Here are all the companies in Tampa Bay Wave’s inaugural cybersecurity cohort Tampa Bay Business Journal
“startups when:1d” – Google News
After the pandemic began, the world witnessed a rise in the need for digital services, including the banking sector. In a recent development, a London-based fintech company PPRO, a provider of local payment infrastructure for online commerce, has raised $ 180M (approx €148.5M) in a fresh round of funding.
Investors in the round
The round saw participation from Eurazeo Growth, Sprints Capital, and Wellington Management.
Prior to this, the company had raised $ 50M (approx €48.1M) from Sprints Capital as well as Citi Ventures and HPE Growth. The company’s current valuation after the latest round is now over $ 1B (approx €823.6M).
Financial Technology Partners acted as exclusive financial advisor and Noerr as legal advisor to PPRO in the transaction.
Use of the raised capital
The latest round will be used by the company to fuel its continued global expansion and support the development of its border-free payment technology and services.
Simon Black, CEO of PPRO, says “Beyond securing the support of such prestigious investors and achieving a milestone valuation, we’ve enabled our customers to grow at record numbers during what has been a tough time for many. By giving businesses the ability to offer payment choice, we’ve helped give people around the world better access to goods and services that improve their lives.”
Black continues, “Our unique local payments infrastructure empowers our customers to quickly increase their global footprint. This investment will help us deliver the highest performance possible for companies leading the global payments industry.”
Founded in 2006 by Philipp Bock, Philipp Nieland, and Tobias Schreyer, PPRO’s local payments platform and expert services help its users to get the industry’s best conversion rates in markets globally by allowing online shoppers to pay with their preferred payment method.
According to the company, its technology allows payment services providers and enterprises with payment platforms to plug in via simple APIs and offload the intricate complexities and massive costs of providing payment method choice to local consumers. Its singular focus on local payment methods helps its customers rapidly speed up time to market and reduce operational costs up to 10 times, claims PPRO.
The company says its vision from the start has been to simplify access to the many different payment methods required by consumers and businesses across the world.
In addition, PPRO also offers e-money issuing programs for consumers and corporate. They are FCA licensed to issue e-money as they continue to strengthen their links with alternative payment method schemes and banks around the world.
PPRO claims to have established itself as a trusted infrastructure provider in the cross-border payments space powering international growth for payment service providers and platforms such as Citi, Elavon, Mastercard Payment Gateway Services, Mollie, PayPal, and Worldpay.
Last year, the company doubled its year-on-year transaction volumes in the fourth quarter, expanded its global team by 60 per cent, and developed new strategic partnerships with local payment methods in high-growth markets like Indonesia and Singapore.
Commenting on the market, Nathalie Kornhoff-Bruls, MD at Eurazeo Growth, says, “All signs for the future indicate that digital commerce, and even more so cross-border commerce, will continue to grow exponentially while innovation in payment methods remains strong. As a result, facilitating local payments is becoming increasingly complex. Payment service providers, however, no longer have a choice as merchants and their customers are pushing for the adoption.”
In December 2020, Apexx Global, a global payments platform, announced its partnership with PPRO to drive cost savings and conversion rates for merchants globally. Through the sharing of industry expertise, the partnership was aimed at providing benefits to merchants seeking a wide range of payment options and increased transaction flexibility.
Prior to that in June 2020, PPRO announced direct integration with Paysafecash. With this integration, Paysafecash will be available for 24 markets, including the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Romania, and other markets where cash remains a preferred payment method. Payment service providers (PSPs) and their merchants who partner with PPRO get easy access to consumers in over 175 e-commerce markets through just one API and one contract.
Offline travel app Maps.me has raised $ 50M (approx €41.3M) in a fresh round of funding led by Alameda Research, a Hong Kong-based investment firm and liquidity provider. Genesis Capital and CMS Holdings also participated in this round.
