Crowst wins over angel investors at Slush
Startup to receive €300,000 in angel investing
Autumn 2019 has been busy for business angels, as an international syndicate of 30 investors have gone through 130 companies which applied for the Nordic Angel Program at Slush. From all those companies, one stood out from the crowd. Crowst will now receive an angel investing round of €300 000 to open up new markets.
A record-number of 30 angel investors participated in the Nordic Angel Program at Slush. FiBAN’s syndication service has already culminated into three successful funding rounds, with some fantastic investment targets: Screenful, FeelingStream and Duuers. This autumn, angel investors, following the lead of Tuomas Pahlman and Reima Linnanvirta, went through 130 companies to find the best one in Slush’s deal flow. After months of reviewing, interviewing, due diligence and negotiating, Crowst came out as the number one company and will receive the syndicate’s €300 000 investment.
Crowst is an insights platform that helps marketing departments gain real-time on-location consumer feedback at a low cost. “Crowsters”, as they call their users, redeem gift cards for the amount of reviews they do, as well as getting the chance to influence the market.
The Crowst team has already gained benefits from the angel investors: “On being shortlisted in the top 15 after the initial online process, it was very valuable to spar one-on-one with the investors to hear their feedback, challenging our own thinking. The deep-dive done during the due diligence process was quite thorough and made us sweat through the discussions with the lead investors. It is great to have eventually earned their confidence in our business and be selected for investment. We look forward to leveraging the wealth of experience and expertise the angel syndicate brings as part of this investment program”, comments Richard Jerome, CEO and cofounder of Crowst.
Good founders that work well together were very important for the investors. “Early stage is all about focus and execution. Crowst team was not as advanced as some others, but they actually convinced us actually by not doing some important stuff. Because they had done the more important stuff. And they had done it darn well and focused on what matters so far”, describes Tuomas Pahlman, co-lead of the syndicate.
This autumn, the investor group was large and diverse, and so were the top 15 companies. This represents in a way what angel investing is: in a big syndicate, there’s a lot of know-how about all kinds of technologies and industries, and therefore, there’s room to invest into whatever interesting technology there is. In this round, industries varied from health tech to insect-based cleantech, from surveys to cloud-service for apps. Not only that, but the companies had founders who were originally from all around the world, from India to Latvia. “It was interesting to see that there was no single vertical dominating the Top-15. Instead, everything from EdTech to LegalTech, PropTech to FoodTech and B2B SaaS to environmental hardware was represented. This comes to show that good investment cases can rise from any vertical”, concludes co-lead Reima Linnanvirta.
The whole list of top 15 companies by Nordic Angel Program at Slush:
- Manna Insect
- Elias Robot_
- React & Share
- AUVC Tech
- Absolute Module
Find more information and read the original article here.
Next Generation Internet initiative launches a series of open calls
Looking for projects that are creating the Internet of the future
The Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative was launched by the European Commission to help drive a technological revolution that would build a future internet that’s based on the values of openness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy and protection of data.
To achieve this goal, NGI has a series of on-going open calls targeting Internet researchers and innovators, including academic research groups, hi-tech startups and SMEs. The focus of the calls is on advanced research, concepts and technologies that can be quickly brought to market and coincide with the goal of creating a more human-centric Internet. Successful applicants will receive funding, as well as the necessary technical support, coaching and mentoring.
Current open calls include:
- NGI Zero Discovery – offering between €5,000 and €50,000 in R&D grants to projects working on technologies that aim to improve online search and discovery. Call closes and immediately re-opens every 2 months. Find out more here.
- NGI Zero PET – between €5,000 and €50,000 in R&D grants is available for innovators working on privacy and trust-enhancing technologies that will lead to a more confidential, secure Internet. Call closes and immediately re-opens every 2 months. Find out more here.
- NGI Trust – offering up to €200,000 to projects working in fields such as the management of consent or technical innovation in privacy-enhancing technologies. The current open call closes on 1 December, the next one is scheduled to open in February 2020. More information here.
- Ledger – offers up to €200,000 to projects building minimum viable products (MVP) using decentralised technologies based on privacy, openness and citizen data sovereignty. Call closes 31 January 2020. More information here.
Highlights from Soft-Landing’s #ScalingMasterclass
Find out what the startups and ecosystem leaders learnt
Startup Europe initiative Soft-Landing, together with its sister project Startup Lighthouse gathered startups and ecosystem leaders from all over Europe for its #ScalingMasterclass in Madrid, on 1 October 2019.
The event brought insights not only from European startup ecosystems (Berlin, Dublin, Lisbon, Paris, Vilnius and Zoetermeer), but also global markets (Boston, New York, Silicon Valley, India and Israel).
“The Scaling Masterclass was an excellent opportunity to step back and look at the big picture of what it takes to grow a company in the EU and to gain perspective and experience from talented people who have built great businesses.”
Scaleup challenges and founder confessions
The day started with an informal gathering of the Startup Europe community, made up of startups that have joined EU-funded acceleration programmes, and Startup Europe Ambassadors who manage H2020 projects, mentor scaleups, and run accelerators and/or startup conferences. Representatives were gathered from Soft-Landing, Startup Lighthouse, MY-GATEWAY, Startup Europe Partnership, and the Nordic Angel Program, among others.
