FamPay, a fintech aimed at teens in India, raises $38 million

How big is the market in India for a neobank aimed at teenagers? Scores of high-profile investors are backing a startup to find out.

Bangalore-based FamPay said on Wednesday it has raised $38 million in its Series A round led by Elevation Capital. General Catalyst, Rocketship VC, Greenoaks Capital and existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital and Venture Highway also participated in the new round, which brings FamPay’s to-date raise to $42.7 million.

TechCrunch reported early this month that FamPay was in talks with Elevation Capital to raise a new round.

Founded by Sambhav Jain and Kush Taneja (pictured above) — both of whom graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee in 2019 — FamPay enables teenagers to make online and offline payments.

The thesis behind the startup, said Jain in an interview with TechCrunch, is to provide financial literacy to teenagers, who additionally have limited options to open a bank account in India at a young age. Through gamification, the startup said it’s making lessons about money fun for youngsters.

Unlike in the U.S., where it’s common for teenagers to get jobs at restaurants and other places and understand how to handle money at a young age, a similar tradition doesn’t exist in India.

After gathering the consent from parents, FamPay provides teenagers with an app to make online purchases, as well as plastic cards — the only numberless card of its kind in the country — for offline transactions. Parents credit money to their children’s FamPay accounts and get to keep track of high-ticket spendings.

In other markets, including the U.S., a number of startups including Greenlight, Step and Till Financial are chasing to serve the teenagers, but in India, there currently is no startup looking to solve the financial access problem for teenagers, said Mridul Arora, a partner at Elevation Capital, in an interview with TechCrunch.

It could prove to be a good issue to solve — India has the largest adolescent population in the world.

“If you’re able to serve them at a young age, over a course of time, you stand to become their go-to product for a lot of things,” Arora said. “FamPay is serving a population that is very attractive and at the same time underserved.”

The current offerings of FamPay are just the beginning, said Jain. Eventually the startup wishes to provide a range of services and serve as a neobank for youngsters to retain them with the platform forever, he said, though he didn’t wish to share currently what those services might be.

Image Credits: FamPay

Teens represent the “most tech-savvy generation, as they haven’t seen a world without the internet,” he said. “They adapt to technology faster than any other target audience and their first exposure with the internet comes from the likes of Instagram and Netflix. This leads to higher expectations from the products that they prefer to use. We are unique in approaching banking from a whole new lens with our recipe of community and gamification to match the Gen Z vibe.”

“I don’t look at FamPay just as a payments service. If the team is able to execute this, FamPay can become a very powerful gateway product to teenagers in India and their financial life. It can become a neobank, and it also has the opportunity to do something around social, community and commerce,” said Arora.

During their college life, Jain and Taneja collaborated and built an app and worked at a number of startups, including social network ShareChat, logistics firm Rivigo and video streaming service Hotstar. Jain said their work with startups in the early days paved the idea to explore a future in this ecosystem.

Prior to arriving at FamPay, Jain said the duo had thought about several more ideas for a startup. The early days of FamPay were uniquely challenging to the founders, who had to convince their parents about their decision to do a startup rather than joining firms or startups as had most of their peers from college. Until being selected by Y Combinator, Jain said he didn’t even fully understand a cap table and dilutions.

He credited entrepreneurs such as Kunal Shah (founder of CRED) and Amrish Rau (CEO of Pine Labs) for being generous with their time and guidance. They also wrote some of the earliest checks to the startup.

The startup, which has amassed over 2 million registered users, plans to deploy the fresh capital to expand its user base and product offerings, and hire engineers. It is also looking for people to join its leadership team, said Jain.

#apps, #asia, #elevation-capital, #fampay, #finance, #funding, #general-catalyst, #global-founders-capital, #greenoaks-capital, #neobanks, #recent-funding, #rocketship-vc, #sequoia-capital-india, #startups, #tc, #venture-highway, #y-combinator

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#DealMonitor – Aitme sammelt 9 Millionen ein – Xilinx kauft Silexica – ImmoScout24 übernimmt wg-suche.de


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 15. Juni werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Aitme
+++ HV Capital, Vorwerk Ventures, Global Founders Capital (GFC) und La Famiglia sowie Business Angel Oliver Ringleben investieren 9 Millionen Dollar in das Robotik-Startup Aitme. Insgesamt flossen nun schon  rund 12,5 Millionen Dollar in den Kantinen-Roboter. “Das frisch gewonnene Kapital wird Aitme für die Produktweiterentwicklung und nationaler Expansion im deutschen Markt nutzen”, teilt das Startup mit. Das von Foodora-Gründer Emanuel Pallua und Julian Stoß, zuletzt myTaxi, gegründete Unternehmen bietet vollautomatisierte Küchen für Unternehmen an. 20 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für Aitme. Mehr über Aitme

Dance
+++ Ein ganzer Schwung Angel- und Promi-Investoren investiert in Dance – darunter Chance the Rapper, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sujay Jaswa, Julian Hönig, Lea-Sophie Cramer, Maisie Williams, Suneil Setiya, Greg Skinner und will.i.am. “Dance ist stolz darauf mit Koryphäen aus verschiedenen Branchen, Ländern und mit verschiedenen Hintergründen zusammenzuarbeiten”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Hinter Dance verbirgt sich ein Subscription-Service für E-Bikes, der von Alexander Ljung und Eric Quidenus sowie Jimdo-Macher Christian Springub gegründet wurde. Und auch Planet A Ventures investiert nun offiziell in Dance – wie im März exklusiv im Insider-Podcast berichtetMehr über Dance

FinList
+++ Das Unternehmen Strategis, das sich um Vertriebs- und Verwaltungslösungen in der Immobilienwirtschaft kümmert, investiert in FinList. Das junge Unternehmen positioniert sich als “digitaler Atlas für gewerbliche Immobilienfinanzierung”. Das Team beschreibt das Konzept so: “Finanzierungssuchende aus Deutschland und Österreich können hier Informationen zu passenden europäischen Kreditgebern für Fremd- und Nachrangkapital erhalten”. Gegründet wurde das FinTech aus Hohen Neuendorf von Sandra Olschewski und Florian Hollm.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Silexica
+++ Das amerikanische Unternehmen Xilinx, im Segment adaptives Computing unterwegs, übernimmt das Kölner Startup Silexica. Das Unternehmen, das 2014 gegründet wurde, entwickelt SLX-Programmierungstechnologien, die Unternehmen dabei unterstützen, intelligente Produkte wie selbstfahrende Autos vom Konzept bis zur Implementierung zu begleiten. Investoren wie EQT Ventures, Merus Capital, Paua Ventures, DSA Invest und der Seed Fonds Aachen investierten in den vergangen Jahren rund 28 Millionen in Silexica. “Silexica’s SLX FPGA tool suite empowers developers with an unparalleled development experience building applications on FPGAs and Adaptive SoCs. This technology will become integrated with the Xilinx Vitis™ unified software platform to substantially reduce the learning curve for software developers building sophisticated applications on Xilinx technology”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Der Verkaufspreis ist nicht bekannt. Mehr über Silexica

wg-suche.de
+++ Der Immobilien-Marktplatz ImmoScout24 übernimmt WG-suche.de komplett – siehe Gründerzene. “Für die Übernahme dürfte  ein Millionenbetrag geflossen sein”, heißt es im Artikel. ImmoScout24 stieg bereits 2017 bei wg-suche.de ein. Das Unternehmen sicherte sich damals 25 % an der jungen Firma, die WG-Zimmer und möblierte Wohnungen vermittelt. Die Investitionssumme lag vor vier Jahren im niedrigen siebenstelligen Bereich. Der WG-Dienst wurde zudem schon früh von You Is Now, dem inzwischen eingestellten Inkubator-Programm von Scout24, unterstützt. wg-suche.de ging 2012 an den Start. Gegründet wurde die Plattform von Natascha Wegelin (Madame Moneypenny) und Carsten Wagner.

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

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aitme, #aktuell, #berlin, #dance, #exit, #finlist, #fintech, #global-founders-capital, #hohen-neuendorf, #hv-capital, #immoscout24, #koln, #la-famiglia, #mobility, #planet-a-ventures, #roboter, #silexica, #strategis, #venture-capital, #vorwerk-ventures, #wg-suche-de, #xilinx

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Former Ro director launches Allara, a care platform for PCOS

Rachel Blank has a history with hormones. The entrepreneur left her investment job at General Catalyst to join a portfolio company they had been backing since its seed round: Ro. Blank was tasked with growing Rory, a product line for menopausal women.

But Blank left her director position at the health tech unicorn, last valued at $5 billion, to start her own company in women’s hormonal health. Today, that startup is launching out of stealth with millions in venture-backing and more than 35,000 women in its community.

Allara is an early-stage, New York-based startup that wants to help women better manage polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. The reproductive and hormonal condition can cause irregular periods, infertility or gestational diabetes in women, as well as acne, weight gain and excessive hair growth. And it’s far from rare, affecting some one in 10 women of childbearing age.

Along with launching today, the company told TechCrunch that it has raised $2.5 million in a seed round led by Global Founders Capital, with participation from Great Oaks and Humbition.

Allara bundles a suite of services needed to address PCOS — such as gynecologists, nutrition plans or mental health support — and gives consumers one spot to access all of the above. The company describes it as a “collaborative care management model.”

When a consumer first joins the platform, Allara asks them to go through a virtual on-boarding visit with a medical provider. That provider can arrange for labs, then review the lab work and medical history to better understand a patient’s background. Lab work, and any prescriptions, are paid for by the consumer through traditional insurance.

Then, the rest of Allara moves out of pocket. Allara charges $100 a month for access to its care team. Patients get quarterly check-ins with their providers, and have ongoing text-based access to registered dietitians to help with eating and lifestyle goals. Blank explained how Allara wants to make sure all services find ways to talk to each other, creating a patient experience where a nutritionist already knows what your OB-GYN told you and vice-versa so a care plan is centralized.

A text message between a patient and a licensed dietician. Image Credits: Allara

If it pulls it off, this is where the heart of Allara’s innovation lies: creative ways to take care of people.

Image Credits: Allara

One hurdle for Allara, and any company working on a solution for this condition, is that PCOS is hard to diagnose, and impossible to fully cure. Like many hormonal conditions, the condition looks different in everyone, which is part of the reason it’s so hard for doctors to identify. There is no blood test, and there is no pill to pop.

PCOS is currently diagnosed with the Rotterdam criteria, which means a patient must have two of the following three conditions: irregular period, excess androgen or polycystic ovaries. Some research argues that the criteria is controversial and not fully inclusive of the spectrum of how PCOS presents. For now, the Rotterdam criteria is the best method toward diagnosing.

Blank says that Allara’s goal is all about “managing risk.”

“It’s not that women with these conditions weren’t looking for a solution,” Blank said. “It’s that they’re all desperately looking for solutions, but the solutions haven’t existed yet.”

Over the past few months, Allara has been operating under a different name — Astrid — to build up interest and get feedback needed to iterate its product. Blank claims that more than 35,000 women are part of its community, either directly or on a waitlist, underscoring the demand for explicit attention on this condition. The startup recently began seeing patients.

Hormonal health grows bigger

Allara is the latest startup to bet that hormonal health is a key wedge into the digital health boom. Companies like Adyn, Modern Fertility, Tia, Veera Health and Perla Health are all working on different ways to better serve hormonal disorders.

Still, the sector remains relatively nascent compared to other health conditions. Blank chalks up part of this truth to stigma.

“There’s been a lack of understanding what women’s health means,” Blank said, explaining how society often views it as a fertility or reproductive health condition. Blank thinks that PCOS is a common thread between a multitude of conditions, from fertility, diabetes, increased risk of uterus and endometrial cancer, heartsease, anxiety and depression.

When she explains this, she said, people are able to get the market opportunity.

“How do we treat women’s healthcare in a way that their entire healthcare outcomes become better but we’re taking on the nuances of them being women?” Blank said.

Blank herself was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 21, which came as a surprise to her.

Rachel Blank, the CEO and founder of Allara. Image Credits: Allara

“I think what made it more surprising is that my dad is actually an OB-GYN,” she said. “So even though I had grown up around women’s healthcare, and had access to the best of women’s health specialists, I even struggled with getting a process and understanding what was going on in my body.”

