Outfunnel picks up €1.1M pre-seed to bridge the gap between marketing and sales

Outfunnel, a startup that has built software to help companies “bridge the gap between marketing and sales functions,” has quietly raised €1.1 million in funding.

The pre-seed round was led by Paua Ventures and byFounders, with participation from Lemonade Stand, Omnisend and various angel investors. The latter includes Bolt co-founders Markus and Martin Villig, Matterport CMO Robin Daniels, Pipedrive co-founder Ragnar Sass and long-time Skype exec Sten Tamkivi, amongst others.

Formed in 2017, Outfunnel’s founders are marketing veteran Andrus Purde (previously of Skype and Pipedrive), Andris Reinman (creator of open-source email projects like Nodemailer and WildDuck) and Markus Leming. The startup has developed what it dubs a “revenue marketing automation tool” that is designed to enable sales and marketing functions to work together to drive revenue.

“SMBs still struggle to unite sales and marketing data,” Purde tells me. “Money and time is wasted setting up workflows, connecting databases with digital duct tape and manually pulling reports… This [also] means that everyone misses opportunities, as well as revenue goals.”

Furthermore, salespeople have no context for sales conversations and don’t know which leads are ready to buy, and leadership doesn’t easily have “big picture” visibility into the effectiveness of campaigns. “Last but not least, all of us receive lots of ‘spam’ instead of relevant messages,” he says.

To solve this, Outfunnel’s secret sauce sees it integrate deeply with CRMs (currently Pipedrive, Copper and HubSpot CRM, with more to follow) coupled with various features such as automated emails in sync with CRM data, reporting and precise targeting. The startup has already won over more than 400 paying customers, with North America being its biggest market, followed by larger European countries and Australia.

“Our typical customer is a small to medium-sized business that needs both sales and marketing and where sales cycles are longer, not transactional,” adds Purde. “That’s roughly 25% of all SMBs according to our estimations e.g. businesses selling professional services, consulting, real estate, healthcare… That said, we have some better-known scale-ups as customers, too, such as Bolt.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Delivery Hero picks up Glovo’s LatAm ops for $272M in latest food delivery consolidation

More consolidation in the thin-margin food delivery space: Delivery Hero has announced it’s buying the LatinAm operations of Glovo, a Spanish on-demand delivery app. The German company said today that it’s paying up to €230 million to take over eight markets, including a €60 million performance-based earn-out.

The transaction, which Berlin-based Delivery Hero said it expects to close within a few weeks, will cover all of the Latin American countries where Glovo operates — namely: Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

Glovo had already pulled out of two LatAm markets at the start of this year, saying then that it was focused on markets where it could grow and establish itself among the top two delivery players. It exited the Middle East at the same time.

Offloading its LatAm operations to Delivery Hero now will leave it with 14 markets — and a fuller focus on Southern and Eastern Europe.

The move isn’t a huge surprise, given ongoing questions over profitability in the thin-margin delivery space.

Last December Glovo told us it was focused on trying to reach profitability “in a little over a year’s time.” That essentially means winning the race with competitors to be the dominant platform where you’re operating, and only operating in cities where the unit economics stack up, so — ideally — where you can nudge users to make high volumes of repeat orders.

Still, in December 2019, Glovo’s co-founder also told us it was expecting its LatAm business to be operationally profitable this year. But perhaps challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic have pushed it to narrow its focus.

There are also SoftBank’s billions to contend with. The Japanese tech investor has a $ 2 billion fund aimed at Central and South American — as well as making multiple investments in on-demand delivery startup, which have been duking it out for share in the region. The cost of competing in the region was likely rising and that wouldn’t help Glovo’s push for profitability.

Commenting on the sale in a statement, Glovo CEO Oscar Pierre said: “We feel that it’s important to focus on key markets where we can build a long-term sustainable business and continue to provide our unique multi-category offering to our customers.”

“This deal will allow us to strengthen our presence in those markets where we are already very strong, while also allowing us to invest in new markets where we see huge growth potential and opportunity. We truly believe that Delivery Hero is the best possible partner to take the business we’ve built in Latin America to the next level. They have everything it takes to go on and become the leading player in the region,” he added.

