Issue #105: For the week ended April 27, 2021
Spring has broken out in earnest in London (and most everywhere else as well). There is a whiff of optimism in the air and people I speak with from Tel Aviv to New York, Rome to Copenhagen, and Stockholm to Lisbon seem to be cautiously hopeful that perhaps — just perhaps — the worst of this pandemic is behind us.
In the spirit of spring and renewal, you might have noticed (we certainly hope you noticed!) that we have given this newsletter a fresh coat of paint — one of the final parts of our branding refresh. If you have feedback on this format change — please let us know!
Thank you to Anne Blum — our head of platform — who managed the rebranding process from A to Z and to our incredibly talented designer, Christoph Stolberg, who approach the project with incredible professionalism and attention to detail.
Our newsletter look & feel may have changed, but our focus has not:
Angular Ventures is a first-check venture capital fund based in London, Tel Aviv, and New York that backs early-stage enterprise tech companies from Europe and Israel. We typically invest between $250K and $2.5M as early as possible in a company’s life cycle. If you’re working on something that fits our focus, please reach out and let us know. We’d love to learn about it and see if we can help.
FROM THE BLOG
EUROPE & ISRAEL FUNDING NEWS
Israel/Remote Employment. Deel raised $156M for their platform that allows businesses to hire anyone, anywhere, in a compliant manner.
Israel/Cyber Security. Deep Instinct raised $100M for their software that uses machine learning to predict, identify, and prevent cyberattacks.
Israel/AI Cancer Recognition. C2i Genomics raised $100M for its cancer diagnostics service that uses AI pattern recognition and whole-genome analysis to provide rapid and accurate detection of residual disease.
Estonia/Verification. Veriff raised $69M for their online identity verification company that protects businesses and their customers from online identity fraud.
Belgium/Restaurant OS. Deliverect raised $65M, helps restaurant owners manage all their online delivery and take-out channels and integrate them directly into their point-of-sale service.
Israel/API Marketplace. RapidAPI raised $60M for a platform that allows users to find, connect to, and manage thousands of APIs.
UK/Fintech Platform. FintechOS raised $60M for its low-code platform aimed at larger (older) banking and insurance companies to help them build new services and analytics on top of and around their existing infrastructure.
Germany/Shipping Platform. Seven Senders raised $38.5M for their delivery platform that optimizes processes during shipping and provides customers with a unique shopping experience.
Israel/Content Security. Perception Point raised $28M for its Prevention-as-a-Service platform, offering fast interception of any content-based attack across all channels.
France/Restaurant QR Payments. Sunday raised $24M for its payment app for restaurants that enables diners to scan a QR code, pay, and walk away.
UK/Corporate Spend Suite. Payhawk raised $20M hoping to unify corporate cards, payments and expenses.
Israel/SME Account SaaS. Datarails raised $18.5M for its financial solution designed for SMEs that automates monthly and quarterly reporting processes.
Denmark/Data Platform. CluedIn raised $15M for its master data management platform.
UK/Video as Code. Synthesia raised $12.5M for its AI video generation platform.
UK/Cloud Security. Cado Security raised $10M for its cloud-native digital forensics platform for enterprises to investigate and respond to cyber incidents at cloud speed.
Israel/Automated Security. DoControl raised $10M for its automated SaaS security platform, which provides data access monitoring, orchestration, and remediation across major SaaS applications.
Germany/D2C Logistics Platform. Hive raised $7.9M for its D2C logistics platform which eases the fulfilment process for e-commerce firms with customised analytics, and forecasts and suggestions, in addition to its own in-house logistics centres.
Finland/Carbon Capture. Carbo Culture raised $6.2M hoping to scale up an industrial process to create large-scale CO2 removal using woody waste from agriculture and forests.
Germany/Embedded Insurance. insureQ raised $6M for its embedded insurance for SME’s and freelancers.
Confluent files for IPO. Real-time event streaming platform Confluent filed for IPO.
Artificially intelligent regulations. The European Union is proposing a number of restrictions on the use of AI within the block. According to Wired, the rules are the most significant international effort to regulate AI to date, covering facial recognition, autonomous driving, and the algorithms that drive online advertising, automated hiring, and credit scoring. The proposed rules could help shape global norms and regulations around a promising but contentious technology.
Hydrogen in flight. A US startup raised $20M for hydrogen storage solutions and conversion kits aimed at de-carbonizing aviation. I find it an inspiring example of what venture capital is supposed to be about: looking for the right balance between game-changing innovation on the one hand and commercial viability on the other.