Blank initially joined Ro because of her passion for polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. Allara is a return to, and doubling down on, her belief in the condition needing a better standard of care.

As for going solo, and not building it within Ro’s blanket of brands and massive footprint, Blank explained how her vision of specialty care and services is different from what Ro focuses on, which is largely primary care and prescription focus. Notably, Ro did acquire Modern Fertility, a hormonal health company, for north of $225 million, last month.

“PCOS was just part of my personal story — not the vision for Rory,” she said. “Allara is not a primary care platform — it’s a specialty care platform, developing new clinical care models for complex women’s health conditions like PCOS. Imagine it as a place a primary care platform might refer a patient to if they discover she has more complex needs than they can currently serve.”

#allara, #global-founders-capital, #health, #recent-funding, #startups, #tc, #womens-health

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Kafene raises $14M to offer buy now, pay later to the subprime consumer

The buy now, pay later frenzy isn’t going anywhere as more consumers seek alternatives to credit cards to fund purchases.

And those purchases aren’t exclusive to luxuries such as Pelotons (ahem, Affirm) or jewelry someone might be treating themselves to online. A new fintech company is out to help consumers finance big-ticket items that are considered more “must have” than “nice to have.” And it’s just raised $14 million in Series A funding to help it advance on that goal.

Neal Desai (former CFO of Octane Lending) and James Schuler (who participated in Y Combinator’s accelerator program as a high schooler) founded New York City-based Kafene in July 2019. The pair’s goal is to promote financial inclusion by meeting the needs of what it describes as the “consumers that are left behind by traditional lenders.”

More specifically, Kafene is focused on helping consumers with credit scores below 650 purchase retail items such as furniture, appliances and electronics with its buy now, pay later (BNPL) model. Consider it an “Affirm for the subprime,” says Desai.

Global Founders Capital and Third Prime Ventures co-led the round, which also included participation from Valar, Company.co, Hermann Capital, Gaingels, Republic Labs, Uncorrelated Ventures and FJ labs.

“Historically, if you could access credit, you could go to the bank or use a credit card,” Third Prime’s Wes Barton told TechCrunch. “But if you had some unexpected expense, and had to miss a payment with the bank, there would be repercussions and you could fall into a debt trap.”

Kafene’s “flexible ownership” model is designed to not let that happen to a consumer. If for some reason, someone has to forfeit on a payment, Kafene comes to pick up the item and the customer is no longer under obligation to pay for it moving forward.

The way it works is that Kafene buys the product from a merchant on a consumers’ behalf and rents it back to them over 12 months. If they make all payments, they own the item. If they make them earlier, they get a “significant” discount, and if they can’t, Kafene reclaims the item and takes the loan loss.

Image Credits: Kafene

It’s a modern take on Rent-A-Center, which charges more money for inferior products, Desai believes.

“This is also a superior product to credit cards, and the size of that market is massive,” Barton said. “We want to take a huge chunk of credit card business in time, and give consumers the flexibility to quit at any point in time, and fly free, if you will.”

Such flexibility, Kafene claims, helps promote financial inclusion by giving a wider range of consumers options to alternative forms of credit at the point of sale.

It also helps people boost their credit scores, according to Desai, because if they buy out of the loan earlier than the 12-month term, their credit score goes up because Kafene reports them as a positive payer.

“In any situation where they don’t steal the item, their credit score improves,” he said. “Even if they end up returning it because they can’t afford it. In the long run, they can have a better credit score to qualify for a traditional loan product.”

Kafene rolled out a beta of its financing product in December of 2019 and then had to pause in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company essentially “hibernated” from March to June 2020 and re-launched out of beta last July.

By October, Kafene stopped all enrollment with merchants because it had more demand that it could handle — largely fueled by more people being financially strained due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2021, the company was handling about $2 million a month in merchandise volume.

With its new capital, Kafene plans to significantly scale its existing lease-to-own financing business nationally, as well as to launch a direct-to-consumer virtual lease card.

#bank, #bnpl, #buy-now, #credit, #credit-card, #credit-score, #debt, #economy, #electronics, #finance, #fintech, #forward, #global-founders-capital, #kafene, #money, #new-york-city, #pay-later, #personal-finance, #recent-funding, #startup, #startups, #third-prime-ventures, #uncorrelated-ventures, #venture-capital, #y-combinator

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Opontia raises $20M to roll up e-commerce brands in Africa and the Middle East

Razor Group. Branded. Thrasio. These are big names in the new wave of e-commerce companies taking the world by storm. Their business of acquiring small e-commerce brands that look promising and consolidating them is quite popular in the U.S. and Europe.

The concept has sifted through those shores to Latin America and Asia, where companies like Una Brands and Valoreo have raised significant investment to acquire and build these brands. Today, the concept has made its way into the Middle East and Africa as Opontia has closed a financing of $20 million to acquire and scale e-commerce brands across the regions.

This seed round, one of the largest in the Middle East and Africa, is a mix of debt and equity financing. While Opontia does not disclose the ratio of equity and debt, it confirmed that the majority was debt which will be used to make acquisitions.

Investors include Global Founders Capital, Presight Capital, Raed Ventures and Kingsway Capital. The angel investors that participated are also notable names in e-commerce across EMEA; they include Tushar Ahluwalia, CEO of Razor Group; Jonathan Doerr, the former CEO of Daraz and co-founder of Jumia; and Hosam Arab, the CEO of Tabby and the former CEO of Namshi.

Opontia was founded by co-CEOs Philip Johnston and Manfred Meyer in March 2021. Opontia has teams in Dubai and Riyadh, with professionals from Amazon, Zomato, Noon.com, Namshi, McKinsey and Uber Eats. In the coming months, the company plans to open in Cairo, Istanbul and Lagos.

Often when small e-commerce brands take off, the owner usually starts by being passionate about their product and customers. However, due to no fault of their own, most begin to reach a point of stagnation caused by constraints on working capital, operations, logistics and e-commerce commercial management.

Johnston and Meyer started Opontia to take these burdens off their back by convincing them to sell their brands and for Opontia to manage all parts of their operations. But the interesting thing, like most companies that roll up e-commerce brands, these owners will continuously be involved with the day-to-day activities of building the brand.

“We started Opontia to enable e-commerce entrepreneurs to realize the full potential of their brands. We want to do this both in terms of getting an exit now as well as benefiting from future growth,” Johnston said to TechCrunch. “We also want to help nurture and build the entrepreneurial e-commerce ecosystem in the Middle East and Africa

When Opontia acquires these brands, the owners get to share in the increase in profits over the next couple of years, Johnston added. “We do this so that they continue to see the benefit of their hard work.”

The two-month-old company is particularly interested in brands with at least $10,000 in monthly revenue and at least $5,000 in net profit per month. Per the categories of products, Opontia has a soft spot for less seasonal “all-weather” products, including kitchen products, bathroom, sport, home and living, cosmetics and toys.

There are lots of startups rolling up e-commerce brands worldwide besides Razor Group, Branded and Thrasio. But none of them has sights on the Middle East and Africa yet, with their bigger and more mature target markets.

For instance, China is the world’s largest e-commerce market, with an annual growth rate of more than 30% and annual online sales exceeding $850 billion. The second-largest market, which is the U.S, stands at over $350 billion. Brazil has annual sales reaching $36 billion, accounting for 32% of Latin America’s e-commerce market. For the Middle East and Africa, these numbers are at $30 billion and $25 billion, respectively.   

Both regions present Opontia with a huge opportunity. Still, if past happenings in other regions repeat themselves, it wouldn’t be too long before the company starts facing new competition. Every business needs to adopt what model works best in a region but the founders believe the model used by companies in other markets can also serve the Middle East and Africa, despite differences in size and how they operate.

“The market in the Middle East and Africa is currently less mature than in the West, but is growing faster than any other market in the world, with the number of sellers on marketplace growing at over 50% per year,” Meyer remarked. “The business model will work here because there have been so many amazing entrepreneurs in the Middle East coming up over the last few years. It’s a great opportunity for sellers to be able to realize some of the hard work from building their brand so that they can take a break or work on their next big thing.”  

Two years ago, it would’ve been a concern if Opontia or a similar company launched in both regions, as there just weren’t enough sellers. But with the recent and continued growth in marketplace sellers, there are now more than enough brands for Opontia to acquire. Currently, there are about 5 million third-party sellers on Amazon, with 1 million joining just last year. Opontia says that its opportunity lies in the 30,000 African and Middle East sellers in Amazon and Noon marketplaces.

Opontia adds that it will scale acquired brands across their regions and to other parts of the world. The company is in talks with more than 100 small e-commerce brands and claims to have signed “several term sheets” with some of them.

Johnston and Meyer come from two distinct e-commerce backgrounds. A former McKinsey consultant, Johnston worked on e-commerce strategy, private equity and post-merger integration at the Big 3 firm. Before that, he spent years doing venture capital, investing and banking across Southern Africa, London, New York and Singapore. On the other hand, Meyer worked as the chief marketplace officer for Lazada and CEO of Next Commerce, an e-commerce enabler in the Middle East. In addition to acquiring brands, the founders will be looking to hire talent with industry experience, who will be tasked with managing and growing these brands post-acquisition.

#africa, #ecommerce, #global-founders-capital, #kingsway-capital, #opontia, #presight-capital, #raed-ventures, #recent-funding, #startups, #tc

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Uncapped, which provides upfront revenue to digital companies, raises $80M in funding

Buzzy US startup Pipe — which claims to be the “Nasdaq for revenue” — has just raised $250 million at a $2 billion valuation? The secret for the hype? It gives SaaS companies a way to get their revenue upfront, by “pairing them with investors on a marketplace that pays a discounted rate for the annual value of those contracts”, as my colleague Mary Ann Azevedo so eloquently put it.

Virtually the same model is about to hit Europe in various guises, and the newest of the crop will be Uncapped, a London-based startup that plans to extend the model not just to SaaS companies but also to the booming sector of E-commerce.

It’s now raised an $80 million combined funding round of debt and equity to launch a suite of banking services tailored to the needs of this new wave of tech-driven companies. The round was led by Lakestar. Uncapped’s previous investors include All Iron Ventures, White Star Capital, Global Founders Capital, and Mouro Capital.

The company plans to use the cash to move into the banking space, with new products and services. Last year, the company began issuing Visa cards.

Founded in 2019, Uncapped is positioned as an alternative to traditional debt financing and venture capital, providing companies with growth finance for a flat fee which goes down to 6%, and fast-released capital. Businesses repay the capital as they make revenue. There is no set repayment and no compounding interest, equity, or personal guarantees. There are even no credit checks or business plans required.

Uncapped arrives at an opportune moment. The pandemic has led to an e-commerce boom, but the sector requires much more capital than existing VCs can provide. Legacy banks don’t ‘get’ new entrepreneurs. Neo Banks are trying to provide it, but can still be slow.

Piotr Pisarz, Co-Founder of Uncapped, said: “Digital companies are innovating and evolving faster than ever before, but their legacy banking providers are not keeping up with the pace. We want to help digital entrepreneurs with quick access to funding, insights that help their business grow, rewards they actually care about, and modern integrations that will save them time and money.”

“The reality is that legacy banks don’t really understand the needs of digital entrepreneurs, and their dated infrastructure is not up to the standards required to help their business grow. So it’s no surprise that 82% of business owners say they are unhappy with their bank,” Asher Ismail, Co-Founder of Uncapped, added.

Nicolas Brand, Partner at Lakestar, said: “The composition of our economies is changing, with digital native businesses contributing an ever-increasing share to overall GDP. Uncapped uses real-time data provided by its clients across APIs to offer bespoke credit and other novel banking services.”

#articles, #bank, #banking, #business, #co-founder, #corporate-finance, #e-commerce, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #europe, #finance, #financial-services, #global-founders-capital, #london, #mary-ann-azevedo, #mouro-capital, #private-equity, #real-time-data, #startup-company, #tc, #uncapped, #venture-capital, #white-star-capital

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Sequoia leads $5M pre-seed in Egypt’s 1-month-old digital bank Telda

Egypt has a population of over 100 million people. The country has a high mobile and internet penetration necessary for a young and tech-savvy population with 61% below 30. But despite its youthful population, two out of every three individuals are currently unbanked in Egypt. It’s the same situation in MENA, where only 40% of the population have access to a bank account.

