Investors in early stage European FinTech deals this week include Adevinta Ventures (Lovys.fr), Cavalry and Stride (WhenThen), Felix Capital (Peppy) etc. We feature Q&As with Artur Banach of Movens Venture Capital and Dr. Christopher Oster of Clark.
Scaling Enterprise FinTech: with Artur Banach of Movens Venture Capital
1. A year since the first lockdowns- is this is a good time to be building or scaling an Enterprise FinTech (/ InsurTech) firm in Europe?
In the first stage of the fight against COVID-19, the most pressing problem was dealing with the current uncertainty. Many fintech companies, like the rest of the financial system, have even begun to overreact to the crisis. Many of them, including insurtech and proptech companies, have implemented cost-saving measures, including staff reductions. Since many of them rely on transactions and volume for revenue, a priority strategy has been to make sure that as much as possible is variable and fixed expenses are minimized.
In Europe and the fintech sector remains one of the most important areas of innovation across the continent, particularly in large countries such as the UK, Germany and France. It can be seen that the above trends are generally positive for fintech innovators. Total VC investment in 2020 in fintech companies was slightly higher than in 2019, with scaleups rather than early-stage startups being the source of growth. Against this background, Polish fintech scalups and startups still have a lot of catching up to do, but I’m sure that in a few years from a group of companies such as Verestro, Nethone, Creamfinance, CashDirector, Fenige.com, Autenti, Symmetrical.ai or Uncapped will grow into important players in Europe.
Scaling Enterprise FinTech: with Dr. Christopher Oster of Clark
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
My name is Christopher Oster and I am the founder and CEO of CLARK, a leading digital insurance manager. Our CLARK app makes it easier, simpler, and faster for consumers to manage their insurances – all in one central app where changes can be done with just a few clicks. Additionally, insurance experts are available for an in-depth consultation via in-app chat, mail, or phone. Since CLARK’s founding in 2015, we have served over 300,000 satisfied customers. More than 250 employees from over 40 nations work from our offices in Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna, and Püttlingen. Before founding CLARK, I was COO of the vacation rental marketplace Wimdu and led its operations and international expansion. I also spent several years with the Boston Consulting Group as a consultant for companies in the financial sector.
The above interviews are part of Scaling Enterprise FinTech | The Handbook, featuring Q&As on the journey to scale, lessons learnt etc. with 16 founders and 10 leading investors.
Adevinta Ventures makes first investment in France-based digital insurance provider Lovys.fr
Founded in 2017, Lovys has recently expanded to Spain and Portugal and planned to reach 100,000 policyholders across Europe by this yearend.This is the first investment of Adevinta Ventures in fintech and insurtech sector and in France, Adevinta said in a statement.
Adevinta Ventures has so far invested in Spain-based car subscription startup BipiCar, Germany-based healthcare jobs search engine MedWing, Flatfair, a home rental service in the U.K., Germany-based RV-sharing site PaulCamper.com, and Finland-based real estate marketplace Kodit.
European venture capital firms Cavalry and Stride invest in WhenThen
The company is led by Kirk Donohoe, who previously served as vice-president for product innovation at Mastercard in Dublin. His other co-founders are Eamon Doyle and Dave Brown, who also formerly worked at what is the second-largest payments company globally.
European venture capital firms Cavalry and Stride.VC have co-led the investment for the company, which was founded only six months ago.
Cavalry is a Berlin-based early-stage Venture Capital fund whose recent investments include VoiceLine and Aleph Alpha.
Felix Capital invests €8.8 million in Peppy
Peppy was founded in London in 2018 by co-founders Evan Harris, Max Landry, and Mridula Pore, with a mission to plug some of the biggest gaps in healthcare that occur during major life and family transitions – menopause, fertility, pregnancy and early parenthood.
The investment was led by Felix Capital with previous investors including Outward VC, Seedcamp, and Hambro Perks, also participating.
Felix Capital is a venture fund that focuses on digital commerce, digital media, and information technology companies whose recent investments include YOOBIC and Ledger.
Jazz Venture Partners and Temasek invest $90M in Woebot
Headquartered in San Francisco, Woebot was founded by University College Dublin graduate Dr Alison Darcy. Digital treatment development caught her eye when she studied psychology at the university in the late 1990s.
Darcy went on to found Woebot in 2017. Using the power of AI, the company developed a chatbot that attempts to create a therapeutic bond with users and help them learn strategies to improve their mental health.