Startup Europe alumni got to know other founders and key players from multiple startup hubs. Participants were split into workshops focused on different scaling up challenges and the discussions were facilitated by Soft-Landing mentors and ecosystem leaders:
- Growing fast without breaking (too many) things – Robin Weninger, shaping work Academy
- Sell while you sleep – Aurelija Petrauskyte, Trafi
- How to fail at building a team? – Olla Jongerius, TCC Tribe
- The steps to building brand love – Richard Versluis, Rosterbuster
- How to get your first check from an angel – Marta-Patricia Aparicio, Keymon Angels
- How experiments helped me fail fast and succeed! – Farid Singh, Startup Wise Guys
- Anyone can start but can you scale? – Joe Haslam, IE Business School
- Corporate vs startup: ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ – Daniel Salgado-Moreno, etventure
Open Masterclass: Scaling up in Europe
The afternoon was designed around the learnings, failures and successes of the startups and ecosystem leaders, who had explored the top startup ecosystems with Soft-Landing and Startup Lighthouse over the past two years and learned how to scale up abroad.
The masterclass kicked off with a mindfulness exercise to get participants in the here and now, and then offered key notes on scaling up, inspiring (and honest) startup flashtalks, startup hub pitching, a supercharging panel discussion, and lots of networking opportunities.
Find the original article plus a video of the event’s highlights here.
Startup Europe Awards special edition
Calling all environmentally focussed startups!
Known as the Eurovision for Startups, the Startup Europe Awards are an initiative of the European Commission and the Finnova Foundation which recognise innovative startups. The Awards select businesses who foster open innovation and collaboration across the European startup ecosystem within a range of categories including fintech, e-health, smart cities, social innovation and fashion, among others.
Winners of the awards gain access to a mentoring programme to help develop their project and make it more viable at a European level, with support in areas such as European funding, training, visibility and lobbying. They also benefit from increased visibility through international communication and media opportunities as a result of the awards.
Next month, to coincide with the United Nations Climate Conference, COP25, which takes place in Madrid, it’s been announced that there will be a special edition of the awards. The edition will recognise innovative startups in the fields of water, firefighting, climate and the circular economy, acknowledging the key role innovation and entrepreneurship has to play in tackling the climate crisis.
So, if you run an environmentally focussed startup, the Startup Europe Awards would like to hear from you. Find out more and apply here.
Deadline to apply: 2 December.
Startup Europe goes to Slush!
Policy workshops and mathmaking sessions are among the activities planned
Startup Europe will be matchmaking startups and investors at Slush, one of the world’s leading startup events in Helsinki, Finland. Startup Europe, together with Business Finland and Slush, will also organise a workshop on accelerating Digital Innovation and Ecosystems.
Slush, one of the world’s leading startup events is fast approaching, taking place on 21 and 22 November in Helsinki, Finland. Slush aims to connect investors and innovators, and to create a world-wide startup community by bringing together 4000 startups, 2000 investors and 20,000 other change-makers.
Startup Europe is bringing its full network of startups, partners and innovators along to Slush, who all have proven experience implementing digital innovation projects with its extensive grant-funding. This includes MY-GATEWAY, which focuses on strengthening the capacity of startups and SME’s in Central and Eastern Europe, and Startup Lighthouse, which helps promising EU startups to increase their market access. Among those joining are the winners of the Innovation Radar Prize and the 11 winners of the My Gateway Slush competition.
Discover Startup Europe’s tools and financing
Startup Europe aims to strengthen the startup ecosystem across Europe and help the startup community easily access our tools and funding. At Slush, we’ll delve into the details of our programmes, including the Digital Innovation and Scale-Up Initiative (DISC), which enhances finance for highly innovative, high-risk digital startups in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. More information will be provided on the new Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Fund, which will support the financing of a portfolio of highly innovative AI/blockchain companies and support the development of a dynamic EU-wide innovation ecosystem. The first phase of the fund in 2020 will support AI/blockchain companies with 100 million euros.
Startup Europe is matchmaking startups and investors: 21 November
In line with its goal of connecting people, Startup Europe is organising a special matchmaking event along with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Business Finland. The event will bring together 100 startups from across Europe, together with private venture capitalists and investors from large financial institutions such as the European Investment Fund (EIF), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank, and the International Finance Corporation. To support access to finance, a reverse-pitching session by the investors will be organised. Join the Startup Europe Matchmaking Session on 21 November from 16:00-20:00 and don’t miss out on discovering a whole range of opportunities!
Workshop on accelerating Digital Innovation and Ecosystems: 22 November —don’t miss it!
To advance startup and scaleup focused policy, in partnership with Business Finland and Slush, Startup Europe will organise a workshop on Accelerating Digital Innovations and Ecosystems which will bring together 350 stakeholders and experts. The workshop will take place on 22 November from 13:00-16:00. The session will focus on both startup policy and investment initiatives and how these can best be harnessed to enable digital innovation and growth. Innovators, startup founders, venture capitalists, business angels, national promotional banks, corporate representatives, startup associations, academics, policymakers and the media will attend.
Interested in what Startup Europe is doing at Slush? Get your tickets here.
Call for proposals: European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
On the look-out for SMEs involved in the blue economy
The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), one of five European Structural and Investment Funds, aims to promote growth and jobs in Europe.
More specifically, the fund:
- Helps fishermen transition to sustainable fishing
- Supports coastal communities in diversifying their economies
- Finances projects that create new jobs and improve quality of life along European coasts
- Supports sustainable aquaculture developments
- Makes it easier for applicants to access financing
Through its BlueInvest platform, the EMFF is issuing a new call for proposals, to be published on 21 November. Under the call, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with innovative products, technologies and services for the blue economy can get between €700,000 and €2,500,000 for their project.
An information day will take place on 25 November and the deadline to submit proposals is the 27 February 2020.
Find more information here.