Startup Reykjavik Values its Portfolio since 2012 at $2.3m (278m ISK)

In a new post by Einar Gunnar Guðmundsson of Arion Banki, he reveals that Arion Banki’s daughter company Startup Reykjavik Invest currently values its portfolio of companies that have participated in Startup Reykjavik at $2.3m (278m ISK). The bank’s total direct investment (not counting the operational fees of the accelerator) in Startup Reykjavik companies has in the mean time been ~$1.5m (176m ISK).

Graph courtesy of Einar Gunnar Guðmundsson

Einar Gunnar notes in his post that the current valuation is based on either the newest funding round which puts a price on Startup Reykjavik Invest’s equity, or “valued on likelihood of success based on their activity and communication with [Startup Reykjavik Invest].”

According to his calculations, 54% of companies are still active, 13% inactive, and 33% sold (companies where Startup Reykjavik has sold its share back to the founders, who have quit (or mostly quit) operations).

You can read more about it in his post here.

Iceland Venture Studio announces new fund

Last week, Dattaca Labs announced Iceland Venture Studio, a new “growth solution for entrepreneurs and startup founders.” The Studio has raised a $1m fund, working towards a total size of $5m, to invest in early stage companies.

Co-founder, CEO of Iceland Venture Studio

“We’re very committed to our investment thesis,” CEO and co-founder Bala Kamallakharan told Northstack. Their focus will be companies that focus on that provide services around decentralization of private data, algorithms, privacy, process and data security.

The venture studio has already unveiled the first investments: Retina Risk and FlowVR.

“We had the opportunity to work with several potential investors, but we found Bala and Iceland Venture Studios to have the best possible mix of capital, connections and capabilities to meet our very specific needs,” said Prof. Einar Stefansson, co-founder of Retina Risk. “They have committed to partner with us for the long-haul and we are very impressed with Bala and his team as they help us grow to the next level.”

Freyr Hólm Ketilsson, co-founder Iceland Venture Studio

“As part of the team here at Iceland Venture Studios, my job is to provide expertise and guidance” Bala commented in a statement. “We have the industry relationships, technical know-how and business development experience to bring the best opportunities to our portfolio partners.”

Bala previously invested in Icelandic startup CLARA (acquired by Jive in 2013), and served as the executive chairman of Guide to Iceland and Travelshift, which recently raised $20m.

Silicon Valley Internship Program opens for Icelandic Applications

Silicon Valley Internship Program, founded in 2013 with the goal of closing the talent gap whilst giving international engineers the skills they need to become successful entrepreneurs in their home countries, is partnering with Reykjavik University to offer internship positions to Icelandic developers.

From the press release:

The tech industry desperately needs great talent, and is under pressure to build a diverse workforce. The SVIP brings top engineers from all over the world  with 50% of the engineers being female – to work at Bay Area technology companies, making the whole process as frictionless as possible. With partnerships with top engineering institutions across 35 countries, the platform attracts the best engineers from universities such as Oxford and Cambridge to universities in Taiwan and most recently SVIP partnered with Reykjavik University, forming the strongest international network of entrepreneurial engineers.

The program has two tracks which bring newly graduating Software Engineering students from 35 countries around the world to work at a startup in Silicon Valley.  The first track accepts male and female software engineers with a STEM  degree (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) from any accredited European, Scandinavian, EEA University.  The second track, in partnership with GBx-x, accepts female engineers with a STEM degree from outside of Europe.

SVIP interns are paid a salary of $75K+ for the year. The program also facilitates the hiring process for companies by arranging all the immigration and legal documentation, taking care of interns flights and accommodation for the first month. Roam Analytics, an SVIP company that has hired engineers through the program  notes that “in a world of ever-more complex recruiting programs, SVIP is a blessing. They helped introduce us to some exceptional candidates and have always made the process a breeze”, says Carter Wilkinson, Head of Finance and Operations of Roam Analytics.

