The big university tech transfer overhaul 🎓

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Hi Sifted Reader,

Happy Friday! Here's what we've got in store today:
  • What's it like to be a startup's first employee?
  • Tiger Global's back: Pitch raises $85m
  • Overhauling the university tech transfer system
  • Berlin's Visionaries Club launches two VC funds

\Startup Life 

Being startup employee number one

Joining a startup as the first employee can be lonely and it can be challenging, but it can also be a road to riches.

We spoke to the first employees behind some of the biggest startup success stories — Wise, Qonto, Gousto, Wolt and GoCardless — to get their insights into joining a company early on. 

Amy Lewin finds out more.

\A message from our sponsor Oracle NetSuite

How to exceed your startup’s revenue goals 

Find out which strategies are helping businesses meet and exceed their profitability goals. 

Download it here.

\Startup Life

Pitch raises $85m from... Tiger Global

Berlin-based presentation software startup Pitch has just raised $85m, on top of the $50m in funding it already had in the bank.

Its team of eight founders will have a hard time shouting about their success, however, as they're a self-confessed group of introverts.

We sat down with the team to hear the story behind Pitch.

\For Members Analysis

Does the university tech transfer system need an overhaul?

Of the 116 venture capital-backed European companies worth more than $1bn, only four are university spinouts.

VCs often think universities are too greedy and short termist, while university tech transfer offices can feel the same about VCs. 

So who is right?

Want to read more in-depth articles like this and attend exclusive member events? Sign up to Sifted Membership to get full access.

\Venture Capital 

Exclusive: Berlin Visionaries Club closes two $85m VC funds

Europe’s startup founders are increasingly trying their hand at something (relatively) new: becoming LPs. 

The latest VC firm to catch founders' eyes is Berlin-based Visionaries Club, which announced the close of two B2B-focused funds yesterday. Both — one pre-seed and seed stage fund and another growth-stage fund — have closed at $85m.

Miriam Partington reports. 

\In partnership with Silicon Valley Bank

So you’ve closed a funding round — now what?

Closing the first round is a huge deal for startups. But what's the next move?

We spoke with SVB’s relationship banking team, startup founders and VCs about what newly-funded startups should expect, and how to spend and safeguard their cash.

Read the tips.

News that Matters

🍲 Exclusive: Slerp raises $10m. The fast-growing platform, backed by Eight Roads and Jigsaw VC, helps high-end restaurants and food brands like Ottolenghi and The Savoy set up online shops to sell fancy meal kits. But will customers be done with ordering food online now that restaurants are open again? Amy Lewin finds out. 

📈 German trading app Trade Republic has raised one of the biggest fintech rounds in European history, securing $750m in fresh funding. The round was led by Sequoia and gives the company a $5.3bn valuation.

🥛 Vly, a German startup producing plant-based milk from yellow split peas, has raised €6.1m. We chatted to its founders about the alternative milk market and their hopes for driving down costs.

💸 Oatly's IPO. Also in the plant-based milk world, oat milk giant Oatly has listed on Nasdaq, valued at $10bn and raising $1.4bn.

🏥 British startup Causaly, which helps map biomedical research, has raised $17m to grow its team and expand into new markets. The platform uses machine learning to find relationships in human health data. 

🖥️ Uncapped, a London-based platform that offers revenue-based financing to online businesses, has raised $80m in a round led by Lakestar.

🛢️ Cognite, an industrial SaaS company that supports data-driven changes in intensive industries like oil, gas, power and utilities, has raised $150m led by TCV. It gives the company a $1.6bn valuation.

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Sifted Newsletters 

Startup Life: behind the scenes at Europe's startups.
Fintech: for your weekly dose of European fintech stories.
Future Proof: the latest on corporate innovation around Europe.
Sustain: our greenest newsletter covering startups and sustainability.
Amy Lewin
Deputy Editor

Get in touch with her at
She loves a bit of reader feedback.
Freya Pratty
News Reporter

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Or find her (occasionally) tweeting @FPratty
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