Voliro AG, a spin-off from ETH Zurich founded in 2019 and currently accelerated at Wyss Zurich, today announced the closing of an approx. €1.9 million seed round to develop advanced flying inspection robots. A strong consortium took part in the round led by Alpana Ventures, with participation from BackBone Ventures, Zürcher Kantonalbank, and a group…
Today Point Nine, the Pan-European early stage venture capital firm focused on SaaS and digital marketplaces, launches its fifth fund called ‘P9 V’, a €99,999,999 seed fund. With ‘P9 V’, Point Nine will double down on its strategy to back seed-stage B2B SaaS and B2B marketplace startups anywhere in the world. The new fund will…
The rise of blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) are two of the biggest technology trends this year. For us, our requests could include understanding the weather or finding out about a song, setting up for appointments, etc. However, I’m sure you already know that it powers innovation across almost every industry, and is yet capable of so much more.
Sale of VAI Tokens
In layman’s terms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) are machines built to perform intelligent tasks that have traditionally been accomplished by humans. As for Blockchain, it is essentially a technology that allows for the encrypted storage of data on a distributed ledger.
A Valletta-based startup, VAIOT, that combines AI and blockchain to digitise business processes across industries, has raised €5M in its seed round of funding through a private sale of its VAI Tokens.
VAIOT’s seed and private sale have allocated close to 30% of the VAI Tokens to investors who support the project long-term. VAI Token is the digital currency of the VAIOT platform, set to incentivise the users to utilise the company’s solutions. VAI Tokens will initially use the Ethereum token standard and eventually be mirrored on a proprietary blockchain.
VAIOT develops purpose-built Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVA) to help companies to move processes to AI-powered channels, as well as VAIOT-labeled IVA delivered directly to consumers. It combines AI and blockchain to create new ways of digitally accessing services and securely concluding legal agreements.
Christoph Surgowt, CEO of VAIOT says, “With this funding, we are equipped to deliver a product that can transform how businesses conduct their processes, and be of tremendous value to consumers. Putting the competency of AI into the hands of businesses and consumers will boost digital transformation across the board.”
The startup ultimately plans to take the concept of a smart personal assistant and combine it with the unique skillset and knowledge possessed by lawyers. It aims to build an AI legal assistant for consumers and enterprises, providing legal services, including digital, blockchain-based contracts.
VAIOT’s first assistant will service the car insurance industry and is projected to be presented by Q3 2020. It also aims to expand its technology into the broader market. The solution is built to be customised and adjusted to suit almost any industry and a wide set of business processes.
Image credits: TippaPat/Shutterstock
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In today’s world, technology has become deeply intertwined with the medical industry. As healthcare solutions have to work for patients from all walks of life, it is essential to encourage the use of new products and technologies. In an attempt to help healthtech companies come up with such solutions, Dr. Fiona Pathiraja has launched Crista Galli Ventures, a unique venture capital fund that intends to revolutionise healthtech investing in Europe.
Early-stage healthtech fund
The former NHS radiologist, Dr. Pathiraja claims that healthtech investing is quite different from traditional VC investing, which forces companies to meet unrealistic timelines; that could spell bad news for patients. Understanding the significance of empathy in healthtech, Dr. Pathiraja and the team behind Crista Galli Ventures focuses on it.
The early-stage healthtech fund offers patient capital, along with healthcare expertise. It claims to partner with early-stage founders at Series A and Seed stage to come up with world-leading companies. The healthtech fund has customised its strategy to the requirements of aspirational entrepreneurs in the industry. It will invest in healthcare solutions that focus on deep tech, digital health and personalised medicine. And, CGV will not invest in drug discovery or biotechnology and will also steer away from devices, especially when they are non-software enabled.
Furthermore, CGV has also launched Crista Galli LABS, which intends to bring greater diversity in the industry by supporting founders from underrepresented backgrounds in their initial stages. Crista Galli Ventures operates with offices in London and Copenhagen. The firm has already invested in 15 companies such as ContextFlow, Skin Analytics, and Quibim.
As Founder Dr. Pathiraja explains, “In the medical industry, tech was once seen as the poor cousin of research and medical education. But that’s changing. Case-in-point, the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine both now report on digital innovations. The sector is coming to recognise the critical role that healthtech can play. Now is the perfect time to build the solutions that will shape the healthcare industry for decades to come.”
How’s it unique?
Dr. Pathiraja believes that Traditional VC fundraising cycles don’t typically work for healthtech startups faced with a complex and highly-regulated market. “Young companies are often expected to adhere to timelines that don’t acknowledge the realities of building a company in the healthcare industry. Crista Galli Ventures provides a better solution – the ability to make agile decisions, while thinking long term.”
