Early stage European FinTech deals include Vauban, Pomelo Pay, Guuru etc. We feature Q&As with Marcus Polke of signals Venture Capital, Nicolas Christiaen of Cashforce and Konstantin Stiskin of Finom.
Scaling Enterprise FinTech: with Marcus Polke, signals Venture Capital
Samarth Shekhar: …it would be great to have for our readers a bit about yourself- both at work and at leisure.
Marcus Polke: Sure .I’m a tech industry guy who became VC 13 years ago, so I think I have a good view on both the operational and the financing side of things. I was one of the first people to work for Amazon here in Europe, then I ran all of AOL’s ecommerce businesses in Germany, and led a large marketplace business, all of their European operations. That marketplace business we sold to Amazon.com in 2008, and that’s when I switch the side of the table to the VC side of things, actually. Since then, I’m a technology investor. Two years ago, I joined signals VC and now run it together with my partner Christian Weniger.
Other than that, I’m a marathon runner, I’m a family man, a father of three, and I live between Munich and Berlin and invest across Europe.
Scaling Enterprise FinTech: Nicolas Christiaen of Cashforce
1. Give us the backstory- what were you up to before starting up, how did you get the founding idea?
In 2012 Nicolas Christiaen & Bart Claes sank their teeth into a mutual project dealing with Working Capital management at the company they were both working for. There the first spark of insight was deployed.
2. Who was your first customer, and how did the first sale come about?
We started with bootstrapping and consultative selling while looking for customers and working below price for references. Our first client was a paper manufacturer, the largest in Europe at the time.
7 Questions with Konstantin Stiskin of Finom
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
My name is Konstantin Stiskin, I have spent most of my career in the VC space in every available form – as an analyst, associate, as a director, partner, as an angel investor, advisor and co-founder. So it turned out that the area that attracted me most was FinTech, although I also have success stories in biotechnology and marketplaces. Besides, I play football, volleyball and chess.
London-based fintech company Vauban bags £1.6M to harness the potential of digital funds
Many fintech startups are drastically changing established practises and challenging incumbents across the financial service sector. Investment technology, a subset of fintech, is making reforms in investment management as the rise of investment into alternative assets as investors continue to seek higher yields.
Based out of London, Vauban is an investment services platform for launching alternative investment funds and vehicles. The company has raised £1.6 million in Seed funding from leading tech investors including Pi Labs, Kima Ventures, Westloop Ventures, Argonautic Ventures, and UFP Fintech.
Pomelo Pay Raises £2.1M in Funding
Pomelo Pay, a London, UK-based digital payments startup, secured £2.1m in seed funding.
The round was led by Force Over Mass.
The company intends to use the funds to grow its offering, expand its team and build on its international reach, which includes offices in London and Singapore, with an expanded presence in countries across Europe and Asia.
Led by Vincent Choi, CEO and Co-Founder, Pomelo Pay is a hardware-free digital payment service provider for businesses – from independent start-ups to multinationals – to take digital payments.
Guuru Raises $5M in Series A Extension Funding
GUURU Solutions Ltd, a Zurich, Switzerland-based SaaS customer service startup, raised $5M in a Series A extension funding.
The round, which brought total financing to $7.9m, was led by Spark Invest and joined by existing investors Investiere, EquityPitcher Ventures and Swiss Post Ventures.
The company intends to use the funds to double down on its expansion in Europe while continuing to invest in product development, particularly in its AI with human-in-theloop technology.
Led by CEO Tonio Meier, Guuru provides a SaaS platform which combines AI with human support to enable companies to leverage their community of experienced product users to help support seeking customers in real time as well as provide feedback of their chats to the SmartBot, accelerating its learning curve. Often repeated questions can therefore quickly be identified and automated.
Berlin-based Bitwala secures €15 million to expand its crypto services
Berlin-based crypto services startup Bitwala has announced another €15 million in funding after closing a €13 million Series A last year. The recent round was led by Earlybird, with participation from Coparion, Global Brain and other investors.
Founded in 2015 and dubbed a “bank for the blockchain economy”, the German company now reports having 150,000 customers across 32 countries and holding around €60 million in digital currencies for its clients. The fresh capital will help continue to grow the client base as well as launch new crypto services, such as a recurring purchase feature.
London-based fintech startup Primer secures €15.5 million Series A to scale up internationally
UK fintech startup Primer, the low-code payments infrastructure and online checkout API, today announces an approx.
€15.5 million Series A funding round led by Accel. Existing investors Balderton, SpeedInvest and Seedcamp also participated, and were joined in the round by RTP Global.
The investment brings Primer’s total funding to around €19.7 million, coming just weeks after the initial launch of the company’s platform, and 10 months since the company’s founding.
UK-based cybersecurity startup Glasswall raises £18 million from a number of heavy hitters
London-based cybersecurity tech company Glasswall has raised £18 million in additional equity capital to fuel its expansion. The UK company essentially protects organisations from file-based threats, specialising in what is known as CDR (‘content, disarm and reconstruction’) technology.
The round was led and corner-stoned by billionaire Icap founder (and recently turned Lord) Michael Spencer with a £9.5 million contribution, and joined by Ocado chairman Lord Rose, IHS Markit founder Lance Uggla (who is currently selling the business to S&P for $44 billion), as well as Stuart Rose and Andy Bell (from AJ Bell).
Tehtris Raises €20M in Series A Funding
Tehtris, a Paris, France-based provider of cybersecurity solutions, raised €20M in Series A funding.
Backers included Ace Management, Open CNP, the corporate venture fund of CNP Assurances, Nouvelle-Aquitaine Co-Investissement (NACO) and several business angels.
Founded in 2010 by Eléna Poincet and Laurent Oudot, Tehtris develops and delivers an XDR platform (eXtended Detection and Response) enabling real-time, automated detection and neutralization of known and unknown digital threats in corporate infrastructures. In response to new threats that bypass traditional security solutions, the products, algorithms, software robots, and artificial intelligence created by the company’s engineers are the core of its platform.
Amsterdam’s EclecticIQ closes €20 million Series C round
Dutch cybersecurity scale-up EclecticIQ has raised €20 million in Series C financing, led by Ace Management. Capricorn Digital Growth Fund and Quest for Growth joined the round, as did Invest-NL Capital, Arches Capital and existing investors INKEF Capital, KEEN Venture Partners and KPN ventures.
The Amsterdam company serves government entities and large enterprises, and hopes to expand both its global footprint as well as its product portfolio with the new investment.
Confident about its threat intelligence platform, EclecticIQ is looking toward ‘operationalising’ threat intelligence, a problem it says has not been solved in the market yet.
Danish BaaS startup Keepit ends 20-year-long bootstrapping streak; secures €25M
As the market for cloud solutions continues to grow, so does the requirement for cloud-based data protection and backup solutions. While the cloud providers offer uptime and data protection against intruders, they do not offer a built-in backup solution of the SaaS data.
This makes Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) a massive market as every end customer utilising a cloud solution needs third-party backup. Creating a backup of cloud data can be a tedious task, but Keepit offers a solution with its Backup-as-a-Service software.
MoneyConf / WebSummit, Online, 2-4 Dec. 2020 https://websummit.com/moneyconf
Female Founders Demo Day, 21 Jan. 2021 https://hopin.com/events/grow-f-demo-day-4
Finovate Europe, 23-25 Mar. 2021 https://informaconnect.com/finovateeurope/
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Opportunity Network https://www.opportunitynetwork.com/fintech-forum
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Finovate Europe https://informaconnect.com/finovateeurope/
FN FinTech 40 https://www.fnlondon.com