Marketplace platform Mirakl raises $555 million at $3.5 billion valuation

French startup Mirakl has closed a new Series E funding round of $555 million. Following this round, the company is now valued at $3.5 billion. Mirakl helps you launch a marketplace on your online store for your end customers or for your B2B clients. It’s a software-as-a-service marketplace, meaning that Mirakl manages the marketplace for you.

Silver Lake is leading the investment with existing investors 83North, Elaia Partners, Felix Capital and Permira also participating. With today’s funding round, Mirakl is experiencing a sharp valuation bump as the company closed a $300 million funding round at a $1.5 billion valuation last year.

Some of Mirakl’s clients include ABB, Accor, Airbus Helicopters, Carrefour, Express, Leroy Merlin, The Kroger Co and Toyota Material Handling.

Chances are you’re already familiar with marketplaces on online stores. If the e-commerce brand doesn’t have the item you’re looking for, they might be recommending some third-party sellers. You can buy the item from this third-party seller directly on the store you’re using. Mirakl helps you add a marketplace to your site.

On some online stores, marketplace transactions have overtaken in-house transactions. It’s a lucrative shift as e-commerce companies don’t own the inventory of third-party sellers. It frees up some capital to increase reach and online sales.

And that trend isn’t limited to consumer-facing online stores. B2B marketplaces are emerging. For instance, car manufacturers rely on many different suppliers. They could all list parts directly on a marketplace so that repair shops can easily find the right part to fix a car.

When you add a marketplace component, you switch from a one-to-many model to a many-to-many model. It means that you have to make sure that you’re taking advantage of your marketplace by partnering with the right third-party sellers. As a third-party seller, it also means that you need to list your products on as many marketplaces as possible.

That’s why the company has also built something called Mirakl Connect. The startup positions itself as a center piece of the marketplace ecosystem by connecting online stores with sellers. Mirakl customers can use Mirakl Connect to find third-party sellers. And third-party sellers can more easily list their products on Mirakl-compatible marketplaces.

With today’s funding round, Mirakl plans to increase the size of its engineering team. It’ll add 350 engineers on top of its team of 500. Similarly, the customer success team will double in size. In other words, things are going well for Mirakl, so let’s invest.

Image Credits: Mirakl

#e-commerce, #ecommerce, #europe, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #marketplace, #mirakl, #online-store, #saas, #startups

Alan acquires Jour and launches mental health service Alan Mind

French startup Alan is better known for its health insurance products — they now insure 200,000 people. But it has been slowly building a superapp for your health and expanding with new services. Today, the company announced its first acquisition ever with the acquisition of Jour for $20 million. This is going to be the foundation for a new service called Alan Mind.

“More than 13 million people in France are facing a mental health issue. If you look at people under 35, it’s 3 out of 4 people — so it’s basically everybody,” co-founder an CEO Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve said in a press conference earlier today.

And if you look at the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on mental health. Depressive moods and anxiety issues have basically doubled. 66% of people are dealing with sleep disorders.

“The question we asked ourselves is: How did we get there?” Samuelian-Werve said. “We see two important topics. First, there has been a chronic lack of prevention that is quite obvious. Mental health has been neglected by public health policies.”

“The second pillar that led us where we are is poor care. There are disparities between regions that are very high. In Paris, it can take up to 8 months in some hospitals if you want to see a therapist. In the Rhône-Alpes area, it takes 67 days on average to book an appointment,” he added.

And even if you can find the right person, you’ll often end up spending a lot of money. France’s national healthcare system doesn’t cover mental health that well.

With Alan Mind, the startup wants to work on these two areas of improvement. It’s a B2B service, so the company is selling access to Alan Mind to its B2B clients, who can then recommend Alan Mind to their employees.

“Do companies have a role to play in mental health? We believe that they do. Companies are responsible for protecting their employees’ health,” Samuelian-Werve said. In particular, they reached that conclusion when they realized that lockdowns have affected work-life balance. It’s hard to say when your work day ends and your personal time starts.

Image Credits: Alan

By acquiring Jour, Alan is betting on cognitive behavioral therapy. Employees can install an app and start answering questions to evaluate their current state of mind. They can find content in the app, put words on their feelings and work on themselves. There are videos, a dashboard feature, breathing exercises, etc.

If employees feel like that’s not enough, they can start an individual therapy with a health professional. Alan Mind lets you book a telehealth appointment. The company has hired a handful of psychologists so that you can get an appointment in just a few days.

Of course, companies never know that someone in the team has used Alan Mind. But HR teams receive an anonymized report every month. It’s not about spying on employees, but more about identifying common issues and providing ideas for prevention workshops.

Alan Mind is just getting started as the company only has five clients for this service — BioSerenity, Brut, Joone, Opal and Talk. Companies pay €5 per month per employee if they’re already Alan customers, or a bit more if they just want Alan Mind.

As for Jour, the B2C app will remain available in the App Store. The startup has attracted 2 million downloads before its acquisition. It has a slightly different positioning and it’s going to be useful to identify areas of improvement for Alan Mind.

Screenshots of Jour. Image Credits: Alan

#alan, #alan-mind, #apps, #europe, #france-newsletter, #jour, #mental-health, #startups, #tc

Skello raises $47.3 million for its employee scheduling tool

French startup Skello has raised a $47.3 million funding round (€40 million). The company has been working on a software-as-a-service tool that lets you manage the work schedule of your company. What makes it special is that Skello automatically takes into account local labor laws and collective agreements.

Partech is leading today’s funding round. Existing investors XAnge and Aglaé Ventures are also participating. The startup had previously raised a €300,000 seed round and a €6 million Series A round in 2018.

Skello works with companies across many industries, such as retail, hospitality, pharmacies, bakeries, gyms, escape games and more. And many of them were simply using Microsoft Excel to manage their schedule.

By using Skello, you get an online service that works for both managers and employees. On the manager side, you can view who is working and when. You can assign employees to fill some gaps.

For employees, they can also connect to the platform to see their own schedule. Employees can also say when they are unavailable and request time off. And when something unexpected comes up, employees can trade shifts.

“We really want to put employees at the center of the product,” co-founder and CEO Quitterie Mathelin-Moreaux told me. “They have a mobile app and the idea is to make the work schedule as collaborative as possible in order to allocate resources as efficiently as possible and increase team retention.”

At every step of the scheduling process, Skello manages legal requirements. For instance, Skello remembers mandatory weekly rest periods. The platform knows that your employees can’t work across a long time range. And Skello can count overtime hours, holiday hours, Sunday shifts, etc.

When you’re approaching the end of the month, Skello can generate a report with everyone’s timesheet. You can integrate Skello directly with your payroll tool to make this process a bit less tedious as well.

Skello is currently used across 7,000 points of sale. Now, the company wants to expand to more European countries and increase the size of the team from 150 employees to 300 employees by 2022.

#enterprise, #europe, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #scheduling, #skello, #startups

Search API startup Algolia raises $150 million at $2.25 billion valuation

Algolia has raised a $150 million Series D funding round at a post-money valuation of $2.25 billion. Compared to the Series C round from October 2019, the company’s valuation has more than quadrupled. It means that Algolia is now a unicorn with a valuation above $1 billion.

The company is best known for its search-as-a-service product. It lets you integrate real-time search in your app or website using a developer-friendly API. Using an Algolia-powered search feature feels like using Spotlight on a Mac. Results load with each keystroke and appear in just a few milliseconds.

The company now has over 10,000 customers, including some big names, such as Slack, Stripe, Medium, Zendesk and Lacoste. Right now, the company handles over 1.5 trillion search queries per year — that’s a 1,500,000,000,000 if you want to see all the zeros.

Lone Pine Capital is leading today’s funding round. Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, STEADFAST Capital Ventures, Glynn Capital and Twilio also participated in the round. But that’s not all, some existing investors also put more money on the table, such as Accel, Salesforce Ventures, DAG, Owl Rock and World Innovation Lab.

While the company doesn’t share revenue numbers directly, Algolia says that its annual recurring revenue has increased by 180% year over year.

“The future is API-first – a reality underscored by the growth seen by Twilio, Stripe, Algolia and others in the API economy. A huge part of our success has, and will continue to be, our relentless focus on developers with our PLG strategy — enabling them to build search into their websites and apps, so they create the most relevant and dynamic digital experiences.” Algolia CEO Bernadette Nixon said in a statement. “And we’re excited to continue to solve customers' problems as we continue to expand beyond search with Algolia Recommend and Predict.”

In addition to its search API, Algolia has expanded to other real-time APIs. For instance, you can provide real-time product recommendations on your e-commerce website with Algolia Recommend. This is part of a strategy to diversify the company’s product offering.

In particular, the company is now trying to analyze the visitor’s intent to predict whether they’re likely to purchase something on not. Companies can then leverage that info to refresh content dynamically, send a push notification, display a special offer, etc.

Originally founded in France, the company has grown tremendously over the past few years. Algolia is now a big enterprise-focused company with a solid business. Last year, its co-founder and CEO Nicolas Dessaigne decided to transition to a non-operational role.

And the company has recruited quite a few senior executives over the past 18 months — Michelle Adams (chief revenue officer, formerly of Dropbox), Carlton Baab (chief financial officer, formerly of Alfresco), Piyush Patel (chief business development officer, formerly of Capgemini), Jim Schattin (chief customer officer, formerly of Alteryx), Jason McClelland (chief marketing officer, formerly of Salesforce and Adobe) and Bharat Guruprakash (chief product officer, formerly of Twilio).

As you can see, it’s a long list of talented people, which means that Algolia is focused on building a long-term company instead of building cool technology and optimizing for an acquisition. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn about an IPO down the road.

#algolia, #api, #dev-tool, #developer, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #realtime, #search, #startups

Spendesk raises $118 million for its corporate spend management service

French startup Spendesk has announced earlier today that it has raised a $118 million funding round (€100 million) led by General Atlantic. Overall, the company has raised $189 million (€160 million) since its inception.

Existing investors Index Ventures and Eight Road Ventures participated once again in today’s funding round.

Spendesk, as the name suggests, focuses on all things related to spend management. Originally founded in startup studio eFounders, the startup first offered virtual and physical company cards for employees. While corporate cards are quite popular in the U.S., many small and medium companies in France can’t give a card to every single employee.

That’s why spending your company’s money can be a cumbersome process. You can borrow your boss’ card but they’ll have to trust you with it. You can pay with your own personal card but you want to be reimbursed as quickly as possible.

