#DealMonitor – Great Hill investiert 180 Millionen in Echobot-Leadfeeder-Fusion – Unicorn Omio sammelt 80 Millionen ein


Im #DealMonitor für den 21. Juni werfen wir 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

Omio
+++ Die amerikanische Investmentbank Lazard Asset Management, Stack Capital Group, NEA, Temasek und Co. investieren 80 Millionen US-Dollar in Omio. Über das Berliner Unicorn, 2013 von Naren Shaar gegründet, können Nutzer Bahn-, Bus- sowie Flugtickets vergleichen und auch buchen. Temasek, Kinnevik, Goldman Sachs, NEA und Kleiner Perkins investierten im Sommer 2020 rund 100 Millionen Dollar in das Travel-Startup. Insgesamt flossen nun schon rund 380 Millionen Dollar in Omio. “Aus dem Unternehmensumfeld heißt es jedoch, es habe sich um eine Flat Round gehandelt – die Bewertung ist also im Vergleich zur Vorrunde gleich geblieben”, schreibt Gründerszene zum Investment. “Diese Finanzierung durch eine starke Investorengruppe nach mehr als zwei harten Jahren unterstreicht das enorme Potenzial unseres Geschäftsmodells sowie unsere Überzeugung, dass das menschliche Bedürfnis zu reisen ungebrochen ist. Das eingeworbene Kapital wird umsichtig eingesetzt, um die globalen Expansionsaktivitäten, einschließlich Unternehmenskäufe, wieder voranzutreiben”, teilt Omio mit. Mehr über Omio

Enpal
+++ Prime Capital stellt dem Berliner Unicorn Enpal im Rahmen eines nachrangigen Mezzanine-Darlehen 70 Millionen Euro zur Verfügung. “Diese Finanzierungszusage schließt sich der Finanzierung durch von BlackRock beratene Fonds vom September 2021 von 345 Millionen Euro an”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das 2017 von Mario Kohle (Käuferportal-Gründer), Viktor Wingert und Jochen Ziervogel gegründete Unternehmen, das Solaranlagen vermietet, sammelte nun schon 800 Millionen Euro ein – “davon 500 Millionen Refinanzierungskapital und 300 Millionen Wachstumskapital”. In der Presseaussendung heißt es weiter: “Zugleich arbeitet Enpal daran, mit bestehenden und neuen Geldgebern weitere Finanzierungslinien aufzunehmen, um damit die Fremdkapitalzusagen auf über 1 Milliarde Euro zu steigern”. Mehr über Enpal 

Wingcopter 
+++ Die Rewe Group, Salvia, XAI Techologies, der japanischen Handelskonzern Itochu sowie Altinvestoren wie Futury Capital und Xplorer Capital investieren 42 Millionen Euro in Wingcopter. Das Startup aus Weiterstadt, das Transportdrohnen für humanitäre und zivile Anwendungen entwickelt, wurde 2017 von Tom Plümmer, Jonathan Hesselbarth und Ansgar Kadur gegründet. “Die neue Finanzierung ermöglicht es Wingcopter, seine Drone-Delivery-Dienstleistungen rund um den Globus auszubauen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Xplorer Capital aus dem Silicon Valley und der hessische Geldgeber Futury Regio Growth Fund sowie Futury Ventures und Hessen Kapital investierten zuletzt 22 Millionen US-Dollar in Wingcopter. Mehr über Wingcopter

TradeLink
+++ Insight Partners und die Altinvestoren Point Nine Capital und Fly Ventures investieren 12 Millionen Euro in TradeLink. Das Münchner Startup, das Anfang 2020 von Frederic Krahforst, Tobias Nendel (Outfittery-Mitgründer) und Michael Bücker gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “digitale Lösung für Liefer- und Transportabstimmung rund um das Lager”. Zielgruppe sind insbesondere Logistikleiter, Kontraktlogistiker und Lagerleiter. “The funding will be used to enhance the functionalities of the SaaS platform and scale marketing and sales activities to deliver the simplest and most effective platform to collaborate in logistics and supply chains. We are really excited about the future”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Mehr über TradeLink 

Kranus Health
+++ Der französische Investor Karista, Peak Pride, Altinvestoren wie High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) und A Round Capital sowie mehrere Angel-Investoren investieren 6,5 Millionen US-Dollar in Kranus Health. Das Berliner Startup, von Thilo Kleinschmidt und Jens Nörtershäuser gegründet, möchte “Männern durch einen einfachen und unkomplizierten Zugang zu neuester medizinischer Versorgung ein gesünderes und längeres Leben ermöglichen”. “Das Geld investieren wir in den Ausbau des Vertriebs in Deutschland, um möglichst viele Patienten mit unserer Therapie zu erreichen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Mehr über Kranus Health

Roq.ad
+++ DNX Ventures, AperiamVentures und OCA Ventures investieren 7 Millionen US-Dollar in Roq.ad. “Roq.ad will use the funding to expand commercial and technology teams, fuel growth in new segments and geographies, and accelerate the distance between its product and competitors”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das Berliner Unternehmen, 2015 vom Ex-madvertise-Macher Carsten Frien in Berlin gegründet, ermöglichte einst Werbetreibenden Storytelling über verschiedene Endgeräte zu betreiben. Inzwischen positioniert sich die Jungfirma als “GDPR/CCPA-compliant, probabilistic, multi-device identity resolution provider”. K – New Media, Astutia Ventures, pd ventures, NWZ Digital, media + more Venture und diverse weitere Investoren setzten in der Anfangszeit auf Roq.ad. Bis Ende 2017 flossen rund 1,7 Millionen in das Startup. Im Rahmen einer Planinsolvenz erfolgte 2019 der Neustart von Roq.ad. Mehr über Roq.ad

Vaeridion 
+++ Jetzt offiziell: Vsquared Ventures, Project A Ventures und Finanzcheck.de-Gründer Andreas Kupke investieren – wie Ende Mai im Insider-Podcast berichtet – in Vaeridion. Im Rahmen der Investmentrunde fließen 3,2 Millionen Euro. Das Startup aus München, das von den ehemaligen Airbus-Mitarbeitern Sebastian Seemann und Ivor van Dartel gegründet wurde, kümmert sich um “Green Air Mobility”. Das elektrische Flugzeug der Jungfirma soll neun Passagiere plus Crew bis zu 500 Kilometer transportieren können. Mehr über Vaeridion

Evy Solutions
+++ “Gesellschafter sowie Bestandsinvestoren” investieren 1,6 Millionen Euro in Evy Solutions. Das Kölner Startup, 2017 von Michael Vogel und Arian Storch gegründet, kümmert sich um KI-gestützte Dokumentenverarbeitung und Prozessautomatisierung. “Wir werden das Geld für den weiteren Ausbau unseres Geschäfts in der DACH-Region nutzen”, teilt die Jungfirma mit.  27 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für Evy Solutions. Mehr über Evy Solutions

TextCortex
+++ btov Partners, Speedinvest, Entrepreneur First sowie Business Angels wie Amar Shah und Holger Hengstler investieren 1,2 Millionen US-Dollar in TextCortex. Das Startup aus Berlin, von Dominik Lambersy und Ceyhun Derinbogaz gegründet, generiert auf Knopfdruck kurze Social-Media-Texte. “Use our AI product description generator tool to create unique, captivating & SEO-optimized content for your Ecommerce store within seconds. Start creating product descriptions that convert”, heißt es auf der Website.

renovido
+++ Nicht genannte Geldgeber investieren eine siebenstellige Summe in renovido. Das Startup aus Mönchengladbach, 2020 von Julian Roth-Schmidt und Willi Rack gegründet, bietet Küchen-Abos an. “Um ein Küchen-Abo mit so niedrigen Preisen realisieren zu können, haben wir die Produktauswahl und den Prozess bis ins letzte Detail optimiert”, heißt es auf der Website. 8 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für renovido.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Echobot
+++ Das Karlsruher Sales-Intelligence-Unternehmen Echobot und das finnische Unternehmen Leadfeeder, das sich um Web-Visitor-Analyse kümmert, fusionieren. Das amerikanische Private-Equity-Unternehmen Great Hill Partners “setzt 180 Millionen Euro ein, um den Zusammenschluss zu unterstützen und dem neu gegründeten Unternehmen dabei zu helfen, seine Produktinnovationen voranzutreiben, seine Vertriebstrukturen zu erweitern und das internationale Wachstum zu beschleunigen”. Weitere 50 Millionen Euro stehen für weitere Übernahmen zur Verfügung. Das neue Unternehmenmit Hauptsitz in Karlsruhe beschäftigt 250 Mitarbeiter:innen. Echobot wurde 2011 von Bastian Karweg gegründet. Leadfeeder ging 2012 an den Start.

VENTURE CAPITAL

G+D Ventures
+++ Die Europäische Investitionsbank (EIB) und G+D Ventures, der Venture Capital-Ableger des Sicherheitsunternehmens Giesecke+Devrient (G+D), gründen eine “Co-Investment-Plattform zur Investition in europäische TrustTech-Startups”. Die beiden Partner stellen dafür jeweils 25 Millionen Euro zur Verfügung. “Ziel des Fonds ist es, in die Entwicklung innovativer Lösungen zu investieren, die dazu beitragen, das Vertrauen (Trust) in eine digitale (Tech) Gesellschaft zu stärken. Dazu zählen unter anderem Lösungen für Cybersecurity, Technologien zum Schutz der Privatsphäre, das Management digitaler Identitäten, sowie sichere Authentifizierungs- und Zahlungssysteme”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung.

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #aperiamventures, #berlin, #btov-partners, #dnx-ventures, #e-health, #echobot, #enpal, #entrepreneur-first, #evy-solutions, #fly-ventures, #gd-ventures, #great-hill-partners, #greentech, #insight-partners, #itochu, #karista, #karlsruhe, #koln, #kranus-health, #lazard-asset-management, #leadfeeder, #logistik, #mobility, #monchengladbach, #munchen, #nea, #oca-ventures, #omio, #peak-pride, #point-nine-capital, #prime-capital, #project-a-ventures, #renovido, #rewe-group, #roq-ad, #salvia, #speedinvest, #stack-capital-group, #temasek, #textcortex, #tradelink, #travel, #unicorn, #vaeridion, #venture-capital, #vsquared-ventures, #weiterstadt, #wingcopter, #xai-techologies

#DealMonitor – Unicorn Scandit sammelt 150 Millionen ein – instagrid bekommt 33 Millionen – Cosuno sammelt 30 Millionen ein


Im #DealMonitor für den 9. Februar werfen wir 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

Scandit
+++ Der Wachstumsfinanzierer Warburg Pincus investiert gemeinsam mit Altinvestoren 150 Millionen Dollar in Scandit. Im Zuge der Investmentrunde wird das Unternehmen mit mehr als 1 Milliarde Dollar bewertet und erreicht somit Unicorn-Status. Das Unternehmen aus Zürich, das 2009 von Christof Roduner, Christian Floerkemeier und Samuel Müller gegründet wurde, ermöglicht Unternehmen Augmented Reality, Barcode-Scanning, Text- und Objekterkennung in ihre Apps zu integrieren. “Mit der neuen Investition wird Scandit Innovationen im Bereich KI/ML und der autonomen Datenerfassung weiter vorantreiben. Außerdem soll die globale Präsenz weiter ausgebaut werden”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. G2VP, Atomico, GV, Kreos, NGP Capital, Salesforce Ventures und Swisscom Ventures investierten zuletzt 80 Millionen Dollar in Scandit. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 300 Millionen Dollar in das Unternehmen.

instagrid
+++ Der amerikanische Energie-Geldgeber Energy Impact Partners (EIP) und Co. investieren 33 Millionen US-Dollar in instagrid. Das Ludwigsburger Startups, das 2018 von Sebastian Berning und Andreas Sedlmayr gegründet wurde, kümmert sich um die “Entwicklung von tragbaren Batteriespeichern und bietet eine mobile Stromversorgung für Menschen, die an temporären Standorten arbeiten”. SET Ventures, der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), Segnalita Ventures und Co. investieren zuletzt 8,5 Millionen Euro in das Batterie-Startup. Insgesamt flossen nun bereits 45 Millionen Dollar in instagrid. “Das frische Kapital verwendet instagrid, um die Internationalisierung in Europa und den USA voranzutreiben. Zudem wird die Batterieplattform um smarte digitale Services erweitert, um zukünftig maßgeschneiderte, ganzheitliche Energielösungen anbieten zu können”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung.

Cosuno
+++ Der amerikanische Growth-Investor Avenir Growth und die Altinvestoren Spark Capital und Cherry Ventures investieren 30 Millionen US-Dollar in Cosuno. Die Bewertung liegt bei 150 Millionen Dollar. Das junge Unternehmen, das 2019 von Christoph Berner, Fritz Cramer und Maximilian Seifert gegründet wurde, möchte Bauunternehmen helfen, sogenannte Nachunternehmer zu finden. Spark Capital, Cherry Ventures und Co. investierten zuletzt 12,5 Millionen Euro in das ConTech Cosuno. “The new capital will flow into the development of further features and international expansion, beginning first on the European continent”, teilt das Unternehmen mit.