The company’s latest investment round was co-led by San Francisco-based Jazz Venture Partners and Singapore-based Temasek. The round also saw participation from VC firms BlackRock and Owl Ventures, among others.
Jazz Venture Partners is a venture capital firm focused on technologies that extend the boundaries of human performance whose recent investments include Thrive Global and Zeitworks.
General Atlantic, Index Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures invest €160M in Spendesk
Founded in 2016 by Rodolphe Ardant, Guilhem Bellion and Jordane Giuly within French startup studio eFounders, and also led by recently appointed CPO James Colgan, Spendesk is a SaaS spend management solution that provides visibility and control on all company spending — with every purchase trackable to a person, a project, and a budget. The platform combines payments, processes and data into one dashboard, with virtual and physical cards for employees, expense reimbursements, invoice management, automated spend approvals, and budgets.
The round, which brought total funding to €160M, was led by General Atlantic with participation from previous investors Index Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures.
General Atlantic is a global growth equity firm providing capital and strategic support for growth companies whose recent investments include Atera and Dixa.
Goldman Sachs Asset Management and DMG Ventures invest $200M in Zilch
Led by Philip Belamant, Founder and CEO, Zilch is a FCA regulated buy now, pay later lender that allows its customers to shop wherever MasterCard is accepted and spread their payment over six weeks for zero interest and zero fees. This funding follows a series of announcements from the company, including its latest feature, Tap and Pay-over-time.
Funding – which brings the total raised to more than $200M – came from Goldman Sachs Asset Management and DMG Ventures (the venture capital arm of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc) and others.
Temasek among other investors invest $180M in Soldo
Founded in 2015, Soldo serves more than 26,000 customers including Mercedes Benz, GetYourGuide, Gymshark, Bauli, and Brooks Running in over 30 countries around the globe.
“Traditionally, corporate payments have had a handful of methods: bank transfers, corporate credit cards. Each of these methods bring a unique set of administrative hassles and security risks. And, of course, once the transactions are complete, there is a haze of receipts, expense reports, reimbursements, budgets, and analysis – none of which is connected. Soldo is the digital solution to this incredibly costly challenge,” explains CEO and founder Carlo Gualandri.
The round was led by industry heavyweight Temasek, and saw new investors Sunley House Capital, and Citi Ventures jump aboard. The round also saw continued backing from Accel, Battery Ventures, Dawn Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank for debt financing.
Decisive Capital Management leads investment in Solarisbank
Solarisbank, a Berlin startup that provides a range of financial services by way of some 180 APIs that others use to build end-user-facing products (including basic banking and card services, lending, payments, and know-your-customer services) has raised €190 million ($224 million) in a Series D that values the company at €1.4 billion ($1.65 billion) and announced the acquisition of one of its competitors in the space, Contis.
Decisive Capital Management, a Swiss firm that has also backed insurtech startup Wefox, led the round, with Pathway Capital Management, CNP (Groupe Frère) and Ilavska Vuillermoz Capital also participating, in addition to and previous backers Yabeo Capital, BBVA, Vulcan Capital and HV Capital.
Decisive is a wealth advisor that provides services to high net worth individuals, families, and institutional investors whose recent investments includes wefox.
110-Millionen-Exit in Mannheim: Klarna kauft Stocard
Der schwedische Payment-Anbieter Klarna, das wertvollste Finanz-Startup Europas, will seine Shopping-App ausbauen. Dazu kauft Fintech das Mannheimer Kundenkarten-Startup Stocard, wie Finance Forward zuerst berichtete. Die Kaufsumme soll demnach nach Angaben aus dem Unternehmensumfeld 110 Millionen Euro betragen und jeweils zur Hälfte in Bargeld und in Form von Klarna-Anteilen geflossen sein. Beide Seiten wollten den Deal bislang nicht bestätigen.
Money2020 Europe: 21-24 Sep. in Amsterdam
Radical change requires a radical catalyst. Fintech has a big journey to go on, and Money20/20 Europe is here to help you take the first big leap into the unknown.
This is the only place where the whole community, from payments to banking to retail to regulation and beyond, comes together to make the decisions that shape the future.
This September, get ready for a reimagined Money20/20 Europe experience that puts you in the driving seat. The conversations that take place here will decide our collective trajectory.
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Money2020 Europe, 21-24 Sep. 2021, Amsterdam
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Web Summit, 1-4 Nov. 2021, Lisbon
FinTech Forum, 18 Nov. 2021, Frankfurt
Slush, 1-2 Dec. 2021, Helsinki
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