Berlin-based Infarm raises €144M to grow largest farming network globally

As we all know, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is growing day by day due to which there is a high rise in demand for fresh foods. It has put a global spotlight on the agricultural side of the economy. However, agritech startups are constantly trying to succeed, despite all the challenges, with the help of indoor farming to help cities become self-sufficient in their food production while improving the safety, quality, and environmental footprint of the food. 

One such startup, Infarm, aims to share the goodness of own-grown produce with everyone. The startup has developed a smart modular farming system, that allows the distribution of farms throughout the urban environment, growing fresh produce in any available space and fulfilling any demand.

The Berlin-based startup has raised €144 M in the “first close” of a Series C round of funding; the round is expected to reach about €168 M. LGT Lightstone led this round of investment in a mix of equity and debt financing.

Besides existing investors Atomico, TriplePoint Capital, Mons Capital, and Astanor Ventures; Hanaco, Bonnier, Haniel, and Latitude have also invested in this round.

Utilisation of the Investment

The funding will be used to strengthen the regional and local penetration of Infarm’s global farming network. Besides, the startup is also looking to develop its vertical cloud-connected farms to help generate the crop-equivalent of acres of farmland to increase the diversity of produce through vertical farming.

What does Infarm do?

Founded in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli, and brothers Erez and Guy Galonska, Infarm uses cloud-computing to manage the cultivation of produce that is grown close to consumers, to minimise its environmental impact.

With a team of 600 people globally, Infarm has partnered with more than 30 major food retailers.

The startup also claims to have deployed more than 1000 farms in stores and distribution centres, saved more than 7,000,000 gallons of water, and 400,000 square feet of land, while harvesting over 500,000 plants monthly and growing. 

To help contribute to a more sustainable food system, Infarm is looking to integrate its advanced engineering and software & farming technology, to help save labour, land, water, energy, and food-miles. 

By 2025, Infarm’s farming network is expected to reach more than 5,000,000 square feet.

Speaking about the development, Erez Galonska, co-founder & CEO of Infarm, said: “We believe in increasing access to fresh, pure, sustainable produce, grown as close as possible to people. As we scale to 5,000,000 sq ft in farming facilities across Europe, North American and Asia by 2025, this investment will help us make a truly global impact through our network, preserving the thousands of acres of land, millions of liters of water, and ultimately change the way people grow, eat and think about food.”

Image credits: InFarm 

The post Berlin-based Infarm raises €144M to grow largest farming network globally appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

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-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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Estonian fintech EvoEstate raises €320K to grow its next-gen investment platform globally

Today Tallinn-based EvoEstate announces a €140K pre-seed extension to close its €320K pre-seed round. The next-gen investment platform has been backed by Lithuanian Startup Wise Guys, a Hong Kong-based stealth investment fund, and business angels from France and the Baltics.

Founded in 2019, EvoEstate is a real estate crowdfunding aggregator that makes investing in property easy by offering the lowest investment amount of €50. EvoEstate founders are investing alongside their clients and sharing the investment risks by having skin in the game, currently it amounts to €150K.

This investor-centric approach has made EvoEstate a preferred choice for real estate investments in Europe. Despite being a young industry player, the platform caters to the needs of 2500 investors from 50 countries. Within one year of its operation, EvoEstate has helped co-finance 178 real estate projects from 15 countries. The current average annual return rate of the repaid projects is 12.64%.

While many of the European P2P and crowdfunding platforms have been experiencing heavy delays in interest payments, EvoEstate’s portfolio has remained intact by not exceeding the 3% mark of late interest payments. During the all-European lockdown, the average XIRR for repaid projects stood at 12.6% while projects from 4 countries were repaid.

EvoEstate has recently introduced risk scoring models for property investments. They are powered by machine learning algorithms and analyze thousands of property crowdfunding deals that have been carried out throughout Europe during the last decade. Additionally, EvoEstate runs scoring models on its originators to identify the risk level of the environment the deal is structured in. In the marketplace, investors can find real data on late payments of each originator. These features enable retail investors to engage in institutional investing experience.

Due to its innovative business model and rapid progress, EvoEstate has been recognized as the best Fintech business in the Baltic states by Techchill and named one of top 10 startups by Emerging Europe.

The good news is that with the newly-raised capital, EvoEstate will be able to go beyond Europe and start providing its services on a global scale. However, according to EvoEstate’s founders, the funds will be allocated to serve a few purposes.