South Pole
+++ Temasek aus Singapur und Salesforce Ventures aus San Francisco investieren in South Pole. Das ClimateTech Unternehmen aus Zürich, das 2006 von Renat Heuberger und Christoph Sutter gegründet wurde, setzt auf Klimaschutzlösungen. Die Jungfirma unterstützt “öffentliche und private Akteure dabei, ihre Geschäftsmodelle zu dekarbonisieren und sich wirksam für Klimaschutz zu engagieren”. Die neuen Investoren sollen “South Poles Engagement für den Klimaschutz in Asien bzw. Nordamerika verstärken”.

Mobiko
+++ Der Schweizer Versicherungskonzern Baloise investiert zusammen mit dem Startup Family Office eine siebenstellige Summe in Mobiko. Das Startup, das 2018 von Audi Business Innovation und dem Company Builder mantro gegründet wurde, bietet Unternehmen die Möglichkeit, ihren Mitarbeiter:innen ein Mobilitätsbudget für den Arbeitsweg zur Verfügung zu stellen. Umweltfreundliches Mobilitätsverhalten wird dabei belohnt.

Installion
+++ Der Energiedienstleister enercity investiert in Installion und sichert sich dabei 30 % am Unternehmen. Bei Installion aus Köln, das von Till Pirnay und Florian Meyer-Delpho gegründet wurde, handelt es sich um einen Marktplatz für Installateure. Der Fokus liegt dabei auf der boomenden Energiebranche (Photovoltaik, Energiespeicher etc). Eneco Ventures, der Venture Capital-Ableger des niederländischen Energieversorgers Eneco, investierte zuletzt rund 3,2 Millionen Euro in Installion.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Klara
+++ Jetzt offiziell: Das amerikanische Software-Unternehmen ModMed übernimmt – wie bereits im Insider-Podcast berichtet – Klara. “Klara’s platform is designed to enable collaboration and communication between practice and patient, including how patients discover, select and engage with a provider. The capability for practices and patients to collaborate digitally has never been more important”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das 2013 von Simon Bolz und Simon Lorenz in Berlin gegründete Startup entwickelt einen Kommunikationsdienst für das Gesundheitswesen, das Arztpraxen mit Patienten und anderen medizinischen Anbietern verknüpft. Seit einigen Jahren bearbeitet die Jungfirma von New York aus den amerikanischen Markt. Gradient Ventures, der Investmentableger von Google, Frist Cressey, FirstMark Capital, Lerer Hippeau und Stage 2 Capital, Project A Ventures, Atlantic Labs und Creathor Ventures investierten in den vergangenen Jahren mehr als 30 Millionen Dollar in Klara. Nach unseren Informationen legt ModMed rund 100 Millionen US-Dollar für Klara auf den Tisch.

HQLabs
+++ Der Hamburger Private Equity-Investor BID Equity übernimmt HQLabs. Das Hamburger Startup, das 2012 von Tobias Hagenau, Nils Czernig und Lucas Bauche gegründet wurde, bietet eine Projektmanagement-Software an. Nach eigenen Angaben verfügt die Jungfirma über 700 Kunden. “Das Unternehmen soll als führender Software-Anbieter für Agenturen, digitale Dienstleister, und Beratungen in Europa ausgebaut werden”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Zu den Investoren von HQLabs gehörte in der Vergangenheit insbesondere der Innovationsstarter Fond Hamburg. Die HQLabs-Gründer steigen im Zuge des Exits auf und starten nun mit awork, ursprünglich innerhalb von HQLabs entstanden, durch.

Lomado
+++ Das Unternehmen PremiumXL, ein Online-Händler rund um die Themen Home und Living, übernimmt Lomado, einen Online-Händler mit Fokus auf Badezimmermöbel.  “Mit der Übernahme erweitert PremiumXL sein Angebot an qualitativ hochwertigen Möbeln. Das kombinierte Unternehmen wird die Marke Lomado fortführen und die Möbel der Marke auch in Zukunft über den eigenen Online-Shop sowie verschiedene Online-Markplätze verkaufen”, teilen die Unternehmen mit. Lomado aus Bünde, 2018 gegründet, erwirtschaftete 2021 einen Umsatz “im gut zweistelligen Millionenbereich”. PremiumXL wird von Verdane finanziell unterstützt.

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #cofenster, #contech, #enercity, #energy-impact-partners, #instagrid, #installion, #klara, #koln, #lomado, #ludwigsburg, #modmed, #premiumxl, #salesforce-ventures, #scandit, #south-pole, #temasek, #unicorn, #venture-capital, #verdane, #warburg-pincus, #zurich

#DealMonitor – CoachHub bekommt 80 Millionen – Oviva sammelt 80 Millionen ein – Frank Thelen startet 10XDNA


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 1. September 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

CoachHub
+++ Die Altinvestoren Draper Esprit, RTP Global, HV Capital, Signals Venture Capital, Partech und Speedinvest investieren weitere 80 Millionen US-Dollar in die Berliner Coaching-Plattform CoachHub. Das Startup wurde 2018 von den Seriengründern Yannis und Matti Niebelschütz (MyParfüm) ins Leben gerufen. Führungskräfte und Mitarbeiter von Unternehmen können über die Coachhub-App mit Coaches sprechen, der Algorithmus schlägt jeweils passende vor. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 130 Millionen in die Jungfirma. “The money will continue to fund CoachHub’s meteoric expansion which started just three years ago. In just the first half of 2021, CoachHub has exceeded 2020’s new business generation, tripled its number of employees, and added some of the biggest, foremost global brands to its stable of clients including Fujitsu, Electrolux, Babbel, ViacomCBS and KPMG”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. 300 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für CoachHub. Mehr über CoachHub

Oviva 
+++ Sofina, Temasek und die Altinvestoren AlbionVC, Earlybird, Eight Roads Ventures, F-Prime Capital, MTIP und mehrere Angel-Investoren investieren 80 Millionen US-Dollar in Oviva. Das Potsdamer Unternehmen, 2014 von Kai Eberhardt, Manuel Baumann und Mark Jenkins gegründet, positioniert sich als Anbieter von digitalen Typ-2-Diabetes-Therapien. “Die Runde folgt auf ein Jahr, in dem Oviva sowohl die Zahl der behandelten Patienten als auch den Umsatz mehr als verdoppelt hat”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. MTIP, Earlybird, AlbionVC, F-Prime Capital, Eight Roads Ventures und Partech investierten Anfang 2020 rund 21 Millionen US-Dollar in E-Health-Startup. Insgesamt flossen bereits 115 Millionen in die Jungfirma. Mehr zu Oviva

Merantix
+++ Der bekannte Technologieinvestor Softbank investiert eine ungenannte Summe in das Berliner Unternehmen Merantix – siehe Gründerszene. Der junge Company Buider, der 2016 von Rasmus Rothe und Adrian Locher gegründet wurde, kümmert sich konkret um den Transfer von KI-Forschung in die Wirtschaft. “Die Partnerschaft umfasst die Zusammenarbeit in den Bereichen KI-Forschung, Talent- und Ökosystem-Entwicklung”, heißt es im Artikel. Merantix baute bereits Unternehmen wie SiaSearch, Kausa und Vara auf.

Planetics
+++ Bernd Geilen (früher ING Bank), Andrea Lederer (Ex-Amazon, DOUGLAS), Arno Gerken (McKinsey) sowie zwei weitere nicht genannte Kapitalgeber investieren eine sechsstellige Summe in Planetics. Beim Startup aus München, das 2020 von Fabian Hörst, Raphael Breitner und Alexandros Taflanidis gegründet wurde, dreht sich alles um “nachhaltige und faire Sportartikel”. Gemeint sind damit Bekleidung, Equipment und Nutrition. Planetics war bereits im Januar dieses Jahres in unserem Pitch-Podcast zu Gast.

Tradelite
+++ Seriengründer und Investor Heiko Hubertz (Bigpoint, Whow Games) investiert in Tradelite. Das Münchner Startup, das 2020 von Tracy Chang, Matthias Kröner und Uwe Franke gegründet wurde, möchte “komplexes Finanzwissen für Milliarden von Menschen leicht zugänglich machen”. Gelingen soll dies, “indem reale Finanzdaten und Interaktionen in Videospiele integriert werden. Das Schlagwort für dieses Konzept lautet Financial Entertainment.

Immomio
+++ W&W brandpool, der Digitalableger der W&W-Gruppe, investiert in Immomio. W&W brandpool übernimmt dabei auch Anteile vom Mainzer Immobiliensoftwareanbieter Aareon und hält nun 16 % an Immomio. Das Hamburger Startup veröffentlicht die Anzeigen seiner Kunden auf Immobilienportalen. Anschließend bewertet das Team um Nicolas Jacobi die Bewerber und sorgt für eine Auswahl. Aus diesen sucht der Vermieter seine Favoriten und lädt sie mithilfe der Terminplanung zu einem Besichtigungstermin ein.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Usercentrics / Cookiebot
+++ Das Münchner Startup Usercentrics fusioniert mit seinem Wettbewerber Cookiebot (gehört zu Cybot). Usercentrics, das andere Unternehmen dabei unterstützt, ihre Webseiten DSGVO-konform zu machen, wurde 2017 von Mischa Rürup, Vinzent Ellissen und Lisa Gradow gegründet. “Das 2012 gegründete Unternehmen Cybot betreibt mit der Cookiebot Consent-Management-Plattform ein Selfservice-Angebot, das es Websites ermöglicht, transparent über die Cookie-Nutzung auf der jeweiligen Domain zu informieren und entsprechende Einwilligungen einzuholen”, teilen die Unternehmen mit. Der amerikanische Geldgeber Full In Partners sowie die Altinvestoren Alstin Capital, Reimann Investors und Cavalry Ventures investierten zuletzt 17 Millionen Euro in Usercentrics. Mehr über Usercentrics

Playbrush
+++ Die Sunstar Group, die im Segment Mundgesundheit unetrwegs ist, übernimmt die Mehrheit an Playbrush. Das Wiener Startup, das 2015 von Matthäus Ittner, Tolulope Ogunsina und Paul Varga gegründet wurde, setzt im Zahnpflegesegment auf Künstliche Intelligenz, Connectivity und Gamification. “Gemeinsam mit Playbrush plant Sunstar umfangreiche smarte Innovationen, welche die Gesundheit im Sinne ihrer Mouth-and-Body-Strategy ergänzen und auch weiterhin neue Standards für die Zukunft der Mundpflege setzen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Speedinvest, Uniqa Ventures, SevenVentures, der bekannte Business Angel Hansi Hansmann und der ehemalige Rennfahrer Harold Primat investierten in den vergangenen Jahren mehrere Millionen in das Unternehmen. “Die Altgesellschafter verlassen das Unternehmen”, teilt der neue Mehrheitsgesellschafter mit. Mehr über Playbrush

STOCK MARKET

10XDNA
+++ Startup-Investor und Ex-Vox-Löwe Frank Thelen legt mit 10XDNA seinen Aktienfonds auf, mit dem er in börsennotierte Firmen investieren möchte – siehe FinanceFWD. “Der 10xDNA-Fonds soll vor allem auf Zukunftsthemen wie Blockchain oder Künstliche Intelligenz setzen”, heißt es im Artikel. Hinter dem Aktienfonds steckt 10xDNA Capital Partners, das von Jens Giersberg, zuletzt Partner bei McKinsey, geführt wird. “Durch unseren VC-Background heben wir uns von anderen Aktienfonds ab und genau das ist die Idee. Die meisten Fonds treffen Investmententscheidungen entlang fest definierter Value-Investing-Kriterien wie Umsatzprognosen und Bilanzen”, sagt Thelen im Interview mit CAPinside zum neuen Aktienfonds.

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

#10xdna, #10xdna-capital-partners, #aareon, #aktuell, #berlin, #coachhub, #cookiebot, #draper-esprit, #e-health, #fintech, #frank-thelen, #hv-capital, #immomio, #merantix, #munchen, #oviva, #partech, #planetics, #playbrush, #rtp-global, #signals-venture-capital, #sofina, #softbank, #speedinvest, #temasek, #tradelite, #usercentrics, #venture-capital, #ww-brandpool, #wien, #zurich

Oviva grabs $80M for app-delivered healthy eating programs

UK startup Oviva, which sells a digital support offering, including for Type 2 diabetes treatment, dispensing personalized diet and lifestyle advice via apps to allow more people to be able to access support, has closed $80 million in Series C funding — bringing its total raised to date to $115M.

