer Experience in der Augenoptik stetig und technologiegetrieben zu optimieren”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Tribe soll auch nach der Übernahme “weiterhin unabhängig und eigenständig agieren”. Über den Kaufpreis haben die Unternehmen Stillschweigen vereinbart. Tribe wurde 2018 von Julian Hölz und Kevin Metka gegründet. Das Unternehmen “fokussiert sich auf KI-basierte Anwendungen, die das Kundenerlebnis beim Brillenkauf maßgeblich verbessern”.

Devexgo
+++ Moacon Ventures, also Lieferheld-Mitgründer Mohammadi Akhabach, übernimmt den Couponing-Anbieter Devexgo. Zum Portfolio von Akhabach gehören Unternehmen wie  Beziehungsweise, Deutsche Seniorenwerbung und Amira Media. “Die DEVEXGO GmbH umfasst ein Team von 6 Personen, welches unverändert in die bestehenden Strukturen der Moacon Ventures eingegliedert wird”, teilt der Neusser mit.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #balderton-capital, #berlin, #cannabis, #devexgo, #dusseldorf, #mario-gotze, #mister-spex, #moacon-ventures, #neuss, #paypense, #promi-investor, #redalpine-capital, #sanity-group, #tribe, #venture-capital, #vivenu

Vivenu, a ticketing API for events, closes a $15M Series A round led by Balderton Capital

vivenu, a ticketing platform that offers an API for venues and promoters to customize to their needs, has closed a $15 million (€12.6 million) in Series A funding led by Balderton Capital. Previous investor Redalpine also participated.

Historically-speaking, most ticketing platform startups took a direct to consumer approach, or have provided turnkey solutions to big event promoters. But in this day and age, most events require a great deal more flexibility, not least because of the pandemic. So, by offering an API and allowing promoters that flexibility, Vivenu managed to gain traction.

Venues and event owners get a full-featured ticketing, out-of-the-box platform with full real-time dynamic control over all aspects of selling tickets including configuring prices and seating plans, leveraging customer data and insights and mastering a branded look and feel across their sales channels. It has exposed APIs enabling many different custom use cases for large international ticket sellers. Since its Seed funding in March, the company says it has sold over 2 million tickets.

Simon Hennes, CEO and co-founder of vivenu said in a statement: “We created vivenu to address the need of ticket sellers for a user-centric ticketing platform. Event organizers were stuck with solutions that heavily depend on manual processes, causing high costs, dependencies, and frustration on various levels.”

Daniel Waterhouse, Partner at Balderton said: “Vivenu has built a sophisticated product and set of APIs that gives event organisers full control of their ticketing operations.”

vivenu is also the first European investment of Aurum Fund LLC, the fund associated with the San Francisco 49ers. Also investing in the round are Angels including Sascha Konietzke (Founder at Contentful), Chris Schagen (former CMO at Contentful), Sujay Tyle (Founder at Frontier Car Group) and Tiny VC.

In March 2020, vivenu secured €1.4 million in seed funding, bringing its total funding to €14 million. Previous investors include early-stage venture capital investor Redalpine, GE32 Capital and Hansel LLC (associated with the founders of Loft).

Speaking to TechCrunch Hennes said: “You have to send your seat map to Ticketmaster, and then the account manager comes back to you with a sitemap. This goes back and forth and takes ages. With us you have a seating chart designer basically integrated into the software which you can simply change yourself.”

#api, #balderton-capital, #companies, #contentful, #daniel-waterhouse, #europe, #founder, #frontier-car-group, #industries, #monopolies, #partner, #redalpine, #sujay-tyle, #tc, #ticketmaster

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek pledges $1Bn of his wealth to back deeptech startups from Europe

At an online event today, Daniel Ek, the founder of Spotify, said he would invest 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) of his personal fortune in deeptech “moonshot projects”, spread across the next 10 years.

Ek indicated that he was referring to machine learning, biotechnology, materials sciences and energy as the sectors he’d like to invest in.

