Which is more important in a co-founder? Having the skills or having the same vision?
Not really sure how else to expand how this topic, I posted this before but it got removed because it didn't have enough characters. But just want some general input, having someone who has the same vision as you would probably last a long time in the company, whereas someone who has the skills may just want to keep their eyes on the stock options and profiting after exiting the company.
Businesses across the world have adapted to the ‘new normal’ set by the COVID-19 outbreak. During this time, many European tech startups are coming up with ways to tackle the crisis and further expand into new markets despite the tough times.
European tech startups weekly
As a part of a weekly roundup, here is a list of some of the most important tech startups that have hit the headlines in Europe this week.
Limehome doubled its sales since the crisis broke out in mid-March 2020
Munich-based accommodation startup, Limehome has further raised €10M in its Series A round of funding bringing the total raised so far to €31M. It had received €21M earlier in February this year. Existing investors HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Lakestar, and Picus Capital all participated in this round.
The raised capital will be used by the company to focus on its proprietary technology platform as well as expansion.
Launched in 2018 by Dr. Josef Vollmayr and Lars Stabe, Limehome is an accommodation startup that is run by hospitality professionals and equipped by interior designers. It has been able to combine the quality standard of a hotel with the advantages of an apartment. Currently, its suites are present in about 35 prime locations in German and Austrian cities and cater to customers with its proprietary technology and digital access system.
Dubsmash founder launches Acapela
In a bid to re-imagine online meetings for remote teams, Berlin-based “remote-friendly” startup Acapela (co-founded by Dubsmash founder Roland Grenke), is all set to launch, as it raised €2.5M in a fresh round of funding. The round is led by Visionaries Club with participation from various angel investors, including Christian Reber (founder of Pitch and Wunderlist) and Taavet Hinrikus (founder of TransferWise).
The raised capital will be utlised by Acapela to expand its core team, focusing on product, design, and engineering as it continues to build its offering.
€49M for Turkish & European startups
Istanbul-based venture capital firm 212 has announced a second fund of €49M to invest in 7 portfolio companies so far as it looks to invest in startups across Turkey, Central and Eastern Europe, and the MENA region.
According to the firm, it will invest in companies with primarily B2B tech solutions, with a mindset to test local and go global. Fund II’s portfolio includes; SmartMessage, OMMA, Marti, MallIQ, Meddy, Chooch, and AppSamurai.
Founded in 2012 by Ali Karabey and Numan Numan, the Turkish VC firm’s first fund was $ 30M (approx €25.3M). That fund was fully invested in 12 startups, including Iyzico, which exited last year (PayU bought it for approx €139.3M), and Insider, a Sequoia-backed company that just raised a $ 32M (approx €27M) Series C round to enter the US market.
Mysterious new web browser
Paris-based Beam, a company that is building a web browser that gathers knowledge from your web activity has raised €3M in its seed round of funding. Since the project is still in beta stage, details about the startup or its product are unknown.
The investors include Spark Capital (known for its early investments in the likes of Twitter and Tumblr), C4 Ventures (led by former Apple EMEA VP Pascal Cagni), Amaranthine (the ‘Web Summit fund’), Alven Capital (investors in Stripe, Algolia, etc.), Tiny Capital (founded by Andrew Wilkinson from Metalab – which helped create designs for Slack, Uber, and Vice), and a couple of angel investors including Antoine Martin (Zenly), Nicolas Steegman (Stupeflix) among others.
Sebastien Metrot – with 6 years of experience working for Apple as a senior software engineer has founded the startup along with Dom Leca, who back in 2012 sold his software company, Sparrow, to Google.
“We’re building beam because we think something is fundamentally broken in the way the tools at our disposal have us use the web – and thus, our minds. It feels like we have not freely chosen our online practices – that they are habits we have helplessly picked up,” the company mentioned in a “bright paper”.
Vectary wants to make 3D design and Augmented Reality accessible to everyone
California-based accessible 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) design platform, Vectary, has raised $ 7.3M (approx €6.1M) in a fresh round of funding led by the EQT Ventures fund (“EQT Ventures”). Existing investor BlueYard also participated in the round.
Founded in 2014 by Michal Koor (CEO) and Pavol Sovis (CTO), Vectary provides a 3D and augmented reality (AR) design platform used by over more than a million creators worldwide. According to the company, more than a thousand digital agencies and creative studios are using the tool to provide 3D content to millions of users.
With the COVID-19 pandemic shifting more people online, the company claims to have seen a 300% increase in its AR views as more businesses have started using their products in 3D and AR.
