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19 February 2021

A record-breaking healthtech investment for Treg therapy, and other February funding

Every week, Maddyness brings you the latest investment news from the UK startup ecosystem. Here's a recap of this week's investments.

Total
£391.7M
Number of deals
21

Deliveroo rival Flipdish raises £35M

Based in Dublin, online ordering system Flipdish is giving Deliveroo a run for its money. This £35M investment from Tiger Global Management will facilitate this – enabling Flipdish to expand internationally (it already operates in 15 countries) and improve its product.

During the pandemic, Flipdish achieved growth of circa 300%. Cofounder Conor McCarthy said:

“We processed 5 million orders in 2020 alone. We used our own branded websites and apps to help companies of all kinds move to distribution and collection for the first time. We have products. We have invested heavily in developing new features and optimising the ordering experience.”

£2.9M for corrosion monitoring firm CorrosionRADAR

CorrosionRADAR – whose technology can detect and predict corrosion in pipelines – has attracted funding from the Middle East’s largest oil and gas company as part of a £2.9M investment round.

Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures led the Series A round, with support from existing investors the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), Mercia’s EIS funds and angel investors.

The funding will enable CorrosionRADAR to strengthen its operations and widen efforts to address corrosion under insulation – a major challenge for oil, gas and chemical companies – through digitalisation. It follows successful on-site installations of its technology at a primary Aramco production facility, demonstrating the potential for substantial cost saving and value generation.

Leaf Grow nets £1.8M

Art meets science at Leaf Grow, which offers smart performance marketing services for ecommerce brands. It combines the client organisation’s product expertise with tech that optimises exposure and profit growth.

Operating out of Newcastle, Leaf Grow has raised £1.8M funding – £1M through the North East Development Fund and £750,000 through the government’s Future Fund. The money will be invested back into Leaf Grow’s engineering and data teams; it will also support product development, sales and marketing. 

‘Scan Pay Go’ app raises just under £3M

Ubamarket has been described by The Grocer as ‘the world’s most sophisticated retail app’. Most famous for providing the option to scan, pay and go, the organisation boasts a range of apps designated for use across shopping and hospitality.

IW Capital led a recent £2.9M equity funding round for Ubamarket, which will now expand into new areas, building on existing partnerships with Central England Co-Op and SPAR.

SKOOT mobility tech has secured £1.5M Series A

To quote Greg Gormley, CEO and co-founder of lift-sharing app SKOOT:

“It’s never been more expensive to run a car – nor harder to get around, with the reduction in public transport routes, people not wanting to travel on buses, trains and tubes or even use ride-hailing apps due to COVID.”

Greg’s big idea – conceived alongside his daughter, who made money ferrying friends around over lockdown – is an app that connects friends that drive with friends that need lifts. SKOOT is, in his words, “a simple lift-sharing solution to help solve these issues, without any need for the driver to have specialist car insurance or the rider to be concerned with whom they are being picked up by.”

SKOOT has just raised an additional £ 1.5M in its Series A funding round, bringing total investment to £ 3.1M.

Ostmodern video creator closes £2M

Digital product specialist Ostmodern – HQ’d in London and New York – makes video platforms for entertainment businesses, spanning Channel 4 to Fox.

It has just received £2M in investment from Puma Private Equity. The money will go towards recruitment, product enhancement, and accelerating the growth of Ostmodern’s Skylark Platform – a CMS, VMS and API for use by businesses.

ARKK announces £7M investment from Mobeus

ARKK is in the market to change how fintech works – making it faster, more efficient and more accurate with AI software. The SaaS has just raised £7M from existing investor Mobeus, which first backed the company in 2019.

At this point, ARKK had just launched its software platform, for:sight. Building on its success, Mobeus has chipped in more funding to assist the creation of new features and modules.

Richard Metcalfe, ARKK CEO, said:

“for:sight’s successful application to Making Tax Digital has driven growth to date. Strong demand for further functionality from our client base is propelling innovation and this additional funding from Mobeus will allow us to unlock that growth more quickly by overcoming the challenges faced by finance leaders.”

Quell Therapeutics raises largest Series A in Treg field

According to the British Society for Immunology, regulatory T cells (also known as Tregs) ‘are T cells which have a role in regulating or suppressing other cells in the immune system.’ They control the immune response to antigens and help prevent autoimmune conditions.

Operating in the field of Treg cell therapeutics, Quell Therapeutics has just announced £60.4M in Series A funding – led by existing investors Syncona and UCL Technology Fund. The money will go towards shifting its liver transplantation programme to the clinical proof of concept stage – as well as moving on to tackle new autoimmune diseases.

