Author: Steve OHear

Dixa, the ‘customer friendship’ platform, raises $14M

Dixa, a Copenhagen-based startup that offers a platform to help companies provide better and more consistent customer service across multiple channels, has raised $14 million in Series funding. The round is led by Project A Ventures, with participation from early investor SEED Capital. Founded in 2015 by Jacob Vous Petersen and Mads Fosselius, Dixa is on mission to end bad customer service with the help of smarter technology to facilitate more personalised customer support. Dubbed a “customer friendship” platform, the cloud-based software works across multiple channels — including phone, chat, e-mail, and Facebook messenger — and employs a smart routing system so that the right support requests reach the right people within an organisation. “The problem for customer facing support teams today is that tickets, shared in boxes and legacy call center solutions limit brand’s ability to connect to their customers where they want to and add extra administrative burdens that ultimately harms the customer experience,” co-founder and CEO Mads Fosselius tells me. “Despite companies and brands have promised stellar customer experiences and service the past 5 years based on digital transformation (example chatbots, self-service etc.) and technology vendors has promised even more, the facts are that 75 percent of all customers have had a bad customer experience within the past 6 months, and 70 percent say they will leave a brand after just one bad experience,” he says,...

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Car subscription service Cluno scores $28M in Series B funding led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures

Cluno, the Munich startup providing what it calls a “car subscription” service, has raised $28 million in Series B funding. The round is led by Valar Ventures, the U.S.-based venture capital firm founded by Peter Thiel. Acton Capital Partners and Atlantic Labs, which both backed the company’s Series A round, also participated. It brings total raised by Cluno to $36 million in funding in under one year. Founded in 2017 by the same team behind easyautosale (which exited to Autoscout24 in 2015), Cluno offers an alternative to car ownership or a more restrictive lease by enabling you to subscribe to a car for an all-inclusive monthly fee. Available in Germany only, you book your car online or via the Cluno app, with the monthly fee covering all costs except fuel. After a minimum term of six months, subscribers can return or switch their car with three months notice. Cluno says it will use the additional capital to further accelerate the company’s growth and to invest in its technology. This sees bookings, as well as credit checks and signatures, all carried out paperlessly via the Cluno app. In terms of car choice, the startup offers almost 50 models from nine different car companies, including BMW, VW, Audi and Ford. Models span small cars to SUVs, including hybrid and electric vehicles. “Cluno is a full-stack provider,” is how Cluno co-founder and...

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Tink, the European open banking platform, scores €56M in new funding

Tink, the European open banking platform headquartered in Sweden, has deposited €56 million in new funding. Leading the round is U.S.-based Insight Venture Partners. Existing backers Sunstone, SEB, Nordea Ventures and ABN AMRO Digital Impact Fund also participated. A number of other investors have been added to Tink’s cap table, too. They include Christian Clausen, former Chairman of the European Banking Federation, and — most notably — Nikolay Storonsky, co-founder of banking app and fintech ‘unicorn’ Revolut. According to sources, the new round of funding gives Tink a post-money valuation of €240 million. Originally launched in Sweden in 2013 as a consumer-facing finance app with bank account aggregation at its heart, Tink has since repositioned its offering to provide the same underlying technology and more to banks and other financial service providers who want to ride the open banking/PSD2 train. Through various APIs, Tink provides four pillars of technology: “Account Aggregation,” “Payment Initiation,” “Personal Finance Management” and “Data Enrichment”. These can be used by third parties to roll their own standalone apps or integrated into existing banking applications. To that end, Tink says its developer platform is launching in five new markets, significantly boosting the fintech’s European coverage. They are U.K., Austria, Germany, Belgium and Spain, adding to the company’s Nordics base and bringing the total number of markets to nine countries. Armed with new capital, Tink says the...

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Raisin raises $114M for its pan-European marketplace for savings and investment products

Raisin, the pan-European fintech marketplace for savings and investment products, is disclosing that it has raised $114 million in Series D funding. Existing investors Index Ventures, PayPal, Ribbit Capital and Thrive Ventures all participated in the round, which brings the total raised to date to $200 million. Tellingly, the fast-growing Berlin fintech says it plans to use the new capital for “strategic acquisitions” and further internationalisation. Although available to customers across the EU from the get-go, Raisin had dedicated market launches in the Netherlands and the U.K. last year, seeing the company expand beyond Germany. It plans to add...

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HouseMyDog and Gudog merge in European dog walking roll up

Two dog walking and sitting startups are merging: HouseMyDog, the U.K.-headquartered online community that enables dog owners to find and book local trusted dog walkers and sitters, has agreed to join forces with Gudog, a similar offering based in Spain. I understand that HouseMyDog and Gudog will continue to operate under their existing brands for now, but will consolidate into a single brand in “early 2019”. The combined companies also say the roll up creates what they claim is the largest platform of its kind in Europe. Specifically, the merger seeds the combined platform with more than 25,000 approved...

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Festicket, the festival booking platform, picks up $4.6M backing from creative investor Edge Investments

Festicket, the U.K.-headquartered festival booking platform, has picked up another $4.6 million in funding, an extension of the startup’s $10.5 million Series D late last year. The new backing comes from Edge Investments, the creative industries investor that counts music industry veteran Harvey Goldsmith as a director. Edge joins an existing roster of Series D investors that includes venture capital firm Beringea, Jaguar Land Rover’s venture capital fund InMotion Ventures, Channel 4’s Commercial Growth Fund, Lepe Partners, U-Start, and ex Spinnin’ Records CEO Eelko Van Kooten. The company has also been previously backed by Lepe Partners, Wellington Partners, PROfounders,...

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Productboard raises further $10M for its product management system

Productboard, the San Francisco and Prague-based startup that offers product management software, has raised $10 million in further funding, adding to its Series A in July last year. The round is led by Index Ventures, and sees Index General Partner Jan Hammer joining the board. Also participating is previous backers Kleiner Perkins, Credo Ventures, Rockaway Capital, and Reflex Capital. It brings total funding for Productboard to $19.7 million, while I understand from sources that the company’s valuation increased three-fold since the A round and is “close to a 9-digit figure”. Founded in 2014 by Hubert Palan and Daniel Hejl, Productboard has developed a “product management system” to help companies deliver better experiences for customers, faster. Specifically, the cloud software is designed to bridge the gap between customer feedback and feature requests and a company’s product roadmap, thus doing away with the use of desperate tools such as chat apps, email, spreadsheets and Powerpoint. More broadly, the former Startup Battlefield company fits into and is helping to drive the trend that is seeing winning companies understand they need to become “product-first,” as a new generation of consumers set a much higher bar in terms of product experiences and future expectations. “As competition in the digital space heats up, it takes only a couple of years for a great new product to dominate the market, [and] companies realize that their only...

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Aire raises $11M Series B to give credit scoring an ‘upgrade’

Aire, the U.K. startup that wants to give the credit scoring system a 21st century “upgrade,” has raised $11 million in Series B funding. The round is backed by European enterprise VC Crane Venture Partners, with strategic investments from Experian Ventures and Orange Digital Ventures. Existing investors WhiteStar Capital and Sunstone Capital also followed on, while the company says it will use the additional capital to support “rapid growth,” including U.S. expansion. Aire also plans to further invest in the technology powering its credit insights engine, which aims to make credit checking fairer for consumers who may have a...

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