Bessemer Venture Partners closes on $3.3 billion across two funds

Another major VC firm has closed two major rounds, underscoring the long-term confidence investors continue to have for backing privately-held companies in the tech sector.

Early-stage VC firm Bessemer Venture Partners announced Thursday the close of two new funds totaling $3.3 billion that it will be using both to back early-stage startups as well as growth rounds for more mature companies.

The Redwood City-based firm closed BVP XI with $2.475 billion and BVP Century II with $825 million in total commitments.

With BVP XI, it plans to focus on early-stage companies spanning across enterprise, consumer, healthcare, and frontier technologies. 

Its Century II fund is aimed at backing growth-stage companies that Bessemer believes “will define the next century,” and will include both follow-on rounds for existing portfolio companies or investments in new ones.

BVP XI marks Bessemer’s largest fund in its 110-year history. In October 2018, the firm brought in $1.85 billion for its tenth flagship VC fund. This latest fund is its fifth consecutive billion-dollar fund, based on PitchBook data. 

Despite being founded more than 100 years ago, Bessemer didn’t actually enter the venture business until 1965. It’s known for its investments in LinkedIn, Blue Apron and many others, with a current portfolio that includes PagerDuty, Shippo, Electric and DocuSign. Exits include Twitch and Shopify, among many others.

With more money than ever before available for backing startups, the challenge now for VCs is to see how and if they can find (and invest in) whatever will define the next generation of tech. 

“As venture capitalists, we pay too much attention to pattern recognition and matching when in reality, the biggest opportunities exist where those patterns break,” the firm wrote in a blog post today. “Our job is to make perceptive bets on the future, especially those that others will dismiss and ridicule. We are fundamental optimists and strong believers in the power of innovation; our life’s work is putting our reputation, time, and money to help entrepreneurs realize a different future. They’re the ones pioneering something entirely new and obscure – a technology, a business model, a category.

In addition to announcing the new funds, Bessemer also revealed today that it’s brought on five new partners including Jeff Blackburn, who joins after a 22-year career at Amazon, alongside the promotion of existing investors Mary D’Onofrio, Mike Droesch, Tess Hatch, and Andrew Hedin.

Most recently at Amazon, Blackburn served as senior vice president of worldwide business development where he oversaw dozens of Amazon’s minority investments and more than 100 acquisitions across all business lines – including retail, Kindle, Echo, Alexa, FireTV, advertising, music, streaming audio & video, and Amazon Web Services.  

“Having been part of Amazon for more than two decades, I’m excited to begin a new chapter helping customer-focused founders build breakthrough companies,” said Blackburn in a written statement.  “I’ve known the Bessemer team for many years and have long admired their strategic vision and success backing early-stage ventures.” 

With the latest changes, Bessemer now has 21 partners and over 45 investors, advisors, and platform “team members” located in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Boston, London, Tel Aviv, Bangalore, and Beijing. 

“At Bessemer, there’s no corner office or consensus; every partner has the choice, independently, to pen a check. This kind of accountability and autonomy means a founder is teaming up with a partner and board director who thoroughly understands your business and can respond quickly and decisively,” the firm’s blog post read.

Bessemer’s task is all the more difficult because there is more competition than ever before to get into the best deals.

TCV closed on a record $4 billion fund to invest in e-commerce, fintech, edtech, travel and more in late January.

Last November, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z)  closed a pair of funds totaling $4.5 billion. The firm raised $1.3 billion for an early-stage fund focused on consumer, enterprise and fintech; and closed a $3.2 billion growth-stage fund for later-stage investments.

And, last April, Insight, the firm that has backed the likes of Twitter and Shopify and invests across a range of consumer and enterprise startups, announced it had closed a fund of $9.5 billion, money it said it would be using to support startups and “scale-ups” (larger and older startups that are still private) in the coming months.

Although BVP is one of the older firms in the valley, there have been a new wave of investors, some like SoftBank with very deep pockets, and others will less money but a lot of credibility, so it will be interesting to see how these next two funds play out for the firm.

#bessemer, #bessemer-venture-partners, #bvp, #healthcare, #linkedin, #mary-donofrio, #mike-droesch, #money, #pagerduty, #redwood-city, #shopify, #tess-hatch, #venture-capital


Foresite Capital raises $969 million fund to invest in healthcare startups across all stages of growth

Health and life science specialist investment firm Foresite Capital has raised a new fund, its fifth to date, totally $969 million in commitments from LPs. This is the firm’s largest fund to date, and was oversubscribed relative to its original target according to fund CEO and founder Dr. Jim Tananbaum, who told me that while the fundraising process started out slow in the early months of the pandemic, it gained steam quickly starting around last fall and ultimately exceeded expectations.

This latest fund actually makes up two separate investment vehicles, Foresite Capital Fund V, and Foresite Capital Opportunity Fund V, but Tananbaum says that the money will be used to fuel investments in line with its existing approach, which includes companies ranging from early- to late-stage, and everything in between. Foresite’s approach is designed to help it be uniquely positioned to shepherd companies from founding (they also have a company-building incubator) all the way to public market exit – and even beyond. Tananbaum said that they’re also very interested in coming in later to startups they have have missed out on at earlier stages of their growth, however.

Image Credits: Foresite Capital

“We can also come into a later situation that’s competitive with a number of hedge funds, and bring something unique to the table, because we have all these value added resources that we used to start companies,” Tananbaum said. “So we have a competitive advantage for later stage deals, and we have a competitive advantage for early stage deals, by virtue of being able to function at a high level in the capital markets.”

Foresite’s other advantage, according to Tananbaum, is that it has long focused on the intersection of traditional tech business mechanics and biotech. That approach has especially paid off in recent years, he says, since the gap between the two continues to narrow.

“We’ve just had this enormous believe that technology, and tools and data science, machine learning, biotechnology, biology, and genetics – they are going to come together,” he told me. “There hasn’t been an organization out there that really speaks both languages well for entrepreneurs, and knows how to bring that diverse set of people together. So that’s what we specialized i,n and we have a lot of resources and a lot of cross-lingual resources, so that techies that can talk to biotechies, and biotechies can talk to techies.”

Foresite extended this approach to company formation with the creation of Foresite Labs, an incubation platform that it spun up in October 2019 to leverage this experience at the earliest possible stage of startup founding. It’s run by Dr. Vik Bajaj, who was previously co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Alphabet’s Verily health sciences enterprise.

“What’s going on, or last couple decades, is that the innovation cycles are getting faster and faster,” Tananbaum said. “So and then at some point, the people that are having the really big wins on the public side are saying, ‘Well, these really big wins are being driven by innovation, and by quality science, so let’s go a little bit more upstream on the quality science.’”

That has combined with shorter and shorter healthcare product development cycles, he added, aided by general improvements in technology. Tananbaum pointed out that when he began Foresite in 2011, even, the time horizons for returns on healthcare investments were significantly longer, and at the outside edge of the tolerances of venture economics. Now, however, they’re much closer to those found in the general tech startup ecosystem, even in the case of fundamental scientific breakthroughs.

CAMBRIDGE – DECEMBER 1: Stephanie Chandler, Relay Therapeutics Office Manager, demonstrates how she and her fellow co-workers at the company administer their own COVID tests inside the COVID testing room at Relay Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA on Dec. 1, 2021. The cancer treatment development company converted its coat room into a room where employees get tested once a week. All 100+employees have been back in the office as a result of regular testing. Relay is a Foresite portfolio company. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“Basically, you’re seeing people now really look at biotech in general, in the same kind of way that you would look at a tech company,” he said. “There are these tech metrics that now also apply in biotech, about adoption velocity, other other things that may not exactly equate to immediate revenue, but give you all the core material that usually works over time.”

Overall, Foresite’s investment thesis focuses on funding companies in three areas – therapeutics at the clinical stage, infrastructure focused on automation and data generation, and what Tananbaum calls “individualized care.” All three are part of a continuum in the tech-enabled healthcare end state that he envisions, ultimately resulting “a world where we’re able to, at the individual level, help someone understand what their predispositions are to disease development.” That, Tananbaum suggests, will result in a transformation of this kind of targeted care into an everyday consumer experience – in the same way tech in general has taken previously specialist functions and abilities, and made them generally available to the public at large.

#alphabet, #articles, #biotech, #biotechnology, #ceo, #corporate-finance, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #finance, #foresite-capital, #fund, #fundings-exits, #health, #innovation, #investment, #jim-tananbaum, #machine-learning, #private-equity, #startup-company, #tc, #venture-capital, #vik-bajaj


Stori raises $32.5M in a Lightspeed-led Series B to build Mexico’s credit card for the masses

While credit cards are commonplace in the United States, they are far less ubiquitous in many other countries, particularly those in Latin America. In Mexico in particular, cash remains the dominant method of payment with an estimated 86% of all payments being in the form of cash.

But card usage is growing as more people are shopping online than ever before. According to one recent study, Mexico topped the list of the world’s fastest growing e-commerce markets. Meanwhile, only 37% of Mexicans over 15 years old have a bank account, according to recent World Bank stats.

All these factors clearly make the country ripe for fintech innovation. 

And for the founders of Mexico City-based startup Stori, they spell opportunity.

From left to right, Stori founding team Juan Villaseñor, Marlene Garayzar, Bin Chen, Camila Burne

Stori launched its credit card product in Mexico in January 2020 and has so far had more than 1 million customers apply for a card. 

Several members of the founding team spent years at Capital One honing their skills in underwriting underserved populations while others worked at the likes of Mastercard, Morgan Stanley, GE Money, HSBC and Intel in Mexico and the U.S.

Now the company has raised a $32.5 million Series B round with the goal of “becoming Mexico’s leading credit card issuer for the rising middle class.”

Lightspeed Venture Partners led the company’s financing, which brings Stori’s total raised since its early 2018 inception to $50 million. According to Lightspeed Partner Mercedes Bent, the investment marked her firm’s first large investment in the Latin American region “with more to come.”

Existing backers Vision Plus Capital, BAI Capital and Source Code Capital also participated in the round.

Stori provides credit cards with “a 100% mobile app-based experience” to the rising middle income population in Mexico. The team spent its first two years building out the startup’s infrastructure and platform. 

In January 2021, the fintech’s monthly new customer growth was 14 times than what it saw in January 2020 and 6 times the company’s monthly average for 2020, according to co-founder Bin Chen. He declined to reveal its current total of customers.

Because the Mexican market is so huge (the country has a population of nearly 130 million), Stori is currently only focused on serving the country.

Just as in other parts of the world, Stori saw tailwinds in the COVID-19 pandemic in that it fueled customer demand for a way to pay digitally. 

“Consumers in Mexico are increasingly using e-commerce and app-based services like ride hailing and delivery and credit cards are the preferred payment methods in those channels,” Chen said. “They’re experiencing more cash flow fluctuation and irregular expenses and need access to flexible credit that can meet short term needs.”

And of course, during pandemic-related lockdowns, more people are turning to digital financial offerings to avoid visiting bank branches in person.

One commonality among all of Stori’s co-founders, according to Chen, is that each “comes from a modest background.”

“We all experienced the feeling of being excluded from the traditional financial service world. As an international student pursuing my master’s degree in Illinois more than twenty years ago, I was relying solely on teaching assistantship to cover my study and living expenses,” Chen recalled. “I often ran out of money, and had a hard time to make ends meet – I received many rejections before I got my first credit card.”

Similar to TomoCredit’s mission in the U.S., Stori’s founders are working to give middle and low-income customers that are “new to the formal financial system” an opportunity to access credit.

The company plans to use its new capital to grow its customer base, boost headcount and invest in product design, technology infrastructure and underwriting, said Chen, who previously worked at Capital One and Mastercard in both U.S. and emerging markets. Today, Stori has 80 employees spread across offices in Mexico, U.S. and China, up from 40 a year ago.

“Our goal is to become a leading digital bank for the underserved population in the region,” he said.

For its part, Lightspeed first met the company’s founders over a year ago.

“We were struck by the depth of their experience. They navigated the pitfalls of Covid masterfully — without the benefit of a US style stimulus — and showed that their underwriting models were strong and improving,” Bent said. “That is a reflection of the quality of the team.”

Yiran Liu, a partner at China-based Vision Plus Capital, says the firm led Stori’s Series A round and “continues to be super pro rata in this round.”

“We have a structural thesis on digital fintech models and are investing in these models globally, particularly in emerging markets,” Liu said in a written statement. “We are impressed by the team’s execution and excited by the local market opportunity as evidenced by the rapid growth.”



#credit-cards, #finance, #funding, #latin-america, #lightspeed-venture-partners, #mercedes-bent, #mexico, #mexico-city, #payments, #recent-funding, #startups, #stori, #venture-capital


Berlin’s MorphAIs hopes its AI algorithms will put its early-stage VC fund ahead of the pack

MorphAIs is a new VC out of Berlin, aiming to leverage AI algorithms to boost its investment decisions in early-stage startups. But there’s a catch: it hasn’t raised a fund yet.

The firm was founded by Eva-Valérie Gfrerer who was previously head of Growth Marketing at FinTech startup OptioPay and her background is in Behavioural Science and Advanced Information Systems.

Gfrerer says she started MorphAIs to be a tech company, using AI to assess venture investments and then selling that as a service. But after a while, she realized the platform could be applied an in-house fund, hence the drive to now raise a fund.

MorphAIs has already received financing from some serial entrepreneurs, including: Max Laemmle, CEO & Founder Fraugster, previously Better Payment and SumUp; Marc-Alexander Christ, Co-Founder SumUp, previously Groupon (CityDeal) and JP Morgan Chase; Charles Fraenkl, CEO SmartFrog, previously CEO at Gigaset and AOL; Andreas Winiarski, Chairman & Founder awesome capital Group.

