European FinTech deals this week include Billhop, Vivid, Silvr and Selina Finance
We feature Q&As with Matti Rönkkö of Cooler Future and Semih Kacan of Swisscom Ventures
7 Questions with Matti Rönkkö of Cooler Future
1.Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and leisure.
I’m a born and raised Finn but have done most of my career outside of Finland. I am not good at anything, so I have big hopes that soon generalists will be in demand. I am a nature lover; the thicker the forest and the more snow there is, the more I enjoy it.
My career I have built mainly on building and scaling companies. I love the excitement of building something from scratch. In the last few years I have thought a lot about my personal values and the topic of climate change and I decided back in the end of 2017 to make a switch to focus on ways to create a positive impact. That led us into founding Cooler Future back in 2019, to use the skills we have hopefully developed over the years for creating positive climate impact.
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.
Billhop Raises €10.5M in Funding
Billhop, a Stockholm, Sweden-based B2B payments platform, raised €10.5m in funding.
The round was led by EQT Ventures.
The company intends to use the funds for hiring, customer acquisition, and geographical expansion.
Co-founded by Sebastian Andreescu (CEO), Erik Malm (CTO) and Ingemar Sjögren (CFO), Billhop enables businesses to pay supplier invoices using existing cards, regardless of the suppliers’ payment stack, and allow the, to optimize working capital and gain process efficiencies.
The solution manages the complete payment process without having to onboard the end recipient, who is paid through a bank-to-bank transfer, removing barriers to card acceptance in B2B payments (e.g. setting up new card acceptance infrastructure, processing fees).
Billhop serves over 20 markets, catering to Fortune 500 enterprise customers across Europe; and sole traders and SMEs in the UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Ireland and Finland.
N26 challenger Vivid receives 100 million euros from investors
The Berlin-based start-up bank Vivid is on its way to a billion-dollar valuation. The competitor of the smartphone bank N26 wants to increase its pace of expansion.
The smartphone bank Vivid Money has successfully completed a financing round of 100 million euros. With the new round, the Berlin-based company doubles its valuation to 775 million euros, Vivid announced on Monday. The third round of investments was led by Greenoaks Capital with participation from Ribbit Capital and Softbank Vision Fund 2.
On the one hand, Vivid wants to use the investors’ money to win additional customers. So far, over 500,000 people have signed up for Vivid. However, the account is not actively used by all users. Artem Iamanov, co-founder of Vivid, said the money will also be used to hire additional employees. The financial platform should be expanded into a “super app”.
Vivid not only offers the classic functions of a current account. Customers can also invest their money in stocks, funds and other financial products in the app. In addition, you can also invest in crypto currencies via Vivid. Even after the downturn in the prices of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other coins in recent weeks, interest in crypto currencies remains unbroken. Industry insiders expect that the larger Vivid competitor N26 will also introduce similar investment functions in the foreseeable future.
French fintech startup Silvr secures €130 million in its mission to support companies to grow
Founded in 2020, French fintech Silvr is reinventing the way entrepreneurs get funded, and they’ve just secured €130 million to do so – one of the largest fundraising operations in the RBF sector in Continental Europe.
The funding was led by XAnge, Otium, Bpifrance, Eurazeo, ISAI and business angels, Alexandre Prot and Steve Anavi (co-founders of Qonto), Raphaël Vullierme (co-founder of Luko), Louis Chatriot (co-founder of Alma) and Pierre Dutaret (co-founder of Libeo).
Silvr works to empower entrepreneurs that are building the businesses of the future by making access to funding easier, more scalable and equity-free. The startup leverages digital businesses data to predict future revenues and offer funding in just 24 hours. Currently, the startup is focusing on two verticals – ecommerce and SaaS.
Headquartered by Paris and created by two serial entrepreneurs Nima Karimi and Grégory Tappero, this new finding comes after a €3 million seed raise in 2021. The startup now has about 20 employees and has already financed more than 100 companies – including Pixpay, Cuure, Poiscaille, Lovys and Partoo.
UK fintech Selina Finance raises $150m in Series B funding round
Consumer lending fintech Selina Finance has raised a total of $150 million in a Series B round made up of a combination of equity and debt financing.
The firm secured $35 million in equity funding led by Lightrock with additional participation from existing investors.
Additionally, $115 million in debt was secured from Goldman Sachs and GGC to fund further expansion as Selina builds towards going public.
Founded in 2019, Selina describes itself as “the UK’s first Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) fintech”. It enables homeowners to unlock the value in their homes by borrowing against their equity at low interest rates with a flexible line of credit, only paying for the funds they use.
The practice is already widespread in the US, where the market is valued at $150 billion annually.
Since it gained regulatory approval for consumer lending in 2020, Selina says it has made over $100 million (£74m) worth of loans via its HELOC product in the UK.
BNPL Biller Acquires Banking Circle
AI-powered buy now, pay later (BNPL) service Biller, has acquired and “joined” Banking Circle.
Biller states that it will benefit from immediate access to the firm’s technology infrastructure, financial resources, payment rails, and licenses to accelerate its European expansion.
Banking Circle is a provider of financial infrastructure that is said to provide Biller with access to “fronting banking services” and “account infrastructure” while Banking Circle will support Biller’s growth plans.
Biller, based in Amsterdam, offers an AI-driven payment method that allows business buyers to order online and pay directly while performing real-time credit and fraud checks along with an automated debt management service.
Biller was founded by three former managers of Mollie and Klarna, and Dutch venture studio, Slimmer AI. The Biller founders state they were operational and live with their first customer in just three months.
Biller now expects to boost its European expansion plans covering the UK, Germany, Belgium, and Nordics in the first half of 2022. Full European coverage is expected to be achieved within 12-24 months.
Amsterdam’s Connected Capital closes €154 million fund to boost European B2B SaaS startups
Connected Capital, a leading investor focused on rapidly growing B2B SaaS businesses, has just closed its oversubscribed Fund 11 at a total of €154 million, bringing the firms total committed capital to over €200 million.
After a massive 2021 for European tech, we are seeing more and more of these big funds being announced by European VC’s – it’s a good sign of things to come for the year, fresh money boosting fresh innovation and ambition.
2021 was a record-breaking year for the European tech startup ecosystem, and European innovation is captivating attention across the world for its dynamic and progressive energy. Amsterdam-based Connected Capital is reaffirming its commitment to growth and buy-out investment in European B2B SaaS businesses with this fund, which is 3x the size of its previous fund.
Meet us at:
4YFN / Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, 1–2 March 2022
InsurTech Insights Europe, London: 15–16 March 2022
Finovate Europe 2022, London: 22–23 March 2022
South Summit 2022, Madrid: 8–10 June 2022
SuperVentures Berlin: 14–15 June 2022
Digital Insurance Agenda, Amsterdam: 29–30 June 2022
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