The sale means Delivery Hero will add five new markets to its LatAm footprint, as well as removing a competitor in three markets where the two have been directly competing (Argentina, Panama and the Dominican Republic).

In these three overlapping markets it will take over Glovo’s businesses directly, on the closing of the transaction. Glovo will continue to operate the other businesses until March 2021, they added.

The transaction is also subject to fulfillment of certain conditions and relevant regulatory approvals.

In a statement, Niklas Östberg, CEO and co-founder of Delivery Hero, said LatAm offers “exceptional growth potential” for his veteran food delivery business — which only two years ago sold its operations in its home market of Germany to another rival, Takeaway.com. (So, yes, the food delivery space really is a sizzling stir-fry of deals as players jockey for position and — they hope — profitability…)

“Latin America is a region with exceptional growth potential for online delivery. Acquiring Glovo’s local operations gives us the opportunity to double down on our efforts to drive innovation, continuously improve customer experience and support local vendors in the region. We have been working closely with Glovo for many years, and are proud to incorporate their Latin American services into our global network,” Östberg said.

Back in August Delivery Hero also went shopping on the grocery delivery front, picking up Dubai-based InstaShop. Grocery delivery has risen up the agenda during the coronavirus crisis, as food delivery app users have found themselves with more time at home than usual.

Glovo also bills itself as “more than food delivery” — with a button in the app where users can request delivery of “anything” (or at least anything one of its couriers can manage on a bike or moped).

Startups – TechCrunch

Facebook investor Jim Breyer picks Austin as Breyer Capital’s second home

For Jim Breyer, the mantra, “Silicon Valley is a state of mind” has always been behind Breyer Capital, his personal investment fund.

While many of his investments and board seats (which have included Facebook, Blackstone, 21st Century Fox, Dell, Etsy, Marvel Entertainment and Walmart) backed that thesis, Breyer had never established an office for his personal fund outside of the Valley. Until now. 

Earlier this year, in the middle of a pandemic, he set up a second home for his personal fund in Austin, Texas. The move is a sign of Austin’s growing clout as a technology hub and another indication that Silicon Valley, New York and Boston may have more competition from a growing collection of cities for tech talent and national attention.

Breyer has always had an eye on markets outside the Valley, but typically those endeavors meant international expansion through IDG Breyer (a vehicle for investment into China) or planned forays to deploy capital in the Middle East or other international tech hotspots.  

“The new Austin effort comes after several years of thinking through where would be the most interesting place to expand Breyer Capital outside of Silicon Valley,” he said in an interview.

Breyer has several investments in Los Angeles, New York and other cities beyond the Bay Area, but a close relationship with Michael Dell and a seat on the Dell board left him with a hankering for more than just barbecue and personal computers.

Startups – TechCrunch

Meet the TC Top Picks for Disrupt 2020

We’ve been extremely privileged to witness thousands of early stage startups launch and take flight at Disrupt over the past 10 years, and they just keep getting bettter. You’ll be hard-pressed to find more creative, game-changing startups than the ones that earned our TC Top Picks designation for Disrupt 2020.

The all-virtual nature of this Disrupt meant we received applications from startups around the world. Talk about a tough vetting process! Highly determined and highly caffeinated TechCrunch editors took on the task of narrowing the field to find the best of the best.

The TC Top Picks program showcases outstanding early-stage startups across these categories: Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Biotech/HealthTech, Education/Social Impact, Enterprise/SaaS, Fintech, Mobility, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/Hardware/IOT and Security/Privacy.

Each TC Top Pick will exhibit in Digital Startup Alley Package and have an exclusive, virtual interview with a TechCrunch writer. We record the interviews and promote them across our social media platforms. It’s terrific exposure and they make a killer long-term marketing tool, so consider applying to the TC Top Pick program next year.

It’s time to announce the Disrupt 2020 TC Top Picks cohort. Peruse these 26 impressive startups, buy your pass to Disrupt, and make a plan to connect with them in Digital Startup Alley. Opportunity knocks!

