Early stage European startups backed by American VCs.
a review of interesting Euro startups which were backed by American investors at very early stages + active investors and new funds announcements from the past week + a list of interesting early stage startups that were funded in the past month
European startups backed by American VCs
I believe it is fairly interesting to scrutinise their work in Europe for at least a few reasons.
The way of doing business is different.
Americans have a different experience and come from a business culture that is not very usual in Europe. America is a 300+ million people market, with one language, where scalability is much easier to imagine and execute on the ground.
In Europe, it is more difficult to plan in an initial phase the scalability out of 27 countries, each with its own language, customs and market specifics.
A fresh perspective
Related to the different culture, it is often that Americans can perceive an opportunity in a much different way than an European can look at it. A different perspective can sometimes be a dealbreaker and lead to unexpected business turns and directions that ultimately may translate into a huge business.
Besides, a good part of the American investors in Europe are experienced, they have seen many types of founders, businesses and risks and have a fairly good nose on spotting good opportunities.
Higher risk appetite
The American risk appetite is different than the ones you will find at European investors.
They play to win not to no lose. They take bets, like to take early risks and see if something is working out fast. If it does, they will double down, if not they will kill it quickly. Quickly is the key word here.
The European approach is usually a bit different, as they are more risk averse, slow to react, iterate in small steps and, as mentioned above, stick to one country or local market rather than thinking big from the beginning.
Europe is more affordable
Americans find the European market quite affordable, as compared to what they have in their own yard.
Europe is more of an emerging market compared to US - up and coming, with still a lot of virgin territories to explore.
It's true, it is fragmented and more difficult to tackle but it is easier to find hungry, smart people here - the average European is fairly educated, with an uni degree, and speaks English in addition to their mother language.
As such, the probability is higher in Europe to find interesting teams and deals which are not as expensive compared to what they have in Silicon Valley or New York, for example.
Those reasons make me believe that the startups that have American investors in their capable may present interesting potential as they can be outliers.
As such, we found it fitting to screen through the portfolios of about 500 American investors who were involved in European deals under $5 million in the past 15 month - from January 2020 to date.
Here's a few startups that I believe look interesting:
🇷🇸 Anari AI
last raised: April 2021
total raised: $2M
investors: Acequia Capital, Earlybird, Eric Ries.
It's not every day you hear about startups from Serbia. The background of the founders is also super interesting - technical and hustlers, with international experience. A great combo.
What they built and sell is really hard - a software platform makes it possible to design personalized AI chips in the cloud with just one click. With this approach, companies are able to build and deploy AI solutions in weeks instead of 12-18 months, and at a fraction of the cost of traditional hardware development.
The platform is built on a unique Python-based programming framework, developed by Anari for chip design - they say their chip delivers 100x more efficient processing of 3D Point Cloud/Graph data structures compared to a high-end GPU.
🇳🇴 Tillit AI
vertical: financial services, SAAS
last raised: February 2021
total raised: $3M
investors: Sequoia, Visionaries Club, LocalGlobe
Tillit was founded by an ex-McKinsey guy - Andreas Mjelde - while consulting for Antler in Oslo. He raised a pre-seed from Antler and Arkwright X at the end of last year and this year secured a seed round led by Sequoia.
Tillit is still pre-product and is building a B2B payment solution, targeting a TAM they say it is is three times bigger than PayPal. Specifically, they want to do a kind of Klarna for B2B payments - a payment software tool facilitating the businesses to business payments.
vertical: consumer health, SAAS
last raised: August 2020
total raised: $400k
investors: Runa Capital, Altair Capital
Undermyfork provides nutritional advice by matching your meal pictures with blood sugar data from your CGM or glucose meter. The app automatically syncs blood sugar readings from supported CGMs, glucose meters and apps via Apple Health.
The aim is to let users correlate meals with changes in blood glucose levels as it tells the percentage of time that a person spends with their blood glucose levels in a target range, considered the most important metric in modern diabetes management.
The TAM: 422 million people.
last raised: November 2020
total raised: N/A
investors: Luxor Capital
BerBrand is a rather old school business, acting as supplier for the luxury business. It was founded by CEO Bertrand Badré and makes buttons, packaging, fashion trims and custom jewelry for the apparel industry. The company operates via 3 production units, 2 pearl farms, 2 warehouses, 1 logistic unit and 3 show rooms dislocated over Asia, Europe and United States.
At the end of last year, BerBrand raised funding from Luxor Capital.
vertical: social network, food industry
last raised: February 2021
total raised: $1.5M
investors: Crystal Sacca, Micha Kaufman, Astanor Ventures
Demi is such as simple idea and yet so difficult to implement.
It was founded by an Irish who previously worked as journalist for Vice in London, as a marketing guy for a new-gen alcohol producer and for a social network startup, both from Copenhagen.
He developed a digital platform that lets fans subscribe to group chats with chefs, creating a source of digital revenue. Subscribers have access to the so-called communities, where they can get tips and tricks from the chef from a favorite restaurant or share their own experiences with the other users.
Demi says that it has gotten already 2000 paying subscribers.
If you want to dig for more, we created a report profiling 25 such startups. If you can find it here.
🇪🇸 JME Ventures
🇬🇧 Guinness Asset Management
🇺🇸 True Ventures
🇬🇧 Jonathan Seaton
🇪🇸 Juan Manuel Serruya
🇬🇧 LocalGlobe and Latitude raised two new funds - $150M and $220M.
🇸🇪 Pale Blue Dot announced a second closing of their fund at $100 million.
🇷🇺 The Games Fund is a $50 million fund to invest in gaming across Eastern Europe.
🇳🇱 Brightlands Venture Partners closes € 45M sustainability and health fund.
🇪🇪 Tera Ventures announced the closing of a €43 million seed-stage fund.
🇫🇮 IPR VC announced €65 million for IPR.VC Fund II.
🇲🇹 FoodSparks will invest in €30 million pan-European seed and early-stage agrifood-tech startups.
🇳🇱 The Fabricant
verticals: fashion, software
The Fabricant operates at the intersection of fashion and technology fabricating digital-only fashion couture and experiences.
verticals: consumer marketplace, transportation
investors: byFounders, Pale Blue Dot
Monta calls itself AirBNB for EV chargers. They developed a mobile app that connects the owners of electric vehicles charging points and opens them up in a marketplace for a peer to peer conection with drivers looking to charge their cars. Once a charging point owner is hooked into Monta's network, they can decide their pricing levels.
Similar startup: 🇳🇴 ChargeBNB (bootstrapped)
verticals: financial services, SAAS
investors: angels, Techstars
Bippit is a B2B service providing an expert financial support system consisting of three parts: 1-1 financial coaches, software tools, and practical resources.
verticals: consumer health, food industry
investors: Elaia, Accomplice
Zoe developd a mobile app that advises people what to eat to stay healthy based on their physiology and environment.
🇸🇪 Cling Systems
verticals: B2B marketplace, automotive
Cling Systems developed a two sided B2B marketplace for used EV batteries, allowing for responsible reuse and recycling electric batteries at scale.
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Data-based intel from the European startup ecosystem written professionally in an easy to understand format - tactical bits and industry-wide trends, curated deals, active investors and relevant early stage transactions.
Published every Monday morning and emailed to the Nordic 9 customers - investors, founders and decision makers willing to stay updated with the strategic moves from Europe.