She says: “It’s been decades since there has been any meaningful innovation in the processes by which venture capital is allocated. We have built technology to re-invent those processes and push the industry towards more accurate allocation of capital and a less-biased and more inclusive start-up ecosystem.”

She points out that over 80% of early-stage VC funds don’t deliver the minimum expected return rate to their investors. This is true, but admittedly, the VC industry is almost built to throw a lot of money away, in the hope that it will pick the winner that makes up for all the losses.

She now plans to aim for a pre-seed/seed fund, backed by a team consisting of machine learning scientists, mathematicians, and behavioral scientists, and claims that MorphAIs is modeling consistent 16x return rates, after running real-time predictions based on market data.

Her co-founder is Jan Saputra Müller, CTO and Co-Founder, who co-founded and served as CTO for several machine learning companies, including

There’s one problem: Gfrerer’s approach is not unique. For instance, London-based Inreach Ventures has made a big play of using data to hunt down startups. And every other VC in Europe does something similar, more or less.

Will Gfrerer manage to pull off something spectacular? We shall have to wait and find out.

#artificial-intelligence, #berlin, #ceo, #chairman, #chase, #citydeal, #co-founder, #cto, #economy, #europe, #finance, #head, #inreach-ventures, #jp-morgan-chase, #london, #machine-learning, #money, #sumup, #tc, #venture-capital


With Atlanta rising as a new hub for tech, early stage firm Tech Square Ventures gets a new partner

Atlanta is coming up in the tech world with several newly minted billion-dollar businesses hailing from the ATL and the city’s local venture capital community is taking notice.

Even as later stage firms like the newly minted BIP Capital rebrand and  with increasingly large funds, earlier stage firms like Tech Square Ventures are staffing up and adding new partners.

The firm’s latest hire is Vasant Kamath, a general partner who joins the firm from Primus Capital, a later stage investment vehicle based out of Atlanta. Before that, he was managing investments for the private office of the Cox family.

Originally from Augusta, Ga. Kamath left the south to attend Harvard and then went out west for a stint at Stanford Business School.

In between his jaunts North and West Kamath spent time in Atlanta as an investment banker with Raymond James in the early 2000s, the beginnings of a lifelong professional career in technology. Before business school, Kamath worked at Summit Equity Partners in Boston investing in later stage technology companies.

Kamath settled in Atlanta in 2010 just as a second wave of technology companies began making their presence felt in the city.

The new Tech Square Village general partner pointed to Atlanta’s underlying tech infrastructure as one reason for the move to early stage. One pillar of that infrastructure is Georgia Tech itself. The school, whose campus abuts the Tech Square Ventures offices, is one of the top engineering universities in the country and the breadth of talent coming out of that program is impressive, Kamath said.

There’s also the companies like Airwatch, MailChimp, Calendly and others that represent the resurgence of Atlanta’s tech scene, Tech Square Ventures’ newest general partner said.

Not only are young companies reinvesting in the city, but big tech giants and telecom players like T-Mobile, Google, and Microsoft are also establishing major offices, accelerators, and incubators in Atlanta.

“There’s a lot of momentum here in early stage and i think it’s building. It’s the right time for a firm like TSV to take advantage of all of the things,” Kamath said. 

Another selling point for making the jump to early stage investing was the relationship that Kamath had established with Tech Square Ventures founder, Blake Patton. A serial entrepreneur who’s committed to building up Atlanta’s startup ecosystem, Patton has been the architect of Tech Square Ventures’ growth through two separate initiatives.

In all, the firm has $90 million in assets under management. What began with a small pilot fund, Tech Square Ventures Fund 1, (a $5 million investment vehicle) has expanded to include two larger funds raised in conjunction with major industrial corporate partners like AT&T, Chick-Fil-A, Cox Enterprises, Delta, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power, The Home Depot, UPS, Goldman Sachs, and Invesco, under the auspices of a program called Engage. Those funds total $54 million in AUM and the firm is halfway toward closing a much larger second flagship fund under the Tech Square Ventures name with a $75 million target.

All this activity has led to a blossoming entrepreneurial community that early stage funds like Tech Square Ventures hopes to tap.

“We see a fair number of folks from these large corporations spinning out and starting things themselves,” said Kamath. “For a decade plus, you have multiple entrepreneurs doing really well and increasing acceleration in terms of climate and exits.”

And more firms from outside of the region are beginning to take notice.

“I think that is happening,” said Kamath. “You might seen investment from outside the region. At the seed stage it’s harder you do need to have feet on the ground right when they’re starting and building their business. Once they’ve been vetted and had that early round of investment you will definitely see a lot of activity. We’re seeing more investment at the Series A and B from out of town. That’s the strategy.”

It all points to a burgeoning startup scene that’s based in a collaborative approach, which should be good not only for Tech Square Ventures, but the other early stage funds like Atlanta Ventures, Outlander Labs, BLH Ventures, Knoll Ventures and Overline, that working to support the city’s entrepreneurs, Kamath said.

#airwatch, #att, #atlanta, #bip-capital, #boston, #calendly, #chick-fil-a, #corporate-finance, #cox-enterprises, #delta, #entrepreneurship, #finance, #georgia, #goldman-sachs, #google, #harvard, #invesco, #investment-banker, #knoll-ventures, #mailchimp, #microsoft, #money, #private-equity, #serial-entrepreneur, #t-mobile, #tc, #tech-square-ventures, #technology, #venture-capital


#DealMonitor – Razor Group übernimmt HappyPo – Phenom kauft Talentcube – Carvolution bekommt 15 Millionen

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 25. Februar 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.


+++ Ringier Digital Ventures und Francisco Fernandez, Gründer von Avaloq, investieren gemeinsam mit den Altinvestoren Redalpine und Armada Investment 15 Millionen Franken in das Schweizer Startup Carvolution. Das Auto-Abo-Startup aus Bern wurde 2018 von Olivier Kofler, Luis Wittwer, Léa Miggiano, Bernhard Drüner und Adrian Boss gegründet. Redalpine, Armada Investment und Co. investierten bereits 11,25 Millionen Franken in das junge Startup. Die Schweizer Versicherungsgesellschaft Die Mobiliar gewährte Carvolution zudem bereits einen Kredit in Höhe von 50 Millionen Franken.

+++ IBB Ventures und weitere Geldgeber wie Hans-Jürgen Meckelburg, Gründer des wireless-Prüfdienstleisters 7layers, investieren eine ungenannte Summe in testxchange. Das Berliner Startup bringt Prüflabore mit Auftraggebern zusammen und “ermöglicht beiden Seiten, ihre Projekte effizient digital zu organisieren”. testxchange wurde 2017 von Malte Zur gegründet. Das frische Kapital soll zur “weiteren Verbesserung der Software, der Vergrößerung des Teams und zur weiteren Expansion in Europa und China eingesetzt werden”.

+++ btov Partners investiert 1 Million Euro in das Wiener Startup Visplore. Die Jungfirma, die 2020 als Spin-Off des Wiener Forschungszentrums VRVis gegründet wurde, bietet visuelle Analyse-Lösungen an, “die Citizen-Data-Scientists im Industrie- und Energiesektor neue Erkenntnisse aus großen Datenmengen aus Maschinen, Sensoren und Simulationen intuitiv ermöglichen” sollen. Geführt wird das Startup von Harald Piringer und Thomas Mühlbacher.

+++ Der ehemalige Fußball-Nationalspieler Oliver Bierhoff investiert gemeinsam mit anderen Promi-Investoren wie Fußball-Weltmeister Antoine Griezmann in die Fantasy-Fußball-Plattform Sorare. Fußball-Weltmeister André Schürrle und Christian Miele, Partner des Risikokapitalgebers, gehörten zuvor schon zu den Investoren der Jungfirma. Das Unternehmen aus Paris bietet auf Blockchain-Basis ein digitales Pendant zu den Fußballsammelkarten von Panini, Topps und Co. – samt Fantasy Football Manager. Zu den Geldgeber von Sorare zählen darüber hinaus Top-Geldgeber wie Benchmark Capital, Accel Partners und In der aktuellen Investmentrunde fließen 40 Millionen Euro in Sorare.


+++ Der noch junge Amazon-Shop-Aufkäufer Razor Group übernimmt das Berliner Startup HappyPo, das eine Podusche anbietet. Die Razor Group hält bereits alle Anteile an HappyPo, das 2017 von Frank Schmischke und Oliver Elsoud gegründet wurde. In der vierten Staffel der Vox-Gründershow “Die Höhle der Löwen” investierte Familien-Löwin Dagmar Wöhrl 125.000 Euro in HappyPo und sicherte sich dabei 25 % am Unternehmen. Wie Bild berichtet, lag der Kaufpreis von HappyPo “im siebenstelligen Bereich”. Die Razor Group, 2020 von Tushar Ahluwalia und Jonas Diezun gegründet, kauft – wie das große Vorbild Thrasio – profitable Amazon-Händler und führt deren Geschäfte weiter. Zu den Investoren der Jungfirma gehören Global Founders Capital (GFC), 468 Capital, Redalpine und Presight Capital.

+++ Das amerikanische Unternehmen Phenom, das auf Talent Experience Management (TXM) setzt, übernimmt Talentcube aus München. Bei Talentcube steht die Vorstellung des Bewerbers über Kurzvideos im Mittelpunkt, die komplett über die App des Startups erstellt und abgeschickt werden können. 2015 hievten Sebastian Hust, Sebastian Niewöhner und Hendrik Seiler das HR-Startup ins Netz. In der vierten Staffel der Vox-Gründershow “Die Höhle der Löwen” investierte Sales-Löwe Carsten Maschmeyer 400.000 Euro in die Jungfirma und sicherte sich 33,3 % am Unternehmen.

+++ Das Berliner Bewerbungs-Startup JobUFO übernimmt das Nürnberger Startup Unicoach, einem Tool für studentische Stundenpläne – siehe Gründerszene. Das junge Unternehmen beschriebt sich selbst als “Stundenplan-Creator und Wissensportal für Studierende” bzw. eine Art “Quora for Students”. Unicoach wurde 2014 von Benjamin Bauer, Andreas Wünsche und Jan Hohner gegründet.

Venture Capital

Futury Regio Growth Fonds
+++ Der Futury Regio Growth Fonds, der Hessen als Innovations- und Entwicklungsstandort fördern soll, geht offiziell an den Start. Im Topf des Geldgebers mit Sitz in Frankfurt am Main sind 60 Millionen Euro. Der Futury Regio Growth Fonds wird zur Hälfte vom Land Hessen finanziert, zudem und kooperiert der Geldgeber mit dem Berliner Investor Der Futury Regio Growth Fonds investiert zwischen 2 und 8 Millionen Euro in “technologieorientierte Unternehmen in späteren Phasen” und in Segmente wie Künstliche Intelligenz, FinTech, Internet, Software, Mobilität und Logistik. Der neue Geldgeber investierte bereits in Wingcopter und Apiax.

Beekeeper Accelerator
+++ Das Schweizer Grownup Beekeeper, ein Unternehmen, dass die Mitarbeiter-Kommunikation digitalisiert, legt ein Accelerator-Programm auf. Im Rahmen des Programmes sollen “Early-Stage Start-ups gefödert werden, die innovative Tools für gewerbliche Unternehmen entwickeln”. Das Unternehmen teilt dazu mit: “Gesucht werden Applikationen und Integrationen, die Frontline-Worker, also gewerbliche Mitarbeiter, in den folgenden Bereichen unterstützen: Upskilling & Training, Employee Lifecycle Management, Augmented Intelligence, Organizational Health und Automation & Workflows. Die Bewerbungsfrist endet am 31. März”.


+++ Schon die neue Insider-Ausgabe mit Sven Schmidt gehört? In der aktuellen Folge geht es um Gorillas, Charles, Jodel, Supercam, Gitpod, Careship, Capnamic Ventures, AdJust, LeanIX, staffbase und den Spac-Boom.

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

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

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #apiax, #beekeeper, #berlin, #bern, #btov-partners, #carsten-maschmeyer, #carvolution, #dagmar-wohrl, #die-hohle-der-lowen, #fintech, #futury-regio-growth-fonds, #happypo, #hr, #ibb-ventures, #jobufo, #munchen, #nurnberg, #phenom, #promi-investor, #razor-group, #ringier-digital-ventures, #sorare, #talentcube, #testxchange, #unicoach, #venture-capital, #visplore, #wien, #wingcopter


#Podcast – #EXKLUSIV Spark Capital und Creandum geben Careship-Anteile zurück

In den vergangenen Jahren flossen mehr als 10 Millionen Euro in das Pflege-Startup Careship – unter anderem von Creandum, Spark Capital, Atlantic Labs und Ananda Impact Ventures. Noch im Februar des vergangenen Jahres hielten Creandum und Spark stattliche 22 bzw. 22,5 % der Firmenanteile. Inzwischen entfallen jeweils nur noch weniger als 5 % auf die bekannten Geldgeber. Die Anteile, die die Geldgeber zuvor gehalten haben, entfallen nun auf die Care Companion GmbH, also auf das Startup selbst. Was auf einen geordneten Rückzug hindeutet.

Gleichzeitig sicherte sich Ananda Impact Ventures in den vergangenen Monaten weitere Anteile am Unternehmen. Ananda Impact Ventures hält nun 23 % der Careship-Anteile, auf Atlantic Labs entfallen 13,5 %. Das Berliner Unternehmen Careship, das sich als Betreuungs- und Begleitdienst für Senioren positioniert, wurde 2015 von den Geschwistern Antonia und Nikolaus Albert gegründet. Seit 2019 wird das Unternehmen allerdings von Brian Plackis Cheng, Gründer von cielo24 geführt.