AI/Machine Learning

iLoF – Intelligent Lab on Fiber

Kings Distributed Systems

Resonance AI

 

Biotech/HealthTech

Nutrix

Parrots Inc.

SmartTab

 

Education/Social Impact

CPRWrap Inc

Platform Good

Rocky.ai

 

Enterprise/SaaS

Aurelius

Evertracker

 

FinTech

Crediverso

Kaoshi

Lizuna

 

Retail/E-commerce

ecosavers club

Patturn

Thelittleloop

 

Mobility

Bonnet

ConnectMyEV Inc.

Eambu

 

Robotics/Hardware/IOT

Kibus Petcare

LimeLoop

WATTS Battery

 

Security + Privacy

Allthenticate

Hummingbirds AI

WebTotem

Startups – TechCrunch

Semalytix picks up €4.3M to build the world’s largest patient experience data set

Semalytix, a Bielefeld, Germany-based startup that offers pharmaceutical companies an AI-powered data tool to better understand real-world patient experiences, has raised €4.3 million in Series A funding.

Leading the round is venture capital firm btov Partners, with participation from existing investor Fly Ventures and several unnamed angels. Semalytix will use the injection of cash to expand its business development with pharma companies and the wider healthcare market.

Founded in 2015 as a spin-out of research group Semantic Computing, Semalytix pitches itself as a data and AI analytics startup that wants to bring more real-world evidence to the development of new drugs and treatments. Its flagship product, dubbed “Pharos,” is a patient research tool that pulls in and cleans up various unstructured public data — such as blogs, forums, social media etc. — and then applies algorithms to deliver real-time patient insights into unmet needs, treatment experience and how severely a disease impacts the lives of those who suffer from it.

“Our vision is that we help make patient insights a real Northstar KPI in drug development,” Semalytix co-founder and CEO Janik Jaskolski tells me. “Due to new regulatory initiatives (and public pressure), pharma needs to demonstrate patient-centricity in drug development, [and] include the patient perspective into decision making and produce evidence that their treatments provide value in the real world. For patients, that value usually doesn’t consist of, for example, having their blood sugar lowered by an additional 3%. Instead, they care about improving their quality of life, being able to play longer with their kids or simply having an easier time going about their everyday tasks.”

However, Jaskolski argues that such patient insights and related evidence is difficult to obtain. “If asked, a patient will often tell a different story about how a disease impacts their life and what they need to improve it, compared to what a doctor would say. Which is why we don’t analyse physician or hospital data. Instead, we are looking at already existing public data that patients share online, in their own authentic voice, all around the world.”

Semalytix’s AI claims to be able to identify, read through and summarise millions of online patient journeys in a highly scalable way. The AI is also able to turn this data into online target populations for different diseases, and covers 11 different languages. “It does so by applying WHO, FDA and EMA inspired algorithmic research instruments to make the analysis transparent and scientifically meaningful for pharma,” adds Jaskolski.

Image Credits: Semalytix

Meanwhile, although electronic health records, patient registries and similar data sources are already receiving much attention from startups, Jaskolski argues that the largest source of unstructured patient data that exists today is being overlooked and yet holds a lot of potential to “improve patient care, identify new therapeutic opportunities, inform clinical trial development and even help accelerate development of novel therapies for rare conditions.”

Semalytix’s business model is a tried and tested one. The startup sells enterprise licenses for access to its platform. A company can buy a license for 12 months or more for specific diseases. “Each license enables disease-specific sub-group analyses, assess populations and create cohorts based on the severity of different disease burdens, treatment experiences, and quality of life,” adds the Semalytix CEO.

“Over time, we want to include more and more diseases into the platform and provide a unique patient data stream to pharma but also to the payer and regulator side of healthcare.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Delivery Hero picks up InstaShop in $360M deal to expand in groceries in the Middle East

Grocery delivery has emerged as one of the hottest categories in e-commerce in the last six months, partly due to the coronavirus pandemic, where stay-at-home orders plus a general reluctance to avoid crowded places have led many more consumers to shopping online. Today, one of the big players in on-demand restaurant delivery is picking up a grocery delivery business both to meet that demand and continue diversifying its business.

