[Varo Money in Wired] Making banking better for billions with next-gen technology

By partnering with Temenos, Varo, which launched in 2017, has been able to quickly develop and launch a range of products and bring them to market in record time. Crucially, it has offered innovative digital banking services to the 180 million Americans previously underserved by the traditional system.

Read more here.

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OurCrowd Blog

K Health Raises $42M for its Free Medical Intelligence Platform Powered by Billions of Data Points

This AI-powered health and telemedicine startup had already raised one of the largest funding rounds in NYC for Q1 of 2020, and K Health is wrapping up the final quarter of 2020 with another impressive funding round. K Health’s medical intelligence platform is completely free and consulting with a doctor online costs only $ 19, less than most copays. At its core, the company has built a robut AI-powered database of clinical data points that are used to determine what treatments and diagnoses were used with those with similar symptoms. AlleyWatch caught up with VP of Marketing Danielle Eddleston to learn more about the company’s impressive growth, key partnerships, and latest funding round from investors that include Valor Equity Partners, Marcy Venture Partners, Atreides Management, PICO Venture Partners, 14W, and Max Ventures.
AlleyWatch

Berlin- and Istanbul-based Meditopia raises €13.1 million to bring personalised mindfulness services to billions of people

Meditopia, the most downloaded mental coach in non-English speaking markets, has today announced a Series A investment of €13.1 million co-led by the VC firms Creandum (an early backer of Spotify, iZettle, and Klarna) and Highland Europe.

Founded in 2015, and with a presence in Istanbul and Berlin, Meditopia is helping to address the growing global mental health crisis through its highly-tailored, localized, long-term range of mental wellbeing programs. The young company works with trained professionals in each of its 75 regions to develop bespoke plans which are tailored to the specific and nuanced needs of that culture, language or country.

Until now, most meditation and mental health apps were built and written to largely suit the needs of English-speaking, Western groups, making them less useful for other demographics from different cultures and countries. Meditopia believes that cultural differences in the way topics like sexuality are perceived around the world, mean that mental wellness services should provide resources or approaches that are designed for that culture.

Meditopia Co-founder Berk Yilmaz explained: “Our mental wellbeing is deeply rooted in our culture and the events happening around us, the way we speak, people we interact with, the community we live in, politics and so on. These are the main factors that affect our peace. Therefore mental wellness needs to be handled locally, personalized to our local needs and culture.”

Since launching in 2017, Meditopia has created an unrivalled collection of resources, offering the most programs in the most languages – almost 3,000 pieces of content in 10 languages – than any other mindfulness and mental wellness platform globally.

Meditopia employs therapists, psychologists, meditation experts, and writers from each region to create highly-tailored content designed around specific themes or in response to global or regional events. An example includes contents created before and after Brazil’s Rio Carnavale in which Meditopia used the platform to coach people through managing their emotions around the disastrous flooding that was simultaneously taking place during this cultural event.

Through its agile, mental coaching approach, these programs combine the benefits of a deep-dive mindfulness experience with comprehensive tools designed to meet the short to long-term needs of the mind. In three years, Meditopia has grown to 14 million users across 75 countries and has experienced 10x year-on-year growth in sales.

Co-Founder Fatih Celebi stated: “From the beginning, Meditopia has strived to be at the frontier of the mind, taking a unique and customised approach to every country, culture, and language that it serves. Sources of stress and anxiety may be universal, however the way they are discussed and perceived is often very specific to each culture, country, or language. We don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all solution to mental health and with Meditopia we’re helping to provide for the long-term deeply personal, complex needs of people across the globe.”

 

Carl Fritjofsson, Partner at Creandum, commented: “The social media age we have experienced enabled users an endless focus on others. We’re now experiencing a new wave of technology which allows users to turn their focus inwards on themselves. We’ve followed Meditopia for the past two years and have been incredibly impressed by how they’ve been able to capture this opportunity across the world, all while being one of the most capital-efficient run companies around.”

EU-Startups

Big VCs stacked billions in Q1 while smaller firms saw their haul shrink

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

After spending perhaps more time than we should have recently trying to figure out what’s going on with the public markets, let’s return to the private markets this morning, focusing in on venture capital itself. New data out today details how U.S.-based VCs fared in Q1 2020, giving us a window into how flush the financial class of startup land was heading into the COVID-19 era.

The short answer is that big funds raised lots of cash, while smaller funds appear to have put in a somewhat lackluster quarter.

That big funds performed well in Q1 shouldn’t surprise. We’ve seen NEA stack $ 3.6 billion in March and Founders Fund raised $ 3 billion for its own investing work earlier in the quarter, to pick two examples TechCrunch covered.

The impact of these mega-raises, according to a report from Prequin and First Republic Bank, was to push up the total amount of capital raised by American venture capital firms in the quarter, while the decline in the number of funds that raised $ 50 million or less led to a slim number of total funds raised. It’s hard to call a surge in dry powder bearish, but the fall-off on smaller funds could limit seed capital in the future.

Notably, there have been warning signs since at least 2019 that seed volume was slowing; recent data from the U.S. underscores the trend. So what we’re seeing this morning in data-form is a summation of what we’ve previously reported in a more piecemeal fashion.

Let’s pick over the data to see what we can learn about how much spare capital the venture classes are sitting on today.

The rich get richer

The whole report is worth reading if you have time. Aside from the data concerning how much money VCs are raising themselves, it includes several interesting bits of information. For example, there were just 960 venture deals closed in the U.S. in Q1 — a pace that would make 2020 the slowest year since 2009 if it held steady.

Per the listed data, 83 U.S.-based venture capitalists closed (“held a final close”) a fund in Q1 2020. This was off about 24% from the Q1 2019 result of 109. However, while the number of funds raised was lackluster, they made up for it in dollar-scale. According to Preqin and First Republic Bank, the “funds that closed raised $ 27 [billion], a substantial total representing over half of the capital raised in 2019 ($ 50 [billion]).”

Startups – TechCrunch