“I want to do my part; we all know that one of the greatest challenges is access to capital,” Ek said, adding he wanted to achieve a “new European dream”.

“I get really frustrated when I see European entrepreneurs giving up on their amazing visions selling early on to non-European companies, or when some of the most promising tech talent in Europe leaves because they don’t feel valued here,” Ek said. “We need more super companies that raise the bar and can act as an inspiration.”

According to Forbes, Ek is worth $3.6 billion, which would suggest he’s putting aside roughly a third of his own wealth for the investments.

And it would appear his personal cash will be deployed with the help of a close confidant of Ek’s. He retweeted a post by Shakhil Khan, one of the first investors in Spotify, who said “it’s time to come out of retirement then.”

During a fireside chat held by the Slush conference, he said: “We all know that one of the greatest challenges is access to capital. And that is why I’m sharing today that I will devote €1bn of my personal resources to enable the ecosystem of builders.” He said he would do this by “funding so-called moonshots focusing on the deep technology necessary to make a significant positive dent, and work with scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and governments to do so.”

He expressed his desire to level-up Europe against the US I terms of tech unicorns: “Europe needs more super companies, both for the ecosystem to develop and thrive. But I think more importantly if we’re going to have any chance to tackle the infinitely complex problems that our societies are dealing with at the moment, we need different stakeholders, including companies, governments, academic institutions, non-profits and investors of all kinds to work together.”

He also expressed his frustration at seeing “European entrepreneurs, giving up on their amazing visions by selling very early in the process… We need more super companies to raise the bar and can act as an inspiration… There’s lots and lots of really exciting areas where there are tons of scientists and entrepreneurs right now around Europe.”

Ek said he will work with scientists, investors, and governments to deploy his funds. A $1.2 billion fund would see him competing with other large European VCs such as Atomico, Balderton Capital, Accel, Index Ventures and Northzone.

Ek has been previously known for his interest in deeptech. He has invested in €16m in Swedish telemedicine startup Kry. He’s also put €3m into HJN Sverige, an artificial intelligence company in the health tech arena.

#articles, #artificial-intelligence, #balderton-capital, #biotechnology, #business, #daniel-ek, #economy, #energy, #entrepreneurship, #europe, #forbes, #founder, #kry, #machine-learning, #northzone, #private-equity, #spotify, #startup-company, #tc, #telemedicine, #united-states

After lockdowns lead to an e-bike boom, VanMoof raises $40M Series B to expand globally

E-bike startup VanMoof, has raised a $40 million investment from Norwest Venture Partners, Felix Capital and Balderton Capital. The Series B financing comes after a $13.5 million investment in May. The funding brings VanMoof’s total raised to $73 million and furthers the e-bike brand’s ultimate mission of getting the next billion on bikes.

The Series B funding will be used to meet the increased demand, shorten delivery times and build a suite of rider service solutions. It also aims to boost its share of the e-bike market in North America, Europe and Japan.

Partly driven by the switch of commuters away from public transport because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the e-bike craze is taking off.

Governments are now investing in cycling infrastructure and the e-bike market is set to surpass $46 billion in the next six years, according to reports.

Ties Carlier, co-founder VanMoof commented: “E-bike adoption was an inevitable global shift that was already taking place for many years now but COVID-19 put an absolute turbo on it to the point that we’re approaching a critical mass to transform cities for the better.”

VanMoof says it realized a 220% global revenue growth during the worldwide lockdown and sold more bikes in the first four months of 2020 than the previous two years combined.

Stew Campbell, Principal at Norwest said: “Taco, Ties and the VanMoof team have not only built an unparalleled brand and best-selling product, but they’re reshaping city mobility all over the world.”

Colin Hanna, Principal at Balderton: “As the COVID-19 crisis hit supply chains worldwide, VanMoof’s unique control over design and production was a key advantage that allowed the company to react nimbly and effectively. Moreover, VanMoof’s direct to consumer approach allows the company to build a close relationship to their riders, one that will be strengthened by new products and services in the years to come.”

VanMoof launched the new VanMoof S3 and X3 in April of this year. I reviewed the S3 here and checked out the earlier X2 version here.