Das Pflege-Segment war im vergangenen Jahr corona-bedingt sicherlich schwierig. Careship scheint sich aber schon zuvor anders als erwartet entwickelt zu haben. Der Jahresfehlbetrag lag 2019 bei 3,8 Millionen Euro. Insgesamt kostete der Aufbau des Startups bis Ende 2019 bereits rund 11,1 Millionen. Die Zahl der Mitarbeiter ging 2019 zudem von 65 auf 65 runter. Zuvor war Carsehip stark gewachsen von 32 auf die genannten 65 Mitarbeiter im Jahre 2018.  Details zu Careship gibt es in unserem aktuellen Insider-Podcast.

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

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

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #berlin, #careship, #creandum, #pflege, #spark-capital, #venture-capital


Pilot CEO Waseem Daher tears down his company’s $60M Series C pitch deck

The pitch deck is just one aspect of the broader fundraising process, but for founders aiming to entice investors, it’s the best way to communicate their startup’s progress and potential.

The decisions founders make regarding what to include on those few slides can be the difference between a quick pass or a first check. As the venture capital market continues to boil over and investors find themselves reviewing more deals remotely across different stages, there’s added need to drill down into the basics for their first look inside the company.

To get an insider’s look into the process, I chatted with Pilot CEO Waseem Daher. Last month, his bookkeeping and financial tools startup wrapped a $60 million Series C round led by Sequoia, bringing the company’s total funding to just north of $118 million. We discussed the different approaches he has taken to crafting the company’s pitch deck to showcase what he knew potential investors were most curious in, something that shifted over time as the company hit new milestones.

Daher took me on a tour of his company’s Series C pitch deck (embedded below) and described the decisions he and his team spent the most time considering as they crafted the deck. During the discussion, he broke down some of the key questions investors ask at each stage and touched on many of the proof points that VCs have started paying more attention to.

“If the Series A was about, ‘Do you have the right ingredients to make this work?’ then the Series B is about, ‘Is this actually working?'”

“If the Series A was about, ‘Do you have the right ingredients to make this work?’ then the Series B is about, ‘Is this actually working?’” Daher tells TechCrunch. “And then the Series C is more, ‘Well, show me that the core business is really working and that you have unlocked real drivers to allow the business to continue growing.’”

What are investors looking for?


  • Key investor question: Is there significant potential?
  • Proof points to consider: Total addressable market (TAM), team.

Series A

  • Key investor question: Is there proof of product-market fit?
  • Additional proof points to consider: Annual recurring revenues (ARR), cash burn.

Series B

  • Key investor question: Is the flywheel working? Will you be the market winner?
  • Additional proof points to consider: ARR growth, net retention, market share.

Series C/D

  • Key investor question: Are the unit economics compelling?
  • Additional proof points to consider: Gross margin, lifetime value (LTV), Customer acquisition costs (CAC).


  • Key investor question: Will the business generate significant cash flow?
  • Additional proof points to consider: Free cash flow (FCF), FCF margin, average selling price (ASP) growth, category expansion, earnings per share (EPS).

Check out the full pitch deck below from Pilot’s most recent raise (with illustrative data swapped for actual financial metrics).

#corporate-finance, #ec-how-to, #entrepreneurship, #tc, #venture-capital


Oak HC/FT closes on $1.4 billion to invest in fintech and healthcare startups

Oak HC/FT general partners Annie Lamont, Andrew Adams and Tricia Kemp invested in healthcare and fintech before the two sectors were mainstream, and today, as a result of that early intuition and a handful of key exits, the trio has over a billion dollars in new fund money to show for it.

The firm announced today that it has secured $1.4 billion for its largest fund to date, an investment vehicle that will exclusively back healthcare and fintech companies. The firm previously raised $500 million, $600 million and $800 million for its other funds, respectively. Doing quick math, Oak HC/FT, which closed its first fund in 2014, has been able to triple its total assets managed in six years.

Over the history of its fund, the team has outlined six notable exits, including Anthem’s acquisition of Aspire Health, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s acquisition of Core Informatics, Diplomat’s acquisition of LDI Integrated Pharmacy Services, AXA Group’s acquisition of Maestro Health, GoDaddy’s acquisition of Poynt and Limeade’s public debut. The firm declined to share any numbers around IRR, or share information on what percent of current portfolio companies are planning to go public and which are best capitalized to do so.

Today’s fund, its fourth to date, will be invested across 20 companies, with average check sizes between $60 million and $100 million. Oak HC/FT invests in both early-stage and growth-stage companies. The fresh capitalization comes during a watershed moment for the two sectors, heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic from an innovation and adoption perspective.

For example, digital health funding broke records in 2020, attracting over $10 billion in the first three quarters and increase in deals by investors, compared to the previous year. Fintech, despite an uneven beginning, has been tearing through capital to meet with demand, and valuations continue to skyrocket.

From a healthcare perspective, Adams told TechCrunch that it is looking at startups working on the cost of delivering care and ability to engage with complex patients. Lamont said that “virtualization of [both doctors and patients] has been incredible in the last year,” and that much of the firm’s focus is on startups that rely on providers taking risk. The investor is hinting at the big push of startups that are betting that value-based care will replace fee-for-service care. The former rewards service for money, instead of time for money, placing monetary incentive for doctors more on outcomes than number of visits it takes to get to an outcome.

I asked the team if telehealth was no longer as big of a question mark for them, since the pandemic has accelerated adoption. But Lamont argued that telehealth is still “unbelievably complicated to pull off at scale, which is less obvious to the public.” The firm is looking for startups who can bring a consumer experience to telehealth, taking the place of an in-person receptionist.

The firm is also looking at startups that blend its two expertises, healthcare and fintech, around payments and digitization of billing. Kemp said that the firm is less interested in standalone point-of-sale services for restaurants and bills, and are now looking at items that reduce friction with payments. One of its e-commerce optimization portfolio companies, Rapyd, raised $300 million at a $2.5 billion valuation in January.

Other subsectors of interest include digital consumer payments, as shown by portfolio companies Namogoo and Prove, and fraud and risk identification, as shown by portfolio companies Au10tix and Feedzai.

On the diversity front, Oak HC/FT said that within its portfolio, 26% of C-suite and executive leadership roles are held by women, and 52% of senior management roles are held by women.

The firm has invested in nearly 100 startups to date. Of the 35 investments it made in 2020, 20 of the deals were follow-on rounds.

#fintech, #healthcare, #new-fund, #oak-hc-ft, #tc, #venture-capital


Meet Smash Ventures, the low-flying outfit that has quietly funded Epic Games among others

When in 2018, Smash Ventures showed up as an investor in a $1.25 billion round for Epic Games — reportedly the largest ever investment in a video game company at the time — it was the first time many had heard of the investing outfit.

When the brand showed up again last summer in an even bigger round for Epic —  last August, the games giant announced $1.78 billion in fresh funding at a post-money equity valuation of $17.3 billion — a diner near Epic’s Cary, North Carolina headquarters that sells “smash waffles” started getting calls from reporters, says Eric Garland, who used to lead venture and growth deals for The Walt Disney Company after selling his company, BigChampagne, to Live Nation in 2011.

“Some reporters really turned over rocks,” he says.

Garland knows this, he says, because he cofounded Smash Ventures with Evan Richter, a former member of Disney’s corporate strategy and business development team (and who, before that, was an investor at Insight Partners).

They pair say they weren’t trying to duck the press after striking out on their own a few years ago; they were mostly just trying to get their firm off the ground, which they’ve seemingly done and then some. First, there’s the newly closed $75 million debut fund from strategic partners and notable investors like Kevin Mayer, the former CEO of TikTok and the former Disney executive; Pixar cofounder Ed Catmull; and journalist Willow Bay, who is now dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Yet it’s just small notable piece of what they have assembled.

Indeed, at a time when money is more of a commodity than ever and can be accessed easily by many founders, Smash has a few tricks up its sleeve, Richter and Garland suggest.

One thing to know, for example, is that the two apparently have little spinning up side vehicles when they wedge their way into an interesting deal. While they got to know Epic Games through Disney (it made an investment in the company in 2017 when Epic took part in its accelerator program), when they persuaded founder Tim Sweeney to take a bigger check from Smash Ventures in 2018, they were able to package together “several hundred million dollars” from their LPs for a stake in the business.

The also “flexed up” with the help of its limited partners to put a separate $200 million into others of its handful of portfolio companies. These include DraftKings, before it went public through a blank-check company last year; the footwear, apparel and accessory brand Nobull; the men’s grooming company Manscaped; and India’s biggest e-learning startup, Byju’s.

Disney — one of the world’s most powerful brands —  is a common thread throughout. In addition to inviting Epic into its accelerator program, Disney began work on an education app with Byju back in 2018 and it owned 6% of DraftKings when it went public last year.

Mayer, the former Disney exec who more recently began launching special purpose acquisition vehicles, credits Richter and Garland with finding “a lot of really cool companies like Epic” while inside Disney, saying he has “been supporting them ever since, because I think they’re great.”

Underscoring the strength of that former Disney network — another apparent advantage here — Mayer says that in addition to being a limited partner, he will sometimes “try and talk to their CEOs, give strategic advice, and talk about exits and M&A with some of their portfolio companies.” (Catmull, who was the president of Walt Disney Animation Studios after Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, was also pulled in to help seal the Epic deal, says Garland.)

As for whether Smash’s dealings have irritated current execs at Disney — it isn’t hard to imagine the entertainment giant would have liked a bigger stake in Epic — Garland says no, adding that “Disney is not generally in the venture business.”

In the meantime, Smash also says it’s getting into deals by helping companies tell stories to their respective, captive audiences. As Richter explains it, “The leading consumer software and internet businesses are building massive, and dedicated, user bases, and media, whether it’s a Travis Scott experience within Epic Games, or an IP collaboration between Marvel or Disney [and Byju’s], or whether it’s doing something with the UFC [which last year partnered with Manscaped], can be an incredible way to keep and grow a user base.”

The firm certainly appears to spend a lot of time with its portfolio companies on these efforts. While Smash wrote its first check in 2018, it has just five portfolio companies to date, and it plans only to invest in 10 to 12 companies altogether with that $75 million pool of capital, writing checks as small as $5 million to $10 million, with the ability to write far larger checks when the opportunity arises and its LP network says yes to it.

Asked why the firm is suddenly going public with those efforts, Richter suggests it’s time to cast a wider net. Even still, Garland says that “we like to stay focused. We make a lot of noise for our portfolio companies,” he adds,” but we are ourselves very heads down.”

#byjus, #disney, #draftkings, #ed-catmull, #epic-games, #kevin-mayer, #smash-ventures, #tc, #venture-capital


Primary Venture Partners raises $150M third fund to back NYC startups

Primary Venture Partners, a firm focused exclusively on investing in New York-area startups, has raised $150 million in its third fund for seed investments (its largest so far), as well as $50 million for its second Select fund (used to participate in later-stage rounds).

The firm’s portfolio includes New York success stories like (acquired by Walmart for $3.3 bill million), Mirror (acquired by Lululemon for $500 million) and Latch (which is planning to go public via SPAC). And the firm has doubled down on its association with New York by publishing an NYC Founder Guide.

Still, the idea of limiting your investments to a specific geography might sound old-fashioned at a time when offices largely go unused, teams are increasingly distributed and some investors are loudly trumpeting new startup hubs. But General Partner Brad Svrluga (who founded the firm with General Partner Ben Sun) told me that the New York focus remains crucial for the firm — for example, in its work to help startups hire the best employees.

“When you think about [our three-person talent team], their charge is to understand, track and be connected to the top 10% of all talent in New York City,” Svrluga said. “That’s a big, ambitious challenge, but it’s also one that we’ve got a really good shot at doing in a relatively confined geography. If we were trying to simultaneously recruit for companies in New York, Seattle, Boston, Austin, L.A., the Bay Area, etc., you just can’t do it — or you’d need an army.”

And while he said San Francisco and Silicon Valley remain “unquestionably the center of the universe that we operate in, the sun around which everything else revolves,” he suggested that New York has unique advantages: “Unlike the Bay Area, New York is powered by a whole collection of industries. That diversity makes the place radically more resilient.”

That doesn’t mean things won’t change as we emerge from the pandemic. For one thing, Svrluga anticipated that companies that are ostensibly New York based will be more distributed, with “a relatively lower percentage of their workforce in New York City proper,” and of that NYC workforce, “fewer of them in the office on any given day.” He’s also hopeful that startup real estate costs will “shrink materially.”

“I would love it if you and your peers continue to trumpet the demise of New York, so other investors can stop paying attention and we can have a less competitive environment,” he added.

Another change — one that’s not limited to geography — is the growing size of seed rounds, which Svrluga said is one of the reasons for the larger fund. The seed, he suggested, has become “the first third of the A” round, but that doesn’t mean startups raising seed rounds need to be more further along.

“A whole bunch of what we do has always has been way pre-product,” he said. “It could be just a founder or just two three people …. some early code might be written but you’re months and months way from launch. They’re now capable raising $2.5, $3, $4 million right out of the gate.”

In addition to the new funds, Primary is also announcing that it has appointed Rebecca Price as operating partner and promoted Jason Shuman to partner.

#primary-venture-partners, #venture-capital


4 essential truths about venture investing

After making pre-seed investments for seven years, I have observed how different the pre-seed stage is from Series A and later-stage investing.

Today, I want to highlight four ideas that are true across different stages of investing.

Venture outcomes are driven by a power law

Power law is an immutable law of the universe. Examples include the distribution of population in cities, price of artwork, and unfortunately, wealth distribution. This law is also known as the Pareto principle, and colloquially known as the 80%-20% rule.