By combining a SaaS platform with corporate cards, it opens up a ton of possibilities. For instance, you can create an approval workflow for expensive purchases. You can set different budgets for different teams.

Over time, Spendesk has expanded beyond cards to manage expenses and invoice processing. It tries to automate some repetitive accounting tasks as well. Employees are automatically reminded that they have to attach a receipt for each transaction. You can export everything to Xero, Datev, Sage, Cegid or Netsuite.

If that pitch sounds familiar, it’s because there are a handful of European startups that are all doing well in this field. Soldo recently raised $180 million while Pleo snatched $150 million at a $1.7 billion valuation.

And yet, Spendesk doubled its revenue over the past year. Its team grew from 150 to 300 employees and it plans to double its headcount again over the next couple of years.

It means two things — the market opportunity is important and many customers are switching from old school workflows to modern SaaS products. That’s why three startups can grow at the same time.

“Traditionally, finance teams haven’t been equipped with the tools that can support this transformation,” Spendesk co-founder and CEO Rodolphe Ardant said in a statement. “In the past few years we have built the reference spend management solution for finance teams in Europe, which frees businesses and their people from administrative constraints of spending and managing money at work. While our solution is about empowering finance teams, we are actually delivering value to the entire business through the finance team.”

Spendesk currently has 3,000 clients, including Algolia, Soundcloud, Curve, Doctolib, Gousto, Raisin, Sezane and Wefox.

Image Credits: Spendesk

#corporate-card, #corporate-spend-management, #efounders, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #spend-management, #spendesk, #startups

Younited Credit raises $170 million for its data-driven credit offering

French startup Younited Credit has raised a $170 million funding round. Goldman Sachs is leading the round with existing investors Eurazeo, Bpifrance and AG2R La Mondiale also participating. The company offers several credit products to European consumers. It also has a diversified distribution strategy.

Consumer credit in Europe is completely different from consumer credit in the U.S. Many countries don’t rely on a central credit score system to assess your credit worthiness. Similarly, most people don’t have a credit card. Financial institutions that want to offer credit lines have to evaluate the potential risk behind a credit application. It can be a complicated and tedious process.

Younited Credit differentiates itself from legacy players with a data-driven, AI-based approach. Instead of sending a ton of documents to your banker, Younited Credit tries to automate request processes as much as possible.

The company takes advantage of DSP2 regulation and open banking APIs to ingest data. As the startup has facilitated a huge volume of credit offering, it can also leverage past data for machine learning risk models.

So far, Younited Credit has granted more than €2.4 billion in credit ($2.8 billion at today’s exchange rate). It operates in five European countries. France is still the company’s leading market as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany represent 40% of Younited Credit’s revenue.

More recently, the company started embedding its product into third-party products. For instance, banks and fintech companies offer credit products in their apps thanks to partnerships with Younited Credit. Examples include N26, Lydia, Orange Bank and Fortuneo. In 2021, the B2B offering represented 30% of Younited Credit’s net banking income.

Right now, Younited Credit has 440 employees. It plans to hire another 200 people over the next 18 months. The company wants to double down on European markets.

Up next, Younited Credit wants to double down on embedded finance with credit products that appear on the checkout page of popular e-commerce websites and apps. The company will compete with ‘buy now, pay later’ companies, such as Klarna, Floa, Oney, Scalapay, etc.

Named Younited Pay, the company plans to offer a wide range of options with payment terms spread over 3 to 48 months. Some companies are already using Younited Pay, such as Free, Micromania and LDLC.

The startup is offering this payment solution online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Once again, Younited Credit tries to find customers where they are already. And it seems like a smart move as physical points of sales represent over 50% of Younited Pay payments this year.

#bnpl, #europe, #finance, #fintech, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #startups, #younited-credit

ManoMano raises $355 million for its home improvement e-commerce platform

French startup ManoMano has raised a Series F funding round of $355 million led by Dragoneer Investment Group. The company operates an e-commerce platform focused on DIY, home improvement and gardening products. It is currently available in six European countries. Following today’s funding round, the company has reached a valuation of $2.6 billion.

In addition to Dragoneer Investment Group, Temasek, General Atlantic, Eurazeo, Bpifrance’s Large Venture fund, Aglaé Ventures, Kismet Holdings and Armat Group are also participating.

“We operate in Europe and we are the industry leader in online sales,” co-founder and co-CEO Philippe de Chanville told me. In France in particular, the company has been profitable for a couple of years already. In 2020 alone, the company’s gross merchandise volume doubled to €1.2 billion ($1.42 billion at today’s rate).

So why did the company raise given that it’s already in a strong position to replicate the same model in other European markets? Because they could and because they didn’t need to. With a high valuation, ManoMano could raise quite a bit of money without having to sell a significant chunk of its equity.

In addition to France, the startup operates in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany and the U.K. With today’s funding round, the company wants to develop its activities in the U.K. and Germany in particular — they are Europe’s two biggest markets for home improvement and gardening.

ManoMano sells products to hobbyists and also targets the B2B market with ManoManoPro. It’s already working well in France with very small teams (1 to 5 employees) and the company is expanding this offering to Spain and Italy.

The startup will also invest more heavily in its product and build a better logistics infrastructure. “For the logistics part, we work with third-party logistics companies — we are a tech company,” co-founder and co-CEO Christian Raisson told me.

ManoMano doesn’t have its own warehouses and doesn’t own any inventory. That’s why ManoMano plans to recruit 1,000 people over the next 18 months and most of them will be tech profiles.

While ManoMano has 7 million clients, sales of home improvement and gardening items still mostly happen in brick-and-mortar stores. The startup is well aware that it’s not just a matter of having the best products at good price points.

ManoMano works with advisors (or Manodvisors) so that experts can give advice whenever customers need some tips. Overall, customers have initiated 2.3 million conversations with advisors in 2020. Recommendations and advice will be key to gain market shares. And the company is now well capitalized to innovate on this front and differentiate itself from other e-commerce platforms.

#ecommerce, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #gardening, #home-improvement, #manomano, #startups

Aircall raises $120 million for its cloud-based phone system

Aircall has raised a $120 million Series D round led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Following today’s funding round, the company has reached unicorn status, which means it has a valuation above $1 billion — this is the 16th French unicorn.

The startup has been building a cloud-based phone system for call centers, support lines and sales teams. It integrates with Salesforce, HubSpot, Zendesk, Slack, Intercom and other popular CRM, support and communication systems.

Aircall customers can create local numbers and set up an interactive voice response directory. The service manages the call queue for you and your agents can start answering inbound calls. Agents can transfer calls and put customers on hold. Admins can see analytics, monitor calls and see how everyone is doing.

In addition to Goldman Sachs Asset Management, existing investors DTCP, eFounders, Draper Esprit, Adam Street Partners, NextWorldCap and Gaia are also participating once again in today’s funding round.

As a cloud-based software product, Aircall works well with remote or hybrid teams. For the past year, many companies have been looking for a new phone system with various lockdowns taking place around the world. And Aircall has capitalized on this influx of customers.

When it comes to metrics, it means that signups increased by 65% in 2020. New customers include Caudalie, OpenClassrooms and Too Good To Go. Overall, Aircall has 8,500 customers. 15% of them are based in France, 35% in the U.S. and 50% in other countries.

With the new funding round, the company plans to iterate on its product with new integrations with third-party tools, and in particular industry-specific integrations. There will be new offices in London and Berlin as well as new hires in the company’s existing offices based in New York, Paris, Sydney and Madrid.

The company also plans to control a bigger chunk of its tech stack. It means that it’ll collaborate with big telecommunications companies to leverage their networks. You can also expect more product features with better transcription and better sentiment analysis.

#aircall, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #saas, #startups

Mediflash is a freelancer marketplace for health professionals

Meet Mediflash, a new French startup that wants to improve temp staffing in healthcare facilities, such as nursing homes, clinics and mental health facilities. The company positions itself as an alternative to traditional temp staffing agencies. They claim to offer better terms for both caregivers and institutions.

“It costs a small fortune to health facilities while caregivers are paid poorly,” co-founder Léopold Treppoz told me.

Traditional temp staffing agencies hire caregivers and nurses on their payroll. When a facility doesn’t have enough staff, they ask their usual temp staffing agency. The agency finds someone and charges the facility.

“When we started, we thought we would do a temp staffing agency, but more digital, more tech,” Treppoz said. But the startup realized they would face the same issues as regular temp staffing agencies.

Instead, they looked at other startups working on freelancer marketplaces for developers, project managers, marketing experts and more. In France, a few of them have been quite successful, such as Comet, Malt, StaffMe and Brigad — some of them even run a vertical focused on health professionals. But Mediflash wants to focus specifically on caregivers.

Professionals signing up to Mediflash are freelancers. Mediflash only acts as a marketplace that connects health facilities with caregivers. The company says caregivers can expect more revenue — up to 20% — while facilities end up paying less.

Of course, it’s not a fair comparison as temp staffing agencies hire caregivers. As a freelancer, you don’t have the same benefits as a full-time employee. And in particular, you can’t get unemployment benefits.

“But a lot of caregivers say that this isn’t an issue because there is a lot of demand [from health facilities],” Treppoz said. On the platform, you’ll find students in nursing school who want to earn a bit of money, professionals who already have a part-time job looking for additional work as well as full-time substitute caregivers.

Usually, facilities just want someone for three days because they’re running short on staff. Mediflash is well aware that health facilities usually work with one temp staffing agency and that’s it. That’s why the startup has a sales team that has to talk with each facility one by one. Right now, the startup is mostly focused on Metz, Nancy and Strasbourg.

Mediflash recently raised a $2 million funding round (€1.7 million) led by Firstminute Capital. Several business angels are also participating, such as Alexandre Fretti (Malt), Alexandre Lebrun (Nabla), Simon Dawlat (Batch.com) and Marie

Outtier (Aiden.ai, acquired by Twitter).

So far, the company has managed 1,400 substitute days. Mediflash takes a cut on each transaction. The company now plans to expand to other cities all around the country.

#caregiver, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #freelancer, #fundings-exits, #marketplace, #mediflash, #staffing, #startups

Europe’s tech leaders define a strategy to create tech giants

A group of 200 startup founders, investors, associations and government members are backing a manifesto and a set of recommendations in order to create the next wave of tech giants in Europe. Today, French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting an event in Paris with some of the members of this group called Scale-Up Europe.

Companies, investors and associations that signed the manifesto include Alan, Axel Springer, Bpifrance, Darktrace, Deutsche Startups, Doctolib, Eurazeo, Flixbus, France Digitale, Glovo, La French Tech, N26, OVHcloud, Shift Technology, Stripe, UiPath and Wise.

