Investors in early stage European FinTech deals this week include Manuel Neuer (Votebase), LocalGlobe (Vira Health), Pinorena Capital (Darwinex).etc. We feature Q&As with Samuel Falmagne of Akur8 and Matilde Limbert of BiG Start Ventures.
Scaling Enterprise FinTech: with Samuel Falmagne of Akur8
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
I’m Samuel, CEO of Akur8. I started my career at IBM, where I spent 15 years in various international sales and sales management positions before joining Insurtech Shift Technology as Head of Sales. At Shift, I drove the internationalization of the company, including in the US. After 2 years at Shift, I decided to take on a genuine entrepreneurial adventure and joined Guillaume, our Chief Actuary, and co-founded Akur8.
Akur8 is a cloud-based B2B Insurtech, automating the rate-making process thanks to proprietary algorithms powered by Transparent-AI, while enabling to retain complete control over the process and the output.
Scaling Enterprise FinTech: with Matilde Limbert of BiG Start Ventures
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?
As a preamble, let me point out that it’s never a one-line straight answer.
From what we’ve seen, the initial effect that lockdowns have caused in many sectors, including the Financial sector, was a freeze. With huge uncertainty as to what the future was holding for the global and local economies, no one was daring to move – projects were frozen, budgets were frozen and openness to Fintech/Insurtech solutions was not a priority. Very soon we watched the situation reverse, especially for enterprise solutions in cases where these were the key to enable the digital presence of organizations, thus its perseverance through a lockdown.
I believe this push towards digitization has led to a higher degree of trust on the potential of these ‘technological commers’ which are responding to unique challenges in each sub-vertical, as solutions such as digital financial services, ecommerce, cyberinsurance, among others, gained huge relevance and spotlight, but also as technology enables to create and seize new opportunities. Urgency has led to greater adoption, which in turn has led enterprises to realize the real and living need of financial technology and the potential of partnerships and collaborations.
I believe it is undoubtedly a delicate time for Europe, from which the Financial Sector will not be exempt. But I also believe that Fintech, being a catalyzer for adaptability and innovation, will be crucial in the transformation we are facing ahead not only in the Financial Industry, but any industry that somehow uses Financial Services.
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.
Manuel Neuer beteiligt sich an Blockchain-Startup Votebase
Das Startup entwickelt eine Blockchain-basierte App für Wahlen. Durch das dezentrale Speichern von Daten soll die Technologie mehr Schutz vor Manipulationen bieten als herkömmliche Datenbanken. „In Ländern, in denen den Bürgern Wahlen physisch nicht oder nur schwer möglich sind, wird Votebase eine große Hilfe sein“, so hofft Neu-Investor Neuer. Bei der Votebase-App sollen Personen einerseits beim Login eindeutig verifiziert werden können.
Der Nationaltorwart Manuel Neuer steigt bei dem Blockchain-Startup Votebase ein. Neben Neuer beteiligten sich außerdem der Rose-Bikes-Geschäftsführer Marcus Diekmann und der Shopware-Gründer Stefan Hammann an der Firma aus Bergisch-Gladbach. Jeder der drei Angels hält nun jeweils zehn Prozent der Firmenanteile an Votebase. Wie hoch die Finanzierungsrunde war, dazu machte das Unternehmen keine Angaben.
LocalGlobe, MMC Ventures and other angel investors invest £1.5M in Vira Health
Founded in 2020 by Andrea Berchowitz and Rebecca Love, Vira Health aims to make personalized menopause care accessible to all women by reducing the prevalence of later life conditions such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. Stella, the first product from the company, is a personalised app for menopause relief.
Backers included LocalGlobe, MMC Ventures, and angel investors including Megumi Ikeda, Managing Director, Hearst Ventures, Andrea Zitna of Elvie, former Spotify executive Sofia Bendz, founder of GoCardless Matt Robinson, and Simon Lambert, former CTO, MOO.com, and Treatwell.
Founded in 1999, LocalGlobe is a venture capital investment firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom whose recent investments include Supercritical and Tide.
Pinorena Capital invests €3 million in Darwinex
Darwinex has recently launched trading in over 60 futures and all US single stocks across Trader Workstation (TWS) platform, in an effort to offer a higher quality product range and access to diversified markets. Darwinex unique front-to-back Fintech solution enables successful traders and small to medium-sized hedge funds to easily convert its trading strategies into investable assets. A one-of-a-kind product that serves as a tool for successful traders to scale their income and gain access to external investor capital, everything within Darwinex robust legal and technological ecosystem.
Leading investors in the round were Stefan Jaecklin and Pinorena Capital who were joined by Darwinex co-founders and a number of key employees in the company. Pinorena Capital, a fintech-focused investment company led by entrepreneur Illimar Mattus, has contributed with this first investment to supporting Darwinex expansion journey.
Pinorena Capital invests in great Fintech companies founded by passionate engineers and entrepreneurs.