With the growing user base of the platform comes the necessity for business expansion. Although EvoEstate operates from the Baltic States, it incorporated the approach of going global from the very first days. Its customer base includes only 5% of local clients, while 95% of users come from Western Europe and international financial hubs. Seeing the increased demand for diversified real estate investment options, EvoEstate aims to become accessible to investors from new geographical areas. Therefore, part of the raised funds will be spent on further expansion and securing the required financial licenses.


We Are Retooling Edo Economy With Skilled Youths To Compete Globally – Obaseki – Leadership Newspaper

We Are Retooling Edo Economy With Skilled Youths To Compete Globally – Obaseki  Leadership Newspaper
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Globally, foreign investment in new factories favored over buying companies – Pew Research Center

Globally, foreign investment in new factories favored over buying companies  Pew Research Center
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Rotterdam-based InvoiceBlox rebrands as Cevinio and secures €4.5 million to globally expand its invoicing system

Dutch startup Cevinio (previously InvoiceBlox) has secured a 4.5 million investment from Endeit Capital and CNBB Venture Partners. Cevinio plans to use the fresh funds to accelerate both its international growth and the development of its smart invoice management algorithms. 

Founded in 2013, the startup was previously known under the name of InvoiceBlox, and has decided to refresh its name to kick-start its international expansion. Cevinio’s platform makes invoice-to-pay processes up to 5 times more efficient for multinational companies, and requires only a short implementation period to be up and running. 

Jeroen Volk, CEO Cevinio, explains their recent name change: “We made a name for ourselves as InvoiceBlox, InvoiceSharing and TBlox. Recently, we profoundly scrutinized our brand and purpose. What is it that we stand for and what is our core mission? We concluded that everything we do is about helping companies perform better by offering smart solutions, breaking routines and removing process redundancies. Our new-found purpose needs a fresh corporate identity that reflects who we are. We felt these changes would not be complete without a new name: Cevinio. It is a smart anagram of the word ‘invoice’; a play on words that mirrors our algorithm in a way. Starting today, we have a clear and recognisable corporate presence and name.”

So how does it work exactly? Cevinio uses its third generation artificial intelligence to automate credit invoicing and eliminate any redundant steps in the procedure. Cevinio’s algorithms ‘touchlessly’ link incoming invoices to purchase orders as well as automatically run invoice compliance checks and log the invoices in the accounts. These procedures result in a 2-5 times speedup of the invoicing process. Other advantages are the short deployment time and the compatibility of this smart system with existing systems such as SAP and Oracle.

The recent financial injection by Endeit Capital and CNBB Venture Partners will allow Cevinio to accelerate its international growth and the development of its increasingly smart invoice management algorithms. The company currently handles invoices in over 90 countries. Jelle-Jan Bruinsma, Partner at Endeit Capital, says: “In the recent past, we have worked intensively with Cevinio and we are impressed with their superfast and reliable software. Cevinio is taking the invoice-to-pay market by storm, which is an impressive feat to witness. Endeit Capital is looking forward to being part of this quest and helping Cevinio live up to its international ambitions to become a global market leader. In addition to our financial investment, we will therefore also offer Cevinio access to our international network of scale-ups”.


Attend Pharmapack 2021 To Network & Expand Your Startup Globally

Pharmapack is the leading European hub for the pharma packaging and drug delivery industry. The event provides a unique blend of an exhibition floor, semi-scientific conferences, and a dedicated spotlight for innovations allowing you to focus on networking and information gathering to help move your business forward.

Pharmapack understands the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on startups and is determined to advance the discussions and partnerships for innovation. As a result, the 2021 booth package for exhibiting companies gives you a chance to emerge stronger from this global crisis.

The Pharmapack 2021 event will be held on 27 & 28 January at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles.

Why You Should Exhibit At Pharmapack Europe

If you are a startup developing innovative pharma packaging or drug delivery solutions, the Pharmapack Startup Hub boosts your business and effectively grows your network. Pharmapack conducts a detailed analysis while selecting exhibiting companies to ensure that both the visitors and exhibiting companies find valuable resources.

Apart from the primary goal of this event, to generate and sustain meaningful connections and networks, it also offers startups:

  • Exposure to a global audience
  • A strong platform to showcase your innovations
  • A platform to pitch your startup to industry-leading experts & decision-makers
  • Conferences and seminars to expand your knowledge
  • Numerous opportunities for 1-on-1 networking with experts & peers

Who Is Part Of The Startup Hub Advisory Board

Pharmapack brings together executives, managers, and technicians from across the pharmaceuticals and packaging sector. Leading industry experts listen to the startup pitches and deliver workshops at the event.