HOW TO STARTUP
DataRobot’s internal battles. The Information wrote a detailed account of the internal struggles at DataRobot around their IPO strategy and other issues — tensions that ultimately led to the departure of CEO Jeremy Achin. What is interesting here are the apparent parallels to other companies (Uber, Snowflake) and the implication that more CEOs will start to encounter friction with late-stage investors with concrete ideas about how and when to acheive liquidity. “This account of Achin’s split with DataRobot, based on interviews with nearly a dozen former DataRobot employees and people close to the company, echoes similar schisms over IPOs between early startup leaders and their investors. Uber co-founder and onetime CEO Travis Kalanick butted heads with Bill Gurley, a venture capitalist on the ride-hailing company’s board, who wanted Uber to go public sooner than Kalanick did. The tensions over that and many other matters eventually sparked a coup, and Kalanick stepped down as CEO under pressure in 2017. And cloud database provider Snowflake fired its CEO, Bob Muglia, in 2019, replacing him with a seasoned tech leader, Frank Slootman. The company’s board was reportedly concerned about Snowflake’s spending ahead of an IPO, which occurred in 2020 and was one of the hottest tech offerings in recent memory. In Achin’s case, the split occurred with prominent investors who had backed his vision of using software to automate the process of building machine-learning models, an insight he acted on years before other entrepreneurs.”
Yes. Valuations are insane. The Information reports on the 300x revenue multiple. “Orca Security’s March funding round made the two-year-old software startup a unicorn — and gave it an unusual claim to fame. With approximately $4 million in annualized revenue when it briefed investors early this year, the cybersecurity company’s $1.2 billion valuation translated to 300 times that revenue, according to two people familiar with the matter.”
Get rich slowly. Balthazar de Lavergne of The Family decries the “lottery culture” that has swept over the tech world in one of the wisest reads of the week. “While I believe people should make more bets, I also believe that expecting billions out of each one becomes an addiction. Randomness warps every incentive system and can make people miserable, just like workers in gold mines being paid with a bag of dirt 99% of the time. Some people are lucky, but most are hard-working… and it’s when others are taking the most risk that you have to be most careful. I find it helpful to remember that: (1) hard work always pays off, (2) discipline is what saves you over the long term. Like any culture, you define yourself by the things you say “no” to, and (3) quick wins will distract you from long-term gains.”
HOW TO VENTURE
Increasing liquidity. Tomasz Tunguz lists and analyzes five key innovations that are increasing liquidity in startupland.
How to network. Chris Fralic of First Round believes that the key to successful networking is to be human to everyone you meet. One of his more interesting tips relates to how to be honest. “Offer unvarnished honesty. There are a lot of reasons why people don’t share what they truly think in professional situations. They don’t want to tarnish relationships or endure an uncomfortable exchange or risk being disliked. Even if you’re one of the ‘Hunted,’ it’s human nature to avoid these experiences. You can differentiate yourself by being as honest as you can. Just remember to root your honesty in what will actually have utility for the other party. This will set a good tone for all future conversations.” Fralic also emphasizes the value of SCFEs: “Make sure your asks are reasonable for the busiest of people. First, keep your emails short, simple, and to the point. Second, “If you send an email asking for something, do the first three steps of thinking for them. Make it really easy for the other person to say yes or no without creating an imposition. For example if you’re asking for an intro, write a self-contained forwardable email,” Fralic says. A good SCFE (as he sometimes calls it) has a subject line customized for the end recipient and quickly explains who you are, what you want and why — it’s dead simple for your mutual contact to send along.”
How to do platform. David Teten broke down how VCs are approaching the challenge of building platform offerings. The article is packed with good observations and advice, including a two-part test for portfolio platform offerings: “(1) Does the service gain impact by being on your platform? For example, I suggest it doesn’t make a lot of sense to hire a full-time team member who’s an SEO consultant. An SEO consultant is going to provide the same quality of service whether they are working for the investor or directly for a company. And of course, if they work directly with a company, then the company bears the full cost, and the investor doesn’t. Recruiting is a great counterfactual: Recruiters working for a VC firm get a much more positive response from talent than independent recruiters. (2) Is the service scalable? You might hire a really amazing designer, and perhaps even charge companies for their service for cost recovery purposes. However, the designer is a nonscalable service; you’ll have to hire more people like them as your portfolio grows.”
Crux OCM’s CEO, Vicki Knott, addresses gender barriers within the oil and gas industry, and ways to make the field more safe and inclusive for workers.
Datos Health announced new partnership for study measuring impact of digital solutions on heart failure treatment.
Aspecto’s CTO, Michael Haberman, will be giving a talk at Conf42’s Cloud Native 2021 event on April 29 on hundreds of microservices without breaking your APIs.
Planable was selected as one of the top 20 social media analytics tools for small businesses.