“To achieve all that, I’ll follow your ambition — 10 technology companies that are worth €100 billion or more by 2030,” Macron said.

That’s an ambitious goal — that’s why Scale-Up Europe has laid out a roadmap and is issuing a report. While it is backed by both private actors and public institutions, it could be considered as a sort of lobbying effort for the European Commission and European governments.

There are a handful of key topics in those recommendations. And it starts with funding. In particular, the group thinks Europe is still lagging behind when it comes to late-stage investments. The biggest VC funds aren’t as big as the biggest VC funds in the U.S. or in China.

The French government has been working on a way to foster late-stage funds and investments in public tech companies in France. “On funding, we’ve seen the success of the Tibi initiative at the French level. We think we should follow that model at the European level,” a source close to Macron told me.

It means that Europe should consider using public funding as a multiplier effect for VC funds. The European Investment Fund is already pouring a lot of money in VC funds. But Scale-Up Europe recommends associating private funds of funds, sharing risk and pooling public investment banks for increased collaboration.

The second topic is foreign talent. Some countries already have a tech worker visa. The group thinks it should be standardized across the European Union with some level of portability for social rights.

A couple of years ago, an open letter called “Not Optional” also highlighted some discrepancies with stock option schemes. Today’s report states once again that some governments should adopt more favorable rules with stock options.

The third topic revolves around Deep Tech startups. According to the report, Europe isn’t doing enough to foster more Deep Tech startups and investors. Recommendations include standardizing patent transfer frameworks. Those schemes are important if you want to turn a research project into a company. It also says that the European Innovation Council could also take on a larger role in defining a Deep Tech roadmap.

Scale-Up Europe then highlights some recommendations to improve relationships between big corporations and startups. These are mostly tax breaks, R&D tax benefits and other fiscal incentives. (I’m personally not convinced there will be more European tech giants if we incentivize acquisitions with tax breaks.)

Finally, the group of investors, founders and government members behind Scale-Up Europe think there should be a European tech mission that works a bit like La French Tech in France. This tech mission could clear regulatory hurdles, promote startups and more.

Overall, those recommendations are mostly focused on making it easier to create — and grow — a startup in Europe. Investors as well as startup employees who hold stock options will be quite pleased to see that it’ll be easier to make money quickly. It’ll be interesting to see whether the European Commission reuses some of these recommendations.

To be fair, those are actionable recommendations. And yet, building a tech giant is a complicated task. Tech giants tend to control a large chunk of their tech stack, including in areas such as cloud hosting, payments, analytics, advertising and artificial intelligence.

Many European startups are currently built on APIs, frameworks and platforms that are built in the U.S. or in China. Scale-Up Europe misses the point on this front. Scaling European startups isn’t a gold rush. It’s a long process that requires continuous investments that start from the bottom of the tech stack and moves upward.

#emmanuel-macron, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #macron, #policy, #scale-up, #scale-up-europe, #startups

Klaxoon introduces whiteboard-focused conference room for hybrid work

French startup Klaxoon is announcing a product update for its whiteboard collaboration platform as well as a new hardware product. With Hybridity, the company is going to sell ready-to-use conference rooms that optimize hybrid meetings between people currently in the office and people on the go.

Let’s start with the software update. Last year, the company unveiled Board, a visual interface that lets you work together during a video call. It lets you share ideas and collaborate using a whiteboard interface. You can create sticky notes, add text, insert images, move things around and start a video call from there.

Other people on the calls are represented through tiny thumbnails so that you can remain focused on the digital whiteboard. You can also connect Board with your existing video-conferencing tool.

This week, the company is updating Board and renaming it to Board Hybrid. “It’s the new version of Board that isn’t only designed for remote work, but also for hybrid work,” founder and CEO Matthieu Beucher said in a press conference.

Board Hybrid users can now add any type of file to their whiteboard. This way, they don’t have to upload files to a shared drive, create a link and paste the link in the whiteboard. Users can preview PowerPoint presentations, Word files, spreadsheets and more directly from Klaxoon’s interface.

There are some new drawing tools including some new connectors. For instance, you can create mindmaps from there. You can now also share your screen from Klaxoon’s own video-conferencing solution.

Image Credits: Klaxoon

The new product is something quite different — it’s a meeting room called Hybridity. It looks like a hexagon-shaped space capsule. There’s no window and it feels like a black box from the outside.

Inside, you’ll find three seats, three screens, three cameras and three Klaxoon Box devices. “Everyone can see everyone perfectly well and everybody can immerse themselves in content,” Beucher said.

If you’ve joined a hybrid meeting from your home, you’re well aware of the issues involved with that setup. Part of the team is sitting in the same room. They look like tiny action figures and you can’t figure out who’s talking.

With this setup, Klaxoon hopes it’ll be easier to run meetings with people in the office and people at home. A Klaxoon Hybridity conference room requires 5 square meters. You can put it down in a corner and move it to another location a couple of years later. It’s not secured in the ground.

Pre-orders will start this week. The company expects to sell Hybridity with a subscription model with prices starting at €2,000 per month. It’s going to be interesting to see whether Klaxoon has found a new revenue stream of it it’s just a fun experiment. But it could replace those tiny phone booths in your office.

Image Credits: Klaxoon

#europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #klaxoon, #klaxoon-board, #klaxoon-board-hybrid, #startups

Upflow raises $15 million to manage your outstanding invoices

French startup Upflow has raised a $15 million Series A round. The company wants to help you chase late payments. It optimizes how you collect payments from your customers in order to improve your cash-cycle.

Investors in today’s funding round include 9yards Capital, existing investor eFounders, as well as N26 co-founder Maximilian Tayenthal, Uber SVP of Delivery Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, auxmoney co-founder and CEO Raffael Johnen.

People who run a business often tell you that getting paid is a consuming task. When you create an invoice, chances are your customer will wait a few weeks before paying you. Most companies end up with a backlog of outstanding invoices sitting in an Excel spreadsheet.

They keep an eye on their bank account to manually reconcile those payments. And, of course, they often have to send an email or call a customer to tell them that now is the time.

Upflow acts as the central repository to see all your invoices, track payments, communicate with your team and send reminders. But Upflow doesn’t want to replace your existing tools. Instead, the company has built integrations with popular business tools that you’re already using.

For instance, you can connect your Upflow account with QuickBooks, Xero, Netsuite, Chargebee and Stripe Billing. You can charge your clients from your existing invoicing platform. Upflow imports your invoices, clients and payments. When Upflow notices a late payment, you receive a notification and can start sending automated or personalized emails.

The startup also thinks current B2B payment methods are outdated. In the U.S., too many companies still rely on paper checks. In France, copying IBAN information from an email to your bank account can be cumbersome.

When you send an invoice using Upflow, customers get a link with several payment methods. You can connect your Upflow account with Stripe Payments to enable card payments for instance. And the startup is slowly building a network of companies that have used Upflow at some point. 1.5 million companies have interacted with the product — it represents over $1 billion in payments.

“We are on a mission to revolutionize the way that companies get paid. At Upflow, we provide a solution that adds connectivity and clarity to a company's payment and invoicing stack. Where systems were previously closed and disconnected, Upflow's platform enables smooth and clear processes,” co-founder and CEO Alexandre Louisy said in a statement.

With today’s funding round, the company plans to expand to the U.S. Upflow already has a few customers there, such as Lattice, Front and Adikteev, but it’s just a start. The startup will open an office in New York.

#cash-cycle, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #invoice, #startups, #upflow

Lydia partners with Cashbee to add savings accounts

French startup Lydia is better known as the dominant app for peer-to-peer payments. But the company has been adding more features, such as a debit card, account aggregation, donations, money pots and more. This week, the company is adding savings accounts thanks to a partnership with French fintech startup Cashbee.

If you aren’t familiar with Cashbee, the company lets you open savings accounts through a mobile app. After connecting your bank account with Cashbee, you can transfer money back and forth between your bank account and a savings account.

Right now, Cashbee partners with My Money Bank for the savings accounts. Cashbee doesn’t keep your money, it just acts as a middle person between your bank account and My Money Bank. With those savings accounts, users can expect an interest rate of 0.6% after an introductory rate of 2% for a few months.

Lydia basically offers the same terms and conditions with a few differences. Instead of earning 2% interest for the first three months, Lydia users only earn more interests during the first two months.

The other big difference is that Lydia asks you to put at least €1,000 on your savings account when you open it. If you go through Cashbee’s app, you only have to put €10 or more. But users can do whatever they want after that when it comes to putting some money aside and withdrawing money from the savings account.

But the fact that Cashbee is seamlessly integrated in Lydia is interesting. It’s going to expose Cashbee to a lot more users as Lydia has more than 5 million users. It’s also an important features if Lydia wants to become a financial super app.

This savings feature competes with Livret A, the most prevailing savings account in France. Everybody can open a Livret A in a retail bank. You get an interest rate of 0.5% net of taxes. On paper, 0.6% is better than 0.5%. But Cashbee’s savings accounts aren’t net of taxes.

If you’re a student and don’t pay any taxes, that’s a better deal. But many people pay 30% in taxes on accrued interests, which means that you end up earning 0.42% in interests net of taxes with a Cashbee account.

But it’s hard to beat the simplicity of Lydia’s solution here. For instance, you can save up to €1,000,000 on your savings account while the Livret A is limited to €22,950. In other words, if you’re already using Lydia to send, receive and spend money, you might want to check out those savings accounts.

#apps, #cashbee, #europe, #finance, #fintech, #france, #france-newsletter, #lydia, #startups

Yousign raises $36.6 million to build a European alternative to DocuSign

French startup Yousign has raised a $36.6 million Series A funding round (€30 million). Lead Edge Capital is leading the round and eFounders is investing once again in the company. Yousign, as the name suggests, is an e-signature provider that complies with European regulation on digital signatures.

While the company was originally founded in 2013, Yousign teamed up with startup studio eFounders in 2019. Following this deal, eFounders has become a key shareholders and a strategic partner.

Things have changed quite a lot since then as the e-signature market has grown tremendously. You may be familiar with DocuSign, Adobe Sign, SignNow, HelloSign and a bunch of other players. But none of them have been designed for the European market from the ground up.

Yousign wants to become the European alternative to these American companies. More specifically, the startup thinks it can convince small and medium companies that aren’t using an e-signature solution yet. Instead of asking DocuSign customers to switch, Yousign wants to convert new customers to e-signatures.

