Category: News (Page 1 of 16)

Tempo to sell 30% to HPE Growth Capital at $62.5 million valuation

The Origo Board of Directors yesterday signed an agreement with HPE Growth Partners on an exclusive negotiation with the objective selling 30% of Tempo (subsidiary of Origo) to the investment fund. The valuation will be $62.5m

This marks the end of a long sale cycle for Tempo, which we wrote about back in 2016. Whether or not the sale comes with additional capital to support the growth of Tempo remains to be seen.

More details in the press release.

Takumi raises $4m Series B to expand US office

Influencer marketing platform Takumi just announced a $4m (£3m) Series B round from UK and US angels and investment funds. The company raised a $4m Series A round in May 2017. The company was founded in 2015 by Guðmundur Eggertsson, Jökull Sólberg og Mats Stigzelius. It has over 40 employees with offices in Reykjavik, Berlin, London and New York.

“We will use the funding to grow our development team in Reykjavik and fuel continued growth in the US market,” commented CEO and co-founder Jökull Sólberg.

As a UK headquartered company, Takumi has benefited from the UK enterprise investment scheme when raising funds. Under the scheme, individual investors are incentivised to invest in new and innovative – and therefore riskier – companies. “Having our head office and parent company in London has been very beneficial for us due to this program,” Jökull told Northstack. “The UK has a good blueprint for how to create a good startup ecosystem.”

The company started by focusing on the UK and German markets, and launched a NYC satellite office in 2017, a late entrant there. “Our tech and commercial presence in Europe is mature. We intend to use the new funds to expedite our US plans.”

The three year old company has worked with more than 800 brands and 15.000 influencers. “Takumi is already the leader in influencer marketing in Germany and the UK, the biggest advertising markets in Europe.”

Takumi connects brands and influencers on Instagram, a market that according to eMarketer doubled in 2017.

“Influencer marketing gets held to a higher standard as budgets grow” explains Jökull. “Consumers are wary of influencers working with the wrong brands, and brands are becoming aware of influencers with fake audiences. But we’ve seen that when it’s done right, and influencers have authentic audiences to sell in to brands it’s the most underpriced major marketing channel today and can have a major impact.”

Takumi is also announcing a new partnership with HypeAuditor, an influencer data vendor that is being integrated into influencer vetting and campaign reporting to bolster audience insights and further ensure that audiences are organic and not filled with bot accounts, a practice that is common in Instagram influencer marketing.

In the second quarter of this year, Takumi started working with Heinz and Gillette, and was nominated for the Digiday awards Best use of Social for their collaboration with Kellogg’s.

“Our focus on a superior influencer experience, and distributed sales teams close to the customer, has proven successful,” Jökull said. “The brands want excellent service and the influencers want a great app and trust to do their work. That is what Takumi stands for, and we believe will be the basis for our continued success in the US market.”

VR startup Aldin raises $1m led by Crowberry Capital, Announces New VR Product

Aldin, the virtual reality company behind Waltz of the Wizard, just announced a $1m funding round led by Crowberry Capital with participation from Investa. In addition to the funding, the company announced a new VR experience aimed at consumers.

“Believable reality experiences are unlike anything that’s been possible in the past, offering the accessibility of movies and interactivity beyond conventional games,” says Hrafn Th. Thorisson, CEO and co-founder of Aldin. “Since nothing can play on our emotions like reality, believable virtual realities are set to become the most emotionally engaging format in entertainment history.”

Aldin’s previously made several VR apps, including Waltz of the Wizard, a VR experience where people experience having magical powers. To date, it is one of the highest rated VR titles on Steam with over 250,000 users. Their next title, whose name hasn’t been announced yet, will let users step into a fantastical world and become acquainted with a character in ways that, according to their press release, could only happen in VR, powered by XR AI systems that help form personal connections with characters beyond what’s possible with screenbound entertainment.

“We are delighted to be investing in Aldin. The company has proprietary technology to further the development of VR and AR.” said Helga Valfells, Managing Partner of Crowberry Capital who will take a seat on the board of directors. “The Aldin team has an intuitive understanding of VR as a medium as well the right mix of creative talent and technology skills to deliver exciting content in alternative realities.”

Over the years, Aldin has built proprietary tooling and mixed reality (XR) technologies they use to power their own production. Among those are Ghostline, an analytics solution that enables quantitative and qualitative analysis of the user experience. and Telepath, a locomotion system designed to offer engaging movement in VR.

