Solid Clouds raises $2.5m from Kjölur fjárfestingarfélag

Solid Clouds, the game developer working on Space MMO game Starborne, just announced a $2.5m (270m ISK) funding round led by Kjölur fjárfestingarfélag. Other previous investors also participated in the round. In addition, the company received a $475.000 (50m ISK) growth grant from the Technology Development Fund.

“We’re happy to have closed this financing, and being joined by as experienced an investor as Kjölur,” CEO and co-founder Stefán Gunnarsson said in a statement. “The investment will be used to fund marketing and growth, as well as a mobile version of the game.”

Starborne is a real-time, massively multiplayer strategy game played by thousands of players at a time. “We’ve been watching Solid Clouds for some time because of their revolutionary game that looks very promising,” says Guðmundur Ingi Jónsson Manager of Kjölur fjárfestingafélag. “We’re excited to share our experience with the team on building a tech company.” Guðmundur takes a seat on the board of directors following the funding.

Kjölur is known in tech circles for being one of the lead investors in Greenqloud, that was sold to NetApp last year.


Medical fish skin company Kerecis closes $3m convertible note

Ísafjörður based Kerecis, that creates fish skin based products to help with healing of wounds, recently announced it had sold a $3m convertible note to its current investors. All the largest investors in the company participated, and the note was oversubscribed.

Kerecis was in NSA Ventures portfolio until 2014 when the fund sold its 26% stake to a group of investors that included the founder. The purchase price was undisclosed.

Oculis raises $20.3m Series B round to advance treatment for Ophthalmic Diseases

Oculis, an Icelandic life sciences company, just announced a $20.3m (20m CHF) series B round led by a syndicate of leading life science venture funds including Bay City Capital, Novartis Venture Fund and Pivotal bioVenture Partners. Existing investors, including Brunnur Ventures and Silfurberg, also participated in the financing.

“I am extremely pleased to be joining such a great team to develop what could be the next generation of ophthalmic treatments,” said Dr. Riad Sherif, who has been appointed CEO of the company. “Oculis founders have meticulously developed the novel SNP technology that improves both the ability to formulate drugs as eye drops and their bioavailability in eye tissues including the posterior segment.”

The funds will be used to advance the clinical development of the Company’s lead program OC-118, a proprietary topical product currently in a clinical trial for the treatment of Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), the leading cause of blindness in young adults in developed countries.

Following the financing, the company will relocate its headquarters to Switzerland, while its R&D will remain in Iceland.

The company previously raised an undisclosed round from Brunnur Ventures and Silfurberg.

Travel tech startup Travelade raises $1.6m led by Crowberry Capital

Travelade, a travel platform that helps millennials discover and book travel activities tailored to their tastes, just announced a $1.6m financing round led by Iceland’s newest venture capital fund, Crowberry Capital. Other participating investors are angel group Investa and several individuals. Hekla Arnardóttir from Crowberry and Hjálmar Gíslason from Investa will join the company’s board of directors.

“Our mission is to make it as easy to find activities for your dream vacation as it is to listen to music on Spotify,” says Andri Heiðar Kristinsson, CEO and co-founder of Travelade. “Flights and hotels are already easy to find, compare and book online, but finding unique experiences tailored to your personal taste is hard. We help people collect ideas and design their dream vacation.”

Travelade wants to provide users with a beautiful and easy to use interface, to help them plan their vacation. On Travelade, users can plan activities, both based on tips from travel bloggers and professional tour operators. The company recently received a grant from the Technology Development Fund to develop AI that will tailor suggestions based on each individual’s travel style. The technology will be developed with Cadia, the AI research center at the University of Reykjavik.

“We at Crowberry Capital are thrilled to announce Travelade as the fund’s first investment,” says Hekla Arnardóttir of Crowberry Capital. “Travelade has an experienced, driven and ambitious founding team and it’s great to see that the tourist boom in Iceland is begetting born-global travel tech companies. We believe that Travelade is well timed to participate in the phenomenal growth in international travel and Travelade is set to lead the way when it comes to helping independent travelers plan and dream their next adventure.”

Travelade has launched it’s product in Iceland and Bosnia and plans on growing further in the coming months.

Authenteq raises $1.3m seed round co-led by Initial Capital and Draper Associates

Icelandic startup Authenteq recently received seed funding from investors from three major tech hubs in the world. The company is working on distributing a blockchain based digital biometric ID to all internet users. The funding rounds, which totalled around $1.3m was co-led by London based Initial Capital and Silicon Valley based Draper Associates. Also investing in the round is Berlin based Cavalry Ventures.

“I see great opportunities in what Authenteq is doing. Their business model is sound, the market is huge and the problem of identity is only growing. For me that’s a sustainable investment project that was started by experienced founders” says investor Tim Draper on why Authenteq caught his eye.

“Getting such a well rounded team of seasoned and well known investors as well as former entrepreneurs is a great acknowledgement of what we’ve been working on”, says Kari Thor.

Authenteq describes its process as “a highly secure automatic process of verifying a person’s real identity without the need for human interaction offers a frictionless method for anyone that has a smartphone and a government issued identity document to verify their identity to a high degree of certainty and assurance.”

“Since every common data point currently used to establish an identity was hacked for almost half the US population we’ve received increased interest from US focused companies that have until the Equifax breach relied heavily on the Social Security Number system for online identity verification,” says CEO and co-founder Kári Thor Runarsson.

“Although that in itself is a very insecure and unreliable verification method, the US focused companies now have the incentive to adopt a more rigorous method for identity verification and we feel an increased interest from consumers that are demanding a method that can verify their identity without the need for them to hand over a whole range of personal information,” Kari adds.

