Q&As with Alex Mifsud of and Semih Kacan of Swisscom Ventures; European FinTech deals this week include Bunch, Wallife, Element

European FinTech deal this week include Bunch, Wallife, Element

We feature Q&As with and Swisscom Ventures

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.

Check out the B2B FinTech Radar, our microsite focused on SaaS / Enterprise FinTech founders with global ambitions

7 Questions with Alex Mifsud of

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

I’m an entrepreneur, so no surprise that I’m intensely curious about why things are the way they are, and what would happen if we can change how they are.  That’s true for me in business and everything else I do – it drives my family a bit crazy, but someone has to do it.  Otherwise we’d still be in the Stone Age.  I basically like to tinker – doing little experiments, whether I’m cooking a meal or building a business. It’s fun, experiencing old things in new ways, although it can sometimes be disastrous too. Not everyone likes my cooking.

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.

Private markets investing platform Bunch raises €7.3m seed to expand across Europe

It’s safe to say private market investments — that means asset classes like venture capital, private debt, real estate and private equity — have been having a bit of a moment the last couple of decades. (Everyone’s an angel investor now, right?) There’s growing awareness of the potential for moneymaking in these sectors, and people in the tech industry — from founders to operators — want to help the next generation invest more easily.

Cue Berlin-based investing platform Bunch, which has just raised a €7.3m seed round for its operating system (OS) that aims to open up access to these asset classes for individual investors. 

What does Bunch do?

Bunch has built a software platform with three target customers: founders, business angels and venture fund managers. In other words, people who work in and around startups and have money to invest.

Why founders? Bunch says that by enabling investors to pool their investments it helps founders keep their cap tables clean by adding one single investor of record rather than 20-50 individual investors, thus avoiding the administrative costs they come with. 

Business angels can use the Bunch platform to pool and manage their deals, while venture fund managers can quickly set up special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to invest into their portfolios. 

Who’s investing in Bunch?

  • Berlin-based early-stage VC firm Cherry Ventures.
  • Embedded capital, which led its undisclosed pre-seed round.
  • Angel investors including founders and C-level executives from Adyen, Klarna and Juni.

Cherry Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm led by a team of entrepreneurs with experience building fast-scaling companies such as Zalando and Spotify. The firm backs Europe’s boldest founders, usually as their first institutional investor, and supports them in everything from their go-to-market strategy and the scaling of their businesses.

Italy-based insurtech company Wallife bags €12M from United Ventures, others: Know more

Rome, Italy-based Wallife, an insurtech company that protects individuals from new risks originating from the technological and scientific progress of genetics, biometrics and biohacking, announced on Wednesday that it has raised €12M in a Series A round of funding.

According to Crunchbase, Wallife now ranks seventh in Europe in the insurtech sector by the value of the Series A investment round.

The investment was led by United Ventures, an Italian venture capital firm that specialises in digital technology investments. Since 2013, the firm has partnered with over 30 technology startups, supporting their growth and international expansion process.

The round also saw participation from a pool of selected Italian and international investors and business angels, including Aptafin.

Massimiliano Magrini, Managing Partner of United Ventures, says, “Scientific and technological progress introduces changes in our lives at an extremely fast pace. In this context, we were attracted by Wallife’s pioneering vision to build the world’s first company capable of providing answers on safety and protection from emerging and unknown risks.”

Headquartered in Milano, United Ventures provides support and funding across all the stages of new ventures, by investing seed stage, early stage and growth capital, with both start-up companies and estabilished ones launching onto new markets.

Insurtech Element raises 21.4 million euros

Frankfurt The Berlin-based insurance start-up Element has received a further 21.4 million euros from investors. The new financing round is led by the pension fund of the Berlin Dental Association (VZB). Alma Mundi Ventures from Spain, the Hong Kong investment company Witan Group and the Luxembourg fintech investor Ilavska Vuillermoz Capital also participated in the insurtech again, as the company confirmed. However, information on the evaluation of the start-up is not available.

