This Week in Apps: Facebook takes on Shopify, Tinder considers its future, contact-tracing tech goes live

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $ 120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending three hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $ 544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

This week we’re continuing to look at how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting the world of mobile applications. Notably, we saw the launch of the Apple/Google exposure-notification API with the latest version of iOS out this week. The pandemic is also inspiring other new apps and features, including upcoming additions to Apple’s Schoolwork, which focus on distance learning, as well as Facebook’s new Shops feature designed to help small business shift their operations online in the wake of physical retail closures.

Tinder, meanwhile, seems to be toying with the idea of pivoting to a global friend finder and online hangout in the wake of social distancing, with its test of a feature that allows users to match with others worldwide — meaning, with no intention of in-person dating.

Headlines

COVID-19 apps in the news

  • Fitbit app: The fitness tracker app launched a COVID-19 early detection study aimed at determining whether wearables can help detect COVID-19 or the flu. The study will ask volunteers questions about their health, including whether they had COVID-19, then pair that with activity data to see if there are any clues that could be used to build an early warning algorithm of sorts.
  • U.K. contact-tracing app: The app won’t be ready in mid-May as promised, as the government mulls the use of the Apple/Google API. In testing, the existing app drains the phone battery too quickly. In addition, researchers have recently identified seven security flaws in the app, which is currently being trialed on the Isle of Wight.

Apple launches iOS/iPadOS 13.5 with Face ID tweak and contact-tracing API

Apple this week released the latest version of iOS/iPadOS with two new features related to the pandemic. The first is an update to Face ID which will now be able to tell when the user is wearing a mask. In those cases, Face ID will instead switch to the Passcode field so you can type in your code to unlock your phone, or authenticate with apps like the App Store, Apple Books, Apple Pay, iTunes and others.

The other new feature is the launch of the exposure-notification API jointly developed by Apple and Google. The API allows for the development of apps from public health organizations and governments that can help determine if someone has been exposed by COVID-19. The apps that support the API have yet to launch, but some 22 countries have requested API access.

Startups – TechCrunch

3 views on the life and death of college towns, remote work and the future of startup hubs

The global pandemic has halted travel, shunted schools online and shut down many cities, but the future of college-town America is an area of deep concern for the startup world.

College towns have done exceedingly well with the rise of the knowledge economy and concentrating students and talent in dense social webs. That confluence of ideas and skill fueled the rise of a whole set of startup clusters outside major geos like the Bay Area, but with COVID-19 bearing down on these ecosystems and many tech workers considering remote work, what does the future look like for these cradles of innovation?

We have three angles on this topic from the Equity podcast crew:

  • Danny Crichton sees the death of college towns, and looks at whether remote tools can substitute for in-person connections when building a startup.
  • Natasha Mascarenhas believes connecting with other students is critical for developing one’s sense of self, and the decline of colleges will negatively impact students and their ability to trial and error their way to their first job.
  • Alex Wilhelm looks at whether residential colleges are about to be disrupted — or whether tradition will prevail. His is (surprise!) a more sanguine look at the future of college towns.

Startup hubs are going to disintegrate as college towns are decimated by coronavirus

Danny Crichton: One of the few urban success stories outside the big global cities like New York, Tokyo, Paris and London has been a small set of cities that have used a mix of their proximity to power (state capitals), knowledge (universities) and finance (local big companies) to build innovative economies. That includes places like Austin, Columbus, Chattanooga, Ann Arbor, Urbana, Denver, Atlanta and Minneapolis, among many others.

Over the past two decades, there was an almost magical economic alchemy underway in these locales. Universities attracted large numbers of bright and ambitious students, capitals and state government offices offered a financial base to the regional economy and local big companies offered the jobs and stability that allow innovation to flourish.

All that has disappeared, leading to some critics, like Noah Smith, to ask whether “Coronavirus Will End the Golden Age for College Towns”?

Startups – TechCrunch

The future of flight can be energy-efficient

We are at the dawn of a new era in transportation.