Customer-Centric AI price optimisation for retailers platform raises €2M
The Prague-based company Yieldigo, founded by three mathematicians, has raised €2M in its seed round of funding. The Hungarian VC fund PortfoLion and Silicon Valley’s Alchemist Accelerator participated in the round, alongside J&T Ventures.
The raised capital will help Yieldigo to ramp up research and development and expand into new markets.
Founded in 2016 by Radim Dudek, David Klecka, and Jiri Psota Yieldigo helps retailers such as supermarkets, drugstores, and pharmacies to set optimal non-promotional prices to increase profitability. This is done by a proprietary machine-learning algorithm that creates a model of consumer’s purchasing behavior, combines it with retailers’ business objectives, and creates optimal prices based on both perspectives. With this, the company helps create a profit uplift for its customers of 5-15%, while preserving its revenues and price index.
Early-stage VC firm Antler welcomes Ronald Jan Schuurs
Global early-stage VC Antler has introduced serial entrepreneur and experienced operator, Ronald Jan Schuurs, as a newly appointed Partner to Antler Netherlands.
Schuurs is an experienced operator who has spent over a decade with various tech startups including Rocket Internet, Everjobs, and Delivery Hero – where he served as CEO Germany. During his time at Delivery Hero, he brought the company from strength to strength by restructuring and reinvigorating the company’s business in its home-market in Germany. Schuurs contributed to its IPO in 2017 and in December of 2018, the business was sold to Takeaway for €930M. Most recently as CFO at Zava, a telehealth company, he played an essential role in securing Series A funding.
Founded in Singapore in 2017, Antler is a global early-stage venture capital firm that has offices across six continents and most major entrepreneurial hubs, including cities such as London, New York, Singapore, and Sydney. It has invested in over 200 technology companies. Over 40% of Antler’s portfolio has at least one female co-founder and with founders representing over 70 nationalities.
Challenger bank “with principles”
Germany-based online banking startup, Insha, has secured €2.5M in its seed round of funding from Turkish payments provider Param. The raised capital will be used for European expansion, further develop its ethical banking product, and strengthen the team at its headquarters in Berlin and Istanbul.
Insha is a digital branch of Albaraka Turk Participation Bank and was first developed for the Turkish market. Now Insha is regulated by EU authorities and currently available in Germany. In a press release, the startup says that since the beginning of 2020, the number of German users has grown by more than 300%, topping 40,000.
Founded in 2018, Insha offers a digital account that puts moral values first. Based on strong moral principles, Insha offers tools that help its customers achieve their saving goals, gain insights into spending behaviour, transfer money abroad for little cost, and donate easily to charities of their choice.
Swiss startup wants to help enterprises keep their data confidential; raises €3.2M
Swiss-based Decentriq, a data security company, has raised $ 3.8M (approx €3.2M) in its seed round of funding led by btov Partners, with significant participation from Paladin Capital Group and existing investor Atlantic Labs.
The raised capital will help the company to drive international growth and widen its client base, which currently resides mostly in the healthcare and finance sectors.
Founded in 2019 by Maximilian Groth, Stefan Deml, and Alexander Katz, Decentriq cloud-based platform provides data analysis solutions for developing and deploying machine learning models. It allows the team to compute any kind of statistics on sensitive data without compensating privacy and security. The features of the product include data leak prevention, statistical computing, data security, and privacy, secure data sharing, etc.
This week I was talking to a client who told me about how they were leveraging live chat bots. This made me think that we were being too passive on this opportunity.
Trying to do some more research on how to leverage this and if the investment is worth it. My company is a B2B SaaS, does anyone have insights on this? Perhaps you have tried having bots and/or humans starting conversations with visitors on your website…?
“I have to choose my words carefully,” says Joe Castelino of Stevens Creek Volkswagen in San Jose, Ca., when asked about the software on which most car dealerships rely for inventory information, to manage marketing, to handle customer relationships and to otherwise help sell cars.
Castelino, the dealership’s service director, laughs as he says this. But the joke has apparently been on car dealers, most of whom have largely relied on a few frustratingly antiquated vendors for their dealer management systems over the years — along with many more sophisticated point solutions.
It’s the precise opportunity that former Tesla CIO, Jay Vijayan, concluded he was well-positioned to address while still in the employ of the electric vehicle giant.
As Vijayan tells it, he knew nothing about cars until joining Tesla in 2011, following a dozen years of working in product development at Oracle, then VMWare. Yet he learned plenty over the subsequent four years. Specifically, he says he helped to build with Elon Musk a central analysis system inside Tesla, a kind of brain that could see all of the company’s internal systems, from what was happening in the supply chain to its factory systems to its retail platform.