£3M investment into the digital identity revolution

tru.ID is a mobile authentication platform that eliminates the need for passwords. It has just raised £3M from investors spanning Episode 1, MMC Ventures and NHN Ventures.

Improving personal safety and user experience for end users, tru.ID has created a solution that can be implemented by developers with ease. Already operant in the UK, Canada, the USA, India and Indonesia, tru.ID will channel this cash into further international growth.

Manchester’s Matillion closes £72.2M

Leading cloud data integration platform Matillion has raised £72.2M in Series D financing. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, and saw participation from Battery Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Scale Venture Partners with financing from Silicon Valley Bank UK Branch.

According to Rytis Vitkauskas, Partner at Lightspeed:

“Matillion has emerged as a preferred choice for enterprise cloud ETL and ELT solutions. While legacy providers are failing in a cloud-first world, Matillion has accelerated the broader enterprise cloud migration trend and redefined the standard for modern data integration and transformation.”

“Today, for every five dollars spent on cloud warehousing, companies also spend on average a dollar on cloud-first ETL, creating what effectively is a new $10B+ market. We’re proud to lead Matillion’s Series D and partner with Matthew and his team as they continue to scale and deliver rapid returns on cloud investments for global enterprises.”

£2M for eco-friendly loo roll

The Cheeky Panda claims to make sustainability easy with its roster of bamboo hygiene products. The B Corp has saved 140,000 trees through its business operations – as well as reducing plastic use and balancing carbon emissions.

It has just offered £2M on Seedrs – in the first pure secondary share sale campaign the platform has seen. With just under £1.4M raised in around a week, there is circa £600K left to play for.

Jeff Kelisky, CEO at Seedrs, commented:

“We aim to become the largest and most trusted marketplace for private equity investment providing alternative paths for investment to the typical VC-Exit cycle. Our secondary market delivers liquidity to a previously highly illiquid asset class and is ideal for growing businesses, like The Cheeky Panda, that are balancing the captable and seeing investors looking to recognise success, shore up liquidity and exit early. Our platform makes trading for investors and founders as easy, as trusted, and eventually as fast as a public market”

Irish COVID app developer raises undisclosed sum

NearForm, the champion of open-source programming that made COVID track and trace apps for Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Gibraltar and Jersey – and for several US states, including New York, has raised money from Columbia Capital. The cash will go towards fuelling rapid international expansion.

Cian Ó Maidín, Founder and CEO of NearForm, said: 

“The unprecedented events of 2020 have shown that both public and private sector companies must react quickly to meet the challenges of today’s world.”

“NearForm was founded on the belief that open source technology has become best practice for delivering cost-effective, scalable and secure digital platforms at speed for the most challenging projects. Our open source software solutions are already used by many of the world’s biggest companies, like Facebook, Netflix, and Uber, and can help others meet consumers’ digital expectations faster than traditional methods.”

Mainstay Medical raises just shy of £80M to help back pain sufferers

Another Irish company, Mainstay Medical, has raised £77.8M to expand into the US market with its Reactiv8 device. The organisation has developed life-changing therapy for chronic low back pain. This round was led by France’s Soffinova Partners and Ally Bridge Group.

CEO Jason Hannon commented:

“We are now strongly capitalised to execute on our corporate objectives in 2021 and beyond, including the launch of Reactiv8 in the US market and acceleration of our commercialisation efforts in Europe and Australia.”

Psychological Technologies (PSYT) garners £1.7M 

PSYT works with organisations, consultancies and researchers via its platform for wellbeing – whether it’s improving employee wellbeing at organisations in a way that is mutually beneficial, or providing data for academics. The healthtech has just raised £1.7M with the support of Angel Investment Network. 

Former Head of Research at Headspace and now PSYT CEO Nick Begley said:

“Whether you want a better leader, a better sleeper, or less anxiety, we all want to improve our lives, but not because of bad advice. We found that the self-development market wasn’t working due to lack of information. People need it, regardless of the situation, because our platform allows us to provide interactive practices via mobile. You’ll have access to useful tools at any given time. We’re thrilled with the support we’ve received from investors and some of the world’s largest personal development writers.

AI ski instructor Carv closes £1.8M Series A

London’s Carv has just announced a £1.8M Series A round, led by Artesian Investments and involving contributions from SOS Ventures, FastVentures and several Angels. Promising to help its users ‘unlock the mountain’, Carv observes performance through motion and pressure sensing hardware and offers detailed and professional audio coaching in real time.

