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

What are the most popular ‘Pre-Seed’ VC funds / Angels for StartUps related to Gaming (Esports) and Social Networks?

What are the most popular 'Pre-Seed' VC funds / Angels for StartUps related to Gaming (Esports) and Social Networks?

I am scouting for those at Google, but also I wanted to ask you and if you had experience with some, please share in comments!

  • I have already turned down two VC funds because their terms were so bad for my business, it is not all about the amount of money and the % of equity; but there should be some healthy and good feeling as well!

Thanks 🙂

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Seeking tech lead for AI/ML industrial (pre-seed funded) UK startup

Hi everyone,
We are a pre-seed funded startup focussing on building an industrial analytics platform.

We use data from existing sensors (heavy industries) on machines, and apply analytics to find actionable insights.

Where we are:

  • Currently in trials with 2 industrial companies
  • Successfully delivered 1 data trial and now commercially discussing
  • Just been funded to accelerate product development and build
  • We are based in the UK (generally get boxed in predictive maintenance but that's just a start)
  • Current team of 3 (CEO + Data Science + Sales – all friends and average 8 years of industrial experience each)
  • Competitors usually that get mentioned, Uptake, Datadog (incorrectly), OEM services (GE Predix for example), MachineMax, QIO, etc

Looking for:

  1. A tech lead who has experience of productionising ML/AI models, on time series data (a type of data in industrial)
  2. Experience of IoT would be great, but more importantly, understanding the different data relationships and the AWS platform elements would be fun
  3. Full-time (remote is ok, EU preferred for time zone reasons)

DM me for a chat or comment.

If the format is wrong or can't do here, let me know and can remove it.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Finding a pre-seed incubator in London, any recommendation on how to make the right choice?

Hello,

I have an idea but after thinking about it I don't think I'll be able to do it all by myself, by that I mean I'll need mentorship big time and probably resource as it's a tech idea and I'm not technical (kind of a social sharing app).

Few months ago I've found a incubator that was ready to listen to people who just have the idea, I've lost the name since. So I'm looking for that kind of incubator, I'm based in London.

So I'll be glad if you have any recommendation, but also if you can tell me how to choose the right one and what to be careful of. There are so many of them, I don't know what to look for. I don't know if it's allowed on here but if you have any name of incubator you can share it with me (or by pm) so I can have a look.

Thank you

Edit: Any experience about Seedcamp?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Zurich-based Oper secures €500K pre-seed funding to expand its digital credit launch pad across Europe

Zurich-based fintech Oper has raised €500K in a pre-seed funding round. The round was participated in by Barclays and Pitchdrive, as well as three angel investors, and will be used to scale up the startup’s solution across Europe.

Digitalisation is a huge trend currently across all sectors, with the current COVID-19 crisis has reinforced further the need for digital banking processes. Consumers expect quick turnarounds and transparency in decision-making processes, all from the comfort of their own homes. Traditional banks are competing with online ones, and all are looking for ways to accelerate adoption of cloud-based SaaS solutions to meet changing consumer needs.

Oper, founded in 2018, describes itself as a launch pad for digital credit products. Their main customers are credit providers, who they help to launch digital credit products in a matter of days, using ‘out-of-the-box’ modules. They also provide their customers with integrations with functionalities from their Fintech partner app store. 

So far, the startup has already digitized the mortgage processes of lenders in three European countries, having helped an Austrian bank to reduce their credit decision processing time from days to minutes.

The fresh funds raised will be used to build up the team from its already solid number of 20+, further the solution’s product development, and expand across more countries in Europe.

EU-Startups

The Venture Collective launches with a new bet on pre-seed investing

Venture capital has a long way to go when it comes to investing in underrepresented founders in a meaningful way. But according to The Venture Collective’s Cat Hernandez, the issue is too complex to solve by just cutting checks and spending time with entrepreneurs.

“You have to be maniacally focused on solutions,” Hernandez said.

So, Hernandez has teamed up with a number of operators-turned-investors to tackle tech’s diversity problem from a creative angle.

The Venture Collective, based in London and New York, launches today to make access to capital more equal. Fair warning: its experimental structure is knotty, as TVC is part investment vehicle and part management company. But it’s a creative strategy in a deserving sector that tech struggles to make progress within.

The team is stacked with a variety of experience: Founding partner Nick Shekerdemian is a former YC startup founder who launched a diversity recruitment platform, and his co-founder, Gina Kirch, was one of his investors, as well as a former director at BlackRock. Other partners include former Primary Venture Partners investor Cat Hernandez and Elliot Richmond, who invests out of the United Kingdom and previously worked at Moelis & Company.

The team was finalized during COVID-19.

TVC’s funding model has two customer bases: startup founders and family offices.

For startups, the business will invest a $ 100,000 check into one company per month, with the flexibility to do more. TVC intends to reserve between $ 1 to $ 5 million for follow-on rounds.

For family offices, TVC charges an annual fee to serve as intel for what they think are lucrative pre-seed deals in the Valley. If a family office or someone within its network wants to invest, TVC will ultimately deploy an allocated amount of capital. It hopes that total capital commitments will increase over time. 