Delivery Hero, the Berlin-based restaurant delivery company that operates mainly in emerging markets, has acquired InstaShop, a Dubai-based grocery delivery platform with around 500,000 users in five markets, where people can order food and other home supplies, pharmacy items, flowers and other items.

Delivery Hero said the acquisition values the company at $ 360 million, $ 270 million upfront plus an additional $ 90 million based on InstaShop meeting certain growth targets. It currently operates in five markets: United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain and Greece, the home country of the founders, Ioanna Angelidaki and John Tsioris. It’s a great return for investors: the five year-old startup had raised just $ 7 million before being acquired.

Both Delivery Hero and InstaShop are already profitable. The bigger of the two today posted half-year results that noted revenues were up 93.7% on a year-on-year basis to €1,126.8 million ($ 1.3 billion) in the period, although gross profit declined slightly given the impact of lockdowns and curfews, it said, posting gross profit of €167.2 million versus €168.3 million a year ago.

The plan is for InstaShop to stay as an independent brand under its current leadership team, both to expand in MENA, but also to look at how to apply its model to other markets.

This puts it (and now Delivery Hero) a significant step ahead of U.S. companies like Instacart, which was one of the pioneers and most popular purveyors of the grocery-on-demand model in the U.S. but hasn’t really exported its service outside of North America.

InstaShop’s basic business model is very similar to Instacart’s: its focus is on providing a two-sided marketplace not just to consumers but to retailers, which might not have their own delivery services, or want to use InstaShop to expand the number of deliveries they can make, or to reach a different audience.

DeliveryHero — which is now traded publicly in Germany with a market cap of nearly €19 billion ($ 22 billion) — is already running grocery delivery services across most of its operations in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Middle East/Africa, its founder and CEO Niklas Ostberg told TechCrunch.

“The largest part is Latin America and MENA but Asia catching up quickly. Today we cover 22,000 vendors in our quick commerce area,” he said. “InstaShop is unique in their customer experience. We looked into 100+ grocery players last year and InstaShop is a magnitude better than anything we have seen. This is one reason why they can grow incredibly fast while still being profitable. Together with Delivery Hero they can further improve their customer experience by offering faster delivery and more shops.”

If you count that they are from Greece, this is one of the largest exits for a Greek-founded company.

“The partnership with Delivery Hero is a great opportunity for us to continue to grow our business and put the group’s expertise to use,” said Tsioris, the CEO. “I really enjoyed working with Delivery Hero on this deal and am thrilled to continue to further expand the reach and quality of our service at InstaShop. Delivery Hero is a network driven by ambitious founders and entrepreneurs just like ourselves, and we are proud to become part of this family.”

The transaction is said to set a record value for a Greek startup and is one of the largest recent exits in the MENA region more generally. The previous largest Greek deal was Microsoft’s acquisition of Softomotive for around $ 150 million. Prior to this, other notable Greek exits include Samsung’s purchase of Innoetics and Daimler buying TaxiBeat — both for less than $ 50 million each.

InstaShop was initially backed in 2015 by VentureFriends, a European early-stage investor from Greece, and Jabbar, an investor in the MENA region. Notably, VentureFriends’ founding partner Apostolos Apostolakis co-founded e-food, a food delivery marketplace also acquired by Delivery Hero, in 2015.

Startups – TechCrunch

Harbor, an emergency preparedness platform, picks up $5 million in seed funding

Billion-dollar natural disasters are on the rise in the United States, according to CNBC. Even as I write, a hurricane is making landfall in Louisiana while wild fires rage in northern California. And those are just the big disasters.

There were more than 1.3 million fires in the United States in 2018, and nearly three out of every five deaths related to a house fire happened in a house where there was no smoke alarm or it didn’t function properly.

Harbor, a company that just closed on a $ 5 million seed round, wants to make users more prepared.