#balderton-capital, #bicycles, #co-founder, #colin-hanna, #cycling, #e-bike, #e-bikes, #electric-bicycle, #europe, #felix-capital, #japan, #micromobility, #north-america, #norwest-venture-partners, #supply-chains, #tc, #transport, #vanmoof, #vanmoof-s3

Balderton’s Chandratillake doffs his cap to Clubhouse, says enterprise audio is next

Suranga Chandratillake has (almost) seen it all. After being the early CTO for Autonomy, he went on to found the blinkx video search engine in 2004, long before many thought we’d even need one. He scaled the company to San Francisco and the US market, eventually IPO’ing blinkx for over $1 billion. On his return to Europe, he joined Balderton Capital, of Europe’s top-tier VCs, and has invested in many of Europe’s hottest startups. As part of TechCrunch Disrupt 2020, we caught up with him.

Last year Balderton raised a $400 million fund. But has the way that fund is being invested changed because of COVID-19?

“In many ways, nothing has changed,” he said. ”We have been a series a focused pan-European VC for 20 years… If anything, I think COVID-19 has demonstrated how tech can help us get through various challenges, and I mean all of the work from home stuff…It’s been really weird, not being able to spend time in person with [entrepreneurs] those people… But the overall strategy of investing in tech in Europe, it’s exactly the same as it was before.”

Although it’s not that simple. For instance, Balderton invested in car rental startup Virtuo to the tune of 20 million euros. And travel is not exactly a great sector right now.

Chandratillake admitted, “some industries we have had challenges this year.” However, he said they “had a difficult April and May, but they’ve actually had a booming August” as holidays came back.

“I would say that by and large, most [startups] have navigated fairly well.” He noted that European governments have put in place funds to support tech companies, and of course, other sectors of tech have boomed.

During the pandemic lockdown, many consumers jumped into virtual networking via apps like Zoom and Houseparty, but Balderton did a small investment into a stealth-mode startup called Riff, which, not unlike Clubhouse, is using audio in a new way. He hinted that this will be an enterprise-play on Audio.

“Funnily enough, the closest to it right now is probably Discord which obviously is already a large network, but really a very much a vertical app aimed at gamers… But I think there’s a there’s an opportunity to do something similar in enterprise in the same way that Slack, you know, arguably got a lot of its initial cues from consumer messaging [such as] from WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. I think we’ll see a similar thing where the enterprise gets something that’s based a bit on what we’ve seen in consumer products.”

He said Riff solves the “classic cliche of the watercooler moment when you bump into someone in the office and have a chat, and it’s really hard to do that in this new reality.”

He also said there are interesting sub-markets following on in the coattails of Zoom “that also need to be worked out.” Balderton invested in a company called DemoDesk (a cloud-based screen sharing platform), which looks at, for example, “webinars and sales meetings and specific kinds of conversations like that, where the requirements are a bit different.”

Chandratillake is of the opinion that the world will have to live with COVID-19 for many years, but that new solutions will emerge to mitigate the downsides: “Anything that helps you stay more connected to your colleagues and your co-workers is going to be interesting from a VC point of view, right?”

In terms of the diversity issues thrown up by the Black Lives Matter movement, Balderton has backed initiatives such as Diversity VC in Europe.

“If you’ve got a more diverse venture capital industry, they will start to back more diverse founders doing more diverse things, and that will naturally propagate. That’s really important to me and that’s a big part of what we focused on….

“In the last three years, we’ve hired more women than we have men into the investment team. We recently hired our first female general partner directly into the firm… three more people of color in the partnership and so on. So it’s beginning to change to where it should be, but I think it’s one of these things where you have to battle on many fronts.”

