Hello, I would like to hear stories and strategies of other redditors who are tech enterpreneurs and/or work in optimization or automation of information processing (To reduce the time, effort or risk, for clients, in tasks related to researching, documentation, reporting, information extraction/processing) and succesfully boosted their social media, specially Instagram.
I hope you are willing to share them, it would be great and we all could learn a lot!
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.
The new realities of a Covid world where travel restrictions are the norm have forced a hard reckoning on the Israel tech sector. As if that is not enough, the country’s legions of venture capitalists and startup founders are faced with tensions between the US and China that may not be disappearing any time soon.
Title says it all. I'm a mid level developer, but as I move more into senior roles, I know I want to take a more technical lead on projects, with the hope of moving into a technical side cofounder role. How to pick the right startup, at the right time?
I mean its either this or a big money jump to FAANG or fintech as a senior.
With the third fund, UVC Partners aims to invest in the fields of industrial technologies, B2B software, and mobility. Simultaneously, the VC plans to provide access to ‘UnternehmerTUM,’ Europe’s largest innovation centre at the Technical University of Munich.
150 corporate partners and 5000 students
With 150 corporate partners and more than 5000 students, UnternehmerTUM is an important hub for Europe’s next generation of entrepreneurs. “We are already accelerating more than 10% of all German tech startups and serve as a central and open innovation platform for future challenges of leading SMEs and DAX-listed corporations,” says Prof. Dr. Helmut Schönenberger, Managing Partner at UVC and CEO of UnternehmerTUM.
Venture Capital 3.0
While the first VC funds focused primarily on financing issues, the second generation increasingly offered support in operational matters. The third-generation venture capital “Venture Capital 3.0” is all about sustainable, partnership-based relationships with the founding team, claims the German company.
The investor base of the new fund ranges from startup entrepreneurs, such as the FlixBus founders, to institutional investors, family offices, corporations, and family businesses. “We have invested in UVC III because we expect a good financial return when it comes to our pension assets and see added value in working together with UVC Partners,” saya Oliver Stratmann, Head of Treasury & Investor Relations at LANXESS AG.
UVC Partners typically invests in Seed or Series A rounds
The UVC Partners typically invests between €0.5M to 4M initially and up to €15M in total per company. According to the VC firm, it typically invests in Seed or Series A rounds. Its portfolio includes investments such as Blickfeld, Carjump (Free2Move), FlixBus, KONUX, TWAICE, and Vimcar.
The world of distributed computing took on a new profile this year when Folding@home, a 20-year-old distributed computing project, found itself picking up thousands of new volunteers to help COVID-19 researchers generate more computing power to fold proteins and run other calculations needed for screening potential drug compounds to fight the novel coronavirus. Today, a startup that is also tapping the potential and opportunity in distributed computing is announcing a round of growth funding to continue its own work.
Anyscale, a startup founded by a team out of UC Berkeley that created the Ray open-source Python framework for running distributed computing projects, has raised $ 40 million.
It plans to use the capital to continue developing Anyscale, a platform built on Ray that will make Ray usable not just by high-level developers and computing specialists, but any technical people who are looking to run projects that require large amounts of computing power.
Ion Stoica, Anyscale’s executive chairman who co-founded the company with Robert Nishihara, Philipp Moritz and Berkeley professor Michael I. Jordan, said in an interview that the company is tapping into a moment spurred not just by the events of 2020 but by the bigger demand from companies — spurred by the growth of cloud computing, major digital transformation of their systems and a need to go that extra mile to remain competitive. Organizations are becoming more ambitious in their technology strategies and goals, whether they are tech companies or not.
“At a high level, the trend that we see is that all applications are distributed and running on clusters, but building these applications is incredibly hard and requires teams with the right expertise,” said Stoica. “What we are trying to build will make it as easy to build a distributed computing project as it would be to run a program on your laptop. It will mean ordinary developers will be able to build scalable applications just like Google can build today.”
The company’s first build of Anyscale — which will let organizations build multi-cloud applications from a single machine and use serverless architecture that scales up and down to meet application demands — has yet to launch commercially: it is in a private beta and the plan is to launch it fully next year.
There has been interest from financial services, retail and manufacturing companies, Stoica said, with companies working in design, informatics and medical research (and COVID-19 vaccines) also using the private beta.
The Series B is being led by previous investor NEA, with Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Intel Capital and Foundation Capital also participating. A16z led the company’s Series A less than a year ago (a $ 20 million round in December).
Intel, meanwhile, is a strategic investor. Along with other tech giants like Microsoft, Intel is using Ray’s distributed computing model to run projects.
Stoica — who also co-founded Databricks, Conviva and was one of the original developers of Apache Spark — and Nishihara declined to comment in an interview on Anyscale’s valuation, but Stoica confirmed that the round was oversubscribed. The company has now raised just over $ 60 million.
While the startup continues to build out Anyscale, in the last year it has also been making more headway with Ray, which they also maintain.
At the Ray Summit — Anyscale’s conference for developers run as a virtual event at the end of September — Anyscale released Ray 1.0, which provides, in addition to a universal serverless compute API, an expanded library to use on Ray 1.0. Nishihara described it as a “huge milestone,” not least because it is one step along the path for the bigger vision they have for Anyscale to be used by non-tech companies for tech work.
A typical example was a recent recommendation algorithm built by Intel for Burger King. “The thing that is hard to do is not making the recommendations but learning from the interactions that users are having, and the choices they are making, and having that experience reflected back very rapidly,” he said. It’s a process that can be done in other ways, but with a far less good user experience due to lags.
This past year Nishihara said that interest in Ray has seen “tremendous growth,” but that it’s hard to say whether that is because of people working from home or just wider computing trends.
“It’s clear if anything that the pandemic is accelerating the transition,” said Stoica. “Ray has good support for the cloud, including Azure, Google Cloud Platform and others, which makes it quite compelling.”
We’ve seen an interesting trend in enterprise IT, where startups are finding an opportunity in the market by making it possible for non-technical organizations to bridge the digital divide, by providing better access to the most technical advances in computing to organizations beyond those that can build and operate such tools themselves. Just as groups like Element AI are working on ways to democratize advances in AI, the same kind of tech built, acquired and used by the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon, so too is Anyscale looking to do the same in enterprise computing.
And the two areas of AI and computing, of course, are interconnected: these days you need vast amounts of computing power to run AI applications, something the average company typically lacks.
“The demand for distributed computing continues to increase with the widespread adoption of AI and machine learning in application development,” said Pete Sonsini, general partner at NEA, in a statement. “Still, scaling applications on clusters remains extremely challenging. Serverless computing is emerging as the preferred platform for developing distributed applications. Unfortunately, today’s serverless offerings support only a limited set of applications, and most of them are cloud-specific—but not Ray and Anyscale. The company’s path thus far bears the hallmarks of a standout technology pioneer, and we’re thrilled to partner with the team through this next phase bridging their open source and commercial offerings.”
Following the success of its first two funds, UVC Partners has launched a new fund with a volume of €150 million. Even during the corona pandemic, the team managed to raise more than 70% of the target amount during a first closing thanks to its extensive network and established investor base. With its third fund,…
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