News by Maddyness UK
4 August 2023
4 August 2023
Temps de lecture : 8 minutes
8 min

Home fertility treatment, blockchain payments, and music investment 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.
Temps de lecture : 8 minutes
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Number of deals

Béa Fertility raises £2.5M to roll out revolutionary at-home fertility treatment

Béa Fertility, the fertility tech startup making clinical-grade fertility care available at home, has raised £2.5M to release its first at-home fertility treatment to early adopters in the UK. The round was led by Octopus Ventures and joined by JamJar and Forward Partners, with additional participation from existing investors Calm/Storm and Q Ventures.

Led by femtech expert Tess Cosad and product engineer George Thomas, Béa Fertility has developed one of the first clinical-grade at-home fertility treatments ever to launch in the UK market.

The first Béa Fertility Treatment Kit enables users to carry out a simple fertility treatment called Intracervical Insemination (ICI) safely at home. The treatment is creating a revolutionary new stepping stone on the fertility pathway that can be explored in advance of costly and invasive procedures like IVF and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).

The Béa Treatment involves placing a small cervical cap containing semen at the cervix using a clinically-approved applicator. The cap is left in-situ for an hour; and during that time, users can go about their days as normal. Two weeks after treatment, users test for pregnancy. There are no invasive hormone injections or clinical procedures involved. The Béa Treatment is designed to be used at home and can be used with donor semen.

Orbital raises £5M to help enterprises realise the potential of blockchain payments

Orbital, the London-based traditional finance and crypto solutions platform for global enterprises, has raised £5M in an oversubscribed growth round led by Golden Record Ventures, at an attractive valuation in which the founders are maintaining a large majority.

Participants in the round include New Form Capital, GSRV, Psalion and Luminous Futures. The funding marks Orbital’s first institutional capital raise, having been bootstrapped and profitable since being founded in London in 2017.

Orbital combines fiat and crypto business accounts to enable traditional, global enterprises, particularly those with exposure to emerging markets, to integrate stablecoins, as well as other major cryptocurrencies and traditional currencies, into existing payment flows. Their APIs further act as an embedded finance solution for stablecoin payments. Orbital is licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority as an authorised payment institution in the UK, and as a virtual currency service provider in Estonia, with other licences to be announced in the coming months.

Events software platform raises further £1.5M

A UK company whose events software platform was used to help plan the Special Olympics in Berlin, has raised £1.5M to bring its technology to a wider audience and create new jobs.

Iventis has secured investment from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia Ventures and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), and Mercia’s EIS funds.

Iventis enables teams planning events to collaborate online by bringing together satellite imagery, maps, architectural drawings and other data in one easy to use platform. It can handle even the largest and most complex events and clients can also receive hands-on support from the  company’s 15-strong team. The company has worked on a host of high-profile events including the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, the World Cup and Dubai Expo. The latest funding will enable it to further enhance its technology and bring it to a wide range of event planners.

Retail 'scan, pay, go' pioneer, Ubamarket, receives further investment from IW Capital

IW Capital, a leading private equity and venture capital house, has announced its latest investment in ‘Scan Pay Go’ (SPG) pioneer, Ubamarket, by making an additional investment of over £800K. This latest tranche of capital brings total funding from IW Capital to around £5.2M.

Ubamarket has developed a market-leading SPG app, using its patented technology to allows shoppers a frictionless shopping experience using a mobile device. The SPG app offers an affordable, low-touch, easy-to-use app which gives retailers the ability to grow basket size, increase loyalty, reduce overheads, and analyse purchasing data.

Since IW Capital’s first investment, Ubamarket has successfully developed a high-tech, feature-rich app which has been rolled out in several retail stores. Current partnerships include SPAR, Budgens and Central Co-Op. IW Capital investments have allowed Ubamarket to expand its master app capabilities, enabling customers to access the same exclusive offers across multiple participating retail groups through a single comprehensive mobile solution.

Grasp raises £3.11M from Balderton Capital to accelerate human learning

Online learning platform Grasp announces it has raised £3.11M seed funding led by Balderton Capital. The funding will be used to further develop Grasp’s platform and expand the team, with key hires in productdata science, and engineering.