The raise, which Oviva says will be used to scale up after a “fantastic year” of growth for the health tech business, is co-led by Sofina and Temasek, alongside existing investors AlbionVC, Earlybird, Eight Roads Ventures, F-Prime Capital, MTIP, plus several angels.

Underpinning that growth is the fact wealthy Western nations continue to see rising rates of obesity and other health conditions like Type 2 diabetes (which can be linked to poor diet and lack of exercise). While more attention is generally being paid to the notion of preventative — rather than reactive — healthcare, to manage the rising costs of service delivery.

Lifestyle management to help control weight and linked health conditions (like diabetes) is where Oviva comes in: It’s built a blended support offering that combines personalized care (provided by healthcare professionals) with digital tools for patients that help them do things like track what they’re eating, access support and chart their progress towards individual health goals.

It can point to 23 peer-reviewed publications to back up its approach — saying key results show an average of 6.8% weight loss at 6 months for those living with obesity; while, in its specialist programs, it says 53% of patients achieve remission of their type 2 diabetes at 12 months.

Oviva typically sells its digitally delivered support programs direct to health insurance companies (or publicly funded health services) — who then provide (or refer) the service to their customers/patients. Its programs are currently available in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and France — but expanding access is one of the goals for the Series C.

“We will expand to European markets where the health system reimburses the diet and lifestyle change we offer, especially those with specific pathways for digital reimbursement,” Oviva tells TechCrunch. “Encouragingly, more healthcare systems have been opening up specific routes for such digital reimbursement, e.g., Germany for DiGAs or Belgium just in the last months.”

So far, the startup has treated 200,000 people but the addressable market is clearly huge — not least as European populations age — with Oviva suggesting more than 300 million people live with “health challenges” that are either triggered by poor diet or can be optimised through personalised dietary changes. Moreover, it suggests, only “a small fraction” is currently being offered digital care.

To date, Oviva has built up 5,000+ partnerships with health systems, insurers and doctors as it looks to push for further scale by making its technology more accessible to a wider range of people. In the past year it says it’s “more than doubled” both people treated and revenue earned.

Its goal is for the Series C funding is to reach “millions” of people across Europe who need support because they’re suffering from poor health linked to diet and lifestyle.

As part of the scale up plan it will also be growing its team to 800 by the end of 2022, it adds.

On digital vs face-to-face care — setting aside the potential cost savings associated with digital delivery — it says studies show the “most striking outcome benefits” are around uptake and completion rates, noting: “We have consistently shown uptake rates above 70% and high completion rates of around 80%, even in groups considered harder to reach such as working age populations or minority ethnic groups. This compares to uptake and completion rates of less than 50% for most face-to-face services.”

Asked about competition, Oviva names Liva Healthcare and Second Nature as its closest competitors in the region.

“WW (formally Weight Watchers) also competes with a digital solution in some markets where they can access reimbursement,” it adds. “There are many others that try to access this group with new methods, but are not reimbursed or are wellness solutions. Noom competes as a solution for self-paying consumers in Europe, as many other apps. But, in our view, that is a separate market from the reimbursed medical one.”

As well as using the Series C funding to bolster its presence in existing markets and target and scale into new ones, Oviva says it may look to further grow the business via M&A opportunities.

“In expanding to new countries, we are open to both building new organisations from the ground up or acquiring existing businesses with a strong medical network where we see that our technology can be leveraged for better patient care and value creation,” it told us on that.

 

#diabetes, #digital-therapeutics, #eight-roads-ventures, #europe, #f-prime-capital, #france, #fundings-exits, #germany, #health, #health-insurance, #health-systems, #obesity, #oviva, #sofina, #switzerland, #tc, #temasek, #united-kingdom, #zoe

Apeel bites into another $250M funding round, at a $2B valuation, to accelerate fresh food supply chains

Apeel Sciences, a food system innovation company, is out to prevent food produced globally from ending up in the landfill, especially as pressures from the global pandemic affect the food supply chain.

The company just added $250 million in Series E funding, giving it a valuation of $2 billion, to speed up the availability of its longer-lasting produce in the U.S. (where approximately 40% of food is wasted), the U.K. and Europe.

Existing investor Temasek led the round and was joined by a group of new and existing investors, including Mirae Asset Global Investments, GIC, Viking Global Investors, Disruptive, Andreessen Horowitz, Tenere Capital, Sweetwater Private Equity, Tao Capital Partners, K3 Ventures, David Barber of Almanac Insights, Michael Ovitz of Creative Artists Agency, Anne Wojcicki of 23andMe, Susan Wojcicki of YouTube and Katy Perry.

With the new funding, Apeel has now raised over $635 million since the company was founded in 2012. Prior to this round, the company brought in $250 million in Series D funding in May 2020.

Santa Barbara-based Apeel developed a plant-based layer for the surface of fruits and vegetables that is tasteless and odorless and that keeps moisture in while letting oxygen out. It is those two factors in particular that lead to grocery produce lasting twice as long, James Rogers, CEO of Apeel, told TechCrunch.

Apeel installs its application at the supplier facilities where the produce is packed into boxes. In addition to that technology, the company acquired ImpactVision earlier this year to add another layer of quality by integrating imaging systems on individual pieces as they move through the supply chain to optimize routing so more produce that is grown is eaten.

“One in nine people are going hungry, and if three in nine pieces of produce are being thrown away, we can be better stewards of the food we are throwing away,” Rogers said. “This is a solvable problem, we just have to get the pieces to the right place at the right time.”

The company is not alone in tackling food waste. For example, Shelf Engine, Imperfect Foods, Mori and Phood Solutions are all working to improve the food supply chain and have attracted venture dollars to go after that mission.

Prior to the pandemic, the amount of food people were eating was growing each year, but that trend is reversed, Rogers explained. Consumers are more aware of the food they eat, they are shopping less frequently, buying more per visit and more online. At the same time, grocery stores are trying to sort through all of that.

“We can’t create these supply networks alone, we do it in concert with supply and retail partners,” he said. “Grocery stores are looking at the way shoppers want to buy things, while we look at how to partner to empower the supply chain. What started with longer-lasting fruits and vegetables, is becoming how we provide information to empower them to do it without adding to food waste.”

Since 2019, Apeel has prevented 42 million pieces of fruit from going to waste at retail locations; that includes up to 50% reduction in avocado food waste with corresponding sales growth. Those 42 million pieces of saved fruit also helped conserve nearly 4.7 billion liters of water, Rogers said.

Meanwhile, over the past year, Apeel has amassed a presence in eight countries, operating 30 supply networks and  distributing produce to 40 retail partners, which then goes out to tens of thousands of stores around the world.

The new funding will accelerate the rollout of those systems, as well as co-create another 10 supply networks with retail and supply partnerships by the end of the year. Rogers also expects to use the funding to advance Apeel’s data and insights offerings and future acquisitions.

Thomas Park, president and head of alternative investments at Mirae Asset Global Investments, said his firm has been investing in environmental, social and governance-related companies for awhile, targeting companies that “make a huge impact globally and in a way that is easy for us to understand.”

The firm, which is part of Mirae Asset Financial Group, often partners with other investors on venture rounds, and in Apeel’s case with Temasek. It also invested with Temasek in Impossible Foods, leading its Series F round last year.

“When we saw them double-down on their investment, it gave us confidence to invest in Apeel and an opportunity to do so,” Park said. “Food waste is a global problem, and after listening to James, we definitely feel like Apeel is the next wave of how to attack these huge problems in an impactful way.”

 

#andreessen-horowitz, #anne-wojcicki, #apeel-sciences, #david-barber, #disruptive, #enterprise, #food, #food-and-drink, #food-supply-chain, #food-waste, #funding, #gic, #grocery-store, #james-rogers, #katy-perry, #michael-ovitz, #mirae-asset-global-investments, #recent-funding, #startups, #susan-wojcicki, #sweetwater-private-equity, #tao-capital-partners, #tc, #temasek, #tenere-capital, #thomas-park, #viking-global-investors

India’s ShareChat valued at $2.88 billion in $145 million fundraise

Indian social media platform ShareChat said on Tuesday it has raised an additional $145 million and is now valued at nearly $3 billion, less than three months after it secured $502 million at a valuation of $2.1 billion.

Temasek and Moore Strategic Ventures led the new tranche of investment while Mirae-Naver Asia Growth fund participated in the new financing round (Series F), the Bangalore-based startup said. TechCrunch reported earlier this month that six-year-old ShareChat was in talks to raise at around $2.8 billion valuation. ShareChat has now raised over $911 million to date.

“This additional investment for Series F is a validation of our market leadership and a reflection of investor trust in our execution capabilities. We are immensely proud of what we have been able to achieve with Moj and ShareChat in the last 12 months,” said Ankush Sachdeva, co-founder and chief executive of video app Moj and ShareChat.

“We have been very fortunate to attract a bunch of very high quality names in our series F and the list just got longer with Temasek, MSV and Mirae-Naver joining hands with us.”

In a recent interview with TechCrunch, Sachdeva said the short video app Moj, which the startup launched last year shortly after New Delhi banned TikTok citing cybersecurity concerns, is the fastest growing product within the firm and he expects it to be bigger that ShareChat one day.

ShareChat, which claims to have more than 160 million users, offers its social network app in 15 Indian languages and has a large following in small Indian cities and towns, or what venture capitalist Sajith Pai of Blume Ventures refers to as “India 2.”

Very few players in the Indian startup ecosystem have a reach to this segment of this population, which thanks to users from even smaller towns and villages — called “India 3” — getting online has expanded in recent years.

Moj, on the other hand, competes with a handful of players, including Times Internet’s MX TakaTak, as well as Glance’s Roposo and DailyHunt’s Josh — both of which received funding from Google late last year. The search giant was also in talks to invest in ShareChat late last year, TechCrunch reported earlier.

“With a monthly active user base of 160 million and 50+ million strong creator community, Moj in a year has grown into India’s number one short video app. To strengthen our leadership position, we will continue to invest in our AI capabilities, scaling our global AI org, building advanced editing tools and helping our creators monetize on the platform,” said Sachdeva, adding that the short video app clocks 4.5 billion views each day and a user typically spends about 34 minutes with the app daily.

TechCrunch also reported earlier that Twitter had held talks to acquire majority stakes in ShareChat and expand the Moj app globally.

“We are excited to partner with Moj as they build India’s premier short form video platform, and have been impressed by this management team’s speed and agility in capturing the opportunity. This round will help to accelerate that growth and allow Moj and ShareChat to continue to develop the best ecosystem for content creators and consumers alike,” said James McIntyre, Senior Managing Director and COO at MSV, in a statement.

#apps, #asia, #funding, #sharechat, #social, #temasek

Nium crosses $1B valuation with $200M Riverwood Capital-led round

Business-to-business payments platform Nium announced Monday that it raised more than $200 million in Series D funding and saw its valuation rise above $1 billion.

The company, now Singapore-based but shifting to the Bay Area, touted the investment as making it “the first B2B payments unicorn from Southeast Asia.”

Riverwood Capital led the round, in which Temasek, Visa, Vertex Ventures, Atinum Capital, Beacon Venture Capital and Rocket Capital Investment participated, along with a group of angel investors like DoorDash’s Gokul Rajaram, FIS’ Vicky Bindra and Tribe Capital’s Arjun Sethi. Including the new funding, Nium has raised $300 million to date, Prajit Nanu, co-founder and CEO, told TechCrunch.

The B2B payments sector is already hot, yet underpenetrated, according to some experts. To give an idea just how hot, Nium was seeking $150 million for its Series D round, received commitments of $300 million from eager investors and settled on $200 million, Nanu said.

“This is our fourth or fifth fundraise, but we have never had this kind of interest before — we even had our term sheets in five days,” he added. “I believe this interest is because we’ve successfully managed to create a global platform that is heavily regulated, which gives us access to a lot of networks. This is an environment where payment is visible, and our core is powering frictionless commerce and enabling anyone to use our platform.”

Nium’s new round adds fuel to a fire shared by a number of companies all going after a global B2B payments market valued at $120 trillion annually: last week, Paystand raised $50 million in Series C funding to make B2B payments cashless, while Dwolla raised $21 million for its API that allows companies to build and facilitate fast payments. In March, Higo brought in $3.3 million to do the same in Latin America, while Balance, developing a B2B payments platform that allows merchants to offer a variety of payment methods. raised $5.5 million in February.

Nium’s approach is to provide access to a global payment infrastructure, including card issuance, accounts receivable and payable, and banking-as-a-service through a single API. The company’s network enables customers to then send funds to more than 100 countries, pay out in more than 60 currencies, accept funds in seven currencies and issue cards in more than 40 countries, Nanu said. The company also boasts money transfer, card issuances and banking licenses in 11 jurisdictions.

Francisco Alvarez-Demalde, co-founding partner and managing partner at Riverwood, said in an email that the combination of software — plus regulatory licenses — and operating a fintech infrastructure platform on behalf of neobanks and corporates is a global trend experiencing hyper-growth.

