Amsterdam-based Gamgee partners with Lithuanian IoT hardware manufacturer Teltonika to expand its IoT reach

IoT or the Internet of Things is a fast growing sector which is expected to reach a value of $ 1256.1B (nearly €1060.6B) by 2025. One of the notable players in the field is moving forward by forging new partnerships and expanding its services. The Lithuanian IoT hardware manufacturer Teltonika Networks has announced its partnership with Amsterdam-based smart home and managed Wi-Fi company Gamgee. 

The fellowship of increased connectivity

Under the newly formed alliance, the two companies, Teltonika and Gamgee, will target to launch new smart home and managed wireless services. These devices and services will be developed by Gamgee and powered by Teltonika Networks products and the setup will include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS connectivity. This partnership is for expanding the companies’ capacities to offer managed Wi-Fi and smart network services to more consumers and business customers across multiple technology platforms. 

“Teltonika Networks is largely recognised for developing innovative IoT business and office solutions that are driving the upcoming IoT revolution. Thanks to this partnership, Gamgee will be able to expand its reach and deliver the unique value of easy network management to a large audience that includes businesses and public institutions,” says Paul Hendriks, the CEO of Gamgee.

According to the company, the name Gamgee comes from Samwise Gamgee, also known as Sam, a Hobbit of the Shire – a prominent character from J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings. “As Sam proved himself to be Frodo’s closest and most dependable companion, the most loyal of the Fellowship of the Ring. He also played a crucial role in protecting Frodo and destroying the One Ring. It is Gamgee’s aspiration to be the wireless smart home network companion,” the company explains. 

“We are looking forward to extending our presence to not only industrial and business areas but also a smart-home environment with the help of Gamgee,” comments Julius Švagždys, Chief Corporate Marketing at Teltonika .

This article is produced in collaboration with StartupAmsterdam. Read more about our partnering opportunities.

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Dutch fintech startup Factris bags €5M; plans to expand operations and business reach

For Small and Medium-Sized businesses or SMEs, it is crucial to manage and juggle the sources, timing and utilisation of cash flow. However, a lot of SMEs are shouldering the burden of ‘late payments’ at any given time. Well, imagine the whole lot of benefits small or medium-sized businesses can get from having more payment-related insights? 

Factris, an Amsterdam-based fintech startup is changing the landscape with its financing solution in Europe. The company helps SMEs by turning their invoices into cash in just 24 hours. 

Secured €5M funding 

The Dutch startup recently received another capital injection of €5M from AB ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of the Arab Bank. Existing investors including Speedinvest, Optima Investments, and other high net worth investors also participated in the Series-A equity funding round. 

A few days back, Factris raised €50M in a new financing agreement with asset manager NN Investment Partners (NN IP). 

The company intends to utilise the funds to continue to expand operations and its business reach. Factris is now at various stages of onboarding other factoring companies to become Factris brokers or partners, thus further extending their financing impact throughout the EU.

CEO Brian Reaves explains the importance of partnering, “Factris is determined to help SMEs in this difficult environment either directly or via our partners. Factris is happy to be working with AB Ventures and is looking forward to providing financing services in partnership with them in selected markets”.

Provide low-cost working capital to SMEs

As per Factris, the additional equity, as well as the scale and reach via the partnerships, will help create more opportunities to finance businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Factoring, which is Factris’ primary form of financing, continues to help its customers by providing working capital using their unpaid invoices. The company claims that this alternative form of financing has proven to be substantially faster in sourcing the required cash flow to businesses, when compared to the more traditional forms of financing, such as businesses applying for a bank loan. 

Finance Automation for Business (FAB)

Factris has developed a FAB (Finance Automation for Business) platform, which automates tasks for employees to focus on personalised customer care. The FAB platform lets clients upload their invoices, request credit limits, monitor payments, and receive same-day capital for invoices that are factored.

“AB Ventures is excited to be part of the Factris journey and is looking forward to closing cooperation with Factris in developing receivables based financing solutions in Europe and beyond,” comments Faisal Hakki, MD of AB Ventures.

Main image credits: Factris

This article is produced in collaboration with StartupAmsterdam. Read more about our partnering opportunities.

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After lockdowns lead to an e-bike boom, VanMoof raises $40M Series B to expand globally

E-bike startup VanMoof has raised a $ 40 million investment from Norwest Venture Partners, Felix Capital and Balderton Capital. The Series B financing comes after a $ 13.5 million investment in May. The funding brings VanMoof’s total raised to $ 73 million and furthers the e-bike brand’s ultimate mission of getting the next billion on bikes.