At the turn of the 20th century, cars began to replace horses. Now, a century later, we would like to see mobility move to the sky. Kitty Hawk has built several prototype vehicles that are electrically powered, take off and land vertically and fly in between like a fixed-wing plane. Collectively, these are called eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft.

eVTOLs — such as the ones built by Project Heaviside — show great potential for everyday transportation. With that as an eventual use case, a common question that comes up is: can eVTOL vehicles be green? Specifically, can eVTOL vehicles be more energy-efficient than cars?

Under the EPA’s standard freeway driving test, a 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus uses about 275 Watt-hours per mile when it averages 50 miles per hour. It can comfortably seat four, but its average occupancy is somewhere around 1.6. Thus, the Leaf’s energy consumption is about 171Wh per passenger mile across all trips.

Our current Heaviside prototype uses about 120Wh per passenger mile, and does so at twice the speed of the Leaf: 100 miles per hour (of course, we can fly much faster, if we choose). We can save another 15% of energy because while roads are not straight, flight paths usually are. All together, Heaviside requires 61% as much energy to go a mile.

Why is Heaviside this efficient — doesn’t it take more energy to go faster? Yes, and it makes the high efficiency we’ve achieved even more dramatic. The answer is that Heaviside can take advantage of slim and low-drag aerodynamic forms that are just not practical on cars.

The difference in drag between a clean, aerodynamic shape like the wing section below, and a bluff body like the cylinder, is vast. So vast in fact that the two shapes drawn will have about the same amount of drag.

                                              The cylinder can be hard to see, it’s over here  ↑ 

What is probably less obvious is that clean shapes like wings must make lift when they are put at an angle to the wind. This is not just observation, but can be mathematically proven.

Car manufacturers put tremendous effort into designing shapes that minimize drag, but will not make lift or side force in wind, which would result in poor and squirrelly handling — remember the last time you drove over a bridge in high winds, or in the opposite direction of a large truck on a narrow country road.

When a car drives by, it takes quite a bit of air along with it.

Image Credits: Kitty Hawk

Project Heaviside, in contrast, leaves a small disturbance in the air it passes through.

So, Heaviside is quite energy-efficient. But what if people choose to travel farther when this option exists? What I find personally surprising about the ranges we have been able to achieve is that Heaviside is a vehicle that, because of the extremely low power consumption, is more efficient than a car traveling for an equal amount of time.

This leaves out the most important element of eVTOL aircraft, which is that they are fully electric, and the cars we would like to see them replace are nearly all gas and diesel-powered. While it may be a hard sell to convince the average consumer to switch to an electric car simply because of emissions, it is likely to be much easier to convince them to use a device that gives them time back.

To put this another way, if your commute is the U.S. average of 16 miles, and if you commuted in a Heaviside-type vehicle, three standard rooftop solar panels would power your commute both ways.

While we have a significant road ahead of us in developing and fielding our aircraft commercially, and we cannot be sure the final products will be as efficient as our prototypes, we are still very excited to demonstrate that efficiency and personal flight need not be at odds.

Startups – TechCrunch

4 Ways The Future Of Work Will Change After COVID-19

#4. Communication habits will continue to trend in the direction of fast and immediate conversation.

To say the coronavirus has had an impact on the way the world “works” would be an understatement.

In a matter of weeks, we’ve gone from a society that sees remote work as a luxury, or even a “freelancer lifestyle,” to realizing the vast majority of jobs today can be done from home. Companies that hadn’t moved the majority of their assets to the cloud are now doing so at a rampant rate. Video calls have gone from being a sub-optimal alternative to a core function of the way we communicate. The list goes on and on — and the impact is here to stay.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve noticed several shifts in our company, Skylum, as more than 100 of us around the world have adjusted to the new rules of society.

Many have never worked from home before, which comes with a unique learning curve. Many have never had the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other employees who work out of offices on different continents — which is now easier since everyone is “remote.” Many have also never viewed their job descriptions through the lens of being quarantined, where tasks left unfinished become more obvious to the rest of the group (in an office setting it’s easier to appear “busy”).

There have been both pros and cons in adjusting to the way the coronavirus is impacting our world. But one thing is for certain: the future of work will never be the same.

Here are four ways professional work is set to change moving forward.