“Faced with American giants with large scopes and complex products, we have built a solution that is accessible and easy to use, allowing SMBs to sign their first documents within the hour, and not a month” Yousign co-founder and CEO Luc Pallavidino said in a statement.

Yousign is a certification authority and complies with eIDAS — a European framework for e-signatures. It means that signatures are legally binding and the service archives your documents in partnership with Arkhineo.

Like other e-signature services, you can create document templates, approval workflows and reminders. Yousign makes sure the right person is signing the document with strong authentication processes and all events are timestamped. It’s a SaaS product, which means you have to pay a subscription fee to access the service.

With today’s funding round, Yousign wants to reach 50,000 European SMBs by 2024 — it has 6,000 clients today. That would represent an annual recurring revenue of $85 million (€70 million). In 2020 alone, the company grew drastically from 35 to 120 employees. The startup now plans to hire 150 additional employees over the next 18 months.

#contract, #e-signature, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #startups, #yousign

Kabuto releases a larger version of its smart suitcase

Kabuto, the French startup that designs and sells smart suitcases, is releasing a new suitcase today. Called the Kabuto Trunk, this is the company’s biggest suitcase to date. Unlike smart suitcases from other brands, this isn’t just a suitcase with a battery in it.

In particular, there’s a fingerprint reader located at the top of the suitcase. You can save up to 10 different fingerprints. After that, it works pretty much like a fingerprint reader on a smartphone — you put your finger on the reader and it unlocks your suitcase.

In that case, it unlocks the zippers. If somebody else is using your suitcase or the battery is dead, you can also open the suitcase with a traditional key.

The Kabuto Trunk features a hard-shell design with a capacity of 95 liters. It has metal bearing wheels and real tires. Users can choose between two batteries — a 10,000mAh battery and a bigger 20,000mAh battery. Basically you have to choose between weight and battery capacity as bigger batteries tend to be heavier.

Customers can also choose to buy a backpack that magnetically attaches to the suitcase. Designed with travel in mind, that backpack is expandable and can double in thickness from 9 liters to 18 liters.

Image Credits: Kabuto

The suitcase currently costs $629 and the backpack $299 — the company plans to raise prices once the Kickstarter campaign is over.

As always with Kabuto products, this isn’t a product for everyone. They tend to be more expensive than what you’d normally pay for a suitcase. But some people like to pack things in a very specific way so that important items remain available. The startup has previously raised $1 million (€900,000) from Frédéric Mazzella, Michel & Augustin, Bpifrance, Fabien Pierlot and others.

Image Credits: Kabuto

#europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #gadgets, #kabuto, #smart-suitcase, #startups, #suitcase

June makes product analytics more accessible

Meet June, a new startup that wants to make it easier to create analytics dashboards and generate reports even if you’re not a product analytics expert. June is built on top of your Segment data. Like many no-code startups, it uses templates and a graphical interface so that non-technical profiles can start using it.

“What we do today is instant analytics and that’s why we’re building it on top of Segment,” co-founder and CEO Enzo Avigo told me. “It lets you access data much more quickly.”

Segment acts as the data collection and data repository for your analytics. After that, you can start playing with your data in June. Eventually, June plans to diversify its data sources.

“Our long-term vision is to become the Airtable of analytics,” Avigo said.

If you’re familiar with Airtable, June may look familiar. The company has built a template library to help you get started. For instance, June helps you track user retention, active users, your acquisition funnel, engagement, feature usage, etc.

Image Credits: June

Once you pick a template, you can start building a report by matching data sources with templates. June automatically generates charts, sorts your user base into cohorts and shows you important metrics. You can create goals so that you receive alerts in Slack whenever something good or bad is happening.

Advanced users can also use June so that everyone in the team is using the same tool. They can create custom SQL queries and build a template based on those queries.

The company raised a seed round of $1.85 million led by Point Nine. Y Combinator, Speedinvest, Kima Ventures, eFounders and Base Case also participated, as well as several business angels.

Prior to June, the startup’s two co-founders worked for Intercom. They noticed that the analytics tool was too hard to use for many people. They didn’t rely on analytics to make educated decisions.

There are hundreds of companies using June every week and that number is growing by 10% per week. Right now, the product is free but the company plans to charge based on usage.

Image Credits: June

#analytics, #developer, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #june, #product-analytics, #segment, #startups

Café helps hybrid organizations schedule in-office time

Meet Café, a new French startup founded by two brothers that wants to help companies switch to a hybrid remote-and-office workplace model. Café isn’t a traditional desk-booking tool. Instead, the company helps you see when people in your team are coming to the office so that you can plan when you should go to the office as well.

Instead of focusing on workspace, Café focuses on people first. “We decided that we wouldn’t let you book a desk directly,” co-founder and CTO Arthur Lorotte de Banes told me.

When you open the app, you get a simplified calendar view. For each day, you can see your team members divided by groups — people coming to the office, people working from home, etc.

In just a few taps, you can tell your other coworkers what you plan to do. This way, it becomes much easier to schedule meetings, have in-person conversation and more generally hang out with your coworkers. It also makes it easier to find a common day with a specific coworker if you’re working on the same project.

“We interviewed 150 companies and we realized companies faced the same issue after interviewing the first five companies. They all use spreadsheets,” co-founder and CEO Tom Nguyen told me.

Image Credits: Café

Using a tool like Café also gives you insights about your office. For instance, you can see the average number of persons in your office depending on the day of the week or the day of the month. Admins can configure a weekly reminder to make sure that everybody fills out information.

In addition to its mobile app and web app, Café integrates with your existing tools. For instance, you can connect your Café account with Slack so that your status on Slack reflects your status in Café. Teammates can hover over your name to know that you’re in the office or you’re at home.

The company is also working on integrations with human resource information systems, such as PayFit, so that your vacation is automatically synchronized with Café.

Image Credits: Café

As companies start hashing out a plan to return to the office, Café arrives on the market at the right time. Companies can create custom statuses to fit their specific needs. For instance, a Café customer has created a status so that they know who has the office keys to make sure that the office remains open.

The company raised a $1 million seed round from 122West, Kima Ventures, Jonathan Widawski, Guillaume Lestrade, Jacques-Edouard Sabatier and various business angels who work or have worked for WeWork, Dropbox, Github, Snapchat, Intercom, Stripe, Alan and PayFit.

Like Typeform, Doodle or Slido, Café has chosen a freemium strategy. Teams can sign up for free and start using the product with their immediate coworkers. You don’t need to enter card information to sign up.

If you want to roll it out across the organization with more users, you have to start paying. The startup believes employees will become product advocates for the entire organization. And it seems like the right strategy for a product that is supposed to make employees happier at work.

#cafe, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #startups, #tc

Agicap raises $100 million for its cashflow management service

French startup Agicap has raised a new $100 million funding round led by Greenoaks. With today’s funding round, the company has reached a valuation of more than $500 million (€415 million). Agicap is building a service that lets you track your cash flow in real time, build reports and get forecasts.

In addition to Greenoaks, existing investors BlackFin Capital Partners and Partech are also participating in the round. It represents a big jump from last year’s $18 million Series A round from last year.

The basic premise of Agicap is quite simple. Many small companies rely on Microsoft Excel to figure out their cash position every week or every month. Instead of exporting .csv files from your bank accounts, you can connect your bank accounts to Agicap for real-time monitoring. Similarly, Agicap has developed integrations with accounting software and invoicing tools.

When you want to see how you’re doing when it comes to cash, you can connect to your Agicap account just like you’d connect to a web analytics service. Agicap tries to break down how much you’re spending by category and branch. After that, you can run projections and make decisions based on forecasts.

Designed specifically for small and medium companies, Agicap has managed to convince 3,500 companies to use its service. They pay a monthly subscription fee. Clients include Cityscoot, Meero, Merci Handy, Ornikar and Blend Burger.

Agicap is currently live in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. France still generates 50% of the company’s revenue but other markets are growing rapidly.

“This Series B comes at a key moment in our development,” co-founder and CEO Sébastien Beyet said in a statement. “It demonstrates our will to make Agicap the European leader in our market and will allow us to further accelerate our international presence, launching in 10 new countries in the coming months.”

Following today’s funding round, the company has some ambitious expansion plans. The company’s team has already grown from 30 employees to 200 employees over the last 12 months. Now, it plans to build a team of 1,000 employees within the next couple of years.

#cashflow, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #startups

Prismic raises $20 million for its headless CMS

Prismic, a company building a content management system, has raised a $20 million Series A funding round. While the startup has been profitable since 2016, it wants to unlock the full potential of its headless CMS by iterating more quickly on its product. Aglaé Ventures and Eurazeo are co-leading today’s funding round.

Headless content management systems are a bit different from traditional content management systems. The backend and the frontend of your website operate totally separately. You write content in the backend where it is safely stored. The frontend of your application fetches content from the backend using an API and display it to your customers and readers.

Dissociating those two key parts of your content management system provides many advantages. It is more secure, it scales much better and it gives you a ton of flexibility when it comes to frontend framework and hosting.

In addition to iterating on its CMS, Prismic manages the infrastructure for you. When you sign up, you don’t have to deploy the backend on your own server. You can connect to the admin interface and start building.

After that, your content is accessible through an API. It means that you can build your own website and fetch content from Prismic. You can also build a mobile app and use Prismic as your content backend for the news section.

You can pick your own framework and build your site through that framework. Prismic supports Gatsby, React.js, Next.js, Vue.js and more.

Prismic is also trying to popularize something called slices. Traditional content management systems let you create pages or posts. Each page uses the same header and footer. It’s just a unit of content enclosed in your website.

Slices are vertical sections of your websites, such as a banner at the top, a section with featured content, some related content, recent reviews, a newsletter sign-up form, etc. Developers can create their own custom slices using React.js, Vue.js and others.

After that, the content marketing team can mix and match slices as well as customize them whenever they’re creating a new page. It unlocks more potential and lets non-technical people create dynamic content for a website. Essentially, Prismic is adding some no-code features to its CMS with those slices.

“Prismic becomes a page builder for the marketing team. From there, they can access all sections of the site and can compose new pages by piecing together those slices and by adding content,” co-founder and CEO Sadek Drobi told me.

That concept in particular seems to have some potential. That’s why the company is raising some money. The startup generates revenue from subscriptions and targets small clients, such as web agencies, as well as big companies that subscribe to enterprise plans.

