Here's an exclusive look at the pitch deck German workforce training platform How.fm used to raise $2.8 million in seed funding
Digital workforce training platform How.fm has raised its first institutional seed funding round from Kindred Capital and Capnamic Ventures. The Cologne, Germany-based tech startup, works with warehouses, logistics managers, and manufacturers to help provide training to manual workers. "It was our first time fundraising so we spent a lot of time having conversations with people to ensure we worked with the right people," How.fm cofounder and CEO Andreas Kwiatkowski told Business Insider in an interview. "We were glad to have a network of investors to leverage before the world got turned upside down by Covid." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Automation is becoming a key part of the conversation around the manufacture and delivery of goods and services, but its impact may have been exaggerated to date. That's the view of How.fm, a Cologne, Germany-based tech startup which provides digital workplace training for manual workers. "We've seen it extensively in demand from warehouse managers who want to re-train existing employees, train and onboard new staff, and also provide better clarification around Covid and new products," How.fm cofounder and CEO Andreas Kwiatkowski told Business Insider in an interview. The company has raised a $2.8 million seed funding round, its first institutional funding since it was founded in 2019, from venture capital firms Kindred Capital and Capnamic Ventures. Other investors included Philipp Moehring's Tiny.vc and angel investors like Trivago founder Rolf Schrömgens. "It was our first time fundraising so we spent a lot of time having conversations with people to ensure we worked with the right people," How.fm cofounder and CEO Andreas Kwiatkowski told Business Insider in an interview. "We were glad to have a network of investors to leverage before the world got turned upside down by Covid." How.fm's fundraising started in late 2019 and was closed in January, before the coronavirus hit Europe. The platform is used in Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, and other languages – all of which are out of the box. Clients include fashion retailer Tommy Hilfiger and Duisport, the world's largest inland port, which is leveraging the platform to help with training and performance support for warehousing. COVID-19 has had a major impact on factories and warehouses with employers now seeking to improve training and understanding around the virus. How.fm trained 500 people in two weekends, Kwiatkowski said. Funds will be used to continue developing the company's product alongside hiring new staff in the customer success team. Check out How.fm's pitch deck below:SEE ALSO: Here's an exclusive look at the pitch deck robot startup BotsAndUs used to raise $2.5 million
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Kenjo raised one of the biggest HR tech seed rounds in Europe — check out the pitch deck that landed the startup $5.5 million
Summary List Placement COVID-19 has made well-oiled HR more important than ever as employees increasingly work...Summary List Placement COVID-19 has made well-oiled HR more important than ever as employees increasingly work remotely. Technology in human resources has traditionally focused on making life easier for administrators rather than employees, according to Kenjo CEO David Padilla. The rise in remote working could lead to employee dissatisfaction if not dealt with, something he hopes to solve with his HR tech startup which has just raised $5.5 million in fresh funding. "In HR, Covid has meant that remote work comes in which has created new problems around issues like engagement, communication, culture, onboarding, performance, etc," Padilla told Business Insider. "The value proposition for employees didn't exist 10 years ago but the power balance between employee and employer has totally changed. Flexibility, career development, and growth are now key factors." To that end, Kenjo offers a suite of services to small and medium business (up to 1000 employees) across Germany, Spain, and Latin America to help with employee engagement and communication. Kenjo previously raised $1.9 million in seed funding from investors including Wefox CEO Julian Teicke but has now raised what it says is the largest HR tech seed round of the year from N26 backer Redalpine. Covid is helping to fuel a boom in HR tech in what could be a $148 billion market, according to research from CB Insights. Alongside that is an increased understanding that development goals should be a priority for HR teams. A recent study from PwC found that developing people to reach their full potential and improving the employee experience were among the top applications of technology in their businesses. The fundraising took place over an eight week period between May and July. There was "no pressure" to get funding Padilla said, but he added that conversations about accelerating the company's growth plan were the core of the decision. "We were already scaling efficiently when we started talking to Redalpine," he said. "We will use this funding to improve our product and tech, in the long term having a great product is an absolute must." Check out Kenjo's pitch deck below:SEE ALSO: Kenjo Kenjo Kenjo Kenjo Kenjo Kenjo Kenjo Kenjo
More than 1,000 UK startups collapsed under COVID-19. We asked 6 founders how they pulled through the pandemic.