Talking about traditional VCs, they need to return money to their investors and can begin to realise the investments only after five years following which they get returns. However, the healthcare industry works differently. It might take longer to arrive but will be successful in the end. It is important for healthtech investors to be empathetic and patient.
According to Crista Galli Ventures, unlike typical VC firms, it’s structure lends itself to this. As a single investor fund, the firm has the opportunity to grow internally without the need to fundraise.
It claims to be free from the usual five-year fund cycles, thereby allowing it to be flexible and focus on a longer time horizon – benefiting patients, companies and investors.
Crista Galli LABS: An insight!
Crista Galli LABS is a standalone investing strand, which lets CGV to invest in pre-seed startups. Besides the investment, these companies will have access to coaching and mentoring from the CGV team. At least 50% startups that receive Calli Galli LABS investment will be led by exceptional founders and help them secure later-stage funding, claims the firm.
“As a healthtech investor, we noticed a stark lack of diversity on both sides of the investor/founder table. The overwhelming need for an elite education in deep tech (MD or PhD) means that those from more diverse backgrounds are often excluded,” explains Dr. Pathiraja.
Main image picture credits: Crista Galli Ventures
The Saarbrücken-based deepzech startup Natif.ai successfully closed of a seven-digit financing round with the lead investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF). Founded in 2019, Natif.ai enables a fast and efficient way to productively bring artificial intelligence into the economy. Thanks to revolutionary AI models and a self-developed Deep-OCR, various documents can be analyzed extremely quickly, accurately and…
British startup Mamamade, a home-delivery service of healthy homemade baby meals, has secured around €340K in seed funding from investors such as Andrew Webster from Horseplay Ventures and Will Hobhouse (former chairman of the furniture chain Heals). The UK-based startup is on a mission to raise a healthy new generation, at the same time as giving back parents more time.
Founded in 2019, this startup offers different ‘bundles’ like Baby-Led Weaning, and Finger Food, or a Variety pack. There are 23 varieties available and their menus change weekly, so it doesn’t get boring. There is support available for parents, as well as recipe ideas and merchandise like their ‘Snack Pack’ which helps parents on the go.
The brand has done well to survive during the global pandemic and has certainly ridden the wave to home delivery food services. The startup has seen a 700% growth in sales since the lockdown started in March and currently continues to grow at a rate of 40% MOM.
The fresh funds raised will be used to grow and scale Mamamade’s product range, operations and position itself as the go-to community for parents, who now, more than ever, need additional support in a health-crisis-gripped nation.
Founder Sophie Baron said: “We are over the moon to have secured funding from some of the leading UK investors and entrepreneurs so that together we can now help even more parents. The demand we’ve seen underscores just how broken modern parenting is – how overlooked the market has been, and how desperately parents need more support and resources. We’re so proud of our amazing community that continues to support our mission to help parents all across the UK.”
Undermyfork, a diabetes tracking app designed to help people with the disease improve “time-in-range” and better manage their condition, has raised $ 400,000 in seed funding.
Investment comes from AltaIR Capital and Runa Capital . Undermyfork co-founder Mike Ushakov’s previous company, Metabar (the maker of the browser add-on Sovetnik), was also backed by Runa, before being acquired by Yandex several years ago.
The Undermyfork app combines meal photos with glucose data coming from a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) device. The aim is to let users correlate meals with changes in blood glucose levels. Specifically, it focuses on “time-in-range” — the percentage of time that a person spends with their blood glucose levels in a target range, considered the most important metric in modern diabetes management.
“With our app, we want to help people with diabetes correct their lifestyle and eating habits, and improve their time-in-range,” Ushakov tells me. “Undermyfork is a very simple tool now: it combines meal photos and insulin data with glucose data, and allows the users to clearly see which meals are driving them out of the safe blood glucose range.
“We help people with diabetes not just to see their blood glucose data, but to interpret the data and make useful conclusions that could improve their life. You can say it’s like ‘Google analytics for blood sugar.’ ”
More broadly, Undermyfork is betting that continuous glucose monitoring devices will replace traditional finger-pricking blood glucose meters in the coming years. The strategy is to establish itself as the default companion app for CGMs, but to do so it will need to gain access to CGM-generated data.
“Undermyfork relies on CGM data, so we need to have the partners to provide us with this data,” explains Ushakov. “This month, simultaneously with closing our round, we partnered with Dexcom, which is the leading CGM manufacturer in the U.S. We now have access to Dexcom’s retrospective API, letting users stream data directly from their Dexcom cloud to the Undermyfork app.”
This also sets up Undermyfork for a U.S. launch. Noteworthy, the mostly Europe-based team is entirely remote. Ushakov is in Amsterdam, co-founder Eugene Molodkin is in St.Petersburg and other team members are in Germany, Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia and Israel.
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.