Thriva raises £4M from Target in an era when at-home blood testing is more crucial than ever

Thriva emerged in 2016 as an at-home blood-testing startup allowing people to check, for instance, cholesterol levels. In the era of a pandemic, however, at-home blood testing is about to become quite a big deal, alongside the general trend toward people proactively taking control of their health.

It has secured a £4 million extension to its Series A funding round from Berlin-based VC Target Global . The investment takes Thriva’s total funding to £11 million. The investment comes from Target Global’s new Early Stage Fund II and will top up the £6 million Series A raised in 2019. Existing investors include Guinness Asset Management and Pembroke VCT.

Thriva has processed more than 115,000 at-home blood tests since 2016. Interestingly, these customers actually use the information to improve their health, with 76% of Thriva users achieving an improvement in at least one of their biomarkers between tests.

The startup has also launched personalized health plans and high-quality supplements, scaling up its partnerships with hospitals and other healthcare providers.

Founded by Hamish Grierson, Eliot Brooks and Tom Livesey, it claims to be growing 100% year-on-year and has expanded its team to 50 members in the company’s London headquarters.

In a statement Grierson said: “As the world faces unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis, we have all been forced to view our health, and our mortality, in a new light.”

Speaking to TechCrunch he added: “While there are other at-home testing companies, we don’t see them as directly competitive. Thriva isn’t a testing company. Our at-home blood tests are an important data point but they’re just the beginning of the long-term relationships we’re creating with our customers. To deliver on our mission of putting better health in your hands, we not only help people to keep track of what’s really happening inside their bodies, we actually help them to make positive changes that they can see the effects of over time.”

Dr. Ricardo Schäfer, partner at Target Global said: “When we first met the team behind Thriva, we were immediately hooked by their mission to allow people to take health into their own hands.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Swiss startup Batmaid gets more than €1 million for its home cleaner booking platform

Today Swiss startup Batmaid, the country’s largest cleaner booking platform, has secured additional funding from Baloise and ACE & Company (Swiss-founded global private equity boutique), to fuel its ambitious expansion goals and additional projects. The funding amount has not been disclosed further than being more than €1 million.

Batmaid, created in 2015, is the first platform that allows users to hire preselected home cleaners online and is also the largest cleaning platform in Switzerland, with headquarters in Lausanne and offices in Zurich, Lugano and Luxembourg. Batmaid currently has over 70 employees, serving more than 45,000 clients. For peace of mind, the startup applies a rigorous pre-selection process of professional cleaners on the platform along with offering extensive customer and administrative support.

“We are happy to welcome on board our new investors who will allow us to further strengthen our market position in Switzerland and to improve our service offering for our clients with our partnership with Baloise, while counting on ACE’s entrepreneurial experience internationally as well as locally”, states Andreas Schollin-Borg, co-founder and CEO of Batmaid

The first part of this investment round was closed last December, with additional funding committed last week. This constitutes an important milestone for Batmaid and demonstrates the trust the investors place in the team to pilot the startup during these challenging times.

The investment in Batmaid is Baloise’s fourth addition to its ‘home’ ecosystem, following the acquisition of stakes in Devis.ch, Bubble Box and MOVU. 

“Cleaning is a core pillar of the ‘Home’ ecosystem that Baloise is seeking to develop, and the equity investment in Batmaid allows us to strengthen our offering in this area. The Batmaid concept gives customers a service that is easy to use and taps into the growing trend towards digitalisation – which is what our Simply Safe strategy is all about,” explains Yannick Hasler, Head of Private Customers at Baloise.

EU-Startups

Why micromobility may emerge from the pandemic stronger than before

Since its inception, shared micromobility services have been in a precarious position — one supported by millions of dollars in venture capital. But the COVID-19 pandemic has brought even more turmoil upon an industry that has long struggled with unit economics. It has led to mass layoffs, operation shutdowns across several markets and more consolidation.

Despite the struggles of individual operators, micromobility as technology will come out of this stronger than before, industry analyst Horace Dediu tells TechCrunch.

Dediu, an analyst who coined the term “micromobility” and founded Micromobility Industries, sees the silver lining in the pandemic for micromobility as it relates to the adoption of public transit alternatives. With ongoing concerns about the disease and social distancing, consumers may look to alternative modes of transportation — ones that require fewer interactions with strangers. But simply because a certain technology takes off doesn’t mean the current slate of operators will benefit.

