Decoding #Investment
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4 November 2022
Maddymoney startup investment-news

Organise your friends better, sonic toothbrushes and Jamie Genevieve’s makeup – all 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.

Number of deals

Sustainable Sonic Toothbrush, SURI, has secured £2M

SURI’s seed round was backed backed by Hambro Perks (Moneybox, Oxbury and Tide) and JamJar Investments (Deliveroo, Oatly and what3words). It continues the company’s early momentum, which has its sights set on disrupting the industry by the unique combination of sustainability, performance and design aesthetic.

Its Sustainable Sonic Toothbrush has sold out twice since its launch in May 2022.To combat the 4 billion toothbrushes that end up in landfill each year, SURI’s carbon-neutral Sustainable Sonic Toothbrush comes with a right-to-repair in mind and features an aluminium handle and plant-based heads. Unlike other electric models, the body can be easily dismantled by SURI for recycling or repair when sent back. SURI provides hassle-free mail-back recycling for all their products. A long-lasting rechargeable battery powers the toothbrush for 30-plus days between charges, and sonic technology delivers 33,000 brush movements per minute, providing an eco-friendly approach to healthier teeth.

SURI’s London-based cofounders, Mark Rushmore and Gyve Safavi – both ex-Procter & Gamble – will use the funds to grow their team, maintain sales momentum and expand more widely into retail channels.

Docbot Labs raises £580K to enable knowledge sharing

Docbot Labs, the 8-month-old startup that’s building knowledge stack infrastructure for ambitious product teams, has raised a £580K pre-seed round. The round was led by Frontline Ventures, with participation from Ascension, Concept Ventures, and Charlotte Street Capital. A host of prominent angel investors also participated in the round, including GoCardless founder Matt Robinson.

Docbot is building a knowledge base for product teams to break down knowledge silos and create a faster onboarding experience, in an industry where hybrid setups are now the norm. Founded by Jamie Davenport in February 2022, Docbot Labs helps product teams be more productive through better knowledge sharing practices. The product was born out of his frustration with trying to source, navigate and manage internal documentation whilst working as a Software Engineer at various fast-growing companies, most recently at Otta.

Having onboarded the first early adopters in January 2022, Davenport took the plunge and work on Docbot Labs full-time, starting the fundraising process in March. Now the startup has been backed by VCs and angel investors, it is planning to scale with new design and engineer hires.

Howbout raises £1.92M to simplify making plans with friends

Howbout, a London-based startup that makes it easier for groups of friends to make plans, has raised a total of £1.92 million from investors including ACF Investors, Supernode Global, Boost Capital, and angel investors Claire Valoti (senior advisor Snap Inc.) and Desigan Chinniah (ex-Paypal and Skype).

Howbout is a social planning app that lets friends instantly find when they’re all free using smart time matching, polls or calendar sharing from which they can then easily create plans. Users can see all their different plans with all their different friendship groups in one place. Howbout already has more than 500,000 downloads to date and users in 125+ countries have made more than 3 million plans on it since its launch in August 2020.

Howbout is part of a growing trend towards ‘dark’ social media, along with apps such as BeReal and Discord. This wave of challenger brands prioritise private connections and closed networks as opposed to social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter, which default to public profiles. The funding will be used to support the app’s global expansion, hire new personnel and invest in research and development.

Jamie Genevieve founded make-up brand, VIEVE, secures £5.5M

The £5.5M Series A round of funding which puts the brand in an even stronger position to accelerate growth both locally and globally. Led by VIEVE’s seed partner Venrex (early-stage investor in Charlotte Tilbury) with some of the investment coming from its British Fashion Council fund launched earlier this year, the round was supported by Pembroke VCT, Active Partners and Samos.

Jamie Genevieve, make-up artist and digital creator, launched VIEVE in November 2020, with a contemporary digital first approach. Created from artistic passion, VIEVE is a versatile, purposeful brand which caters to all ages, races and genders. With a mission to empower and encourage all make-up wearers with its inclusive range. Known for its luxurious formulas, powerful pigments and modern approach to beauty, VIEVE is fuelled by meaningful connections with its community, often attributed to Jamie’s accessibility, grounded nature and the mutual respect she shares with her 3 million-strong loyal followers. Jamie’s proximity to her own followers and VIEVE’s customers allows her to understand what they want and helps her create make-up for everybody.

VIEVE has grown quickly from a select range of high-performance staples to a considered portfolio for both everyday wear and artistry, with key retail partners such as Harrods, Cult, SpaceNK, Brown Thomas. It now plans to extend its product offering to appeal to more customer needs and launch into new markets with the US and Australia being initial focuses.

Sustainability scorer Zellar secures £600K

Zellar, the sustainability score for every business, has received a £600K investment from The Co-operative Bank. The deal follows the successful roll-out of an initiative launched earlier this year, in which The Co-operative Bank pledged to provide lifetime subsidised access to Zellar for all of its UK-based SME customers. The Co-operative Bank’s investment is in return for a two percent share of Zellar, based on a £33M market valuation.

Headquartered in London, Zellar was founded to help SMEs measure, plan, activate, report and share their sustainability journey and reduce costs. It captures every sustainable action that a business takes and reflects it all within a single score that shows both them and the outside world their sustainability progress. As part of the agreement The Co-operative Bank will continue to promote Zellar to its SME customer base. It will also work closely with the company to help develop products and services that reward and incentivise sustainable businesses – in line with Zellar’s scoring framework. The Co-operative Bank will also sit on Zellar’s steering committee.