#cms, #developer, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #headless-cms, #prismic, #startups, #tc

Matera raises another $43 million to turn residential building management into SaaS

French startup Matera has announced that is has raised a new $43 million (€35 million) Series B funding round led by Mubadala Capital. Bpifrance, Burda Principal Investments as well as existing investors Index Ventures and Samaipata are also participating.

The company is building a vertical SaaS for residential property management. In France, co-owners of the common space of a building can decide to ditch the company that handles residential building management for them and do it themselves.

And it could work particularly well for small buildings with 10 or 15 apartments. There are fewer relationships to manage, fewer bills to pay and less work in general.

When co-owners vote to switch to Matera, they get a web-based platform and a mobile app to view information and see all the contracts with various partners — think about elevator maintenance, heating maintenance, water, electricity, etc.

If something feels odd, you can contact a residential building expert on Matera. They can help you make sure you comply with the law and file paperwork for you.

The platform also guides you when it comes to leading an annual co-owner meeting. It can help you communicate with all co-owners with a forum, an on-demand letter service, etc. Essentially, all co-owners get their own login information.

In October 2020, the company launched a new service to tackle a bigger chunk of the building management stack. Matera clients can now decide to manage their building’s bank account through the platform. This way, co-owners pay directly on Matera and everybody can keep track of the budget over time.

With today’s funding round, Matera plans to expand to Germany. The startup has been growing rapidly as it now manages 3,000 buildings, representing a 300% year-over-year jump. Overall, 60,000 owners use Matera.

“This past year gave us the opportunity to prove the relevance of our model and our value proposition, showing why Matera is the perfect solution for our times. The crisis sped up the digital transformation of our market, while at the same time increasing the attachment to our homes and buildings,” co-founder and CEO Raphaël di Meglio said in a statement. “Our clients wanted more transparency, and to save money and that’s exactly what we can bring them.”

By the end of 2021, Matera wants to manage 6,000 buildings including 40 in Germany. The company currently has 200 employees and plans to hire another 50 employees.

#europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #matera, #proptech, #saas, #startups

Startup studio eFounders reaches portfolio valuation of $2 billion

European startup studio eFounders has now been around for 10 years. And because a birthday sounds like a good opportunity to share some metrics, the portfolio companies have reached a valuation of $2 billion together — only 18 months after reaching $1 billion.

eFounders says it is focused on building the future of work. In practical terms, it means the company is building B2B SaaS startups with a focus on productivity and workflows. For instance, Front, Aircall and Spendesk all started with eFounders.

There have been a few exits, such as TextMaster, Mention, Mailjet, Hivy and Briq. Those exits are included in the total valuation of eFounders companies —  exit values are freezed as of date of exit. But Front, Aircall and Spendesk could represent even more massive successes down the road.

“When we started in 2011, there was an existing model that was Rocket Internet. We liked the entrepreneurship spirit but we didn’t like the philosophy,” co-founder and CEO Thibaud Elzière told me.

Instead of copying Rocket Internet altogether, they altered the business model quite drastically on three different aspects:

  • They try to come up with original startup ideas, not copycats;
  • They want to work with entrepreneurs, not consultants-turned-entrepreneurs;
  • Their portfolio companies should be able to operate on their own after 12 to 18 months.

When eFounders come up with a new project, they act as a sort of third co-founder. The startup studio tries to find a CEO and a CTO. In exchange for a third of equity, the eFounders core team helps take the project off the ground. When the startup raises a seed round, eFounders moves on from day-to-day activities and focuses on new projects.

And it’s been working well. With 30 portfolio companies, there are now 1,500 people working for an eFounders-backed company. Combined, they generate $131 million in annual recurring revenue.

As for the next 10 years, Elzière doesn’t think eFounders can simply increase the cadence and launch more and more projects. “It’s a model that isn’t scalable — it’s hand crafted,” he said.

There are two ways to expand. First, eFounders is going to focus on more verticals. That’s why the startup studio partnered with Camille Tyan so that he would be in charge of fintech projects. You can imagine another studio for blockchain startups, another one for AI startups, etc.

“We want to remain focused on software with a B2B angle — not enterprise but long-tail B2B. We don’t pretend to be a general-purpose studio, but we can acquire specific skills and knowledge on specific topics,” Elzière said.

If there are some liquidity events with some of the most successful eFounders companies, the startup studio is also going to use part of its cash to invest in other companies. This eFounders fund would focus on seed investments in SaaS companies with a hands-on approach.

But having more money isn’t necessarily a bad thing as SaaS products today don’t look like SaaS products from ten years ago.

“Creating a SaaS company today is a lot more complicated and more expensive,” Elzière said. “People who use Notion tell you that Notion is slow because it takes more than 100 milliseconds to load a page. People expect the same thing in consumer apps and in SaaS when it comes to performance, design and experience.”

“Companies raise more and more money because there’s a lot of money available, but also because it takes more and more time and skills in order to build a product,” he added.

#efounders, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #saas, #startup-studio, #startups, #venture-capital

Finary wants to create the wealth management dashboard for the next generation

Meet Finary, a new French startup that wants to change how you manage your savings, investments, mortgage, real estate assets and cryptocurrencies. The company lets you aggregate all your accounts across various banks and financial institutions so that you can track your wealth comprehensively over time.

After attending Y Combinator, the startup has just closed a $2.7 million (€2.2 million) seed round led by Speedinvest with Kima Ventures and angel investors, such as Raphaël Vullierme also participating.

If you know people who have a ton of money, chances are they tend to be at least 40 or 50 years old — you don’t become rich overnight after all. And they tend to manage their investment portfolio through a wealth management service with tailor-made services.

“There’s very little tech in wealth management. Advisors are also incentivized to sell you some financial products in particular,” co-founder and CEO Mounir Laggoune told me. In that situation, the company in charge of the financial product is generating revenue for the advisor — not the client.

At the same time, a new generation of investors is starting to accumulate a lot of wealth. And yet, they don’t have the right tools to allocate it properly. Younger people want to see information directly. They want a way to track information in real-time, or near real-time. And they want to be able to take some actions based on that data.

Finary wants to build that service based on those principles. It starts with an API-based aggregator. When you create a Finary account, you can connect it with all your other accounts — bank accounts, brokerage accounts, mortgage and real estate, gold, cryptocurrencies, etc.

The startup leverages various open banking APIs to be as exhaustive as possible. For instance, “you can connect a Robinhood account and a Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne account,” Laggoune said. Behind the scenes, Finary uses Plaid and Budget Insight, runs its own bitcoin and Ethereum nodes to track wallet addresses, estimates the value of your home through public data and a proprietary algorithm.

After that, you can see how much money you have, how it is divided between your investment pools, the current value of your gold and cryptocurrency assets and more.

“Our long-term vision is that we want to build a virtual wealth manager for Europe,” Laggoune said.

That’s why Finary recently launched its premium subscription called Finary+. With a premium account, you can see how much you’re paying in fees and track your performance — more features will get added over time.

A few months after launching its platform, Finary already tracks €2 billion in assets across thousands of users. With today’s funding round, the startup will roll out its service to more countries and more financial institutions in France, Europe and the U.S. The company is also working on mobile apps.

This is an interesting take on wealth management as Finary doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Legacy players want you to use a single bank for all your financial needs. But you end up paying a lot of fees and you have to use old and clunky interfaces.

Finary isn’t yet another wealth management service. It’s a holistic service that lets you use multiple banks and services while remaining on top of your assets.

Image Credits: Finary

#europe, #finance, #fintech, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #startups, #tc, #wealth-management

Back Market raises $335M for its refurbished device marketplace, now valued at $3.2B

French startup Back Market — a marketplace for refurbished electronics goods — has raised a $335 million Series D funding round led by General Atlantic. Today’s funding round values the startup — which says it now has 5 million customers globally — at $3.2 billion, the company said. It will be using the funding to expand into new markets.

At a time when mobile phone makers are seeing declines in sales due to slower renewal cycles, and incrementally fewer features added into newer models, Back Market provides another alternative to people who don’t want to pay full price for a device that might still be in good condition and new to the user, if not altogether new itself.

Consumers can buy refurbished smartphones at different price points, with the stock ranging from old models through to recently released devices. Prices vary depending on the model and the condition of the device. Other stock includes laptops, tablets, headphones, gaming consoles, and other gadgets and consumer electronics.

The company is also part of what you might more generally call the circular economy, where people are recycling items back into the sales market to extend their life.

Used good sales are of course nothing new, but in more recent years the vast availability of new and cheap goods has taken consumers out of the habit of thinking of used as having much attraction or value — witness sites focused on used goods like eBay now quite dominated by new items. However, the concept has picked up steam and credibility again in the past year of pandemic living, a time when people are looking to save money, with many thinking of the part they play in this world of ours, possibly helping to put a little less of our plastic and other waste into it.

“Our goal now goes beyond making renewed tech a viable option,” Back Market’s CEO, Thibaud Hug de Larauze, said in a statement. “We want to make it the first choice for electronics purchases. The support and confidence of these prominent funds, together with our growing customer base, marks an important step in Back Market’s journey, and more importantly for the refurbished sector as a whole.”

All the same, he estimates that new device sales is a $1.5 trillion market globally. In other words, the opportunity is big (so much to disrupt!) but also quite formidable, all the reason why those focusing on used goods as a big business are trying to up their quality game, as Back Market is doing.

The environmental aspect was one of the reasons for Generation Investment Management in this round: the firm co-founded by Al Gore invests with an ethos of sustainability.

“Back Market’s transparent and trusted approach empowers consumers to change their purchasing behavior by making it easier, safer and more affordable to buy refurbished goods,” added Shalini Rao, Director of Growth Equity, Generation Investment Management, in a statement. “We look forward to supporting Back Market as it doubles down in the US and elsewhere globally. The world generates over 50 million tonnes of electronic waste each year. Back Market offers an alternative that has the potential to radically shift unsustainable consumption patterns.”

Back Market doesn’t refurbish devices directly. Instead, third-party companies act as the sourcing partners for Back Market. They list their inventory on the marketplace and find customers more easily. That is in essense the “marketplace” of Back Market (which is not a black market after all but just a play on the idea). Overall, 1,500 companies sell devices on the platform.

Generation Investment Management also participated in today’s funding round as well as existing investors Goldman Sachs Growth Equity, Aglaé Ventures, Eurazeo and daphni.

Back Market also invests heavily in merchant services, parts sourcing and quality control. The idea is that you should be sure the device is going to work as expected if you buy it through Back Market.

The company claims that the overall defective rate of products is now sitting at 5% — there’s a defect warranty included with each purchase.