Digital banks have enormous potential in the region. Today, a newly launched one, Telda is announcing a $5 million pre-seed round to digitize how Egyptians save, send, and spend money.

Two weeks ago, we reported that Egyptian e-commerce fulfillment startup Flextock had raised the largest pre-seed in MENA. But that has changed today with Telda’s fundraise surpassing that record with a considerable margin in both MENA and Africa (Autochek’s $3.4 million) for now.

Telda was launched last month by CEO Ahmed Sabbah and CTO Youssef Sholqamy. Before Telda, Sabbah was the co-founder and CTO of Egypt’s ride-hailing company Swvl, and Sholqamy, a former senior engineer in Uber’s infrastructure team. Sabbah said he and his co-founder had been looking at the fintech space at their former workplaces. However, after his experience using N26 while visiting a friend in Berlin in 2015, his eyes opened to the possibilities of digital banking in Egypt.

“I was fond of the idea, and it was coming from a huge pain of payments we had in Egypt and the region. And for me, I was kind of like waiting for this to happen in Egypt, or if not, I thought I’ll tap into the opportunity someday,” he told TechCrunch. “Youcef and I have been like watching out the space for a while when the first digital bank started like six years ago, and watching how they grew in markets where we think banking is more mature than this region. So imagine an opportunity in a region like Egypt where banking is even way, way less mature.”

The North African country is one of the highest consumer spending markets in Africa. Its private consumption accounts for nearly 85% of its nominal GDP, and only 4% of its overall GDP is cashless. In essence, Egypt is heavily cash reliant, and card usage in the country is very much in its infancy. Disheartened by the non-customer-centric banking experiences, Telda was launched to provide an alternative.

Telda

Image Credits: Telda

Like any digital bank globally, Telda enables customers to create a free account to send and receive money. And also a card to use online, in stores, make withdrawals and pay bills. But while the service is currently live, Telda cards are yet to be distributed to existing and new customers.

Telda affirmed that it is the first company to receive a license from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) under its new regulations to issue cards and onboard customers digitally. And by doing so, the one-month-old company has made major progress in a relatively short time, even though obtaining that license took lengthy dialogue with regulators.

“First movers will usually have to make all the effort with the regulators and with the bank and try to pave the way. So this was one of the hardest parts — convincing regulators to trust and regulate our banking business and to provide payment financial services to our consumers,” the CEO said. But because Telda’s proposition aligns with the CBE’s vision of digitizing payments in the country, it had little choice but to grant them the license.

A different issue the company has faced was finding a partner bank to provide these services. And to do that, Telda had to convince the bank that their services were complementary and wouldn’t entirely overlap.

“That means basically trying to be as much independent as possible from the infrastructure of the bank. This was quite crucial for us to be able to move right and as fast as a startup, not as slow and pretty much tied to the pace of the bank’s technology and operations,” he continued.

Due to the founders’ experience in Swvl and Uber, the importance of building a great team cannot be overemphasized. There’s barely any blueprint to look at in launching a digital bank in Egypt, so Telda is building how it knows best: hiring exceptional talent. According to the CEO, the team comprises Egyptians who returned to the North African country to build Telda after working for corporations like Facebook, Microsoft, Uber, Noon, and McKinsey.

MENA appears to be ripe for a digital banking experience. Per GSMA Intelligence, 280 million people in the region are mobile internet users, and growth is not slowing down. The frustration with traditional banks is particularly acute with the younger generation, who crave a simple, user-friendly, and transparent experience. Telda has been able to onboard an impressive list of investors, including Sequoia Capital, for this reason.

The giant US VC firm led the pre-seed round as Berlin-based Global Founders Capital (GFC) and emerging markets-focused fund Class 5 Global participated.

Although Sequoia has made a few Sub-Saharan African investments in startups like Healthlane and OPay, Telda is its first venture into North Africa and the wider GCC region. Eight years ago, the VC giant led an infamous seed investment in Latin American digital bank Nubank before it began to go full throttle. Now with more than 38 million customers, Nubank is the world’s largest digital bank with a valuation of $25 billion. Sequoia will be looking for a similar success story in Telda.

“There are many parallels between Brazil and Egypt. Both countries boast a large, young, talented, and tech-savvy population with a strong appetite to innovate,” said Sequoia Partner George Robson of the investment. “We are delighted to partner with Telda and earmark our first investment in the region.”

Telda intends to fast-track its card production and distribution with this new funding. The company said it currently has more than 30,000 signups already, with half of that already requesting cards. It also plans to capitalize on Sequoia’s name for hiring and expansion, the CEO continued.

I think hiring is key for us. We want to scale the team into a world-class team that’s willing to tap into the opportunity. What we aspire for is basically growing in Egypt, start to deliver cards for the early adopters, and we see ourselves reaching close to a million cards in our first year.”

Investments in Egypt have been growing in leaps and bounds over the past three years, accompanied by a growing, vibrant ecosystem. Egypt recorded the largest number of investment deals last year per Partech Africa. With 86 deals completed, the country contributed 24% to the total number of deals made on the continent

GFC partner Roel Janssen referring to the budding ecosystem in his statement, said: “We are highly impressed by Sabbah and Sholqamy and love their vision for building the region’s leading digital banking app, and we are proud to be part of their journey. It is GFC’s first investment in Egypt, and we see that Egypt has the potential to become an important hub in the global tech ecosystem.”

Class 5 global managing partner Youcef Oudjane said, Money has become a medium of self-expression — a form of identity — not solely a store of value. Telda has done a remarkable job of embedding their culture and values in the product, in both functionality and design.

#africa, #banking, #digital-banking, #egypt, #finance, #funding, #global-founders-capital, #mena, #money, #north-africa, #nubank, #sequoia-capital, #startups, #swvl, #tc

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Una Brands launches with $40M to roll up brands on multiple Asia-Pacific e-commerce platforms

Una Brands' co-founders (from left to right): Tobias Heusch, Kiran Tanna and Kushal Patel

Una Brands’ co-founders (from left to right): Tobias Heusch, Kiren Tanna and Kushal Patel. Una Brands Una Brands

One of the biggest funding trends of the past year is companies that consolidate small e-commerce brands. Many of the most notable startups in the space, like Thrasio, Berlin Brands Group and Branded Group, focus on consolidating Amazon Marketplace sellers. But the e-commerce landscape is more fragmented in the Asia-Pacific region, where sellers use platforms like Tokopedia, Lazada, Shopee, Rakuten or eBay, depending on where they are. That is where Una Brands comes in. Co-founder Kiren Tanna, former chief executive officer of Rocket Internet Asia, said the startup is “platform agnostic,” searching across marketplaces (and platforms like Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce) for potential acquisitions.

Una announced today that it has raised a $40 million equity and debt round. Investors include 500 Startups, Kingsway Capital, 468 Capital, Presight Capital, Global Founders Capital and Maximilian Bitner, the former CEO of Lazada who currently holds the same role at secondhand fashion platform Vestiaire Collective.

Una did not disclose the ratio of equity and debt in the round. Like many other e-commerce aggregators, including Thrasio, Una raised debt financing to buy brands because it is non-dilutive. The round will also be used to hire aggressively in order to evaluate brands in its pipeline. Una currently has teams in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia and plans to expand in Southeast Asia before entering Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

Tanna, who also founded Foodpanda and ZEN Rooms, launched Una along with Adrian Johnston, Kushal Patel, Tobias Heusch and Srinivasan Shridharan. He estimates that there are more than 10 million third-party sellers spread across different platforms in the Asia-Pacific.

“Every single seller in Asia is looking at multiple platforms and not just Amazon,” Tanna told TechCrunch. “We saw a big gap in the market where e-commerce is growing very quickly, but players in the West are not able to look at every platform, so that is why we decided to focus on APAC, launch the business there and acquire sellers who are selling on multiple platforms.”

Una looks for brands with annual revenue between $300,000 to $20 million and is open to many categories, as long as they have strong SKUs and low seasonality (for example, it avoids fast fashion). Its offering prices range from about $600,000 to $3 million.

Tanna said Una will maintain acquisitions as individual brands “because what’s working, we don’t change it.” How it adds value is by doing things that are difficult for small brands to execute, especially those run by just one or two people, like expanding into more distribution channels and countries.

“For example, in Indonesia there are at least five or six important platforms that you should be on, and many times the sellers aren’t doing that, so that’s something we do,” Tanna explained. “The second is cross-border in Southeast Asia, which sellers often can’t do themselves because of regulations around customs, import restrictions and duties. That’s something our team has experience in and want to bring to all brands.”

Amazon FBA roll-up players have the advantage of Amazon Marketplace analytics that allow them to quickly measure the performance of brands in their pipeline of potential acquisitions. Since it deals with different marketplaces and platforms, Una works with much more fragmented sources of data for revenue, costs, rankings and customer reviews. To scale up, the company is currently building technology to automate its valuation process and will also have local teams in each of its markets. Despite working with multiple e-commerce platforms, Tanna said Una is able to complete a deal within five weeks, with an offer usually happening within two or three days.

In countries where Amazon is the dominant e-commerce player, like the United States, many entrepreneurs launch FBA brands with the goal of flipping them for a profit within a few years, a trend that Thrasio and other Amazon roll-up startups are tapping into. But that concept is less common in Una’s markets, so it offers different team deals to appeal to potential sellers. Though Una acquires 100% of brands, it also does profit-sharing models with sellers, so they get a lump sum payment for the majority of their business first, then collect more money as Una scales up the brand. Tanna said Una usually continues working with sellers on a consulting basis for about three to six months after a sale.

“Something that Amazon players know very well is that they can find a product, sell it for four to five years, and then ideally make a multi-million deal exit and build another product or go on holiday,” said Tanna. “That’s something Asian sellers are not as familiar with, so we see this as an education phase to explain how the process works, and why it makes sense to sell to us.”

#468-capital, #500-startups, #asia, #ecommerce, #fundings-exits, #global-founders-capital, #kingsway-capital, #presight-capital, #recent-funding, #roll-ups, #singapore, #southeast-asia, #startups, #tc, #una-brands

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Berlin’s Razor Group raises $400M to buy and scale Amazon Marketplace merchants

The market remains very hot for startups building e-commerce empires by consolidating independent third-party merchants that have gained traction on Amazon’s Marketplace, and in the latest development, Razor Group — a Berlin-based startup buying up promising Amazon sellers and scaling them into bigger, multi-channel businesses — has closed financing of $400 million to scale its own efforts in the space.

Around $25 million is coming in the form of equity to grow its business and $375 million is in debt to make acquisitions, with target businesses typically already pulling in between $1 million and $15 million in annual revenues.

Razor Group itself is not even a year old but has been building out its business at a fast pace. Founded in August 2020, in the last eight months, CEO Tushar Ahluwalia said the startup has grown to 107 employees across four offices and is currently on track to cross $120 million (€100 million) in sales from the 30 brands it has already amassed in its stable in categories like personal wellness, sports and home and living. Assuming the debt capital it’s now raised is put to use, Ahluwalia believes Razor Group will cross $480 million (€400 million) in sales in the next 12 to 15 months.

As a point of comparison, Thrasio, one of the older players in this current market, was founded in 2018 and has 100 brands in its stable.

Indeed, there are, as you might have seen, a lot of others in the market pursuing the “FBA rollup” model — consolidating businesses that have been built on the back of Fulfillment by Amazon, with the pitch being they can apply more sophisticated economies of scale, analytics and management to grow great cottage industries into high rises, so to speak. But Razor believes its point of differentiation is its focus on technology to improve its responsiveness to the market, both when it comes to identifying and buying brands, and then growing them.

It’s a big opportunity. By one estimate there are about 5 million third-party sellers on Amazon today, and their ranks are growing exponentially, with more than 1 million sellers joining the platform in 2020 alone. Thrasio has in the past estimated to me that there are probably 50,000 businesses selling on Amazon via FBA making $1 million or more per year in revenues.

