Spanish-founded and now Spanish-backed: Jinn closes $7.5 million Series A led by Samaipata Ventures

Jinn, a delivery startup based in London, has closed a $7.5 million Series A round led by Samaipata Ventures, the Madrid-based VC fund launched by La Nevera Roja’s co-founder José del Barrio.

TechCrunch has all the details.

Jinn has healthy unit economics and growth, according to data I’ve seen which was shopped around to potential investors late last year. That said, participation of Samaipata Ventures looks strategically like a good fit.

In a call, Jinn co-founder and CEO Mario Navarro tells me the startup is now seeing 50,000 monthly orders via its app in Central London just two years after launch. This, he says, equates to an annual run rate of $25 million in sales (that is revenue passed through the app, not Jinn’s cut alone), and seeing the company grow 30 per cent month on month with customers ordering on average once a week. Perhaps crucially, Jinn is now also hitting an average delivery time of 32 minutes, down from 45 minutes six months ago.

This is not the only Spanish connection of the UK-based startup. Jinn’s co-founders (Mario Navarro, Leon Herrera, Joseba Mendivil) are all Spaniards who move to London in recent years.

The way Jinn operates is very similar to Barcelona’s Glovo, which to date has raised more than €2 million from investors. The app lets you order anything locally for delivery.

Group dating startup Groopify picks up €800,000 in funding

Madrid-based startup Groopify wants to capitalise on the hype surrounding dating apps. To expand its offering geographically, it has raised €800,000 in funding.

groopify

These days, on the consumer side, it seems as if two main kind of apps are the most lucrative: games and dating applications. If you take a look at the top grossing apps on iOS or Android’s app stores, you’ll see a wide variety of the latter, from Tinder to Happn. Groopify wants to get there.

The Madrid-based startup is not just a dating app, but also a platform that makes it easier for groups of young people who don’t know each other to meet up for a drink. Like a blind date, but more sophisticated and with more people involved.

Continue reading “Group dating startup Groopify picks up €800,000 in funding”

More than ever: 44 international VC firms invested in Spanish startups in 2015

44 different Venture Capital firms invested in Spanish startups in 2015, a record year for the country’s technology ecosystem.

international venture capital spain startups

In markets where the investment ecosystem is still underdeveloped, which means many countries in Europe, it’s often said that a sign of maturation is the amount of capital that companies attract from international investors.

In the case of Spain, there are two main reasons behind this:

  1. International VCs provide the necessary capital and connections for startups to expand and grow.
  2. Early stage capital is abundant but there are only a handful of firms able to invest in €5+ million rounds.

In the first three quarters of 2014, 27 international investment firms backed Spanish startups, which represented a record for the country in just the first 9 months of 2014. That figure grew to 33 at the end of the year, according to Webcapitalriesgo.

With still a few days to go in 2015, the record has been broken once again, with at least 44 international investment firms participating in Spanish deals this year.

Unsurprisingly, foreign VC firms participated in all but one large deal that took place in Spain (Jobandtalent’s €23 million round), once again showing that when companies need a lot of capital, international investors are the ones who provide it.

Worth noting is also the fact that these investors not only provide growth or venture money, but are also increasingly investing at earlier stages. As the following chart shows, 35% of all foreign VCs that backed a Spanish company in 2015 invested in rounds smaller than €5 million.

foreign investors spanish vcs

Typeform was one of the first Spanish companies to have only raised capital from non-Spanish investors, but we’re quickly seeing an increase in the number of startups that, after FFF and pre-seed rounds, tend to only raise internationally. Kompyte, Stampery, Monkimun, Verse, Winko Games, Novicap or Medtep are examples of this.

In terms of the most active foreign investors, Accel Partners, Nazca Ventures, Eight Roads (Fidelity Growth Partners Europe) and Partech Ventures all participated in more than one deal in 2015.

Accel Partners was by far the most active, backing peerTransfer, Wallapop, Fever, CartoDB and Packlink.