Summary List Placement The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a wave of panic among investors in the early...Summary List Placement The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a wave of panic among investors in the early months of 2020, with many investors fleeing early-stage startup deals. By March, almost one-third of investors had pulled out of UK seed funding deals amid fears that the pandemic was about to trigger a global recession, according to data from SeedLegals. And new research – put together by coworking space Plexel and market database Beauhurst – has revealed that more than 1,000 startups have collapsed in the UK since. The data shows a grand of 1,067 high-growth businesses filed for administration, liquidation or dissolution since the start of lockdown in the spring. In an effort to save Britain's burgeoning tech scene from going under, Chancellor Rishi Sunak devised a £250 million "Future Fund", managed by the state-funded British Business Bank, and designed to save promising startups from the brink of collapse. The scheme has handed out some £588.8 million ($700 million) in assistance to date, exceeding its original target, across 590 companies. But in spite of Sunak's best intentions, some founders attacked the scheme's "egregious terms", and warned that it risked excluding already-marginalized founders from disadvantaged backgrounds. Business Insider spoke to six UK startup founders that were forced to endure the pandemic without support from the Future Future. They shared experiences shot with tough calls, personal sacrifices, and determination. Read their stories below: Soccer startup Flair revamped its entire business model to stay alive Since launching in September 2018, "Flair Football", as it was previously known, had attracted more than 20,000 young soccer players to its app, where they could create profiles, keep track of match outcomes, and swap skills. But when Prime Minister Boris Johnson instituted a nationwide lockdown in March, outdoor sport was brought to a standstill – and Flair with it. "The pandemic caught everyone off guard to some extent, but because our app relied on kids playing outdoor sport, we were hit particularly hard," cofounder and CEO Nii Cleland told Business Insider. With user numbers tanking and no end in sight, Cleland and the rest of Flair's top team opted for a radical change in direction: shutting down the app and transforming the company from a sports platform to social enterprise, focuing on giving young people a voice on issues such as racial inequality. Speaking about the decision, Cleland said: "We spoke to our board members and we were just completely honest. We put together a pitch where we pitted our current proposition versus the new one, and asked: 'Who wants to stick with us?' "You just have to be completely honest with yourself. Looking at the current situation, you have to think: 'Would I try and start my company today, in this climate?' If the answer's no, it probably means you should do something else." Flair already has a number of partnerships with schools across the UK in place, and will start by surveying students and staff to better understand levels of racial inclusivity and awareness. Asked about the Future Fund, Cleland said: "It was one of those things where...they couldn't save every startup. They had to put some criteria in place, and in the end, it just didn't make sense for us to pursue it. "I mean, we furloughed our employees, and that's a form of support in itself, we were really grateful for that. It bought us a lot of time." Farmstand's CEO cut costs by shutting down its bricks-and-mortar operation Since launching in 2016, plant-powered cloud catering startup Farmstand had raised more than $7 million in funding from the likes of Kindred Capital and Bray Capital. Founded by serial entrepreneur Steven Novick, the firm boasted around 60 employees at its height – but was cut down to just 10 workers under COVID-19. Under normal circumstances, Farmstand operated a "showroom" in Covent Garden, a popular London tourist destination, but Novick took the decision to divest from all its bricks-and-mortar operations and move the business entirely online in mid-March. "We were totally shut down for three months," he said. "To be candid, I sold my home and put the money straight back into the business." Months after selling his stake in a plush Primrose Hill property, where he had lived for the better part of 14 years, Farmstand was finally able to resume operations in July, distributing plant-powered, sustainable meals to outdoor markets en masse. Asked about the Future Fund, he said there had been a "serious lack of communication" on the part of the government, and accused officials of "not caring about small businesses." A spokesman for the British Business Bank said "wherever possible [it] worked to provide a timely and clear explanation as to why applications did not meet the published criteria." In the past few weeks, Farmstand has crowdfunded more than £900,000 (or $1.1 million) on Seedrs – exceeding its target within the first two days – and has weeks of fundraising left to go. "We've already signed a number of 12-month contracts with clients," Novick said. "And we expect the next deal to tip us over into profitability." BYP – the online network for Black professionals – crowdfunded more than $1 million With more than 40,000 members across 65 countries, BYP is the leading networking platform for Black professionals worldwide. Despite its global presence, founder and CEO Kike Oniwinde was told BYP was ineligible for Future Fund support because it hadn't raised £250,000 before April 19. At the time of writing, BYP had successfully crowdfunded more than £820,000 – more than triple the required sum – on Seedrs, but remained ineligible because it wasn't raised prior to that date. "It doesn't make a lot of sense," Oniwinde told Business Insider. "I was disqualified straightaway because I hadn't raised the money before this arbitrary deadline, even though we've now got close to a million in our pocket. "We know we have issues with Black founders accessing investment in this country, so I was disappointed to see more thought hadn't been put into how they would tackle that. "But to be honest, we're used to it ... It's like 'OK whatever, we've been here before'. We just cracked on." A spokesperson for the British Business Bank told Business Insider that 64% of all funding granted