Startup Monday: Latest tech trends & news happening in the global startup ecosystem (Issue 56)

Episode 49


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Top startups news to follow this week:

1. French startup Sweep picks up €66.5 million for its leading carbon management platform, reports EU Startups

Founded in 2020, carbon management platform Sweep is helping enterprises build data-driven and science-based climate programs – a crucial part of businesses’ contribution to tackling the climate crisis. The firm has today announced an impressive raise of €66.5 million, demonstrating the promise and power of the platform. Further, this comes just months after a €19 million raise in December 2021.

Coatue has led this Series B funding round with participation from existing investors Balderton Capital, New Wave, La Famiglia and 2050. Sweep aims to empower hundreds more companies to reach carbon goals with its all-in-one tool, and this raise puts confidence and trust in the system. 

Based in Montpellier, Sweep allows organizations to accurately and seamlessly track their global emissions across their three emission scopes. Its network approach to carbon accounting empowers every carbon-emitting individual – such as employees, subsidiaries, suppliers, and business partners – to securely share their data and visualize their emissions over time.

2. SeaX Ventures (Southeast Asia Exponential Ventures), with operations in the US & Thailand, has announced the close of its second fund to help accelerate the growth of global startups throughout Southeast Asia.

The fund is dedicated to investing in companies working on truly transformational opportunities in sectors including blockchain & web3, foodtech, biotech & life science, artificial intelligence, robotics, and IoT & hardware.

Although the original fund target size was $50 million, the raise was oversubscribed, and the total was increased to $60 million. SeaX Ventures will make investments of between $500,000 – $5 million in pre-seed, seed, and Series A financings.

SeaX Ventures will tangibly add value to its portfolio companies by helping to grow their businesses. This goal will be accomplished by connecting these startups to its investors and RISE clients, thus also assisting the larger entities in their quests to pursue innovative initiatives, launch new businesses, or reduce operating costs.

“Southeast Asia is a region of 650 million people with a combined GDP of $3 trillion,” said Dr. Supachai “Kid” Parchariyanon, the Founder and Managing Partner of SeaX Ventures. “We can help innovative startups from across the world grow exponentially in this large and dynamic area through our relationship with over 400 corporates.”

3. Evok Innovations, a venture firm committed to developing and deploying cutting-edge clean energy technology, last week announced a first close of its $300 million Fund II, with half the capital committed by a group of strategic investors.

The fund will target early-stage investments across North America in key industrial decarbonization verticals, including carbon capture use and storage (CCUS), low-carbon fuels, clean energy and grid innovations, mobility, and advanced materials and circularity.

Launched in 2016 through a partnership between Suncor, Cenovus and the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance, Evok’s inaugural $100 million CAD fund aimed to accelerate the development of critical energy transition technologies across North America. The fund has made 16 investments in critical decarbonization technologies ranging from clean hydrogen and carbon-to-value to long-duration energy storage

4. London-based cleantech startup, Again, has raised a £2.55m pre seed investment, led by Eka Ventures, to develop “the worlds’ smartest system” for cleaning packaging for refill and reuse.

Again’s compact, shipping container sized CleanCell solution is said to use 76 per cent less water and 90 per cent less energy than traditional recycling methods and can efficiently process and clean thousands of packaging units each month, ready to be refilled and reused.

By 2025, Again aims to power brands to reuse their packaging for cheaper than purchasing single use packaging. The pioneering cleaning technology system already matches the cost of single-use packaging for small brands.

Bringing down the cost of reusable packaging will break down a significant barrier to its adoption as, despite commitments to eliminate single use plastic packaging, FMCG brands are restricted by the higher cost of reuse and the lack of cleaning infrastructure.

5. Porto-based Fibersail takes off with €5 million to reduce the cost of wind energy, reports EU Startups

Developing technology that is improving the prospects of wind energy, Fibersail has just raised €5 million in a round led by FORWARD.one with participation from Rockstart, Innoenergy, Caixa Capital, and, former LM Wind Power CEO, Marc de Jong. 

