The Re/Wire Health Studio from Haleon is looking to partner with exciting companies that are focused on addressing consumer health — from mental resilience to oral health and women’s wellness.
🇯🇵 Japanese VC NordicNinja closes €200m second fund — and opens an office in London. The VC has been focused on Nordic and Baltic startups since launching in 2019, but is now widening its scope to the UK and Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) to increase “access to deal flow and exit paths”.
So where will the cash be going?
NordicNinja focuses on Series A investments, writing cheques between €2.5m-10m, with a sweet spot of €5m.
- In the Nordics, it will continue to work closely with universities and accelerators. In the UK, the focus will be on green fintech, while in Benelux the focus will be on mobility.
🇬🇧 UK unicorns Graphcore and Stability AI — two leading British AI startups — will attend the AI Safety summit organised by the UK government, Sifted has learned.
💰 The startups that have raised.
French fintech Swan has defied the sector's funding slump with a €37m Series B. The round was led by Lakestar and featured existing investors Accel, Creandum and Bpifrance.
Smart chatbot maker DRUID has raised a $30m Series B at around a $100m valuation, Sifted understands. The Romanian startup is staffed by former employees of the country’s two most successful tech exits, TotalSoft and UiPath. US VC TQ Ventures led the round, with existing investors Hoxton Ventures, Karma Ventures and Gapminder participating.
Longevity startup Rejuveron Life Sciences, which develops therapies to promote healthy ageing and prolong lifespan, has raised $75m in a round co-led by Catalio Capital Management and Apeiron Investment Group — the family office of tech investor and Rejuveron's founder Christian Angermayer. Mubadala Capital also participated.
🇶🇦 Qatar plans to invest £4bn in the UK’s climate tech startups, the Sunday Times reports. It plans to build a university-style facility somewhere in the south of England, in partnership with Rolls Royce, for green energy research, and invest £1.5bn in early-stage startups.
🛴 VanMoof competitor Cowboy hits profitability. The Belgian e-bike maker announced on LinkedIn yesterday that July was its first ever profitable month. Its fortunes stand in stark contrast to it's Dutch competitor VanMoof, which filed for bankruptcy in July and was bought by Lavoie, the electric scooter unit of McLaren Applied, in August.
🤖 This AI girlfriend startup is making $100k a month fulfilling people’s fetishes. Romania's DreamGF lets users design a virtual girlfriend — including everything from clothes to personality — and promises an experience that "exceeds your wildest desires". Yes, it's as weird as it sounds.
🇫🇷 Threats, investigations and lawsuits: one startup's battle against the biggest industry lobbies. French startup Yuka rates everyday products from chocolate bars to moisturising creams — and has more users than Deliveroo and Revolut. But it's come up against big opposition from the lobbies that represent companies making the products it rates.
Three legal cases brought forward against the company in 2021 — including from the French charcuterie lobby — cost it around €500k, a sizeable sum for a startup with a turnover of €1.29m.
Founder Julie Chapon also expects more legal cases in the future. "We’ve recruited a full-time lawyer who is starting in a few weeks,” she says.
🇦🇮 Anguilla could make 10% of its GDP through domain sales this year.
The tiny Caribbean island has been in charge of handing out domain names ending in '.ai' to residents and businesses looking to register websites, and is reaping the profits as AI fever grips the tech world.
Bloomberg reported that proceeds from domain registration fees could bring in up to $30m this year — up from $7.4m in 2021.
Alumni founders from UK institutions rake in more VC cash than their peers from other schools across Europe, according to a new PitchBook ranking of more than 150k alumni founders who graduated from European universities and raised their first round of funding in the last decade. Sifted digs into the data and reveals which schools top the pile for undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA programmes.
Europe’s active angel networks. More and more angels are banding together and pooling their investment power to write bigger cheques. Sifted has tracked down who's actually deploying the cash.
Data shows customer acquisition is getting tougher for Europe’s consumer fintechs. Just 4 out of 17 fintechs are on track to beat their total downloads for 2022.
Moneybox, Raisin and Revolut look set for the biggest gains on an annualised basis, while Curve and Bitpanda look set for the largest falls.
- Incumbent banks are also snapping at the heels of neobanks as they improve their digital offerings.
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🤔 How to hire a chief operating officer. Jens Joseph Mannanal, COO at Berlin-based creator economy startup Passionfroot, shares his tips for hiring a COO as an early-stage startup, including:
Hire someone who can take on complexity — "A COO should be hired when a startup’s operational complexity increases beyond the current team’s capacity...This is also usually when the founding team’s time and attention are too divided and you need a dedicated leader to oversee operations and wider strategy execution."
- Find someone who wants autonomy — "They can’t be waiting around to be told what to do — this is a senior C-suite role, not just a glorified assistant to the CEO."
Don’t hire a micromanager — "They need to focus on making it easier for the team to carry out their tasks, not try to do the tasks for them."
Look for solid operational experience — "You can also look at candidates with strategy consulting backgrounds, although the ideal is a candidate who has held a leadership role in a scaleup, as they’ll come with the skills and growth mentality inbuilt."
Julien Bek has started at Sequoia as a partner. He joins from Accel, where he was a principal for five years.
Iliana Ivanova has been approved by the European Parliament as the EU's new commissioner for research and innovation. She replaces Mariya Gabriel, who resigned as EU Commissioner in May.
The UK government-backed research division, Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), has announced its first cohort of programme directors — they include professor of vision science at Newcastle University, Jenny Read, who'll be working on robotics, and plant biologist Angie Burnett, who'll be working on programmable plants.
- Conigital, a UK-based driverless vehicle company, has raised £500m in debt and equity.
- FloLive, a UK startup providing businesses with a network and connectivity management platform for IoT, has raised $47m.
Binalyze, a London-based cybersecurity startup specialising in digital forensics and incident response solutions, has raised a $19m Series A led by Molten Ventures.
- BioLamina, a Swedish biotech developing proteins to be used in stem cell research, has raised €17m.
Circula, a German startup offering travel expense, credit cards and employee benefits for companies, has raised €12m.
- Cleafy, an Italian fintech looking to prevent fraud in digital banking, has raised €10m.
Raylo, a UK-based consumer marketplace for renting electronics, has raised £5.2m from investors including Macquarie and Channel 4 Ventures.
- Asento, a Swiss startup which makes robot security guards, has raised $4.3m.
Microplate Dx, a Scottish startup developing diagnostics tech for antibiotics, has raised £2.5m.
- Mjuk, a Finnish secondhand furniture marketplace, has raised €2.5m.
- Build to Zero, a Spanish thermal energy storage startup, has raised €2.5m.
- Kuano, a UK startup which uses quantum mechanics and AI to develop drugs, has raised a £1.8m seed round.
- Goldilock, a UK cybersecurity startup which provides hardware to physically separate businesses networks if they're attacked, has raised a $1.7m seed round.
Charac, a UK-based digital pharmacy app, has raised £1.2m in debt and equity.
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