Riverwood followed Nium for many years, and its future vision was what got the firm interested in being a part of this round. Alvarez-Demalde said that “Nium has the incredible combination of a great market opportunity, a talented founder and team, and we believe the company is poised for global growth based on underlying secular technology trends like increasing real-time payment capabilities and the proliferation of cross border commerce.

“As a central payment infrastructure in one API, Nium is a catalyst that unlocks cross-border payments, local accounts and card issuance with a network of local market licenses, partners and banking relationships to facilitate moving money across the world,” he added. “Enterprises of all types are embedding financial services as part of their consumer experience, and Nium is a key global enabler of this trend.”

Nanu said the new funding enables the company to move to the United States, which represents 3% of Nium’s revenue. He wants to increase that to 20% over the next 18 months, as well as expand in Latin America. The investment also gives the company a 12- to 18-month runway for further M&A activity.  In June, Nium acquired virtual card issuance company Ixaris, and in July acquired Wirecard Forex India to expose it to India’s market. He also plans to expand the company’s payments network infrastructure, invest in product development and add to Nium’s 700-person headcount.

Nium already counts hundreds of enterprise companies as clients and plans to onboard thousands more in the next year. The company processes $8 billion in payments annually and has issued more than 30 million virtual cards since 2015. Meanwhile, revenue grew by over 280% year over year.

All of this growth puts the company on a trajectory for an initial public offering, Nanu said. He has already spoken to people who will help the company formally kick off that journey in the first quarter of 2022.

“Unlike other companies that raise money for new products, we aim to expand in the existing sets of what we do,” Nanu said. “The U.S. is a new market, but we have a good brand and will use the new round to provide a better experience to the customer.”

 

#api, #arjun-sethi, #asia, #atinum-capital, #beacon-venture-capital, #dwolla, #enterprise, #funding, #gokul-rajaram, #mobile-payments, #nium, #online-payments, #payments, #paystand, #prajit-nanu, #recent-funding, #riverwood-capital, #singapore, #tc, #temasek, #venture-capital, #vertex-ventures, #visa

Lenskart valued at $2.5 billion following $220 million investment from Temasek and Falcon Edge Capital

Temasek and Falcon Edge Capital have led a $220 million investment in Indian omni-channel eyewear retailer Lenskart, valuing the Bangalore-based startup at $2.5 billion.

The new investment, which includes primary and secondary transactions, is part of a new round Lenskart unveiled a month ago when it raised $95 million from global investment fund KKR. Bay Capital and Chiratae also participated in the new round.

Peyush Bansal, founder and chief executive of Lenskart, said the profitable startup — which sells eyeglasses and contact lenses online and through about 750 physical retail outlets across the country — has seen a surge in sales of eyewear products in the pandemic year.

The startup, which counts SoftBank among its investors, sold about 8 million pairs of eyewear last year.

Now the firm, which claims to lead the market in India, plans to scale its operations in Southeast Asia and Middle East. The combined market opportunity for eyewear in these regions will be about $15 billion by 2025, the startup said, citing its own projections.

“We’re already the largest eyewear player in India and in the top 3 in Singapore. Lenskart envisions to have 50% of India wearing its specs over the next 5 years and become the #1 eyewear platform in Southeast Asia and Middle East over the next 18 to 24 months through organic and inorganic expansion,” he said.

According to industry estimates, more than half a billion people in India are affected by poor vision and need eyeglasses, but only 170 million of them have opted to get their vision corrected.

The firm also plans to deploy some capital to broaden its technology stack to create a more personalized experience for its customers. The startup, which recently launched ‘Lenskart Vision Fund,’ said it is also looking to invest in other younger firms that are operating in eyewear, eyecare and omnichannel retail spaces.

“We are thrilled to join Peyush and his team in this journey and look forward to working closely with Lenskart’s team in helping them scale their business internationally, especially in the MENA region” said Navroz Udwadia, co-founder and partner at Falcon Edge Capital, in a statement.

The new investment comes at a time when Indian startups are raising record capital and a handful of mature firms are beginning to explore the public markets. Zomato raised $1.3 billion last week in the South Asian market’s first consumer tech IPO in a decade.

Paytm, the pioneer digital payments startup, as well as its rival Mobikwik also filed for IPOs last week.

#asia, #ecommerce, #falcon-edge, #falcon-edge-capital, #funding, #health, #india, #lenskart, #tc, #temasek

Temasek and Warburg Pincus invest $500 million in Ola

Temasek and an affiliate of Warburg Pincus are investing $500 million in Indian ride-hailing giant Ola, the Bangalore-headquartered startup said in a short statement Friday.

This is the first time SoftBank-backed Ola has raised money since its Series J two years ago, according to records on insight platform Tracxn. Ola said in a statement that the investment comes “ahead of IPO” but it didn’t elaborate.

Ola, Temasek, and Warburg Pincus didn’t share how the new investment valued the ride-hailing startup.

“Over the last 12 months we’ve made our ride hailing business more robust, resilient and efficient. With strong recovery post lockdown and a shift in consumer preference away from public transportation, we are well positioned to capitalize on the various urban mobility needs of our customers. I welcome Warburg Pincus and Temasek to Ola and look forward to collaborating with them in our next phase of growth,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, Chairman and Group CEO of Ola, in a statement.

This is a developing story. More to follow…

#asia, #ola, #temasek, #warburg-pincus

Merchant commerce Asian giant Pine Labs secures $600 million

Pine Labs said on Tuesday it has closed a $600 million financing round as the Asian merchant commerce platform sets the goal to explore the public markets within two years.

Fidelity Management & Research Company, BlackRock, Ishana, as well as a fund advised by Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers, and IIFL and Kotak invested in the round, which values the startup at $3 billion. Pine Labs unveiled the new round, a name of which it hasn’t disclosed, earlier this year.

Pine Labs, which counts Sequoia Capital India, Temasek, PayPal and Mastercard among its early backers, offers hundreds of thousands of merchants payments terminals, invoicing tools and working capital.

Its payments terminal — also known as point-of-sale machines — are connected to the cloud, and offer a range of additional services such as working capital — to the merchants. Pine Labs’s payments terminal has integration with over two dozen banks and financial and technology partners.

This differentiates Pine Labs from the competition, whose terminals typically have integration with just one bank. Each time a rival firm strikes a new partnership with a bank, they need to deploy new machines into the market. This makes the whole deployment expensive for both the fintech and the bank. (This is why you also often see a restaurant has multiple terminals at the check out.) The startup says it processes tens of billions of payment transactions.

“Over the last year, Pine Labs has made significant progress in its offline-to-online strategy in India and the direct-to-consumer play in Southeast Asia. Our full-stack approach to payments and merchant commerce has allowed us to grow in-month merchant partnerships by nearly 100% over the last year,” said B. Amrish Rau, CEO, Pine Labs.

“We are excited to bring on board a marquee set of new investors in this round and appreciate the confidence they have placed on the Pine Labs business model and our growth momentum,” said Amrish Rau, adding that he plans to take the startup public in 18 months.

In recent years, Pine Labs has made several acquisitions to broaden its business. In 2019, it acquired QwikCilver, which leads the market in gift cards category. Earlier this year, it acquired Southeast Asian startup Fave for $45 million as it broadened its consume side of the business.

Over 6 million consumers across over 40,000 merchant establishments now have access to the Fave app, the startup said.

“Through its acquisitions of QwikCilver and Fave, Pine Labs now has the market leading pre-paid platform in this region as well as the top consumer loyalty product in this market. With leadership across multiple categories, the company is very well positioned to help drive immense value to its merchant partners in India and across other SEA markets,” said Shailendra Singh, MD, Sequoia Capital.

#apps, #asia, #blackrock, #fidelity, #finance, #funding, #india, #mastercard, #paypal, #pine-labs, #sequoia-capital-india, #temasek

India’s Licious raises $192 million for international expansion

Licious, a Bangalore-based startup that sells fresh meat and seafood online, has raised $192 million in a new financing round as it looks to expand its footprint beyond the South Asian market.

The new round — a Series F — was led by Singapore’s investment firm Temasek and Multiples Private Equity. The round, which brings the six-year-old Indian firm’s to-date raise to over $285 million, values the startup at more than $650 million (according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter), up from $285 million in December 2019 Series E funding.

Existing investors 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Growth Fund, and Vertex Ventures also participated in the new round, and some early investors sold some of their stakes.

Licious operates an eponymous e-commerce platform where it sells meat and seafood in over a dozen Indian cities. The startup has built a supply chain network across several Indian cities to be able to procure meat and seafood, keep them fresh, and deliver within hours of the order.

In recent months, the startup says it has accelerated its growth as people increase their protein consumption in a bid to improve their immunity.

It didn’t disclose exact figures, but said the startup has seen a 500% growth in the past 12 months and delivered to more than 2 million unique customers.

“This is just the beginning in our pursuit of building an exemplary and iconic tech-led D2C (direct-to-consumer) brand,” said Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura in a joint statement Friday.

According to industry estimates, India’s online meat market is worth over $4.4 billion and has grown by over 2.5x since the pandemic hit last year.

Licious, which competes with FreshToHome, plans to deploy the fresh capital to expand to “multiple geographies,” it said, without identifying any market. The startup is also making investments to broaden its tech and supply chain networks, it said.

The startup’s co-founders have “revolutionised the purchase of poultry, seafood and meat in the country delighting customers with their promise of quality, freshness and timely delivery,” said Sridhar Sankararaman, MD, Multiples.

#3one4-capital, #asia, #ecommerce, #food, #funding, #licious, #temasek, #vertex-growth-fund, #vertex-ventures

Temasek and General Atlantic in talks to back Indian neobank Open

Bangalore-based neobank Open is in advanced stages of talks to raise about $100 million, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Temasek, the Singaporean government’s sovereign wealth fund, and General Atlantic are positioning to co-lead the Series C financing round, which values the Indian startup at pre-money $600 million, the sources told TechCrunch, requesting anonymity as the matter is private. Open was valued at about $150 million in its Series B funding round two years ago.

Existing investor Tiger Global, PayPal, which shuttered its domestic operations in the world’s second largest internet market early this year, as well as Google and Amazon are in talks to participate in the new round, the sources said.

Indian news outlet Economic Times first reported about the size of the imminent round and identified Google and Amazon as probable investors earlier this week. The round hasn’t closed yet so terms may change and not all investors may end up backing Open. The startup’s founder and chief executive Anish Achuthan declined to comment.

Open operates as a neobank that offers nearly all the features of a bank with additional tools to serve the needs of businesses. The startup offers its clients services such as automated account, payment gateway, credit cards, automated bookkeeping, cash flow management, and tax and compliance management solutions.

Realizing the opportunity that they can’t tap the entire market, several banks in India have in recent years started to collaborate with fintech startups to expand their reach in the South Asian nation.

“Banks are doing their best to defend their turf by focusing on several fronts – eco system building (led by HDFC Bank), open approach to fintech partnerships (led by ICICI Bank), overall digital experience as an acquisition tool (led by Kotak and Axis) etc. But [they] continue to play catchup as they lack the focus/ expertise in each channel (Banking super apps and APIs are fast becoming hygiene). Fintech revenues are already ~10% of private banks’ fee income, but could grow >3x in the next 3 years,” wrote analysts at Bank of America in a report late last year.

“Banks no doubt want to own the pipe and relationships, but are unlikely to succeed except in very specific segments,” they added.

In recent months, however, some banks have begun to reevaluate their engagement strategy with neobanks, Indian news and analysis publication the CapTable reported last month.

#asia, #funding, #general-atlantic, #india, #open, #paypal, #temasek, #tiger-global

Chinese lidar maker Hesai lands $300M led by Hillhouse, Xiaomi, Meituan

The rush to back lidar companies continues as more automakers and robotaxi startups include the remote sensing method in their vehicles.

Latest to the investment boom is Hesai, a Shanghai-based lidar maker founded in 2014 with an office in Palo Alto. The company just raised over $300 million in a Series D funding round led by GL Ventures, the venture capital arm of storied private equity firm Hillhouse Capital, smartphone maker Xiaomi, on-demand services giant Meituan and CPE, the private equity platform of Citic.

Hesai said the new proceeds will be spent on mass-producing its hybrid solid-state lidar for its OEM customers, the construction of its smart manufacturing center, and research and development on automotive-grade lidar chips. The company said it has accumulated “several hundred million dollars” in funding to date.

Other participants in the round included Huatai Securities, Lightspeed China Partners and Lightspeed Venture Capital, as well as Qiming Venture Partners. Bosch, Baidu, and ON Semiconductor are also among its shareholders.

Another Chinese lidar startup Innovusion, a major supplier to electric vehicle startup Nio, raised a $64 million round led by Temasek in May. Livox is another emerging lidar maker that was an offshoot of DJI.