Element had already collected 16 million euros last summer. The total investment now amounts to 88 million euros. The largest investors in the company, which was founded in 2017, are Finleap and Signals Invest, which held 45.1 percent and 18.5 percent of Element, respectively, at the end of last year.

It was only on Wednesday that it became known that the former Axa board member Astrid Stange will lead Element from August as a double seat with the previous CEO Christian Macht. Together, the management duo will lead the digital insurer into the next phase of growth. Element intends to use the fresh capital from the financing round to expand its market position in Germany and integrate new product categories into its portfolio.

VZB is the Pension fund for the employees of Berlin dental association.

iDenfy announces its new cyber insurance by landing a massive contract with Lloyds

Kaunas, Lithuania (July 26, 2022) – iDenfy, the Lithuanian-based global identity verification and fraud prevention platform, announced a new collaboration with Lloyd’s, the leading insurance and reinsurance marketplace. iDenfy selected the Technology Errors and Omissions Coverage insurance as well as the Cyber protection package to meet the highest security standards.

iDenfy invested in adding an extra layer of security and purchased insurance from Lloyd’s. According to iDenfy, they are one of the few identity verification experts in the market to safeguard their services with high-class insurance, such as Lloyd’s. The newly selected Technology Errors and Omissions Coverage insurance ensures technology performance, protects from potential technology failures, and shields iDenfy from manufacturing its innovative services.

iDenfy claims that operating in a risky field and managing sensitive data naturally demands greater security. For this reason, the company decided to benefit from cybersecurity insurance. According to Domantas Ciulde, the CEO of iDenfy, the goal behind the partnership with Lloyd’s was to guarantee the absolute safety of iDenfy’s customers:

“We operate in a rather risky sector. Our team works with particularly sensitive data, such as biometrics or government-issued documents. Where there’s personal information, there’s always more risks of potential cyberattacks.”

Meanwhile, Lloyd’s, presenting itself as the world’s leading insurance platform, is well known for its wide range of specialists. A part of the capital available at Lloyd’s is based on a subscription, meaning that Lloyd's underwriters join together as syndicates and where syndicates unite to underwrite risks and programs. iDenfy’s chosen insurance plan from Lloyd’s is also supported by a professional Claims Department and an in-house legal team, providing 24/7 support.

As per Lloyd’s, its collective intelligence and risk-sharing expertise of the market’s underwriters and brokers create a safer environment. Considering this situation, iDenfy states that the new cyber insurance will set grounds for an even stronger cybersecurity policy, helping the company prevent data theft and regulatory fines. The contract with Lloyd’s enables additional protection from cyber extortion, negligence in technology services, GDPR and AML fines, etc.

iDenfy’s CEO, Domantas Ciulde, added: “Cybersecurity insurance is essential. It acts as a bridge to attract investments and new partnerships while simultaneously helping us maintain a good reputation and a high level of security. We’re thrilled to unite with Lloyd’s, a business committed to building a safer digital future.”


FNZ acquires private banking fintech

FNZ, the global wealth management platform, has acquired New Access, a specialized private banking technology firm primarily active in the markets of Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.

These markets are key to serving and administering client wealth globally and will support FNZ in delivering on its promise to open up wealth and serve the US$240 trillion global wealth market.

The strategic acquisition of New Access represents a further investment by FNZ into the growing private banking and cross-border wealth sector after a number of customer successes and the acquisition of the Swiss tech innovator Appway in February 2022.

Private banks are under significant pressure to adapt and scale offerings to their existing and new clients but are often constrained by legacy technology, complex delivery models and new regulatory requirements. FNZ is transforming the industry landscape with its full service, end-to-end wealth platform. Combining cutting-edge technology, infrastructure and investment operations into a single state-of-the-art platform, FNZ enables wealth managers to rapidly deliver personalized services and innovative wealth products.