#balderton-capital, #disrupt-2020, #europe, #facebook, #suranga-chandratillake, #tc, #virtuo, #zoom

#DealMonitor – Balderton Capital investiert in Demodesk – Urbanara kauft Til Schweigers Barefoot Living


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 3. September werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

VENTURE CAPITAL

Demodesk
+++ Balderton Capital und Target Global investieren 8 Millionen US-Dollar in Demodesk. Das Münchner Startup Demodesk positioniert sich als “online meeting tool for sales & success teams”. Global Founders Capital (GFC), FundersClub, Y Combinator, Kleiner Perkins und eine Reihe von Angel-Investoren pumpten zuletzt 2,3 Millionen US-Dollar in die Jungfirma. Über den Einstieg von Target Global hatten wir bereits exklusiv im Juli berichtet. Demodesk wurde 2017 von Alex Popp und Veronika Riederle gegründet.

Phantasma Labs
+++ APEX Ventures, signals VC, die IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Wi Ventures und der Bestandsinvestor Entrepreneur First investieren in das Berliner DeepTech-Startup Phantasma Labs. Das Unternehmen, das von Ramakrishna Nanjundaiah und Maria Meier gegründet wurde, entwickelt eine Plattform, die das “komplexe menschliche Verhalten für das Training autonomer Fahrzeuge” simuliert. Das frische Kapital soll in den “Ausbau des Teams sowie die Produktentwicklung” fließen.

CereGate 
+++ Heal Capital investiert gemeinsam mit dem High-Tech-Gründerfonds (HTGF) und TruVenturo in CereGate. Das Unternehmen, das 2019 von Balint Varkuti gegründet wurde, entwickelt software-basierte Lösungen für den Bereich Computer-Gehirn-Schnittstellen.  “Die neue Finanzierung ermöglicht es CereGate, die Ansätze weiterzuentwickeln und klinische Studien zur Kommerzialisierung der ersten Produkte durchzuführen”, teilt das Satrtup mit.

EXITS

Barefoot Living
+++ Die Social-Chain-Tochter Urbanara übernimmt Barefoot Living, eine Plattform für  Wohnaccessoires und andere Lifestyle-Produkte, die vom bekannten Schauspieler Til Schweiger gegründet wurde. “Schweiger bleibt in der neuen Aufstellung als Strategic Brand Lead an Bord und wird die Weiterentwicklung des Produktportfolios maßgeblich begleiten”, teilt das Unternehmen ziemlich überschwänglich mit. Geführt wird Barefoot Living derzeit von Florian Schweiger. Urbanara ist seit etlichen Jahren im Segment für Wohnaccessoires unterwegs. Die Social Chain-Gruppe rund um TV-Löwe Georg Kofler übernahm das Unternehmen im Dezember 2019.

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Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #apex-ventures, #balderton-capital, #barefoot-living, #berlin, #ceregate, #demodesk, #entrepreneur-first, #heal-capital, #high-tech-grunderfonds, #ibb-beteiligungsgesellschaft, #munchen, #phantasma-labs, #signals-vc, #social-chain-group, #target-global, #truventuro, #urbanara, #venture-capital, #wi-ventures

Demodesk snags $8M Series A to continue developing sales demo platform

It is clear that as the pandemic has taken hold in 2020, in-person meetings have gone by the wayside. Yet sales teams still need a way to demo their products for potential customers, particularly SaaS vendors. Enter Demodesk, an early stage startup and Y Combinator Winter 2019 grad, which is building an online sales demo platform.

Today the company announced an $8 million Series A led by Balderton Capital with participation from Target Global. The company has now raised a total of $10.3 million including its seed round announced last year.

Demodesk has built a platform to deliver online sales demos remotely with a dash of intelligence to help busy sales people set up the meetings in a more automated fashion. Even though the startup wasn’t thinking about raising money until next year, COVID has accelerated the need for a tool like this in the market, says CEO and co-founder Veronika Riederle.

“We originally planned to raise our next round around the beginning of next year, but because COVID happened, we were able to raise earlier and the money basically enables us to grow a little bit faster now and to build the tool faster because there so much demand in the market,” Riederle told TechCrunch.

The demand has increased because during COVID, sales teams still need to meet with customers, and Demodesk provides a way to do that. Riederle says that the product is significantly different from general meeting software like Zoom, WebEx or GoToMeeting.