1. When we go back to the office, we will now understand how things can work when people are purely focused on productivity and communication.

It’s very hard for people to shift from regular working hours and working within an office environment, to working at home.

The way you communicate with colleagues is different. The way you organize your day is different. Quite often, people tend to know everything that’s happening within their team, and a little bit of what’s happening in cross-functional teams just by being in the same physical environment. But when you work remotely, you’re isolated from that information.

Team alignment is going to become an even more pressing focus for companies moving forward. In an office setting, this happens passively. You’re aligned (or at least, you think you are) simply because you’re all “together.” But as soon as you add the remote element into the mix, you realize how much more intentional you need to be in order to keep everyone up to speed.

Tools, best practices, and team habits that nurture team alignment are going to be front and center in the years to come.

2. Companies will work hard to become more efficient using software tools that cater to both remote and in-office employees.

Working in an office will no longer be a requirement.

Of course, people like myself may prefer working in a physical office. Companies will still incentivize employees to do so, and certain employees will still prefer a physical office to working from home. But all in all, the coronavirus pandemic has shown us that remote work isn’t only possible, but actually tremendously beneficial in some cases. Having more of your workforce remote means less overhead and office space. Remote means more flexibility for team members all across the organization. Remote means creating an even playing field for employees in different locations, and even countries. Most of all, remote means evaluating productivity more objectively — you either completed the task, or you didn’t. There are no bonus points for “looking busy.”

Tools that can assist companies in seamlessly integrating in-office teams with remote teams are going to become red hot in the near future. Many already are. Overnight, tools like Zoom and Slack seemed closer to social networks than enterprise communication tools.

3. Companies will seek to provide new, emotionally-supportive benefits to employees.

Feeling isolated is one of the biggest challenges of working remotely.

In the past, this issue wasn’t really addressed for companies that allowed employees to work remotely, either part of the time or all the time. Most likely, it’s because not enough people (decision-makers, especially) had ever experienced being on the other side of the fence, feeling that same isolation themselves and wanting to solve for it.

Now that we’ve all experienced working from home, and we’ve all felt feelings of isolation, distance, a reliance on video calls for social interaction, etc., more and more decision-makers now seem in favor of solving this problem. This is going to spark companies to come up with unique, innovative ways of engaging their distributed workforce, ensuring that no employee feels detached from the rest of the team.

4. Communication habits will continue to trend in the direction of fast and immediate conversation.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen our entire company use email less often as a medium for communication.

The reason being, email takes a ton of time. When someone sees an email, they tend to think of it as a To-Do and wait to get to it until later — whereas a Slack message, or an invite to a video call, prompts much faster, more efficient conversation.

This is a trend that has been increasing for a while now, but with millions of workers trying to do their jobs from home, we are going to see adoption for faster, more efficient tools at a record pace. For context, it took Slack almost 5 years (2015 to 2020) to go from 1 million to 10 million users. And in a matter of weeks in March 2020, Slack added 2.5 million users — and is still growing rapidly.

The world is undoubtedly changing before our very eyes. And these are just a few examples of how the future of work will never be the same again.


4 Ways The Future Of Work Will Change After COVID-19 was originally published in Entrepreneur's Handbook on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Entrepreneur's Handbook – Medium

Simple agreement for future equity: an emerging trend in financing business start-ups – Guardian

Simple agreement for future equity: an emerging trend in financing business start-ups  Guardian
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Startups Weekly: How will we build the city of the future?

Editor’s note: Get this weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7am PT), just subscribe here.

Commercial real estate, the traditional heart of most cities, may have lost its reason to exist in the last few months. The world is about to find out what the situation is as more locations start to reopen.

First up in our ongoing coverage of the topic, Connie Loizos caught up with a couple proptech investors this week for TechCrunch, who saw existing trends accelerating — with many medically focused additions.

Brendan Wallace of Fifth Wall is looking for more aggressive pickup of smart tech in general, along the lines of what you already see in some other countries. “He notes sensors that can determine how many people are in a room or pass through a turnstile. He points to facial recognition tech that can help keep points of physical contact to a minimum. He imagines that more companies might embrace robots to patrol buildings and, possibly, to clean them, too.”

