🦄 The DART Weekly #15 ~ The Founder without Fear

Go back to the DART archives
January 30, 2021
Hej Folks,

What a week! One famously hyped startup became a unicorn, another (in)famous scaleup raised $1B overnight from its current investors. #collateraldamage
The king of SPACs had a conversion on the way to Damascus, missing out on a very lucrative merger. Or maybe not.

Do you want to build a startup? Learn the implications. If you have not yet chickened out (like me), consider launching a HR SaaS. It's acquisition season, I believe.

If it's blue, it is a link. Just in case it was not obvious.

Yet another episode of The DART Bullseye will be available on Monday. We ain't playing here.

Entrepreneurship Chronicles

What does a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Chemistry do after a 33-year career in banks?
Whatever she wants. Which in the case of Anne Boden MBE is changing banking for good.

Starting in 1981, across 3 decades, Anne held a series of leadership roles in several European banks.
In 2014 she founded Possible Financial Services, aware of the potential for digital technology to revolutionise banking. In 2015 Tom Blomfield, her business partner, left the startup and all the directors with him. In 2016 the company rebranded as Starling and obtained a banking license.

4 years later, in the midst of the world pandemic, Anne shared with the world that Starling’s revenues grew fourfold in the previous 12 months, reaching breakeven (Starling Bank).
It looks like the open banking paladin made it.

About her choice of becoming a fintech entrepreneur: “Fintech start-ups are all young white guys with goatees – usually with rich parents. People did think I was crazy, that no one ‘starts a bank’, especially people who looked like me, but I’d reached the stage where I was prepared to fail. I was 54 and confident enough not to care if somebody said I was stupid.

🎙 The DART Bullseye

A weekly podcast on innovators, entrepreneurs and investors.
AKA people familiar with the matter.

To fundraise, or to exit? This is no question.
Matthieu speaks with Siddharth Choksi, Venture Partner @ Kaiku.

Tune in to hear a nice convo on startup fundraising and SPACs.

Of Unicorns and Cowboys

🦄 The Rounds

The deals worth knowing in Europe and beyond - ordered from coolest to coolio

🇮🇹 BNPL: Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay, Alma... and Scalapay. The Italian startup raised $48M. Its platform takes a commission from the merchant on each transaction.

🇩🇪 BVLOS: Wingcopter raised $22M after 4 boostrapped years. Operating in 5 continents, the OEM not only sells drones, but it offers delivery as a service too.

🇪🇪 Climbing: Starship raised $17M to further develop its delivery robots. The next items on the backlog: make them stair-climbing and expand operations.

🌈 The Pots

The exits you should follow in Europe and beyond - IPO, direct listing, SPAC, bankruptcy ... all awesome stuff

🇩🇪 Hedging: ubitricity got acquired by Shell. With 2700 public stations, the on-street EV charging provider is UK market leader.

🇳🇱 Journalism 4.0: After social podcast Breaker, email newsletter service Revue became Twitter's latest acquisition. The goal is to diversify (and take on Substack).

🇩🇪 Automation: Signavio got acquired by SAP for $1.2B (supposedly). The scaleup business process automation solution is the right add-on to SAP's portfolio.

🤠 The Funds

The tales of unicorns' hunters you should know about - particularly relevant if you are a founder looking for backing

🇺🇸 Sustainability3000: RDJ launched Footprint Coalition Venture, a rolling venture fund to back startups in the growing ESG sector.

🇫🇷 Survivors: 1-year old Lauxera Capital Partners raised €100M for a growth and buyout fund aimed at healthtech scaleups.

🇺🇸 10 figures: TCV closed a$4B fund focused on all things tech: edtech, fintech... you name it. It will address portfolio companies and new bets alike.

🧑‍🎤 ... and The Quirky Ones

The crazy stuff we gossip about while sipping our chai latte - it's like others, but better

🇬🇧 Nothing: ... is Carl Pei's new venture. The press release focused on vision, the product is yet to be presented. It's definitely going to be HW.

🇨🇭 CE mark: Aktiia got regulatory approval to sell a wearable bracelet measuring blood pressure. The roll out will start in the UK, then across the Channel.

🇬🇧 Winners: Signal and Telegram benefited from the WhatsApp exodus. Element too saw a fivefold increase in signups for its decentralised, secure communication.
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