Atomico founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to start his own seed fund


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Changes are afoot at European VC Atomico, with news breaking that founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to raise his own seed fund.

TechCrunch understands that staff at the London-headquartered firm, which he co-founded in 2006 with Skype founder Niklas Zennström, were informed of his decision to part ways earlier today, although he won’t be leaving immediately. Instead, I’m told Ljungman will be transitioning out over the next six months to ensure as little disruption as possible.

Atomico is also thought to be on the verge of closing a new fund, so arguably the timing is well-aligned, too. ‘In between’ funds is the best time for a founding partner to leave a VC firm, if there ever is one.

In the meantime, Ljungman will be carrying on with existing portfolio responsibilities and gradually handing over his board seats to other Atomico team members. He currently sits on the boards

Continue reading “Atomico founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to start his own seed fund”

Atomico founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to start his own seed fund


This post is by Steve O'Hear from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Changes are afoot at European VC Atomico, with news breaking that founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to raise his own seed fund.

TechCrunch understands that staff at the London-headquartered firm, which he co-founded in 2006 with Skype founder Niklas Zennström, were informed of his decision to part ways earlier today, although he won’t be leaving immediately. Instead, I’m told Ljungman will be transitioning out over the next six months to ensure as little disruption as possible.

Atomico is also thought to be on the verge of closing a new fund, so arguably the timing is well-aligned, too. ‘In between’ funds is the best time for a founding partner to leave a VC firm, if there ever is one.

In the meantime, Ljungman will be carrying on with existing portfolio responsibilities and gradually handing over his board seats to other Atomico team members. He currently sits on the boards

Continue reading “Atomico founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to start his own seed fund”

ContractPodAi scores $55M for its ‘AI-powered’ contract management software


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ContractPodAi, a London-based startup that has developed what it describes as AI-powered contract lifecycle management software, is disclosing $55 million in Series B funding. The round is led by U.S.-based Insight Partners, with participation from earlier backer Eagle Investment.

Founded in 2012, ContractPodAi offers an “end-to-end” solution spanning the three main aspects of contract management: contract generation, contract repository, and third-party review. Its AI offering, which uses IBM’s Watson, claims to streamline the contract management process and reduce the burden on corporate in-house legal teams.

“The legal profession has been historically behind the curve in technology adoption and our objective here is to support to digital transformation of legal departments via our contract management platform,” ContractPodAi co-founder and CEO Sarvarth Misra tells TechCrunch.

“Our business focusses on providing in-house counsel of corporations across the world with an easy to use, out of the box and scalable end

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Billie raises €30M for its B2B invoicing and payments platform


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Billie, the Berlin-based fintech startup that offers a B2B invoicing and payments platform, has raised €30 million in Series B funding. Leading the round is Creandum, alongside SpeedInvest, Rocket Internet’s GFC and Picus.

Founded in 2017 by the same team behind SME online lending platform Zencap, which exited to Funding Circle in 2015, Billie wants to bring the same level of convenience seen in B2C payments and e-commerce to B2B invoicing and payments.

Claiming to be Germany’s leading “one-stop shop” for handling all outgoing invoices of B2B sellers, including sending invoices, collecting payments and invoice financing, Billie’s customers range from SMEs, large e-commerce players, and transnational marketplaces.

“As B2B transactions are more than twice the volume of B2C transactions, the potential to help our customers is enormous. And, up to now, this market is unserved,” Billie co-founder Dr. Matthias Knecht tells me.

“We’re able to place ourselves in the

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Raisin picks up $28M backing from Goldman Sachs for its savings and investment marketplace


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Raisin, the fintech startup that offers a pan-European marketplace for savings and investment products, has picked up additional funding. Goldman Sachs has invested $28 million (€25m), following the company’s $114 million in Series D in February.

The new capital will be used by Raisin to build out its U.S. presence ahead of a 2020 launch across the pond. The startup announced its U.S. plans in May, saying that it wanted to enable U.S. savers to more easily shop around for a better interest rate and remove the friction associated with switching savings and deposit accounts. The deposits market in the U.S. is said to be $12.7 trillion.