“It’s perfectly acceptable to build an FBA-based business, but at some point you can move beyond that,” Ahluwalia said in an interview. “We want to transform what we see as the levers of business operations in this space. We don’t see ourselves as the next P&G, but a new version of it, building microchampions in micromarkets, identifying underpriced digital real estate. Just thinking about it as abritrage is not enough.”

The funding, a mixture of equity to invest in the startup itself and debt to use for acquisitions (and it is mostly debt), is being led by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and Victory Park Capital (“VPC”) as well as its existing shareholders, a list that includes a number of individuals as well as VCs such as Redalpine, FJ Labs and Global Founders Capital, the VC firm co-founded by the Samwer Brothers, also behind the well-known Berlin e-commerce incubator Rocket Internet.

Ahluwalia and Razor’s head of finance Christoph Gamon — who together co-founded Razor with CTO Shrestha Chowdury — are both Rocket Internet alums, and Ahluwalia and Chowdury also worked on a previous e-commerce business in India called StalkBuyLove (a clone of Wanelo — short for “Want Need Love” — for India, I think) that ran out of cash and shut down.

All of that speaks to both the inroads that the founders may have had into gaining some early financing from other Rocket alums and others, as well as their experiences, both good and bad, of what it takes to grow and scale e-commerce businesses.

Including the $25 million in this latest tranche, the funding brings the total raised in equity by Razor Group to about $40 million — with the previous money being used to get the ball rolling and “validate the model”, Ahluwalia said. It’s not disclosing its valuation today but he confirmed it’s also raising another, larger equity round when it will be speaking more about that.

Meanwhile, the huge injection of debt financing it is getting for acquisitions — doubled after its original plan to raise $200 million got a lot of interest — is a sign not just of what investors and Razor Group itself see as an opportunity, but also of the encroaching competition from other roll-up players that are also well capitalized also setting their sights on buying up the most promising independent businesses selling via Amazon and other marketplace providers.

That list of competitors is getting longer by the day. It includes Thrasio, one of the first startups to identify and build out this space, which has raised very large rounds in rapid succession totaling hundreds of millions of dollars in the last year, and is profitable; Branded; Heroes; SellerX; Perch; Berlin Brands Group (X2); Benitago; and Valoreo (with its backers including Razor’s CEO).

The opportunity is also breeding other e-commerce startups like Jungle Scout, which has also raised $110 million recently, providing tools to some of those third-party sellers to help them stay, in fact, independent (or at least grow more to be more valuable to acquirers)

Razor believes that its ability to stand out in this crowd will not just be based on how much money it has to spend, but on the technology that it is using to identify the best third-party sellers faster in order to roll them up first, and then to leverage that early move by giving those companies better tools to grow faster.

Chowdhury describes the platform that she has built as “M&A 2.0”, a system that performs “massive due dilligence” at machine scale by evaluating some 1 million companies each week as they perform on platforms like Amazon’s. “Technology runs through the whole business,” she said, started with the acquisitions, where Razor is identifying the most interesting companies faster than others, she said. “We look at thousands of data points,” building algorithms, she continued, “to flag what we want to acquire. It means that our acquisitions funnel is 99% sourced directly and we don’t rely on brokers.” Brokers, she said, are something of a unspoken part of this area, but bypassing them means less competition and better pricing.

Being early also means building better relationships with the owners of these businesses, with less time pressure.

“Dealmaking is something extremely personal,” Ahluwalia said. “A seller needs to like you. Our calculations have allowed us to be the first in these deal conversations”

Further along, that data will also help Razor build those businesses and figure out where else brands can be sold beyond Amazon and how to sell them better.

That is a plan that has yet to be proven out, given the age of the company, but investors — adding up the numbers and track record of these founders, and the tech they have built — are willing to bet on this one.

“We are excited to partner with Tushar, Chris, and the rest of the Razor Group team. The ability to identify, underwrite, integrate and ultimately create tangible value across a broad suite of eCommerce assets is a real competitive advantage in the marketplace,” said Tom Welch, partner at VPC, in a statement.

“We are pleased to make this investment in Razor Group to support the company’s strong growth momentum as it continues to diversify its portfolio of brands and expand into new markets,” added Dan Worrell, MD at BlackRock.

#amazon, #blackrock, #ecommerce, #europe, #fba, #fulfillment-by-amazon, #funding, #global-founders-capital, #razor-group, #roll-ups, #tc, #victory-park

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Sorbet raises $6M Seed led by Viola Ventures to tackle the thorny financials of Paid Time Off

A US/Israeli startup, Sorbet — which is tackling what companies do with the financial risks as employees accrue Paid Time Off (PTO) — has raised $6 million in a Seed funding round led by Viola Ventures, with participation by Global Founders Capital, Meron Capital.

The economics of Paid Time Off is relatively hidden in the business world, but essentially,
Sorbet takes on the burden of this PTO from employers and then allows employees to spend it. This gives the employers far more control over the whole process and the ability to forecast its impact on the business.

Sorbet says that in the US, employees use only 72% PTO balances, even though it’s the most sought-after benefit. But this, effectively, comes out at 768 million unused days off a year, worth around $224 billion. This creates a difficult problem for CFO’s and accountants because its creates balance sheet liabilities on the company’s books, says Sorbet. If the employee doesn’t use all of their PTO, the employer can end up owing them a lot of money which creates a cash flow liability on the company’s books. So Sorbet buys out these PTO liabilities from employees, then loads the cash value of the PTO on prepaid Credit Cards for the employees.

Speaking to me on a call, CEO and cofounder Veetahl Eilat-Raichel, said: “We researched this whole idea of paid time off and found this huge, massive market failure and inefficiency around the way that PTO is constructed. It’s kind of one of those things where, on the face of it, there’s this boring bureaucratic payroll item that turns into a boring balance sheet item. But under it is a $224 billion problem for US businesses… If you think about it, employers are borrowing money from their employees at the worst terms possible and employees aren’t benefitting either. So everyone’s hurting here.”

She said: “Sorbet assumes the liability on ourselves and so then we can allow the company to control their cash flow and decide when they want to pay us back. They gain a lot of financial value because we are able to be very, very attractive on our funding. So it saves costs, it provides them with complete control of their cash flow, and it allows them to give out amazing financial benefits to employees at a time where we can all use some extra cash right now.”

The platform Sorbet has built will, it says, sync with calendars, HR, and payroll systems, identifies habits, and then proactively suggests personalized, pre-approved 3-6 hour “Micro Breaks”, 1-4 day “Micro Vacations” and +1 week Vacations. This, says the startup, increases PTO used by as much as 15%.

Employers can constantly renegotiate the terms of the loan with Sorbet, thus matching future cash flow, insulating themselves against salary raises (wage inflation), and take advantage of other benefits.

The cofounders are Eilat-Raichel, who previously worked at L’Oreal and Lockheed Martin, and a Fintech entrepreneur; Eliaz Shapira, co-founder and CPO; and Rami Kasterstein co-founder and board Member.

#cfo, #co-founder, #corporate-finance, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #europe, #finance, #global-founders-capital, #lockheed-martin, #money, #private-equity, #seed-money, #startup-company, #tc, #united-states, #venture-capital, #viola-ventures

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#DealMonitor – #EXKLUSIV Ex-Tengelmann Ventures-Team startet Cusp Capital – L Catterton investiert in SellerX


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 19. April werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

VENTURE CAPITAL

Cusp Capital
+++ Das ehemalige Team von Tengelmann Ventures startet mit Cusp Capital einen neuen Venture Capital-Geber. Das First Closing des neuen Geldgebers, der weiter unter anderem aus Christian Winter, Jan Sessenhausen und Wilken Engelbracht besteht, liegt nach unseren Informationen bei knapp 200 Millionen Euro. Zielgröße sind 300 Millionen und mehr. Damit gehört Cusp Capital aus Essen im Ruhrgebiet direkt zum Start zu den größten deutschen Startup-Investoren. Tengelmann Ventures investierte in den vergangenen Jahren in Startups und Grownup wie zalando, Delivery Hero, Uber, Klarna und Westwing. Details gibt es im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

INVESTMENTS

SellerX
+++L Catterton, ein amerikanisch-französisches Private-Equity-Unternehmen, steht vor einem Investment in den jungen Amazon-Shop-Aufkäufer SellerX. 83North und Alt-Investoren wie Cherry Ventures, Felix Capital, Zalando-Gründer David Schneider und der ehemalige Amazon-UK-Chef Christopher North investieren 26 Millionen Euro in die Jungfirma. Das Startup, das 2020 von Malte Horeyseck (Dafiti-Gründer) und Philipp Triebel gegründet wurde, kauft – wie dutzende andere Unternehmen – amazon-Shops an und versucht diese zu noch größerem Erfolg zu bringen. Details gibt es im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. Mehr über SellerX #EXKLUSIV 

InsureQ
+++ Nauta Capital und Global Founders Capital (GFC), der Investmentarm von Rocket Internet, und der noch junge Rocket-Inkubator Flash Ventures investieren 5 Millionen Euro in das Münchner Startup InsureQ. Das Unternehmen, das in der Testphade als Project Insurio bekannt war, richtet sich als digitale Versicherung an Selbständige und kleine Unternehmen. Das InsurTech aus dem Hause Rocket Internet wird von Alexander Le Prince, Johannes Breulmann, Iven Schorr, Laibing Yang vorangetrieben. Vorbild für InsureQ ist insbesondere das amerikanische Unternehmen Next Insurance. Mehr über InsureQ

happybrush
+++ Haniel und Bestandsinvestor BayBG Bayerische Beteiligungsgesellschaft investieren gemeinsam mit den Altinvestoren 4 Millionen Euro in happybrush. Mit happybrush, einer elektrischen Zahnbürste, fordern Florian Kiener und Stefan Walter ihren alten Arbeitgeber Procter & Gamble heraus. Inzwischen ist aus dem Zahnbürsten-Startup, das 2016 gegründet wurde, ein Unternehmen rund um das Thema Mundpflege geworden.  Im Jahre 2017 waren die happybrush-Macher in der Vox-“Die Höhle der Löwen” zu Gast. Im TV konnten die Zahnbürsten-Gründer einen Deal mit Carsten Maschmeyer und Ralf Dümmel rausholen. Dieser platzte nach der Show aber. Mehr über happybrush

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

Vantik
+++ Das österreichische Family Office Custos (Wolfgang Leitner – Andritz), Paypal-Manager Matthias Setzer, Atlantic Labs, STS Ventures, N26-Mitgründer Max Tayenthal und weitere Investoren investieren in Vantik – siehe Gründerszene. Das Unternehmen, das digitale Altersvorsorge per Smartphone anbietet, wurde 2017 von Til Klein und Lara Hämmerle (schon wieder ausgestiegen) gegründet. Nutzer können mit Hilfe ihres Smartphones ein Konto eröffnen und jederzeit Geld ein- und auszahlen. Im Zuge der erneuten Investmentsumme wurde das Stammkapital der Jungfirma mehr als verdoppelt. Damit kann man das Ganze getrost als Pay to play-Investmentrunde bezeichnen. Das Startup bezeichnet das Kapitalrunde als “Pre-Series-A-Finanzierung”. Custos hält nun knapp 28,9 % an Vantik. Mehr über Vantik

STOCK MARKET

Infarm
+++ Auch der Berliner Vertical Farming-Anbieter denkt über einen Börsengang via SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) nach. “German vertical farming start-up Infarm has hired Goldman Sachs to help with talks on the possibility of going public through a merger with a so-called blank check company as it seeks funds for expansion, people close to the matter said”, berichtet Reuters. Das Unternehmen wurde 2013 in Berlin von Osnat Michaeli und den Brüdern Erez und Guy Galonska gegründet. Die Jungfirma entwickelt ein “intelligentes modulares Farming-System”. Hanaco Ventures, Atomico und Co. investieren weitere 100 Millionen US-Dollar in in das junge Berliner Unternehmen Infarm, ein Vertical Farming-Anbieter – siehe Bloomberg. Zuletzt berichtete Sky News, dass Infarm plane weitere 250 Millionen US-Dollar aufzunehmen.