Fintech GoHenry acquires Pixpay

UK-based GoHenry, which offers prepaid debit cards and a financial education app for kids aged six to 18, has acquired French fintech start-up Pixpay for an undisclosed sum.

GoHenry says the new deal will enable it to expand its user base and boost its growth in Europe.

The company claims to have “more than doubled” its revenue during the pandemic to $42 million in 2021. It secured a $40 million funding round in December 2020.

Founded in France in 2019 by Benoit Grassin, Nicolas Klein and Caroline Ménager, Pixpay offers an alternative to banks for teens.

The firm provides a Mastercard payment card and a mobile app that allows users to pay, get paid, save money or get discounts on brands. It also has a mobile application for parents, offering them a secure, educational and practical solution to follow and accompany their children on a daily basis.

With claims of nearly 200,000 members, Pixpay plans to expand into Italy and Germany later this year. It has raised more than €11 million since April 2019.

GoHenry and Pixpay will continue to operate under their own brands with no change in leadership, headquarters or headcount.

US-based Carta acquires London-based Vauban

Carta, a San Francisco-based fintech startup, announced that it has acquired London-based Vauban, an online platform that helps investors back private companies. The value of the acquisition has not been disclosed. 

As a part of the acquisition, Vauban’s team will join Carta, says the company. It  will also result in the integration of Vauban’s fund establishment platform into the existing Carta business offering.

Vrushali Paunikar, VP of product for investor services at Carta, mentions in a blog post that more than 50 per cent of SPVs and funds in the US have at least one non-US LP.

“On one combined platform, syndicate leads and fund managers can now launch funds from the US, UK, British Virgin Islands, and soon, from Luxembourg,” she wrote. 

The announcement comes after Carta raised $500M at a $7.4B valuation last year in a round led by Silver Lake Partners. The US company planned to use the funds to acquire other firms, reports The Information. 

COI Partners rolls out €120-million fund to expand deal-by-deal platform for DACH growth companies

The growth investor will invest between €15 million and €30 million in initial and follow-on investments per company in the DACH region

Swiss-German growth investor COI Partners has rolled out €120-million fund to focus on deal-by-deal investments in the DACH region. The COIP DACH Growth II SCSp is a Luxembourg-based fund that will target growth companies.

The company, which was earlier called Co-Investor Partners, will invest between €15 million and €30 million in initial and follow-on investments per company. The firm has historically focused on sectors such as IT and software, consumer and retail, life sciences, technology, and industrials, however, continues to pursue an industry-agnostic approach.

The fund will match each future deal-by-deal investment by COI Partners. This will bring the company’s assets under management to over €300 million and strengthen its mission of partnering with outstanding companies and entrepreneurs. Primarily focussing on DACH, the fund will look at growth companies with a proven business model, and positive unit economics, and are ready to scale.

Amsterdam-based Welt marks first close of VC fund at €35M

Amsterdam-based Welt, a venture capital firm, announced on Tuesday that it has closed the first round of its VC fund at €35M from a group of tech entrepreneurs and private individuals.
The Dutch VC intends to close the fund at €75M, which is expected after summer, six months sooner than projected.
According to Welt, the latest VC fund has two purposes:
Democratising Venture Capital by enabling individual investors to invest in top-tier Venture Capital and Growth Equity funds.
Invest in the next generation of European startups and unicorns.
Bouke Marsman, Managing Partner at Welt, says, “Now is an interesting time to invest in Venture Capital since the correction of tech shares is taking place in the private markets as well. In the process, the distinction between promising and less promising startups and scale-ups is becoming clearer. This presents opportunities for the top Venture Capital funds in particular. Thanks to their track record and experience, it is easier for them to invest in the unicorns of the future. This is reflected in the returns. Historically, funds started during or immediately after crisis years (for example 2001 and 2009) have shown very strong results.” 

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