In order to help other startups and the overall Spanish community in the process of identifying these funds, I’ve put together the following Google spreadsheet which includes a list of the international investors, their location, the startup they backed and size of the deal they participated in.

Mobile app maker Upplication raises €1.1 million

Upplication, the Madrid-based startup that offers clients a platform to create simple but functional apps on their own, has raised €1.1 million.

 

upplication

Businesses that want to have their own app can hire a developer to build it, simply use a responsive theme from WordPress or Squarespace, decide to screw their potential clients or… have a company like Upplication do it all.

The Madrid-based startup offers clients a platform to create simple but functional apps on their own. The company, which was founded in 2012 by José Luis Vega de Seoane and Victor Rodado Frutos, went through Wayra two years later and has now raised €1.1 million to accelerate its international expansion.

The round, which brings the total raised by Upplication to almost €1.5 million, was led by Corporation Global and also includes the participation of business angels Luis Pardo, Juan Pablo Herrera (both from Sage), Sixto Arias, Luca de Tena’s family office and Telefonica’s startup accelerator.

Prices for Upplication start at €29/month.

In a phone conversation, Victor Rodado declined to discuss the company’s financials, but did say that they expect to reach €1.6 million in revenue in 2016. Besides selling their SaaS product themselves, the company has also signed agreements with AXA, Vodafone or Telefonica to reach other potential and lucrative clients.

Competitors in the space include Como.com, Goodbarber, Apps-builder or Valencia-based Mobincube.

Samaipata Ventures: La Nevera Roja’s co-founder launches €20M fund for ecommerce and marketplace startups

Samaipata Ventures is a new Spanish Venture Capital firm with €20 million to invest in ecommerce and marketplace businesses.

samaipata ventures

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It’s a new week. Which means there has to be a new investment fund launching in Spain. Of course there is, and it’s called Samaipata Ventures.

This new Venture Capital firm is being led by Jose del Barrio, one of the co-founders of La Nevera Roja, acquired by Rocket Internet for €80 million earlier this year. Del Barrio is joined by Alvaro Gonzalez-San Pedro and Ignacio Tovar in this project.

These are the relevant details: Samaipata’s fund will have a size of €20 million, its LPs are some of the backers of La Nevera Roja (Nicolás Luca de Tena, the Juantegui family and more) and its objective is to invest in ecommerce and marketplace businesses.

“We believe in the specialisation of VCs and we want to do that from the get-go”, del Barrio told me in a recent interview. “These are the areas where we have expertise and we want to have a hands-on approach with startups”.

Most VCs say exactly that when it comes to their relationship with startups, but as many of you might already know, doing it and saying it are two very different things.

The fact that Samaipata is going to focus on two specific industries is also interesting, given the fact that there are not many Spanish VCs that invest in certain verticals instead of shooting at anything that moves.

Samaipata says that it will invest not only at the seed stage, but mostly in later rounds. 80% of the fund’s size will be invested Series A and B rounds and in “companies that can become market leaders”. The firm will allocate €0.5 to €0.7 million per round and up to €1.5 million, including follow-on rounds.

The remaining part of the fund, 20%, will be used for seed investing (€50K to €200K).

The first company Samaipata has backed is Deporvillage, which clearly fits their criteria: mature ecommerce business with an international focus.

“I really wanted to build my own fund. While I was at PWC, before starting La Nevera Roja, I worked in the M&A department. So this is kind of going back to my roots”, del Barrio concludes.

Samaipata joins a crop of new funds and firms that have fresh money to back Spanish startups, including:

How Stampery got Draper Associates (Skype, Twitch, Tesla) to invest $500,000 in its blockchain solution

Madrid-based and blockchain technology startup Stampery has raised a $600,000 round to improve its system to create legally binding proofs of documents.

stampery

There are many startups building stuff on top of the blockchain, the underlying technology that is most famous for powering bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Madrid-based Stampery is one of them, and the young startup believes it has built a system to certify any digital document, or as they like to say: “to generate an immutable record of existence, integrity and ownership of all of your files and email”.