The average manager faces a very real possibility of making no money at all because of how steep the power law curve is.

Venture capital is no exception and the outcomes of every venture portfolio will likely follow a power law distribution. There are two significant things to think about here:

One: Because most startups fail, the distribution is going to have a lot of zeros (or near zeros) in the long tail. The zeros are going to be followed by singles and doubles.

Two: The biggest winners, when they happen, tend to be huge. Unicorns were hard to come by when Aileen Lee penned her now-famous article in 2013. Today, unicorns are no longer as rare and top-tier firms are constructing their portfolio with the goal of funding a decacorn — a company valued at $10 billion or higher.

There is nothing mysterious about the power law dynamic in venture. Just like the rich get richer, the biggest companies get bigger.

A startup that reaches $10 million in revenue is much more likely to double, double again and then cruise by $100 million in revenue versus a startup at the $1 million mark now trying to get to $10 million.

At scale, everything is different — the resources, the possibilities and access to capital. Of course, even companies that reach very substantial scale may run into obstacles and eventually underperform. But that is not the point.

The point is that the ones that do end up winning and driving all the returns keep doubling and continue getting bigger and bigger.

Hence, the outcomes of the venture portfolio fit a power law curve.

The best managers in the business are distinguished by a few more at the very top of the curve.

The average manager faces a very real possibility of making no money at all because of how steep the power law curve is.

Your fund size is your strategy

There is a piece of feedback that fund of fund managers frequently give to GPs: Your fund size is your strategy.

What they are essentially saying is that a fund’s portfolio construction will depend on how much capital is under management, and vice versa. Why is that?

Let’s take two extreme examples — a manager of a $10 million fund and a manager of a $1 billion fund. Let’s assume that both managers want to lead rounds. If the first one decided to be a Series A fund, it would be extremely concentrated. It may be able to lead 1-2 rounds, but that’s it. Given the power law nature of outcomes, it would be extremely unlikely for this manager to generate a good return.

#aileen-lee, #angel-investor, #column, #ec-column, #ec-how-to, #entrepreneurship, #private-equity, #startups, #venture-capital


#DealMonitor – #EXKLUSIV better ventures investiert in Liefergrün – pregfit sammelt erstmals Geld ein – G+J Digital Ventures investiert in Instamotion

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 24. Februar 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.


+++ better ventures, also Christoph Behn, Tina Dreimann, Cedric Duvinage, Sven Rittau (K5, zooplus), Philipp Petrescu (MVP Factory) und Julius Göllner (F&P Stock Solution) investieren nach Informationen, die uns vorab vorliegen, eine mittlere sechsstellige Summe in Liefergrün. Das junge Unternehmen aus Münster, das 2020 von Niklas Tauch, Max Schleper und Robin Wingenbach gegründet wurde, möchte “dem lokalen Einzelhandel ein nachhaltiges Lieferkonzept” anbieten. Das Startup liefert dabei “ausschließlich umweltfreundlich mit Lastenrädern oder E-Autos”. Ganz egal ob nun per Express- oder Zeitfensterlieferung. Derzeit ist Liefergrün in Berlin, Hamburg und Münster aktiv. Das frische Kapital soll “vor allem für die Expansion in weitere Sta?dte genutzt werden”. Das Startup beschäftigt aktuell 10 Mitarbeiter:innen. #EXKLUSIV

+++ Michael Asshauer (Mitgründer von Familonet) und die Münsteraner Beteiligungsgesellschaft Schweizer Invest investieren nach Informationen, die uns vorab vorliegen, eine sechsstellige Summe in pregfit, ein Online-Fitnessstudio für Schwangere. Das Hamburger Startup wurde 2018 von Peter “Piet” König gegründet. Die Idee zu pregfit entstand, als Königs Frau Lena schwanger wurde. Der Bewegungs- und Sportwissenschaftler sowie Personal-Fitnesstrainer entwarf damals ein Fitness-Programm, das komplett den Bedürfnissen seiner schwangeren Frau entsprach. Nach diversen Tests und Studien entstand daraus letztendlich pregfit. “Mit den neuen Partnern an der Seite will pregfit der Marktführer im Bereich Online-Fitness für Schwangere werden, die Produktpalette erweitern und expandieren”, teilt das Startup mit. #EXKLUSIV

+++ G+J Digital Ventures, der Investmentableger des Medienhauses Gruner + Jahr, und Act Venture Capital aus Irland investieren nach unseren Informationen gemeinsam mit den Alt-Investoren Earlybird Venture Capital und THI Investments in Instamotion, eine Gebrauchtwagenplattform. InstaMotion wurde 2015 von Darius Ahrabian gegründet. “Wir wollen den B2C-Autohandel revolutionieren und auf eine rein elektronische Plattform bringen: wie bei Amazon wird der Autokauf per Mausklick möglich sein”, heißt es auf der Website. 2016 stieg der  Münchner Versicherungskonzern Allianz bei der Jungfirma ein. Bis Ende 2018 flossen bereits mehr als 12 Millionen Euro in InstaMotion. Die Allianz hält weiter rund 12,1 % an Instamotion. Auf G+J Digital Ventures entfallen nun 12,6 %,  Act Venture Capital hält 2,6 % #EXKLUSIV

+++ Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), main incubator, der Frühphaseninvestor der Commerzbank-Gruppe, die Sparkasse Bremen und Plug and Play investieren eine siebenstellige Summe in das Hamburger Fintech Etvas. Die Jungfirma, die 2019 von Sören Timm und Ilie Ghiciuc gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “B2B2C-Marktplatz für Zusatz-Services verschiedener Anbieter, die Produkte und Dienstleistungen von Banken und Versicherungen aufwerten”.

+++ Der Unternehmer David Zimmer (inexio) investiert in mymoria, ein digitales Bestattungshaus. “Mit dem Investment von David Zimmer und seinem Familiy-Office Kalodion wollen die Gründer weiter in das Wachstum ihres Unternehmens investieren”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. mymoria wurde 2015 von Felix Maßheimer und Björn Wolff gegründet. Bis Ende 2018 flossen bereits 4,5 Millionen Euro in die Jungfirma. Zu den Investoren von mymoria gehören unter andrem IBB Ventures, DvH Ventures und  btov Partners.


+++ Der amerikanische Amazon-Shop-Aufkäufer Thrasio übernimmt das Münchner Unternehmen Bonstato, das mit den Marken bonmedico (orthopädische HilfsprodukteI), bonVIVO (Möbel- und Wohnaccessoires) und bonAMICO (Zubehör für Haustiere) unterwegs ist. Bonstato wurde 2015 von Max Winkler und Frank Petri gegründet. “Bonstato co-owner Max Winkler, who recently became a father and wanted to slow down the pace of his professional life, says that he and co-owner Frank Petri were thrilled to find Thrasio and secure a lucrative exit”, teilt Thrasio zur Übernahme mit. Thrasio hatte zuletzt seinen deutschen Klon Thirstii übernommen und das Team des Startups zu seiner deutschen Mannschaft gemacht. Um die deutschen Klone ein wenig zu verschrecken verkündete der Shop-Aufkäufer “für die Übernahme deutscher Amazon-Händler” zuletzt ein “Investitionsvolumen von 200 Million Euro”. Nun erhöht Thrasio diese Summe auf 500 Million Euro. Zu den wichtigsten jungen Shop-Aufkäufern in Deutschland gehören Branded, The Stryze Group, Seller X und die Razor Group.

+++ Das Berliner FinTech Modifi, das 2018 von Nelson Holzner, Sven Brauer und Jan Wehrs gegründet wurde, übernimmt das Export-Finanzierungsgeschäft von PrimaDollar. “Die Transaktion bezieht sich ausschließlich auf zukünftiges Geschäft. PrimaDollar behält seinen derzeitigen Bestand an Handelsfinanzierungen”, teilen die Unternehmen mit. Modifi finanziert weltweit den  Handel zwischen Unternehmen. Das FinTech PrimaDollar aus Großbritannien kümmert sich künftig auf seine “branchenführende Plattform für Supply Chain Trade Finance”.


+++ Der noch junge Risikokapitalgeber 2150 verkündet das First Closing seines ersten Fonds. “Nachdem bisher mit 130 Millionen Euro knapp zwei Drittel der Zielsumme von 200 Millionen Euro eingeworben wurden, wird der endgültige Zeichnungsschluss bis Mitte 2021 erwartet. Der heute bekanntgegebene erste Abschluss wurde in weniger als einem halben Jahr erreicht”, teilt der Geldgeber mit Sitz in Berlin, London und Kopenhagen mit. 2150 investiert in Unternehmen, “die den urbanen Raum neu denken”. Der Fokus liegt dabei “auf der nachhaltigen Umgestaltung und Erneuerung der bebauten Umwelt: Vom Ansatz, wie unsere Städte entworfen, gebaut und mit Energie beliefert werden, bis hin zur Art und Weise, wie Menschen leben, arbeiten und versorgt werden”.


+++ Schon die neue Insider-Ausgabe mit Sven Schmidt gehört? In der aktuellen Folge geht es um Gorillas, Charles, Jodel, Supercam, Gitpod, Careship, Capnamic Ventures, AdJust, LeanIX, staffbase und den Spac-Boom.

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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

#2150, #act-venture-capital, #aktuell, #better-ventures, #bonamico, #bonmedico, #bonstato, #bonvivo, #earlybird-venture-capital, #etvas, #fintech, #gj-digital-ventures, #hamburg, #high-tech-grunderfonds, #instamotion, #liefergrun, #main-incubator, #modifi, #munchen, #munster, #mymoria, #plug-and-play, #pregfit, #primadollar, #venture-capital


From food delivery to housing: Former Favor founders raise millions for Sunroom Rentals

Real estate tech startup Sunroom Rentals, which leases units on behalf of property managers and apartment owners, has raised $11 million in a Series A round of funding led by Gigafund.

Ben Doherty and Zachary Maurais, former founders of the delivery app Favor, launched Sunroom in May 2018 with the mission of “boosting the profitability” of mid-size property managers and apartment owners by giving them a way to outsource their leasing operations.

The pair sold Favor to Texas grocer H-E-B in 2018 and soon after shifted their focus on building out Sunroom. The Austin-based company has developed an app that it says gives renters a way to tour, apply for and lease a unit “entirely online.” COVID-19 has led to more renters wanting virtual ways to explore and secure rental units. Mobile-first, Maurais noted, is particularly appealing to millennials and Gen Zers.

“Personally, we love to create products that fulfill consumer’s most basic needs,” said Maurais, the company’s president. “With food under our belt, we decided to focus on housing.”

While one might wonder what the parallels between food delivery and housing might be beyond fulfilling consumers’ needs, CEO Doherty said the rental market in 2021 looks a lot like the food delivery market in 2013.

“In 2013, Grubhub had successfully put many restaurant menus online, but most of the transactions and delivery process was still offline,” he told TechCrunch. “We’re in a similar position with the rental market, as the majority of rental listings are online, but touring, applying or leasing units is still done offline.”

Since its launch, Sunroom Rentals has signed more than 2,000 leases and had over 100,000 renters sign up for its services in fast-growing Austin, where it focused its initial efforts.

“According to the U.S. Census, that represents roughly 10% of renters in the greater Austin metro,” Maurais said. “Instead of going shallow and wide nationally, we decided to go deep in markets, in an effort to gain network effects, which was a strategy that worked well for us at Favor.”

Sunroom Rentals claims that it’s leasing units five days faster than the market average. This benefits property managers, Doherty said, because they can grow quicker “while improving leasing performance.”

Looking ahead, the company will use the funding to expand across Texas, including in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. It will also invest in its partner portal, which aims to give owners and property managers a way to view real-time data on leasing performance.

Sunroom Rentals currently has 18 employees with the goal of more than doubling its headcount this year. It’s in particular looking to hire across its engineering, product and sales departments.

As mentioned above, Gigafund led the Series A financing, which included participation from NextGen Venture Partners, Calpoly Ventures and a slew of angel investors, including Gokul Rajaram (Google & Square) and Homeward’s Tim Heyl, among others. Existing backers include Founders Fund Seed, Draper Associates, Boost VC and Capital Factory (among many others). The round marked Sunroom’s first “priced” round, meaning the first time it’s given up stock.

Jonathan Basset, managing partner at NextGen Venture Partners, believes Sunroom was essentially in the right place at the right time and “on trend with touchless leasing even before COVID hit.”

“I watched them build a profitable consumer marketplace in a competitive market with Favor and was impressed with them as operators,” he said. “These businesses have a surprising amount of similarities and I’m confident they can rise to the challenge.

Last week, TechCrunch reported on the raise of another startup operating in this increasingly crowded space. Seattle-based Knock — a company that has developed tools to give property management companies a competitive edge — raised $20 million in a growth funding round led by Fifth Wall Ventures.

Knock’s goal is to provide CRM tools to modernize front office operations for these companies so they can do things like offer virtual tours and communicate with renters via text, email or social media from “a single conversation screen.” For renters, it offers an easier way to communicate and engage with landlords.

Maurais said the two differ in that Knock is a CRM built for leasing agents with a SAAS model where as Sunroom is a marketplace, where renters match, tour and apply with partnered properties.

“Sunroom also provides a suite of leasing & analytics software to its partners and generates both transactional and subscription revenues,” he added.

#austin, #favor, #founders-fund, #funding, #gigafund, #nextgen-venture-partners, #property-management, #real-estate, #recent-funding, #renting, #startups, #sunroom-rentals, #texas, #venture-capital


6 Miami-based investors share their views on the region’s startup scene

Miami is quickly becoming a symbol for the tech exodus from Silicon Valley. The area is home to a number of investors, successful tech founders and an eager local government.