Lidar isn’t limited to powering robotaxis and passenger EVs, and that’s why Hesai got Xiaomi and Meituan onboard. Xiaomi makes hundreds of different connected devices through its manufacturing suppliers that could easily benefit from industrial automation, to which sensing technology is critical. But the phone maker also unveiled plans this year to make electric cars.

Meituan, delivering food to hundreds of millions of consumers in China, could similarly benefit from replacing human riders with lidar-enabled unmanned vans and drones.

Hesai, with a staff of over 500 employees, says its clients span 70 cities across 23 countries. The company touts Nuro, Bosch, Lyft, Navya, and Chinese robotaxi operators Baidu, WeRide and AutoX among its customers. Last year, it kickstarted a partnership with Scale AI, a data labeling company, to launch an open-source data set for training autonomous driving algorithms, with data collected using Hesai’s lidar in California. 

Last July, Hesai and lidar technology pioneer Velodyne entered a long-term licensing agreement as the two dismissed legal proceedings in the U.S., Germany and China.

#asia, #automotive, #baidu, #bosch, #china, #funding, #hillhouse-capital, #lidar, #lightspeed, #lightspeed-venture-capital, #meituan, #qiming-venture-partners, #shanghai, #temasek, #transportation, #venture-capital, #xiaomi

Lidar startup Innovusion closes $64M round led by Temasek

More investors are joining the wave to bet on lidar, the remote sensing method that uses laser light to measure distances and has garnered ample interest from automakers in recent times. But it’s also a technology that has long been scorned by Elon Musk partly due to its once exorbitant costs.

Innovusion, a five-year-old lidar company and a supplier to Chinese electric car upstart Nio, just landed a Series B funding round of $64 million. The new proceeds boost its total investment to over $100 million, not a small amount but the startup is in a race crowded with much bigger players that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars, like Velodyne and Luminar.

Temasek, the Singaporean government’s sovereign wealth fund, led Innovusion’s latest financing round. Other investors included Bertelsmann Asia Investment Fund, Joy Capital, Nio Capital, Eight Roads Ventures, and F-Prime Capital.

Innovusion runs core development teams out of Sunnyvale, California and Suzhou, an eastern Chinese city near Shanghai that the robotaxi unicorn Momenta also calls home.

Junwei Bao, Innovusion’s co-founder and CEO, is not deterred by the industry’s existing giants. Back at Baidu where Bao oversaw sensors and onboarded computing systems for autonomous driving, he also worked on the Chinese search engine leader’s investment in Velodyne.

“They were designing things more like a college student designing in their labs,” Bao said of Velodyne.

Lidar was a niche market up until about five years ago, the founder explained, for the technology was mostly used by a small community of amateurs and areas such as military, surveying and mapping. These were relatively small markets in terms of shipping volume and Velodyne filled the demand.

“They were not thinking about industrialization, volume manufacturing, or roadmap extensibility. They were a pioneer and we [Baidu] recognized their value… but we also knew their weakness.”

In fairness, Silicon Valley-based Velodyne today is a $2.2 billion company supplying to some of the world’s largest automakers, including Toyota and Volkswagen. It also pocketed a hefty sum of cash after going public via a SPAC merger last year. Innovusion’s strategy is to make sensors for automakers that are “good enough for the next five years,” according to Bao. The startup chooses “mature components” so it can quickly ramp up production to 100,000 units a year.

Its biggest customer at the moment is Nio, a Chinese challenger to Tesla which has backed Innovusion through its corporate venture fund Nio Capital. For mass production of its auto-grade lidar, Innovusion is partnering with Joynext, a smart vehicle arm of the Chinese auto component supplier, Joyson Electronics.

For now, China is the largest market for Innovusion. The startup is scheduled to ship a few thousand units this year, mainly for smart transportation and industrial use. Next year, it has a target to deliver several tens of thousands of units to Nio’s luxury sedan, ET7, which is said to have a scanning range of up to 500 meters, an ambitious number, and a standard 120-degree field of view.

Similar alliances between carmakers and lidar suppliers have played out in China as the former race to fulfill their “autonomous driving” promises with the aid of lidar. Xpeng, a competitor to Nio, recently rolled out a sedan powered by Livox, a lidar maker affiliated with DJI that markets its consumer-grade affordability.

Price is similarly important to Innovusion, which sells lidars to automakers for about $1,000 apiece at the volume of 100,000 per year.

“Adding a $1,000 upfront cost plus another couple thousand dollars for a car that’s selling for $30,000 or $50,000 is affordable,” Bao suggested.

With the fresh capital, Innovusion plans to increase the production volume of its auto-grade lidar and put more R&D efforts into smart cities and vehicles. The company has over 100 employees and plans to expand its headcount to over 200 this year.

#artificial-intelligence, #asia, #automotive, #baidu, #china, #eight-roads-ventures, #f-prime-capital, #joy-capital, #laser, #lidar, #livox, #momenta, #nio, #self-driving-cars, #shanghai, #tc, #temasek, #tesla, #toyota, #transportation, #velodyne, #volkswagen, #xpeng

Geothermal technology has enormous potential to power the planet and Fervo wants to tap it

Tapping the geothermal energy stored beneath the Earth’s surface as a way to generate renewable power is one of the new visions for the future that’s captured the attention of environmentalists and oil and gas engineers alike.

That’s because it’s not only a way to generate power that doesn’t rely on greenhouse gas emitting hydrocarbons, but because it uses the same skillsets and expertise that the oil and gas industry has been honing and refining for years.

At least that’s what drew former the former completion engineer (it’s not what it sounds like) Tim Latimer to the industry and to launch Fervo Energy, the Houston-based geothermal tech developer that’s picked up funding from none other than Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures (that fund… is so busy) and former eBay executive, Jeff Skoll’s Capricorn Investment Group.

With the new $28 million cash in hand Fervo’s planning on ramping up its projects which Latimer said would “bring on hundreds of megawatts of power in the next few years.”

Latimer got his first exposure to the environmental impact of power generation as a kid growing up in a small town outside of Waco, Texas near the Sandy Creek coal power plant, one of the last coal-powered plants to be built in the U.S.

Like many Texas kids, Latimer came from an oil family and got his first jobs in the oil and gas industry before realizing that the world was going to be switching to renewables and the oil industry — along with the friends and family he knew — could be left high and dry.

It’s one reason why he started working on Fervo, the entrepreneur said.

“What’s most important, from my perspective, since I started my career in the oil and gas industry is providing folks that are part of the energy transition on the fossil fuel side to work in the clean energy future,” Latimer said. “I’ve been able to go in and hire contractors and support folks that have been out of work or challenged because of the oil price crash… And I put them to work on our rigs.”

Fervo Energy chief executive, Tim Latimer, pictured in a hardhat at one fo the company’s development sites. Image Credit: Fervo Energy

When the Biden administration talks about finding jobs for employees in the hydrocarbon industry as part of the energy transition, this is exactly what they’re talking about.

And geothermal power is no longer as constrained by geography, so there’s a lot of abundant resources to tap and the potential for high paying jobs in areas that are already dependent on geological services work, Latimer said (late last year, Vox published a good overview of the history and opportunity presented by the technology).

“A large percentage of the world’s population actually lives next to good geothermal resources,” Latimer said. “25 countries today that have geothermal installed and producing and another 25 where geothermal is going to grow.” 

Geothermal power production actually has a long history in the Western U.S. and in parts of Africa where naturally occurring geysers and steam jets pouring from the earth have been obvious indicators of good geothermal resources, Latimer said.

Fervo’s technology unlocks a new class of geothermal resource that is ready for large-scale deployment. Fervo’s geothermal systems use novel techniques, including horizontal drilling, distributed fiber optic sensing, and advanced computational modelling, to deliver more repeatable and cost effective geothermal electricity,” Latimer wrote in an email. “Fervo’s technology combines with the latest advancements in Organic Rankine Cycle generation systems to deliver flexible, 24/7 carbon-free electricity.”

Initially developed with a grant from the TomKat Center at Stanford University and a fellowship funded by Activate.org at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Cyclotron Road division, Fervo has gone on to score funding from the DOE’s Geothermal Technology Office and ARPA-E to continue work with partners like Schlumberger, Rice University and the Berkeley Lab.

The combination of new and old technology is opening vast geographies to the company to potentially develop new projects.

Other companies are also looking to tap geothermal power to drive a renewable power generation development business. Those are startups like Eavor, which has the backing of energy majors like bp Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, Temasek, BDC Capital, Eversource and Vickers Venture Partners; and other players including GreenFire Energy, and Sage Geosystems.

Demand for geothermal projects is skyrocketing, opening up big markets for startups that can nail the cost issue for geothermal development. As Latimer noted, from 2016 to 2019 there was only one major geothermal contract, but in 2020 there were ten new major power purchase agreements signed by the industry. 

For all of these projects, cost remains a factor. Contracts that are being signed for geothermal that are in the $65 to $75 per megawatt range, according to Latimer. By comparison, solar plants are now coming in somewhere between $35 and $55 per megawatt, as The Verge reported last year

But Latimer said the stability and predictability of geothermal power made the cost differential palatable for utilities and businesses that need the assurance of uninterruptible power supplies. As a current Houston resident, the issue is something that Latimer has an intimate experience with from this year’s winter freeze, which left him without power for five days.

Indeed, geothermal’s ability to provide always-on clean power makes it an incredibly attractive option. In a recent Department of Energy study, geothermal could meet as much as 16% of the U.S. electricity demand, and other estimates put geothermal’s contribution at nearly 20% of a fully decarbonized grid.

“We’ve long been believers in geothermal energy but have waited until we’ve seen the right technology and team to drive innovation in the sector,” said Ion Yadigaroglu of Capricorn Investment Group, in a statement.  “Fervo’s technology capabilities and the partnerships they’ve created with leading research organizations make them the clear leader in the new wave of geothermal.”

Fervo Energy drilling site. Image Credit: Fervo Energy

#africa, #alternative-energy, #articles, #berkeley-lab, #biden-administration, #bp-ventures, #capricorn-investment-group, #chevron-technology-ventures, #department-of-energy, #ebay, #energy, #engineer, #entrepreneur, #executive, #fiber-optic, #geothermal-energy, #greenhouse-gas, #houston, #jeff-skoll, #renewable-energy, #rice-university, #schlumberger, #stanford-university, #tc, #temasek, #texas, #united-states, #vickers-venture-partners

General Motors leads $139 million investment into lithium-metal battery developer, SES

General Motors is joining the list of big automakers picking their horses in the race to develop better batteries for electric vehicles with its lead of a $139 million investment into the lithium-metal battery developer, SES.

Volkswagen has QuantumScape; Ford has invested in SolidPower (along with Hyundai and BMW); and now with SES’ big backing from General Motors most of the big American and European automakers have placed their bets.

“We are beyond R&D development,” said SES chief executive Hu Qichao in an interview with TechCrunch. “The main purposes of this funding is to, one, mprove the key material, this lithium metal electrolyte on the anode side and the cathode side, and, two, to improve the scale of the current cell from the iPhone battery size to the size that can be used in cars.”

There’s a third component to the financing as well, Hu said, which is to increase the company’s algorithmic capabilities to monitor and manage cell performance. “It’s something that we and our OEM partners care about,” said Hu.

The investment from GM s the culmination of nearly six years of work with the big automaker, said Hu. “We started working with them in 2015. For the next three years we will go through the standard automation approval processes. Going from ‘A’ sample to ‘B’ sample all the way through ‘D’ sample,” which is the final testing phase before commercial availability of SES’ batteries in cars.

While Tesla, the current leader in electric vehicle sales in America, is looking to improve the form factors of its batteries to make them more powerful and more efficient, Hu said that the chemistry isn’t that different. Solid state batteries represent a step change in battery technology that makes batteries more powerful, easier to recycle, and potentially more stable.

As Mark Harris wrote in TechCrunch earlier earlier this year:

There are many different kinds of SSB but they all lack a liquid electrolyte for moving electrons (electricity) between the battery’s positive (cathode) and negative (anode) electrodes. The liquid electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries limit the materials the electrodes can be made from, and the shape and size of the battery. Because liquid electrolytes are usually flammable, lithium-ion batteries are also prone to runaway heating and even explosion. SSBs are much less flammable and can use metal electrodes or complex internal designs to store more energy and move it faster — giving higher power and faster charging.

What SES is doing has brought the company attention not just from General Motors, but from previous investors including the battery giant SK Innovation; the Singapore-based, government-backed investment firm, Temasek; the venture capital arm of semiconductor manufacturer, Applied Materials, Applied Ventures; the Chinese automaking giant, Shanghai Auto; and investment firm, Vertex.

“GM has been rapidly driving down battery cell costs and improving energy density, and our work with SES technology has incredible potential to deliver even better EV performance for customers who want more range at a lower cost,” said Matt Tsien, GM executive vice president and chief technology officer and president, GM Ventures. “This investment by GM and others will allow SES to accelerate their work and scale up their business.”