Use of the raised capital
Reportedly, the new funds will help the company to roll out a multi-currency wallet on Maps.me and enable a decentralised finance (DeFi) ecosystem on the platform. With DeFi, it looks to develop the tool into an “everyday app,” making Maps.me more mainstream.
This means that the Maps.me 2.0 version would allow users to store values and earn yields of up to 8 per cent, as well as make both domestic and international transactions. The app would also have a cashback feature on its transactions.
“By embedding and democratising access to yield-earning finance to millions of users via an everyday app, Maps.me has the potential to really propel DeFi mainstream adoption and bring a groundbreaking technology to the masses,” says, Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of Alameda Research and also crypto exchange FTX.
The company was founded in 2011 by Alex Zolotarev, Siarhei Rachytski, Victor Govako, and Yury Melnichek. Maps.me is a free mobile offline map for travellers which covers all countries of the world which are available for download from within the application.
Maps.me gets its map data from OpenStreetMap.org (Wikipedia of maps) – an open database of geographic information which is updated by the community of 5.7 million contributors. The application includes the map data in full details with streets, house names, tourist attractions, hiking/cycling trails, local businesses and other key information.
After the download, the maps and all the built-in features work offline and do not require an internet connection (map, search, filters, car/pedestrian/bike/transit routing and navigation with voice instructions). With the internet connection, you can also get free car traffic in 38 countries and access a public catalogue with thousands of travel guides and itineraries, created by professional companies, individual bloggers, and active travellers.
Currently, the company has over 140 million installations globally, available for iOS and Android and translated into 28 languages. According to the Coindesk report, over 58 per cent of Maps.me users come from the European continent, and more than 70 per cent are between the ages of 18 and 40.
In 2014, Mail.ru Group, an Amsterdam-based Russian internet company, acquired 100 per cent stakes of Maps.me for RUB 542M (approx €6M). According to Mail.ru, in 2019, the travel app’s revenue amounted to RUB 159M (approx €1.7M) with an EBITDA loss of RUB 25M (approx €279K).
Maps.me was recently sold to Daegu Limited for about €17M.
Mail.ru Group is an internet company in the high-growth Russian-speaking Internet markets (Russia is Europe’s largest Internet market measured by the number of users, comScore). The company claims to own Russia’s leading email service and is one of Russia’s largest internet portals. It operates all three of the Russian language social networks, Vkontakte (VK), Odnoklassniki (OK) and Moi Mir (My World), and Russia’s largest online games business.
In 2013, Mail.ru Group launched its first global project My.com that provides a suite of communication and entertainment apps.
Here are five Bay Area mental health startups to watch – San Francisco Business Times San Francisco Business Times
“startups when:1d” – Google News
It would be an understatement to say that the year 2020 was difficult. However, we’ve entered 2021 and it’s worth having a positive outlook towards the coming year. Businesses need some expert insight into what they can expect in 2021 and the SaaS company PitchBook that delivers data, research and insights has shared some predictions that apply to European PE and VC industries. Here are the predictions;
European PE deal activity to cross €480B in 2021
Private Equity or PE deals are expected to cross the €480B mark in 2021. The rationale behind the prediction is provided by PitchBook’s EMEA Private Capital Analyst Dominick Mondesir. He notes that 2021 will primarily be about recovery.
“Many managers have stated their deal pipelines across all strategies are particularly robust going into 2021, and recent GP surveys indicate deploying capital in 2021 is the main priority for managers,” says Modesir. “When analyzing previous downturns, it took managers around one year post-crisis to deploy capital at scale, and we expect outsized figures in 2021 to reflect that trend. Finally, pent-up demand from sponsors that were not able to hit deal volume and capital deployment targets in 2020 will also contribute.”
While PitchBook’s prediction seems sunny, there’s also a caveat. COVID-19 is still raging on, which is expected to lead to considerable dispersion across European economies and dampen economic and PE deal activities. Furthermore, Brexit and associated European geopolitical tensions could cause material disruption to PE deals in the Europe’s largest PE market.