For this survey, TechCrunch spoke to a number of investors about the area’s potential, opportunities and key players. This is the second survey TechCrunch published on the area and the first can be found here.

In this survey, these investors agree on several aspects of Miami. They see a huge opportunity for the region to become a major startup hub by utilizing its diverse workforce and wonderful quality of life. As they say below, the future of work is uncertain and Miami is becoming more attractive as workforces disconnect from office buildings.

We spoke to the following investors:

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Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder and managing partner, Clerisy

Where do you see Miami’s startup scene five years from now?

Miami’s startup scene has been growing and evolving over the past 5+ years thanks to local organizations supporting entrepreneurship including, but not limited to Endeavor Miami, The Knight Foundation, The Lab, Rokk3r Labs, eMerge Americas, Miami Angels and Wyncode. Many of Miami’s entrepreneurs, investors and startups have historically had ties to Latin America. I think going forward, the Miami tech scene will certainly continue to be a conduit to Latin America as it has been in the past. However, I predict more non-Latin American founders, investors, engineers and operators from cities like New York, LA and San Francisco, will also choose to build their businesses in Miami due to higher quality of life and more attractive tax rates. This dynamic will bring more relevant talent and a larger, more robust tech ecosystem to South Florida.

Remote work is pushing and pulling the global workforce. This means that offices will disappear from Miami, even with more companies moving in, but also more locals who work remotely for companies elsewhere. How do you see these factors impacting the city’s tech evolution?

I think we will see more diverse talent flow through Miami as a result of remote work becoming the norm. If employees technically headquartered in other cities are able to work remotely from anywhere, why not try out working from home while based in sunny Miami where one can be outdoors every day of the year? I recently joined a WhatsApp chat called “Nomads in Miami” that includes a variety of intellectually curious people from all walks of life (from creatives, to entrepreneurs, to traditional professionals) who are either temporarily in Miami this winter or have made a permanent move to South Florida. This chat is reflective of new groups of people coming to experience The Magic City. Anecdotally, I’ve found that many of these people who are “testing Miami out,” had never spent significant time in Miami before. I also recently joined another WhatsApp chat #miamitechlife that includes a local community of founders, investors, executives and local leaders to meet, collaborate and network while engaging in fun activities around Miami. There is an excitement and energy in Miami right now, and I believe it’s here to stay!

What industry sectors do you focus on within Miami (and beyond)? What is happening in Miami now that you’re most excited to fund?

I recently launched a growth equity fund called Clerisy with my amazing business partner Lisa Myers who was most recently a partner at L Catterton, a leader in consumer private equity. We are excited to invest in fast-growing consumer and techsumer companies doing over $10 million in revenue, are quickly scaling and need growth capital. We will fund businesses that meet our criteria in categories we like such as health and wellness, consumerization of healthcare, food and beverage, beauty, and other consumer and techsumer areas. I would be thrilled to find an investment based in Miami, however Clerisy is not focused on a specific geography. We will invest in businesses located in cities or countries where we have previous business experience and ample, relevant networks.

What are some of the local challenges you’ve encountered or seen founders struggle with? More generally, how should people looking to hire in, invest in, or relocate to Miami think about doing business in the city?

The Miami tech ecosystem is smaller than in the Bay Area or New York and arguably less intense, with fewer exits so far of which to speak. Although tightly knit, it is indeed welcoming to newcomers. I think this local hospitality is because Miami has had a bit of a transient nature among some of its inhabitants due to many Latin Americans coming and going every year, depending on the political or economic situations in their respective home countries. I think it will be easier than ever to convince new hires to relocate to Miami. The more success and exits Miami’s existing startups have, the easier it will be to attract more investment at the local level and more future talent.

Who are key startup people you see creating success locally, whether investors, founders or even other types of startup ecosystem roles like lawyers, designers, growth experts, etc.

On a local level, Miami needs a range of people to support its startup ecosystem: founders, high-quality talent ranging from engineers to marketers to creatives, angel investors, venture capital and private equity funds, lawyers, and then ideally a loyal and engaged consumer base that proudly supports its local companies.

David Goldberg, general partner, Alpaca

Where do you see Miami’s startup scene five years from now?

Miami has everything in place to accelerate its rise to be cemented as a significant tech/startup ecosystem. It now has capital (investors), founders, talent and infrastructure, each growing by the day given the attractiveness to the area. In five years, I am confident Miami will only trail SF, NYC, LA and Boston in terms of size/deals.

Remote work is pushing and pulling the global workforce. This means that offices will disappear from Miami, even with more companies moving in, but also more locals who work remotely for companies elsewhere. How do you see these factors impacting the city’s tech evolution?

It’s a double-edged sword. In a positive sense, you’ll get founders moving here, building out remote/distributed/hybrid teams. You’ll also have individual employees living here, but working remotely for companies based in other areas. What will be harder to get is the giant company all built from scratch with everyone local. These successes (e.g., Uber in SF) create thousands of future founders, operators and investors that pay it forward in their ecosystem. Without that, it will be tough to truly crack the top tier.

What industry sectors do you focus on within Miami (and beyond)? What is happening in Miami now that you’re most excited to fund?

As a firm, we focus broadly on consumer, marketplaces, e-commerce infrastructure, real estate technology and fintech. Given the influx of talent, I’m not sure if Miami needs to be pigeonholed to a few sectors. Traditionally, it’s been known for travel/hospitality, healthcare tech and real estate tech, but I’m already seeing emerging trends around blockchain/crypto, fintech, remote work and even some traditional enterprise SaaS. Miami is also an incredible bridge to Latam and South America and I can see a slew of companies taking advantage of that.

What are some of the local challenges you’ve encountered or seen founders struggle with? More generally, how should people looking to hire in, invest in or relocate to Miami think about doing business in the city?

The physical dispersion can make it more difficult. Just in Miami, there are minihubs in Brickell, Wynwood/Midtown, The Grove, Coral Gables, etc. Then you have completely separate networks up north in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, etc.

Additionally, Miami needs a bigger focus and contribution from its universities. Silicon Valley, LA, Boston and New York each have top-tier institutions that churn out tech talent. That’s still missing here.

Who are key startup people you see creating success locally, whether investors, founders or even other types of startup ecosystem roles like lawyers, designers, growth experts, etc. We’re trying to highlight the movers and shakers who outsiders might not know.

Honestly, I am uncovering more each day. And everyone likes to talk about the “big names” that have recently moved here, like Keith Rabois, Anthony Pompliano, Harry Hurst, Jon Oringer, etc. But I also have deference to the folks that have been here, working tirelessly for years, creating the foundation. Some that come to mind: Melissa Medina, Matt Haggman, Nico Berardi, Shervin Pishevar, Raul Moas, Nancy Dahlberg, Rebecca Danta, Moishe Mana, Laura Maydon, Brian Brackeen, Tony Jimenez, Brian Breslin, Juan Pablo Cappello, Mellissa Krinzman, Mark Kingdon, and now, of course, Mayor Francis Suarez.

Mark Volcheck, founding partner, Las Olas Venture Capital

Where do you see Miami’s startup scene five years from now?

We think that things are still very early, but are bullish on the future of Florida tech. One of the key things to work on over the next five years is the continued community building — right now, there are a lot of disparate groups and not much communication between them. Over time, that cohesiveness could really drive south Florida forward as a tech ecosystem.

Remote work is pushing and pulling the global workforce. This means that offices will disappear from Miami, even with more companies moving in, but also more locals who work remotely for companies elsewhere. How do you see these factors impacting the city’s tech evolution?

We do think there will be a future for offices and in-person collaboration. Across our entire portfolio nearly all companies have some plan to retain in-person talent. The biggest benefit is that remote work has enabled people in Big Tech to work outside of Silicon Valley, and it appears Miami and South Florida, more broadly, are enjoying the benefits of that decentralization. The distribution of talent will benefit founders here locally as the old VC expectations of tech talent to be hyperconcentrated in Silicon Valley is no longer as true, and people here locally will have access to better resources.

What industry sectors do you focus on within Miami (and beyond)? What is happening in Miami now that you’re most excited to fund?

Our fund targets two primary themes: B2B vertical SaaS and SaaS-enabled businesses/marketplaces, and broadly what we call knowledge worker tools — DevOps, cybersecurity and other typically product-led horizontal applications. Within vertical SaaS, logistics and supply chain tech has really taken off within the last few years, with even more tailwinds due to COVID’s impact on consumer demand and delivery expectations. As logistics is a huge industry for Miami and Florida, we think startups here have a very exciting opportunity in that space. We have now funded several companies in Florida across various aspects of logistics, from final mile delivery to long-haul trucking route optimization.

What are some of the local challenges you’ve encountered or seen founders struggle with? More generally, how should people looking to hire in, invest in or relocate to Miami think about doing business in the city?

Access to capital has been a significant problem for Florida-based founders since before we started our first fund back in 2016. There are relatively few funds actively investing in tech companies here at the seed and Series A stage, and essentially none post-Series A. Companies have historically had difficulty getting attention from Silicon Valley-based VCs due to the preconceptions of Florida as a bad place to start a company. Even as recently as last year the standard line from some Bay Area investors was, “Move out of Florida if you are serious about raising money.” That said, some of these preconceptions have been deserved, as historically South Florida as a business community has been prone to falling for flash over substance and that has occasionally been true for investors and startups as well. With the buzz around Miami and Florida as a place of interest for VCs and tech, we hope that attitudes around funding Florida companies have changed, as it is clear that good businesses can be built anywhere.

Who are key startup people you see creating success locally, whether investors, founders or even other types of startup ecosystem roles like lawyers, designers, growth experts, etc.

We’d like to mention all of our Florida-based companies who have been heads down building great businesses here locally — ReloQuest, CarePredict, OneRail, SmartHop and Plum. They are all hiring and growing like crazy, and several have received follow-on funding from top VCs. Check them out!

Maya Baratz Jordan, CEO and founding partner, Founders Factory New York

Where do you see Miami’s startup scene five years from now?

Cities with a diverse set of well-represented industries are often fertile grounds for building interesting companies. New York is a great example. Tech ecosystems thrive in an environment where you can unearth and solve a myriad of different problems versus just the problems of a single sector. The most interesting and lucrative companies tend to focus on blindspots in big markets. The blindspots are often discovered when they emerge out of silo and there’s a creative flow between industries. This is why I believe the diversity of industries and talent is ultimately a strength for Miami.

Remote work is pushing and pulling the global workforce. This means that offices will disappear from Miami, even with more companies moving in, but also more locals who work remotely for companies elsewhere. How do you see these factors impacting the city’s tech evolution?

One of the reasons it seems a lot of people are moving to Miami now is the fact that their job may not be tethered to a geographic location and they can work where they enjoy living. Given this unique strength to encompass work/life balance, Miami can experiment with hybrid models of working environments. Perhaps the dichotomy of working in an office versus working at home is dated. Offices were created for a time when technology used to be limited and the fastest way to communicate was in person. In-person interaction is important, but perhaps there are ways we can maintain [in-person interaction] that are not necessarily tethered to an office and that incorporate more ways to integrate with one’s life.

What industry sectors do you focus on within Miami (and beyond)? What is happening in Miami now that you’re most excited to fund?

Consumer healthcare is an area I’ve been actively investing in, and it seems like there’s been a lot of activity in Miami in that vertical, ranging from medical robotics to remote monitoring for chronic illnesses. I’m also interested in the future of work and the creator economy, and I believe the diverse set of industries in Miami will breed interesting companies that address the need for people to lucratively pursue their passions.

What are some of the local challenges you’ve encountered or seen founders struggle with? More generally, how should people looking to hire in, invest in, or relocate to Miami think about doing business in the city?

People in Miami joke that they run on “Miami time,” which is something between island time and how New Yorkers think of time.

Who are key startup people you see creating success locally, whether investors, founders or even other types of startup ecosystem roles like lawyers, designers, growth experts, etc.

Miami is a city built by immigrants, and that strength is what will allow Miami to thrive as a tech ecosystem; immigrants start businesses at higher rates than those who are native born. It seems like female founders in particular have been quietly building interesting and successful businesses here.

Sanket S. Parekh, managing partner, Secocha Ventures

Where do you see Miami’s startup scene five years from now? The city has attracted a wide range of people over the years, including more tech and finance companies very recently. How will it add up to something more than the sum of the parts?

If you think of Miami as a product and evaluate its adoption curve, it seems like we have reached the chasm. I.e., those of us who have been here pre-COVID are like those you’d characterize as innovators and the during-COVID crowd as the early adopters. Miami is at the point where we now need to prove we can continue on the curve from early adopters to early majority.

Five years from now we’ll hopefully be focused on headlines showcasing startups that are growing and hiring here, and not just about which investor has relocated here (which is also good, don’t get me wrong, but not the end-all).

We can also wish that Miami’s best traits — its international perspective, its racial, socioeconomic and cultural diversity — will infuse something unique and truly distinctive into the founders and investors building their businesses here.

Remote work is pushing and pulling the global workforce. This means that offices will disappear from Miami, even with more companies moving in, but also more locals who work remotely for companies elsewhere. How do you see these factors impacting the city’s tech evolution?

I don’t see a future where humans stop interacting with each other IRL. While how we “work” will look very different, offices “disappearing” is a bit of a stretch. It’s more likely that we will see an evolution of what an office looks like and how it functions as a “hub.”

Miami is full of disjointed “neighborhood clusters.” Up until now, this has been a negative, but given the changes we are going to see in how we work, I believe this is no longer as critical. In fact, it can be seen as an advantage where someone could live/work on the beach, and go to events/meetings at their “hub,” which may be elsewhere, when needed versus being so focused on living close to your workplace since you need to commute every day.