Raisin also plans to enter two new European markets by the end of this year. The Raisin marketplace currently has six country specific savings platforms: Germany, U.K., France, The Netherlands, Spain, and Austria, in

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Curve, the ‘over-the-top’ banking platform, raises $55M at a $250M valuation


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Curve, the London-based “over-the-top banking platform,” has raised $55 million in new funding. The startup lets you consolidate all of your bank cards into a single Curve card and app to make it easier to manage your spending and access other benefits.

Curve’s Series B round is led by Gauss Ventures, the U.S.-based fintech investor, alongside Creditease, IDC Ventures, and previous backer Outward VC (formerly Investec’s INVC fund). A number of other early investors, including Santander InnoVentures, Breega, Seedcamp and Speedinvest, also followed on.

The new round of funding values Curve at $250 million (or one quarter unicorn, so to speak), and will be used by the company to continue adding more features to its platform and for further European expansion. The company claims 500,000 users and says it is on track to reach 1 million by the end of the year.

Curve is currently available in

Curve Cash in App 1

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Hero Labs raises £2.5M for its ultrasonic device to monitor a property’s water use and prevent leaks


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Hero Labs, a London-based startup that is developing “smart” technology to help prevent water leaks in U.K. properties, has raised £2.5 million in seed funding. The round is led by Earthworm Group, an environmental fund manager, with further support via a £300,000 EU innovation grant and a number of unnamed private investors.

The new capital will be used by Hero Labs to accelerate development of its first product: a smart device dubbed “Sonic” that uses ultrasonic technology to monitor water use within a property, including the early detection of water leaks.

Founded in 2018 by Krystian Zajac after he exited Neos, a smart home insurer that was acquired by Aviva, Hero Labs was born out of the realisation that a lot of smart home technology either wasn’t very smart or didn’t solve mass problems (Zajac had also previously ran a smart home company focusing on ultra high

KZ Event

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Hero Labs raises £2.5M for its ultrasonic device to monitor a property’s water use and prevent leaks


This post is by Steve O'Hear from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Hero Labs, a London-based startup that is developing “smart” technology to help prevent water leaks in U.K. properties, has raised £2.5 million in seed funding. The round is led by Earthworm Group, an environmental fund manager, with further support via a £300,000 EU innovation grant and a number of unnamed private investors.

The new capital will be used by Hero Labs to accelerate development of its first product: a smart device dubbed “Sonic” that uses ultrasonic technology to monitor water use within a property, including the early detection of water leaks.

Founded in 2018 by Krystian Zajac after he exited Neos, a smart home insurer that was acquired by Aviva, Hero Labs was born out of the realisation that a lot of smart home technology either wasn’t very smart or didn’t solve mass problems (Zajac had also previously ran a smart home company focusing on ultra high

KZ Event

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City Pantry, the UK corporate catering marketplace, has been acquired by Just Eat for £16M


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City Pantry, the office catering marketplace that lets you order in food for staff, company events and meetings, has been acquired by takeout marketplace and delivery giant Just Eat.

The price is described as an initial cash offering of £16 million, with a possible further payout due if City Pantry achieves agreed operational and financial targets over the next three years.

The premise of the acquisition is to enable consumer-focused Just Eat to further expand into the U.K. corporate catering market by leveraging City Pantry’s brand, technology and sector knowledge. City Pantry claims over 1,000 monthly corporate customers.

Founded by Stuart Sunderland in 2013, City Pantry set out to improve the catering options available to companies in London. Its marketplace connects local caterers to businesses who need quality food delivered to their offices or to cover events, meetings and regular team meals.

When the startup first launched, Sunderland

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Dataform scores $2M to build an ‘operating system’ for data warehouses


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Dataform, a U.K. company started by ex-Googlers that wants to make it easier for businesses to manage their data warehouses, has picked up $2 million in funding. Leading the round is LocalGlobe, with participation from a number of unnamed angel investors. The startup is also an alumni of Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator and graduated in late 2018.

Founded by former Google employees Lewis Hemens and Guillaume-Henri Huon, Dataform has set out to help data-rich companies draw insights from the data stored in their data warehouses. Mining data for insights and business intelligence typically requires a team of data engineers and analysts. Dataform wants to simply this task and in turn make it faster and cheaper for organisations to take full advantage of their data assets.