Darren Bechtel of Brick and Mortar saw tech remaking the construction site, with growing practices like using large-scale pre-fabricated components: “If you’re limited by how many people can work in the field, and you have to put in controls for people not working on top of each other, the question becomes: how can you do the work in a more controlled environment, with a next-gen HVAC system [to purify the air] and markings on the floor?…. People are now saying, ‘How much can we prepare off-site?’”

Buildings are also going to be focused on health features, Connie wrote. “[B]oth Wallace and Bechtel mentioned advanced air purifiers and air handling units used to recondition and circulate air as part of a heating, ventilating and air-conditioning plan. Both say it will likely become a growing area of interest for building owners and developers.”

What about beyond the buildings? A few writers here put together some thoughts in a post for Extra Crunch. Here’s Danny Crichton’s view from Brooklyn:

Few of us can live in the dreary confines of a suburban enclave our entire workweek. And so I expect to see a revitalization of the classic Main Street clusters that once dotted towns across America as people appreciate the close proximity of amenities that they need throughout their day and remote work makes it possible to skip the commute to the central business district.

It’s not going to be a simple transition, of course. The built environment alone will probably take decades to fully transition. But the spirit of Jane Jacobs lives on and will move beyond the downtown core neighborhoods she observed to spread to medium and perhaps even small towns across the country and throughout the world.

If you want more on the topic, check out our recent investor survey with six other top proptech investors from late March (for subscribers).

Just want to settle down at home and get to work? Check out Darrell Etherington’s TechCrunch guide to setting up a pro-grade videoconference studio.

dollar bills

The $ 100M ARR club continues to grow, despite everything

When Alex Wilhelm rejoined TechCrunch late last year, he kicked things off with a list of companies that he called “the $ 100M ARR club” to signify unicorns that were also generating a lot of revenue. It was a clever way of organizing which of the hundreds of highly valued companies heading towards IPOs were most set up for success, and our readers agreed.

But, with entire market categories whipsawed by the pandemic, it has been hard to find companies willing to share numbers lately. He still found a few, as he wrote up for Extra Crunch this week: ActiveCampaignRecorded Future and ON24. Here’s a vignette from the CEO of ActiveCampaign:

While we had the CEO’s attention, TechCrunch wanted to know if ActiveCampaign was taking incoming fire from COVID-19 and its related economic and labor disruptions. As some other SMB-focused software companies have told us, the answer is no. Here’s [Jason] VandeBoom:

We anticipate continued growth in 2020 and are already seeing further acceleration to support this. The past four months have been the best in company history and we’ve seen monthly trials double in that timeframe and new customer acquisition numbers at 4500, 5500, 6000 and 7000 respectively from January to April.

He did hedge those results a little, adding that while his firm has “seen some acceleration from COVID-19 and the digital transformation that it is inspiring,” the CEO is more convinced that “the need for customer experience is what is fueling the majority of this growth.”

This week in China trade news….

The already basic trade agreement between the Trump administration and the Chinese government from last year looks ready to blow up; the administration banned selling more tech to Huawei; TSMC plans to open a factory in Arizona following urging from the US government; Foxconn profits crashed… Danny Crichton has a clear takeaway on TechCrunch for startups about the latest headlines:

[T]he world of semiconductors, of internet infrastructure, of the tech ties that have bound the U.S. and China together for decades — they are frayed and are almost gone. It’s a new era in supply chains and trade, and an open world for new approaches to these huge existing industries.

If your company is not already planning for a more chaotic, multi-polar world than what most of us can remember living through, it may already be too late.

(Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images)

Investor survey: hospitals to increase tech focus after pandemic

Sarah Buhr talked to top investors in the healthcare B2B and infrastructure businesses for one of our investor surveys this week on Extra Crunch. They generally seemed to agree that the pandemic was going to push the system wholesale towards better technology. Here’s Bilal Zuberi of Lux Capital:

While a lot of our healthcare infrastructure will take a little bit of time recovering from the stress COVID placed on it, we anticipate this to provide a push to the system to adopt new technologies that enable distributed health, build resiliency in our delivery networks and deploy data-enabled healthcare. Hospital balance sheets might struggle in the short term to buy new technologies, but payers as well as large businesses might participate in infrastructure development and deployment in a bigger way. We anticipate selling to hospitals to be difficult in the short term, as they try to recover from the revenue shortfall they experienced during COVID-19, but will generally emerge more interested in adopting new technologies, digital and remote health solutions and automation in various functions. Needless to say, a wide-scale digital transformation of our healthcare industry is underway, and there is no looking back.