This can be achieved using the company’s website, API or their integration with Dropbox or Box. The idea is to, potentially, replace notaries for certain activities by issuing legally binding proofs of documents. No easy task considering the young nature of the blockchain and the fact that, in order to achieve this, they’d need for one of these legal binding proofs to be accepted in a court room.

Given the distributed nature of the blockchain, this means that proofs are stored in it and modifying them is nearly impossible.

Stampery’s founding team (Luis Ivan Cuende, Tommasi Prennushi and Daniele Levi) seem to be well aware of this and the long road they have ahead of themselves, which might help explain the $600,000 seed round they’ve just closed, led by renowned investor Draper Associates and which included the participation of Boost VC, Blockchain Capital and Waze’s head of growth Di-Ann Eisnor.

“Prior to pitching at TechCrunch Disrupt we’d identified Tip Draper as someone we’d love to have on board as an investor”, Tommaso told me in a phone conversation. “In July we had a Skype conversation with him and when we found out we’d be at the TechCrunch event we got in touch with him again”.

According to Tommaso, 25 minutes after their pitch at the event they received an email from Draper confirming that he’d invest $500,000 in the startup. Boost VC, Blockchain Capital and Eisnor provided the remaining $100,000.

Despite having just closed the round, Stampery says that it will soon have to start raising additional capital. “Working with an innovative solution in such a regulated system means that we’ll large legal costs”, Tommaso explained.

On the product front, Luis Ivan Cuende said that they’ve just launched a system to verify all types of IDs using the blockchain. By linking a government ID with the blockchain, any verified ID could be later retrieved to prove an identity or used for notary purposes. “This is the eternal promise of the blockchain”, Luis said.

Stampery is currently free for all of its 1,000 users, but the startup plans to implement paid plans for pro users. “For the moment we’re 100% focused on the product side of things and on building new use cases. Business will came later”, they said.

“We’re actively talking with big financial and insurance companies that are interested in taking advantage of blockchain technologies for their own benefit”, Tommaso said. “This is promising, but we’re also aware that for this to become a thing it needs to be accepted by a judge or court in a case”.

On-demand logistics platform Glovo raises €2M from Antai, Cube and Tuenti mafia

Glovo, the Barcelona-based and on-demand logistics platform, has closed a €2 million investment from Antai Ventures, Cube Investments and business angels associated to Tuenti.

glovo app barcelona

When I interviewed Glovo co-founder Sacha Michaud a few weeks ago, he admitted that the Barcelona-based logistics startup would announce in “coming weeks” a new and bigger round of funding. It only took a few days.

Techcrunch reports that Glovo has raised €2 million from various business angels, including Bernardo Hernández, Zaryn Dentzel (Tuenti) and Felix Ruiz (Jobandtalent), as well as investment firms Antai Ventures and Cube Investments.

As Michaud admitted a few days ago, the startup is looking to integrate itself with a larger number of online stores in order for Glovo to be included as a shipping and same-hour delivery option.

In the interview he said:

“If you think about, in a way we’re already indirectly working with more than 1,000 retail stores when we send our glovers to pick up stuff there. But, until very recently we haven’t held talks with these stores, we haven’t had a formal relationship with them. This is the next step in our growth, to talk and establish partnerships with them. We think we can both benefit from each other.”

Glovo is currently active in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia and chargers consumers a €5.5 delivery fee. Glovers (couriers) keep 70 to 80 per cent of the fee.

Glovo competitor and also Barcelona-based Stuart recently announced a pre-launch €22 million round, once again highlighting how competitive the on-demand logistics space has become in recent times.

Fever closes $12M Series B round led by Accel Partners, Fidelity and 14W Ventures

Local events discovery app Fever has raised $12 million in funding from Accel Partners, Fidelity and 14W Ventures.

fever funding

Local events discovery app Fever has raised $12 million in funding from Accel Partners, Fidelity and 14W Ventures. All three firms had investment in the company’s Series A round, which was raised just six months ago, and Bernardo Hernandez’s Solon Inversiones is also participating in the deal.