The Series B funding will be used to meet the increased demand, shorten delivery times and build a suite of rider service solutions. It also aims to boost its share of the e-bike market in North America, Europe and Japan.

Partly driven by the switch of commuters away from public transport because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the e-bike craze is taking off.

Governments are now investing in cycling infrastructure and the e-bike market is set to surpass $ 46 billion in the next six years, according to reports.

Ties Carlier, co-founder of VanMoof, commented: “E-bike adoption was an inevitable global shift that was already taking place for many years now but COVID-19 put an absolute turbo on it to the point that we’re approaching a critical mass to transform cities for the better.”

VanMoof says it realized a 220% global revenue growth during the worldwide lockdown and sold more bikes in the first four months of 2020 than the previous two years combined.

Stew Campbell, principal at Norwest said: “Taco, Ties and the VanMoof team have not only built an unparalleled brand and best-selling product, but they’re reshaping city mobility all over the world.”

Colin Hanna, principal at Balderton: “As the COVID-19 crisis hit supply chains worldwide, VanMoof’s unique control over design and production was a key advantage that allowed the company to react nimbly and effectively. Moreover, VanMoof’s direct to consumer approach allows the company to build a close relationship to their riders, one that will be strengthened by new products and services in the years to come.”

VanMoof launched the new VanMoof S3 and X3 in April of this year. I reviewed the S3 here and checked out the earlier X2 version here.

Startups – TechCrunch

London VCs launch joint initiative to expand funding opportunities for underrepresented founders

A group of U.K.-based VCs have come together to create a new virtual pitching event designed to address the problems with the current startup ecosystem that can lead to inequalities and “warm intros” made only between privileged classes and ethnicities.

Held on the 30th of September, “Access All” will be a new virtual event geared toward founders from underrepresented groups.

Participating founders will be invited to pitch their startups to a number of London’s leading VCs and companies, including Downing Ventures, Playfair Capital, SpeedInvest and SoftBank, as well as Microsoft, Amazon, Accenture and O2.

The joint initiative has been put together by Floww, Force Over Mass and Wayra UK, with the mission to create more opportunity for BAME founders, based on merit, reducing bias and addressing the problems of the “the old boys network” of venture capital deal flow.

According to some figures, startups with all-male founding teams raise 91% of the venture capital in the U.K., but the stats around ethnic minority founders are harder to find. In the U.S. for example, 0.02% of venture capital is allocated to Black female founders.

Martijn de Wever, CEO and founder of Floww, which is coordinating the event, said: “With Access All, we rallied together in the startup community because we believe that the system needs change. Black, Asian and other ethnic minority founders, need to have fair access.”

Floww’s team of accountants and content writers will work with applicants for free to review their business plans and get them ready to pitch to the participating investors. TechCrunch and Forbes journalists will be joining the panel as judges.

Founders can register here.

Startups – TechCrunch

London-based Curio raises €7.6 million to expand its curated audio platform

Curio, the premium audio platform with a curated library of expert journalism, has closed a approx. €7.6 million Series A round led by Earlybird. Draper Esprit, Cherry Ventures, and Horizons Ventures also took part in the investment. Before the Series A, Curio raised around €1.6 million, led by Cherry Ventures, with the participation of 500…

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Competing with both Perfect Day and Beyond Meat, Chile’s NotCo raises $85 million to expand to the US

NotCo, the Chilean food technology company making plant-based milk and meat replacements, has confirmed the close of a new $ 85 million round of funding to take the company’s products into the U.S. market.

The announcement confirms earlier reporting from TechCrunch that the company had raised new capital, but according to people with knowledge of the investment, the valuation for the company is roughly $ 300 million, and not the $ 250 million TechCrunch previously reported.

The funding came from new investors, including the consumer-focused private equity firm L Catterton Partners, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone’s Future Positive investment firm and the giant venture capital firm General Catalyst. Previous investors Kaszek Ventures, The Craftory, Bezos Expeditions (the personal investment firm for Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos), Endeavor Catalyst, IndieBio, Humbolt Capital and Maya Capital all followed on in this round.

NotCo makes a hamburger substitute that’s currently being marketed at Burger King and Papa John’s restaurants in Chile as part of its NotBurger and NotMeat brands, and it has a line of dairy products including NotIceCream, NotMayo and NotMilk.

