Category: News (Page 1 of 16)

Guide to Iceland raises $20m valuing the company at $100m

Davíð Ólafur Ingimarsson, Deputy CEO of Guide to Iceland

Traveltech startup Guide to Iceland, which connects travel operators with travelers, and whitelabels such marketplaces through the subsidiary Travelshift, has announced a $20m funding round. State Street Global Advisors, in its capacity as an advisor and manager of private equity, invested in the company. State Street receive a 20% share of the company and a board seat for the investment.

“This allows us to continue marketing Iceland as a travel destination internationally,” deputy CEO Davíð Ólafur Ingimarsson said in a statement. “Aided by this investment, and Icelandic innovation that has resulted in a world-class software, it will be particularly exciting to pursue scaling to international markets.”

Guide to Iceland was founded in 2012, and this is the first investment in the company from abroad. On the companies travel platform, 500 travel operators are connected to travellers looking for experiences in Iceland.

“Our company growth targets are ambitious, but we’ve proven time and time again that we are a company that achieves formidable goals,” Davíð Ólafur adds. “We believe that the size of our company will increase substantially in the coming years.“

 

TripCreator raises $8m from a range of VC funds and business angels

Icelandic travel tech company TripCreator just announced a $8m fundraise from various VC funds and business angels.

“We are very excited to be launching the TripCreator platform to everyone in the travel industry, including bloggers,” said Hilmar Halldórsson, CEO of TripCreator.io. “Our disruptive new model of ‘free forever’, combined with our platform that is capable of both incredible speed and analysis options (in numbers that require a Google search to comprehend the magnitude) means we are poised to shake up the itinerary planning industry. We are simultaneously opening sales offices in both London and New York City and plan to move the company to the latter city by the end of the year.”

TripCreator provides white-label as well as branded solutions that can seamlessly integrate with existing platforms through dedicated APIs. The company is also pioneering a new business model for the travel industry – ‘Free Forever’. Taking a cut of the transaction fee ensures there are no out-of-pocket costs to customers for using the platform.

CCP Acquired by Pearl Abyss for $425m

Korean Pearl Abyss, maker of Black Desert Online, just announced it had acquired Icelandic CCP, maker of Eve Online. CCP will continue to operate as an independent studio with operations in Reykjavik, Shanghai, and London. The sale price is $425m.

Pearl Abyss CEO Robin Jung stated, “We are thrilled to have CCP Games join our team as Black Desert Online continues to branch out globally. CCP is a seasoned publisher with over 15 years of digital distribution experience and know-how.”

Rumours around the inevitable sale of CCP have regularly surfaced, with the most recent and public rumour being when someone leaked to (or placed) Bloomberg news that the company was eyeing a sale.

“I have been seriously impressed with what Pearl Abyss has achieved ever since I first visited their website for Black Desert Onlineand subsequently became an avid player of the game,” said CCP Games CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson.

“Pearl Abyss is a fast-growing company with lots to offer in terms of technology, capability and vision. I believe our two companies have a lot to learn from each other. We are very excited to join forces with them and achieve great new heights for our companies, our games and – above all – our players.”

This acquisition is, in nominal value at least, the biggest acquisition in Iceland’s tech history. The next one in line would be Amgen’s $415m purchase of Decode in 2012.

1939 Games raises $2m led by Tencent

1939 Games, maker of World War II digitally collectible card game Kards, just announced a $2m fundraise. The investment was led by Tencent, with participation from Finnish Sisu Game Ventures and Crowberry Capital. Viðskiptablaðið reports.

“It’s a great acknowledgement of what we’ve done so far to have as experienced investors as these participate in the round,” said Ívar Kristjánsson, co-founder of 1939 Games. “The financing should allow us to release the game, and we’re growing the team to support that.”

Their debut game, Kards, is currently in Alpha testing mode, and according to the company, more than 20 thousand have applied to become testers.

1939 Games previously raised an undisclosed seed round from various investors, and has received grants from the Technology Development Fund.

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.

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Nortstack – Reporting and analysis of the Icelandic startup scene