“Businesses are generating more and more data that they are now centralising into cloud data warehouses like Google BigQuery, AWS Redshift or

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Unmortgage, the ‘part own, part rental’ housing startup, has secured a £500M fund partnership with AllianzGI


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Unmortgage, the London-based startup that lets you buy as little as 5% of a home and rent the rest, has announced a partnership with Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI) to create a new fund to be used to purchase properties offered via the platform.

The AllianzGI-managed fund is targeting a size of £500 million, according to my sources, while I understand that the deal was actually signed mid last year but is only being disclosed today. That’s undoubtedly a clever bit of PR timing as it gives the impression of continued momentum for Unmortgage after founder and CEO Ray Rafiq-Omar departed last month. In other words, Rafiq-Omar was actually the CEO when the AllianzGI deal got across the line.

Founded in 2016, Unmortgage attempts to solve the increasing difficulty first time buyers face trying to get on the housing ladder as rising house prices typically outstrip wages. If people rent,

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Staffbase, the mobile-first employee communication and ‘experience’ platform, raises $23M Series C


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Staffbase, a mobile-first platform that enables employees to communicate, access work-related services and stay updated with company information, has raised $23 million in Series C funding.

The investment is led by Insight Partners, with participation from existing investors e.ventures, Capnamic Ventures, and Kizoo Technology Capital. It brings total raised by Staffbase to $35 million since it was founded in 2014.

Founded in Chemnitz, Germany, and now with more than 200 employees across 7 locations, including a HQ in New York, Staffbase is an app and platform designed to wean employees off email for a range of communication, information and internal company processes. It initially targeted distributed and mobile workforces but has since broadened out to include desktop support, too.

“Successful companies today understand that their most valuable resource is their employees’ time and motivation,” says Staffbase co-founder and CEO Dr. Martin Böhringer. “Despite this, the experience provided to

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Habito, the digital mortgage broker, will begin direct lending via its own mortgages


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Habito, the London startup that has spent the last three years dragging the mortgage process online, is to begin direct lending via its own range of mortgages. Starting with ‘buy to let’ mortgages, the move represents the first time the fintech startup has expanded beyond brokerage after it received regulatory approval to become a mortgage lender in its own right early last year.

Eighteen months in the making, Habito says it has developed a proprietary lending platform from scratch in order to be able to offer its own innovative mortgage products that plug some of the gaps in the current market. Founder and CEO Daniel Hegarty tells me he hopes other lenders will eventually want to use the same rails to launch their own digital lending products but in the meantime the company is excited to launch direct lending.

Longer term, Hegarty says the idea is that a

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DigitalBridge raises £3M for its ‘guided design tool’ for kitchens and bathrooms


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DigitalBridge, the Manchester, U.K.-based startup using technology to help solve the “imagination gap” when planning home renovations, has picked up £3 million in new backing.

The round is led by Maven Capital Partners via two funds it manages: £1.5 million from Maven’s Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and £1.5 million from the NPIF Maven Equity Finance, a regional development fund managed by Maven as part of the U.K. government’s Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Working with Kingfisher Plc (owners of B&Q and Castorama) for the last couple of years, DigitalBridge has pivoted from its original AR-based home decor planning app to a new product it’s calling a ‘guided design tool’ for kitchens and bathrooms. That’s because, DigitalBridge founder David Levine tells me, home decor visualisation is only a nice-to-have whereas it’s a “must-have” for bathrooms and kitchens.

“Bathrooms and kitchens are much more complex rooms governed

TechCrunch 01 3dViewer

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Wind Mobility raises additional $50M and unveils new e-scooter hardware designed for rentals


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Wind Mobility, the Berlin and Barcelona-based micro-mobility startup that operates e-scooter rentals in Europe, Israel and Asia, is disclosing $50 million in Series A funding. The new round is backed by existing investors. The company last raised $22 million in funding eight months ago from Chinese Source Code Capital and Europe’s HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, after it pivoted away from bike rentals to focus on e-scooters.

Coinciding with the new funding, Wind is unveiling its “third generation” e-scooters, which it says have been designed “from the ground up” for micro-mobility sharing. Eight months in development, the new hardware claims to be significantly more durable and best-in-class for battery life with the ability to drive 65-80km between charges.

The battery is hot swappable, too, meaning that it should be more efficient to run the Wind e-scooter service. That’s because not only can more scooters remain in circulation at any given time,

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Soldo scores $61M Series B for its ‘spend management’ platform for businesses


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Soldo, the U.K. fintech that offers a multi-user spending account for businesses, has closed $61 million in Series B funding.

