European FinTech deals this week include Timeless, Pomelo and Thought Machine.
We feature Q&As with Korbinian Spann of Insaas.ai and Semih Kacan of Swisscom Ventures.
If you are an early stage startup in Europe building the next big thing in FinTech, reach out to Frank Schwab or Samarth Shekhar
7 Questions with Korbinian Spann of Insaas.ai
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
My name is Korbinian, I’m the founder and managing director of Insaas.ai. Our company and I are based in Munich, Germany. I have one son, live in the countryside and love sports like cycling, sailing, running and hiking. As Insaas.ai is a remote-first team, I´m used to working with my team every day via Zoom, Slack and Google. I love being an entrepreneur and work in a team on difficult problems. The understanding and processing of languages is my favorite topic since my studies (Arabic, Hebrew). I enjoy digital marketing and communication, as an expert and as a lecturer at Steinbeis SMI. I’m open minded, curious, and full of positive energy.
7 Questions with Semih Kacan of Swisscom Ventures
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
My name is Semih Kacan, and I am Investment Manager at Swisscom Ventures. I’ve joined Swisscom Ventures at the beginning of 2021 to strengthen the Fintech and Blockchain allocation in the portfolio. Prior to Swisscom Ventures I spent over 10 years in Strategy Consulting, Corporate Strategy, Business Development and Asset Management at Credit Suisse, BearingPoint and Haspa before I co-founded and successfully exited my venture in Zurich. I hold a Master Degree in Corporate Finance from Henley Business School.
I enjoy the time with friends and family and a cup of coffee on sunny days at the beautiful Zurich Lake but also like reading books and watching videos to educate myself about upcoming trends/technologies.
German NFT pioneer Timeless receives twelve million euros
In Europe, a winner has already been determined: Within a short time, the football card startup Sorare has grown into a billion-dollar company. There was a real competition between the prominent financiers to be allowed to invest in the NFT company. German footballers such as André Schürrle or Oliver Bierhoff joined in, the main investor in an early round of financing was Headline (formerly Eventures) and the community has also arrived in Germany, which trades with the football cards on the blockchain. The hyped company is only based in Paris.
While fintechs around the hype topic of non-fungible tokens – NFT for short – are booming, especially in the USA, it was surprisingly quiet in Germany in particular. Despite Berlin’s bustling crypto scene, the big breakthrough has so far failed to material materially.
Now there is a first market signal that a larger player could emerge: Timeless from Berlin secures twelve million euros. The Swedish financier EQT has invested nine million euros, with a further three million coming from existing investors such as Porsche Ventures or EOS VC as well as La Roca Capital.
EQT Ventures, headquartered in Sweden is the venture capital arm of the Swedish company EQT Partners. EQT Ventures deploys a multi-stage, sector-agnostic strategy, making equity investments from €1 to €75 million in start-ups and scale-ups across Europe and the US.
Pomelo Pay Raises US$10M in Series A Funding
Pomelo Pay, a London, UK-based digital payments company, raised US$10m in Series A funding.
The round was led by Inference Partners.
The company intends to use the funds to expand its presence across global markets including Europe and Asia, starting with plans to double their workforce in London, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.
Launched in 2018 in the UK and Singapore and led by Vincent Choi, CEO, Pomelo is an innovative digital payments service provider that allows businesses to take payments from anyone, in any location (physical or digital), at a low cost and without the need for hardware. The company provides an integration with over 30 payment networks globally. Its payments platform is also used by banks and non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) for an improved acquiring experience, enabling them to offer a broad suite of payment acceptance solutions to their end customers.
Inference Partners is an independent technology investment firm exclusively focused on early-stage infrastructure software investments.
Thought Machine Raises $200M in Series C Funding
Thought Machine, a London, UK-based cloud native core banking technology company, closed $200m Series C funding round.
This round, which saw the company achieve unicorn status, was led by Nyca Partners, with participation from ING Ventures, JPMorgan Chase, and Standard Chartered Ventures, Lloyds Banking Group, British Patient Capital, Eurazeo, SEB, Molten Ventures (formerly Draper Esprit), Backed, and IQ Capital.