Don’t miss our other survey this week, on how the mobility investors are viewing the pandemic.

Protecting your equity as a startup employee

Wouter Witvoet of fintech startup SecFi wrote a guest post for TechCrunch going over some key points for anyone working at a startup right now (or recently). As an occasional startup founder and/or employee myself, I’d like to recommend this one for special consideration: “Negotiate for equity during a pay cut or furlough.”

Startups typically offer equity as a means of deferred compensation and as a way to incentivize employees to own a piece of the company they are building. The compensation is deferred as most startups are cash-strapped and cannot afford to pay you what a larger company may be able to.

If your company is now asking you to take a pay cut, or even take no pay during this time, you should consider asking for additional equity to make up for the lost compensation. While not all companies may be amenable to offering more equity, there is no cash outlay from the company’s standpoint, so it’s an efficient way for your company to compensate you for your sacrifice while preserving their cash.

In addition, offering more equity shows a commitment from management to their employees during this difficult time. It may be the win-win scenario for your company and yourself in the long-run so it’s worth having the conversation with management to discuss if this is available for you.

At first it seems weird when you consider typical venture dynamics. The founders have probably already lost leverage against the company’s investors. These investors have probably already lost leverage against their LPs. So nobody is naturally included to give up even more. And the employees were already last in line on the cap table and first to go, so why should founders do anything different?

Tactically, the best employees will be attracted go work at bigger more stable companies as the pandemic recession stretches on — and you might not have the cash to afford the effort to rehire. Strategically, now is the time to build the esprit de corp that will carry your company forward into better times… a few extra basis points for the team now could help deliver a priceless return.  

Across the week

TechCrunch

COVID-19 shows we need Universal Basic Internet now

AngelList wants to improve comparing VC fund performance with new metrics and calculator

Seven viral futures

Where to shop online that isn’t Amazon, Target or Walmart

Extra Crunch

4 edtech CEOs peer into the industry’s future

Sequoia’s Roelof Botha is more optimistic about startups today than he was a year ago

These best practices maximize the value of your online events

Fintech startups amass war chests for the economic downturn

Around TechCrunch

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Extra Crunch Live: Join Revolution’s Steve Case and Clara Sieg on May 21 at 3pm ET/12pm PT

#EquityPod

From Alex:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Are you a regular Equity listener? Take our survey here! We talk about it on the show.

From home once again this week, DannyNatashaAlex and Chris got together to pull the show together. But unlike last week’s episode (catch up here if you are behind), this week’s show features a game that actually worked. It’s at the end, as you’ll see.

But before that piece of the puzzle, there was a bunch of news to go over. We had to leave SaaS valuationsthe Liftoff ListBrex and FalconX on the floor, but there was still so much good stuff to cover:

Then we played our game. Please hold us to account. And if you have listened to the show for a while, take our survey! It’s right after this next sentence.

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Startups – TechCrunch

10 promising European deeptech startups leading us into the future

Deeptech refers to companies founded on a scientific breakthrough, which seek to make the world a better place. Coined by Swati Chaturvedi, it can refer to robotics, smart cities, medtech, cleantech, quantum computing and more.

In the last five years there has been an increase in funding for deeptech companies across Europe, with €7.7 billion invested in 2019. This is an increase of almost three times compared to 2015. Artificial intelligence dominates the capital invested, as quantum has yet to make its rise in Europe.

However, there still is a wide venture capital gap compared to the US or China. This could be explained by European investors’ lack of experience in the industry and the perceived higher investments necessary for deeptech to succeed. But several scaleups such as Ynsect, DataIku and Orcam have demonstrated they can generate long term value on global markets.