Find out more and apply on the Northstack Job Board. Application deadline is February 8th.

geoSilica raises $425,000 Series A round from pension fund Lífsverk

geoSilica, just announced a $425,000 Series A round led by pension fund Lífsverk, with earlier investors participating. This funding round follows a $330,000 angel round in September 2018. After the round, Lífsverk owns a 6,7% share of GeoSilica, valuing the company at roughly $6.2m. Spakur finance assisted with the funding round.

The company was founded by CEO Fida Abu Libdeh and Burkni Pálsson in 2012, with the idea of create silica based health products from the excess water from Hellisheiðarvirkjun power plant. Three years later they introduced the first products to market.

“We are thrilled that Lífsverk joined geoSilica as a shareholder,” commented Fifa Abu Libdeh, co-founder and CEO. “For geoSilica it is a huge mark where the involvement of Lífsverk is an approval that we are maturing in the right direction. Now we have the financial support needed to achieve our goals.”

On the topic of pension funds investing directly in startups, Fifa adds: “In my mind, it is time for our pension funds to start investing directly in startups and fill the gap of capital shortage for companies in rapid growth.”

The investment will among other things be used to market the product abroad.

“geoSilica is a very interesting innovative company, with a clear vision and strong leaders,” commented Jón L. Árnason, CEO of Lífsverk, to MBL.is. “We believe this is a good long-term investment for the fund.”

EpiEndo Pharmaceuticals raise €800k to advance their treatments for respiratory diseases

EpiEndo Pharmaceuticals announced yesterday a fundraise of €800k from a syndicate of local funds and angels including Brunnur Ventures, with participation from existing shareholders.

The funds will be used to advance the pre-clinical development of their lead program of proprietary products called “Barriolides” for the treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

That disease is the leading respiratory disease with over 70 million patients worldwide that has significant unmet medical need and is an increasing burden globally.

“I am extremely pleased to be joining such a great team to develop what could be the next generation of treatments for a number of important respiratory disease,” commented Fredrik Lehmann, CEO of EpiEndo. “[The] scientific team has meticulously developed the novel Barriolide technology over a number of years, and with this recent funding we will be able to advance this important program of work to choose our first clinical candidate (CD) in 2019.”

Identity Verification startup Authenteq raises $5m led by Draper Associates and capital300

Reykjavik and Berlin based identity verification startup Authenteq, announced today a $5m first close in a Series A round. The round is led by Draper Associates and capital300. The company raised a $1.3m seed round a little over a year ago. In a statment, Kári Thor Rúnarsson co-founder and CEO comments that the company closed the round in just two weeks. He notes that the company is in discussions with a few investors that will take the second closing of the round.

“The reason we decided to do two closings, is we were introduced to an investor with a startup mindset of getting things done and felt it was a great challenge to try to finish all due diligence and paperwork in 2 weeks after the term sheet was approved,” comments Kári. “It was sort of a field test for us to see if they really were as agile and dynamic as they claimed to be during our discussions. We were honestly surprised how smoothly it went, despite a very thorough due diligence and legal process. ”

The company describes its product as the fastest onboarding process of an identity verification solution on the market and caters to companies that need to comply with KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti-money laundering) regulations. They launched their service in late 2018 and report signing up more than a dozen clients in the first months.

“I believe that Authenteq is the beginning of the solution to true and pure identity, which may eliminate many of the security concerns in the market today,” commented investor Tim Draper, known for seed investments in Skype, Tesla, SpaceX, Baidu, and Twitch to name a few. “Their product is simple and elegant.”

Authenteq has 21 employees working in their Berlin and Reykjavik offices and the new funding will in part go towards hiring for a range of new positions currently being filled. “We are lucky enough to have our offices in two of the coolest cities in Europe at the moment! So convincing talent from all over Europe and the USA to move to either Berlin or Reykjavik hasn’t been that difficult.”