“The companies involved may not survive a crisis,” Dediu says. “We don’t remember the fact there were 3,000 automobile companies in the United States prior to Henry Ford’s Model T. We don’t remember all the electrical suppliers out there and the consolidation that took place in the electrical field with Westinghouse. There’s a lot of historic references we can cite. But the fact of the matter is that up until the crisis there was an over-investment where probably too much capital was allocated to the industry chasing business models which are not sustainable…I think there will be a washout with a kind of consolidation and we’re seeing that already.”

Earlier this month, for example, Uber sold off JUMP to Lime, while simultaneously leading a $ 170 million investment in the micromobility startup. That funding round brought Lime’s valuation down 79%, to $ 510 million, according to The Information. Last April, Lime was valued at $ 2.4 billion.

Startups – TechCrunch

African countries need ‘startup acts’ more than ever to support innovation

As the fallout from COVID-19 continues to grip Africa’s major economies, the tech ventures in those countries need state support.

National legislation that creates clear frameworks and operational support for startups are one of the best ways to help Africa’s digital companies survive and thrive through the coronavirus crisis — and improve their environment over the long term.

Africa has dozens of thriving startup ecosystems that are persevering through this crisis, but now more than ever, they need a boost. The gains made by founders thus far are in danger due to the ongoing economic slowdown. The World Bank estimates that economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa alone will decline from 2.4% last year to -2.1 to -5.1% this year. If correct, the region will experience its first recession in a quarter of a century.

Now is the time for something that was already long-overdue in many African countries: political leaders should support startups through national startup acts.

Village Capital’s Adedana Ashebir, Image Credits: Village Capital

Last December, Senegal became the second African nation to enact a national Startup Act, following Tunisia’s landmark bill that passed in April 2018. Other countries may follow soon: startup legislation was being discussed in Ghana and Mali before the novel coronavirus monopolized headlines.

The rest of the continent can learn a lot from Tunisia, which passed its Startup Act in 2018 after receiving input from entrepreneurs and economists. In addition to clarifying rules surrounding angel, seed and venture capital funding, the act bestows benefits on companies designated as startups. This includes alleviating their tax and social security contribution burdens, providing access to forex bank accounts and offering subsidized salaries for founders. More than 50 startups have taken advantage of the “startup” label. A number of Tunisian entrepreneurs have told me that thanks to the new legislation, they are able reinvest savings from these incentives back into their businesses.

Startups – TechCrunch

70% of Indian startups will run out of money in less than 3 months

More than two-thirds of startups in India need to secure additional capital in the coming weeks to steer through the coronavirus pandemic, according to an industry report.

70% of startups in India, home to one of the world’s largest startup ecosystems, have less than three months of cash runway in the bank, and another 22% have enough to barely make it to the end of the year, according to a survey conducted by industry body Nasscom.

Only 8% of startups that participated in Nasscom’s survey said they had enough money to survive for more than nine months, the report published on Tuesday said.

As startups confront unprecedented times, many are thinking of taking dramatic steps to stay afloat. About 54% of some 250 respondents said they were looking to pivot to new business opportunities, and 40% said they wanted to diversify into growth verticals such as healthcare.

The cash crunch comes as investors become cautious about writing new checks to young firms in the country. In an open letter several prominent VC funds warned startups that they may find it especially challenging to raise new capital in the next few months.

For some startups, there are other factors at play, too. More than 69% of business-to-business startups, especially those operating in retail and fintech categories, say in the report that they are facing delays in payments from their clients.

This has left more than 50% of such startups to enforce pay cuts, reduction in marketing spends, and a quarter of them to switch to a lower-cost vendor to save money.

Startups operating in transport and travel sectors are also severely impacted, with 78% of respondents saying they were rethinking their business models and tweaking their products in accordance with the current scenario.

In a call with reporters on Tuesday, executives at Oyo unveiled new steps the budget lodging startup had taken at its hotels to ensure safety for operators and customers. They also said they were hoping that the government would allow more people to travel and stay at hotels again.

