Author: Mike Butcher

Interiors startup Clippings raises $15.4M Series B with Advance Venture Partners

TECHCRUNCH Back in April we saw that eporta, a London-based B2B interiors marketplace startup, had raised $8 million in a Series A funding round led by US investor Canvas Ventures. Eport has digitized the catalogues of furnishing manufacturers and allowed businesses to order direct, cutting out the middle-men. Now London is continuing its obsession with interior decoration startups with the news that Clippings has raised a Series B round of funding, raising $15.4 million. Advance Venture Partners (AVP ) lead the round and existing investor C4Ventures also participated. Founded in 2014 by architecture-trained entrepreneurs Adel Zakout and Tom Mallory, Clippings now plans to grow in the US. Currently, the furniture industry is worth €9.6 billion in Europe, and around $120 billion in the US, but only 6% of this spend is online. Clippings aggregates data on over 7 million products from over a thousand brands to simplify discovery and combines that with interactive mood boards that replace Pinterest to identify and buy a product. Then it throws in collaboration tools for teams, multiple quote requests, orders, invoices and timelines into one place. It now claims to have about 50,000 people – including teams designing for WeWork, Citroën and British Land – using Clippings. Adel Zakout, co-founder and CEO of Clippings told me “We’ve built software that enables full management of an interior project, offer a layer of service and...

Read More

Announcing the agenda for TechCrunch Startup Battlefield MENA 2018 in Beirut

TECHCRUNCH We’re excited to head to Beirut, Lebanon, on October 3rd for TechCrunch Startup Battlefield MENA 2018. Yes, we’re bringing our premier startup pitch competition to the Middle East / North Africa, and as well as launching 15 of the hottest startups in MENA on stage for the first time, we’ll also be joined by some leading lights of the scene. Tickets to this event — our first in this part of the world — cost $29 (including VAT), and you can buy your tickets right here. Startup Battlefield consists of three preliminary rounds with 15 teams — five...

Read More

Vezeeta, the leading MENA healthcare startup, secures $12M Series C led by STV

TECHCRUNCH One of the major structural issues in the Middle East is the lack of consistent healthcare across the region. So this market was clearly waiting to be disrupted by technology. In 2011 Vezeeta came along to change that. Launched initially in Cairo as a sort of “Uber for Ambulances”, it has since expanded to cover a wide area of the MENA population across several cities, and now provides a much wider range of health services to both patients and healthcare professionals. By solving the ambulance problem, it reversed backwards inside the healthcare systems to provide a free of...

Read More

Committed to privacy, Snips founder wants to take on Alexa and Google, with blockchain

TECHCRUNCH Earlier this year we saw the headlines of how the users of popular voice assistants like Alexa and Siri and continue to face issues when their private data is compromised, or even sent to random people. In May it was reported that Amazon’s Alexa recorded a private conversation and sent it to a random contact. Amazon insists its Echo devices aren’t always recording, but it did confirm the audio was sent. The story could be a harbinger of things to come when voice becomes more and more ubiquitous. After all, Amazon announced the launch of Alexa for Hospitality,...

Read More

Insurtech startup Setoo closes $9.3M Series A from Kamet, AXA’s accelerator

TECHCRUNCH Given all the scams of the last few years, consumers are increasingly unwilling to spend money on what they see as irrelevant insurance products. That means many business have lost out on revenue. Setoo is a UK startup which solves this problem, by helping online businesses to build and integrate simple insurance products tailor-made to the customer and automatically embedded into the customer journey. Today Setoo announces it has closed an €8million ($9.3million) Series A funding round, bringing the total amount raised to date to €10.3million ($12million). The main investor in this and the seed round is Kamet, AXA’s ‘Insurtech’ startup studio. Co-founder Eyal Gluska says “In French ‘c’est tout’ means ‘that’s it’. My chose the name Setoo to symbolise how simple and quick it is to create effective new protections products using the platform, and the simplicity of the products created for the consumer. This investment from Kamet is key to helping us expand across the EU and build further new products to empower more businesses to take control of insurance for their consumers.” An example of how it works might be the instance of an OTA selling connecting flights from multiple airlines. Using Setoo, it can provide insurance to cover for missed flight connections if preceding flights are delayed or cancelled. In these situations, Setoo sends an automated SMS to the consumer on behalf of the...

Read More

Middle East investors at our Startup Battlefield, Beirut, October 3rd – Grab your tickets now

TECHCRUNCH TechCrunch will soon hold it’s first ever Startup Battlefield MENA competition dedicated to the MENA region, in Beirut, Lebanon, on October 3rd. The event will showcase the launch of 15 of the hottest startups in MENA on stage for the first time. We’ll also be joined by some of the leading investments firms in MENA. If you want to be in the same room, you’d better grab your tickets now. Here, we showcase just some of the investors sending key partners to the event: Outlierz Ventures, is a seed investment fund, based out of Morocco, providing smart capital...

Read More

ConsenSys details the first cohort of companies to enter its new accelerator, Tachyon

TECHCRUNCH Tachyon, the accelerator of the blockchain powerhouse ConsenSys which launched earlier this year, has announced the first cohort for its 10 week accelerator program which is aimed at taking early stage blockchain projects from idea to a viable product. Sixteen companies were selected from around the world and will be brought together in San Francisco to participate in programming and accelerate their businesses. The projects are placed into one of three tracks:  Blockchain for-profit projects, open source and social impact. The program will culminate with a demo day for investors on November 17th. Kavita Gupta (Managing Partner, ConsenSys Ventures) said: “We launched Tachyon with the intention of finding extremely promising early-stage companies and providing them with hands on support from the get-go. Among this inaugural group, I feel confident that we’ve found the next crop of game-changing projects that will drive innovation across the blockchain ecosystem.”  Joe Lubin (Founder, ConsenSys) commented: “One thing that excites me about this first Tachyon cohort is that it demonstrates the degree to which our Ethereum community remains decentralized, even as it continues to grow. In this first batch, I see companies coming from Israel, China, India, Europe, the South Atlantic and Pacific Northwest all coming together to drive innovation beyond their geographical boundaries.” Here’s a run-down of each company selected, in their own words: BULVRD:  BULVRD is Washington DC based map and navigation app that tokenizes and gamifies the...

Read More

Look out US main-street banks, the Revolut is coming

TECHCRUNCH Revolut, the new-generation smartphone-based bank which is blowing up Europe right now, has confirmed its intention launch in the United States and Canada later this year, taking its interesting combination of personal banking, crypto wallet and fee-free stocks trading app to main-street North America. Co-founder and CEO Nik Storonsky said the company now has a 60,000 person waiting list for U.S customers for when it launches. On-stage at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco today Storonsky, said the startup, which has already passed the ‘unicorn’ stage of a billion dollar valuation, would be launching some time between October and December...

Read More

Right Now in Politics and Business