“We are excited that Authenteq’s unique technology is disrupting the existing [identity verification] process,” Peter Lasinger, founder of Capital300, said, “and enables an affordable and fully automated identity verification, at the same time ensuring the privacy of users.”

Authenteq is hiring. See what they’re looking for on Northstack Job Board. 

Crypto Fintech Startup Monerium raises $2m seed round led by Crowberry Capital

Icelandic Crypto Fintech startup Monerium just announced a $2m seed round led by Icelandic VC fund Crowberry Capital. Also participating in the round were blockchain company ConsenSys and Hof Holdings. Tech EU reports.

In addition to a new funding round, the company announced that it had applied to become a licensed financial services company in the EEA.

Monerium, founded in 2016, aims to offer fiat money services and issue e-money. As Tech.eu mentions, more details haven’t been announced.

Meniga acquires Stockholm based reward platform Wrapp

Icelandic fintech company Meniga today announced the acquisition of Wrapp, a Stockholm based reward platform. The purchase price is undisclosed, all-stock, with maximum earn-outs totaling up to a 25% share in Meniga. Current shareholders, including Scandinavia’s biggest bank Nordea, join Meniga’s shareholders.

The Wrapp reward platform will be merged with Meniga’s similar offering with Wrapp’s CEO Aage Reerslev joining Meniga as VP of Rewards.

“The attitudes of consumers towards the use of their personal data is changing. Custodians of personal data are expected to use data to deliver personalisation and value in a respectful and transparent manner,” explains Georg Ludviksson, CEO of Meniga.

“We believe the merger brings us to a tipping point given the strong commitment we have from existing platform partners. This is the right time to invest in transaction-driven marketing technology and create a more intelligent user-centric service which basically helps people buy better and smarter, not more”, says Aage Reerslev, former CEO of Wrapp, now VP of Rewards at Meniga.

Oculis raises $15.7m in extension to B round, licenses new antibody

In two press releases today, Iceland founded Oculis Pharma announces an extension to their Series B round amounting to $15.7m (15.5m CHF), and an expansion to its portfolio through the licensing a novel antibody from Novartis. No financials are disclosed in relation to the licensing.

“Oculis is evolving and advancing rapidly,” CEO of Oculis, Dr. Riad Sherif said in a statement. “With this new fundraising, adding to the CHF20 million we raised a year ago, we have a strong financial position from which to drive our clinical development programs”

The extension of the round brings total raised to $36m (35.5 CHF) with new investors Tekla Capital Management and Nan Fung Life Sciences, and participation from earlier investors. Previously the company had raised $5m from Icelandic VC firm Brunnur Ventures, which holds 19% of the share capital after this financing round.

The funds will be used to expand the company’s portfolio through strategic in-licensing, and to advance its development of novel eye-drop treatment for major ophthalmic diseases.

“I, and the team at Nan Fung Life Sciences, have been extremely impressed with vision and progress made by Oculis in building a company with the potential to significantly improve the treatment of ophthalmic diseases,” commented Peter Bisgaard, Managing Director at Nan Fung Life Sciences.

Ankeri Solutions raise $500k seed round from NSA Ventures

Ankeri Solutions, the startup creating a shipping marketplace that rewards efficient, low-emissions vessels, just announced a $500k seed round led by NSA Ventures. The investment gives NSA Ventures a 12% ownership stake in the company.

“We’ve been following Leifur and Kristinn for a long time and know of their knowledge and experience with the international maritime sector,” Huld Magnúsdóttir, CEO of NSA Ventures said in a statement.

Co-founders Kristinn Aspelund and Leifur A. Kristjánsson, previously worked at Marorka, a tech company that specialises in marine energy management.

“We’re excited to have NSA Ventures join us on our journey to change the communication between shipowners and charterers,” CEO and co-founder Kristinn Aspelund commented. “The initial market response has been beyond our expectations, and since we’ve launched we’ve seen a lot of growth in its use.”

Northstack previously covered Ankeri in a short interview with the founding team.

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