A monthly newsletter highlighting exciting Seed and Series A companies that have announced or raised their latest funding round in the last month and why I believe those ventures are worth to watch in the future.
Subscribe to our newsletter here.
First, I start with some highlights from the world of venture capital and (corporate) venture building:
- Rocket Internet recently launched a new pre-seed program called Flash Ventures. Listen more about the news in this podcast (German) from Deutsche Startups. Apparently their main motivation is to secure strategic rights for future funding rounds for GFC.
- Index Ventures raises new $2 billion fund. Great news for early-stage startups who suffer from COVID-19.
- The fintech company builder Finleap has for the first time won a Dax group as a partner, Deutsche Börse now holds a 3% stake in the Berlin company.
- Great news for the PropTech scene: BitStone Capital announced end of February the closing of its second venture capital fund, “BitStone Real Estate & Construction (RECO) Tech Fund”. The goal is to invest in young PropTech & ConstructionTech start-ups that have the potential to revolutionize the multi-billion dollar construction and real estate industry.
- Porsche Digital launches Company Building unit to create a portfolio of independent start-ups (https://forward31.com). I can’t wait to see their first ventures.
And here are the top early-stage investments from the last month:
API to power any financial application, anywhere in the world. Within minutes, you can build products that will enrich the customer experience and create financial opportunity.
LakeStar, Holtzbrinck Ventures
$13M Series A
Likely a subscription fee per month growing with the amount of users and additional fees for extra services (e.g. user identification)
1. Connecting to all banks in Europe (right now more than 500), both for data retrieval and payment initiation, via one single API
2. More and more banks across Europe bring their open APIs online in order to adhere to European Union PSD2 legislation.
Sila, a similar US-based startup, received seed funding at the same time. This business model is one promising bet for VCs right now. It will heavily depend on the rise and success of new startups that will built new financial solutions on top of Yapily.
★★★★★ Unicorn potential
★★★★★ Business model
Visit any website with Fast Checkout installed, and press ‘Fast Checkout’ to make a purchase without re-entering any data or manually signing up or logging in.
Index Ventures, Stripe
$20M Series A
Likely: monthly subscription or % of transaction volume
1. Addresses user pain to always have to enter same data again across the web.
2. Great opportunities to provide more value to sellers, e.g. through upfront identification of the buyer.
It remains to be seen if Fast.co can really become a new checkout standard across many verticals and use cases globally or if the adoption will be limited to a certain target group / use case. Also: Can the product be 10x better than existing solutions?
★★★☆☆ Unicorn potential
★★★★☆ Business model
QuietOn earbuds drown out annoying environmental noises, allowing you to find calm in noise.
Addresses a growing and significant problem for humans: 25% of people snore on a regular basis. 20% of people suffer from one or several sleep disorders.
Right now it does not seem to become a big exit case, but the problem they tackle is huge for society. People are probably willing to spend a lot of money in solving their sleep problems. If QuietOn can think big and extend their product and service portfolio around this topic I am curious what QuietOn can turn into.
★★★☆☆ Unicorn potential
★★★☆☆ Business model