Q&As with AAZZUR and Arab Bank; Early stage European FinTech deals this week include Laka, Circula, Tumm, PennyLane, Moss, Descartes Underwriting and Wayflyer

European FinTech deals this week include Laka, Circula, Tumm, PennyLane, Moss, Descartes Underwriting and Wayflyer

We feature Q&As with Philipp Buschmann of AAZZUR and Hala Zahran of Arab Bank

If you are an early stage startup in Europe building the next big thing in FinTech, reach out to us: Frank Schwab or Samarth Shekhar.

 7 Questions with Philipp Buschmann of AAZZUR

1.Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and leisure.

I am an entrepreneur, a husband and passionate about fintech. At my first job at Razorfish I helped build trading tech for State Street Bank; as a strategy consultant I helped design the portal for online banking at Sparkasse and as an entrepreneur have helped lenders and challenger banks get launched.

My personal passion is cooking and snowboarding. One is good for the head (almost like a meditation) and the other is good at enjoyment and hurting myself on the slopes. These I think are natural Austrian hobbies: eat, drink and ski!

Questions with Hala Zahran of Arab Bank

1.Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.

I am an early stage investor focusing on FinTech primarily B2C in MENA and B2B globally. I also spend a lot of time thinking and reading about the future of finance and ways technology can close the wealth gap across the globe and improve lives. I am a strong believer in the power of many, and the depth and breadth of the impact collaborative ecosystems and communities can have. I seek such opportunities

UK’s mobility insurtech startup Laka secures €10.6M from Ponooc, ABN AMRO, others

London-based Laka, a peer-to-peer bicycle insurance platform that insures bicycles and cycling equipment against theft or damage, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $12M (approx €10.6M) in its Series A round of funding. Prior to this, the company had raised €4.29M in funding, in February 2020.

According to a statement, the e-mobility sector is set to grow further as consumers and commercial businesses turn to cleaner forms of transport. With 19 per cent of commuters now likely to cycle to work after the lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the retail mobility market has a strong growth outlook. Laka aims to capitalise on this year-on-year sector growth.

Berlin-based employee finance app, Circula, scores €12 million and plans international expansion

SaaS fintech startup Circula has today announced the close of a €12 million funding round for its employee finance app that is bringing more time and money to employees. The funding includes participation from ALSTIN Capital, Peak, and Storm Ventures.  Existing investors Capnamic, Main Incubator and WENVEST Capital are also participating again. 

The Berlin-based startup offers companies a comprehensive employee finance app that can be used by employees to digitally process expenses (e.g allowance and travel costs), and use employee benefits in a tax-compliant manner.  It also provides employees with corporate credit cards with real credit lines, cashback and real-time statements, seamlessly integrated with Circula workflows.

Founded in 2017, Circula offers mid-sized and large companies alike a consolidated platform for managing expenses, credit card payments and corporate benefits in the areas that are important to every employee: meals, mobility and home office. The product reflects the current changes in the working world: simplicity, automation and appreciation are not only reflected in the expectations for modern products but also for employee experiences.

Tuum Raises €15M in Series A Funding

Tuum, a Tallinn, Estonia-based core banking platform, raised €15m in Series A funding.

The round was led by Portage Ventures joined by existing investors Blackfin Capital Partners and Karma Ventures.

The company intends to use the funds to continue investing in product innovation and support global growth, focusing initially on strengthening its EU and UK presence, and to make investment in its team, projecting to double the team to 140 employees by the end of 2022. 

The new funding announcement follows a robust year of growth, with Tuum’s contracted annual recurring revenue increasing more than 3 times in 2021 compared to the previous year. 

Founded in 2019 and led by CEO Vilve Vene, Tuum is a next-generation core banking technology provider. Its API-first, cloud-agnostic and highly configurable banking platform covers all retail and business banking processes, allowing banks, fintech startups or even non-financial companies to easily roll out customer-centric financial solutions. The modularity aspect enables each company to pick and choose the exact capabilities they wish to start with and always add additional ones in the future.

French fintech Pennylane raises €50 million to accelerate expansion of its financial OS for European SMBs and accounting firms

Launched in 2020, Pennylane is continuing its journey of fast-paced growth with a fresh funding boost of €50 million just secured. The company wants to become the leading financial OS on the European market, enabling thousands of small businesses to centralize their financial management in a single tool. 

This latest round of funding for the Parisian fintech comes from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Global Founders Capital and Partech and will make Pennyland one of the only platforms combining a complete software solution for accountants and a financial management tool for VSEs/SMEs.

Since raising €15 million last year, the French startup has seen incredible progress in its mission to help companies regain control of their finances. We also reckoned they were one to watch last year.  Over the past few months, it has built and delivered a unique solution to the market: a platform that combines a complete software solution for accountants and management and a decision-making tool for company managers. Pennylane also provides small and medium-sized businesses with the ability to manage their cash flow, pay their clients, use numerous integrations, and exchange information with their accountants in real-time.

The company now has 180 employees representing 20 nationalities, with a plan to grow to 500 employees by the end of the year, creating one of the largest tech teams seen in the European account-tech industry. To drive this recruitment effort they have a 15 person talent team and crucially they operate as remote-first throughout Europe for their technical team. With almost half of the developers recruited in 2021  located in Spain, Germany or Romania, Pennylane has developed a highly successful remote-first working culture.

German fintech start-up Moss secures $86m Series B funding at $573m valuation

Berlin-based spend management start-up Moss has raised €75 million ($86 million) in Series B financing.