The investment was recently disclosed in a SEC filing and I’ve later confirmed with various sources close to the company its size and the name of the investors behind Fever’s Series B. These sources also say that Fever’s valuation has doubled.

At Novobrief we’ve written about Fever on various occasions, highlighting the internal turmoil the company has gone through and the changes it has experimented since the startup was founded in Barcelona in 2011.

Things appear to be more stable right now and sources say that the board and other advisors have taken a more active role in the day-to-day operations of the company.

Sources have also told me that recent board meetings have been “intense”, and that as a result Bernardo Hernández will have a less active role within the company. I’ve asked Bernardo about this via email, but he declined to give any details on the situation and simply said that “it’s a very complex situation and I’d rather not comment”. Bernardo will remain as a board member.

Despite management and personal changes at the company, it seems as if Fever’s traction continues to improve

The app serves as a discovery mechanism for local events in cities like Madrid, New York or London, allowing users to buy tickets or find deals for certain events (concerts, restaurants, etc).

One source has told me that annualised net revenue run rate for the company currently stands at between $1.5 to $2 million, with gross transactions surpassing the $70 million mark. These numbers will certainly raise people’s eyebrows, especially given the fact that most of the deals inside the app tend to be cheap (less than $10). More than 200,000 users buy tickets through Fever on a monthly basis.

Spain and the US represent about 40% each for Fever’s bottom line, with the UK accounting for the remaining 20%.

These numbers have not only attracted the attention of investors, but also of ticketing giants such as Eventbrite, who I understand is actively talking to the Madrid-based company and exploring ways of working together.

There’s no doubt that Fever’s past is less than pretty, but it seems as if the company is slowly but surely turning things around.

Stuart: the Barcelona-based logistics startup that has raised €22M before its public launch

Stuart is a new and Barcelona-based logistics startup that has raised €22 million before its public launch. This is what we know about them.

stuart delivery barcelona

The fact that there’s a new startup in Barcelona should be no surprise for anyone that has been following the Catalan tech ecosystem. But Stuart is different.

For one, none of its founders are Spanish, they all come from France and they have vast experience in creating and building companies. Stuart’s lineup is formed by Dominique Leca (founder of email client Sparrow, acquired by Google), Clement Benoit (former founder and CEO of restaurant delivery company Resto-In) and Benjamin Chemla (former CEO of Citycake.fr).

Secondly, the startup has quietly build a team of more than 40 people all around Europe, with 20 or more staff members being in Barcelona, where the company has its headquarters despite being a French-registered entity.

On top of that, Stuart has raised €22 million pre-launch, at a valuation of €45 million, led by Le Groupe La Poste’s subsidiary GeoPost. Prior to that, the company had already received €1.5 million in financial support from French business angels J.D. Blanc, J.A. Grunion and O. Matzot.

So, what does the company offer to attract such a massive amount of funding even before a public launch?

Stuart and its experienced co-founders promise to “transform” the way goods are delivered within cities, “enabling anyone to get nearly any product delivered in less than 60 minutes”.

A value proposition that might sound familiar to those that have been following the development of Postmates or also Barcelona-based Glovo. Stuart’s job positions on LinkedIn (and there’s a bunch of them), explain that the company’s “on-demand mobile application connects customers and businesses with independent local couriers”.

Steve O’Hear at TechCrunch has more details about Stuart’s offering, which might include an app and API that online stores will be able to plug into to offer consumers same-hour local delivery.

Prices start at €2.99 per delivery (much lower than Glovo’s €5.90).

O’Hear also adds:

“Rather than going down the surge-pricing route, Uber-style, the startup’s algorithm will where necessary ‘pool’ deliveries to keep the cost down. I guess a good analogy might be ridesharing, where each participant has a slightly different pick up and drop off point.”

The company is supposedly running private tests in Paris with various local ecommerce sites, racking up more than 1,000 deliveries a day in less than a month.

More fuel to the logistics space fire.