While Back Market originally started in Europe, it is now active in 13 different markets including the U.S. and Japan. Up next, the startup plans to launch in Canada, Greece, Sweden and Slovakia.

“We are excited to support Back Market, a category-defining business which is re-shaping and growing the refurbished electronics market globally,” said Chris Caulkin, Managing Director and Head of Technology for EMEA, General Atlantic, in a statement. “Back Market has built a strong consumer brand centered around quality, sustainability, convenience and affordability. We look forward to working with Thibaud, Quentin, Vianney and the full Back Market team as they accelerate their expansion into new categories and geographies.”

#back-market, #e-commerce, #ecommerce, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #marketplace, #refurbished, #startups

Ankorstore raises another $102 million for its wholesale marketplace

French startup Ankorstore has raised a $102 million Series B funding round (€84 million). Tiger Global and Bain Capital Ventures are leading today’s funding round with existing investors Index Ventures, GFC, Alven and Aglaé also participating. This is a significant funding round as it comes just a few months after the company raised €25 million.

If you’re not familiar with Ankorstore, the company is building a wholesale marketplace for independent shop owners. You may have noticed some highly Instagrammable shops with a selection of random items, such as household supplies, maple syrup, candles, headbands, bath salts and stationery items.

Essentially, Ankorstore helps you source those items for shop owners. It lets you buy a ton of cutesy stuff and act as a curator for your customers. Even if you’re already working with brands directly, the startup offers some advantageous terms. In addition to buying from several brands at once, Ankorstore withdraws the money from your bank account 60 days after placing an order.

On the other side of the marketplace, brands get paid upon delivery. Even if you’re just getting started, the minimum first order is €100 per brand.

And metrics have been going up and to the right. There are now 5,000 brands on Ankorstore. 50,000 shops are buying stuff through the platform. And the best is likely ahead as stores begin to re-open across Europe and tourism picks up again.

Ankorstore is now live across 14 different markets. The majority of the company’s revenue comes from international markets — not its home market France. The company’s co-founder Nicolas Cohen mentions the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden as growth markets.

The total addressable market is huge as the company has identified 800,000 independent shops across Europe that could potentially work with Ankorstore. And the success of other wholesale marketplaces, such as Faire, proves that this relatively new market is still largely untapped.

#ankorstore, #e-commerce, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #startups, #wholesale, #wholesale-marketplace

Taster grabs $37 million for its native online restaurants

French startup Taster has raised a $37 million Series B funding round from Octopus Venture, Battery Ventures, LocalGlobe, HeartCore, Rakuten, GFC and Founders Future. The company operates dozens of restaurants that only exist on food delivery platforms. You can’t book a table as there is no table.

Taster has been focusing on five street food-inspired concepts so far — Bian Dang (Taiwanese food), A Burgers (plant-based burgers), Mission Saigon (Vietnamese food), Out Fry (Korean food) and Stacksando (Japanese street food). After that, Taster has opened dozens of kitchens across 40 different cities and listed its kitchens on food delivery platforms, such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

Essentially, the startup wants to build new restaurant chains for the 21st century. Instead of opening brick-and-mortar restaurants, Taster focuses on food delivery as it’s still a booming segment. In Paris, Taster restaurants are the third restaurant group on Deliveroo behind McDonald’s and Burger King — it represents over 5,000 meals per day.

After operating its own kitchens, Taster now wants to partner with existing restaurants that don’t get a lot of orders on Deliveroo or Uber Eats. Taster brings its own native brands and menus as well as its tech tools.

Taster has built its own delivery app for Android and iOS. But you can still find Taster’s restaurants on third-party platforms. The startup doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel and replace food ordering platforms. But it makes sense to offer its service to end customers directly.

As Taster brands become more and more familiar, it should create demand from day one — restaurants can expect between €4,000 and €6,000 in revenue during the first week. By 2025, Taster wants to operate in 1,000 cities thanks to this partnership model.

Image Credits: Taster

#europe, #food-delivery, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #startups, #taster

OpenClassrooms raises $80 million for its online education platform

French startup OpenClassrooms has raised an $80 million Series C funding round led by Lumos Capital Group. The company operates an online education platform in French and English. Users can choose among 54 training programs and get a diploma at the end of the program — some of those program lead to French-state-recognized bachelor and master diplomas.

GSV, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) and Salesforce Ventures also participated in today’s funding round. Existing investors General Atlantic and Bpifrance invested once again in the company.

OpenClassrooms covers many different fields, from web development to digital marketing, product management, HR and sales. Those paths are quite demanding as it can take 6 to 12 months of full-time work to complete a training program. OpenClassrooms partners with mentors so that they can help you remain motivated.

At the end of the program, the startup guarantees that you’ll find a job. If you have a hard time finding a job, the company works with career coaches to make sure that you find a job that fits you. In 2020, 4,300 students found a job or received a promotion after participating in an OpenClassrooms program.

In France, people qualify for public subsidies in order to fund professional education programs. And students can pay for OpenClassrooms courses using those public subsidies.

The company says that the pandemic has had a positive impact on online education. Many people are looking for reskilling and upskilling opportunities and end up on OpenClassrooms. In addition to programs for individuals, the startup also offers courses to 1,400 companies.

Some companies, such as Capgemini, have teamed up with OpenClassrooms to offer apprenticeship programs. Students get to learn new skills and work for Capgemini at the same time. The apprenticeship program could be particularly attractive for companies with a high turnover that can’t find talent to fill open positions. There are currently 1,500 students following an apprenticeship program.

All of this has been working well as revenue during the first quarter of 2021 is 140% higher than Q1 2020 revenue. Recently, OpenClassrooms applied for the B-Corp certification. The company still offers free classes if you’re looking for your next weekend project.

#education, #europe, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #online-education, #openclassrooms, #reskilling, #startups, #upskilling

BlaBlaCar raises $115 million to build all-in-one travel app

French startup BlaBlaCar has raised a new $115 million funding round (€97 million). While the company is better known for its long distance carpooling marketplace, BlaBlaCar has also added a bus marketplace with the acquisition of Ouibus and an online bus ticketing platform with the acquisition of Busfor.

Existing investor VNV Global is leading the round. Two new investors are also participating — Otiva J/F AB and FMZ Ventures. Otiva J/F AB is a fund created by Avito founders Jonas Nordlander and Filip Engelbert. If you’re not familiar with Avito, they specialize in classified ads for the Russian market. Classified giant and global tech investor Naspers acquired Avito. As for FMZ Ventures, it’s a growth fund created by Michael Zeisser, who previously led investments for Alibaba and was a board member at Lyft and Tripadvisor.

It’s a convertible note, which means that the valuation will depend on the next financial event, such as another fundraising round or an initial public offering. But BlaBlaCar co-founder and CEO Nicolas Brusson consider it as a “pre-IPO convertible” round as BlaBlaCar still has a ton of cash on its bank account.

“We already had a lot of cash before this round and we still have more than €200 million in cash following this funding round,” Brusson told me.

Even if BlaBlaCar doesn’t go public right away (or doesn’t raise), there’s a clause with a time frame. After a while, those $115 million will convert into BlaBlaCar shares at a $2 billion valuation in case there’s no financial event.

BlaBlaCar’s strategy and goal with today’s funding round could be summed up with three pillars — carpooling, buses and aggregation.

Let’s start with carpooling, BlaBlaCar’s core business. The company started 15 years ago with a simple goal — matching empty car seats with passengers going in the same direction. While last year’s lockdown has impacted carpooling, it shouldn’t be compared with trains or flights.

“With our carpooling network, there’s no fixed costs,” Brusson said. So BlaBlaCar isn’t paying to put empty cars on the road as everything is community-powered. But, of course, as BlaBlaCar takes a cut from each transaction, revenue took a hit during last year’s lockdown.

Activity bounced back last summer and it’s been up and down ever since depending on current restrictions. “Car is and will be the universal connector that doesn’t rely on train stations or bus stops,” Brusson said.

The carpooling marketplace will always remain a strong revenue generator. In 2020 alone, BlaBlaCar had 50 million passengers across 22 markets overall. In other words, never bet against carpooling.

For the past few years, BlaBlaCar’s second pillar has been buses. In particular, buses represent a huge opportunity in emerging markets and Eastern Europe.

There are already a ton of buses on the road, you simply can’t buy tickets online. BlaBlaCar’s total addressable market in this category is huge and the company is mostly focused on moving offline supply to its online marketplace.

That’s why the company is also acquiring Octobus, a Ukrainian company working on an inventory management system for bus supply. “It consolidates our tech stack in the region,” Brusson said.

Finally, BlaBlaCar’s third pillar is all about creating loyal users that keep coming back to the platform. The company wants to build a multimodal app where you can find all shared travel — carpooling, buses and soon trains.

The startup will add train operators on its marketplace by the end of 2021 or early 2022. I asked Brusson whether he wanted to build an Omio competitor. Formerly known as GoEuro, Omio lets you book train tickets, bus tickets and flights on a single platform.

BlaBlaCar wants to follow a different strategy. It wants to focus first on a handful of countries so that it can sell everything a local would expect.

Eventually, you could imagine opening the BlaBlaCar app to find the best way to go from A to B. It could involve a train ticket followed by a carpooling ride to reach a tiny town. Or it could mix carpooling with bus rides. Thanks to BlaBlaCar’s reach, the French startup is uniquely positioned to connect two small cities through shared transportation.

#blablacar, #bus, #carpooling, #europe, #france, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #startups, #transportation

Feels is a new dating app with profiles that look more personal

Meet Feels, a new French startup that wants to change how dating apps work. According to the company, scrolling through photos and reading descriptions tend to be a boring experience. Feels want to improve profiles so that navigating the app feels more like watching TikTok videos or browsing stories.

“For the past 10 years, there’s been little innovation in the industry,” co-founder and CEO Daniel Cheaib told me. “The reason why many people uninstall dating apps is that it’s boring. Profiles all look the same and we feel like we’re browsing a catalog.”

In that case, Cheaib is thinking about Tinder, but also other dating apps that feel like Tinder but aren’t exactly Tinder, such as Bumble, Happn, etc.

Feels’ founding team has spent two years iterating on the app to find out what works and what doesn’t. Now that retention metrics are where they’re supposed to be, the company is now ready to launch more widely.

A screenshot of the app Feels

Image Credits: Feels

If you want to show interesting content to your users in a dating app, you have to rethink profiles. Arguably, this has been the most difficult part of the development phase. When you install the app, it takes around 15 minutes to create your profile.

At first, only 30% of new users finished the onboarding process. Now, around 75% of new users reach the end of the signup flow.