  

#america, #applied-materials, #applied-ventures, #battery-technology, #electricity, #energy, #ford, #general-motors, #gm-ventures, #hyundai, #iphone, #lithium, #lithium-ion-batteries, #ontology, #semiconductor, #ses, #solid-state-batteries, #tc, #temasek, #tesla, #volkswagen

Temasek and BlackRock form Decarbonization Partners with $600 million to create a zero-emission economy

The $9 trillion financial management firm Blackrock is collaborating with the $313 billion Singapore investment firm Temasek to back companies developing technologies and services to help create a zero emission economy by 2050.

The two mega-investment firms will invest an initial $600 million to launch Decarbonization Partners, and look to raise money from investors committing to achieving a net zero world and long-term sustainable finacnial returns. The two partners have set themselves a goal to raise $1 billion for their first fund, including capital from Temasek and BlackRock.

The partnership, coming during Earth month, is one of several big multi-billion dollar initiatives that are underway to prevent global climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Indeed, BlackRock is somewhat tardy to the party. Temasek, for its part, has already made a number of high-profile bets in the alternative meat market — namely in companies like Impossible Foods — and in alternative energy technology developers including Eavor, a geothermal company, and a $500 million bet on a renewable power developer in India.

Meanwhile, a coalition of billionaires led by Bill Gates are already on their second billion dollar investment vehicle through Breakthrough Energy, a multi-stage, multi-strategy initiative that includes a venture capital arm as well as other types of financing on the way.

“The world cannot meet its net zero ambitions without transformational innovation,” said Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, in a statement. “For decarbonization solutions and technologies to transform our economy, they need to be scaled. To do that, they need patient, well-managed capital to support their vital goals. This partnership will help define climate solutions as a standalone asset class that is both essential to our collective mission and a historic investment opportunity created by the net zero transition.”

To get a sense of what Decarbonization Partners might back, companies should probably look to the Breakthrough Energy portfolio — the firms share similar interests in new sources of energy, technologies to distribute that energy, building and manufacturing technologies, and material science and process innovations.

It’s a big swing that the firms are taking, but the flood of capital coming into the sustainability sector is commensurate with both the size of the problem, and the potential opportunity in returns generated by solving it.

A report from Morgan Stanley estimated that solving climate change would be a $50 trillion problem, according to a 2019 report from Forbes.

“Bold, aggressive actions are needed to make the global net zero ambition a reality. Decarbonization Partners represents one of several steps we are taking to follow through on our commitment to halve the emissions from our portfolio by 2030, and ultimately move to net zero emissions by 2050,” said Dilhan Pillay, Chief Executive Officer of Temasek International. “Through collective efforts with like-minded partners, we will be able to create sustainable value for all of our stakeholders over the long term, and investors will have the opportunity to help deliver innovative solutions at scale to address climate challenges.”

#articles, #bill-gates, #blackrock, #chief-executive-officer, #energy, #forbes, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #impossible-foods, #india, #morgan-stanley, #singapore, #tc, #temasek, #temasek-holdings

Plant-based food startup Next Gen lands $10M seed round from investors including Temasek

Singapore is quickly turning into a hub for food-tech startups, partly because of government initiatives supporting the development of meat alternatives. One of the newest entrants is Next Gen, which will launch its plant-based “chicken” brand, called TiNDLE, in Singaporean restaurants next month. The company announced today that it has raised $10 million in seed funding from investors including Temasek, K3 Ventures, EDB New Ventures (an investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board), NX-Food, FEBE Ventures and Blue Horizon.

Next Gen claims this is the largest seed round ever raised by a plant-based food tech company, based on data from PitchBook. This is the first time the startup has taken external investment, and the funding exceeded its original target of $7 million. Next Gen was launched last October by Timo Recker and Andre Menezes, with $2.2 million of founder capital.

Next Gen’s first product is called TiNDLE Thy, an alternative to chicken thighs. Its ingredients include water, soy, wheat, oat fiber, coconut oil and methylcellulose, a culinary binder, but the key to its chicken-like flavor is a proprietary blend of plant-based fats, like sunflower oil, and natural flavors that allows it to cook like chicken meat.

Menezes, Next Gen’s chief operating officer, told TechCrunch that the company’s goal is to be the global leader in plant-based chicken, the way Impossible and Beyond are known for their burgers.

“Consumers and chefs want texture in chicken, the taste and aroma, and that is largely related to chicken fat, which is why we started with thighs instead of breasts,” said Menezes. “We created a chicken fat made from a blend, called Lipi, to emulate the smell, aroma and browning when you cook.”

Both Recker and Menezes have years of experience in the food industry. Recker founded German-based LikeMeat, a plant-based meat producer acquired by the LIVEKINDLY Collective last year. Menezes’ food career started in Brazil at one of the world’s largest poultry exporters. He began working with plant-based meat after serving as general manager of Country Foods, a Singaporean importer and distributor that focuses on innovative, sustainable products.

“It was clear to me after I was inside the meat industry for so long that it was not going to be a sustainable business in the long run,” Menezes said.

Over the past few years, more consumers have started to feel the same way, and began looking for alternatives to animal products. UBS expects the global plant-based protein market to increase at a compounded annual growth rate of more than 30%, reaching about $50 billion by 2025, as more people, even those who aren’t vegans or vegetarians, seek healthier, humane sources of protein.

Millennial and Gen Z consumers, in particular, are willing to reduce their consumption of meat, eggs and dairy products as they become more aware of the environmental impact of industrial livestock production, said Menezes. “They understand the sustainability angle of it, and the health aspect, like the cholesterol or nutritional values, depending on what product you are talking about.”

Low in sodium and saturated fat, TiNDLE Thy has received the Healthier Choice Symbol, which is administered by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board. Next Gen’s new funding will be used to launch TiNDLE Thy, starting in popular Singaporean restaurants like Three Buns Quayside, the Prive Group, 28 HongKong Street, Bayswater Kitchen and The Goodburger.

Over the next year or two, Next Gen plans to raise its Series A round, launch more brands and products, and expand in its target markets: the United States (where it is currently recruiting a growth director to build a distribution network), China, Brazil and Europe. After working with restaurant partners, Next Gen also plans to make its products available to home cooks.

“The reason we started with chefs is because they are very hard to crack, and if chefs are happy with the product, then we’re very sure customers will be, too,” said Menezes.

#asia, #food, #foodtech, #fundings-exits, #next-gen, #plant-based-food, #plant-based-meat, #recent-funding, #singapore, #southeast-asia, #startups, #tc, #temasek, #tindle

China’s Black Lake raises $77M to give factories a digital upgrade

Zhou Yuxiang doesn’t have the typical profile for working in China’s manufacturing world. A soft-spoken yet incisive person in his early thirties, Zhou graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in government and went on to work in investment banking in Hong Kong, following the path of many Chinese overseas returnees.

But a few years into his career, Zhou realized he wanted to build his own business. This was around 2015, a time when China was consumed by a startup craze amid Premier Li Keqiang’s campaign for “mass entrepreneurship and innovation.” Rather than going into the sleek world of consumer lifestyle, fintech or AI, Zhou picked manufacturing as a starting point.

During his time at Barclays, Zhou helped deep-pocketed Chinese manufacturers scour for merger and acquisition deals in Europe. He saw how factories in Germany digitize their operations using Siemens and SAP solutions. In China, “factories had a lot of money and could buy top-of-the-line equipment. But on the software management front, they were still very primitive,” said Zhou in an interview with TechCrunch.

“Most of the operation was done on paper. Every day, workers received a stack of papers telling them what to do, and in turn, they filled up the sheets reporting what material they had used… When you acquire these financially underperforming factories in Europe, you realize their software infrastructure capabilities are still far superior to yours,” Zhou added.

That digital gap encouraged Zhou to start Black Lake, a software platform for factory workers to log their daily tasks and managers to oversee the plant floor. Since its inception in 2016, the startup has raised over $100 million from GGV Capital, Bertelsmann Asia Investments, GSR Ventures, ZhenFund and others. The company recently closed a Series C round, pocketing nearly 500 million yuan ($77 million) and bringing on new backers including Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek, who led the round, as well as China Renaissance and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Black Lake’s vision is to be a one-stop collaboration platform for factory workers and managers, digitizing data incurred in all stages of production, from client orders, material procurement, quality compliance, warehouse management, to logistics and shipment. The software analyzes these reams of data, churning out reports for bosses to check for abnormalities in production and for workers to see how they could increase their output and income.

Compared to SaaS incumbents from the West, Black Lake’s more localized services and affordable prices have a greater appeal to China’s wide swathes of small and medium-sized factories, Zhou argued. Black Lake tries to simplify its user experience to a Lego-like building process so factory bosses can easily customize the software for their own use. Workers access the cloud-based software from their smartphones, which have become ubiquitous in China’s affluent cities thanks to increasingly friendly device prices and data fees. A foreign SaaS giant’s solution could cost a factory at least three million yuan a year, while Black Lake charges 300,000 yuan or less, Zhou said.

To date, the company has served nearly 2,000 manufacturers and suppliers across the Greater China Region and Southeast Asia, counting in its customers Tesla, L’Oréal, Xiaomi, Sinopec, and Chinese state-owned conglomerate China Resources’ pharmaceutical group. In all, the company claims to have reached 500,000 production workers.

Manufacturing 2.0

Black Lake’s collaboration and data management software for factories

Black Lake is riding a perfect wave of “upgrading” in China’s manufacturing world. For one, the demand for customized products is rising as consumers become savvier. Instead of producing bottled water with the same packaging, for instance, beverage companies now design various looks tailored to different demographics. Factories need to adjust quickly to the flood of customized orders, and a cloud-based data management platform could be the solution, Zhou suggested.

The U.S.-China trade war is another impetus for China’s push for factory upgrade. Having felt the heat from trade sanctions, Chinese manufacturers look to cut expenses and improve productivity. That shift, along with the government’s “new infrastructure” policy to breathe high tech into traditional industries, makes Zhou all the more bullish about his business.

But Black Lake is certainly not the only one to have spotted opportunities in China’s efforts to modernize production, and enterprise software in China has a notoriously slow monetization cycle in part due to low adoption and companies’ reluctance to pay for services. The key is finding a viable business model to fund its dream to be the ultimate “data entry point” for China’s millions of factories.

With proceeds from its new funding, Black Lake plans to spend on product development, hiring, market expansion, and building an open platform for third-party developers. The startup realizes it can’t build everything factories need, and it’s already working with partners across telecommunications, cloud computing, automation and consulting, such as Huawei, Alibaba, SAP and McKinsey.

“When Chinese factories ‘wake up’, their speed of digitization will definitely leapfrog that of their American and European counterparts,” Zhou asserted.

#asia, #black-lake, #china, #funding, #ggv-capital, #manufacturing, #saas, #tc, #temasek

Apeel gets more cash to fight poverty and food insecurity in emerging markets with its food-preserving tech

In the first real test of the potentially transformative power of its food-preserving technology, the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Apeel Sciences is bringing its innovative food treatment and supply chain management services to distribution centers in select markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The goal is to alleviate food insecurity among farmers, who comprise one of the most susceptible populations to issues of malnutrition, according to Apeel’s chief executive James Rogers.

“The majority of fruits and vegetables grown on this planet are grown by small farmers and two thirds of the people who are food insecure are also farmers,” said Rogers. 

The reason why farmers are more at-risk than other populations stems from their inability to get the most value out of their crops, because of the threat of spoilage, Rogers said

By introducing its preservative technologies that deter spoilage and providing willing buyers among existing Apeel customers in markets like the U.S., Denmark, Germany and Switzerland Rogers said the company can have an outsized impact to improve the amount of money going into a farmer’s pocket.

“The program with the IFC is to build supply chains out,” he said. “The value is not just in the longer-lasting produce, it’s in the market access for that longer lasting produce.”

The initial markets will be in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam where Appeal’s tech will treat avocados, pineapples, asparagus, and citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges.

In some ways it’s the culmination of the work that Appeal has been doing for the past several years, getting grocers around the world to buy into its approach to reducing waste.

The company has always put smallholder farmers at the center of its company mission — ever since Appeal was founded in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development. The intention was always to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables produced by farmers without access to the modern refrigerated supply chain. It’s just that for the past several years, the company had to refine its technology and build out a retail network.

To further that aim, Apeel has raised over $360 million, including a $250 million round of funding which closed earlier this year.

The fruition of Rogers’ plans will be as the company brings demand from international markets to these local growers through regional exporters.

Without access to a refrigerated supply chain, much of what small farmers produce can only reach local markets where supply exceeds demand. The perishability of crops creates market conditions where these fruits and vegetables can’t make it to export, creating market dynamics that exacerbate poverty and increase food loss and food waste among the people who make their living farming, Appeal said.