More than two-thirds of startups said they were looking for policies that eased regulations and spur government purchases. Many also requested relief in taxations for a few years.

More than two-thirds of Indian startups believe the impact of coronavirus will linger for up to 12 months. (Nasscom)

Earlier this month, India announced a $ 266 billion stimulus package to help revive the stalled economy. On Saturday, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that startups too will be able to access some of this relief — though details remain sparse on how they should go about it.

Since 2017, India’s startup ecosystem has grown consistently. Last year, startups in the country raised a record $ 14.5 billion.

“Out of the blue, this flourishing growth saga has suddenly been hit by a roadblock… the COVID roadblock. There is no country, business or living being that has not been affected by the COVID pandemic. While governments have been working diligently to protect and save human lives, businesses have been hit and small businesses and start-ups have been the most affected,” said Debjani Ghosh, President of NASSCOM, in the report.

Startups – TechCrunch

[BOL Pharma in PR Newswire] CBG Called the ‘Stem Cell’ Of Cannabinoids and Could be More Profitable Than CBD

The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. (OTCQX: SPRWF) (TSX: FIRE) recently announced the completion of its first international cannabis shipment from Canadainto Israel. Supreme Cannabis partnered with Breath of Life International Ltd. (“BOL Pharma”), Israel’s largest and leading producer of medical cannabis and cannabis products, to offer Truverra-branded premium medical cannabis to patients in Israel.

Read more here.

The post [BOL Pharma in PR Newswire] CBG Called the ‘Stem Cell’ Of Cannabinoids and Could be More Profitable Than CBD appeared first on OurCrowd.

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Ratings firm explains why bank non-performing loans could be worse than expected | – Nairametrics

Ratings firm explains why bank non-performing loans could be worse than expected |  Nairametrics
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Sequoia’s Roelof Botha is more optimistic about startups today than he was a year ago

“I just think change unfairly favors the startup, the nimble small company,” says Roelof Botha.

The Sequoia partner, whose portfolio includes Unity, 23andMe, Instagram, Instacart, Xoom and YouTube, says he’s hopeful about the opportunities this pandemic has created for companies across a variety of sectors, including healthcare, cloud computing, social and others.

We spoke for an hour with Botha about several topics, including how user behavior is rapidly evolving, trends he’s seeing, his outlook on economic recovery, how he’s evaluating new investments and how fundraising itself is changing. Fun fact: Sequoia has made 10 investments over Zoom since the coronavirus pandemic forced us to stay at home.

The full conversation was broadcast on YouTube, and the embed appears below.

Side note: Extra Crunch Live is our new virtual speaker series for Extra Crunch members. Folks can ask their own questions live during the chat, with guests that include Aileen Lee, Kirsten Green, Mark Cuban and many, many more. You can check out the schedule here.

Below, you’ll find a lightly edited transcript of our recent chat with Botha. Enjoy!

The differences in fundraising based on stage

When you’re listening to a seed-stage company, it’s often about the story. The founders paint a vision of the future. That’s part of what I love about my job, by the way. You’re sitting there and you’re trying to imagine what the world is going to look like one day and whether this company is on the right side of history. Or is it implausible that this will happen? It’s so much fun to sit there and think about that. At the seed stage, it’s about the story.

As you get to a Series A or Series B stage, the company will definitely start to have some metrics: usage numbers, early adoption numbers. If it’s an enterprise company, what are people willing to pay for your product? You start to get a sense of the metrics that back up the story. If the metrics don’t support the story, then you start to wonder if that company makes sense. In the long run, you need to have financials that flow from the metrics. But that’s typically at a Series C or later stage. And clearly, by the time a company goes public, you need to have connected story to metrics to financials.

Startups – TechCrunch

[OurCrowd in Bleacher Report] NBA All-Star Turned Investor Michael Redd Finds Life Is More Than ‘Playing Ball’

Redd recently joined ADvantage Sports Tech Fund, a firm backed by the family of Adidas founder, Adi Dassler, and Israeli investment group OurCrowd with a goal to source and advance new sports analytics, technologies and development.

Read more here.

The post [OurCrowd in Bleacher Report] NBA All-Star Turned Investor Michael Redd Finds Life Is More Than ‘Playing Ball’ appeared first on OurCrowd.

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