While these tools generally allow screen sharing, she says DemoDesk does something different that separates it from these offerings. Instead of a live version of your desktop or a recording where the two parties are seeing the same thing, Demodesk provides a virtual desktop in the cloud where the salesperson can see notes and other information that the customer can’t see, while still letting the customer view the presentation or demo.

What’s more, the virtual approach enables companies to capture data about the demo to help sales teams understand what worked well and what didn’t, something that wouldn’t be possible with traditional screen sharing.

In addition, the company added a new scheduling tool to the product this year that lets customers and sales teams share available times. “You can just select a time that works for you, fill out some data and then we automatically send a calendar invite, put it in the sales person’s calendar, send out a reminder, and then of course automatically prepare the meeting because we know who the meeting is with beforehand. So we do everything from scheduling, preparing the meeting, then assisting you during the meeting,” Riederle explained.

When the meeting is over, Demodesk can share the notes from the meeting automatically with Salesforce or other CRM tool.

The company has 22 employees today, but the goal is to get to 50 by the end of next year. As she grows the company, Riederle says that diversity and inclusion is a key consideration. In fact, diversity is part of the company’s five core values. As an international company, she says that makes diversity even more important, but it’s also about not having just one way of thinking.

“If you have a more diverse set of employees on the team, you just typically come up with better ideas because you are more creative. You think in different ways and have more interesting discussions,” she said.

The company, which launched in 2017 has grown to 150 customers. While these are mostly software companies, Riederle reports she is seeing other industries use the platform like a solar panel company, which was going door-to-door prior to the pandemic, and has used the tool to continue doing business when visiting customers isn’t possible.

She sees this trend continuing, even post-COVID because doing online demos is more efficient, less costly and better for the environment because you don’t have to travel to the meeting.

#balderton-capital, #cloud, #demodesk, #funding, #online-meetings, #recent-funding, #saas, #sales-tools, #startups, #tc

Eco-friendly laundry goods subscription service smol raises £8M from Balderton

Smol is a startup that delivers eco-friendly laundry capsules and dishwasher tablets on subscription through letterboxes, which undercut the price of the leading brands, to people’s homes. It’s now raised £8 million in a Series A funding round led by Balderton Capital with participation from JamJar Investments. The funding will see smol push into new product categories, expand further into new markets and expand its team. Before this round smol had been funded by seed money from private investors.  

Created by former Unilever employees, Paula Quazi and Nick Green in 2018, its also launched its own-brand, animal-fat-free, vegan fabric conditioner and a 100% plastic-free, child-lock packaging for its laundry and dishwashing products, as well as fabric conditioner made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic which as recyclable. Smol also offers a returns scheme for refill and reuse.

P&G and Unilever currently dominate the market, while smog hopes to become ‘the dollar shave club’ of laundry.

Paula Quazi, Co-founder of smol said in a statement: “Having seen how the industry has barely innovated in over a hundred years we launched smol to take the hassle out of washing for families whose laundry needs have been ignored for decades.”

Suranga Chandratillake, Partner at Balderton Capital said: “When people think of technology disruption, it is normal to think of digital products and internet tools. However, technology has the power to make life better for us in the most unexpected ways and we believe Paula, Nick and their amazing team have tapped into just such an opportunity at smol.”

#balderton-capital, #business, #co-founder, #companies, #dishwasher, #europe, #industries, #pg, #partner, #suranga-chandratillake, #tc, #unilever

Kaia Health gets $26M to show it can do more with digital therapeutics

Kaia Health, a digital therapeutics startup which uses computer vision technology for real-time posture tracking via the smartphone camera to deliver human-hands-free physiotherapy, has closed a $26 million Series B funding round.

The funding was led by Optum Ventures, Idinvest and capital300 with participation from existing investors Balderton Capital and Heartcore Capital, in addition to Symphony Ventures — the latter in an “investment partnership” with world famous golfer, Rory McIlroy, who knows a thing or two about chronic pain.