Angel investors invest £4.2m in Venari Security
Led by CEO Tom Millar, Chief Revenue Officer Hiten Mistry, and Chief Technology Officer Simon Mullis, Venari provides a SaaS cybersecurity platform uses a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and behavioural analytics to accurately detect threats on the network in near real-time, without the need for decryption. This reduces the response time of security teams and enables them to proactive respond to threats rather than react to events, while delivering internal and regulatory compliance for organisations.
- Paddy McGuinness, the UK’s former Deputy National Security Adviser for Intelligence, Security and Resilience;
- Lane Bess, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Palo Alto Networks; and
- Cris Conde, former Chief Executive Officer of Sungard.
Accel and other Investors invest €12.8 million in Tenderly
Founded in 2018, Tenderly’s platform offers a number of functionalities for Ethereum developers, becoming an essential part of their’ developer toolbox’ – for monitoring Ethereum smart contracts, real-time alerting, smart contract simulations, troubleshooting or for more complex custom integrations.
This round was led by Accel, with participation from existing investors and new angel investors, including Nicolas Dessaigne (Co-founder of Algolia), Mirko Novakovic (Co-founder of Instana) and Guillermo Rauch (CEO of Vercel).
Accel is an early and growth-stage venture capital firm that helps a global community of entrepreneurs whose recent investments include Fashinza and Algolia.
JME Ventures and other Investors invest €13.8 million in revenue-based growth capital provider Ritmo
Founded in late 2020, Ritmo is aiming to be at the heart of the growth of digital-only businesses. The company currently offers support to e-commerce, D2C, and marketplace entrepreneurs, with apps and games makers, SaaS platforms, and subscription model-based businesses on the horizon.
By offering recurring revenue-based financing, Ritmo is providing these retailers with access to growth capital that is calculated based on sales numbers. The financing is then repaid through a percentage of monthly sales. Realising that some months are better than others, should a seller’s sales take a dive, Ritmo will extend the repayment period.
Back in April of this year, Ritmo announced a €3 million seed round from investors FinRebel, JME Ventures, Inveready, and Sabadell Venture Capital. The €10.8 million is an extension round, with the firm listing Bynd Venture Capital and Wayra, and “a few” international investors also participating.
JME Venture Capital focuses on late seed and series A of Spanish companies with a technological base whose recent investments include DudyFit and Atani.
Paulsen & Co. Inc. invests £15M in Smart Money FinTech App Snoop
Snoop leverages Open Banking tech in order to connect to a client’s bank account as well as their credit cards, sifting through the data in order to identify “money-saving opportunities” on bad deals, poor value renewals as well as useless subscription plans.
The Norwich-headquartered company reports that it has managed to deliver more than 3 million money-saving and money-management insights to its clients and intends to save the average household approximately £1,500 every year.
Snoop’s most-recent funding has been announced after its £10 million crowdfunded raise in December of last year. Snoop has now secured a total of £34 million, to date.
Established by ex- Virgin Money Chief Executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the smart money app Snoop closed its Series A round with contributions from US investment management company Paulson & Co. Inc.
Paulson & Co is an investment management firm specializing in event-driven arbitrage strategies and including merger whose recent investments include BookKeeping Express and Overseas Shipholding Group.
European Investment Fund puts $30M in Fabric Ventures’ new $130M digital assets fund
This makes it the first EIF-backed fund mandated to invest in digital assets and blockchain technology.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with Fabric Ventures to bring to the European market this fund specializing in Blockchain technologies,” EIF Chief Executive Alain Godard said. “This partnership seeks to address the need [in Europe] and unlock financing opportunities for entrepreneurs active in the field of blockchain technologies — a field of particular strategic importance for the EU and our competitiveness on the global stage.”
Fabric Ventures, a Luxembourg-based VC billed as backing the “open economy,” has closed $130 million for its 2021 fund, $30 million of which is coming from the European Investment Fund (EIF). Other backers of the new fund include 33 founders, partners and executives from Ethereum, (Transfer)Wise, PayPal, Square, Google, PayU, Ledger, Raisin, Ebury, PPRO, NEAR, Felix Capital, LocalGlobe, Earlybird, Accelerator Ventures, Aztec Protocol, Raisin, Aragon, Orchid, MySQL, Verifone, OpenOcean, Claret Capital and more.
EIF was founded in 1994 to support Europe’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by enhancing their access to finance whose recent investments include Evologic and AGRIVI.
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.
Buy your pass: https://bit.ly/2TjdoEQ
Meet us at:
Money2020 Europe, 21-24 Sep. 2021, Amsterdam
South Summit, 5-7 Oct. 2021, Madrid
Web Summit, 1-4 Nov. 2021, Lisbon
FinTech Forum, 18 Nov. 2021, Frankfurt
Slush, 1-2 Dec. 2021, Helsinki
Meet Our Partners:
Opportunity Network https://www.opportunitynetwork.com/fintech-forum
Money2020 Europe https://europe.money2020.com
InsurTech Insights https://insurtechinsights.com
Finovate Europe https://informaconnect.com/finovateeurope/
FN FinTech 40 https://www.fnlondon.com