Moss has raised around $149m in total funding

The round was led by US VC firm Tiger Global with participation from A-Star and comes just six months after a $29 million Series A extension round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.

The firm says it has doubled the size of its team and quadrupled its number of customers in the months since its last round.

Moss has now raised around €130 million ($149 million) in total funding, and this latest cash injection takes the company’s valuation to over €500 million ($573 million).

The start-up offers corporate credit cards and spend management software for start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Moss claims to have dished out more than 20,000 physical and virtual credit cards since its launch in 2020, processing more than 250,000 transactions.

Initially only available in Germany, the fintech expanded its services to the Netherlands last year, and now has its eyes set on further growth into the UK market.

The firm says it plans to launch in the UK in the “next few months”, with other markets set to follow “later this year”.

Moss adds the new funds will also be used for further product development, with a focus on “spend controlling, liquidity planning and accounting automation”, as well as expanding its team “significantly” in the areas of product, technology, marketing and sales.

Index-based insurance provider Descartes Underwriting triggers $120 million in new funding

Parisian insurtech Descartes Underwriting has raised $120 million in a Series B funding round. The company is specifically helping corporate customers mitigate their exposure to climate-related and emerging risks through a number of parametric insurance products. The new funding will be used to further develop its technology platform, expand new business verticals, and continue global expansion plans. Since 2019, Descartes Underwriting has raised a total of $122.8 million.

According to a 2019 report from the UN’s International Labour Organization, “80 million jobs would be at risk if rising temperature predictions materialize, with productivity impacted by unlivable working environments.” Couple that with a Nature report that noted, “the U.S. alone could lose $520 billion across 22 sectors due to global temperature rise,” and connecting the dots begins to become a much easier exercise.

Taking on one of the insurance industry’s traditional methods, catastrophe (CAT) risk modeling, Descartes Underwriting is leveraging new data sources and fusing them with a host of AI algorithms to provide what they refer to as a “product offering which covers the full spectrum of natural catastrophes and emerging risk exposures.”

Working in tandem with corporate brokers Descartes Underwriting and its team of 50 engineers and data scientists, offer over 200 corporate clients, many in the Fortune 500, fully tailored insurance solutions to provide adequate insurances in a rapidly changing environment, both physically and on the markets.

Revenue-based financing platform Wayflyer brings in $150 million, now at $1.6 billion valuation

Dublin-based revenue-based financing platform Wayflyer has raised $150 million in an all-equity Series B funding round, and in doing so, joins the unicorn club at a $1.6 billion valuation. A portion of the funding is slated to be used to double the startups’ headcount to a robust 500+ staff within the next six to nine months, as well as increase the amount of capital it is able to provide to qualified clients. Since October of 2020 Wayflyer has raised approximately $336 million.

Wayflyer is now the sixth home-grown unicorn for the Emerald Isle, and the fastest to achieve unicorn status, having garnered the title in just 2.5 years.

Much like their competitors, Wayflyer provides non-dilutive, revenue-based debt funding to fledgling companies, and in the case of e-commerce, paves the way for the advanced purchasing of inventory. I.e. working capital.

Having only gone live in April of 2020, Wayflyer has distributed over $500 million to qualified businesses, with 2021’s year-over-year number rising a staggering 900 percent, and typically issues a ticket size ranging between $10,000 and $20 million. The company counts a healthy 800 customers across 11 countries and has a staff of approximately 250 working from Dublin, London, New York, Atlanta, and Sydney.

BitMEX’s Acquisition of Bankhaus von der Heydt is Another Step in the Rehabilitation of the Crypto Trading Platform

Last week, BitMEX announced its intent to acquire Bankhaus von der Heydt. The deal is actually structured so that BXM Operations AG, founded by BitMEX CEO  Alexander Höptner and CFO Stephan Lutz, will acquire the bank located in Munich, Germany. While the purchase is subject to the standard approvals of BaFin, the acquisition should propel BitMEX forward in its quest to offer a regulatory compliant crypto exchange operating in Europe. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 1745, Bankhaus von der Heydt has been open to Fintech innovation. Last fall, the privately-owned bank announced a partnership with Fireblocks to expand into digital assets and provide crypto custody.

For BitMEX, it aims to offer a single location for regulated crypto in Europe, and around the world,  starting with DACH countries.

Focusing on European marketplace startups, DutchFounders close second fund at €62 million

Amsterdam-based DutchFounders has announced the close of their second fund at €62 million, a figure nearly quadruple the first fund which clocked in at €16.7 million. The boutique firm places a specialist emphasis on supporting European marketplace platforms, with 70% of its pre-seed and seed-stage funding reserved specifically for this geography.

While DutchFounders is reaffirming its commitment to marketplace platforms, with this iteration, supply chain services, including technologies that enable frictionless transactions, such as fintech solutions or web3 applications, are at the top of the list.

DutchFounders, or Dutch Founders Fund, was established in the late summer of 2018 and consists of a cooperative that includes ​​successful Dutch entrepreneurs Laurens Groenendijk (Just Eat, Treatwell, Miinto, Hiber), Patrick Kerssemakers (fonQ), Bas Beerens (WeTransfer), Hidde Hoogcarspel (Spacebuzz) and Remco van Zanten (, Zalando, Vinted and BCG).

“Besides efficiency gains, a marketplace allows for a more equitable distribution of resources. Not so long ago, the rules were set by the dominant player. Now, people can track their orders, compare reviews, and bargain for a better price, which has created a level playing field for both supply and demand,” elaborated Groenendijk.


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