Both markets are not small, with milk alone being a multi-billion-dollar category that NotCo chief executive Matias Muchnick believes his company can dominate in both Latin America and the US. That trajectory will put it on a collision course with well-funded competitors like Perfect Day, which raised $ 300 million in financing earlier this year and launched a new consumer brand subsidiary, the Urgent Company, for products made with its milk substitutes.

For longtime investors in the company, like Kaszek Ventures managing partner Nicolas Szekasy, the new financing for NotCo validates his firm’s early faith that a company from Santiago, Chile could compete in some of the world’s largest consumer markets.

“We continue to actively support the company since its early days with a strong conviction of the potential that NotCo has to be the leading global player in the food-tech space. In this uncertain time, consumers have amplified their appetite for the plant-based world,” said Szekasy in a statement. “In parallel, COVID has allowed us to see that meat production is not only environmentally harmful and inefficient, but also that its supply chain is fragile. So we are happy to witness an inflection point where plant-based products are becoming an increasing proportion of a new normal, once they can actually taste amazing like we see NotCo crafting.”

Joining the company to help with its international expansion plans are a clutch of seasoned executives from large multi-national food brands. Flavia Buchmann, a former executive at Coca-Cola overseeing the company’s Sprite brand, has been tapped as the company’s new chief marketing officer. Former Danone executives Luis Silva and Catriel Giuliano are taking the reins as heads of global business development and research and development, respectively. And Jose Menendez a former banker at Jeffries and executive at Tapad, is now NotCo’s global chief operating officer.

A flood of venture capital dollars have come into the food space since NotCo first burst on the scene, and many of these deals are operating at the intersection of novel biomanufacturing technologies and food science. But NotCo’s take on food tech is more akin to Beyond Meat than Impossible Foods or Perfect Day.

The company isn’t making biologically engineered foods, it’s taking its taxonomy of existing foods and determining which combinations of plant ingredients will most closely mimic all aspects of the animal products they’re replacing.

So a closer analogy would be companies like Just or the newly funded Climax Foods. Muchnick said the difference is in where these companies are spending their time. Instead of focusing on a protein that can act as one replacement for casein or the carbohydrate lactose, NotCo is trying to replicate the whole product — the entire sensorial panel of a particular food.

“Flavors, taste, smell, color and the interaction between all of them and the molecular components in food,” said Muchnick. “It’s not just the concept of how limited we are to replicating products and how limited to using AI to address other challenges in the food industry.”

For Muchnick, the biggest opportunity for NotCo is dairy. While the company has plans to introduce a number of new products, including a chicken replacement, to complement its line of NotBurger and NotMeat products, it’s really the dairy business where the company wants to land and expand.

It’s looking to cut a deal with a large quick-service restaurant, along with deals for an online channel and a direct to consumer play.

As it grows, consumers can expect to see the company’s brands recede into the background as Muchnick looks to focus on supplying products to other vendors.

“We partnered upstream and downstream,” Muchnick said. The company works with suppliers, including Ingredion, ADM and Cargill and downstream has product partners that will incorporate its milk substitute into other products.

What we want is to be the catalyst of change with many other companies. Why don’t we become the enabler. We’re becoming the Intel inside of other products.”

At that scale, the company would be a prime candidate for public investors, and if Muchnick has his way the company will get there. “We are aiming to have a $ 300 million company by 2024 with 70% of that business in the U.S.,” he said. 

Startups – TechCrunch

Xometry raises $75M Series E to expand custom manufacturing marketplace

When companies need to find manufacturers to build custom parts, it’s not always an easy process, especially during a pandemic. Xometry, a 7-year old startup based in Maryland has built an online marketplace where companies can find manufacturers across the world with excess capacity to build whatever they need. Today, the company announced a $ 75 million Series E investment to keep expanding the platform.

T. Rowe Price Associates led the investment with participation from new firms Durable Capital Partners LP and ArrowMark Partners. Previous investors also joined the round including BMW i Ventures, Greenspring Associates, Dell Technologies Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Foundry Group, Highland Capital Partners and Almaz Capital. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $ 193 million, according to the company.

Company CEO and co-founder Randy Altschuler says Xometry fills a need by providing a digital way of putting buyers and manufacturers together with a dash of artificial intelligence to put the right combination together. “We’ve created a marketplace using artificial intelligence to power it, and provide an e-commerce experience for buyers of custom manufacturing and for suppliers to deliver that manufacturing,” Altschuler told TechCrunch.

The kind of custom pieces that are facilitated by this platform include mechanical parts for aerospace, defense, automotive, robotics and medical devices — what Altschuler calls mission critical parts. Being able to put companies together in this fashion is particularly useful during COVID when certain regions might have been shut down.