had gone to startups with either BAME-only or mixed ethnicity senior management teams. Insect farming startup Entocycle ditched its Series A round – but kept on raising funds Entocycle, the insect farming startup working to make protein production more sustainable, is a Y Combinator alum and previously raised more than $3 million in funding. But because that funding had come in the form of convertible loans and other means, rather than equity, the firm couldn't apply for Future Fund support. "Pretty much all YC companies would have missed out on the Fund under those terms," said founder and CEO Keiran Whitaker. "The scheme felt very piecemeal," he added. "So many cutting-edge companies wouldn't have been able to access this kind of support, despite being the best in their fields." With a nationwide lockdown preventing employees from traveling to France and tending to their insect colonies, Whitaker decided to put the brakes on their ongoing Series A funding round. "We kept fundraising but switched to a 'pre-Series A' round, instead," Whitaker told Business Insider, adding the company was set to close around $2 million in new investments. "We managed to weather the storm, but we could definitely have done with that government support at the height of the crisis." Sustainable banking startup Yayzy says it made the best of a bad situation Sustainable banking app Yayzy had only raised £120,000 (or $150,000) prior to the Future Fund's announcement, and so couldn't apply for government support. "We made the best of a not-so-great situation," cofounder and CEO Mankaran Ahluwalia told Business Insider. "We decided to put our fundraising on hold, and instead focused a hundred per cent of our efforts on product development, and engaged more closely with our beta users. "Fortunately, we're starting to see the fruits of that effort." At the time of writing, the firm had surpassed its £200,000 crowdfunding target on Seedrs by an extra £55,000 – with 29 days of fundraising to go. "I think the Future Fund and the furlough scheme were both good support measures, but the former's eligibility criteria and did exclude a good number of startups. "It would have been helpful if the Fund had been open to all startups that have gone through a previous funding round." A British Business Bank representative told Business Insider the Fund's eligibility criteria had been determined by government in consultation with industry representatives. Tutoring network startup Sophia rode the edtech boom under lockdown Recent data shows the edtech sector has been booming under lockdown, with the number of investments in the sector up 1,700% in the UK, according to SeedLegals. Tutoring network startup Sophia – cofounded by husband and wife team Melissa McBride, a former headteacher, and Dan Turner, a hedge fund manager – rode that wave, and has thus far crowdfunded more than £500,000 of investment. "We've been really lucky. Now felt like the right time to supercharge the app," Turner told Business Insider. He added that although Sophia has seen more than £250,000 of investment in the past, the firm remained ineligible because it had come from their own pockets rather than coming from external backers. "It's been good because, fundamentally, I think parents are just much more open to the idea of online learning than they ever would have been before." With business booming, the four-person startup has plans for expansion, and hopes to hire a new chief marketer in the coming months.
Here's an exclusive look at the pitch deck chat app and Y Combinator alum Quorum used to raise $2 million
Quorum, a mobile chat startup, has raised a $2 million seed round led by Adjacent and...Quorum, a mobile chat startup, has raised a $2 million seed round led by Adjacent and LocalGlobe, alongside Amaranthine and Y Combinator. The Irish startup lets creators and service providers communicate directly to their clients via chat. "We started raising as COVID-19 hit and managed to close the round while the Nasdaq was crashing," Patrick Finlay, Quorum cofounder and CEO, told Business Insider in an interview. "Our investors were very thesis driven and not pushy on profitability." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Irish mobile chat startup Quorum has raised a $2 million seed round led by Adjacent and LocalGlobe, alongside Amaranthine and Y Combinator. Founded in 2019 by Irish engineers and Y Combinator alumni Patrick Finlay, Romy Lynch and David Newell, Quorum is a mobile chat app that lets creators and service providers including educators, business coaches and personal stylists communicate directly with their clients via chat. "Originally we were developing a product for close friends and family to communicate without social media during our time at YC," Patrick Finlay, Quorum cofounder and CEO, told Business Insider in an interview. "We've seen in the past few months that our services can work beyond some niche use cases and has a more mainstream appeal as people try to solve social isolation." The company is in the early stages of building out its product team and wants to support businesses using a more virtual business model during the coronavirus. Quorum is targeted at creators who want to monetize a smaller, more loyal following via chat. Fundraising began in early March with Quorum only meeting one investor, Amaranthine, in person during the process. "We started raising as COVID-19 hit and managed to close the round while the Nasdaq was crashing," Patrick Finlay, Quorum cofounder and CEO, told Business Insider in an interview. "Our investors were very thesis driven and not pushy on profitability." Next steps include a hiring push and a continuation of the company's aim of supporting viable businesses on its platform. "More and more people are moving away from large-scale, impersonal platforms in search of somethingsmaller and more authentic," George Henry, partner at LocalGlobe said. "The passion economy has been firmly establishing itself as a vital and viable source of income for an increasing number of people for years. Quorum is ideally placed to enable these passionate people to achieve mobile and chat-based interaction, turning fans and supporters into customers." Check out Quorum's seed round deck below:SEE ALSO: Here's an exclusive look at the pitch deck fintech startup Plum used to raise $10 million during coronavirus Quorum Quorum Quorum Quorum Quorum Quorum Quorum Quorum Quorum Quorum Quorum Quorum Quorum Quorum