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

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #berlin, #cusp-capital, #fintech, #flash-ventures, #global-founders-capital, #happybrush, #infarm, #insureq, #insurtech, #ipo, #nauta-capital, #rocket-internet, #spac, #vantik, #venture-capital

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


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

INVESTMENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PODCAST

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

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

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

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

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

0

Pacaso raises $75M, goes from launch to unicorn in 5 months

Pacaso, a less-than-one-year-old startup that is out to give more people a chance at second home ownership, announced Wednesday that it has received $75 million in growth funding at a $1 billion valuation.

Greycroft and Global Founders Capital co-led the $75 million in equity financing, which is notable for a few reasons.

For one, the team. Former Zillow executives Austin Allison and (CEO and co-founder) Spencer Rascoff came up with the concept of Pacaso after leaving Zillow together about 18 months ago. (Publicly traded Zillow today has a market cap of $32.9 billion.) The company gives people the ability to purchase shares in, and become co-owners of, a second home.

“We realized that owning a second home had been a very impactful luxury in both of our lives. We’re both fortunate enough to have second homes, and it made a huge difference to us and our friends and family,” Rascoff said. “What we set out to do was to try to democratize access to second homeownership so that it can be something that is not just a luxury available to the 1%, but hopefully it can be available to many tens of millions of other people around the world.”

Something else that stands out about this raise is that Pacaso, which just launched in October 2020, has achieved unicorn status faster than any other company, according to an internal company analysis of Crunchbase data.

“Pacaso is growing incredibly quickly, faster than anything I’ve never been a part of,” Rascoff told TechCrunch. “And the reason that it’s growing so quickly is because consumers love the concept, and they love the idea of being able to own a second home at a much less expensive price metric.”

In addition to the equity financing announced today, San Francisco-based Pacaso has also secured $1 billion in debt financing from First Republic Bank and funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group LLC. At the time of its launch last fall, the startup had raised $17 million in a Series A led by Maveron, as well as $250 million in debt financing.

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy and Theresia Gouw of the Acrew Diversify Capital Fund; First American Financial; Shea Ventures; Jeff Wilke, former CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer; and other notable angel investors also participated in the latest financing.

With a unique co-ownership model made possible via the creation of a property-specific LLC, the company aims to reduce the cost and hassle of second home ownership. It also gives vacation homeowners an alternative option to renting out their property.

The way it works is that Pacaso purchases a home either outright or shares in a home. The company then partners with local real estate agents to market the properties. It then sells shares in the home — from one-eighth of the home to a greater percentage.

Pacaso holds a brokerage license in more than a dozen top second home markets such as Napa, Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs, Malibu and Park City. Buyers can view curated listings on the startup’s website, which includes active listings, as well as previews of homes under consideration for purchase based on buyer demand.

In addition to curating the listings, Pacaso also offers integrated financing, “upscale” interior design, professional property management and proprietary scheduling technology.

Image Credits: Pacaso

Since launch, Picasso says that more than 500,000 people have visited the website and 60,000 “aspiring buyers” have engaged Pacaso to learn more about second home co-ownership. So far, the company has helped about 100 families become co-owners of second homes.

Allison estimates that there are about 100 million second homes around the world, with the vast majority of those vacant 10 to 11 months a year.

“On a monthly basis, that number is growing very quickly,” he said.

The company plans to use its new capital in part to expand into new markets — moving from the west coast to the east coast. It eventually plans to also expand globally — in Europe and potentially in Mexico and the Caribbean. The debt will go toward purchasing shares of more homes.

“There are many tens of millions of families who make enough money to where they have some discretionary income and about 75% of them are dreaming about owning a second home,” he said. “But they are either held back by cost or the inability to justify such a purchase. So there’s this massive problem and what we’ve come up with is a really innovative solution, which is co-ownership.”

Greycroft co-founder and partner Dana Settle described Pacaso’s business vitals as “nothing short of momentous.”

“Pacaso is creating a new category that will dramatically change how people approach buying and owning a second home,” she added.

As most venture firms are, Greycroft was also attracted to the caliber of Pacaso’s founding team.

“This is a team that knows this market incredibly well and have worked together previously,” Settle told TechCrunch. “When you see how quickly they’ve gotten up and running it’s literally a testament to that point.”

She also likened the company to Uber and Airbnb, which also took otherwise underutilized assets and turned them into a business.

“This is another opportunity to do that — leveraging technology to create more accessibility in a market,” Settle said.

To support its expansion, Pacaso has hired Nina Tran to serve as its chief financial officer. Tran took Waypoint Homes public through its merger with Starwood Waypoint and served as its CFO through its sale to Invitation Homes.

Rascoff has certainly been busy as of late. He’s also heading up Supernova Partners Acquisition Company, which recently announced it was merging with Offerpad to take that company public. Rascoff is also an investor in Doma, formerly called States Title — another proptech that is going public via a SPAC merger. He’s also backed a number of startups, including Cheese, a fintech that recently launched a digital banking platform that is aimed at primarily serving the Asian-American community, among others.

#first-republic-bank, #fortress-investment-group, #funding, #fundings-exits, #global-founders-capital, #greycroft, #pacaso, #real-estate, #recent-funding, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital

0

#DealMonitor – #EXKLUSIV Project A und GFC investieren in amazd – Tiger Global vor Investment in Pitch – Cavalry Ventures investiert in Blok


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 22. März werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

amazd
+++ Project A Ventures und Global Founders Capital (GFC) investieren in amazd. Das Münchner Startup, das von Fabian Furtmeier und Dominik Unützer (beide zuletzt Global Founders Capital) gegründet wurde, möchte Shopbetreibern helfen, mehr Umsatz zu erzielen. “They aim to bridge the gap between the offline and online retail world by bringing the kind of curated, face-to-face advice from the offline world to the E-Commerce sphere”, heißt es in einer Stellenanzeige der Jungfirma. Weitere Infos gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Pitch
+++ Tiger Global steht vor einem Investment in Pitch. Mit Pitch möchte Wunderlist-Gründer Christian Reber Präsentationen für die Generation Slack bauen. Thrive Capital und Co. investierten zuletzt 30 Millionen US-Dollar in Pitch. Index Ventures, BlueYard und Frank Thelen, der schon Wunderlist unterstützte, zuvor bereits 19 Millionen Dollar in das Startup. Nach unseren Informationen bewerteten die Geldgeber das Startup zuletzt mit 170 Millionen Dollar (Pre-Money). Weitere Infos gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Blok
+++ Der Berliner Kapitalgeber Cavalry Ventures investiert in den spanischen Gorillas Klon Blok. Die Jungfirma beschreibt sich als “On-demand grocery delivery service”. In der Pre-Seed-Investmentrunde sammelte das Startup, das Anfang 2021 gegründet wurde, bereits 1 Millionen Euro ein. Nun sucht das sehr junge Unternehmen – ohne große Erfahrungswerte im Segment – 15 Millionen Euro. Weitere Infos gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

GraphCMS 
+++ Das junge Gießener Unternehmen GraphCMS plant derzeit eine weitere – große – Investmentrunde. Der Berliner Kapitalgeber Paua Ventures und einige Business Angels investieren2018 bereits 1 Million US-Dollar in das Startup. 2020 flossen dann weitere 2,5 Millionen Euro in das Unternehmen – unter anderem von Peak Capital. Weitere Infos gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

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

wefox
+++ Das junge InsurTech wefox, das 2014 in der Schweiz an den Start ging, plant 250 Millionen US-Dollar einzusammen – siehe Sky News. “Sources said on Thursday that Target Global, a German-headquartered fund which has backed start-ups such as Delivery Hero and the ride-hailing app Lyft, was expected to lead the round with a $100m investment”, heißt es im Artikel. Zudem berichtet auch Sifted über wefox: “Sifted can reveal that the Berlin-based startup has recently hired Sachs as it tries to close out a Series C raise that has dragged on since last year”. Harbert Management Corporation und weitere Investoren investierten zuletzt rund 100 Millionen Euro in das Unternehmen zu dem auch der Versicherer One gehört.

Camunda
+++ Insight Partners und Highland Europe investieren 82 Millionen Euro in Camunda. Mit der neuen Finanzspritze möchte das Berliner Unternehmen sein “Wachstum beschleunigen und die Führung im sich schnell entwickelnden globalen Markt für Prozessautomatisierung weiter ausbauen”. Highland Europe investierte 2018 bereits 25 Millionen Euro in das Berliner IT-Unternehmen, das 2008 von Jakob Freund gegründet wurde. Camunda entwickelt Software für die Automatisierung von Geschäftsprozessen.  “Insight Partners unterstützt Camunda über die Investition hinaus künftig auch darin, das eigene Unternehmen besser zu skalieren sowie Produktentwicklung, Vertrieb und Marketing im Rahmen der globalen Expansion zu beschleunigen”, teilt der Open-Source-Softwareanbieter mit.

Roadsurfer 
+++  HV Capital, Heartcore Capital und die Altinvestoren investieren 24 Millionen Euro in Roadsurfer. Das Münchner Startups, das 2016 von Markus Dickhard, Stephie Niemann, Christoph Niemann, Jean-Marie Klein und Susanne Dickhardt gegründet wurde, vermietet Camper. Derzeit bietet das Unternehmen nach eigenen Angaben über 2.500 Camper an 22 Standorten in mehreren europäischen Länder an – darunter Deutschland, Frankreich, Spanien und Portugal. Mittlerweile arbeiten 230 Mitarbeiter:innen für Roadsurfer. Der Münchner Angel-Verbund 10x Group, hinter dem Andreas Etten, Felix Haas, Jan Becker und Robert Wuttke stecken, investierte bereits zuvor in Roadsurfer.

Clinomic 
+++  Ein Konsortium aus Privatinvestoren und Family Offices aus Deutschland und Österreich investieren 7 Millionen Euro Clinomic – siehe Gründerszene. Das 2019 als Spin-off der RWTH Aachen gegründete Startup entwickelt mit Mona ein Assistenzsystem für Intensivstationen. “Das Zusammenwirken von translationaler Forschung, Data Science und Computational Intelligence schafft neue, bahnbrechende Möglichkeiten”, verspricht das Unternehmen, das von Lukas Martin und Arne Peine gegründet wurde.

y42
+++ La Famiglia sowie die Gründer von Foodspring, Personio, AeroMobil und Petlab investieren 2,9 Millionen US-Dollar in y42, früher als Datos Intelligence bekannt. “The funding will help us pursue our mission and further support our go-to-market strategy as well as product development”, teilt das Startup mit.  Die Jungfirma beschreibt sich so: “y42 is a no-code business intelligence platform for loading, cleaning, connecting, visualizing and sharing data”.  y42 wurde von Hung Dang gegründet.

Easy-Tutor
+++ Bayern Kapital und “ein Konsortium branchenerfahrener Business Angels” investieren eine siebenstellige Summe in Easy-Tutor aus München. Das Startup entwickelt eine Online-Nachhilfe- und Lernplattform für Schüler und Studenten. Easy-Tutor wurde Anfang 2017 von Massimo Cancellara Alexander Liebisch und Jessica Contento gegründet. “Die Kapitalaufstockung trägt dem starken Wachstum des jungen Unternehmens Rechnung: Mehr als 4000 Schüler nutzen das Angebot von Easy-Tutor bereits”, teilt das Unternehmen mit.

Naughty Nuts
+++ Döhler Ventures investiert in Naughty Nuts. Bei Naughty Nuts aus Köln dreht sich alles um Nüsse. “Wir kreieren innovatives Bio Nussmus aus 100 % natürlichen Zutaten. Damit sorgen wir für ein überraschendes Geschmackserlebnis und zeigen wie vielseitig Nussmus ist”, schreiben die Gründer Benjamin Porten und Lorenz Greiner zum Konzept. Döhler Ventures aus Darmstadt investierte in der Vergangenheit in Food-Startups wie Just Spices, BrauFässchen und waterdrop.

Planstack
+++ Interlink Ventures und der Company Builder High Rise Ventures investieren in Planstack. Mit digitaler Baudokumentation möchte Planstack agiles Arbeiten zwischen Bauunternehmern, Gewerken und Käufern vereinfachen. In der webbasierten Anwendung werden alle Projektbeteiligten auf einer Plattform zusammengeführt. Das Augsburger Startup wurde 2019 von Linda Mayr und Sascha Schütz gegründet.