“We’ve been at the forefront of VR since 2013, focusing on content and technologies that bring immersion and presence to the level that justifies VR and gives people a reason to want it.” commented Gunnar Steinn Valgardsson, CTO & co-founder of Aldin, “We’re now at the next frontier and we are going to deliver experiences that place users in worlds that are only possible in VR.”

Indie game studio Tasty Rook releases Out of the Loop, a “silly party game for the whole family”

The indie game studio Tasty Rook, which previously created and published Triple Agent, released its second game last week: Out of the Loop. The game is available for Android and iOS.

“We’ve both played board games our whole lives,” said Sig Gunnarsson, co-founder of Tasty Rook, “and we started Tasty Rook to bring some of those fun and intimate experiences into a more compact and mobile format.”

The duo, which founded Tasty Rook last year and has since received a grant from the Technology Development Fund, focuses on re-imagining classic party board games for mobile devices.

“We want to foster community and playing between friends face to face,” Torfi Ásgeirsson, co-founder commented. “So many mobile games today are single player only, and we see an opportunity to utilise the technology to enrich real life encounters.”

In Out of the Loop, everyone, except for one player, gets to know the same secret word at the beginning of a round. The goal of the game is to answer lighthearted questions about the secret word without giving it away, while trying to figure out who doesn’t know the secret word. The game is played on one mobile device that is passed between players.

The game is free to play but players can purchase additional content in the app.

Dohop raises €3m from EasyJet and current investors

Flight search company Dohop has raised €3m from EasyJet and current investors. EasyJet’s participating is at €2.25m with current investors adding €750k to the round. EasyJet’s investment comes in the form of an convertible bond that can be converted into a 15% stake in the company.

In an interview with Vísir, CEO of Dohop Davíð Gunnarsson comments: “EasyJet and Dohop work closely together. The airline offers Worldwide by EasyJet which assists its customers with finding connecting flights through other airlines. The technology behind that is powered by Dohop, and EasyJet sees this project as a key step in the airline’s future growth.”

Read more here:

Italian bank UniCredit invests €3.1m in Meniga

UniCredit today announced it has signed a strategic partnership contract with digital banking company Meniga, integrating the company’s solutions into the banks offering and investing €3.1m through it’s equity arm UniCredit EVO (Equity Venture Opportunities).

“We are very pleased with this partnership with Meniga,” said Gianni Franco Papa UniCredit General Manager and Chairman of UniCredit EVO.

“Thanks to it, we will offer one of the best solutions available on the market, helping our customers to much more easily manage their banking and financial activities, while enjoying a simple and tailored user-friendly experience.”

Georg Ludviksson, co-founder and CEO of Meniga commented: “The partnership represents the biggest PFM deal in Europe to date and the Meniga team is excited to be part of UniCredit’s digital transformation journey. The investment from UniCredit EVO will enable us to keep momentum and focus on the continuous development of our products to ensure we are delivering the most innovative digital banking solutions to our clients.”

Meniga raised a $3.7m strategic round from Swedbank earlier this year.

Here are the ten companies participating in Startup Reykjavik 2018

Summer is the time of Iceland’s most well known accelerator, Startup Reykjavik. Around that time, ten companies are selected to participate in the program which is owned by Arion Banki and executed by Icelandic Startups. This is the seventh consecutive year the accelerator is run.

This year, the number of applications was 270, with around half of the applications coming from outside Iceland. This year’s batch of ten companies will include three from outside Iceland: UK, Sweden and Spain.

The companies selected are the following:

1. Anymaker – Digital studio developing 3D modelling and AR interaction apps for kids.

2. Blockcycle – Platform using the blockchain to track packaging waste.

3. Ekki Banka – Simple platform helping customer to access own financial information.

4. Huginn.care -A cloud-based solution for caretakers, companies and organizations, to simplify incidents- and diary registrations.

5. Koride – Koride offers a ridesharing solution for adventure-seeking travelers in Iceland.

6. Leiguskjól – Leiguskjól is a fintech company focusing on solutions for the rental market

7. Melius – An easy-to-use smart attachment for any smartphone, which uses a proprietary object tracking algorithm with a servomotor mechanism to record any activity.

8. Sea Data Center – Sea Data Center is seafood information technology company – Bloomberg for the seafood sector.

9. Taktikal – A flexible API based platform that enables customers to design, initiate and track digitally signed documents for processes like customer onboarding and other business relationships.