The UK is leading deeptech investments in Europe, followed by France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Looking beyond the top 10, Romania stands out due to the large investments into UiPath, Europe’s fastest-growing deep tech.

With a global pandemic on our hands policy makers are seeking now more than ever ways to rebuild Europe’s tech and science capabilities. Not only for current economic purposes but also for better responses to future crises, as most governments have been criticised for their crisis management response while their citizens uncovered their total dependency on China for manufacturing or production.

Some European countries have started lifting lockdown measures and we are seeing deals been signed. One such startup Xampla, a spin off from the University of Cambridge, recently received €2.2 million in seed funding. Moreover, venture capital firms are creating funds for deeptech startups such as Runa Capital who is ready to invest €144 million.

If you want to know who to follow, here are some of the deep tech startups who will continue to rise in the next months.

AImotive – AImotive provides AI-powered self-driving technology. Founded in 2015 by Laszlo Kishonti, David Kiss and Jussi Havu, the company has offices Budapest, Mountain View, and Tokyo, employs over 200 people and has raised around €115 million in funding.

Beit – Beit is on mission to control quantum computers with algorithms able to solve hard problems. The company was founded in 2016 by Wojtek Burkot, is headquartered in Krakow, Poland, and has received funding from the European Commission for a quantum computer project.

FiveAI – FiveAI leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to build navigation systems to power autonomous cars. Founded in 2015 by John Redford, Ben Peters, Steve Allpress and headquartered in Cambridge, UK the startup employs more than 100 people.

Graphcore – Bristol-based unicorn Graphcore has created a new processor, the Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), designed for artificial intelligence. The IPU’s unique architecture lets AI researchers undertake new types of work, not possible using current technologies. Founded in 2016, it has over 300 employees and has raised around €418 million.

IQM – IQM was founded in 2018 by Jan Goetz and Kuan Yen Tan and is a spin-off of the Quantum Computing and Devices research group of Aalto University. IQM is headquartered in Espoo, Finland, and landed seed funding of €11 million in July 2019, around a year after its founding.

Kiutra – Kiutra is developing next-generation cooling devices for basic research, quantum technology, and detector applications based on magnetic cooling. Founded by Jan Spallek and Tomek Schultz in 2018, the startup is headquartered in Munich, Germany. The team raised around €1 million in funding in 2019 via two different rounds.

LTU – Founded in 2018 by Alexandre Winter, LTU employs more than 70 people with headquarters in Paris, France. LTU is a computer vision platform that provides unique image signatures for visual search and image recognition. Just this month they landed €4.5 million of funding.

Lilium – Co-founded in 2015 by Daniel Wiegand, Sebastian Born, Patrick Nathen and Matthias Meiner, Lilium is based near Munich, ​Germany. Lilium is developing an on-demand air taxi service and is already employing more than 400 people. In March of this year they closed a round of €224 million.

Nivaura – Nivaura offers modular platform technology to enable process automation for the insurance and administration of instruments such as loans and bonds. Nivaura was founded in 2015 by Alessio Menini and is headquartered in London, UK. In February 2019, they raised €17.5 million.

Tibber – Tibber is on a mission to change the way we buy and consume electricity. Founded in 2016 by Daniel Lindén and Edgeir Aksnes, Tibber is heaquartered in Stockholm, Sweeden. The startup employs over 40 people.

Finally, I could not end this article without tackling diversity within European deeptech startups or scaleups. The EIT Digital female-led deeptech startups and scaleups landscape from 2019 showcases over 60 startups in Europe who have a female CEO. Among them there are startups like Trick, Third Space Auto, Evertrace, Immersive.io, Bold, Biocore, Futrli, Omni:us, Cosmian or SeedLink. I hope they will inspire all the founders and investors out there to be more inclusive in the long run.

EU-Startups

10 promising European deeptech startups leading us into the future

Deeptech refers to companies founded on a scientific breakthrough, which seek to make the world a better place. Coined by Swati Chaturvedi, it can refer to robotics, smart cities, medtech, cleantech, quantum computing and more.

In the last five years there has been an increase in funding for deeptech companies across Europe, with €7.7 billion invested in 2019. This is an increase of almost three times compared to 2015. Artificial intelligence dominates the capital invested, as quantum has yet to make its rise in Europe.

