Businesses across the world are gearing back to adapt to the ‘new normal’ set by the COVID-19 outbreak. During this time, many European tech startups are coming up with ways to tackle the crisis and develop further despite the tough times. Also, some tech startups have raised funding to grow further and expand into new markets. More interestingly, several startups are coming up with new and innovative solutions for the COVID-era.
Here is a roundup of what happened this week in the European tech startup arena brought to you by Silicon Canals.
Beach robots coming soon
A new tech consultancy startup TechTics, based in The Hague along with Delft University of Technology has built the first demo of a litter picking robot using Artificial Intelligence (AI). Dubbed as BeachBot (.BB), this robot stops once it recognises waste and automatically collects the same. The Municipality of The Hague will launch Project.BB and will conduct experiments on the beach and boulevard of Scheveningen with the robot.
Founded by Martijn Lukaart and Edwin Bos, TechTics works with the mission to resolve societal issues with technology: The autonomous litter-clearing BeachBot, called.BB is run by a trained algorithm and vision technology. It cleans the beach together with Project.BB and brings awareness in an innovative way.
Revolut’s new super app
London-based leading digital banking startup Revolut has launched a new version of its app on its way to become a financial super app. The fintech startup’s app has witnessed a major redesign to let its customers manage their finances easily and safely. The redesign of the Revolut app is now more intuitive and provides a new structure to streamline the daily essential financial requirements of customers.
Touted to be the fast-growing fintech that has been expanding rapidly, Revolut was founded by Nik Storonsky and Vladyslav Yatsenko in 2015. Earlier this year, the London-based fintech reached a valuation of $6 billion (nearly €5.5 billion) after securing $500 million (nearly €462 million) funding from Bond Capital, a growth fund cofounded by Mary Meeker, a VC veteran along with participation from others including Ribbit Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures.
€92M for AI, cybersecurity startups
Team8, touted to be an innovative Israeli firm is involved in the development and spin out of cybersecurity startups. And now it is launching a venture capital arm to invest in Seed, Series A and Series B rounds centered at cybersecurity, data science, AI, and enterprise startups. Recently, Team8 Capital, its VC arm has secured $104 million (nearly €91.7 million) and will add more funds soon. The VC arm has already completed three investments and the fourth one will happen soon.
This Israeli firm was founded in 2014 and is backed by global giants including Microsoft, Walmart, AT&T, Cisco, Airbus and Barclays, among others. Team8 has tweaked its business model and come up with a separate VC division along with its studio model as there is massive activity around cybersecurity of late.
€80M fund for post-Series A startups
Also this week, Paris-based VC C4 Ventures has secured €80 million Fund II. The VC firm is designed to be a post-Series A fund and invests nearly €3 to €4 million. This new fund is said to be a boutique VC as it focuses on tech that will thrive during the post-COVID era.
In what’s called a good head start, Fund II will be used to back seven companies that will adapt to the post-COVID era. These include Zoov, an electric bike-sharing platform in France, Trouva, an online homeware marketplace and DriveNets, a software company adapting to the cloud networking model.
Founded by Pascal Cagni (former Europe head of Apple) and Raph Crouan (another alumni of Apple), C4 Ventures has previously invested in the smart thermostat company Nest that was acquired by Google and Graphcore, an AI chip startup with over $2 billion valuation.
AI-powered breast cancer screening
In another set of news in the tech startup world, German health tech startup Vara that is on a mission to save lives by making screening for breast cancer accessible across the world has secured €6.5 million Series A, where the funding was led by OMERS Ventures along with German digital health pioneers Think.Health, Merantix, Soleria Capital, and Plug and Play based in Silicon Valley. The Berlin-based company will use this funding to expand across Europe, leverage its vast data pools and improve both financial and clinical outcomes for governments and screening providers.
Vara was founded in 2016 by Jonas Muff and Stefan Bunk has raised a total of €9.5 million so far. Also, it has formed alliances with radiology groups and teleradiology providers to make screening programmes accessible in several countries including Germany, Austria, Spain, Poland, and Switzerland.
‘XR’ tech for NHS workers
Since the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, NHS workers across the UK have accessed training via virtual, mixed and augmented reality (XR) tech. Virti, which is a virtual and augmented reality platform has rolled out specially designed COVID-19 modules that can be used to train NHS staff via a VR headset, desktop or smart device. The technology provided by this startup uses virtual and augmented reality (AR) to recreate hospital-like environments and patient cases so that users can interact efficiently in a convenient and safe setup.
Founded by NHS National Innovation Fellow and former NHS trauma surgeon Dr Alexander Young, Virti’s unique application of data-driven XR was used even before the pandemic. Also recently, the platform won government’s NHS TechForce 19 challenge.
Free COVID-19 research discovery app
Deeper Insights, a London-based AI and analytics startup has launched a COVID-19 research discovery app for the medical community with an intention to improve knowledge about the disease in the search to find treatments, cures or a vaccine. The free research discovery app is called Covid Insights and it provides an easy way to search from a vast amount of research. The knowledge graph is powered by natural language processing and AI.
The research platform of Deeper Insights is backed by high-profile doctors and partners such as former BMJ Director Matthew Harker, Critical Care Research Lead for Wales Dr Matt Morgan, and former NHS Director and co-founder of Aequum Health Meuthia Endrojono-Ellis. The AI startup was founded by Jack Hampson and is inspired to develop based on the COVID-19 experience of his sister, a consultant at King’s College Hospital in London.
First free Virtual Cultural Festival
Amsterdam-based travel scaleup Tiqets has come up with a unique week-long program called Tiqets Culture Festival. It offers new exclusive content and highly interactive online experiences from across the world. Being a leading online booking platform for tourist attractions and museums from the Dutchland, Tiqets’ first-free online culture festival will be held from June 8 to 12, 2020. The five-day event will offer exclusive virtual experiences of Met (US), Windsor Castle (UK), ABBA The Museum (SWE), the SPYSCAPE Museum (US) and Duomo di Milano (ITA).
Founded in Amsterdam in 2014 by Luuc Elzinga, this online ticket booking platform has partnered with Google to develop the concept to host virtual experiences with culture venues across the world on Google Meet.
Million of investment for Luxembourg AI startup
Luxembourg-based AI startup Wizata hit the tech headlines recently as it secured €2.7 million funding led by new partners KBC Focus Fund and Volta Ventures along with participation from founders and long-time partner Expon Capital. This startup provides an open architecture platform, which empowers engineers to optimise and automate the production process in real-time with AI. With Wizata, customers use less resources and witness benefits such as improved quality and yield and reduced energy costs and downtime.
Established in 2014 by Jean-Philippe Hugo, Dario De La Puente, and Philippe Maes, Wizata previously secured around €1.3 million funding from Expon Capital in 2018. With the latest investment, the Capellen-based startup will bring about operational efficiencies in process manufacturing and leverages AI technology.
Salesforce Ventures takes interest in Eindhoven-based Nextview
Dutch Platinum Salesforce Partner Nextview has just announced its expansion into Germany. Besides this, the firm receives a substantial investment (undisclosed amount) from Salesforce Ventures. With this investment, the Eindhoven-based consultancy firm aims to expand, develop strategic competences and increase existing customer success. Further, the company aims to provide better customer experience with innovative tech solutions and design thinking.
Founded by Huub Waterval, Nextview will get a significant boost with this investment to expand into Northern Europe and the Netherlands. It will open a Design Thinking Centre in 2021, which will be a central hub in Frankfurt. Later, its existing locations – Eindhoven and Amsterdam will follow.
Main image picture credits: TechTics
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