As a part of a weekly roundup, here is a list of some of the most important tech startups that have hit the headlines in Europe this week.
Sunlight secures €4.9M to make high-performance cloud a reality
British, Cambridge-based developer of virtualisation technology for data-intensive applications, Sunlight, has raised $6M (approx €4.9M) in a Series A round of funding led by OpenOcean with participation from Robert Bosch Venture Capital. The raised capital will be used to expand Sunlight’s commercial operations and footprint, particularly in the US.
Founded in 2018 by Julian Chesterfield, Kosten Metreweli, and Paul Brennan, Sunlight develops products that virtualise any high-performance workload with bare-metal performance.
Sunlight was born out of a collaboration with ARM in 2013 to build a lightweight hypervisor that could virtualise low-power processors as the traditional virtualisation was too ‘heavy’. Today, digital enterprises rely upon databases, analytics, Big Data, and AI to drive their core business processes and decision making. As the volume of data, these applications consume grows exponentially, and data processing moves to the edge, traditional virtualisation technologies simply aren’t architected to keep up.
According to the company, its HCI stack makes applications like AI, Big Data, Analytics and Rendering run 3x faster compared to legacy virtualisation, and because Sunlight has a tiny footprint – it’s perfect for the edge. Enterprises and MSPs use Sunlight to cut the costs of delivering high performance IT by 70%.
Cosmos – a video platform to mimic real-world interactions; raises €2.1M
London-based Cosmos Video – a virtual venues platform that allows people to work, hang out and socialise together, has raised £2M (approx €2.1M) in its seed round of funding from LocalGlobe. The round also saw participation from Entrepreneur First, Andy Chung and Phillip Moehring (AngelList), and Omid Ashtari (ex-President, Citymapper).
Founded by serial entrepreneurs Rahul Goyal and Karan Baweja, who recently led product teams at Citymapper and TransferWise respectively, Cosmos is on a mission to enable human connection in the remote era.
Cosmos Video is a video platform that creates virtual venues within a browser-based game, allowing teams and social groups to work and hang out together. It is designed to mimic real-world interactions for teams and communities to enable collaboration and bring back human connection in the remote era.
The raised capital will be used to expand Cosmos Video support for events and meetup groups around interests and hobbies.
Currently, in the private beta version, Cosmos is being used by a select group of companies to host their offices and for social events such as Christmas parties. The company is also receiving requests to host events, meetup groups, and family gatherings.
Simple Nutrition App Raises €4.1M
Limassol, Cyprus-based Simple.Life, an AI-powered intermittent fasting platform, has secured $5M (approx €4.1M) in its Series A round of funding. This investment round takes the company’s valuation to $42M (approx €34.6M), bringing the total capital raised since its inception to over $8M (approx €6.6M).
The round was co-led by the international venture fund Target Global and Palta, the co-founding company behind Simple. In addition, S16 Angel Fund and Supernova, the company owned by supermodel, and angel impact investor Natalia Vodianova also participated in this round.
Founded in early 2019 by Alex Ilinskiy and Mike Prytkov, Simple is AI-powered nutrition and holistic fasting platform. It helps people to gain a better understanding of behavioural habits and improve their nutrition and lifestyles, all within a guilt-free environment built on mindfulness, education, and motivation.
The company wants to boost user engagement and become users’ first choice for nutrition and lifestyle management. For this purpose, the team will invest in R&D, AI technology, content production, development of new methodology, and increasing its medical and data science team.
Orbex, 1st space-sector company in the UK that won Horizon 2020 funding, has raised €19.8M
Forres, UK-based Orbex, a space startup that is developing small payload reusable rockets, has raised $24M (approx €19.8M) in a fresh round of funding led by BGF, and Octopus Ventures. In addition, existing investors High-Tech Grunderfonds, Heartcore Capital, and Elecnor S.A. (parent company of the multi-national space firm Deimos Space) have also participated in this round.
The raised capital will help secure Orbex’s roadmap to the first launch from the Space Hub Sutherland spaceport in Scotland.
Founded in 2015 by Chris Larmour, Orbex is a private, low-cost orbital launch services company, serving the needs of the small satellite industry. The company claims to have developed one of the most advanced, low carbon, high-performance micro-launch vehicles in the world.
Developed as an environmentally sustainable launch system, Orbex Prime rocket uses renewable biofuels to deliver ultra-low CO2 emissions. The Orbex vehicle is designed to be recoverable and re-usable, normally leaving no debris in the ocean or in orbit around the Earth.
The production and testing facilities are done in Scotland while the design and testing facilities will be operated via Denmark. Its staff members have professional backgrounds with NASA, ESA, Ariane, and several commercial spaceflight organisations.
Streetbees bags an additional €5.5M
London-based Streetbees, a human intelligence platform, has secured an additional $6.7M (approx €5.5M) funding from technology investors, TempoCap. The transaction comes right after Streetbees’ recent €34M Series B fund in October. The round was led by Lakestar, to accelerate the development of the AI-driven human intelligence platform.