Jamie Grant, co-founder and CEO, said: “This investment represents an incredibly exciting step towards our vision to become the de facto product to improve skiing technique. Skiing is a difficult sport to learn, and 88% of skiers stop lessons after less than one week. Carv offers a convenient and fun experience to continue learning.”

We are proud to welcome back our existing investors and see their continued support for our vision to deliver digital sports coaching. This is just the start for Carv, and we look forward to the next stage of growth and innovation.” 

£15M for Peak, helping businesses take advantage of AI capabilities

Manchester’s Peak helps companies utilise AI decision intelligence to drive growth. It has just raised £15M in Series B funding in a round led by Oxx, and including participation from MMC Ventures, Praetura Ventures and new investor Arete. This takes the total raised by Peak to date to circa £31M.

Richard Anton, General Partner of Oxx, commented:

“Richard and the excellent Peak team have a compelling vision of optimising the entire business through Decision Intelligence, already offering real-world benefits to many household customers. Pandemic Digitisation meant that there was no choice anymore. It’s a requirement. Peak has made it easier for companies to start making AI-enabled decisions and see quick results easily. We are pleased to support Peak to become a global leader in defining our categories. “

Ad-Lib.io secures £8.6M after huge growth in 2020

Following 280% growth in 2020, the designers and engineers behind Ad-Lib.io have closed an £8.6M Series A funding round with a £4.3M add-on. Both instalments were led by Fog City Capital. The creative management platform plans to use the money to accelerate international expansion.

Founder Oli Marlow Thomas said:

“Closing a significant Series A round during these uncertain times further validates Ad-Lib.io’s disruptive approach to bringing a cookieless, privacy-friendly platform to brands and their agencies that removes operational complexity and avoids unwanted process change. We are excited to work with our world-class investors to bring our platform to market as fast as possible to achieve our mission.”

Nearly £2M for sustainable fashion via Reflaunt

Reflaunt is a proponent of the circular economy for the fashion industry; by facilitating the technological transition to second-hand selling for fashion brands, it allows end-users to resell previous purchases and buy second-hand. The organisation has just garnered £1.9M in pre-Series A finance, led by MadaLuxe Group’s investment arm.

Other investors include former Jimmy Choo CEO Pierre Denis, Ganni founder Nicolaj Reffstrup, Textile Innovation Fund, Piquadro, Bluebell Group and the Fashion For Good accelerator. Cash will go towards recruiting new talent and business growth.

Cambridge University spinout secures £6.8M Series A

Cambridge GaN Devices (CGD) makes energy-efficient power devices; the company grew from the team’s application of Gallium Nitride to the silicon-based semiconductor transistor manufacturing process.

Now, it has raised £6.8M in a Series A round co-led by IQ Capital, Parkwalk Advisors and BGF, with participation from Cambridge Enterprise, Foresight Williams, Martlet Capital, Cambridge Angels, and Cambridge Capital Group.

The money will go towards expanding CGD’s product roster and team.

£1.2M to build the premier clean transport ecosystem for emerging markets

Based out of Warwick, OX is a MaaS company with hopes pinned on developing affordable electric vehicle ecosystems for emerging markets. The OX truck is ‘the only purpose-designed electric vehicle for emerging markets’.

The company has just received three grants to the tune of £1.2M, from Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre, each for a different project.

Simon Davis, OX’s General Manager, said:  

“Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre use a competitive and tough assessment process, so it is a fantastic vote of confidence in OX that we have been awarded a third grant. This project will enable us to accelerate the development of our unique zero-emission OX truck and open up new markets for us.

“We made significant progress last year towards creating the world’s first clean transport network – securing investment, winning grants, growing the team, and building partnerships. This year is set to be even busier, improving our digital platform and strengthening our electric vehicle technology further.”

World’s most popular crypto site raises £86M

Blockchain.com is the world’s most popular, trusted and fast-growing crypto organisation. It has just announced an £86M raise, with cash coming from investors including Moore Strategic Ventures (Louis Bacon), Kyle Bass, Access Industries, Rovida Advisors, Lightspeed Venture Partners, GV (aka Google Ventures), Lakestar and Eldridge.

According to a Medium piece from the company’s Peter Smith,

‘Bitcoin just crossed the monumental price target of $50k. Over 65M Wallets have been created in 200+ countries. And 28% of all Bitcoin transactions since 2012 have occurred via Blockchain.com, representing billions in transaction volume.’

‘What excites me most about this moment is the immense optimism about cryptocurrency from serious, institutional investors. In fact, the current bull run is dominated by stories of Fortune 500 companies, investment funds, and institutions driving net inflows into crypto. The fact that the best macro investors in the world participated in our latest fundraise is further proof that institutions are taking a serious look at their crypto strategy.’