Tesla had to build it itself, says Vijayan; after evaluating the existing software of third company providers, the team “realized that none of them had anything close to what we needed to provide a frictionless modern consumer experience.”
It was around then that a lightbulb turned on. If Tesla could transform the experience for its own customers, maybe Vijayan could transform the buying and selling experience for the much bigger, broader automotive industry. Enter Tekion, a now four-year-old, San Carlos, Ca., company that now employs 470 people and has come far enough along that just attracted $ 150 million in fresh funding led by the private equity investor Advent International.
With the Series C round — which also included checks from Index Ventures, Airbus Ventures, FM Capital and Exor, the holding company of Fiat-Chrysler and Ferrari — the company has now raised $ 185 million altogether. It’s also valued at north of $ 1 billion. (The automakers General Motors, BMW, and the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance are also investors.)
Eric Wei, a managing director at Advent, says that over the last decade, his team had been eager to seize on what’s approaching a $ 10 billion market annually. Instead, they found themselves tracking incumbents Reynolds & Reynolds, CDKGlobal and Dealertrack, which is owned by Cox Automotive, and waiting for a better player to emerge.
Then Wei was connected to Tekion through Jon McNeill, a former Tesla president and an advisory partner to Advent.
Says Wei of seeing its tech compared with its more established rivals: “It was like comparing a flip phone to an iPhone.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, McNeill, who worked at Tesla with Vijayan, also sings the company’s praises, noting that Tekion even bought a dealership in Gilroy — the “garlic capital” of California — to use as a kind of lab while it was building its technology from scratch.
Such praise is nice, but more importantly, Tekion is attracting the attention of dealers. Though citing competitive reasons, Vijayan declined to share how many have bought its cloud software — which connects dealers with both manufacturers and car buyers and is powered by machine learning algorithms — he says it’s already being used across 28 states.
One of these dealerships is the national chain Serra Automotive, whose founder, Joseph Serra, is now an investor in Tekion.
Another is that Volkswagen dealership in San Jose, where Castelino — who doesn’t have a financial interest in Tekion — speaks enthusiastically about the time and expenses his team is saving because of Tekion’s platform.
For example, he says a customers need only log-in now to flag a particular issue. After that, with the help of an RFID tag, Stevens Creek knows exactly when that customer pulls into the dealership and what kind of help they need, enabling people to greet him or her on arrival. Tekion can also make recommendations based on a car’s history. It might, for instance, suggest to a customer a brake fluid flush “without an advisor having to look through a customer’s history,” he says.
As important, he says, the dealership has been able to cut ties with a lot of other software vendors, while also making more productive use of its time. Says Castelino, “As soon as a [repair order] is live, it’s in a dispatcher’s hand and a technician can grab the car.”
It’s like that with every step, he insists. “You’re saving 15 minutes again and again, and suddenly, you have three hours where your intake can be higher.”
With interest rates on savings accounts dropping to half of what they were just a year ago, many savers are eager to find a bank that offers an annual percentage yield (APY) of more than 1%. For those looking to earn more on their savings, your best bet is to head online. The all-mobile Varo Money, Inc. is a San Francisco-based national bank founded in 2015.
When some of the biggest companies in the world conduct business, it results in shifting billions of dollars. One such gargantuan deal has gone through and SK Hynix, one the biggest chip makers in the world, has bought Intel’s NAND flash memory and storage business. The South Korean chip manufacturer, SK Hynix, will pay a total sum of €7.59B to Intel, as part of the deal.
SK Hynix to acquire Intel’s Dalian NAND memory manufacturing facility in China
The transaction includes Intel’s NAND SSD business and the NAND component and wafer business. Additionally, the company will now be in control of Intel’s NAND memory manufacturing facility, which is located in Dalian, China. Do note that Intel still owns and retains its Optane business, which is also a form of storage.
Both SK Hynix and Intel will now seek governmental approvals, which are expected to happen in late 2021. Post this, the former will make an initial payment of €5.9B to acquire Intel’s NAND SSD business, which includes NAND SSD-associated IP and employees, as well as the Dalian facility.
Later on in March 2025, SK Hynix will acquire Intel’s remaining assets. This will include IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers, R&D employees, and the Dalian fab workforce. This will happen as the deal finally closes, with the final payment of €1.69B, in March 2025. The deal also allows Intel to retain all IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers and continue to manufacture NAND wafers at its Dalian Memory Manufacturing Facility, until the final closing.