This additional funding from TempoCap is expected to be a major draw for new talent as Streetbees wants to accelerate its recruitment drive for international expansion. The company said in a blog post, that “With technology businesses now able to stay private for longer as venture capital investment has increased, partial liquidity, in the form of a secondary investment, can be a useful tool to attract, reward, and retain talent.”
Founded in 2015 by Oliver May and Tugce Bulut, Streetbees has developed a human intelligence platform that uses AI and geolocation technology, to collect and analyse offline consumer behaviour.
By analysing real-life moments collected from its own global community, the chat-style app is used to share moments from their daily lives via videos, photos, and text. Through applying advanced natural language processing technology to the results, Streetbees uncovers not just what they do, but also why they do it, and what drives them. This helps the company to predict what they may do next.
The company partners with brands across the consumer goods, media and entertainment, retail, and insurance sectors.
Isar Aerospace raises €75M
Munich-based Isar Aerospace, a satellite launching startup, has reportedly landed €75M in its Series B round of funding led by Lakestar with support from previous investors Earlybird Venture Capital and Vsquared Ventures.
In addition, existing investors like Airbus Ventures, former SpaceX Vice President Bulent Altan, Christian Angermayer’s Apeiron, and UVC; and new investors HV Capital and Ann-Kristin and Paul Achleitner have also participated in this round.
Founded in 2018 by Daniel Metzler, Josef Fleischmann, and Markus Brandl, Isar Aerospace develops launch vehicles for deploying and resupplying satellite constellations, cost-efficiently and flexibly into the low Earth orbit (LEO).
The company’s mission is to build a launchpad with a new kind of rocket that is smaller and less expensive. By doing so, it will make cheaper, easier, and more flexible for organisations to book satellite launches. The aim for these rockets will be to carry a payload of more than 1,000 kilograms.
The company plans to use the raised capital to continue its research, development, and production en route to its first commercial launch planned for early 2022.
Ex-OnePlus’ co-founder Carl Pei’s to be launched startup has already raised €5.7M
OnePlus’ co-founder Carl Pei, who left the company on his birthday, 11th September, saying he wants to pursue a new hardware venture, has already secured $7M (approx €5.7M) from high-profile players.
The list of investors includes some prominent names such as Tony Fadell (Principal at Future Shape and inventor of the iPod), Casey Neistat (YouTuber), Kevin Lin (co-founder of Twitch), Steve Huffman (Chief executive of Reddit), Liam Casey (founder and chief executive of PCH), Paddy Cosgrave (founder of Web Summit), and Josh Buckley (Chief executive of Product Hunt).
The startup idea will be unveiled in the near future. Pei has been tight-lipped about his new venture but said he would talk more about it early next year. He has decided to set office in London and is currently hiring personnel with 10 already on board.
After deciding to leave OnePlus, Pie told Wired, “It was like a birthday present to myself. I wanted to explore something new. I still feel like I have a lot of creativity within me, but I still love tech and I have some new ideas I wanted to try out. So I decided to make my birthday my last day.”
He also added, “OnePlus is a really large company, compared to where we were when we were just started. And once the company is larger, you’re kind of set in your strategy. So, by turning a blank page, I can be a lot more creative with what I choose to spend my time on.”
A VC fund that invests in ‘Bold Ideas’ has closed its first fund at €41.2M
London-based seed venture capital firm Ada Ventures co-founded by Check Warner and Matt Penneycard, has announced that it has closed a $50M (approx €41.2M) fund.
Founded in 2019, Ada Ventures is a ‘first-cheque seed fund’ with a mission to make venture capital truly accessible to the best talent in the UK & Europe, regardless of race, gender or background. Its aim is to have the most diverse pipeline, and portfolio, of any fund in the continent. Typically, Ada Ventures looks to invest a £500K (approx €544K) first cheque, and reserve half the fund for follow-on investments.
The investment vehicle was supported by Big Society Capital, an entity owned by the UK government, and the British Business Bank. The British Business Bank is the cornerstone investor in the fund through its Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme, which supports new and emerging VC fund managers who target the early-stage equity gap.
The firm has built a unique grassroots sourcing model, based on a network of well-connected scouts that are incentivised to bring deals to the firm.
If Ada Ventures invests in the company, the Scout is incentivised by a finder’s fee which they can invest directly into the company, or take as cash. So far, Ada has made three investments using the scouting model.
Currently, Ada Ventures works with 58 scouts includes the leaders of Hustle Crew (a for-profit working to make the tech industry more inclusive), Muslamic Makers (a community of Muslims in tech), Yena (the Young Entrepreneurs Networking Association), and YSYS (a thriving community of entrepreneurs from a diverse range of backgrounds).
In 2021, Ada claims to grow its network of Ada Scouts across the UK, with a focus on the LGBTQ+ community, disabled entrepreneurs, and regions outside of London.