The Porto-based startup is behind a data-driven shape sensing technology used for the monitoring of wind turbine blades. The tech has the power the enhance the performance of wind turbines and reduce operational costs by enabling the use of blade deformation for the control of wind turbines.

Founded in 2015 by sailing experts, including Olympic Medalist Hugo Rocha, alongside Vasco Serpa and Pedro Pinto, the founders are on a mission to add intelligence to the way wind turbines are built and operated – with the aim of enhancing the potential of wind energy. 

Pedro Pinto, co-Founder and CEO, said: “With a passion for wind energy and background in high-performance sailing, my entire life was spent on understanding how to generate the best energy performance by using wind power. During the first years of Fibersail, I was amazed with the lack of information regarding the conditions and operations of wind turbine blades and the multi-billion euro cost it was generating every year. Now, together with our strong team of deep and greentech investors, we are disrupting the way these wind turbines are controlled and maintained.”

Wind energy is regarded as one of the most cost-efficient power sources worldwide – but it’s still to reach its full potential and take off. It’s reported that even with a record-breaking number of installations each year reaching over 743 GW of capacity in 2022, the world needs to triple the speed of installations to attain its carbon-neutral goals over the next decade. To achieve this, new turbines are being developed that have blades exceeding 100m in length. However, current blade monitoring solutions lack accuracy and are not prepared for tip displacements reaching more than 20 meters.

With a proprietary shape sensing technology, Fibersail is focused on the shape of the blade rather than root strain, enabling manufacturers and operators to design and operate better-performing wind turbines. The Fibersail technology enables this by precisely controlling and monitoring the behaviour of their blades, empowering in this way the EU vision to become climate neutral and energy independent.

6. Qureos raises $3M to grow its learn to earn platform, reports Tech Crunch

Qureos, a UAE-based edtech and remote work marketplace that is changing how people upskill and get jobs across the globe, plans to grow the uptake of its platform by 10 times this year in its race to create 100 million jobs over the next few years. The startup has today announced closing a $3 million pre-seed funding to accelerate this growth.

Qureos was founded in August last year by Alexander Epure, Mehrad Yaghmai and Usama Nini in a bid to make mentorship more accessible to individuals that are starting out in their careers, or are looking to switch jobs.

The startup’s user-base originates from 133 countries, with about 32% being from Africa, and mainly residing in South Africa and the North Africa region.

Epure said they are creating new learning and work opportunities for the millions of youth in the generation Z and millennial demographics, who are vastly unemployed or underemployed due to a lack of marketable skills that are often not taught in traditional curriculums. The startup was recently selected by Dubai Future Accelerators to solve the skills gap of the unemployed and those entering the job market.

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7. Warp raises $23M to build a better terminal, reports Tech Crunch

The terminal often feels like an afterthought, and there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in this space for a very long time. Warp, which is launching its public beta today and announcing $23 million in funding, is trying to change this by building a new command-line terminal that aims to make developers more productive. For now, the Warp public beta is only available on macOS, but the company promises Windows and Linux versions in the future, too.

As the company announced today, it previously raised a $6 million seed round led by GV, with participation from Neo and BoxGroup. It has now also raised a $17 million Series A round led by Dylan Field, the co-founder and CEO of Figma. Other participants in this (somewhat unusual) entrepreneur-led round include Elad Gil, former LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner and Salesforce’s co-founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff.

“I’ve been a developer now, for 20 years,” Warp co-founder and CEO Zach Lloyd, who was previously a principal engineer at Google and the interim CTO for Time, told me. “I’ve always been a terminal user. I’ve always thought it was kind of a weird app, to be honest. [ … ] But it’s an interesting app in the sense that it’s ubiquitous. You walk by any developer’s desk and they’re going to have a terminal open. There are only a couple apps like that: the terminal and the code editor. So I thought it was an interesting leverage point for doing something that would have an impact across all developers. And then, if you can get really good at it you actually get a lot of real productivity gains.”

