Category: News (Page 2 of 16)

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.

Meniga raises $3.7m from Swedbank

Nordic bank Swedbank today announced it had invested $3.7m (€3m) in Meniga in a strategic financing round which includes other key customers of the company.

“We see Meniga as an innovation partner to give our customers a digital experience that includes a better overview and insights of all their finances both from Swedbank and external parties. We are very pleased with the agreed partnership,” says Lotta Lovén, Head of Digital Banking at Swedbank in a statement.

Georg Ludviksson, Co-founder and CEO of Meniga commented: “We are delighted to welcome Swedbank as a strategic investor and look forward to playing our part in their digital transformation.”

TripAdvisor acquires Bókun

Bókun Partners were today notified of the acquisition of Bókun by TripAdvisor.  The company sent out an email detailing the acquisition.

“As the industry leader, our opportunity in this space is enormous. We’re committed to taking the experiences sector far beyond its current online penetration of just 20%, and Bokun will play a critical role in this mission,” commented Dermot Halpin, president, TripAdvisor Experiences and Rentals said in a statement.

“We’re thrilled to join the world’s largest attractions, tours and experiences business,” commented Hjalti Baldursson, CEO and co-founder, Bokun. “TripAdvisor gives us the opportunity to serve customers in every corner of the world, and we’re excited about the significant growth that’s to come.”

The following is an excerpt from the email sent to Bókun Partners.

Dear Bokun Partner!

I’m extremely happy to announce to you, our Bokun Partner, that as of today, Bokun has been acquired by TripAdvisor.

We all know TripAdvisor and its global reach and strengths. It’s the world’s largest travel site!

By the acquisition of Bokun, TripAdvisor is expanding its offering for the global tours and activities and attractions sector by providing suppliers with technology in addition to being the industry’s largest distribution channel.

To me, the devotion of TripAdvisor to the industry is obvious, and I’m proud that Bokun will be participating in shaping the industry, along with our partners.

Our joint plan is for Bokun to be a one stop shop for suppliers and resellers of in-destination services (tours & activities and attractions). Our aim is to be the best and the largest software supplier for the industry on a global scale.

In order to achieve our goals, we’ll put more resources into development both for suppliers and resellers, along with integrating with the support and sales team of TripAdvisor for added service and support.

The Bokun headquarters will remain in Iceland and the current management will continue to lead the company, although we’ll work closely with the global team of TripAdvisor.

Bókun was one of the first travel tech startups to embrace the tourism boom in Iceland. Details of the acquisition are still under wraps, but we’ll update with more info.

No VC funds were investors in Bókun.

Kara Connect raises €1.5m led by Crowberry Capital

Kara Connect, the communication and business platform for health and educational professionals, just announced a €1.5m (180m ISK) funding round led by Crowberry Capital, with participation from individuals.

,,Kara plans to revolutionize access to health services and therapy,” says Jenný Ruth Hrafnsdóttir, GP at Crowberry Capital who takes a seat on the board of directors of Kara. “The company has already shown amazing traction and great results with speech therapists who are using the Kara platform. We believe that Kara Connect is on trend and the founding team is passionate about building a global business.”

Kara Connect is a business and communications platform that allows professionals to easily connect with clients, improving access to professional healthcare and extracurricular educational services.

The funding will allow Kara Connect to expand into Scandinavian markets. The company, which is founded in Iceland, has already seen more than 1000 Icelandic clients complete more than 9000 hours of teletherapy sessions with dozens of specialists that use Kara Connect.

“Rapid advancements in technology and increasing work-loads pose great
challenges for specialists providing their clients with therapy and support,” says CEO and founder Thorbjorg Helga Vigfusdottir. “Kara offers them a secure virtual office as well as a state of the art teleservice platform,“

Thorbjorg adds: “Our goal today is to break into sales and marketing in Scandinavia, as well as developing the Kara software even further.“

Kara Connect has previously received grants from the Technology Development Fund.

The featured image is of Crowberry Capital and Kara Connect signing the funding documents.

Introducing: Northstack Job Board

Today we’re very excited to announce our newest venture: The Northstack Job Board.

The Northstack Job Board will be the one stop shop for jobs in startups and tech in Iceland, making entry into the sector hopefully more open and inclusive to Icelanders and foreigners.

The tech sector is international, both in terms of business and human capital. The tech sectors clients are international. The investors are international. And the people building the companies are increasingly international.

Finding jobs in the sector should be as well.

One of our main goals at Northstack has always been to make the tech and startup scenes more accessible, more transparent, and more open to the people outside of it.

We’ve done this by writing about and analysing the ecosystem, hosting open meetups for people to mingle, but the biggest move was probably when we switched completely to English.

With this launch, we’re making another contribution to building a better, more diverse, tech ecosystem.

We’re honored by the companies that joined as first advertisers, which range from established companies to fledgling startups. We hope that Northstack Job Board becomes the place where people outside tech find their entry into tech, or where people outside Iceland find their entry into Iceland, or people simply find a good job (and companies great people).

Check out Northstack Job Board now (we recommend signing up for the job alerts!)

P.s. to celebrate we’re hosting a party with TeqHire (Facebook link)

Genki Instruments just launched an Indiegogo campaign for their first device, Wave

Genki Instruments officially launched an Indiegogo campaign for its new device, Wave, today. Wave is a ring that lets musicians control sound, shape effects and send commands with the motion of their hands. Genki Instruments, who are on a mission to make technology and music feel more natura, was founded by electrical engineers Ólafur Bjarki Bogason and Daníel Grétarsson, with designer Jón Helgi Hólmgeirsson and COO Haraldur Hugosson joining later. Genki went through the Startup Reykjavik accelerator in 2015

“Wave adds a new dimension to musical creativity,” says Bergur Þórisson, recording engineer and producer for musicians like Björk, Sigur Rós, Damian Rice and Jóhann Jóhannsson. “It took me a while to realize that the best thing about Wave is not only that it can replace some of the tools you already have to control stuff when you are making music, but that it can make you control stuff in a completely different way, therefore making decisions that you would have never made without it.”

Bergur is one of the musicians that the Genki team has collaborated with closely during the development of their product. “It’s a cool tool for all creatives and I can definitely recommend adding it to your workflow, whether you use it to replace your old techniques or invent new ones.”

Another is David Mash, a former Senior Vice President at Berklee College of Music, who commented: “Wave is an innovative new way to add expression and nuance to electronic performances! Wave is simple to use, and gives me powerful control right from my fingers without having to take them away from my instrument.”

You can read more about their device, the Wave, at their Indiegogo campaign page.

Page 2 of 16

Nortstack – Reporting and analysis of the Icelandic startup scene