Lhotse Analytics
+++ Die Investitions- und Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB) investiert in Lhotse Analytics aus Koblenz. Das Unternehmen entwickelt eine Software für den strategischen Einkauf, die durch “intern entwickelte Algorithmen und Business Intelligence Einsparpotenziale aufzeigt”. Die Jungfirma wird von Nicolas Neubauer und Daniel Demuth geführt.

VENTURE CAPITAL

Planet A Ventures
+++ In Hamburg entsteht mit Planet A Ventures derzeit ein neuer Kapitalgeber. Vorangetrieben wird der Early Stage-Investor von Jimdo-Gründer Fridtjof Detzner, Tobias Seikel (zuletzt Hanse Ventures), Christian Schad, Lena Thiede und Nick de la Forge. Das Team plant Impact-Investments, bei der eine wissenschaftliche Sichtweise auf die Ökobilanz, im Fokus stehen. Das sogenannte First Closing (50 Millionen Euro) ist für den Sommer geplant. Bis zum kommenden Jahr möchten die Hanseaten dann 100 Millionen einsammeln. Vor dem offiziellen Start plant das Planet A Ventures-Team fünf Investments – darunter nach unseren Informationen ein Investment in Dance, das neue Mobility-Startups von Jimdo-Gründer Christian Springub. Weitere Infos gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

PODCAST

Insider #98
+++ Schon die neue Insider-Ausgabe mit Sven Schmidt gehört? In der aktuellen Folge geht es um: Amazd, Pitch, Planet A Ventures, Dance, Blok, likeminded, GraphCMS, Klaus Hommels, Fit Analytics, Patient 21, Enpal, Babbel, Volocopter, Lampenwelt, About You und Mister Spex.

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

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

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#10x-group, #aaachen, #aktuell, #amazd, #bayern-kapital, #blok, #camping, #camunda, #cavalry-ventures, #clinomic, #contech, #datos-intelligence, #dohler-ventures, #e-health, #e-learning, #easy-tutor, #food, #giesen, #global-founders-capital, #graphcms, #heartcore-capital, #high-rise-ventures, #highland-europe, #hv-capital, #insight-partners, #insurtech, #interlink-ventures, #koblenz, #koln, #la-famiglia, #lhotse-analytics, #medtech, #munchen, #naughty-nuts, #pitch, #planstack, #project-a-ventures, #roadsurfer, #tiger-global, #venture-capital, #wefox, #y42

0

BrioHR raises $1.3M ahead of Y Combinator’s demo day

As the next Y Combinator demo day approaches, more startups from the current Winter 2021 batch are showing up in our inboxes. One of the most interesting from the mix is BrioHR, which is building human resources (HR) software for Southeast Asia.

The company fits into a theme I’ve noticed amongst startups, namely a focus on taking proven software genre approaches to specific parts of the world, localizing them and building in-region winners. This theme is not new, of course, but it does feel slightly more pronounced amongst recent accelerator batches than before (TechCrunch covers Techstars, Y Combinator, 500 Startups and other accelerators as part of our startup focus). Perhaps this is the impact of so many accelerators going virtual, widening the founder pool from whom they might matriculate to include a more global group of founders.

Back to BrioHR itself, the company is announcing $1.3 million in fundraising, inclusive of its YC check. The investment was led by Global Founders Capital, and saw participation from East Ventures and angel investors.

TechCrunch caught up with Benjamin Croc, the company’s co-founder and CEO, who is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (the city pictured in the image at the top of this post). The time zones were tricky to navigate, but the company’s vision was simple enough: A software-as-a-service (SaaS) HR software suite, tailored to fit the laws of the Southeast Asian region.

Croc and his co-founder, Nabil Oudghiri, founded the company in 2018, incorporating in the second half of the year after talking over their idea for a few months. BrioHR did not launch its product until the fourth quarter of 2019, opening for what Croc described as early adopters. The startup launched more broadly in the first quarter of 2020, right in time for COVID-19 to shake up the world.

Its fundraising came in two chunks, one in the middle of 2020 and one that came in the third quarter of the year; the first chunk of the raise was larger than the second. BrioHR raised the capital using a convertible note, with terms that Croc described as near to standard.

In our conversation, TechCrunch was curious about how prevalent SaaS as a model is in Malaysia and the other countries the startups wants to sell into. The co-founder said that while SaaS is not as well known in his part of the world as it is in the United States — not a huge surprise given that the U.S. is the largest SaaS market in the world — he praised the speed at which Southeast Asian countries adopt business trends; if Croc is right, his view could point to a very active subscription software market in the region in coming years.

BrioHR competes with local companies that are more focused on providing single solutions, like payroll management. From our discussion, it appears that Croc hopes that by going broad, in a feature sense, BrioHR will surpass legacy competitors. The startup is itself still building out its regional tooling, providing payroll support in only a handful of countries. It intends to expand that service to new countries this year, and be everywhere with its payroll product in two to three years, its co-founder said.

Notably, even though it has already raised capital, BrioHR intends to take part in Y Combinator’s demo day. Croc said it is taking part for optionality. TechCrunch read that as the company isn’t actively looking to raise more capital at the moment, but wouldn’t turn down another convertible note at a comfortable cap. Then again, what company at any demo day would?

Since launching out of its early-adopter program, Croc said that the company has grown 10x. That’s not hard from a small base, so the company’s 2021 growth will be more illustrative of its true near-term potential. Let’s see what new metrics it breaks out in a few weeks’ time.


Early Stage is the premiere ‘how-to’ event for startup entrepreneurs and investors. You’ll hear firsthand how some of the most successful founders and VCs build their businesses, raise money and manage their portfolios. We’ll cover every aspect of company-building: Fundraising, recruiting, sales, legal, PR, marketing and brand building. Each session also has audience participation built-in — there’s ample time included in each for audience questions and discussion.

#briohr, #fundings-exits, #global-founders-capital, #human-resources, #recent-funding, #startups, #y-combinator

0

Talent Hack raises $4.7M for its B2C fitness platform, Spaces

It’s been a wild 12 months for fitness platforms, as the world’s population has struggled to adapt to workouts outside of the gym. From Lululemon’s massive Mirror acquisition to companies like Apple and Samsung launching their own solutions, exercise technology has thrived amid the pandemic.

Talent Hack is one of a large (and growing) number of companies looking to make fitness more accessible in a world where the gym just isn’t an option for many. Rather than creating its own front-end, curated platform, however, the New York-based startup’s Spaces is designed to offer a B2C platform for fitness instructors and studios.

This week, the company announced that it has raised a $4.7 million seed round, led by Global Founders Capital. The Fund is also participating in the round, along with Mindbody Online’s Rick Stollmeyer, as well as Lucy Deland, Hannah Bronfman, Amanda Freeman, Ellie Burrows and Amy Klein.

Spaces has been operating with a relatively low public profile since January 2019, though more than 50,000 fitness professions have signed up for the service. The company says it’s managed to help top earners pull in $250,000.

“We are the first fitness and technology company that is a true partner for the individual wellness instructor, facilitating agency and power to the individual in the rising 30% YoY at-home fitness market,” CEO and co-founder Alexandra Bonetti says in a release tied to the news. “Our mission is to empower fitness and wellness professionals with the tools and resources they need to propel and scale their businesses so they can remain focused on what they do best.”

Talent Hack says this round will go toward increasing its marketing, improving the customer experience and expanding recruiting.

#apps, #fitness, #global-founders-capital, #health, #recent-funding, #startups, #talent-hack

0

#DealMonitor – wealthpilot sammelt 8 Millionen ein – HiPeople bekommt 3 Millionen – Memsource übernimmt Phrase


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 20. Januar werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

wealthpilot
+++ Seventure, die Altinvestoren Bayern Kapital und MIG Fonds sowie ein Konsortium von Business Angels investieren 8 Millionen Euro in wealthpilot. 3,4 Millionen Euro stammen dabeim vom neuen Investor Seventure. Das Münchner Fintech-Startup wealthpilot, das 2017 von Daniel Juppe und Stephan Schug gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Anbieter einer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Plattform im Bereich Vermögensmanagement. Bayern Kapital und Co. investierten zuletzt 2,6 Millionen Euro in das FinTech.

1plusx
+++ Swisscanto Invest, die Marketingfirma Bi.Garage und DG Daiwa Ventures aus Japan investieren 7,8 Millionen US-Dollar in das Züricher Startup 1plusx. Das Unternehmen wurde 2019 von Jürgen Galler, Thomas Hofmann und Scout24-Gründer Joachim Schoss gegründet. In den vergangenen Jahren sammelte das Unternehmen bereits 17,3 Millionen Dollar ein. ZUm Konzept heißt es: “1plusX has a proprietary predictive analytics platform powered by advanced AI technology to help media companies and marketers turn every data point into accurate and actionable predictions, enabling companies to make better data-driven decisions and optimize their business”.

HiPeople
+++ Moonfire, Capnamic Ventures und Cherry Ventures investieren 3 Millionen in HiPeople. Das Berliner Startup, das von Jakob Gillmann und Sebastian Schüller gegründet wurde, möchte seinen Kunden bei der Auswahl von Bewerbern helfen. In der Selbstbeschreibung heißt es: “Learn about your top talent from who knows them the best: their former managers, peers, and reports. HiPeople enables you to collect in-depth candidate reference checks, easily”.

Build38
+++ G+D Ventures, Caixa Capital Risc und eCAPITAL investieren 3 Millionen Euro in Build38, einen Anbieter von Mobile App Security-Lösungen. “Mit dem erhaltenen Kapital sollen vor allem die Expansion in weitere Märkte vorangetrieben und das mehrschichtige Security-Framework um KI-Funktionen weiterentwickelt werden”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Die Jungfirma wird von Christian Schlaeger geführt.

Archlet
+++ Senovo, La Famiglia sowie Wingman Ventures und Angel-Investoren wie Nicolaus Schefenacker, David Nothacker und Julius Köhler, Flavio Pfaffhauser und Karin Hagen-Gierer investieren 2,8 Millionen US-Dollar in das Schweizer Startup Archlet. Das Startup mit Sitz in Zürich, das von Lukas Wawrla, Jakob Manz und Tim Grunow gegründet wurde, entwickelt eine Software, die “Unternehmen den Prozess des Einkaufs von Commodities automatisiert, vereinfacht und abgleicht”.

LatticeFlow
+++ btov und Global Founders Capital (GFC) investieren 2,8 Millionen US-Dollar in das ETH-Spin-off LatticeFlow. Das junge Unternehmen möchte “anderen Organisationen die Entwicklung und den Einsatz vertrauenswürdiger KI-Systeme ermöglichen”. Das frische Kapital soll dazu dienen, “die Entwicklung eines LatticeFlow-Produkts beschleunigen, das Unternehmen in die Lage versetzt, ihre KI-Modelle und Datensätze zu bewerten und zu verbessern, kritische Fehlermodi zu identifizieren und KI-Modelle, die in der Produktion eingesetzt werden, zu schützen”.

Mr Beam
+++ Das Family Office Extorel von Falk Strascheg, die BayBG Bayerische Beteiligungsgesellschaft sowie private Investoren aus dem BayStartUP Investoren-Netzwerk investieren eine siebenstellige Summe in Mr Beam. Das Münchener Hard- und Software-Startup entwickelt Desktop-Lasercutter, die privaten und gewerblichen Anwendern den Einstieg in die digitale Fertigung von individualisierten Serienprodukten ermöglichen sollen.

Oculid
+++ IBB Ventures und weitere Investoren investieren in Oculid. “Die neuen Mittel werden verwendet, um die Präsenz von Oculid auf dem europäischen Markt zu stärken und die Funktionen der Plattform zu erweitern, einschließlich der Einführung einer iOS Test App”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das Startup, das ein biometrisches Authentifizierungsverfahren entwickelt, welches NutzerInnen über individuelle Eigenschaften ihrer Augenbewegungen erkennt, wurde 2018 von Antje Venjakob, Klaas Filler und Stefan Ruff gegründet.