Zellar plans to use the investment to support a number of platform developments already in flight. Zellar is currently focused on creating richer, deeper and more meaningful experiences within the platform, by heavily customising the sustainability journeys across an initial 64 business sectors.

Software platform raises £3.25M to help care sector ‘go digital’

Log my Care – a fast-growing company whose software platform enables care homes and social care organisations to ‘go digital’ – has raised £3.25M in a funding round led by Mercia, with Oxford Capital and angel investors also participating.

Log my Care enables carers in any setting to replace paperwork, easily find patient records and save time through the use of a mobile app. The platform, which the company claims can save carers up to an hour per shift, harnesses data to create personalised care plans and helps organisations improve how they run. The only UK product of its type that offers a freemium model, Log my Care has been rapidly growing its client base. It is now used by over 800 care providers of all sizes, supporting 10,000 people each week. Log my Care was founded in 2017 by former University of Oxford students Sam Hussain and Adam Hurst with the aim of making technology accessible to everybody in social care.

The company has previously raised £1M from angel investors to help make it a best-in-class platform. The latest funding round, which was also joined by angel investors Alexander Limpert, Matthew Westerman and Steven Meersman, will enable Log my Care to strengthen its foothold in the UK market, enhance the platform further and explore new opportunities internationally in line with its mission to become the world’s leading digital care management platform.

In other International investment news

Darwinium, a fraud and security platform, secures $10M

U.S. headquartered Darwinium, a new Customer Protection Platform, completed a seed funding round of $10M USD led by Blackbird alongside Airtree, both Australian headquartered Venture Capitalist firms. Additional funding was supported by several prominent angel investors including Naval Ravikant and Jeff Fagnan.

Darwinium is delivering an entirely new approach to holistic customer protection by combining the tools used internally for cybersecurity with the tools used to fight fraud, providing a single window into a user’s entire digital journey. Account compromise and online fraud continue unabated, facilitated by swathes of breached credentials, despite large investments in solutions meant to separate good and bad behaviour. Faulkner has built Darwinium to redress this inequality, and to unify a widely disjointed approach to security controls which he has seen is hugely impacting businesses’ ability to protect their organisations.

The initial funding round, raised to elevate the global launch of the company into the security and fraud sector, will be targeted towards both product and customer expansion.

Lodgify raises $30M in Series B funding to ramp up global growth

Barcelona-based Vacation rental software startup, Lodgify, which empowers hosts and small to medium-sized property managers to manage and grow their vacation rental businesses, has secured $30M in Series B funding. The investment round was led by Octopus Ventures with participation from Bonsai Partners, Aldea Ventures and ICF (Institut Català de Finances) as well as existing investors, Intermedia Vermögensverwaltung and Nauta Capital.

Lodgify offers an all-in-one solution that enables vacation rental hosts to generate more bookings and manage all bookings from one centralized place. Its Software-as-a-service platform includes a website builder that allows vacation rental hosts to easily build their own website and accept direct bookings and payments without requiring any tech skills and seamless API integrations with all the main vacation rental channels including Airbnb, Vrbo, and Lodgify is a preferred software partner for all of these channels. Lodgify’s Property Management System allows hosts to easily manage all their bookings from their website and various platforms in one centralised place.

Lodgify will use the funds to accelerate global expansion, boost product growth and expand customer support. Lodgify’s mission is to empower any host or vacation rental business worldwide to get started and grow their business through technology. This investment will help fuel the expanding ecosystem of tools and services that both small and large hospitality firms increasingly depend on to professionalize operations and scale up.

Swedish industrial tech startup STILRIDE raises €3.7M

Swedish electromobility and industrial tech startup STILRIDE has raised €3.7M to fuel future growth and innovation, following demand for its inaugural electric motorcycle, and sustainable manufacturing technology, dubbed “industrial origami”. The round was joined by new and existing angels that include Gustaf Hagman, Saeid Esmaeilizadeh and Tobias Emanuelsson (founder and CEO at Polar Structure). STILRIDE is also enabling individual enthusiasts to join the round with smaller investments, through a Crowdcube community fundraise which will end on 15th November.

STILRIDE is pioneering sustainable manufacturing in Europe, by introducing a cutting-edge production process which involves the use of robotic arms to fold steel over curves to form light, strong and durable new shapes. Their technology, called STILFOLD, makes smarter use of resources and minimises waste, significantly reducing the climate impact of production compared to traditional manufacturing. The first product to be built using the technology is an e-motorcycle, the Sport Utility Scooter One (SUS1), which will go on sale to the mass market next year. STILRIDE has also recently announced landmark partnerships with Swedish space innovation startup I.S.A.A.C – and electric car company POLESTAR, with whom the team is collaborating to build the world’s first climate neutral car.

This latest injection of funding will help STILRIDE further refine and develop the STILFOLD technology, bringing them closer to achieving their mission of speeding up the journey to electrification in Europe and revolutionising sustainable design and manufacturing using “green steel”. The funding will also help STILRIDE build on the momentum created by their recent partnerships and award wins, enabling the team to explore new applications for the technology and solve sustainability challenges with fresh thinking and innovative design.