“With extra time we can link those small producers into the global food system and help them collect the economic value that’s intrinsic to that natural resource,” said Rogers. 

The introduction of new demand from international markets, which can be fulfilled if crops are treated with Appeal’s technology can create a virtuous cycle that will ideally increase prices for crops and bring bigger payouts to farmers. At least that’s the vision that Rogers has for the latest implementations of Appeal’s technology at regional distribution hubs.

There’s the potential that the middle men who’re distributing the produce to foreign buyers may collect most of the value from the introduction of Appeal’s technology, but Rogers dismisses that scenario.

“The work is to incorporate those small producers more directly into the supply chain of the exporter. Now that there’s familiarity with the technology you can utilize the tech to create cooperative value and use those cooperatives to unlock value for the very small producers,” he said. “By growing the demand for produce in those markets that supply has to come from somewhere. The exporters earn their cut on a volume basis. The way they increase their value is to grow their volume. They want to grow the volume that’s suitable for export and the demand. Then the challenge flips and it becomes not a demand challenge but a supply challenge. And they have to incentivize people to feed into that supply.” 

To finance this international rollout, Appeal has raised another $30 million in funding from investors including the International Finance Corp., Temasek and Astanor Ventures .

“Innovative technologies can change the course of development in emerging markets and save livelihoods, economies, and in this case, food,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer, of IFC, in a statement. “We are excited to partner with Apeel to invest in a game-changing technology that can limit food waste by half, enhance sustainability, and mitigate climate change.”

#agriculture, #apeel-sciences, #articles, #astanor-ventures, #bill-melinda-gates-foundation, #denmark, #distribution, #food-waste, #kenya, #latin-america, #marketplace, #tc, #temasek, #uganda, #united-states

Alternative protein companies have raised a whopping $1.5 billion through July of this year

Companies like Perfect Day, Impossible Foods, and a host of other startups that are developing replacements for animal farmed goods used in food, clothes, cosmetics, and chemicals have raised a whopping $1.5 billion through the first half of the year.

That’s according to a new report from The Good Food Institute which is tracking the growth of investments into sustainable foods. The report identified fermentation technologies as a rising third pillar of foundational technologies on which new and established food brands are making products that swap out animal products for other protein sources.

Fermentation technologies, which use microbes like microalgae and mycoprotein, can produce biomass, improve plant proteins and create new functional ingredients, and companies developing and deploying these technologies have raised $435 million in funding through the end of July 2020. It’s an indication of how competitive the market is for food technologies, representing an increase of nearly 60 percent over the $274 million invested in all of 2019, according to GFI.

“Fermentation is powering a new wave of alternative protein products with huge potential for improving flavor, sustainability, and production efficiency. Investors and innovators are recognizing this market potential, leading to a surge of activity in fermentation as an enabling platform for the alternative protein industry as a whole,” said GFI Associate Director of Science and Technology Liz Specht, in a statement. “And this is just the beginning: The opportunity landscape for technology development is completely untapped in this area. Many alternative protein products of the future will harness the plethora of protein production methods now available, with the option of leveraging combinations of proteins derived from plants, animal cell culture, and microbial fermentation.”

Portait of the head of an adult black and white cow, gentle look, pink nose, in front of a blue sky. Image Credit: Getty Images

As the $1.5. billion figure indicates, big-time investors are taking notice. Funds like the Bill Gates -backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Temasek, Horizons Ventures, CPP Investment Board, Louis Dreyfus Co., Bunge Ventures, Kellogg, ADM Capital, Danone, Kraft Heinz, Mars, and Tyson Foods’ investment arm have all backed companies in the industry.

In all, fermentation-focused startup companies raised 3.5 times more capital than cultivated meat companies worldwide and almost 60 percent as much as U.S. plant-based meat, egg, and dairy companies, according to the GFI. 

As the industry has grown up, since Quorn became the first company to use fermentation-derived proteins back in 1985, big industrial companies have started to take notice.

While there are at least 44 startups focused on alternative proteins worldwide, according to the GFI report, large publicly traded companies like Novozymes, DuPont, and DSM are also developing product lines for the alternative protein business.

“Given the breadth of applications, we believe that fermentation could solve many current challenges faced by alternative proteins. On the one hand, biomass fermentation can create nutritious, clean protein in a highly efficient and low-cost way. On the other hand, the potential for precision fermentation to produce value-added, highly functional, and nutritious ingredients is very exciting and could revolutionize the plant-based category,” said Rosie Wardle, an investor with the CPT Capital, which specializes in backing startups developing novel protein production technologies. “From an investment perspective, we are very excited about the white space opportunities in this category, and we are actively looking to increase our investments in the space. This new report from GFI is the first comprehensive overview of fermentation for alternative protein applications and should be required reading for everyone who wants to create a more efficient and less harmful global food system.”

#articles, #bill-gates, #biotechnology, #breakthrough-energy-ventures, #cellular-agriculture, #chemicals, #cultured-meat, #danone, #dupont, #food, #food-and-drink, #head, #horizons-ventures, #impossible-foods, #mars, #meat, #meat-substitutes, #tc, #technology-development, #temasek, #tyson-foods, #united-states

India’s Zomato raises $62 million from Temasek

Indian food delivery startup Zomato has raised $62 million from Singapore’s Temasek, resuming a financing round that it originally expected to close in January this year.

Singapore’s state investment arm Temasek financed the capital through its unit MacRitchie Investments, a regulatory filing showed. Business intelligence firm Tofler shared the filing with TechCrunch.

A Zomato spokesperson in India did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Zomato kickstarted its new financing round about a year ago, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. The company has met with several investors but talks have not materialized.

The food delivery startup, which has improved its financial performance in recent quarters despite the coronavirus outbreak, announced in January that Ant Financial had committed to provide it with $150 million.

But Ant Financial has yet to deliver two-thirds of the committed capital, Zomato investor Info Edge said in late July. In its IPO prospectus late last month, Ant Financial cited regulatory changes in India as a reason for it not being able to invest.

In April this year, India made a change to its foreign investment policy that requires Chinese investors — who have ploughed billions of dollars into Indian startups in recent years — to take approval from New Delhi before they could write new checks to Indian firms. It’s very common for investors to finance their committed capital to startup in several tranches.

Reuters reported last month that Alibaba Group and its affiliates including Ant Financial will not invest in Indian startups for at least six months.

In January, Zomato chief executive Deepinder Goyal said the company expects to close a round of up to $600 million by the end of the month. In the same month, Zomato acquired the Indian food delivery business of Uber. In early April, he told TechCrunch that he was expecting to close the round by mid-May, attributing delays to the coronavirus outbreak.

#asia, #food, #funding, #india, #swiggy, #temasek, #zomato

What will a Wish IPO look like? Seems we’ll find out sooner than later

Wish, the San Francisco-based, 750-person e-commerce app that sells deeply discounted goods that you definitely don’t need but might buy anyway when priced so low — think pool floaties, guinea pig harnesses, Apple Watch knockoffs — said yesterday that it has submitted a draft registration to the SEC for an IPO.

Because it filed confidentially, we can’t get a look at its financials just yet; we only know that its investors, who’ve provided the company with $1.6 billion across the years, think the company was worth $11.2 billion as of last summer, when it closed its most recent financing (a $300 million Series H round). Meanwhile, Wish itself says it has more than 70 million active users across more than 100 countries and 40 languages.

The big question, of course, is whether the now 10-year-old company can maintain or even accelerate its momentum. It’s not a no-brainer. On the one hand, it’s a victim of the increasingly chilly relations between the U.S. and China, from where the bulk of Wish’s goods come. Then again, Wish has been beefing up its business elsewhere in the world partly as a result of the countries’ shifting stance toward one another. For example, it told Recode last year that it’s increasingly looking to Latin American markets — Mexico, Argentina, Chile — for growth, and that it’s planning a bigger push into Africa, where it’s already available in South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria, among other countries.

But let’s back up a minute first. If you don’t know, Wish was cofounded by CEO Peter Szulscewski, a computer scientist by training, who previously spent 6.5 years at Google before cofounding a company call ContextLogic, from which Wish evolved. The idea was to build a next-generation, mobile ad network to compete with Google’s AdSense network, but Szulscewski and his cofounder, Danny Zhang, realized they were “pretty bad at business development,” as he once said at an event hosted by this editor, so eventually they pivoted to Wish.

Wish began as an app that asked people to create wish lists, then the company approached merchants, letting them know a certain number of customers wanted, say, a certain type of table. It was smart to recognize that showing the right recommendations to shoppers would become critical to its users, though it didn’t necessarily foresee the types of merchants it would ultimately work with, most of them in China, Indonesia and elsewhere in East Asia and Southeast Asia who are focused on value-conscious customers and who, at the time, didn’t have other ways to sell to or communicate with customers elsewhere in the world (so didn’t mind paying Wish a 15% take to handle this for them).

Wish also quickly focused around lightweight items that it could ship cheaply from China, if slowly, using something called ePacket. It’s a shipping option agreement that established nine years ago with the cooperation of the US Postal Service and Hong Kong Post (and later made available to 40 countries altogether) that enables products coming from China and Hong Kong to be sent cheaply as long as they meet certain criteria — they don’t weigh too much, they aren’t worth too much, they adhere to certain minimum and maximums regarding their size, and so forth.

The mix has proved powerful for Wish, despite growing competition from China-based outfits like AliExpress that offer many of the same goods to the same customers around the world. (Wish has also competed, always, with Walmart and Amazon.)

The company has also soldiered on despite apparent struggles to keep customers coming over time, too. Because it doesn’t sell essential items but rather a grab bag of different items, people tend to cycle out of the app after a few months of their first visit, as The Information once reported.

A bigger issue now is that, as of two months ago, a new USPS pricing structure went into effect that raises rates on international shipments. It also requires foreign recipient countries to ratify new rates under ePacket (whose recipient countries, by the way, have been downsized from 40 to 12). That means that companies like Wish either pay more to ship their goods — forcing its vendors to charge more — or they move to commercial networks.

Of course, a third option — and one that may position Wish well for the future — would be for Wish to invest in more local warehousing in the U.S, Europe and others of its growing markets, which it told Recode that it is doing, along with seeking out more local vendors near its biggest markets.

Given shifts in the way that commercial real estate is being used — with retail-to-industrial property conversions accelerating, driven by the growth of e-commerce  — it’s probably as good a time as any for Wish to be making these moves. Whether they are enough to sustain and grow the company is something that only time will tell.

Again, we’ll collectively know much more when we can get a look at that filing. It should make for interesting reading.

Wish’s private investors include General Atlantic, GGV Capital, Founders Fund, Formation 8, Temasek Holdings and DST Global, among others.

#dst-global, #ecommerce, #formation-8, #founders-fund, #general-atlantic, #ggv, #ipo, #startups, #tc, #temasek, #venture-capital, #wish

Omio takes $100M to shuttle through the coronavirus crisis

Multimodal travel platform Omio (formerly GoEuro) has raised $100M in late stage funding to help see its business through the coronavirus crisis. It also says it’s eyeing potential M&A opportunities within the hard-hit sector.

New and existing investors in the Berlin -based startup participated in the late stage convertible note, although omio isn’t disclosing any new names. Among the list of returning investors are: Temasek, Kinnevik, Goldman Sachs, NEA and Kleiner Perkins. Omio’s business has now pulled in around $400M in total since being founded back in 2013 — with the prior raise being a $150M round back in 2018.

In a supporting statement on the latest raise, Georgi Ganev, CEO of Kinnevik, said: “We are very impressed how fast and effective Omio adapted to such an unprecedented crisis for the global travel industry. The management team has delivered quickly and we can see the robustness of the business model which is well diversified across markets and transport modes. We are looking forward to supporting Omio on its way to become the go-to destination for travellers across the world.”

While COVID-19 has thrown up major headwinds to global tourism and travel — with foreign trips discouraged by specific government quarantine requirements, and the overarching requirement for people to maintain social distancing meaning certain types of holidays or activities are less attractive or even feasible, Omio is nonetheless sounding upbeat — reporting a partial recovery in bookings this summer in Europe.

In Germany and France it says bookings are above 50% of the pre-COVID-19 level at this point, despite only “marginal” marketing spend over the crisis period.

Its business is likely better positioned than some in the travel space to adapt to changes in how people are moving around and holidaying, given it caters to multiple modes of transport. The travel aggregator platform spans flights, rail, buses and even ferry routes, allowing users to quickly compare different modes of transport for their planned journey.

More recently Omio has added car sharing and car rentals to its platform, including via a partnership with rentalcars.com. So as travellers in Europe have adapted to living with COVID-19 — perhaps opting to take more local trips and/or avoiding mass transit when they go on holiday — it’s in a strong position to cater to changing demand through its partnerships with ground transportation networks and providers.