So what makes a profile on Feels different? In many ways, a profile looks more like a story, or TikTok posts. Users can record videos, add text and stickers, share photos, answer questions and more.

“When you’re done with the onboarding process, you have consistent profiles with people sharing content about them,” Cheaib said.

Like other dating apps, there are many options when it comes to gender identity — you’re not limited to woman or man. You can then say that you want to see all profiles or just some profiles based on various criteria.

After that, you can look at other profiles. Once again, Feels tries to change the basic interaction of dating apps. Most dating apps require you to swipe left or right, or give a thumbs up or a thumbs down. When you think about it, it’s a binary choice that requires a ton of micro decisions.

Sometimes, you don’t have any strong feelings about someone. Or maybe you just want to go to the next profile. And the fact that you have to triage profiles like this leads to a lot negativity, whether it’s conscious or subconscious — you keep rejecting people, after all.

When you’re looking at a profile on Feels, it fills up your entire screen. Videos start playing, you can see what the person likes and who they are in front of a camera. You can react on some content or you can simply move on by swiping up. There’s no heart or like button.

When the startup thought they finally were going somewhere, they raised a $1.3 million funding round (€1.1 million) from a long list of business angels, such as somebody in Atomico’s business angel program, Blaise Matuidi, Eric Besson, René Ricol, Ricardo Pereira , Yohan Benalouane, Nampalys Mendy, Jean Romain Lhomme, Julien Radic and Jean Michel Chami.

Now, Feels plans to attract new users with organic TikTok posts, some TV ads and more. The company wants to reach one million users by the end of the year with a big focus on France for now. There are 100,000 users right now.

When it comes to monetization, Feels started offering a premium subscription to unlock more features. The company is still iterating on that part.

Feels is just getting started in a crowded and competitive industry. Unlike other companies, Feels has invested heavily in its own product before working on user acquisition and paid installs. It’s an ambitious strategy but it has a lot of potential as it could lead to a truly different dating app.

#apps, #dating, #dating-app, #europe, #feels, #france, #france-newsletter, #mobile, #startups

Sunday raises $24 million seed round to build a fast restaurant checkout flow

Meet Sunday, a new startup that is going to attract some headlines as it has raised a $24 million seed round at a $140 million post-money valuation. That’s a lot of money for a company that started just a few months ago but that’s because Sunday wants to move quickly.

Sunday is getting noticed because it is founded by Victor Lugger, Tigrane Seydoux and Christine de Wendel — Lugger and Tigrane have been working together for several years as they’re the founders of Big Mamma. Christine de Wendel headed Zalando in France before joining ManoMano as COO.

If you’re not familiar with Big Mamma, they’ve launched a dozen Italian restaurants in France. They also manage La Felicità, the food court at Station F.

Some people love those restaurants because the food is good and it’s relatively affordable. Some people hate it because Big Mamma is also particularly well known for its long queues and the fact that you always feel like you have to eat quickly for the next group. But it’s clear that it’s been working well for the past few years.

Managing Big Mamma during a pandemic led to Sunday, a spin-off company incorporated in the U.S. The restaurant company wanted to offer a way to check the menu and pay without touching anything. Like many restaurants, they put QR codes on the tables to that customers can scan them with their phones and load a website.

But Sunday didn’t stop at the menu as it also connects directly to the cash register system. Sunday supports Oracle Micros, Brinks, Tiller, Zelty, Revo, CashPad, etc. This way, clients can also scan the QR code, check their tab and pay directly from their phone. When they’re done eating, they can pay by themselves, stand up and leave.

After trying Sunday in Big Mamma restaurants, the company saw some encouraging results. 80% of customers chose to pay using the QR code, which means that restaurants saved 15 minutes in wait time on average leading to a better table turnover rate.

And this is key to understanding Sunday. It’s easy to sell a new payment system to a restaurant if it leads to more revenue. Popular restaurants that feel like they’re always looking for empty tables could greatly benefit from Sunday.

It also opens up some new possibilities. For instance, guests can split the bill directly at the table — everyone loads up Sunday and pay. Sunday is based on QR codes right now, but the company isn’t attached to QR codes specifically. You could imagine loading your bill using RFID chips, a tablet, etc.

The vision is clear — Sunday wants to build the Fast Checkout of restaurants. The startup thinks online checkout is going to merge with offline, brick-and-mortar checkout.

Sunday customers don’t pay any monthly subscription fee or setup fee. You only pay processing fees based on usage. And those fees tend to be lower than the card machine you’re currently using.

The startup’s seed round was led by Coatue with New Wave participating. New Wave is a new European seed fund led by Pia d’Iribarne and backed by Xavier Niel. Multiple hospitality and tech investors are also participating.

The idea is to raise a lot of money, sign up a lot of restaurants and take over the market right now while there’s an opportunity during the pandemic. They have hired 40 people already and they’re signing deals with restaurants even though most of them are still closed in Europe.

Sunday isn’t a tech achievement per se — it’s an execution play. The company that can roll out this kind of checkout experience faster than the others is going to take over the market.

When restaurants are going to be open again, you may notice Sunday QR codes in France at Eataly, PNY, Paris Society, Eric Frechon, Groupe Bertrand’s restaurants (Burger King France, Hippopotamus, Groupe Flo…). Similarly, in the U.K., Sunday is partnering with JKS Group (Hoppers, Brigadiers, Gymkhana…), Corbin & King and others. Sunday is also talking with companies in the U.S. and Spain.

Overall, there are more than a thousand restaurants currently adopting Sunday.

“We follow the same model as the one we used when launching restaurants with Big Mamma. Seven years ago, we invested three times more than the others to compress fixed costs and deliver a better product,” Sunday co-founder and CEO Victor Lugger told me.

The startup already has an ambitious product roadmap. Eventually, you could imagine having your own Sunday account that remembers your past bills, tracks your allergies, saves your favorite payment method, etc. Once again, it’ll come down to execution.

#checkout, #ecommerce, #europe, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #payment, #startups, #sunday

Willo launches its tooth-brushing robot for kids

Are you 100% sure that your children are brushing their teeth properly? A New York-based startup called Willo has been working for several years on a device that should transform the tooth-brushing experience for children.

Willo isn’t a new toothbrush — electric or not. It’s an oral care device that doesn’t look like a toothbrush at all. The startup has worked with dental professionals to start from scratch with oral care in mind.

The device can be quite intimidating when you don’t see it in action as it takes quite a bit of shelf space and you don’t know what you’re supposed to do. But when you see it in action, it looks easier than expected. Willo specifically targets children because they tend to struggle to reach every tooth and brush properly.

Kids are supposed to grab the handle and put the mouthpiece in their mouth. They can start brushing by pressing the button and that’s it. They don’t have to do anything else. The silicone-based mouthpiece also features soft bristles. It starts vibrating in your kid’s mouth when they press the button.

The handle is connected to a bigger home station that contains a water tank with a special rinse liquid. Kids don’t have to use toothpaste and don’t have to rinse their mouth. Everything is handled by the device.

Finally, Willo is a connected device, which means that parents can track oral care in a mobile app. You can also set up multiple users — your kids will have to swap the mouthpiece before using the device.

Image Credits: Willo

If you’re thinking about buying a device for your children, Willo costs $199. You then have to pay $13 per month to receive rinse pods as well as new mouthpieces that always fit.

While the product is going live today, the startup has already tested it with real families. These children rated the device 4.73/5 and parents gave an NPS of 70+. They’ve all kept using Willo after the testing phase.

Behind this product, there’s a team of 33 people in France and the U.S. They have filed over 50 patents over the past 7 years — 30 of them have been granted so far. The company has raised $17 million in total funding from Kleiner Perkins, Bpifrance and Matt Rogers’ fund Incite.

It’s true that the concept of a toothbrush hasn’t changed at all. Making a device that changes the way you brush your teeth is an ambitious bet. But it’s clear that the startup has made a lot of efforts to tackle this challenge. Now let’s see if they manage to convince parents.

Image Credits: Willo

#connected-device, #connected-home, #france-newsletter, #gadgets, #healthcare, #startups, #tc, #willo

On-demand pediatrics app Biloba adds prescriptions and raises $1.7 million

French startup Biloba has raised a $1.7 million funding round (€1.4 million) a few months after launching its pediatrics app that lets you chat with a doctor whenever you have a question. In addition to raising some money, the startup also recently added in-app prescriptions.

Biloba’s concept is surprisingly simple. It’s a mobile app that lets you reach a general practitioner and a nurse whenever you have a medical question about your child. The service is available from 8 AM to 10 PM.

When you start a conversation, it looks like a messaging app. You can send and receive messages but also send photos and videos. There’s no real-time video conversation, no appointment. The company says that you usually get an answer in less than 10 minutes.

Last year, Biloba raised a €1.2 million pre-seed round. This year’s €1.4 million’s seed round is led by Aglaé Ventures and ID4. Existing investors Calm/Storm Ventures, Inventures, Acequia Capital and several business angels are also participating once again.

A text conversation will never replace a visit to the pediatrician. And there are many medical interactions and milestones after a baby is born. But you may have questions and you don’t want to wait for the next appointment.

And if it’s a relatively harmless issue that doesn’t need an in-person appointment, Biloba can now issue prescriptions. You receive the prescriptions in the app and it is accepted in all French pharmacies. The startup uses Ordoclic for that feature.

Biloba thinks people shouldn’t pay per consultation — even though people are particularly well covered by the French national healthcare system and private health insurance. Instead, the startup has opted for a subscription model.

Parents pay €12.99 per month, €24.99 for a three-month subscription or €79.99 per year. After that, you can start as many conversations as you want. Biloba subscriptions aren’t covered by the French national healthcare system.

Basically, if you can afford a subscription, Biloba can increase the frequency of interactions with doctors, which should lead to better medical advice.

Image Credits: Biloba

#biloba, #europe, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #health, #pediatrics, #startups, #tc, #telehealth, #telemedicine

Vybe raises $2.9 million for its challenger bank for teens

French startup Vybe has raised a $2.9 million funding round (€2.4 million) to build a challenger bank for teens. The company is currently testing its product with a soft launch. Users get a Mastercard payment card paired with an e-wallet.

Each Vybe account comes with its own IBAN so that users can send and receive money. If you want to open an account and you are less than 18 years old, you have to go through the KYC process (know your identity) with your parent.

As for parents, they can set up some limits on card payments or even block the card. Parents can also view transactions. The startup plans to generate revenue from interchange fees as well as partnership with brands and a reward system.