What industry sectors do you focus on within Miami (and beyond)? What is happening in Miami now that you’re most excited to fund?

While we’ve been based in Miami for the last seven years, we invest globally. In fact, COVID has made it even more acceptable to not be geographically constrained. This is the precise reason you are seeing investors move here.

We invest in fintech, healthcare tech, consumer tech and consumer products.

One of our most exciting portfolio companies is based in Broward: CarePredict. With the changes that COVID has brought about, they are uniquely placed to take advantage and provide the right dose of technology that eldercare requires.

Within our local ecosystem, Chewy and MagicLeap have been large employers. I’m most excited to see what their employees branch out and create in the coming years.

We are also excited to see a growing number of exceptionally talented founders moving to Miami to start their companies. These talents may have selected San Francisco or NYC previously, which is a great opportunity for us to meet exceptional teams at the infancy of an idea.

What are some of the local challenges you’ve encountered or seen founders struggle with? More generally, how should people looking to hire in, invest in or relocate to Miami think about doing business in the city?

Angel rounds are challenging here as compared to other more mature markets where founders or folks from the startup ecosystem play a larger role in angel rounds. Most local angels are used to investing in real estate, and approach early-stage deals differently than those who may be more accustomed to the asset class.

Hiring top-quality talent was also traditionally more challenging here than in tier-one entrepreneurial cities. With the significant influx of remote workers in the past year and the change in perceptions about Miami, we are hopeful that local companies will be able to overcome this challenge.

Miami is a collection of neighborhood clusters, as I mentioned earlier. If someone is looking to relocate here, they should spend some time getting to know what works for them before they commit to a neighborhood.

Who are key startup people you see creating success locally, whether investors, founders or even other types of startup ecosystem roles like lawyers, designers, growth experts, etc.

  • Venture Bites is a local grassroots organization made up of people passionate about the startup ecosystem. They organize educational sessions with key players from across the country and are also organizing a pitch competition with prominent public and private partnerships already in place.
  • Refresh Miami has been a vocal supporter and “info hub” for the community.
  • Miami Angels has been working tirelessly to get more angel investors into the startup ecosystem. There are a lot of high net worth individuals here, but it’s been historically challenging to get their attention away from real estate investing to startup investing. Hopefully, with Miami crossing the chasm it’ll bring more folks into the mix.
  • Animo Ventures and Las Olas Venture Capital are two other VC firms located in South Florida from pre-COVID days. Hopefully we’ll hear of many more setting up shop here in the coming months.
  • The Knight Foundation has been one of the most consistent supporters of the ecosystem and its impact cannot be understated.
  • 500 Startups is one of the very first Silicon Valley firms to have recognized the potential of Miami, setting up an office here a few years ago. Ana and her colleagues have been instrumental in stimulating and engaging the local ecosystem.

Laura González-Estéfani, founder, TheVentureCity

Where do you see Miami’s startup scene five years from now?

If the leaps we have made in the last five years are any indication of the next five, we believe Miami will be the next big tech hub in the southern United States. We have all the right pieces to make that true: engineer/developer schools and academies, startup programs and accelerators for seed, a thriving tech community, exits from founders reinvesting in the next generation of founders, influx of new capital, quality of life that tech company founders and employees are starting to prioritize, engaged local government as we have recently seen, as well as an incredibly diverse pool of talent.

Remote work is pushing and pulling the global workforce. This means that offices will disappear from Miami, even with more companies moving in, but also more locals who work remotely for companies elsewhere. How do you see these factors impacting the city’s tech evolution?

We believe talent has no zip code and smart cities are those that attract and retain the best talent — it’s no longer just about connectivity or infrastructures exclusively. In the past, people had to relocate to work at their dream job sacrificing too much personally. 2020 has just confirmed that you don’t need to sacrifice the way you want to live your life because of a dream job. The complaint we used to hear from talent was that there were not enough mid- to senior-level roles in Miami in tech — remote work has significantly strengthened Miami. Miami is a dream destination for a lot of people in different stages of life, so we see Miami also becoming a great remote work hub for those that can be 100% remote, even if they only spend part of the year here and then migrate to other climates. The workforce has more choices now than ever before and we think people will start to really put quality of life over job location. It is a true game changer.

What industry sectors do you focus on within Miami (and beyond)? What is happening in Miami now that you’re most excited to fund?

We have been based in Miami for the past four years and we invest from Miami to where the best founders are. Sometimes [they are] in Miami and sometimes in other states or countries. “We are from Miami to the world.” We are now witnessing a huge internal movement from other states to Miami, but many of us moved from our countries to Miami because of the immense opportunities Miami offers. We invest in software companies disrupting traditional industries, Health tech, fintech, mobility, cybersecurity and jobs. We have also invested in marketplace business models in products disrupting travel, pets, solutions for SMBs. We love giving a first ticket from $100,000 to seed stage companies jointly with a product-led growth program or a pre-Series A to a ticket of an average of $3 million through our Fund II. We love diverse companies, international mindset and execution over anything else.

Miami has always been an extraordinary hub for fintech, we are closely following interesting companies in this space and obviously health tech. We have to say that we have seen very disruptive companies in proptech and also very interesting marketplaces of all kinds B2C and B2B.

What are some of the local challenges you’ve encountered or seen founders struggle with? More generally, how should people looking to hire in, invest in or relocate to Miami think about doing business in the city?

Our biggest challenge has always been fighting the biases of people around Miami. You have to experience Miami to understand the opportunities it brings. It’s a very welcoming city where so many people will help you land. The next biggest challenge is that the amount of capital that Miami moves versus how much is invested in tech is ridiculous, really a pity. For this reason we need a fund of funds that supports the local funds so that they can develop the ecosystem on this front. And I am not talking about leftovers of capital that need to meet a quota or small initiatives. I mean people investing with true conviction in the asset. That is what gets the flywheel running, capital to fund managers that chose the right entrepreneurs from Miami or outside [and] that create jobs, etc. Let’s not forget that capital attracts founders and founders develop a huge industry that creates thousands of jobs. It is not only about investing in Miami, it’s also about investing from here to the world.

Who are key startup people you see creating success locally, whether investors, founders or even other types of startup ecosystems roles like lawyers, designers, growth experts, etc?

Sure, Juha and Johanna Mikola from Wyncode [since submitting these answers, the company was acquired by Brain Station], Andrew Parker from Papa, Claudia Duran from Endeavor, Victor Servin — CTO of TheVentureCity, David Smith — chief data scientist from TheVentureCity, David Marcus — chief product officer at TheVentureCity. Jimena Zubiria — VP of People at TheVentureCity, Anabel Perez-Novo — CEO of NovoPayment, Adolfo Babatz — CEO of Clip, Rodrigo Teijeiro — CEO of RecargaPay, Jackie Baumgarten — CEO of Boatsetter, Justin Meyers — CEO of Explorest and Vivek Jayaram (lawyer).

#alexandra-wilkis-wilson, #alpaca, #clerisy, #david-goldberg, #ec-investor-survey, #founders-factory-new-york, #laura-gonzalez-estefani, #maya-baratz-jordan, #miami, #sanket-s-parekh, #secocha-ventures, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital


After 80% ARR growth in 2020, Saltmine snags $20M to help employees return to a ‘new normal’ office

What is working in the office going to look like in a post-COVID-19 world?

That’s something one startup hopes to help companies figure out.

Saltmine, which has developed a web-based workplace design platform, has raised $20 million in a Series A funding round.

Existing backers Jungle Ventures and Xplorer Capital led the financing, which also included participation from JLL Spark, the strategic investment arm of commercial real estate brokerage JLL. 

Notably, JLL is not only investing in Saltmine, but is also partnering with the San Francisco-based startup to sell its service directly to its clients — opening up a whole new revenue stream for the four-year-old company.

Saltmine claims its cloud-based technology does for corporate real estate heads what Salesforce did for CROs in digitizing and streamlining the office design process. It saw an 80% spike in ARR (annual recurring revenue) last year while doubling the number of companies it works with, according to CEO and founder Shagufta Anurag. Its more than 35 customers include PG&E, Snowflake, Fidelity and Workday, among others. Its mission, put simply, is to help companies “create the best possible workplaces for their employees.”

Saltmine claims to have a 95% customer retention rate and in 2020 saw 350% year over year growth in monthly active users of its SaaS platform. So far, the square footage of all the office real estate properties designed and analyzed by customers on Saltmine totals 50 million square feet across 1,500 projects.

Saltmine says it offers companies tools to do things like establish social distancing measures in the office. Its platform, the company says, houses all workplace data — including strategy, design, pricing and portfolio analytics — in one place. It combines and analyzes floor plans with project requirements with real-time behavioral data (aggregated through a combination of utilization sensors and employee feedback) to identify companies’ design needs. Besides aiming to improve the workplace design process, Saltmine claims to be able to help companies “optimize their real estate portfolios.”

The pandemic has dramatically increased the need for a digital transformation of how workplaces are designed and reimagined, according to Anurag. 

“Given the need for social distancing capabilities and a greater emphasis on work-life balance in many office settings, few workers expect a complete ‘return to normal,’ ” she said. “There is now enormous pressure on corporate heads of real estate to adapt and modify their workplaces.”

Once companies identify their new needs, Saltmine uses “immersive” digital 3D renderings to help them visualize the necessary changes to their real estate properties.

Singapore-based Anurag has previous experience in the design world, having founded Space Matrix, a large interior design firm in Asia, as well as Livspace, a digital home interior design company.

“I saw the same pain points and unmet needs in office real estate that I did in the residential market,” she said. “Real estate is the second-largest cost for companies and has a direct impact on their largest cost — their people.”

Looking ahead, Saltmine plans to use its new capital to (naturally) do some hiring and continue to acquire customers — in particular, seeking to expand its portfolio of Global 2000 companies.

Saltmine has about 125 employees in five offices across Asia, Europe and North America. It expects to have 170 employees by year’s end and to be profitable by the end of fiscal year 2021.

The company’s initial focus has been in North America, but it is now beginning to expand into APAC and Australia. 

JLL Technologies’ co-CEO Yishai Lerner said JLL Spark was drawn to Saltmine’s approach of making data and analytics accessible in one place.

“Having a single source of truth for data also facilitates collaboration across teams, which is important, for example, in workspace planning,” he told TechCrunch. “This reduces inefficiencies and improves workflows in today’s fragmented design, build and fit-out market.”

JLL Spark invests in companies that it believes can benefit from its distribution and network — hence the firm’s agreement to sell Saltmine’s software directly to its customers.

“As JLL tenants and clients continue to embrace the future of work, they are seeking technology solutions that keep their buildings running efficiently and effectively,” Lerner said. “Saltmine’s platform checks all of the boxes by streamlining stakeholder collaboration, increasing transparency and simplifying data management.”

#data-management, #funding, #future-of-work, #jll-spark, #jll-technologies, #jungle-ventures, #real-estate, #recent-funding, #saas, #saltmine, #san-francisco, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital, #xplorer-capital


RIBS: The messaging framework for every company and product

Over more than two decades of advising founders, I’ve heard all kinds of stories — good, bad and everything in between. While everyone is different, I’ve noticed that the very best stories have something in common: They pass the RIBS test. I’ve talked a lot about this over the years, and it’s stood the test of time and trends.

The test is designed to tell you if your story is memorable (will it “stick to your ribs?”) so you can turn it into a compelling message. It looks something like this:

  • Relevant
  • Inevitable
  • Believable
  • Simple


Before you can come up with a good story, you need to think about the audience. Who are you trying to reach? Are you solving a problem they care about? What matters to them about that problem? Why does your solution deserve attention?

The test is designed to tell you if your story is memorable (will it “stick to your ribs?”) so you can turn it into a compelling message.

Marc Benioff could have launched Salesforce by describing it as an online way for companies to manage relationships with their customers. It’s true and it would have been interesting, at least to some people. But instead, Marc went bigger: He ran a campaign that described Salesforce as the “end of software.”

At the time, software was everywhere and it was creating all kinds of problems: It was massively expensive, time consuming and prone to failure. By taking on those issues, Marc made the company instantly more relevant to a bigger market and audience. The conversation went from a discussion of feature checklists, contacts and leads, to how an entire industry would change. Marc looked like a visionary — and Salesforce seemed revolutionary.


#column, #ec-column, #ec-how-to, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital


#DealMonitor – Cazoo übernimmt Cluno – Canva kauft Kaleido – Rows sammelt 16 Millionen ein

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 23. Februar 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.


+++ Der britische Online-Autohändler Cazoo, seit Sommer 2020 mit mehr als 1 Milliarde (Unicorn-Status) bewertet, übernimmt das junge Münchner Auto- und Fintech-Startup Cluno. “Nach erfolgter Integration wird Cazoo sein Angebot in Deutschland und Europa lancieren und damit Kunden die Möglichkeit bieten, Tausende Autos auf der unternehmenseigenen Plattform zu kaufen, zu finanzieren oder zu abonnieren”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Cluno, das von Nico und Christina Poletti sowie Andreas Schuierer gegründet wurde, sammelt in den vergangenen Jahren über 44 Millionen Euro ein – unter anderem von Acton Capital (23,8 %), Atlantic Labs (17,1 %) und Valar Ventures (18,4 %), also Paypal-Gründer Peter Thiel. Zudem sicherte sich das Auto-Startup 140 Millionen Euro in Form von Krediten. 100 Mitarbeiter wirken bereits für Cluno. Zuletzt hatte Cazoo, 2018 gegründet, bereits das britische Auto-Startup Drover, das unter anderem von Cherry Ventures unterstützt wurde, übernommen. Cazoo ist somit derzeit in Übernahmelaune. Finanzielle Details des Deals sind bisher nicht bekannt.