8.ReadySet raises $29M to expedite access to enterprise-scale app data, reports Tech Crunch

ReadySet, a company providing database infrastructure to help developers build real-time applications, today announced that it raised $24 million in a Series A funding round led by Index Ventures with participation from Amplify Partners. Several angel investors also contributed, bringing ReadySet’s total raised to $28.9 million — building on a previously undisclosed $4.9 million seed round.

According to co-founder and CEO Alana Marzoev, ReadySet is tackling a major challenge in the enterprise having to do with delivering dynamic content while servicing large, distributed customers. The current standard practice is to build custom query caching systems, but Marzoev claims that this can slow down engineering teams, drive up costs and cause outages at inopportune times.

“Rather than rebuilding these same broken systems, developers need solutions that slot into their existing infrastructure and achieve limitless read scaling,” Marzoev told TechCrunch. “With ReadySet, we aim to make the process of globally caching … query results as streamlined and automated as caching images in a content delivery system.”

9. Barcelona-based Amenitiz picks up over €27 million to revolutionise the day-to-day of independent hoteliers – Spain’s biggest SaaS Series A funding round to date, reports EU Startups

Building an operating system for independent hoteliers across Europe, Amenitiz has today announced a massive funding boost of over €27 million – picking up Spain’s largest-ever SaaS Series A round. The funding, just a few months after a €6.5 million raise, was led by global VC investor Eight Roads, backer of Alibaba, Wallapop and Red Points, alongside Chalfen Ventures and existing investors: Point9, Otium and Backed. 

Based in Barcelona – a renowned tourist hotspot – Amenitiz is revolutionising processes for independent hotels and B&Bs with its all-in-one Property Management System (PMS). It’s reported by the company that in Europe, where there are over 700,000 hotels, bed & breakfast and vacation rentals, over 80% of them are independent properties with 50 rooms or less. This is a massive market that, until now, has been without such a tailored system. 

Even for small properties, managing operations has become increasingly complex over the years as the travel industry has digitised. Now, a large variety of software products have been introduced to the sector, and they are increasingly needed to ensure operations run efficiently. These small business owners are increasingly overwhelmed and frustrated with confusing and overly-complex tech.

Independent hoteliers are typically using a spaghetti of poorly maintained legacy software, mostly on-premise. As a result, many hoteliers are spending two to five hours a day on administrative tasks – taking them away from doing what they love most: welcoming guests. 

Alexandre Guinefolleau, CEO of Amenitiz, said: “As hoteliers awaken in a post-covid world, they find themselves even more reliant on their digital presence and online distribution to rebuild and grow their business. Their current tech stack -if any- is incapable of dealing with today’s challenges and guest expectations. This is why we created Amenitiz, to empower independent hoteliers to master every aspect of running their properties and allow them to build a thriving business. And we’re just getting started!”

10. Predicting building damages using AI lands €1.35 million for Frankfurt-based startup

Frankfurt-based startup that offers technology to reliably predict building damages, Preventio has raised a €1.35 million funding. The pre-seed round was led by Futury Capital, an early-stage and growth investor focusing on tech startups. Andreas Haug, founder and general partner of the venture capital firm Headline, BMH Beteiligungs-Managementgesellschaft Hessen and angel investors such as Christoph Benner, Marcus Laube and Alexander Jörger also participated in the round.

The funding will be used to expand the research and development team and enhance the predictive maintenance platform to transform the AI-based prototype into a scalable SaaS application.

Building damages, in particular tap water damages, leading to billions in damage costs and considerable water loss annually. These damages are one of the main cost drivers for the building sector and are expected to increase as properties start ageing. The platform’s solution supports insurance companies, housing associations and pipe manufacturers in identifying risks and reducing damages.

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