Monerium becomes world’s first company to be granted e-money license

Icelandic blockchain startup, which recently raised a $2m seed round led by Crowberry Capital with participation from ConsenSys – a major player in the blockchain space, has just been granted an e-money license by the Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority.

A more in-depth report on the license and what it means can be found on Coindesk.

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Kerecis raises $16m Series C

Kerecis, the medical fish skin company, just announced a $16m series C financing. The company sold new shares to the value of $10m, and converted $6m of promissary notes at the time of closing. According to the statement issued, the fundraise was oversubscribed. After the funding round, founders and related parties retain about a one-third share ownership in the company.

“Fish skin is becoming a mainstream therapy for treating severe wounds, including diabetic wounds,” commented founder and CEO of Kerecis G.Fertram Sigurjonsson. “The funds from the Series C offering will allow us to continue our rapid growth and improve medical care for patients suffering from terrible wounds, which too often lead to amputations.”

The funds will be used primarily to fund sales and marketing efforts in the US and Switzerland.

Kerecis develops patented fish-skin products to heal human wounds and tissue damage. Because no disease-transfer risk exists between cold-water fish and humans, the Kerecis fish skin is only gently processed and retains its similarity to human skin, making it an ideal substitute for human skin. Fish skin also contains Omega3 fatty acids, which enhance wound healing. More than 50 studies have been done on the Kerecis technology.

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Here are the ten participating companies in Startup Reykjavik’s 8th cohort

Startup Reykjavik, Iceland’s main accelerator, is running its eighth batch this summer. The accelerator, owned and funded by Arion Bank and operated by Icelandic Startups, received around 200 applications, ten of which were selected for the program which kicks off this Tuesday, June 11th.

Baseparking: A valet parking service at Keflavík airport servicing over 20,000 customers.

CheckMart: Infrastructure for small and medium-sized companies in e-commerce.

Hvíslarinn: Health tech software solution using smart-tech, automation and AI to simplify documentation process for hospitals and healthcare facilities

Íslensk Gervigreind: Digital employee in the cloud using AI and data to make customer service more efficient.

Proency: Software solution using AI and evidence-based psychological methods to provide mental health analysis and counselling for staff and management within companies.

Rafíþróttaskólinn: A platform that serves anyone with the materials necessary to start their own esports training program with the aim to change the way esports athletes are made.

Rebutia: AI stylist software that carefully analyzes its users, classifies clothing according to their body’s figure to help them discover their true style.

SmartSampling: A software making a better and more efficient way to get intelligence from your customers about your product.

Snorricam: Hardware company making a tool called Snorricam for filmmakers to gain a unique camera angle.

TrackEHR: Health tech software solution that helps doctors create treatment plans and share them with patients.

The startups selected to participate each year receive 2,4 million ISK in funding from Arion bank in exchange for 6% equity. In addition the participants get access to mentors, office space and a host of perks.

The program culminates on Startup Reykjavik’s Investor Day where the participating teams get the opportunity to present their company to potential investors. This year Investor Day will take place on August 16th.

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Lucinity raises $2m to build their “augmented intelligence” anti-money-laundering solution

Lucinity, an Icelandic startup working in the anti-money-laundering space, just announced a $2m seed round led by Crowberry Capital, with participation from Preceptor Capital and international angel investors.

“In Lucinity, we saw a team that has tremendous relevant execution experience and an extremely innovative approach that we believe will be a game changer for firms fighting money laundering,” commented Helga Valfells, managing partner at Crowberry Capital.

Lucinity was founded in 2018, to solve the current gap in the anti-money laundering monitoring market. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that more than $2.4 trillion of laundered flow through the market every year, and that only 1% of the financial proceeds of crime is intercepted.

The current solutions are extremely inefficient with 99% of alerts being false alerts, Lucinity claims in a statement.

“Our goal is to bring cloud-ready intelligent anti-money laundering solutions to our clients that will transform their capabilities to fight money laundering activity,” Guðmundur Kristjánsson, founder and CEO of Lucinity remarks.

“This staggering cost and lack of results is largely a consequence of the current rule-based technology and human surveillance efforts not working together effectively,” he continues. “At Lucinity, we adopted a new approach called Augmented Intelligence, which combines the power of Artificial Intelligence and human intelligence through constant feedback loops. Using this approach, Lucinity ClearLens empowers clients to improve detection of suspicious behavior patterns and greatly increase review efficiency.”