EXITS

Phrase
+++ Das Unternehmen Memsource, das ein Übersetzungsmanagement-System anbietet, übernimmt das Hamburger Unternehmen Phrase. Das Startup bietet cloud-basierte Lokalisierung für Software, Websites und mobile Anwendungen an. “The combination of Phrase and Memsource creates the industry’s leading translation management company, significantly expanding the product portfolio, geographic footprint, and customer base”, teilen die Unternehmen mit. Phrase wurde 2012 von Wolfram Grätz gegründet.

apilayer
+++ Das amerikanische Unternehmen Idera übernimmt das Wiener Startup apilayer. Das von den Brüdern Paul Zehetmayr und Julian Zehetmayr 2015 gegründete Unternehmen ist im Cloud API unterwegs. “Durch die Übernahme von apilayer bietet sich für Idera, Inc. nun die Möglichkeit, einen Marktführer in der API-Branche zu übernehmen, weltweit weiter zu skalieren und in neue Märkte vorzudringen”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Der Kaufpreis ist nicht bekannt.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, was wir im #DealMonitor aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren anonymen Briefkasten.

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#1plusx, #aktuell, #apilayer, #archlet, #berlin, #btov-partners, #build38, #caixa-capital-risc, #capnamic-ventures, #cherry-ventures, #ecapital, #extorel, #gd-ventures, #global-founders-capital, #hamburg, #hipeople, #hr, #ibb-ventures, #idera, #la-famiglia, #latticeflow, #moonfire, #mr-beam, #munchen, #oculid, #phrase, #senovo, #venture-capital, #wien, #wingman-ventures, #zurich

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ETH spin-off LatticeFlow raises $2.8M to help build trustworthy AI systems

LatticeFlow, an AI startup that was spun out of ETH Zurich in 2020, today announced that it has raised a $2.8 million seed funding round led by Swiss deep-tech fund btov and Global Founders Capital, which previously backed the likes of Revolut, Slack and Zalando.

The general idea behind LatticeFlow is to build tools that help AI teams build and deploy AI models that are safe, reliable and trustworthy. The problem today, the team argues, is that models get very good at finding the right statistical patterns to hit a given benchmark. That makes them inflexible, though, since these models were optimized for accuracy in a lab setting, not for robustness in the real world.

“One of the most commonly used paradigms for evaluating machine learning models is just aggregate metrics, like accuracy. And, of course, this is a super coarse representation of how good a model really is,” Pavol Bielik, the company’s CTO explained. “What we want to do is, we provide systematic ways of monitoring models, assessing their reliability across different relevant data slices and then also provide tools for improving these models.”

Image Credits: LatticeFlow

Building these kinds of models that are more flexible yet still provide robust results will take a new arsenal of tools, though, as well as the right team with deep expertise in these areas. Clearly, though, this is a founding team with the right background. In addition to CTO Bielik, the founding team includes Petar Tsankov, the company’s CEO and former senior researcher and lecturer at ETH Zurich, as well as ETH professors Martin Vechev, who leads the Secure, Reliable and Intelligence Systems lab at ETH, and Andreas Krause, who leads ETH’s Learning & Adaptive Systems lab. Tsankov’s last startup, DeepCode, was acquired by cybersecurity firm Snyk in 2020.

It’s also worth noting that Vechev, who previously co-founded ETH spin-off ChainSecurity, and his group at ETH previously developed ERAN, a verifier for large deep learning models with millions of parameters, that last year won the first competition for certifying deep neural networks. While the team was already looking at creating a company before winning this competition, Vechev noted that gave the team the confirmation that it was on the right path.

Image Credits: LatticeFlow

“We want to solve the main AI problem, which is making AI usable. This is the overarching goal,” Vechev told me. “[…] I don’t think you can actually found the company just purely based on the certification work. I think the kinds of skills that people have in the company, my group, Andreas [Krause]’s group, they all complement each other and cover a huge space, which I think is very, very unique. I don’t know of other companies who have covered this range of skills in these pressing points and have done groundbreaking work before.”

LatticeWorks already has a set of pilot customers who are trialing its tools. These include Swiss railways (SBB), which is using it to build a tool for automatic rail inspections, Germany’s Federal Cyber Security Bureau and the U.S. Army. The team is also working with other large enterprises that are using its tools to improve their computer vision models.

“Machine Learning (ML) is one of the core topics at SBB, as we see a huge potential in its application for an improved, intelligent and automated monitoring of our railway infrastructure,” said Dr. Ilir Fetai and Andre Roger, the leads of SBB’s AI team. “The project on robust and reliable AI with LatticeFlow, ETH, and Siemens has a crucial role in enabling us to fully exploit the advantages of using ML.”

For now, LatticeFlow remains in early access. The team plans to use the funding to accelerate its product development and bring on new customers. The team also plans to build out a presence in the U.S. in the near future.

#artificial-intelligence, #btov-partners, #deep-neural-networks, #deepcode, #emerging-technologies, #global-founders-capital, #latticeflow, #machine-learning, #recent-funding, #revolut, #siemens, #snyk, #startups, #tc, #united-states, #zalando

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#DealMonitor – sennder bekommt 160 Millionen (und wird zum Unicorn) – Moss sammelt 21 Millionen ein – Sequoia investiert 20 Millionen in Xentral


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 14. Januar werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

sennder
+++ Die Alt-Investoren Accel, Lakestar, HV Capital, Project A und Scania investieren weitere 160 Millionen US-Dollar in sennder. Das Berliner Logistik-Startup, das 2015 von Julius Köhler, Nicolaus Schefenacker und David Nothacker gegründet wurde, steigt mit der erneuten Finanzierungsrunde – wie erwartet – zum Unicorn (Bewertung: 1 Milliarde Dollar) auf. Zuletzt wanderten rund 100 Millionen US-Dollar in das Logistik-Startup. Insgesamt flossen somit bereits 260 Millionen in sennder. Das junge Unternehmen kümmert sich in der großen und wilden Logistikwelt um sogenannte Komplettladungen. Konkret verbindet das Logistikstartup aus Berlin über seine Softwareplattform Händler und Transportunternehmen.  In den vergangenen Monaten sorgte das Grownup mit zwei Übernahmen für Schlagzeilen: Im Juni des vergangenen Jahres fusionierte sennder mit seinen französischen Wettbewerber Everoad. Im September übernahm sennder dann das europäische Frachtgeschäft von Uber Freight. 800 Mitarbeiter wirken derzeit für sennder. Im Insider-Podcast haben wir bereits Mitte Dezember über den Aufstieg von sennder gesprochen. Zuletzt stieg Mambu in Deutschland zum Unicorn auf.

Moss
+++ Der US-Investor Valar Ventures, also Peter Thiel, sowie die Alt-Investoren Cherry Ventures und Global Founders Capital (GFC), der Investmentarm von Rocket Internet, investieren 21 Millionen Euro in Moss. Die Bewertung des jungen FinTech, die zuletzt als Vanta bekannt war, steigt dabei auf 100 Millionen Euro – siehe FinanceFWD. Das junge Unternehmen, hinter dem die Move24-Macher Ante Spittler und Anton Rummel stecken, ging erst vor einigen Monaten offiziell an den Start. Über Moss können Kunden sich Firmenkreditkarten zulegen – und zwar insbesondere virtuelle Kreditkarten. So sind etwa Kreditkarten für einzelne Personen, Teams oder Abteilungen bzw. Kostenstellen möglich. Zum Start war Moss vor allem in der Startup-Szene auf Kundenfang. Inzwischen möchte das Fintech auch im KMU-Segment Kunden (Unternehmen zwischen 20/30 bis 500 Mitabeiter) gewinnen.  Valar Ventures investierte bisher unter anderem in FinTechs wie N26, Bitpanda und Taxfix. 40 Mitarbeiter wirken derzeit bei Moss.

Xentral
+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Sequoia Capital und Visionaires Club aus Berlin investieren 20 Millionen US-Dollar in Xentral. Das von Benedikt und Claudia Sauter in Augsburg gegründete Unternehmen ist ein flexibles ERP-/CRM-System mit eigenem App-Store und bietet Schnittstellen zu allen gängigen Online-Shop-Systemen, Marktplätzen und Zahlungsanbietern. Nach Frank Thelen investierte zuletzt auch Pitch-Gründer Christian Reber in Xentral. Das Unternehmen wird die millionenschwere neue Finanzspritze nutzen, um “die Produktentwicklung, den Ausbau des Teams sowie die Expansion voranzutreiben – zunächst auf paneuropäischer Basis und längerfristig auch in Großbritannien und den USA”. 65 Mitarbeiter wirken derzeit für das Unternehmen. Zu den Kunden von Xentral gehören Unternehmen wie YFood, The Nu Company und Flyeralarm.

quirion
+++ Die Berliner Effektengesellschaft und  “erfahrene Privatinvestoren” investieren 13 Millionen Euro in den Robo-Advisor quirion. “Mit diesem Invest wird quirion sein Wachstum weiter beschleunigen. Die Bewertung des Unternehmens liegt nach dem Kapitalzufluss bei 73 Millionen Euro”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung.

Der Robo-Advisor quirion erhält 13 Millionen Euro von externen Investoren. Neben erfahrenen Privatinvestoren beteiligt sich auch die Berliner Effektengesellschaft. Mit diesem Invest wird quirion sein Wachstum weiter beschleunigen. Die Bewertung des Unternehmens liegt nach dem Kapitalzufluss bei 73 Millionen Euro.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, was wir im #DealMonitor aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren anonymen Briefkasten.

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#accel, #aktuell, #augsburg, #berlin, #berliner-effektengesellschaft, #cherry-ventures, #fintech, #global-founders-capital, #hv-capital, #lakestar, #logistik, #moss, #project-a-ventures, #quirion, #scania, #sennder, #sequoia-capital, #unicorn, #valar-ventures, #venture-capital, #visionaires-club, #xentral

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4 keys to international expansion

During my five years with Global Founders Capital, Rocket Internet’s $1 billion VC arm, I saw more than a hundred of Rocket’s incubated companies attempt to internationalize. For background, Rocket Internet has helped launch some very successful businesses internationally, including HelloFresh ($12.9 billion market cap), Lazada ($1 billion exit to Alibaba), Jumia ($3.2 billion market cap), Zalando ($21.2 billion market cap) and many others. Rocket often followed the Blitzscaling model popularized by Reid Hoffman — earning them an appearance in his book of the same name.

After an initial success helping Groupon scale internationally via a merger with Rocket’s incubation firm CityDeal, Rocket’s team have aggressively scaled businesses from Algeria to Zimbabwe — sometimes in a matter of weeks. No surprise, Rocket also has a graveyard of failed companies that were victims of bad internationalization efforts.

Many companies make the costly mistake of launching abroad too soon.

My personal observations on Rocket’s successes and failures start with this crucial point: These learnings might not apply to your unique combination business model, market and timing. No matter how well you prepare and plan your internationalization, in the end you need to be agile, alert and smart as you dip your toes into your first foreign market.

Fail fast and cheaply

Internationalization can be a big driver of growth and consequently enterprise value, which is why investors always push for it. But going abroad can also destroy value just as quickly. As a founder, it’s your job to manage financial and operational risks. Finding the right balance between keeping costs in check and not underinvesting can mean doing things more slowly than your board would like. For example, you might launch new markets sequentially instead of rolling 10 out at the same time.

Adopt a “hire slow, fire fast” mentality for your expansion strategy. Don’t be afraid to pull the plug if things don’t work out.

Our team at Heartcore Capital use the following framework and learnings to guide internationalization strategies for our portfolio companies. A successful internationalization strategy needs to answer and address the “Four Ws”: When, Where, Which and With whom to internationalize. (Regarding the fifth W from journalism, you should not need to ask the “Why” question if you want to build a large business!)

1. When is the right time to start?

Many companies make the costly mistake of launching abroad too soon. They look at internationalization as a detached function, isolated from the rest of the business and then launch their second market prematurely. Follow this simple rule: Wait to internationalize until you hit product/market fit.

How do you know exactly when you’ve reached product/market fit? According to Marc Andreessen, “Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” He adds that experienced entrepreneurs can usually feel if they’ve reached this point.