10. Unify Me – Platform powered by cPaaS technology (Twilio & Nexmo) affordable for any business. A single unified Communication platform as a service based on software with service in 105 countries.

The ten teams will receive mentoring from various entrepreneurs, investors and business directors during the ten weeks program in order to further develop their businesses and bring products to market. Arion Bank, through its daughter company Startup Reykjavik Invest ehf., invests 2.4 MISK in each participant company in exchange for a 6% ownership.

Teatime Games raise $7.5m Series A led by Index Ventures with participation from Atomico

Mobile gaming company Teatime Games just announced a $7.5m Series A round led by Index Ventures. VC fund Atomico also participated in the round. The investment brings total investment in the company to roughly $9m dollars, including a $1.6m seed round in late 2017.

“Games have always been an inherently social and multi-layer experience,” says Thor Fridriksson, CEO, and co-founder of Teatime Games.

“The overwhelming majority of mobile games, however, are single player experiences, while most multiplayer mobile games are turn-based and are played against invisible opponents. We are building Teatime Games on the premise that mobile games players crave a more social and personalized experience than they are currently getting, where communicating with friends and fellow players in real time not only enhances a game but is as important as the game itself. That’s why we’re developing the first real time communication gaming platform for mobile.”

The company will use the investment to double the team in Iceland, with a specific focus on software engineers.

Index Ventures investor Guzman Dias commented: “Like all the best games studios, Thor and the Teatime team have extraordinary pedigree in mobile games, accumulating years of experience of scaling up a gaming platform with over 100 million users. At Index we have been lucky enough to team up with games pioneers such as Supercell and King, and we believe Teatime have a similar size opportunity today – to lead the next wave in mobile games, by building the technology to spark a real time revolution in social games with the social element at its heart.”

The company was co-founded by ex-QuizUp CEO Thor Fridriksson, CFO Ymir Finnbogason, CTO Johann Bergthorsson and COO Gunnar Holmsteinn.

Teatime is currently hiring. Check them out on the Northstack Job Board.

Arctic Green Energy complete $150m equity and debt financing

Icelandic-Chinese Arctic Green Energy, developer of geothermal district heating projects in China, has completed a $150 million equity and debt funding with Chinese investors. Included in this funding round is a loan from the Chinese Development Bank. The investors were CITIC Capital and China Everbright Limited in addition to the bank.

“We have been working with Arctic Green Energy for three years now, and this milestone in the company‘s development confirms all of the accomplishments it has achieved so far in implementing geothermal technology in China and abroad.“ says Mr. Fanglu Wang, Senior Managing Partner for CITIC Capital.

Cities consume 70% of energy globally, and Arctic Green Energy’s plan is to create zero emission cities through renewable resources, technology and infrastructure. Most of their current projects are based on geothermal energy.

“The completion of this USD 150 million financing round is a significant step for Arctic Green Energy,” says Haukur Harðarson, Founder and Chairman of Arctic Green Energy in a statement.

“We welcome China Everbright to broaden the investor group to strengthen its ties with China, and build on this success in other markets. CITIC Capital and China Everbright are two global investment firms with strong roots in Asia that have special focus on clean energy and will now take part in our mission to create zero emission cities with clean, profitable renewables.“

Kúla 3D closes $300k seed round and releases lens for smartphones

Kúla 3D, maker of 3D lenses for cameras, just announced it closed a $300,000 seed round. This is the first fundraise for the company, which has previously received financing from the Technology Development Fund.

“My daughter was two years old when I started experimenting with a prototype of 3D lenses,” says Íris Ólafsdóttir, founder and CEO of Kúla. “When I look at the pictures it’s like stepping into a time machine. I still get this wow feeling, but people really need to experience it to understand.”

Kúla is releasing Kúla Bebe, a 3D lens for smartphones. The device enables people to take 3D photos and videos on their smartphones, and comes with simple software to view their creations. Kúla had previously released Kúla Deeper, a lens for DSLR cameras. Kúla Bebe was financed through a Kickstarter campaign.

Kúla Bebe is produced in Iceland, and packaged at Kúla’s Headquarters at Innovation House in Eiðistorg. People will be able to buy it at Vodafone stores in Iceland, with global availability to follow shortly.

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Nortstack – Reporting and analysis of the Icelandic startup scene