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Medical Device company Freyja HealthCare raises $1m Series A

Boston Based Freyja HealthCare, a medical device company founded by Jón Ívar Einarsson, MD and professor at Harvard Medical School, just announced a $1m  (120m ISK) financing by undisclosed, Icelandic investors. The round values the company at 1,000m ISK (~$8.3m) post money. Spakur assisted with the financing round.

Jón Ívar, which describes as “a leader in the minimally invasive gynecologic surgery (MIGS) field” said in conversation with that the company is finalising a deal with a big medical company on the sale of three devices aimed at standardising hysterectomy operations.

“This financing allows us to continue development of more devices,” Jón Ívar told MBL.

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Lessons learned from raising – yet another – round

It’s incredible – even to me – but the fundraising round we at GRID disclosed last week is the 10th time I raise capital for one of my ventures. Admittedly this one was in many ways unique, and also the largest one. Yet.

Hjálmar Gíslason

Despite this, I’m still learning. For one thing, the world has changed since we raised our first round at Lon&Don back in 1997 (Icelandic only)! For another, 10 times is still hardly a statistically relevant sample so it’s natural to still be discovering a few things.

Here are the three main lessons I took away from this latest experience:

  1. Local is dying: I heard this from startups and investors ranging from Seattle to Silicon Valley and Berlin to London: Investors are – less than ever – focused on investing in companies based on geography. Some of them are actively betting on that the Next Big Thing™ may come out of areas you’d least expect. Also, from the startups’ perspective, they’re no longer necessarily going to local investors first. In some cases I heard investment funds complain that they didn’t even see some of the best deal flow in their area because those entrepreneurs didn’t come to them. They went straight to investors they thought would add more value or they thought were a better fit – even halfway across the globe.
  1. The best investors hunt: Success in investing – especially early stage – doesn’t come from waiting for deals to come to you. It comes from networking, plugging yourself into the ecosystem, keeping your ear to the ground and then jumping with conviction on the best opportunities because you spot them before anyone else does. Being one of the few brand-name investment funds in the world may counter that a little bit, as you will be getting good inbound opportunities. But an aggressive hunt will always outwit, outplay and outlast them. A complacent investor is probably not a successful investor.
  1. Thesis and stage match: I paid more attention to the characteristics of each fund this time around than I’ve ever done before. As an entrepreneur you should seek out funds that have an investment thesis that matches what you’re doing. I felt this strongly in this latest raise. Talking to investors who already had theories around modern productivity tools and/or the spreadsheet market was so much more productive and so much more valuable to us than talking to ones where we had to explain our background, research and theories from the ground up. Also, make sure you understand the size of the fund, the typical size of their investments (jargon tip: their “ticket size”) and the funding stage they’re most comfortable with. Convincing a typical Series A or Series B investor to invest in your Seed round will not only be harder, it may come back and haunt you later if they for any reason don’t lead your next investment round. You’ve more or less put yourself on a single track, while working with a typical Seed investor keeps all the doors open for next steps.

Again. Despite having been around this block a few times now, my experiences are still anecdotal, so take them with a grain of salt, but I hope this may be of help to some of you fellow fundraisers out there.

The author is founder and CEO of GRID. He previously founded (and exited) DataMarket.

Lauf Forks raise $2.5m led by New Business Venture Fund

Icelandic bicycle manufacturer Lauf Forks has just announced a $2.5m (300m ISK) funding round led by New Business Venture Fund (Nýsköpunarsjóður). The funding will be used to grow in the United States.

“The bicycles from Lauf Forks have been well received in the United States, so focusing on growth their is a logical next step,” chairman of Lauf Forks, Erla Skúladóttir, said in a statement.

Lauf Forks was founded in 2011  around the invention of the lightest bicycle fork in the world. The company has since developed into designing and manufacturing full blown bicycles. They paved the road with Lauf True Grit, an award winning Gravel bike, and now also offer Lauf Anywhere, a mixed terrain bike.

“It’s been a pleasure following the development of Lauf Forks and we believe the company is poised to grow even more,” commented Huld Magnúsdóttir, CEO of the New Business Venture Fund. “Lauf Forks is an example of a successful innovation, and with added funding the company gets the opportunity to grow in new markets.”