While TVC says the structure model is in stealth, it is reasonable to compare the structures of these family office investments to the structures of special purpose vehicles. SPVs are investment vehicles that exist outside a fund’s capital allotment and are more spur of the moment, versus traditionally syndicated.

The biggest difference is that SPV structure is centered around deals, but TVC’s structure is centered around a capital allotment, deployed into multiple deals. They essentially act as middlemen between promising startups and family offices.

It’s good news for family offices, as they often take the role of institutional investors, which are decade-long relationships. The problem with lengthy bets is that what was hot in 2010 might not be hot in 2020. TVC’s model lets LPs deploy capital in their interest areas on a year by year basis. So an LP who is newly bullish on remote work (for some wild reason) could get their hands in early deals instead of waiting for the AR/VR fund they invested in years ago to make that move.

Putting all these pieces together, TVC gets more funds by:

  • traditional equity raise
  • annual fee to provide information to its network
  • family office checks
  • portfolio exits

Because of all of these mechanisms, TVC’s total “fund size” will change depending on the week. It’s a unique example of how first-time fund managers are tackling investing in a volatile landscape.

Today TVC launches with an undisclosed amount of equity-based financing. The company declined to share total assets under management.

So a big factor in TVC’s success is if it can convince both founders and family offices that its perspective is worth the set up. TVC’s flexibility can be a blessing, but it also can be risky and unreliable in case family offices pull out. Or if there is an extended recession, for example.

As a sweetener, the company says that it will donate two-thirds of partner time to helping portfolio companies.

But how does this fit into diversity? It all goes back to TVC’s goal to make access to capital more equal.

According to the team, pre-seed to Series A is where most companies fail, but the very funds that back pre-seed are also the most strapped for resources (small fund sizes, fixed management fees). Thus, firms have to selectively pick the companies they think are outliers and spend time with those companies on a more regular basis. This disproportionately impacts underrepresented founders, who might have a slower start due to lack of access to resources.

TVC thinks its strategy will help grow the number of startups that are venture-backable by heavily supporting them through this time, without competing and driving up valuations for only a few outliers.

The company defined underrepresented founders through diversity, geography, age and social background. When asked if they will publicly disclose diversity metrics, TVC said “it wants to be thoughtful about how we hold our investments accountable in the long-term and we are balancing that with a desire to not be prescriptive.”

“We believe that part of our job as early investors is to ensure that this intent is top of mind as the business scales. That can come in many forms — tracking/reporting on diversity metrics being one of them. At its core, this isn’t about window dressing,” the firm told TechCrunch. Generally, TVC is focused on helping more people get funding, and pointed toward financial optionality as the “flywheel we’re playing for.”

In terms of sourcing, TVC is partnering with tech-focused groups in New York and London and will identify talent at the university and college level. It also said it will build relationships with underrepresented operators “at the most prominent tech companies” and co-invest with diversity-focused founders.

TVC also launched a group called “The Collective” that includes diverse founders, operators and investors, who will help as a deal flow channel.

Startups – TechCrunch

In conversation with Icebreaker, Finland’s most active pre-seed VC

Icebreaker claims to be Finland’s most active pre-seed VC. The firm, which also invests in Estonia and Sweden, has backed 38 companies in the last three years out of its first fund, with a 65% success rate so far for companies that have been able to raise follow-on funding.

Two weeks ago, Icebreaker announced the launch of Fund II, with an initial close of €50 million. That’s more than twice the size of its first fund, which topped out at €20 million.

Its remit remains largely the same, however. The company typically invests between €150k and €800k in teams that have “deep domain expertise” and are building globally competitive tech companies according to Icebreaker co-founder and partner Riku Seppälä.

Noteworthy, this goes right to the top of the funnel and includes backing and helping to connect “pre-founders,” defined as individuals with over 5 years of work experience in their domain who are aiming to start or join a tech company. As part of this effort, Icebreaker operates an online and offline community to act as a catalyst for new companies to be founded.

Meanwhile, I’m told that Fund II was signed just as the coronavirus crisis began to take hold and includes the majority of LPs from Fund I in addition to new investors. Lead LPs are Tesi, KRR III, Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company and Elo Mutual Pension Insurance Company, together with 41 other entities consisting of institutional investors, family offices and founders.

To find out more about Fund II and what’s it’s like to launch a new pre-seed fund at a time of such uncertainty, and to understand how Icebreaker thinks about startup life during and after lockdown, I put questions to Icebreaker co-founder and Partner Riku Seppälä.

TechCrunch: What does it feel like to close a new fund right at the start of a pandemic?

Riku Seppälä: Of course, we have been distracted by the mounting health crisis and how the world economy will recover, so the feelings are mixed.

Startups – TechCrunch

TLcom invests $1mn Pre-Seed Funding into Okra, Africa’s first API fintech “super-connector” – The Fintech Times

TLcom invests $ 1mn Pre-Seed Funding into Okra, Africa’s first API fintech “super-connector”  The Fintech Times
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News