“That diversification in terms of not depending on a single mode of transport has really helped the business come back much stronger, because we’re not depending on — for example — air or bus,” CEO and founder Naren Shaam tells TechCrunch. “The diversification has helped us.”

“People will travel a lot more to smaller regions, explore the countryside a little more,” he predicts, suggesting the current dilution of travel focus it’s seeing — away from usual tourist hotspot destinations in favor of a broader, more rural mix of places — augurs a wider shift to more a diversified, more sustainable type of travel being here to stay.

“It’s not longer just airport to airport travel,” he notes. “People are traveling to where they want to go — and it’s a lot more distributed across geographies, where people want to explore. A platform like ours can accelerate this behaviour because we serve, not just flights, but trains, buses, even ferries etc, you can actually reach any destination with us.”

Direct booking via Omio’s platform is possible where it has partner agreements in place (so not universally across all routes, though it may still be able to offer route planning info).

Its multimodal booking mix extends to 37 countries in Europe and North America — where it launched at the start of this year. Last year it acquired Rome2Rio, bulking out its global flight and transport planning inventory. The grand vision is “all transport, end to end, in a single product”, as Shaam puts it — although executing on that means continuing to build out partnerships and integrations across its market footprint. 

Asked whether the new funding will give Omio enough headroom to see it through the current coronavirus crisis, Shaam tells TechCrunch: “The unknown unknown is how long the crisis lasts. But as we can see if the crisis lasts a couple of years we will make it through that.”

He says the raise will help the business come out of the crisis “stronger” — by enabling Omio to spend on adapting its product to meet changing consumer demand, such as the shift to ground transportation. “All of those things we can use these capital to shape the future of how the travel industry actually interacts with consumers,” he suggests.

Another shift in the industry that’s been triggered by the coronavirus relates to consumer expectations around information. In short, people expect a lot more travel intel up front.

“We have hypotheses on what comes back [post-crisis]. I think travel will be a lot more information centric, especially coming out of COVID-19. Customers will seek clarity in the near term around basic information around what regions can I travel to, do I need to quarantine, do I need to wear a mask inside the train etc,” he says.

“But that’ll drive a type of consumer behavior where they are seeking more information and companies will need to provide this information to satisfy the consumer needs of the future. Because consumers are getting used to having relevant information at the right point in time. So it’s not a data dump of all information… it’s when I get to the train station, what do I need to do?

“Each of those is almost hyperlocal in terms of information and that’s going to drive a change in consumer behaviour.”

Omio’s initial response to this need for more information up front was the launch of a hub — called the Open Travel Index — where users can look up information on restrictions related to specific destinations to help them plan their journey.

However he admits it’s a struggle to keep up with requirements that can switch over night (in one recent example, the UK added France to a list of countries from which returning travellers must self quarantine for two weeks — leading to a mad dash by scores of holidaymakers trying to beat a 4am deadline to get back on UK soil).

“This is a product we launched about a month and a half ago that tells you, if you’re based in the UK, where you can go in Europe,” he says. “We need to update it faster because information’s changing very, very quickly — so it’s on us now to figure out how to keep up with the constant changes of information.”

Discussing other COVID-19 changes, Shaam points to the shift to apps that’s being accelerated by the public health crisis — a trend that’s being replicated in multiple industries of course, not just travel.

“More than half of the ground transport industry was booked at a kiosk at a station [before COVID-19]. So this will drive a clear change with people uncomfortable touching a kiosk button,” he adds, arguing that that shift will help create better consumer products in the sector.

“If you imagine the kind of consumer products that the app/web world has created you can imagine that should come to the consumer experiences in travel,” he suggests. “So these are the things, I think, that will come in terms of consumer behavior and it’s up to us to make sure that we lead that change as a company.”

“We’re investing quite heavily in some of the other shifts that we’re seeing — in terms of days to departure, flexibility of fares, more insurance type products so you can cancel,” he adds. “We’re also trying to help customers in terms of whether they can go.

“We’re investing heavily in routing so you can connect modes of transport, not just flights, so you can travel longer distances with just trains. And we’re also in talks with all our suppliers to say hey, how can we help you come back — because not all suppliers are state monopolies. There’s a lot of small, medium suppliers on our product and we want to bring them back as well so we’re investing there as well.”

On M&A, Shaam says growth via acquisition is “definitely on the radar for us”. Though he also says it’s not top of the priority list right now.

“We’ve actively got our ears out. More so now, going forward, than looking back — because the last four months, imagine what we went through as a travel company, I just wanted to stablize that situation and bring us to a stable position,” he says.

“We are still in COVID-19. The situation’s not yet over, so our primary goal coming out of this is very much investing in the shifts in consumer behavior in our core product… Any M&A acquisitions we’ll do is more opportunistic, based on [factors like] pricing and what’s happening in the industry.

“But more of our capital and my time and everything will go a lot more to build the future of transport. Because that’s going to change so much more for so many millions of consumers that use our product today.”

There is still plenty of work that can be done on Omio’s core proposition — aka, linking up natural travel search for consumers by knitting together a diverse mix and range of service providers in a way that shrinks the strain of travel planning, and building out support for even more multifaceted trips people might wish to take in future.

“No one brings the natural search for consumers. Consumers just want to go London to Portsmouth. They don’t say ‘London Portsmouth train’. They do that today because that’s what the industry forces them to do — so by enabling this core product to work where you can search any modes of transport, anywhere in Europe, one click to buy, everything is a simple, mobile ticket, and you use the whole product on the app — that’s the big driver for the industry,” Shaam adds.

“On top of that you’ve got shifts towards ground transport, shifts towards app, shifts towards sustainability, which is a big topic — even pre-COVID-19 — that we can actually help drive even more change coming out of this. These are the bigger opportunities for us.”

Uncertainty clearly remains a constant for the travel sector now that COVID-19 has become a terrible ‘new normal’. So even with an unexpected summer travel bump in Europe it remains to be seen what will happen in the coming months as the region moves from summer to winter.

“In general the overall business outlook we’re taking is purely something of more caution,” says Shaam. “We just don’t know. Anything at all with respect to COVID-19, no one knows, basically. I’ve seen a number of reports in the industry but no one really knows. So in general our outlook is one of caution. And that’s why we were surprised in our uptick already through the summer. We didn’t even expect that kind of growth with near zero marketing spend levels.”

“We’ll adapt,” he adds. “The business is high variable costs so we can scale up and down fairly easily, so it’s asset light and these things help us adapt. And let’s see what happens in the winter.”

Over in the US — where Omio happened to launch slightly ahead of the COVID-19 crisis — he says it’s been a very different story, with no bookings bump. “No surprise, given the situation there,” he says, emphasizing the importance of government interventions to help control the spread of the virus.

“Governments play a very important role here. Europe has done a superior job compared to a lot of other regions in the world… But entire economies [in the region] depend on tourism,” he says. “Hopefully entire [European] countries shouldn’t go into shutdowns again because the systems are strong enough to identify local spike in cases and they ring fence it very quickly and can act on it. It’s the same as us as a company. If there’s a second wave we know how to react because we’ve gone through this horrible phrase one… So using those learnings and applying them quickly I think will help stabilize the industry as a whole.”

#berlin, #car-rentals, #car-sharing, #consumer-products, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #europe, #france, #fundings-exits, #germany, #goeuro, #goldman-sachs, #kinnevik, #kleiner-perkins, #london, #ma, #naren-shaam, #nea, #north-america, #omio, #rome2rio, #tc, #temasek, #transport, #transportation, #travel, #travel-industry, #united-kingdom, #united-states

Unpacking Duck Creek Technologies’ IPO and hoped-for $2.7B valuation

Tech stocks retain their highs as the second quarter’s earnings season begins to fade into the rearview mirror, and there are still a number of companies looking to go public while the times are good. It looks like a smart move, as public investors are hungry for growth-oriented shares — which is just what tech and venture-backed companies have in spades.

The companies currently looking to go public are diverse. China-based real-estate giant KE Holdings — a hybrid listings company and digital transaction portal for housing — is looking to raise as much as $2.3 billion in a U.S. listing. Xpeng, another China-based company that builds electric vehicles, is looking to list in the U.S as well. Xpeng has the distinction of being gross-margin negative in every key time period detailed in its S-1 filing.


The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. You can read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


And then there’s Duck Creek Technologies, a domestic tech company looking to go public on the back of growing SaaS revenues. This morning let’s quickly spin through Duck Creek’s history, peek at its financial results, calculate its expected valuation and see how its pricing fits compared to current norms.

Duck Creek is a Boston-based software company that serves the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market. Its customers include names like AIG, Geico and Progressive, along with smaller players that aren’t as well known to the American mass market.

The KE IPO will be a big affair because the company is huge and profitable with $3.86 billion in H1 2020 revenue leading to $227.5 million in net income. The Xpeng IPO will be interesting because Tesla’s strong share price has given float to a great many EV boats. But Duck Creek is a company slowly letting go of perpetual license software sales and scaling its SaaS incomes while still generating nearly half its revenues from services. It’s a company we can understand, in other words.

So let’s get under the skin of the Boston-based company that also claims low-code functionality. This will be fun.

Duck Creek by the numbers

#apax-partners, #duck-creek, #extra-crunch, #fundings-exits, #initial-public-offering, #insight-partners, #low-code, #market-analysis, #saas, #software, #software-as-a-service, #startups, #tc, #temasek, #the-exchange, #xpeng

Brave Robot ice cream launches as the first brand from the Perfect Day-backed Urgent Company

The founders of the alternative dairy protein manufacturer, Perfect Day, have joined with a longtime product developer in the dairy industry to create a new sustainably focused consumer food company called the Urgent Company.

Focused on creating sustainable food brands manufactured, packaged and sold in a more environmentally friendly way, the Urgent Company is unveiling its first product — Brave Robot ice cream.

It’s also the first indication of how Perfect Day will deploy some of the massive amounts of money it raised since it closed on its mammoth $300 million funding round led by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board with additional commitments from Temasek and Horizons Ventures.

Perfect Day founders Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi first met their Urgent Company co-founder and general manager, Paul Kollessoff, when Kollessoff was performing due diligence on Perfect Day while working for the Irish dairy company Glanbia.

“What I was doing there was actually looking at new business ventures,” said Kollessoff. “I met the guys three years ago when we were doing some flavor work with them.”

The conversation ended there while Pandya and Gandhi built up Perfect Day, but around three months ago the two founders reached back out with idea for a new consumer food company, based on the latest in plant-based, or genetically modified proteins (including their own), that also used the latest in packaging technology, logistics, and other technologies to reduce the entire carbon footprint of a CPG company. 

Image Credit: The Urgent Company

“It’s not that we are trying to create a company that’s going to commercialize Perfect Day proteins,” said Pandya. “There are so many other things across the value chain of food that need to be improved and modernized including all of the things around how a food gets to the consumer.”

So Brave Robot’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond the use of alternative proteins to replace animal husbandry and the particularly ecologically disastrous dairy industry and its cows. “There’s a load of exciting stuff going on in ingredient innovation and packaging innovation,” said Kollessoff.

Those innovations help The Urgent Company not only become more sustainable, but give the company the ability to move products into the market more quickly, according to Kollessoff.

With only eight full-time members of the Urgent Company staff it managed to shepherd its ice cream business from inception to product launch within a three-month timeframe according to Kollessoff.

Co-founders of Perfect Day, Ryan Pandya (L) and Perumal Gandhi (R), showcase the prospective product portfolio fueled by its flora-based dairy protein. Image Credit: Business Wire. 

So Brave Robot will be launching with a direct to consumer pitch for its dairy-replacement pints of ice cream for a $5.99 price point. Initially available to customers in the California region, any number of buyers are talking to the company, Kollessoff said. “We’ll be on store shelves through the next month. Working with a national broker… we will have a direct to consumer platform as well.”

Before anything could happen with bringing a product to commercial scale, Kollessoff said he had to go through a rigorous process of testing the product — with his kids. At one point, there were 400 pints of ice cream in the Kollessoff freezer. He and his team whittled the initial over thirty flavors of ice cream and settled on a core group of eight.

They include: Vanilla, A Lot of Chocolate, Vanilla ‘N Cookies, Buttery Pecan, PB ‘N Fudge, Blueberry Pie, Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk and Raspberry White Truffle.

“We wanted to create something that is bigger and broader in vision that can bring innovation across the board,” said Gandhi of the drive to build another business with a broader scope than Perfect Day. “What Perfect Day is focusing on …we made cow 2.0… we’ve reimagined the cow… [but] we want [The Urgent Company] to use any protein on planet earth.”

Part of the reason why the company is so unfettered is to encourage speedy experimentation for the simple reason that there’s not much time to take the steps needed to slow down — and ideally reverse — climate change.

“You only get so much time on earth… and we wanted to do more… That’s why it’s called the urgent company.. [because] let’s hurry the fuck up world.”

#dairy, #food, #food-and-drink, #horizons-ventures, #ice-cream, #tc, #temasek