Founded last year by early Revolut employees Ed Matthews and Jacob Sidorov, Grasp wants to increase the rate at which humans learn. While the likes of ChatGPT and TikTok can provide answers to quick queries, it is becoming increasingly challenging to find and access rigorous educational experiences. For individuals looking to comprehensively learn something, finding a structured course of high quality resources, personally appropriate, is painfully difficult.

Starting with modern vocational skills like programming, there is already a waiting list for interested parties to sign up for beta testing. Ed Matthews, Founder and CEO of Grasp, said: “The user experience as an adult learner sucks! Whether we’re learning to solve specific problems at work or trying to modernise our skill sets, learning is inconvenient, impersonal, and high friction. Team Grasp are the A-players fixing that.”

Bea Fertility

In other investment news

A/O launches new €250M Fund II to double down on the positive transformation of the built world 

A/O, one of Europe’s largest venture capital firm primarily focused on built-world technologies, is doubling down on investing in technologies that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, build climate resiliency, accelerate the energy transition and digitaliSation of the real estate and construction industries as it reaches the first close of its new flagship Fund targeting €250M.

Founded in 2019, A/O is committed to investing in technologies that enable the ‘positive transformation’ of the built world, a concept that drives the firms strategy throughout. The firm’s investment landscape spans the entire lifecycle of the built world. From supply chain, new materials, and AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction), to building operations and management, targeting decarbonisation, climate resiliency, electrification and energy transition, as well as digitisation, automation and big data management through a mix of software, hardware, deeptech and AI.

According to recent reports, real estate is the world’s largest ($330T), one of the least digitised and the most polluting industry globally responsible for an estimated 40% of global CO2 emissions. If left unchecked, these emissions are projected to double by 2050 as our economies continue to build more to accommodate growing populations and rapid global urbanisation.

Archangels secures £12M co-investment agreement with British Business Investments

Archangels, a leading business angel syndicate investing in early-stage Scottish life sciences and technology companies, is bolstering its funding fire power after securing a £12M co-investment agreement with British Business Investments via its Regional Angels Programme.

The deal will provide the Edinburgh-based syndicate with additional capital to fuel the success of Scotland’s next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. Archangels will deploy the capital from British Business Investments, a wholly owned commercial subsidiary of the British Business Bank, alongside syndicate funding across all of its investment activity.

Operating for over 30 years, Archangels is deeply committed to its long-term role in maximising investor returns, building and nurturing successful businesses and helping Scotland prosper. Archangels has invested over £160M in the most innovative early-stage companies, with disruptive technology, protectable IP and the potential to scale globally.

In other international investment news

MasterExchange raises an initial $2.7M round to launch a unique music investment platform

Stockholm & Los Angeles-based MasterExchange today announces that it has raised $2.7M in funding from global investors including Vectr Fintech, Claes-Henrik Julander, and Rob Small.

The MasterExchange platform enables anyone to invest fiat currency in specific songs and receive quarterly royalty payments, as well as trade their shares of music royalties. The first song to be made available to invest in, Sofia (1bn+ streams) by Alvaro Soler, is available to purchase now. The investment window will close on the 15th August, with more songs set to be announced soon.

MasterExchange was co-founded in Stockholm in 2022 by, amongst others, AI and blockchain expert Alexander Fred-Ojala, Star Stable founder Johan Edfeldt, and Billboard #1 producer Jakke Erixson. It is initially available to customers in the UK, the EU, and EEA countries.

Airalo, the world's largest eSIM marketplace, raises $60M in series B financing

Airalo, the pioneering eSIM marketplace revolutionising global connectivity, announced today the successful completion of its Series B financing round, raising an impressive $60M.

Led by e& capital, the investment arm of e&, the global technology group, this brings Airalo's total funding to $67.3M. Antler Elevate, Liberty Global, Orange, T.Capital, Rakuten Capital, Singtel Innov8, Telefónica Ventures, Sequoia Capital India and SEA's (now known as Peak XV Partners) Surge, KPN Ventures, and I2BF Global Ventures were among the prestigious group of investors who also participated. This diverse consortium of investors reflects the industry-wide recognition of Airalo's transformative work in making global connectivity accessible and affordable for travellers worldwide.

By combining cutting-edge technology and a user-centric approach, Airalo continues to empower travellers with seamless access to mobile networks, transforming their journeys into unforgettable experiences.