+++ Das australische Unternehmen Canva übernimmt das österreichische Unternehmen Kaleido. Mit dem Startup aus Wien, zu dem die Dienste und Unscreen gehören, kann jeder die Hintergründe von Bildern und Videos mit einem Klick entfernen. “Kaleido wurde erst vor gut zwei Jahren gegründet, ist allein im vergangenen Jahr um 600+ % von von drei auf über 20 Millionen User in 180 Ländern gewachsen und war von Tag eins weg profitabel. Mittlerweile werden mit Kaleido pro Monat mehr als 100 Millionen Hintergründe von Fotos und Videos freigestellt”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Die Unternehmen bezeichnen den Verkauf zudem als “einen der größten Exits in der österreichischen Startup-Geschichte”. Damit müsste sich der Verkaufspreis in Dimensionen von Runtastic (220 Millionen Euro) und  MySugr (200 Millionen Euro) bewegen. Die Kaleido-Gründer Benjamin Groessing und David Fankhauser bauten ihr Startup ohne Investoren auf.


+++ Lakestar, der Visionaries Club und Pitch-Gründer Christian Reber sowie die Altinvestoren Accel und Cherry Ventures investieren 16 Millionen US-Dollar in das Berliner Startup Rows, bisher als DashDash bekannt. Wobei wir den Einstieg von Lakestar schon im März des vergangenen Jahres im Insider-Podcast verkündet hatten. Accel, Cherry Ventures und Atlantic Labs investierten zuvor bereits 8 Millionen US-Dollar in das Startup. Die Jungfirma, die 2016 von  Humberto Ayres Pereira und Torben Schulz (früher Eatfirst) gegründet wurde, entwickelt ein “moderne Spreadsheet zur Entwicklung von Business-Tools”. Das Buzzword dabei lautet No Code-Prinzip! Über 50 Mitarbeiter wirken bereits für das Startup. Mit der Verkündung der Investmentrunde startet die Public Beta beo Rows.

+++ ABN AMRO Ventures, finleap, HV Capital, RTP Global, Presight Capital, S7V und VR Ventures investieren weitere 7,5 Millionen in das Berliner FinTech Penta. “Das Gesamtinvestment beläuft sich nun auf 30 Millionen Euro”, teilt die Jungfirma mit. S7V und Presight Capital, der Geldgeber von Christian Angermayer, sowie zwei nicht genannte Family Offices investierten zuletzt 4 Millionen Euro in Penta. HV Capital, finleap, RTP Global, ABN Amro Ventures und VR Ventures investierten davor 18,5 Millionen in Penta. Über das Startup, das 2014 von Luka Ivicevic und Lav Odorovic gegründet wurde, können  Unternehmen über Penta ein Geschäftskonto beantragen. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 47 Millionen Euro in Penta.

Neural Concept
+++ Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) und Constantia New Business investieren weiter in das Schweizer Software-Startup Neural Concept. Das Unternehmen, Entwickler eines Deep-Learning-Systems für computergestützte Konstruktion und Design (CAD), wurde 2018 von Pierre Baqué als Spin-off aus dem Computer Vision Labor der EPFL gegründet. Der HTGF und Constantia New Business investierten zuvor bereits eine siebenstellige Summe in Neural Concept.

+++ Ein “bekannte Healthcare-Investor” investiert eine mittlere siebenstellige Summe in das das MedTech-Startup deepc, das 2019 von Franz Pfister, Julia Moosbauer, Michael Meyerhoff und Paul Mayer gegründet wurde. Das junge Münchner Unternehmen entwickelt Software-Medizinprodukte für die bildgebende Diagnostik.


Tio Tech A
+++ Unter dem Namen Tio Tech A treiben HelloFresh-Chef Dominik Richter sowie Seriengründer und Business Angel Roman Kirsch den Börsengang ihrer Special Purpose Acquisition Company (Spac) in New York voran. Bei einem Spac-Prozess geht es darum, eine Firmenhülle an die Börse zu bringen und dann Unternehmen aufzukaufen und mit dieser Firmenhülle zu verschmelzen. Bei ihrem Spac-IPO wollen Richter und Co. 300 Millionen US-Dollar einsammeln. Zum Führungsteam der Firmenhülle gehört außerdem Ex-Rocket-Manager Spyro Korsanos. Unter “Investment Advisory Board” werden zudem Jan Beckers (BIT Capital), Victor Jacobsson (Klarna) und HelloFresh-Mitgründer Thomas Griesel genannt. Der bekannte Geldgeber Lakestar, hinter dem maßgeblich Klaus Hommels steckt, brachte seine Special Purpose Acquisition Company (Spac) am 22. Februar an die Frankfurter Börse. Der Berliner Startup-Investor Rocket Internet bereitet derzeit ebenfalls einen Spac-IPO vor.


+++ Schon die neue Insider-Ausgabe mit Sven Schmidt gehört? In der aktuellen Folge geht es um Gorillas, Charles, Jodel, Supercam, Gitpod, Careship, Capnamic Ventures, AdJust, LeanIX, staffbase und den Spac-Boom.

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

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

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#abn-amro-ventures, #aktuell, #auto, #auto-abo, #berlin, #cazoo, #christian-reber, #cluno, #constantia-new-business, #dashdash, #deepc, #drover, #finleap, #fintech, #high-tech-grunderfonds, #hv-capital, #ipo, #kaleido, #lakestar, #munchen, #neural-concept, #penta, #presight-capital, #rows, #rtp-global, #s7v, #spac, #tio-tech-a, #venture-capital, #visionaries-club, #vr-ventures, #wien


Eat this, exercise now; new personalized software predicts and helps prevents blood sugar spikes

Not everyone has Type 2 diabetes, the disease that causes chronically high blood sugar levels, but many do. Around 9% of Americans are afflicted, and another 30% are at risk of developing it.

Enter software by January AI, a four-year-old, subscription-based startup that in November began providing personalized nutritional and activity-related suggestions to its customers based on a combination of food-related data the company has quietly amassed over three years, and each person’s unique profile, which is gleaned over that individuals’s first four days of using the software.

Why the need for personalization? Because believe it or not, people can react very differently to every single food, from rice to salad dressing.

The tech may sound mundane but it’s eye-opening and potentially live-saving, promises cofounder and CEO Nosheen Hashemi and her cofounder, Michael Snyder, a genetics professor at Stanford who has focused on diabetes and pre-diabetes for years.

Investors like the idea, too. Felicis Ventures just led a $21 million Series A investment in the company, joined by HAND Capital and Salesforce founder Marc Benioff. (Earlier investors include Jerry Yang’s Ame Cloud Ventures, SignalFire, YouTube cofounder Steve Chen, and Sunshine cofounder Marissa Mayer, among others.) Says Felicis founder Aydin Senkut, “While other companies have made headway in understanding biometric sensor data—from heart rate and glucose monitors, for example—January AI has made progress in analyzing and predicting the effects of food consumption itself [which is] key to addressing chronic disease.”

To learn more, we talked this afternoon with Hashemi and Snyder. Below is part of our chat, edited for length and clarity.

TC: What have you built?

NH: We’ve built a multiomic platform where we take data from different sources and predict people’s glycemic response, allowing them to consider their choices before they make them. We pull in data from heart rate monitors and continuous glucose monitors and a 1,000-person clinical study and an atlas of 16 million foods for which, using machine learning, we have derived nutritional values and created nutritional labeling [that didn’t exist previously].

[The idea is to] predict for [customers] what their glycemic response is going to be to any food in our database after just four days of training. They don’t actually have to eat the food to know whether they should eat it or not; our product tells them what their response is going to be.

TC: So glucose monitoring existed previously, but this is predictive. Why is this important?

NH: We want to bring the joy back to eating and remove the guilt. We can predict, for example, how long you’d have to walk after eating any food in our database in order to keep your blood sugar at the right level. Knowing what “is” isn’t enough; we want to tell you what to do about it. If you’re thinking about fried chicken and a shake, we can tell you: you’re going to have to walk 46 minutes afterward to maintain a healthy [blood sugar] range. Would you like to do the uptime for that? No? Then maybe [eat the chicken and shake] on a Saturday.

TC: This is subscription software that works with other wearables and that costs $488 for three months.

NH: That’s retail price, but we have an introductory offer of $288.

TC: Are you at all concerned that people will use the product, get a sense of what they could be doing differently, then end their subscription?

NH: No. Pregnancy changes [one’s profile], age changes it. People travel and they aren’t always eating the same things. . .

MS: I’ve been wearing [continuous glucose monitoring] wearables for seven years and I still learn stuff. You suddenly realize that every time you eat white rice, you spike through the roof, for example. That’s true for many people. But we are also offering a year-long subscription soon because we do know that people slip sometimes [only to be reminded] later that these boosters are very valuable.

TC: How does it work practically? Say I’m at a restaurant and I’m in the mood for pizza but I don’t know which one to order.

NH: You can compare curve over curve to see which is healthier. You can see how much you’ll have to walk [depending on the toppings].

TC: Do I need to speak all of these toppings into my smart phone?

NH: January scans barcodes, it also understands photos. It also has manual entry, and it takes voice [commands].

TC: Are you doing anything else with this massive food database that you’ve aggregated and that you’re enriching with your own data? 

NH: We will definitely not sell personal information.

TC: Not even aggregated data? Because it does sound like a useful database . . .

MS: We’re not 23andMe; that’s really not the goal.

TC: You mentioned that rice can cause someone’s blood sugar to soar, which is surprising. What are some of the things that might surprise people about what your software can show them? 

NH: The way people’s glycemic response is so different, not just between by Connie and Mike, but also for Connie and Connie. If you eat nine days in a row, your glycemic response could be different each of those nine days because of how much you slept or how much thinking you did the day before or how much fiber was in your body and whether you ate before bedtime.

Activity before eating and activity after eating is important. Fiber is important. It’s the most under overlooked intervention in the American diet. Our ancestral diets featured 150 grams of fiber a day; the average American diet today includes 15 grams of fiber. A lot of health issues can be traced to a lack of fiber.

TC: It seems like coaching would be helpful in concert with your app. Is there a coaching component?

NH: We don’t offer a coaching component today, but we’re in talks with several coaching solutions as we speak, to be the AI partner to them.

TC: Who else are you partnering with? Healthcare companies? Employers that can offer this as a benefit?

NH: We are selling to direct to consumers, but we’ve already had a pharma customer for two years. Pharma companies are very interested in working with us because we are able to use lifestyle as a biomarker. We essentially give them [anonymized] visibility into someone’s lifestyle for a period of two weeks or however long they want to run the program for so they can gain insights as to whether the therapeutic is working because of the person’s lifestyle or in spite of a person’s lifestyle. Pharma companies are very interested in working with us because they can potentially get answers in a trial phase faster and even reduce the number of subjects they need.

So we’re excited about pharma. We are also very interested in working with employers, with coaching solutions, and ultimately, with payers [like insurance companies].

#ame-cloud-ventures, #felicis-ventures, #health, #marc-benioff, #marissa-mayer, #recent-funding, #saas, #signalfire, #steve-chen, #tc, #venture-capital


EquityBee raises $20M to help startup employees actually afford their stock options

EquityBee, a stock option marketplace startup, has raised $20 million in a Series A round of funding.

Group 11 led the financing, which also included participation from Oren Zeev Ventures, Battery Ventures and ICON Continuity Fund. It brings the company’s total raised to over $28 million since its 2018 inception.

EquityBee CEO and co-founder Oren Barzilai says his company’s mission is to help educate startup employees on the meaning of their stock options, as well as provide them with funds to be able to purchase them.

“I have seen many of my friends and colleagues negotiate a $500 salary increase, but completely disregard their stock options package, from lack of knowledge due to the whole field of startup stock options being opaque,” said Barzilai, who founded Tapingo, which was acquired by Grubhub in 2018 for $150 million. “As a founder I saw my team members who helped build the company not take part in our success because they left prematurely and didn’t exercise their stock options.”

The way it works is fairly straightforward. EquityBee provides capital to startup employees so they can purchase stock options. The employees get money to cover the cost of exercising their stock options and the taxes. The investors who helped provide the funding so they could do that get a return, or a share of the profit, if there’s “a liquidity event.” EquityBee makes money by charging an upfront fee from the investor on the investment day, as well as any carried interest upon a successful exit or IPO.

Barzilai said that many employees don’t realize they have about 90 days to exercise options before they expire once they leave a company. And even if they do, they may not always have the money to exercise them. That’s where EquityBee wants to help.

The company was originally founded in Israel before launching in the U.S. market, and moved its headquarters to Silicon Valley in February 2020. Since then, it’s funded employees from “hundreds” of companies, including Airbnb, Palantir, DoorDash and Unity, with capital provided by family offices, funds and high-net individuals. Its investor community is made up of 8,000 funds, family offices and high-net worth individuals.

2020 was a good year for EquityBee, according to Barzilai, who says it grew by more than 560% the amount of money it raised to fund employee stock options. It also saw a 360% increase in the number of individual employees funded through its platform.

Looking ahead, the 33-person company plans to use the money toward hiring and expanding product offerings.

Dovi Frances, founding partner of Group 11, said it doubled down on EquityBee after backing the company in its $6.6 million funding round in February 2020 because it’s impressed by what it described as the company’s “perfect product market fit” and triple-digit growth.

WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann led the company’s $1.5 million seed round in September of 2018.

#battery-ventures, #equitybee, #funding, #group-11, #recent-funding, #startups, #venture-capital


Calling Oslo VCs: Be featured in The Great TechCrunch Survey of European VC

TechCrunch is embarking on a major project to survey the venture capital investors of Europe, and their cities.

Our survey of VCs in Oslo and Norway will capture how the country is faring, and what changes are being wrought amongst investors by the coronavirus pandemic.