The product, which will launch in October, aims to gamify the process of doing everyday preparation for disasters. Using publicly available data from agencies like NOAA, FEMA and USGS, as well as land maps and building codes to pinpoint individual household risk, Harbor takes a look at the user’s location and the general state of their home to determine types of risks to that individual user and their property.

From there, the platform curates a weekly checklist for the user to stay prepared, whether it’s keeping track of the amount of water on hand (for those in the path of hurricane season) or checking the battery levels and functionality of a smoke alarm.

“For us, it’s not about buying a go bag,” said CEO Dan Kessler. “It’s about doing the things you need to be prepared. Your plan is a heck of a lot more important than your bag. Your bag is also important, but without the planning it’s completely pointless. The problem is a lot of people, especially right now with the wildfires happening are saying ‘I don’t have a go bag,’ and they buy one for $ 50 on Amazon. But they are not any more prepared at that moment as they were before they bought the bag.”

Not only does harbor want to help users prepare for disasters, including curated product recommendations around preparedness equipment, but also help guide them through the disaster itself and the aftermath, offering step by step instructions based on the specific situation.

Though harbor hasn’t launched the product publicly, the company is prepared with a two-fold business model which includes e-commerce and a freemium subscription plan for the app itself.

The sole investor in the $ 5 million round was 25madison, a New York-based venture studio that incubates and funds companies from inception. 25madison brought on Dan Kessler, a former Headspace executive, as CEO in January. Kessler brought on Eduardo Fonseca as chief technology officer, who previously served as CTO of GoodRx.

In total, harbor is made up of a team of 10 employees, and the company declined to share any stats around diversity and inclusion on the team, saying “Dan and the team are very proud that the makeup of women and underrepresented groups is above tech industry averages, including the advisory board.”

The advisory board includes a number of notable experts in the disaster space, including former administrator of FEMA Brock Long, current senior fellow for climate change policy at the Council on Foreign relations Alice Hill, and professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and CNN national security analyst (who served as Assistant Secretary at the DHS) Juliette Kayyem, among others.

Startups – TechCrunch

Industrial-grade VR company Varjo picks up $54M in Series C funding

Varjo, the Finnish startup that has developed a virtual and mixed reality headset capable of “human-eye resolution” for use in various enterprise applications, has closed $ 54 million in Series C funding.

Backing the round is Tesi, NordicNinja and Swisscanto Invest by Zürcher Kantonalbank. Existing investors Lifeline Ventures, Atomico, EQT Ventures and Volvo Cars Tech Fund have also followed on. It brings the total raised by Varjo to around $ 100 million to date.

The company is also announcing the appointment of Timo Toikkanen, who was previously president and COO of Varjo, as its new CEO. Co-founder and previous CEO Niko Eiden becomes CXO; he’ll be tasked with continuing to drive the company’s technology innovations and, notably, remains a board member.

Varjo says the injection of capital will be used to accelerate its global expansion and development of industry-leading hardware and software products. Global enterprise clients using the company’s various headsets include Volvo Cars, Boeing, Audi and Siemens. Applications span immersive astronaut and pilot training, designing “cars of the future” and streamlining product development.

“We are seeing tremendous demand for virtual and mixed reality use cases, particularly as much of the world continues to work remotely,” says Toikkanen in a statement. “When you combine the photorealistic resolution and accurate, integrated eye tracking found in our devices with the broad software compatibility we offer, the possibilities for creating, training and running research in immersive environments are endless. With support from our growing group of investors, we look forward to scaling our operations and delivering the cutting-edge technology our customers need to transform the way they work.”

The Series C round follows a number of cited milestones, such as expansion of the company’s global operations and reseller network to over 40 countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. This includes the launch of sales and direct shipping to “key markets,” including Singapore, Israel, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Varjo has also signed a commercial partnership with MeetinVR to deliver photorealistic virtual collaboration, a much-needed solution for users to be able to collaborate remotely. Can we say the new normal? (sorry, ed.)

Post updated with correct funding figure based on U.S. dollar exchange rate.

Startups – TechCrunch