“The most interesting startups are those that provide solutions or improvements that are well-targeted and correspond to well-understood issues in the pharmaceutical industry or the needs of patients. In the field of pharmaceutical packaging or medical devices, the partnership between a startup and a pharmaceutical laboratory generally requires for the startup to have particular proprietary know-how or a certain intellectual property but also the implication of an industrial partner with a global stature to allow the implementation of the solution”, says Lionel Jeannin, Fellow, Device & Packaging Development, Novartis Pharma AG

Industry experts that make up the Startup Hub advisory board include:

  • David Braun is Global Head of Connected Health & Medical Device Business Solution for Merck Healthcare
  • David Dronneau is the Technology, Innovation, Process & Solution Head at Clinical Supplies R&D, Sanofi
  • Lionel Jeannin is a Fellow at Device & Packaging Development, Novartis Pharma AG
  • Dr. Joël Richard is the Chief Development Officer at Drug Development Operations, Medincell
  • Dr. Yves Tillet is the CEO & CSO at Cabinet WHITE-TILLET
  • Franck Lescure is the partner in charge of life sciences investments at Elaia Partners

Who Should Apply For An Exhibition Stand

Pharmapack Europe 2021 offers a dedicated area to startups and companies developing and expanding new technologies in the fields of pharmaceutical packaging, labeling, drug delivery device design, and engineering, including:

  • Packaging materials
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Sustainable Materials & Systems
  • Pre-filled syringes
  • Combination devices
  • Connected devices
  • Cloud computing & Big Data
  • Automated Packaging Machinery & Systems
  • Veterinary packaging, including delivery devices & dosage systems
  • Serialization along with track & trace solutions
  • Cold chain storage & logistics
  • Printing, labeling or coding

While all startups are encouraged to attend this event to network and pitch your ideas, exhibiting companies usually display commercialized solutions.

Who Visited Pharmapack Europe In 2020

Ever since its launch in 1997, Pharmapack has been one of the key meeting places for the pharma packaging & drug delivery industry. Growing every year, its unique concept has attracted key industry players from all over the world.

In 2020, Pharmapack hosted more than 5.000 visitors from 69 countries. The exhibition witnessed more than 400 companies showcase their innovations, including to almost 450 delegates. The attendees include several C-Suite executives, managers with & without staff, technicians, scientists, and analysts.

Click here to find all the details about exhibiting at Pharmapack Europe 2021.




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StartUs Magazine

Startups Weekly: Remote-first work will mean ‘globally fair compensation’

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

Most tech companies base compensation on an employee’s local cost of living, in addition to their skills and responsibilities. The pandemic-era push to remote work seems to be reinforcing that — if you only skim the headlines. For example, Facebook said last week that it would be readjusting salaries for employees who have relocated away from the Bay Area.

But Connie Loizos caught up with a few well-placed people who see something else happening. First, here’s Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic (WordPress), which has been almost entirely remote for its long and successful history.

“Long term, I think market forces and the mobility of talent will force employers to stop discriminating on the basis of geography for geographically agnostic roles,” he told Connie for TechCrunch

Mullenweg went on to detail how the process was still complicated, and that his company did not yet have a universal approach. But ultimately, he thinks that for “moral and competitive reasons, companies will move toward globally fair compensation over time with roles that can be done from anywhere.”

Connie also talked to Jon Holman, a tech recruiter who is living and breathing the new world, in a separate article for Extra Crunch. The market forces will ultimately favor talent, he concurs, and companies that want talent will pay according to what they can afford. “If a good AI or machine learning engineer is working elsewhere and demand for those skills still exceeds supply,” Holman explained, “and his or her company pays less than for the same job in Palo Alto, then that person is just going to jump to another company in his or her own geography.”

Taking stock of the future of retail

Our weekly staff survey for Extra Crunch is about retail — will it exist? how? A few of our staffers who cover related topics weighed in:

  • Natasha Mascarenhas says retailers will need to find new ways to sell aspirational products — and what was once cringe-worthy might now be considered innovative.

  • Devin Coldewey sees businesses adopting a slew of creative digital services to prepare for the future and empower them without Amazon’s platform.