We’d like to know how Norway’s startup scene is evolving, how the tech sector is being impacted by COVID-19, and, generally, how your thinking will evolve from here.

Our survey will only be about investors, and only the contributions of VC investors will be included. More than one partner is welcome to fill out the survey. (Please note, if you have filled the survey out already, there is no need to do it again).

The shortlist of questions will require only brief responses, but the more you can add, the better.

You can fill out the survey here.

Obviously, investors who contribute will be featured in the final surveys, with links to their companies and profiles.

What kinds of things do we want to know? Questions include: Which trends are you most excited by? What startup do you wish someone would create? Where are the overlooked opportunities? What are you looking for in your next investment, in general? How is your local ecosystem going? And how has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy?

This survey is part of a broader series of surveys we’re doing to help founders find the right investors.

For example, here is the recent survey of London.

You are not in Norway, but would like to take part? That’s fine! Any European VC investor can STILL fill out the survey, as we probably will be putting a call out to your country next anyway! And we will use the data for future surveys on vertical topics.

The survey is covering almost every country on in the Union for the Mediterranean, so just look for your country and city on the survey and please participate (if you’re a venture capital investor).

Thank you for participating. If you have questions you can email

(Please note: Filling out the survey is not a guarantee of inclusion in the final published piece).

#corporate-finance, #denmark, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #europe, #finance, #london, #money, #norway, #oslo, #private-equity, #startup-company, #tc, #venture-capital


Why I felt fine about not disclosing my pregnancy to investors

I closed two major rounds of funding for my geothermal energy startup, Dandelion Energy, while pregnant. I did not disclose either pregnancy to my investors during the fundraising process either time. I felt fine doing this, and I believe other founders should feel free to keep their pregnancies private as well if they’d prefer to.

No one would think twice about a male founder who declined to share the details of his health or family status with investors during an initial fundraising meeting. On the contrary, it would be an unusual move for him to do so.

For some context, my co-founder and I spun our startup, Dandelion Energy, out of Alphabet’s X in April 2017 and raised our first small round of outside funding that summer. Our goal was to set up a commercial pilot and start selling and installing heat pumps to demonstrate that our product worked and show that there was demand for affordable geothermal before we raised a larger round. We had to prove that our business was viable.

No one would think twice about a male founder who declined to share the details of his health or family status with investors during an initial fundraising meeting.

That same summer, in 2017, I became pregnant.

Round one

As summer turned to fall, I had to figure out how to approach being pregnant while raising Dandelion’s second round of funding. I was lucky to be able to choose whether to tell people I was pregnant because it turned out I didn’t end up looking visibly pregnant until about seven months in, and even then I could dress to make it nonobvious. Without knowing anyone who’d gone through a similar experience, I had to decide how I would handle my status as a pregnant person when speaking with investors.

At first, it worried me that I would be hiding something if I didn’t disclose my pregnancy. But I really didn’t want to. I was a first-time entrepreneur with no real track record. Oh yeah, and I was a woman. And almost all of the investors were men who typically funded men.

Especially early on in a startup’s life, these investors are judging the founder as much as the business. Making an impression is key, and “pregnant” didn’t strike me as accretive in any way to my ability to deliver the type of impression that would lead to investment in my business (I hope this changes over time, but I am being honest about how things seemed to me).

And then there was this: Even if I had decided to tell investors I was expecting, how could I broach the topic in a way that wouldn’t threaten to derail the entire tenor of the meeting? I was meeting most of these people for the first time and had a limited amount of time to spend explaining payback periods and vapor compression refrigeration cycles. It seemed like the best-case scenario was if disclosing pregnancy made the meeting no worse than it would otherwise have been. In no world could I imagine it would be a net positive.

Given all of this, I made the decision to not talk about it. It worked out for me. As soon as I started showing, around seven months in, everyone left their offices for the holidays, and so I was never forced to address what was becoming visibly obvious.

But of course there was a downside to my approach. I would have to tell them eventually, and I’d pushed it off so long that by the time I finally got around to it we basically had to have a conversation like this:

Me: “Some happy news to share: I’m pregnant!”

Investors: “Congratulations! We are so thrilled for you! When’s the due date?”

Me: “Ahhh … Next month.”

Happily, all of them were extremely supportive and gracious when I told them. Their uncomplicated and positive acceptance of the news even made me wonder if all my internal wrangling about whether to tell investors had been unnecessary. I gave birth to my daughter literally one day after the money was wired.

Round two

Time passed and it became clear we were ready to raise our next round of funding. Also, I become pregnant again. This time, most of the fundraising happened in the early stages of my pregnancy. Early enough that I hadn’t even really told my friends, so it was obvious to me I wouldn’t be telling investors I was just meeting. After having gone through it once before, it was an easier decision the second time around.

Looking back

Reflecting on my experience, I do think it helped that I got to know my investors throughout the fundraising process, so by the time I told them I was pregnant, they already knew me and I had already established my credibility as an entrepreneur. Being pregnant was just something going on in my life; it didn’t define who I was to them. That is one advantage of introducing it later: It did not define me because they knew so much else about me by that point.

In many ways, I am a stereotypical founder: I have a CS degree from Stanford, I worked as a PM at Google, I have an engineering background. I have many advantages. Yet, more present in my mind during fundraising were the parts of my identity that seemed atypical, and the primary aspect here was my being a woman.

Because there is so much conversation about how women receive so much less investment, I was worried that being a woman would be a disadvantage, and there’s nothing like being pregnant to highlight in the strongest possible way that you’re a woman.

I now feel lucky to know other founders who have raised money while visibly pregnant, and so I’ve seen firsthand that it’s possible. But it is not something that a pregnant founder should feel obligated to disclose. I hope that it becomes common for women to start businesses and raise capital for those businesses in every stage of their lives, including when they’re pregnant.

Because as soon as the pregnant woman and the guy with the hoodie both seem equally probable as startup founders, it will suddenly matter much less whether to talk about your pregnancy.

#column, #diversity, #labor, #opinion, #pregnancy, #sexism, #startups, #tc, #tc-include, #venture-capital


Winning enterprise sales teams know how to persuade the Chief Objection Officer

Many enterprise software startups at some point have faced the invisible wall. For months, your sales team has done everything right. They’ve met with a prospect several times, provided them with demos, free trials, documentation and references, and perhaps even signed a provisional contract.

The stars are all aligned and then, suddenly, the deal falls apart. Someone has put the kibosh on the entire project. Who is this deal-blocker and what can software companies do to identify, support and convince this person to move forward with a contract?

I call this person the Chief Objection Officer.

Who is this deal-blocker and what can software companies do to identify, support and convince this person to move forward with a contract?

Most software companies spend a lot of time and effort identifying their potential buyers and champions within an organization. They build personas and do targeted marketing to these individuals and then fine-tune their products to meet their needs. These targets may be VPs of engineering, data leaders, CTOs, CISOs, CMOs or anyone else with decision-making authority. But what most software companies neglect to do during this exploratory phase is to identify the person who may block the entire deal.

This person is the anti-champion with the power to scuttle a potential partnership. Like your potential deal-makers, these deal-breakers can have any title with decision-making power. Chief Objection Officers aren’t simply potential buyers who end up deciding your product is not the right fit, but are instead blockers-in-chief who can make departmentwide or companywide decisions. Thus, it’s critical for software companies to identify the Chief Objection Officers that might block deals and, then, address their concerns.

So how do you identify the Chief Objection Officer? The trick is to figure out the main pain points that arise for companies when considering deploying your solution, and then walk backward to figure out which person these challenges impact the most. Here are some common pain points that your potential customers may face when considering your product.

Change is hard. Never underestimate the power of the status quo. Does implementing your product in one part of an organization, such as IT, force another department, such as HR, to change how they do their daily jobs?

Think about which leaders will be most reluctant to make changes; these Chief Objection Officers will likely not be your buyers, but instead the heads of departments most impacted by the implementation of your software. For example, a marketing team may love the ad targeting platform they use and thus a CMO will balk at new database software that would limit or change the way customer segment data is collected. Or field sales would object to new security infrastructure software that makes it harder for them to access the company network from their phones. The head of the department that will bear the brunt of change will often be a Chief Objection Officer.

Is someone’s job on the line?

Another common pain point when deploying a new software solution is that one or more jobs may become obsolete once it’s up and running. Perhaps your software streamlines and outsources most of a company’s accounts payable processes. Maybe your SaaS solution will replace an on-premise homegrown one that a team of developers has built and nurtured for years.

#column, #ec-cloud-and-enterprise-infrastructure, #ec-column, #ec-enterprise-applications, #ec-how-to, #enterprise, #enterprise-sales, #startups, #venture-capital


#DealMonitor – #EXKLUSIV Gorillas: 100 Millionen-Runde steht – NetEase investiert in Jodel – Charles sammelt Millionen ein – Cherry investiert in Supercam

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 22. Februar 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.


+++ Das Berliner Hype-Startup Gorillas, ein sogenannter Flash-Supermarkt, plant derzeit – wie bereits im Januar berichtet – 100 Millionen Euro einzusammeln. Nun steht die erneute Investmentrunde nach unseren Informationen kurz vor der Unterzeichnung. Als Geldgeber steht vermutlich Greenoaks Capital aus San Francisco bereit. Der New Yorker Hedgefonds Coatue investierte gerade erst 44 Millionen US-Dollar in Gorillas – bei einer Bewertung von 160 Millionen (Pre-Money). Das Startup, das bereits über 1.000 Mitarbeiter beschäftigt, wurde 2020 von Kagan Sümer und Jörg Kattner, der schon wieder ausgestiegen ist, gegründet. Details gibt es in unserem aktuellen Insider-Podcast (siehe unten). #EXKLUSIV

+++ Accel und HV Capital investieren nach unseren Informationen 5 Millionen Euro in Charles. Die Bewertung  liegt bei 20 Millionen Euro (Pre-Money). Hinter Charles verbirgt sich eine Conversational-Commerce-as-a-Service-Software für Händler und Konsumgütermarken. Das Unternehmen aus Berlin, das von Artjem Weissbeck (Kapten & Son) und Andreas Tussing (McKinsey) gegründet wurde, ermöglicht es Marken ihre Produkte über WhatsApp und andere Chat-Apps anzubieten. Tarek Müller (AboutYou), Alexander Graf (Spryker Systems, Kassenzone) und Nils Seebach (Etribes) investieren zuvor bereits 1 Million in Charles. Details gibt es in unserem aktuellen Insider-Podcast (siehe unten). #EXKLUSIV

+++ Der chinesische Internet-Gigant NetEase investiert nach unseren Informationen in die hyperlokale App Jodel. NetEase hält nun 23 % am Unternehmen. In den vergangenen Jahren flossen rund 10 Millionen Euro in das Berliner Unternehmen, das 2014 als eine Art Campus-App startete. Das Startup zeigt seinen Nutzern anonymisiert Beiträge an, die andere Nutzer, die in der Umgebung sind, veröffentlicht haben. Zu den Investoren von Jodel gehören unter anderem Global Founders Capital, der Geldgeber von Rocket Internet, und Atlantic Internet, also Christophe Maire. Details gibt es in unserem aktuellen Insider-Podcast (siehe unten). #EXKLUSIV

+++ Cherry Ventures investiert nach unseren Informationen eine unbekannte, sicherlich aber siebenstellige Summe, in Supercam, das neueste Startup von Janis Zech (Fyber). Das junge Unternehmen entwickelt eine Software für Videokonferenzen und Videokommunikation. “Our vision is to make everyone a great presenter”, teilt das Unternehmen in eigener Sache mit. Mit seiner Startup-Schmiede NewCo Labs schob Zech zuletzt Unternehmen wie Back und Good Game/Donut an. Bei Supercam steht ihm Henrik Basten, früher CTO bei Exactag und Fyber, zur Seite. Details gibt es in unserem aktuellen Insider-Podcast (siehe unten). #EXKLUSIV

+++ Das Kieler Startup Gitpod, das von Sven Efftinge, Moritz Eysholdt und Jan Köhnlein geführt wird, steht nach unseren Informationen vor dem Abschluss einer weiteren – millionenschweren – Investmentrunde. Crane Venture Partners, Speedinvest und Vertex Ventures US investieren erst kürzlich 3 Millionen US-Dollar in das Startup. Mit Gitpod können Entwickler ihre Projekte zügig umsetzen. Das Startup bietet seinen Nutzern eine einsatzbereite Entwicklungsumgebung im Browser – und zwar auf Knopfdruck. Details gibt es in unserem aktuellen Insider-Podcast (siehe unten). #EXKLUSIV

+++ Hessen Kapital investiert gemeinsam mit privaten und institutionellen Investoren, wie der DLE Holding, 1 Million Euro in das Frankfurter  das Startup LegalTegrity. Das LegalTech, das 2019 von 
Thomas Altenburg, Pia Michel und Maraja Fistanic gegründet wurde, bietet eine digitale Hinweisgeberlösung als Software-as-a-Service-Produkt an. “Die Lösung können kleine und mittelständische Unternehmen (KMU) einfach in ihre Abläufe sowie Unternehmensprozesse einbinden”, teilt die Jungfirma mit.


+++ Schon die neue Insider-Ausgabe mit Sven Schmidt gehört? In der aktuellen Folge geht es um Gorillas, Charles, Jodel, Supercam, Gitpod, Careship, Capnamic Ventures, AdJust, LeanIX, staffbase und den Spac-Boom.

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

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

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

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Why an Animated Flying Cat With a Pop-Tart Body Sold for Almost $600,000

A fast-growing market for digital art, ephemera and media is marrying the world’s taste for collectibles with cutting-edge technology.

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