VC follow-up rounds will remain above 90% of overall capital invested across Europe
Nalin Patel, EMEA Private Capital Analyst at PitchBook, notes that during the last decade, capital pouring into first-time rounds has remained consistent, whereas capital within follow-on rounds has soared. “Capital has not been siphoned away from first-time rounds. Rather, there is a wider array of sources and greater amounts of capital flowing into the European VC landscape, with a particular focus on the early and late stages. We do not expect the tap at each financing stage to shut off anytime soon,” Patel notes.
The PitchBook prediction takes note that over 90% of overall VC deal value took place within follow-on rounds for the first time in 2019 and 2020. Median VC deal sizes and valuations are said to have grown notably during COVID-19 as well. The possible caveat here is that there could a stagnation in terms of follow-on round investment as growth becomes harder to capture during the uncertain period of COVID-19, which is characterised by rising unemployment figures and limited sustainable macroeconomic growth.
European SPAC listings could hit double digits in 2021
In 2020, we witnessed a surge in US SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) with over 220 listings, while Europe observed only four European SPAC listings. However, this year, SPAC listings in Europe are expected to rise notably and could hit double digits. As per Mondesir, the outsized activity in the US will affect Europe and Multiple European exchanges
and regulators are said to be competing to become the most favourable exchange and jurisdiction to list a European SPAC.
“Duplicating the favourable portions of the US SPAC structure, improving upon its weaker areas, and changing exchange rules will be crucial in unleashing European SPACs as an option for sponsors and institutional investors,” Mondesir notes.
The challenge for the European SPAC market is touted to be a thin investor base, a perceived lack of credible managers, and key structural and regulatory challenges.
There are few companies that can continue a growth streak, especially after last year. However, the Berlin-based digital road freight forwarder Sennder is a company that has shown remarkable growth over the years. It is now continuing its growth streak as it raises €131.64M in its series D funding round. With the latest funding, the company’s valuation surpassed €820M.
In its latest series D funding round, Sennder raised a notable €131.64M. Participants in the round included all of the company’s existing investors such as Accel, Lakestar, HV Capital, Project A and Scania, among others. With this funding round, the total amount raised by the company till date stands above €214M. The company plans to invest €82.3M from fresh funds into growing and developing its technologies.
The latest investment will also help Sennder expand its 200-people technology team and accelerate its research and development into automation, digitalisation, optimisation and decarbonisation of road freight. It will also channel funds towards expanding its business into new European markets and replicating the success it witnessed with Poste Italiane. Through the Italian joint venture, Sennder is said to have helped the business save 6% of its €100m annual spending and it aims to replicate the same with its other partners.
David Nothacker, CEO and Co-Founder of sennder, says, “As a data-driven company, we contribute to making the logistics industry fit for a sustainable future; ensuring transparency, flexibility and efficiency in the distribution of goods. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of a digitalised logistics industry. Throughout 2020, we helped our carriers increase their profitability by enhancing operating margins by up to 80% during a challenging time.“
Enabling transparency and efficiency
Sennder is a road freight forwarder that banks on digitisation of the sector to provide its services. The company directly connects enterprise shippers with trucking companies via its proprietary technology, which is said to provide greater transparency and efficiency to both carriers and shippers. It also uses data to optimise route efficiency, which not only decreases the cost of transportation but also helps in reducing the environmental impact of road freight.
Sennder predicts that it will move over 1M truckloads this year, making it Europe’s leading digital road freight forwarder. Founded in 2015 by David Nothacker, Julius Köhler and Nicolaus Schefenacker, the company now has over 800 employees, which work across its seven international offices. It enables transport services for over 10 organisations listed in the German DAX 30, and 11 companies from the Euro Stoxx 50.
The year 2020 was notable for Sennder as the company merged with French competitor Everoad in June and acquired Uber Freight’s European business in September.