However, there still is a wide venture capital gap compared to the US or China. This could be explained by European investors’ lack of experience in the industry and the perceived higher investments necessary for deeptech to succeed. But several scaleups such as Ynsect, DataIku and Orcam have demonstrated they can generate long term value on global markets.

The UK is leading deeptech investments in Europe, followed by France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Looking beyond the top 10, Romania stands out due to the large investments into UiPath, Europe’s fastest-growing deep tech.

With a global pandemic on our hands policy makers are seeking now more than ever ways to rebuild Europe’s tech and science capabilities. Not only for current economic purposes but also for better responses to future crises, as most governments have been criticised for their crisis management response while their citizens uncovered their total dependency on China for manufacturing or production.

Some European countries have started lifting lockdown measures and we are seeing deals been signed. One such startup Xampla, a spin off from the University of Cambridge, recently received €2.2 million in seed funding. Moreover, venture capital firms are creating funds for deeptech startups such as Runa Capital who is ready to invest €144 million.

If you want to know who to follow, here are some of the deep tech startups who will continue to rise in the next months.

AImotive – AImotive provides AI-powered self-driving technology. Founded in 2015 by Laszlo Kishonti, David Kiss and Jussi Havu, the company has offices Budapest, Mountain View, and Tokyo, employs over 200 people and has raised around €115 million in funding.

Beit – Beit is on mission to control quantum computers with algorithms able to solve hard problems. The company was founded in 2016 by Wojtek Burkot, is headquartered in Krakow, Poland, and has received funding from the European Commission for a quantum computer project.

FiveAI – FiveAI leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to build navigation systems to power autonomous cars. Founded in 2015 by John Redford, Ben Peters, Steve Allpress and headquartered in Cambridge, UK the startup employs more than 100 people.

Graphcore – Bristol-based unicorn Graphcore has created a new processor, the Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), designed for artificial intelligence. The IPU’s unique architecture lets AI researchers undertake new types of work, not possible using current technologies. Founded in 2016, it has over 300 employees and has raised around €418 million.

IQM – IQM was founded in 2018 by Jan Goetz and Kuan Yen Tan and is a spin-off of the Quantum Computing and Devices research group of Aalto University. IQM is headquartered in Espoo, Finland, and landed seed funding of €11 million in July 2019, around a year after its founding.

Kiutra – Kiutra is developing next-generation cooling devices for basic research, quantum technology, and detector applications based on magnetic cooling. Founded by Jan Spallek and Tomek Schultz in 2018, the startup is headquartered in Munich, Germany. The team raised around €1 million in funding in 2019 via two different rounds.

LTU – Founded in 2018 by Alexandre Winter, LTU employs more than 70 people with headquarters in Paris, France. LTU is a computer vision platform that provides unique image signatures for visual search and image recognition. Just this month they landed €4.5 million of funding.

Lilium – Co-founded in 2015 by Daniel Wiegand, Sebastian Born, Patrick Nathen and Matthias Meiner, Lilium is based near Munich, ​Germany. Lilium is developing an on-demand air taxi service and is already employing more than 400 people. In March of this year they closed a round of €224 million.

Nivaura – Nivaura offers modular platform technology to enable process automation for the insurance and administration of instruments such as loans and bonds. Nivaura was founded in 2015 by Alessio Menini and is headquartered in London, UK. In February 2019, they raised €17.5 million.

Tibber – Tibber is on a mission to change the way we buy and consume electricity. Founded in 2016 by Daniel Lindén and Edgeir Aksnes, Tibber is heaquartered in Stockholm, Sweeden. The startup employs over 40 people.

Finally, I could not end this article without tackling diversity within European deeptech startups or scaleups. The EIT Digital female-led deeptech startups and scaleups landscape from 2019 showcases over 60 startups in Europe who have a female CEO. Among them there are startups like Trick, Third Space Auto, Evertrace, Immersive.io, Bold, Biocore, Futrli, Omni:us, Cosmian or SeedLink. I hope they will inspire all the founders and investors out there to be more inclusive in the long run.

EU-Startups