The company intends to use the funds to continue developing and expanding Vault and its Universal Product Engine, expand its international reach, strengthening its five global offices and targeting new key markets to accelerate the adoption of cloud native core banking globally.
Nyca is a New York based fintech venture capital firm focused on connecting innovative companies to the global financial system. With over $500 million under management and investments in more than 80 portfolio companies, Nyca is one of the premier fintech venture capital firms in the world.
Luxembourg-based Banking Circle acquires London-based B4B Payments to streamline payment infrastructure
Luxembourg-based Banking Circle, a financial infrastructure provider built for payments businesses and banks, has announced the acquisition of London-based B4B Payments, a company that specialises in smart corporate payments and card solutions for businesses.
The deal is currently going through the regulatory approval process. After closing the acquisition, B4B Payments will operate as an independent sister company of Banking Circle.
Founded in 2006 by Paul Swinton and Rob Anderson, B4B Payments (formerly Payment Card Solutions) is a fintech company that offers payment processing solutions for businesses to manage expenses, simplify payroll, reimbursements, and offer employee rewards and incentives.
Introducing Partech Growth II, the $750M Fund Dedicated to European Scale-Ups
Back in 2016, we were thrilled to announce the final closing of our first $440M Growth fund, a true pioneer in its asset class. We made our initial investments in leading companies such as Amboss, M-Files, NA-KD, Sendinblue, and Ecovadis. We helped the likes of MADE.com navigate the journey to IPO; and supported Brandwatch, through a $450M acquisition, finding a larger platform in Cision to help achieve its mission.
It’s been a rewarding journey to say the least, and today we get to celebrate another milestone as we mark the closing of Partech Growth II. The debut of the sequel!
German VC Greenfield One Raises $160M Crypto Fund With Backing From Swisscom, Others
Berlin-based venture capital (VC) firm Greenfield One has raised a $160 million (142 million euros) fund from telecom giant Swisscom, Galaxy Digital and others, to invest in crypto projects, according to a press release shared with CoinDesk.
Greenfield One’s third fund is likely one of the largest crypto funds in Europe to date. Fabric Ventures’ $130 million fund, which was announced earlier this year, was previously thought to be one of the largest European crypto funds.
German media giant Bertelsmann also invested in the $160 million fund. Bertelsmann had invested in Greenfield One’s second fund, which had a target volume of $56 million (50 million euros).
Other investors include Hamburg-based family office Lennertz & Co., Frankfurt-based VC CommerzVentures, and Barcelona-based fund of funds Aldea Ventures. All investors in the fund come from the private sector.
Estonia’s Karma Ventures brings in €100 million to continue backing European deeptech
Tallinn-based Karma Ventures has closed its second fund with a hard cap at €100 million. The firm will use the capital to continue backing the most promising early-stage European deeptech startups in Seed and Series A rounds, with a ticket size ranging up to €5 million.
Led by Tommi Uhari, Margus Uudam, and Kristjan Laanemaa, the trio has over a decade of experience both working with, and investing in deeptech startups with a number of successful exits to SAP, Dynatrace, and Splunk, to name a few.
The firm’s second fund is backed by Baltic Innovation Fund 2 (BIF 2), an initiative created by cooperation between the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania and European Investment Fund, the founding engineers of Skype, Jaan Tallinn and Ahti Heinla (currently at Starship Technologies), Till Quack (Qualcomm, Apple, Mapillary), Jani Huoponen (Google) and Sergei Anikin (CTO at Pipedrive). They join longstanding investors Isomer, Skype founder’s investment company ASI and the pension funds of Swedbank and LHV.
Apply to South Summit, Madrid’s Startup Competition
South Summit (Madrid, June 8th-10th, 2022) is a three-day event that supports entrepreneurship and innovation. It is where startups, investors and corporations come together to share ideas, form alliances, and shape the future. This year’s edition of the Startup Competition welcomes projects from any industry, development stage and country. Apply before February 28th to become one of our 100 finalists and get free tickets, a 3min pitch on stage, networking with our partners and investors, media coverage, mentoring, demo stand and more!
Read more (www.southsummit.co/startup-
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