“COVID has reinforced the need for distributed manufacturing and our platform enables that by empowering these local manufacturers, and because we’re using technology to do it, as COVID has unfolded […] and as continents have shut down, and even specific states in the United States have shut down, our platform has allowed customers to autocorrect and shift work to other locations,” he explained

What’s more, companies could take advantage of the platform to manufacture critical personal protective equipment. “One of the beauties of our platform was when COVID hit customers could come to our platform and suddenly access this tremendous amount of manufacturing capacity to produce this much-needed PPP,” he said.

Xometry makes money by facilitating the sale between the buyer and producer. They help set the price and then make money on the difference between the cost to produce and how much the buyer was willing to pay to have it done.

They have relationships with 5000 manufacturers located throughout the world and 30,000 customers using the platform to build the parts they need. The company currently has around 350 employees with plans to use the money to add more to keep enhancing the platform.

Altschuler says from a human perspective, he wants his company to have a diverse workforce because he never wants to see people being discriminated against for whatever reason, but he also says as a company with an international market having a diverse workforce is also critical to his business. “The more diversity that we have within Xometry, the more we’re able to effectively market to those folks, sell to those folks and understand how they utilize technology. We’re just going to better understand our customer set as we [build a more diverse workforce],” he said.

As a Series E-stage company, Altschuler does not shy away from the IPO question. In fact, he recently brought in new CFO Jim Rallo, who has experience taking a company public. “The market that we operate in is so large, and there’s so many opportunities for us to serve both our customers and our suppliers, and we have to be great for both of them. We need capital to do that, and the public markets can be an efficient way to access that capital and to grow our business, and in the end that’s what we want to do,” he said.

Startups – TechCrunch

Cameroonian healthtech startup, Healthlane, secures $2.4m investment to expand offerings – Techpoint Africa

Cameroonian healthtech startup, Healthlane, secures $ 2.4m investment to expand offerings  Techpoint Africa
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Austrian blockchain regtech startup Blockpit acquires its competitor CryptoTax, aims to expand to the North American markets

In the latest development, the Austrian compliance expert and software developer Blockpit announced the acquisition of its biggest competitor – CryptoTax. With this acquisition, Blockpit holds a 100% stake in the company and aims to offer a range of compliance and tax services under one roof. 

“Although Blockpit and CryptoTax were active in the same market segment, they had different focuses and strengths. We took a close look at the companies’ structures and recognized a very big synergy potential, especially in technological merging and country coverage,” Florian Wimmer, CEO of Blockpit GmbH.

Based on blockchain technologies

Founded in 2017 by Florian Wimmer, Mathias Maier, Gerd Karlhuber, Patric Stadlbauer, and Gert Weidinger in Linz, Blockpit is a developer of online financial solutions for portfolio management and tax reporting of digital assets based on blockchain technologies

“The medium-term goal is the connection of both companies to a well-known global player as well as intensive expansion in the US market”, adds Klaus Himmer, previous owner and managing director of CryptoTax. 

No major change right now

However, the teams of both companies will remain in Linz and Munich respectively. The takeover will not change anything for the existing customers of both companies, as the previous functions and the pricing model will be retained.

Blockpit and CryptoTax are currently the only providers whose tax-optimizing calculation methods and the resulting reports are checked specifically for each country by one of the Big Four auditing firms. Furthermore, the company is planning to expand its operation to other English-speaking countries including the UK, Canada, Australia, South Korea, and other EU countries in 2021.

Big step towards RegTech on cards

As a result of the takeover, Blockpit is planning to make a move towards holistic RegTech for digital assets through its expanded product range. In fact, the KEST-tool developed by CryptoTax also offers tax reporting for traditional securities. Whilst Blockpit has also considered the legally compliant money laundering check of digital assets in addition to the tax return by developing a KYT (Know-Your-Transaction) tool. With the expanded product range, the company already wants to equip itself for the imminent introduction of MiCAR.

“By implementing the functions, we are also prepared for the coming EU-wide regulation, because MiCAR plans to classify crypto assets, digital assets, and stablecoins as regular financial instruments this year,” continued Wimmer.

Main image credits: Blockpit

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Startups – Silicon Canals

London-based ThoughtRiver secures €8.4 million to expand its automated contract review tech globally

ThoughtRiver, a market leader in automated contract review and pre-screening, has today announced around €8.4 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Octopus Ventures, a leading European venture capital firm which invests in technology innovation leaders. The investment comes after ThoughtRiver achieved record growth over the past twelve months. It recently signed…

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