Intel to focus more on 5G and AI
With this deal, SK hynix looks to “enhance the competitiveness of its storage solutions” including enterprise SSDs in the NAND space. Intel, however, will be investing the proceeds from this deal to focus more on artificial intelligence, 5G networking and the intelligent, autonomous edge. This major deal comes after Intel sold its modem business to Apple for about €840M.
According to the statement, “For the first six months ended June 27, 2020, the NAND businesses represented approximately US $ 2.8B (nearly €2.36B) of the revenue for Intel`s Non-volatile Memory Solutions Group (NSG) and contributed approximately US $ 600M (approx €506M) to NSG operating income.”
Bob Swan, Intel CEO says, “I am proud of the NAND memory business we have built and believe this combination with SK hynix will grow the memory ecosystem for the benefit of customers, partners and employees. For Intel, this transaction will allow us to further prioritize our investments in differentiated technology where we can play a bigger role in the success of our customers and deliver attractive returns to our stockholders.”
Vectary, an accessible 3D and augmented reality (AR) design platform, today announces an approx. €5.9 million funding round, led by the EQT Ventures fund. Existing investor BlueYard also participated in the round. With the funding, Vectary will continue its mission to make high quality 3D design accessible for everyone and transform the web into a…
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Since you guys enjoyed the last time we created a common list of VC/Investing terms here is another one:
More Common VC/Investing Terms
Soft capital commitment: it’s when an investor says that he/she will invest money once some milestone is hit (generally that milestone is getting the lead investor). No papers are signed at this point and those commitments are very fragile. When the COVID hit most of such commitments disappeared in an instance.
Lead investor: The first investor in a funding round; can be also referred to as the anchor investor. Those are hard to find and sometimes anchor investors get better terms for additional risk they are taking.
Down Round: A fundraising round in which a company raises money at a lower value than before. For example, if you raise your series A at 10 million valuation and then raise Series B at 8 million valuation – that’s a down round. Horrible thing to happen with a startup and sometimes kills the company completely.
Anti-dilution Clause: A contractual clause that protects investors from having their investment value reduced in future funding rounds. This clause protects investors from the down rounds – if she invested 2mil at 10mil valuation and a startup had to raise additional capital at 8mil, she will be given additional shares.
Pro Rata Rights: A contractual clause that protects investors from having their stake in the company diluted. This means that investors are allowed to buy additional shares at every round of funding to maintain their stake in the company. So an early investor in Uber might maintain her 1% in the company even on the day of the IPO because of that provision (she’ll spend some extra money retaining this stake of course).
Bridge round/bridge loan: A round of funding or a loan that helps a company achieve a certain milestone that it couldn’t achieve using money from the previous round. For example the founders have $ 100k in their account after their Seed round but they want to acquire additional 10k users prior to raising their Series A. That will cost additional $ 300k and at this point bridge rounds/loans are coming into play. Generally bridge rounds/loans are raised from existing investors.
Cap Table: paper that provides data on who owns what percentage of the company, when did they join and at which value did they invest. One of the must-haves at every single round of fundraising.
Management Fee: The fees that General partners of Venture funds charge their limited partners each year. VCs pay for their due diligence and sometimes provide support to the startup (such as accounting services, legal services etc.) by taking money from that management fee. If you work with a small fund, chances are they won’t be able to help you with that since their management fees are small.
No shop clause: A clause in a term sheet that prohibits founders from sharing the term sheet with other investors in an attempt to receive a competing offer. Rarely used in real life, but if an investor wants to sign one of those with you, run a very precise background check on the investor – that might be a sneaky move by a sketchy VC.
Party Round: A round in which a startup raises multiple investments from a lot of small investors. This is becoming a new trend because “it’s easier to raise 10k from 10 investors than 100k from one investor” – that statement isn’t always true so you have to assess the situation yourself. We recommend party rounds for founders with large networks of industry professionals who are making $ 100k+/year in salaries.
Washout Round: A round in which founders and previous investors get significantly diluted. The new investor in this round will most likely gain majority ownership. Basically it’s like a bad version of the acquisition. Washout Rounds (similar to washout sale) happen in the situation of the company crisis – this is the last resort for a startup.
Lock-up Period: A specific amount of time that must pass before someone can sell their shares in a startup. That’s one of the downsides of IPOs – founders of the company frequently face 6-18 months lock-up periods and that’s why some companies (like Spotify) prefer direct listing. These provisions also prevent investors in your company from running around selling your shares the next day they bought them.
Some of these terms we got from the previous post, so if there is something you’d suggest us to include in the next article – make sure to comment what it is that you want us to cover next!