Back in January 2019, when Kaia announced a $10M Series A, its business ratio was split 80:20 Europe to US. Now, says co-founder and CEO Konstantin Mehl — speaking to TechCrunch by Zoom chat from New York where he’s recently relocated — it’s flipped the other way.

Part of the new funding will thus go on building out its commercial team in the US — now its main market. He says they’ll also be spending to fund more clinical studies, and to conduct more R&D, including looking at how to supplement their 2D posture modelling with 3D data they can pull from modern, depth-sensing smartphone cameras.

“We use the smartphone camera to give you real-time feedback on your physical exercises. We are already pretty good at that but there are a lot more sensors in the iPhone so we’ll build out the computer vision team to start with 3D tracking,” he tells TechCrunch. “Including the depth cameras of the latest Samsung and Apple devices — mixing that with the 2D data we basically get from all the devices to see what we can do with these two data sets.”

On the research front, Kaia published a randomized control trial in the journal Nature last year — comparing its app-based therapy with multidisciplinary pain treatment programs for lower back pain which combine physiotherapy and online learning. “We have another large scale trial which is currently in the peer review process,” says Mehl, adding: “There will be a couple of interesting clinical trials getting published in the next six to nine months.

“We already have clinical studies that look specifically at how accurate the motion tracking technology is at the moment and how fast patients can learn exercises with the technology and how correct it is compared to when they learn it with real physical therapists — I think that’s an exciting study.”

He also flags another published app study which examined the treatment link between sleep and chronic back pain.

“We right now have nine clinical studies ongoing — part of the studies have the goal to compare our therapy apps against a lot of care treatments,” he goes on, fleshing out the reason for having such a strong focus on research. “The other part of the studies specifically look at AI features that we have and how they increase the quality of care for patients.

“Because a lot of startups say they have AI for healthcare or for patients but you never know what it exactly means, or if it really helps the patient or if it’s just material for the pitch, for investors. So that’s why we’d really like to do a lot more effort here, even if we already have nine studies ongoing — because it’s just a very powerful way to show how the products work. And it also helps to get more credibility as an industry.”

Kaia retired an earlier direct consumer subscription strand of its business to focus fully on b2b — chasing the “holy grail” of having its digital therapies fully reimbursed via users’ medical insurance.

Though it does still offer a number of free apps for consumers, with a physical trainer type function, as a way to gather movement data to feed its posture tracking models.

Overall it claims some 400,000 users across all its apps at this point.

“Back in Germany we have the majority of the population that can get the chronic pain app reimbursed already so there we do b2c marketing but the insurances reimburse it,” says Mehl. “In the US we mostly sell it to self-insured employers — the big employers.”

“Our goal in the end is always to get reimbursed as a medical claim because if you think back to our strong clinical focus, it just adds credibility — if you do the full homework,” he adds. “In medicine the holy grail is always to get reimbursed as a medical claim, that’s why we focus on that.”

So far Kaia offers app-based therapy for chronic back pain; a digital treatment for pulmonary rehabilitation treatment targeting at COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease); and is set to launch a new app, in about a month, tackling knee and hip osteoarthritis.

It calls its approach ‘multimodal’ — offering what it describes as “mind body therapy” for musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders which consists of guided physical exercises, psychological techniques and medical education.

Unlike some rivals in the same digital therapeutics for MSK space — notably Hinge Health, which recently raised a $90M Series C — Kaia’s approach is purely software based, with no additional sensor hardware required to be used by patients.

Mehl says it has steered clear of wearables to ensure the widest possible accessibility for its app-based treatments — a point it seeks to hammer home on its website via a table comparing what it dubs a “typical sensor-based system” and its “health motion coach”.

Competition in the digital health space has clearly heated up in the almost half decade since Kaia got started but Mehal argues that major b2b buyers now want to work with therapy platform providers, rather than buying “point solutions” for one disease, giving this relative veteran an edge over some of the more recent entrants.