Some of the features of the Authenteq ID is that it is a sovereign digital identity, which means that the user owns and controls the information that is collected and verified. Authenteq in fact does not have access to the user’s information which is heavily encrypted on both the user’s phone and on the blockchain.

The startup has so far been funded by the founders and grants.

“I’ve been extremely proud on how far we have taken Authenteq without taking in outside equity financing. So far we’ve built an amazing and talented team of dedicated people that share our vision and mission, but now was the time to shift up a couple of gears and increase our team size as well as benefit from the amazing experience and portfolio network of our investors.” continues Kari Thor.

The company is currently working on pilot projects with a selection of companies it plans to launch with early in 2018.

This funding round brings the total raised by the company to around $2m, the rest of which has been in mostly non-equity grants.

Inspirally raises undisclosed angel round

Inspirally – formerly known as Vizido – just announced it has raised an undisclosed amount from a group of angel investors including Thor Fridriksson, founder of QuizUp and co-founder of Teatime, and Vilhjálmur Þorsteinsson.

“It is an honor to get funding from seasoned tech entrepreneurs like Thor Fridriksson and Vilhjalmur Þorsteinsson,” said co-founder Pétur Orri Sæmundsen. “We are lucky to have them on board and we are both happy and exicted to work with them.”

Inspirally helps creative people collaborate on their ideas. It allows people to take and manipulate pictures and videos to be shared with other people for collaboration. Interior designers and architects are already using the product, according to a statement.

Pétur co-founded the company with Erlendur Steinn Guðnason. Inspirally is currently in closed beta and according to the founders they expect to release it to the public in February 2018.

QuizUp founders’ new company Teatime raises $1.6m seed led by Index Ventures

Teatime, a new startup founded by four ex-QuizUppers, just announced a $1.6m funding round, led by London based Index Ventures. Other investors include David Wallerstein, SEVP at Tencent, and David Helgason, founder of Unity. Teatime had previously raised $200k from the founders.

“I am incredibly excited to work with such an extraordinary team, helping them bring to market a completely new concept. Teatime is our first deal in Iceland, a country with a growing tech scene, especially in the games sector,” said Guzman Diaz, investor at Index Ventures, that previously backed successful games companies King and Supercell.

The Teatime founding team is made up of four veterans from the mobile gaming industry: Thor Fridriksson (prev. founder & CEO of QuizUp), Ýmir Örn Finnbogason (prev. CFO of QuizUp), Gunnar Hólmsteinn Gunnarsson (prev. founder of Clara and COO of QuizUp) and Jóhann Þ. Bergþórsson (prev. CTO of QuizUp.

“This all happened incredibly fast,” says CEO and co-founder Thor Fridriksson. “After QuizUp was sold early this year, a long awaited vacation ensued. After a couple of months you started getting the urge to build something again.” He says that the founding team met during the summer and got this new idea that everyone became excited about.

“We pitched the idea to several of QuizUp’s early investor and got great feedback. Later, Index Ventures joined, which not only gives us capital to work with but also very important connections that will help us succeed. This investment will help us work faster towards our mission, which is to reinvent how people play mobile games.” Next up is hiring the first employees and starting production. “We’ll hopefully have something to show within the next months.”

Influencer marketing platform Ghostlamp closes $1m seed round led by Brunnur

Influencer marketing platform Ghostlamp announced they had closed a $1m seed round. The investor is Brunnur Vaxtarsjóður, which makes this the second investment announced by Brunnur this week. The investment comes with a commitment of $1m following the growth of the company. Previous investors include advertising agency Pipar / TBWA and Vetrargil. Both invested undisclosed amounts in the company.

“We’ve been following Ghostlamp for a couple of years and believe it will be able to grow fast and be successful internationally,” Árni Blöndal, GP at Brunnur, said in a statement.

Ghostlamp and investors.

Ghostlamp is a influencer marketing platform, where brands and advertising agencies can connect with local influencers and pay them to advertise their products. According to the statement, the company has over 6 million influencers listed, and categorises them based on age, gender, location and more.

“Ghostlamp ensures that influencers get paid for sharing their creativity, in partnership with brands, with their followers. By partnering with Brunnur, we not only get funding to help support further growth, but also access to valuable experience through people that have been in similar situations as we have,” Jón Bragi Gíslason, Founder & CEO said in a statement.


Employee training app Viska raises $1.2m seed round led by Brunnur

Employee training app Viska just announced a $1.2m seed round led by Brunnur with participation from Investa. Sigurður Arnljótsson, GP at Brunnur, will take a seat in the companies board.

“The investment allows us to speed up product development, onboard more customers, and focus our sales efforts abroad” said Vala Halldorsdóttir, CEO and co-founder of Viska in a statement.

Viska Learning team

The company was founded by Árni Hermann Reynisson, Stefanía Bjarney Ólafsdóttir and Vala Halldórsdóttir, all early employees of QuizUp. Viska is clearly inspired by QuizUp at Work, a product aimed at the corporate education market that was later shelved when QuizUp decided to focus its effort on the production of the QuizUp America TV show.

“We are very excited with our collaboration with Viska. There’s a great opportunity right now to revolutionise employee training with the advent of new technologies and artificial intelligence. Viska Learning combines this in a new way,” said Sigurður Arnljótsson of Brunnur.

Viska, which was founded in January, has previously received a $450K grant from the Technology Development Fund, totalling funds raised to just shy of $1.7m.

You can read more in a detailed interview with the founding team in Viðskiptablaðið.