  • Greg Kumparak thinks the delivery and curbside pickup trends will move from pandemic-essentials to everyday occurrences. He thinks that retailers will need to find new ways to appeal to consumers in a “shopping-by-proxy” world.

  • Lucas Matney views a revitalized interest in technology around the checkout process, as retailers look for ways to make the purchasing experience more seamless (and less high-touch).

We also ran two investor surveys this week, with Matt Burns producing one on manufacturing and Megan Rose Dickey and Kirsten Korosec following up on their autonomous vehicles series.

How to think about strategic investors (in a pandemic)

Maybe you could use some more money, distribution and partnerships these days? Those are the eternal lures of corporate venture funding sources, but each strategic VC has a different mandate. Some are there to help the parent company, some are just there to make money… and some may be on thin ice themselves given the way that they get money to invest.

If you’re taking a fresh look at getting strategic funding now, check out this set of overview articles from Bill Growney, a partner at top tech law firm Goodwin, and Scott Orn of Kruze Consulting. The first, for TechCrunch, goes over how corporate funds are typically structured (and motivated). The second, for Extra Crunch, covers questions for startup founders to anticipate and other recommendations for dealing with this type of VC.

Calm chooses a more enlightened path to growth

It is high times for meditation and “mindfulness” apps, as people look for ways to adjust to pandemic life. Sarah Perez, our resident app expert, took a look at a new app store analysis on TechCrunch, shredded some of the top-ranked companies for opportunistic marketing, and came away with a positive feeling about the global market leader.

Calm, meanwhile, took a different approach. It launched a page of free resources, but instead focused on partnerships to expand free access to more users, while also growing its business. Earlier this month, nonprofit health system Kaiser Permanente announced it was making the Calm app’s Premium subscription free for its members, for example — the first health system to do so.

The company’s decision to not pursue as many free giveaways meant it may have missed the easy boost from press coverage. However, it may be a better long-term strategy as it sets up Calm for distribution partnerships that could continue beyond the immediate COVID-19 crisis.

Mindfulness pays. On that note, subscribers can read her excellent This Week In Apps report every Saturday over on Extra Crunch.

Around TechCrunch

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From Natasha:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week’s show took a break from regularly scheduled programming. Our co-host Alex Wilhelm, who usually leads us through the show, was on some much-deserved vacation, so Danny Crichton and Natasha Mascarenhas took the reigns and invited Floodgate Capital’s Iris Choi to join in on the fun. It’s Choi’s fourth time being on the podcast, which officially makes her our most tenured guest yet (in case the accomplished investor needs another bullet point on her bio page).

This week’s docket features scrappiness, a seed round and a Startup Battlefield alumnus.

Here’s what we chewed through:

  • LeverEdge raised seed funding to get you and your friends a volume discount on student loans. Fintech has been booming for years now, and startups often crop up around the painful world of student loans. Yet this startup still caught our eye, and it has a little something to do with its choice to use collective bargaining power as its modus operandi.
  • Stackin’ raised a $ 12.6 million Series B for a text-messaging service that connects millennials to money tips, and eventually other fintech apps. According to CEO Scott Grimes, Stackin’ wants to be the “pipes that port people around fintech.” We get into if the world needs a fintech app marketplace and how it targets younger users.
  • D-ID, a Startup Battlefield alumnus, digitally de-identifies faces in videos and still images and just raised $ 13.5 million. We’re all worried about our privacy concerns, so the funding news was a refreshing change of pace from the usual headlines we see around surveillance. Now the company just needs to find a successful use case beyond the goodness in people’s hearts.
  • ByteDance, the Chinese parent company that owns TikTok, hit $ 3 billion in net profit last year, reports Bloomberg. TikTok also recently snagged former Disney executive Kevin Mayer for its CEO. This one, as you can expect, made for an interesting conversation around privacy and bandwidth. We even asked Choi to weigh in on Donald J. Trump’s recent tweet threatening to regulate social media companies, as Floodgate was an early angel investor in Twitter.
  • We ended with a roundtable of sorts on how the future of work will look and feel in our new world, from college campuses to offices. We get into the vulnerability that comes with being on Zoom, the ever-increasing stupidity of “manels” and how tech talent might be flocking to smaller cities but investors aren’t just yet.

And that was the show! Thanks to our producer Chris Gates for helping us put this together, thanks to you all for listening in on this quirky episode and thanks to Iris Choi for always bringing a fresh, candid perspective. Talk next week.

Startups – TechCrunch