Let’s take the man for his word and move on to the actual argument: Until you have product/market fit, you will not be able to distinguish between what you’ve learned from your business model and what you’ve learned from your in-country experience. Mistakes will compound. Complexities and costs will multiply. I contend that insufficient understanding of their business and operating model is the main reason why companies fail with their expansion strategies.

Founders should also consider the underlying costs of internationalizing before they decide to expand (more about this in the “What” section below). Some companies are global by default — think mobile gaming companies — or simply require language localization. Others need to build new warehouses, hire local teams or build entirely new products. The costs and respective risks of expanding prematurely depend heavily on the business model.

There are edge cases where companies need to move quickly to internationalize for strategic reasons — despite uncertainty about their market fit. For instance, companies like Groupon or those engaged in food delivery face winner-takes-most markets, where opportunities for product differentiation are limited. “Blitzscaling” makes sense in cases like these.

However, you should tread carefully if your only reason to start scaling abroad is a large fundraise or to match a competitor’s internationalization efforts. Scaling prematurely for the wrong reasons might just cost you your entire company.

When Rocket Internet announced it would launch the Homejoy model into European markets with Helpling, the American “original” company launched quickly in Germany in an effort to squash their new competitor. In the early days of “on-demand everything,” a managed marketplace for cleaning services sounded like the next unicorn in the making.

In 2013, Homejoy had a fresh $24 million Series A from Google Ventures and First Round — considered a huge round at a time when Instacart had just raised an $8 million Series A and Snapchat had done a $13 million Series A round. It must have seemed like a good idea to squash the German competition early.

As it turned out, Homejoy’s product was not yet ready to scale internationally. Just 13 months after launching in Germany, Homejoy had to cease operations globally, while Rocket’s Helpling is still alive and kicking. Helpling focused carefully on product, automation and making their unit economics work. A rush to crush an international competitor caused the demise of a would-be unicorn.

Homejoy expanded internationally in 2014 in a rush to squash a new German competitor Helpling. Their websites in 2020 show starkly different outcomes.

Homejoy expanded internationally in 2014 in a rush to squash a new German competitor Helpling. Their websites in 2020 show starkly different outcomes. Image Credits: Homejoy/Helpling

2. Where should you internationalize?

When deciding which new international market to tackle, it is vital to do your homework. Analyze the competitive environment, partner availability, infrastructure, culture, regulation and synergies with your home market.

In the early days of e-commerce, it was rather easy to analyze if a market was an expansion target. In the absence of professional competition, Rocket chose new countries based solely on GDP and internet penetration.

#column, #ec-entrepreneurship, #entrepreneurship, #global-founders-capital, #hellofresh, #helpling, #internationalization, #rocket-internet, #startups, #venture-capital

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AutoLeap says it will repair your lousy relationship with car shops

No one likes having to go the automotive repair shop. There’s little transparency into what happens after a car is dropped off, invoices are often little more than a series of illegible bullet points, and the experience often feels chaotic.

AutoLeap, a six-month-old, Toronto-based startup that quietly raised $5 million in seed funding in September, thinks its team can figure out how to repair that broken experience by bringing car repair shops into the 21st century at long last. Its big idea is to help such shops organize their operations, schedule jobs, order parts, conduct digital inspections, and invoice customers in a transparent and seamless way.

It’s not the first to try to modernize the car repair process. A five-year-old, Seattle-based startup, Wrench, has already raised $40 million toward that end, while another entrant, RepairSmith, a two-year-old, L.A.-based car repair and maintenance service, is backed by Daimler.

Still, with a global automotive repair market that’s currently valued at $700 billion, there’s clearly room for more than one player and one approach, and AutoLeap has a few things going for it.

For starters, it has an investor base with some useful connections. Threshold Ventures, which led AutoLeap’s seed round, has ties to the automotive world, including through its bet on the car-selling platform Shift, which went public in October via a reverse merger.

AutoLeap — whose other venture investors include Maple VC, Liquid2 Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and Codename Ventures — is also backed by some notable individuals that hold sway in the world that AutoLeap is entering. Among them: Shift cofounder George Arison, former General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, and former senior Bridgestone exec Ned Aguilar.

More importantly, AutoLeap’s founders worked together once before to reinvigorate a stodgy business. Before launching AutoLeap, co-CEOs Rameez Ansari and Steve Lau spent four years as the co-CEOs of FieldEdge, a SaaS company that helps contractors to run their small businesses.

They two — college friends who’d met at the University of Toronto — didn’t start the company. Rather, after Lau nabbed an MBA from Wharton for Ansari nabbed one from Stanford, they joined forces to acquire, manage and grow a neglected business after raising a a so-called search fund, a vehicle that’s backed by individual investors willing to bet that a team will find a company to buy, run it for some period of time, then sell it for far more money.

It was a productive experience for all involved. After spending $20 million to acquire FieldEdge, whose software had already been around for 30 years, Lau and Ansari so dramatically improved the company’s offerings that they were able to charge seven times what the company had previously charged for its products, says Lau. Then they sold it to the private equity firm Advent in 2018 for “north of $100 million,” says Lau.

It was a solid exit. Minus that $20 million investment, the team kept 30 percent of the remaining proceeds from FieldEdge’s sale, with the rest going to the search fund’s investors.

Even so, says Lau, he and Ansari might have kept going if not for rival ServiceTitan, which “went crazy on the fundraising front.” (The seven-year-old company has raised $400 million altogether from investors.) Between ServiceTitan’s daunting war chest and “given this was a first exit for us,” Lau says, “we transitioned out instead.”

Today, neither Lau nor Ansari wants to repeat the scenario with AutoLeap. Indeed, though Lau says the company is “heads down” and “not in any discussions” with investors now that it has secured seed funding, one imagines it won’t take long for AutoLeap to enter into discussions about that next round.

What investors would be funding essentially is a burgeoning software platform that aims to kill off paper flyers, crumbling fax machines, and sheaves of invoices — if only it can convince car repair shops to slow down long enough to try its software.

It isn’t a no-brainer that they will, admits Lau. “It’s a material onboarding effort, because you become the lifeblood of their business.” The sales process also requires convincing the shops to share their existing data and take the time required to be trained on how to use it.

Lau isn’t dissuaded, plainly. He says the time to onboard a new customer is one to two weeks and that “once they start seeing value, they get that ‘aha’ type of moment.” In fact, he says that AutoLeap is already working with a handful of shops, including several in Toronto, one in Las Vegas, and another in Boston.

As for its expansion plans, Lau says that some of the company’s seed funding will go toward digital marketing but that it’s also relying heavily on word of mouth. It helps, he says, that garages are often clustered in any one geographic area, which he believes will enable AutoLeap to spread quickly.

There isn’t “a lot of data” to support that assumption, offers Lau. But if AutoLeap has its way, there will be soon enough.

Above, left to right: AutoLeap co-CEOs Rameez Ansari and Steve Lau in a photo that Lau readily volunteers was Photoshopped owing to the pandemic.

#autoleap, #automotive, #car-repair, #global-founders-capital, #liquid2-ventures, #maple-vc, #recent-funding, #rick-wagoner, #seed-funding, #shift, #startups, #tc, #threshold-ventures, #venture-capital

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#DealMonitor – Kenjo bekommt 5,1 Millionen – Capnamic Ventures investiert in everstox


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 21. Oktober werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Kenjo
+++ Der Schweizer Geldgeber Redalpine Capital investiert 5,1 Millionen Euro in das Berliner Startup Kenjo – siehe Handelsblatt. Das Unternehmen, das 2017 von David Padilla, Max Bauermeister, Carlos Lozano und Gonzalo Abruna gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Software für Personalabteilungen. Kenjo, früher als OrgOS unterwegs, unterstützt die HR-Abteilungen seiner Kunden insbesondere in den Punkten Prozessoptimierung.

everstox
+++ Flash Ventures, der noch junge Inkubator von Rocket Internet, Capnamic Ventures und Global Founders Capital (GFC), der Investmentarm vom Rocket Internet, investieren 3 Millionen Euro in das Münchner Startup everstox, früher als Project District bekannt. everstox positioniert sich als “Netzwerk europäischer Logistikdienstleister für eine datengesteuerte Lagerverwaltungslösung”. Das Startup wurde von Boris Bösch und Johannes Tress gegründet.

Samdock
+++ Bayern Kapital, die Altgesellschafter und zwei Neuinvestoren – darunter der Venture-Ableger der mgo Mediengruppe Oberfranken, investieren eine siebenstellige Summe in Samdock. Das Münchner Startup entwickelt eine cloudbasierte Software-as-a-Service-Lösung (SaaS), mit der kleine und mittelständische Unternehmen Geschäftsprozesse in den Bereichen Vertrieb, Marketing und Kundenservices digitalisieren und automatisieren können.

Signature Products
+++ Ein Family Office aus Hamburg investiert eine ungenannte Summe in das Cannabis-Startup Signature Products. Das 2019 von Florian Pichlmaier und Tobias Bühler in Pforzheim gegründete Unternehmen bietet unterschiedliche Hanfprodukte – vom Rohstoffhandel über die Extraktion bis hin zu Endkonsumentenprodukte. Die Bewertung bei der aktuellen Investmentrunde soll bei 5 Millionen gelegen haben.

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

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #bayern-kapital, #berlin, #cannabis, #capnamic-ventures, #everstox, #flash-ventures, #global-founders-capital, #hr, #kenjo, #logistik, #munchen, #orgos, #pforzheim, #redalpine-capital, #samdock, #signature-products, #venture-capital

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#Podcast – Insider #88 – Viessmann – Razor Group – Saiga – CampusGenius – Carbon Farmed – Corona-Update


Im ds-Insider-Podcast liefern OMR-Podcast-Legende Sven Schmidt und ds-Chefredakteur Alexander Hüsing regelmäßig spannende Insider-Infos aus der deutschen Startup-Szene. In jeder Ausgabe gibt es exklusive Neuigkeiten, die bisher zuvor nirgendwo zu lesen oder hören waren. Zu guter Letzt kommentiert das dynamische Duo der deutschen Startup-Szene in jeder Ausgabe offen, schonungslos und ungefiltert die wichtigsten Startup- und Digital-News aus Deutschland.

Insider #88 – Unsere Themen

+++ Viessmann baut seine Investment-Ableger um #EXKLUSIV
+++ Global Founders Capital (GFC) investiert in Razor Group #EXKLUSIV
+++ Mosaic Ventures investiert in Saiga #EXKLUSIV
+++ Atlantic Labs investiert in CampusGenius #EXKLUSIV
+++ Atlantic Food Labs investiert in Carbon Farmed #EXKLUSIV
+++ Corona-Update zur zweiten Welle #ANALYSE

Insider #88 – Unser Sponsor

Der Sponsor der heutigen Ausgabe ist die ATEC X, die Aachen Technology & Entrepreneurship Conference. Das Gründerzentrum der RWTH baut das bisherige Konzept der ATEC-Konferenz zum jährlichen Treffpunkt für eine unternehmerische und technologie-orientierte Community aus. Dieses Jahr als eine zweitägige digitale Konferenz, welche von der RWTH Innovation, dem Collective Incubator und dem digitalHUB Aachen veranstaltet wird. Die Konferenz findet am 29. und 30. Oktober digital als Livestream statt. Geboten werden zwei volle Tage mit Keynotes – unter anderem von Sven Schmidt -, Podiumsdiskussionen – unter anderem mit Alexander Hüsing -, Startup-Speed-Dating, einem Pitch-Wettbewerb, einer digitalen Expo und vielen weiteren Programmpunkten. Allen Teilnehmern, ganz gleich ob Investoren, Startups, Studierenden oder Professionals wird also ein sehr abwechslungsreiches, kurzweiliges und spannendes Programm geboten. Und das Beste: das Ganze ist für alle Zuschauer kostenlos! Weitere Details zum Programm, den Speakern und natürlich die kostenlosen Tickets gibt’s unter www.atec-x.de.

Insider #88 – Unser Podcast

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

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

Foto (oben): ds

#aktuell, #atlantic-food-labs, #atlantic-labs, #campusgenius, #carbon-farmed, #dspodcast, #global-founders-capital, #mosaic-ventures, #podcast, #razor-group, #saiga, #vito-one, #vito-ventures, #wattx

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