While Vybe isn’t technically live, the company has attracted 375,000 downloads. Overall, 260,000 teens have pre-ordered a card already. Thousands of cards have been delivered and the first metrics are encouraging. Early adopters tend to use their card once every two days.

Today’s fund is a round extension from existing investors. Investors include Ronan Le Moal, the former CEO of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, Kick Club and Manoel Amorim.

Banking products for teenagers are a lucrative segment. In France, there are several companies trying to position themselves on this segment, such as Kard, PixPay and Xaalys. Most of these companies charge a subscription fee to access the service.

Other fintech companies that aren’t specifically targeting young people could also work well with teenagers. For instance, young users can open a Revolut Junior or Lydia account and receive money from their parents.

In the U.S., startups offering debit cards for children are about to reach unicorn status. As The Information’s Kate Clark reported, Greenlight, Current and Step are all raising new funding rounds with a valuation between $1 billion and $2 billion.

Image Credits: Vybe

#challenger-bank, #europe, #finance, #fintech, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #neobank, #startups, #tc, #vybe

Nabla is building a healthcare super app for women

Meet Nabla, a French startup launching a new app today focused on women’s health. On Nabla, you’ll find several services that should all contribute to helping you stay on top of your health. In short, Nabla lets you chat with practitioners, offers community content, helps you centralize all your medical data and will soon offer telemedicine appointments.

Nabla’s key feature right now is the ability to start a conversation with health professionals. You can send a message to a general practitioner, a gynecologist, a midwife, a nurse, a nutritionist, or a physiotherapist.

While text discussions are not going to replace in-person appointments altogether, they can definitely be helpful. By increasing the number of interactions with health professionals, chances are you’ll be healthier and you may even end up booking more in-person appointments.

Other French startups have been providing text conversations with practitioners. For instance, health insurance company Alan lets you message a general practitioner — but you have to be insured by Alan. Biloba also lets you chat with a doctor — but the company has been focusing on pediatrics.

Nabla has a different positioning and offers this feature for free — there’s a limit as you can only send a handful of questions per month though. If it’s a common question, you may find the answer from the community. Nabla’s doctors will curate community content as well.

Using a free product to talk about your health feels suspicious. But that’s because the startup is well-funded and plans to launch premium features.

Image Credits: Nabla

The startup has raised $20.2 million (€17 million) and is already working with a team of doctors who are ready to answer questions from the company’s first users — or patients. Investors in the company include Xavier Niel, Artemis, Rachel Delacour, Julie Pellet, Marc Simoncini and Firstminute Capital.

One of the reasons why Nabla could raise so much money before releasing its app is that the three co-founders have a track record in the tech ecosystem.

Co-founder and CEO Alexandre Lebrun previously founded VirtuOz, which was acquired by Nuance, and Wit.ai, which was acquired by Facebook. More recently, he’s worked for Facebook’s AI research team (FAIR).

Co-founder and COO Delphine Groll has been heading business development and communications for two major media groups Aufeminin and My Little Paris. And Nabla’s co-founder and CTO Martin Raison has worked with Alexandre Lebrun at both Wit.ai and Facebook.

In addition to text conversations, Nabla shows all your past interactions in a personal log. You can connect that log with other apps and services, such as Apple’s Health app, Clue and Withings. This way, you can see all your data from the same app.

As you may have guessed, the startup truly believes that machine learning can help when it comes to preventive and holistic care. By default, nothing is shared with Nabla for machine learning purposes. But users can opt in and share data to improve processes, personalization and more.

Eventually, Nabla wants to optimize the interactions with doctors as much as possible. The startup says it doesn’t want to replace doctors altogether — it wants to enhance medical interactions so that doctors can focus on the human and empathetic part.

Nabla plans to launch a telemedicine service so that you can interact with doctors in real time as well as a premium offering with more features. That’s an ambitious roadmap, and it’s going to be interesting to track Nabla over the long run to see if they stick to their original vision and find a loyal user base.

#europe, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #health, #healthcare, #nabla, #startups, #telehealth, #telemedicine

Leeway is a contract workflow service for your legal team

Meet Leeway, a French startup that is building an end-to-end software-as-a-service solution for your contracts. Leeway lets you centralize all your contracts in a single repository, go through multiple negotiation steps and trigger a DocuSign event for the signature.

The company raised a $4.2 million seed round from HenQ, Kima Ventures as well as several business angels, such as the founders of Algolia, Eventbrite, Spendesk, MeilleursAgents, Livestorm and Luko.

If you’re working for the legal department of your company, you’re probably working with multiple tools. Chances are you’re using Microsoft Word to write a contract, a cloud service to store and share the contract with your teammates and business partners, an e-signature and archival service.

Leeway is optimizing this worklfow at every step. First, you can store all your contracts on Leeway. In addition to making it easier to find a contract later down the road, you can get reminders when a contract is about to expire so that you can renew a contract.

Second, you can edit your contract from Leeway directly. For instance, a manager can review a contract and write changes in Leeway’s interface. The employee can then start a revision and save a new version of the contract.

After that, you can send the contract from the same interface. Administrators can set up approval workflows so that several people need to approve a contract before it is signed. As everything is centralized, you can get an overview of all your contracts that are currently in the pipeline.

Image Credits: Leeway

Up next, Leeway is thinking about integrating conditional clauses within the product. Usually, big companies have several versions of the same clause — very favorable, favorable, not so favorable, etc. When a client is negotiating, Leeway customers could switch the clause from very favorable to favorable for instance.

Right now, around 30 companies are using Leeway to manage their contracts. Clients include Voodoo, Evaneos, Ifop and Fitness Park. “We have a very specific customer base — the legal department of companies with 100 to 500 employees,” co-founder and CEO Antoine Fabre told me.

It doesn’t mean that smaller and bigger companies shouldn’t be using Leeway. But companies with less than 100 employees don’t necessarily have a full-fledged legal department. The sales team or the finance department could act as the legal-ish team. But Leeway still has a lot of room to grow.

Image Credits: Leeway

#europe, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #leeway, #startups

Stockly lets e-commerce websites sell out-of-stock items from a shared inventory

Meet Stockly, a French startup that keeps the inventory of various e-commerce websites in sync. When you see an out-of-stock item on an e-commerce website, chances are you leave that website and try to find the same item on another site.

If you operate an e-commerce website, Stockly lets you sell items even when they’re currently out of stock. The startup automatically finds a third-party Stockly supplier with that specific item.

The order will go through and be sent by that supplier directly. Stockly tells its partners to use neutral packaging so that the end consumer isn’t confused.

This could be particularly useful for small scale e-commerce companies that don’t have a healthy marketplace of third-party retailers. For instance, Amazon can already sell you an out-of-stock item if a supplier has listed that specific item on Amazon’s own marketplace. But that’s not the case for most e-commerce websites.

The main challenge for Stockly is that it has to sort through various catalog formats and match the different inventories of different retailers. It is focusing on clothing items at first. When an order is routed through Stockly, it selects a specific supplier based on different criteria, such as logistics, delivery time and historical data.

So far, Stockly has been working with Galeries Lafayette, Go Sport, Foot Shop and others. The startup has recently raised a $6 million (€5.1 million) funding round from Idinvest Partners, Daphni, Techstars, Checkout.com CEO Guillaume Pousaz and various business angels.

With this funding round, the company plans to expand its team to 20 people, add new clients and iterate on its product.

#ecommerce, #europe, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #startups, #stockly

French VC firm Breega raises $130 million fund

Breega, a VC firm based in Paris, has announced the final closing of its third fund. The firm has managed to raise $130 million (€110 million).

This is Breega’s third fund and is officially called Breega Capital Venture 3. The firm’s previous fund launched in 2015 with €45 million ($53 million at today’s exchange rate).

Breega doesn’t focus on a vertical in particular. It says it can invest across many different categories, such as marketplaces, SaaS, agtech, HR tech, robotics, etc.

The investment team has already deployed some of the capital of Breega’s new fund. Portfolio startups include Stations-e, Trustpair, IoTerop, BeOp, Otodo, Humanity, Alice&Bob, Neobrain, Didomi, Ubble, Ponicode and reciTAL. They all have received some funding at the seed or Series A stage.

Breega believes it can support its portfolio companies with some operational help. The firm has its own team of experts when it comes to HR, business development, communications, legal and finance.

Some of the fund’s limited partners include entrepreneurs-turned-business-angles. For instance, Patrick Asdaghi, the co-founder of FoodChéri, has invested in the new fund. FoodChéri received some funding from Breega before getting acquired by Sodexo.

Other limited partners include Bpifrance, the European Investment Fund, Isomer Capital, several banks and insurance companies.

#breega, #europe, #france-newsletter, #venture-capital

PayFit raises $107 million for its payroll and HR platform

French startup PayFit has raised a $107 million series D funding round (€90 million). Eurazeo Growth and Bpifrance’s Large Venture fund are leading today’s round. Existing investors Accel, Frst and Xavier Niel are participating once again.

PayFit has been building a payroll and HR software-as-a-service platform. It lets you manage your payroll from a web browser and automate as many steps as possible. For instance, you can configure automate payslip generation, export your payroll data to your accounting software and get a list of payments you need to make when it comes to pensions, health insurance, etc.

Given that it’s a software-as-a-service platform, everything remains up to date. For instance, if there are some regulatory changes that require some adjustments, PayFit can update its platform so that you remain compliant from day one without having to think about it.

Over time, the startup has expanded beyond payroll to tackle a bigger chunk of the HR stack. Each employee gets its own PayFit login to access their payslips. But the company doesn’t stop there as you can request time off and enter how much time you’ve worked this week if you’re paid on an hourly basis. PayFit automatically notifies the manager for approval.

PayFit can also become your central repository for expenses and receipts. The company already has everyone’s bank information, which makes it easier to transfer money back to an employee for a cash expense.

Employees can also view the company’s directory and management chain from PayFit. The HR department can set up an onboarding flow in PayFit so that employees can request a computer, a badge, and enter personal information as soon as they join the company.

If you work for a big company that uses something like Workday, all of this probably sounds familiar. But PayFit targets small and medium companies that don’t want to sign expensive contracts with enterprise companies. It has attracted 5,000 clients that employ 100,000 employees overall — that’s an average of 20 employees per company. Some of the biggest clients include Revolut, Starling Bank and Treatwell.

The company is currently live in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the U.K. It currently has 550 employees and it plans to hire another 250 employees in 2021 to support its growth.

#europe, #france-newsletter, #fundings-exits, #payfit, #startups