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19 November 2021
Maddymoney startup investment-news

AI, sustainable laundry services and ebikes in this week’s MaddyMoney

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

Total
£301.1M
Number of deals
19

Business school raises £1.5M allowing tech leaders to learn more

The on-demand business school, Framework has secured £1.5M from some of the world’s most influential investors, including LearnStart, the seed fund of Learn Capital, Evio, as well as the angel programmes for Atomico and Ada Ventures.

The school will offer tech founders the opportunity to learn more through a mobile social learning experience. Members can build relations across the tech landscape, learning directly from the world’s top tech operators from companies including Slack, ASOS, Flo Health and Netflix, through a combination of 15-minute Frameworks and live office hours sessions.

Asha Haji, Co-Founder at Framework said: “Our mission is to scale a new generation of tech leaders by building the go-to learning community for startups and scaleups around the world. We couldn’t be happier to have such a top-tier roster of backers from key global tech hubs, who not only deeply understand and support our mission, but bring unparalleled expertise scaling unicorn companies.”

Car rental marketplace set to expand into Europe after £534K investment

Online car rental marketplace, Stressfreecarrental.com, has raised £534,000 in a round led by DSW Ventures and angel investor Harry Dixon, former technical director at Rentalcars.com.

The marketplace, which operates a price comparison and booking platform for car hire and airport transfers, will use the funding to extend its reach into Europe and accelerate growth. It will also be used to hire new talent, creating 13 new jobs in the next 12 months.

Founder and CEO John Charnock said: “We built great foundations for the business last year and this year we’ve seen significant growth in our revenues despite the ongoing pandemic. This investment will enable us to take the business to the next level by extending our reach into foreign language domestic markets, offering clear and transparent car rental in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany and Greece.”

Ellie Boardman, Investment Manager at DSW Ventures, added: “The online car rental market is ripe for disruption. Stressfreecarrental.com offers a fresh approach and we believe it is well-placed to achieve significant scale. The business has already gained considerable traction, despite restrictions on travel, and this round will support its further development and growth.”

London-based consumer market platform secures £29.8M in Series C

Ometria, a customer data and marketing platform to automate customer relationship management (CRM) growth for retailers, has raised £29.8M in Series C funding.

The London-based startup draws on proprietary data science to create personalised digital marketing experiences specifically tailored for retail clients.

The round, which was led by InfraVia Growth, alongside existing investors including Octopus Ventures, Sonae IM, Summit Action, Adjuvo and Columbia Lake Partners, will allow the company to scale, invest further in its tech differentiation and expand further in Europe.

Guillaume Santamaria, Partner at InfraVia, said: “We decided to invest in Ometria as we are convinced that their piece of technology, delivering highly personalised marketing campaigns while ensuring privacy, will set the standard of the whole industry. We couldn’t be prouder to have been chosen as partner by Ivan and Djalal for the company’s next journey.”

Software company building AI to manage repetitive workplace tasks raises $6M

London-based software company, Mimica, has raised $6M from Khosla Ventures to drive its mission of bringing automation to businesses. The startup builds AI that can automate repetitive tasks, such as data entry, form completion and claim and ticket processing. The market is estimated to reach $107 billion by 2027

The funding will be used to drive growth by establishing a sales team in the US and multiplying its investment in research and development. 

CEO Tuhin Chakraborty said: “With Khosla Ventures’ investment we’ll bring our tech to the rest of the Fortune 500 and take the next big steps in our product roadmap. Soon we’ll be generating bots automatically, on the march toward entrusting AI with the world’s monotonous digital work.”

Virtuoso bags almost £10M in Series A to drive AI-powered test automation platform 

London-based Virtuoso, an AI-powered testing automation platform, has raised £9.9M in a Series A round. 

The company is hoping to revolutionise software testing, and uses machine learning and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to make testing fast and simple. The round, which was led by Paladin Capital alongside Mubadala Capital, Crane Venture Partners, Forward Partners and Downing Ventures, will be used to grow its sales team, increase market share in the USA, and develop its product to become the world’s first autonomous testing platform.

Ken Pentimonti, Principal and European Manager at Paladin Capital Group commented said: “As an investor backing companies that seek to protect and strengthen our digital infrastructure, Virtuoso fits well with two of Paladin’s key goals – to enhance application security globally and to help European startups scale in the USA. We look forward to helping the team succeed in its mission.”

Oxford-based greentech secures £500K in just 15 hours through crowdfunding

A greentech startup aiming to make the environmentally-costly washing and dry cleaning process more sustainable has raised £500,000 in just 15 hours. Oxwash, which was founded in 2018 by ex-NASA scientist and Forbes Europe’s 30 under 30 alumni, Dr Kyle Grant and Oxford engineer Tom de Wilton, secured the investment through a public crowdfunding round which involved 230 new investors. 

The greentech startup uses water-saving ozone technology to clean clothes at low temperatures, biodegradable detergents and electric bikes for pickups and deliveries.

Chief executive Dr Kyle Grant said Oxwash was “totally blown away by the level of interest.”

“Our goal was to build a wide network of shareholders who care about our purpose as much as we do and can be true ambassadors for the brand, which is why we capped the investment level at £5,000 per person. To witness £100k pledged in just three hours, and be able to close the round in fifteen, we’re over the moon with the outcome and level of support,” he added.

Tech firm ‘redefining mobile advertising’ raises £4M for US expansion

 London-based adtech Adludio has raised £4M from Mercia. The company creates campaigns that make full use of mobile phone features for brands and advertising agencies, using data from previous campaigns to understand how mobile users engage with advertising.

The investment will be used to drive international expansion, focusing especially on further growth into US markets.

Paul Coggins, Adludio’s CEO, said: “Beyond raising significant capital, we were primarily focused on finding a strategic partner who shares our vision for Adludio’s international growth, and has the experience and track record for scaling digital businesses.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with Mercia at such an exciting chapter in Adludio’s journey, as we bring the most immersive and creative mobile experiences to brands seeking to build memorable engagements with consumers,” he added.

In other international news

Australian-based Ebike company Zoomo has raised $60M in a series B round led by climate-action focused VC, Grok Ventures. 

The electric vehicle company aims to transition every urban delivery mile to light electric vehicles, and brings together different fleet management and delivery solutions, integrating vehicles, software, servicing and finance in one platform.

Zoomo will use the funds to expand across new cities and countries, deepen software integration with its customers, and drive development of Zoomo’s next-generation vehicles.

Mike Cannon-Brookes, Principal at Grok Ventures said, “If we want to decarbonise our world, transportation needs to change. Zoomo is an incredible Aussie start-up taking this on. They’re greening delivery and transforming logistics on a global scale.”