“We now have three therapies against three very big diseases so I think that helps us,” he says. “We we started 4.5 years ago it was pretty unsexy to start something in digital therapies and now there are so many startups getting started for digital therapies or digital health. And what we’re seeing is that the big b2b customers now move away from wanting to buy point solutions, against one disease, more towards buying a couple of diseases — in the end they want to work more with platforms.”

“The important thing here is we never invent any therapy — we just digitize the best in class therapy and that’s important because if not you have very different requirements of what you have to prove,” he adds. “Now we always just prove that the digital delivery of the best in class therapy works as good or better than the offline role model.”

A key focus for Kaia’s business in the US is working directly with health insurance claims payers — such as Optum — who manage budgets for the employers providing cover to staff, with the aim of getting its digital therapy reimbursed as a medical claim, rather than having to convince employers to fund the software as a workplace benefit.

“We focus on working directly with these payers to be reimbursed by them so that we help them reduce the costs and stay on budget,” he explains. “We already have some really interesting partnerships there — obviously Optum Ventures invested in us, and Optum is the biggest player with [its parent company] UnitedHealth… So we have a very big partner there.

“Once you get reimbursed as a medical claim, the employer doesn’t really have to pay you anymore out of the separate benefits budget — which includes all kinds of other benefits, and which is relatively small compared to the medical claims budget. So if you’re reimbursed it’s a no brainer for an employer to basically buy your therapy. So it’s a fast-track through the US healthcare system.”

The team is also positioning the business to work with the growing number of telemedicine providers — and its app-based therapy something those services could offer as a bolt on for their own patients.

Mehl argues that the coronavirus crisis has transformed interest in digital care provision, and, again, contends that Kaia is well positioned to plug into a future of healthcare service provision that’s increasingly digital.

“Our goal is to not only have a therapy app that works in parallel to the healthcare system but to integrate in a full treatment pathway that a patient goes through. The obvious first thing is that we integrate more with doctors — we are currently talking with a lot of different players in the market how we can do that because if you use one of the many apps where you can talk to a doctor, what do you do afterwards?

“If they prescribe you in person physical therapy or even surgery you can’t really do that at the moment. So to have this full treatment pathway in the digital world just became mass market now. Before the crisis it was more like an early adopter market and now people have no other choice or don’t really want to go out even if the restrictions are lifted because they just don’t feel safe.”

#apps, #artificial-intelligence, #balderton-capital, #chronic-pain, #digital-therapeutics, #europe, #fundings-exits, #germany, #health, #healthcare, #heartcore-capital, #kaia-health, #new-york, #optum-ventures, #pain, #physical-therapy, #recent-funding, #tc, #telehealth, #telemedicine, #unitedhealth

Adding three more companies to the $100M ARR club

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.

When we kicked off our series on private companies that have reached $100 million ARR, we didn’t expect it to last. Maybe a piece or two, but nothing more. Today’s entry should bring us past the thirty company mark.

It was less than a month ago that we added eight names to the club in a single post (HeadSpin, UiPath, DigitalOcean, BounceX, Wrike, Aeris, Podium and Lucid), the latter two of which had recently raised capital, announcing their revenue milestones at the same time. This morning, we’re appending just three names, but pay attention all the same.

We joked in February that our running tally of growth-oriented, private companies that had reached $100 million in annual recurring revenue read like a list of firms that either could, or should go public in short order. Since then, the IPO market has largely closed in light of COVID-19, so I suppose we’re more adding to the backlog than queuing up companies for an S-1.

Either way, let’s talk about ActiveCampaign, Recorded Future, and ON24 this morning!

New names

We’ll start, then, with Recorded Future .

Recorded Future

Boston-based Recorded Future, a cybersecurity company focused on “threat intelligence,” announced that it crossed the $100 million ARR mark recently, making the firm a success story for its city. But as with so many companies that we add to our list, its inclusion is slightly fraught.

#100-million-arr-club, #activecampaign, #balderton-capital, #canaan-partners, #cloud, #extra-crunch, #fundings-exits, #goldman-sachs, #gv, #market-analysis, #on24, #recorded-future, #software-as-a-service, #startups, #susquehanna-growth-equity, #tc, #the-exchange