The whole world is still trying to cope up with the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought in irreversible changes in the lives of many. This pandemic has also affected several businesses across the world and while some companies are progressing. Several startups have also secured funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. In our weekly startups roundup let’s take a look at all important announcements done recently.
Enriches employees life with wide-range of benefits during COVID-19
Igloo Energy, a UK-based challenger energy provider has announced the launch of Perkbox, which is touted to be the fastest-growing employee experience platform. This announcement has been made in a bid to prioritise staff well-being during COVID-19. It has launched Perkbox to provide employees with a wide range of benefits that are easily accessible while they are at home. Notable benefits include online shopping discounts, access to a 24/7 employee assistance programme, and free online exercise classes with Boxx. Of these, the most popular perks redeemed by users include free online workout classes with Boxx and a free online movie with Rakuten every month.
Help entrepreneurs to deploy revolutionary transportation technologies
Autotech Ventures, which hit the headline three years back with a debut fund of $120 million (nearly €111 million) has raised a whopping second fund of over $150 million (nearly €139 million) from financial and corporate investors including Lear, Volvo Group Venture Capital AB, Stoneridge, and Bridgestone among others. The company will invest in early-stage ground transportation startups across the world and some of its notable investments include DeepScale, Lyft, Swvl, Volta Charging, and others. Furthermore Autotech Ventures sees investment opportunities in “off highway” autonomous vehicle technology ventures such as construction and mining.
Dutch private equity firm buys healthcare technology business Corilus
AAC Capital, a Benelux-focused private equity firm is all set to sell medical software provider Corito Gilde Buy Out Partners. As of now, there is no word regarding the sum involved in the same. AAC has invested over €900m in businesses in the Benelux since 2001. Talking about Corilus, its software digitises both administrative and clinical processes for more than 40,000 healthcare providers including general practitioners, dentists, physiotherapists, pharmacies, nurses, and elderly care homes. AAC has a strong footprint in the Belgian healthcare industry and has acquired five companies since 2015. Corilus’ acquisition is all set to replicate the blueprint of organic growth and acquiring further companies in the other European countries.
Duffel appoints new CTO from GoCardless
London-based travel tech startup Duffel is a fast-growing software platform that lets anyone to sell flight products. In a recent development, the company has recruited Norberto Lopes, who is one of the former senior engineers at GoCardless as its new Chief Technology Officer. This hire depicts how Duffel is growing as a business despite its challenges in the travel industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At GoCardless, Lopes led one of the largest engineering groups driving the force behind the migration of the company’s software infrastructure to the cloud. Prior to this, Lopes worked at one of the systems engineering teams at Blizzard Entertainment’s California HQ.
Edinburgh-based startup secures funding
The UK startup Continuum Industries provides AI tools for engineering professionals so that they can rapidly design linear infrastructure projects and minimise their costs. The startup just announced that it has secured £1.5 million (nearly €1.7 million) seed funding led by Playfair Capital and Credo Ventures along with participation from Simon Blakey, Techstart Ventures, Michael Blakey and others. The investment will be used to make its technology available widely to teams involved in infrastructure planning and design all over the world. Previously, Continuum Industries received initial backing from Skyscanner’s Gareth Williams.
World’s first unobtrusive and professional drone bird is here!
The Drone Bird Company is one of the leading builders of drone birds. After three decades of research and development of fixed-wing and flapping-wing drone birds, the company has launched a new model – the AVES Series 1 surveillance drone. It is touted to be the first unobstrusive and professional drone bird in the world as it is almost identical to a real bird. The fixed-wing drone bird has been developed to closely resemble real birds and is undetectable by both animals and humans. The Drone Bird Company focuses on applications such as wildlife monitoring and protection, bird control and wildlife monitoring at airports, unobtrusive surveillance and others.
Italian VR startup that develops ultra-realistic VR experiences gets funded!
Italian Virtual Reality startup InVRsion serves the retail industry since its debut in 2015. Now, it has secured €3 million funding from a group of both existing and new advisors including Invest Italy SIM Spa and BackToWork 24 Srl that covered 50% of the fund and others such as LiftT Spa, Finebeauty Srl, and Italian Angels for Growth. Apart from the investment, InVRsion’s advisory board ropes in De Nardis, an investor, advisor, and director along with Eugenio Perrier and Lorenzo Thione. It will use their expertise to scale up in the US starting from its newly established subsidiary based in New York.
Modulr, one of UK’s best workplaces in 2020 scoops up funding
Digital payments scaleup Modulr has secured £18.9 million (nearly €22 million) growth funding led by leading European Growth Capital firm Highland Europe along with participation from existing investors including Frog Capital. The digital payments company will use the funding to develop its platform and expand into new markets and product areas. Back in 2019, Modulr became one of the few non-banks to get direct access to Faster Payments and Bacs and became a principal issuing member of Visa. Also, the scaleup opened its first office outside of the UK in Dublin.
AI coaching platform Leetify that identifies your weakness bags funding
Stockholm-based e-sports startup Leetify secured €900k to develop its AI-powered coaching platform for gamers, which is in the beta stage. The funding is from several Nordic VCs along with J12 Ventures, Futurisitc.vc, and others. The AI coaching platform analyses the matches that gamers play automatically, identifies their weaknesses, personalise practices, and tracking progress. Leetify works with the goal to recreate the training infrastructure that has been existing for offline sports traditionally. Now, it has over 10,000 gamers using the platform every month. And, the funding will help speed up product development and is on a lookout for candidates passionate about competitive gaming.
World’s first smart wearable with special cooling technology!
London-based femtech hardware startup Astinno has announced grant funding of £360k (nearly €407k) from Morgan IAT and Loughborough University. It will use the funding to boost development of its automated cooling product called Grace to treat menopausal hot flushes. Grace is the world’s first smart wearable that uses a special cooling technology to automatically detect and weaken menopausal hot flushes. Grace uses a specific range of sensors that are fine-tuned using algorithms that work and detect signs of hot flushes before it actually happens.
Main image picture credits: The Drone Bird Company
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