Leading the round is Battery Ventures and Dawn Capital, with participation from previous backers Accel and Connect Ventures. In addition, a small portion is debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank. It brings total raised by the London-based startup to $82 million.

Founded by Carlo Gualandri, who previously helped create Italy’s first online bank, Soldo offers a multi-user spending account for businesses of all sizes — from SMEs to much larger enterprises — that need to deploy and manage expenses across an entire organisation.

It enables departmental and employee spending to be managed in real time by combining a Soldo account, central dashboard, apps for iOS and Android and virtual wallets or physical “pre-paid” MasterCards that can be handed out to employees, departments and even external consultants or contractors.

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Swedish ‘neobank’ P.F.C. picks up €5M backing from Nordic banking giant Nordea


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P.F.C. (Personal Finance Co.), a so-called “neobank” founded in Sweden, has raised €5 million in funding. Backing the young company is Nordea, the largest bank in the Nordics region.

In other words, chalk this up as another example of an incumbent bank placing financial and strategic bets on a fintech upstart, even if it doesn’t always end as the parties involved planned.

Nordea is present in 20 countries, including having a stronghold in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Also targeting the Nordics, P.F.C. is tiny in comparison. The neobank says it hopes to get to 100,000 users by the end of the year.

Described as a personal finance app and accompanying debit card, P.F.C. is regulated under a payments institution license rather than being a fully-licensed bank. It’s the same lighter touch model that Revolut and a plethora of other banking apps choose,

PFC DASHBOARD 02

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Klaus, the ‘conversation review’ tool for support teams, picks up $1.9M seed


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“No bad conversations between companies and their customers is what we’re shooting for,” Kair Käsper tells me. He’s the Head of Growth of a relatively new startup called Klaus, which he founded together with old high school friend Martin Kõiva.

Most recently the pair were employees at Pipedrive, holding the roles of Director of Product Marketing and Global Head of Customer Support, respectively. Many years prior to that they shared a flat together and worked on a number of projects. One of those was an applicant tracking startup called Jobkitten “that didn’t really go anywhere”.

The latest Käsper and Kõiva venture, however, appears to already be on firmer footing. Described as a “conversation review and QA tool for support teams,” Klaus is designed to help companies improve the quality of customer service. Two years in the making but only launched formally 6 months ago, customers already include Automattic, Wistia,

Screenshot 2

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Cubyn raises €12M Series B to let e-merchants outsource fulfilment


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Cubyn, the Paris-based logistics startup that lets e-merchants outsource fulfilment and delivery logistics, has raised €12 million in new funding. The round is led by DN Capital, with participation from Partech Ventures, 360 Capital Partners, BNP Paribas Developpement, and the French investment bank BPI France.

The injection of capital is timed with the launch of “Cubyn Fulfillment,” as the company moves beyond pickup and delivery only. The new service is described as a fully-integrated “first mile” solution that covers the entire fulfilment process including keeping stock in Cubyn’s warehouses. It claims to be offered at a 30% lower price point than competitors.

“We want to make affordable world-class logistics accessible to every single e-merchant, whatever their size,” Cubyn co-founder and CEO Adrien Fernandez Baca tells TechCrunch. “Our typical customer is an e-merchant who sells across sales channels (marketplaces their own website). Size can go from 500 to 50,000

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Podimo raises €6M to become Europe’s ‘Netflix for podcasts’


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Podimo, a Copenhagen-based startup building what it hopes will become Europe’s “Netflix for podcasts,” has raised €6 million in seed funding prior to launch. The round is co-led by Germany’s E.ventures and Denmark’s Heartcore, reflecting the young company’s two planned country launches later this year.

Founded by Morten Strunge, who has a track record in subscription media products via audio books service Mofibo (which he sold to Storytel), Podimo is hoping to capitalise on the rise in consumption in podcasts. Ambitiously, this will include both a free and paid version of its product, with the aim of creating a reliable revenue stream for podcast producers. The startup’s other founders are Nikolaj Koppel, Andreas Sachse and Sverre Dueholm .

“Podcasts have finally come of age and we are seeing a lot of demand for audio content globally across many different demographics,” Strunge tells me. “Consumers are increasingly looking for

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