🦄 The DART Weekly #11 ~ Army of Angels

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January 02, 2021

Entrepreneurship Chronicles

“Creating the easiest and most popular payment system in Europe”. Driven by this vision, Alberto Dalmasso left his job to found Satispay together with Dario Brignone and Samuele Pinta. It was 2013 in Cuneo, Italy. They wanted to simplify electronic payments to pay directly from an app with no banks or credit cards in the loop. After raising €1M in the first year they launched in 2015.
Satispay became the fastest-growing fintech company in Italy. In 2020 it was listed among the top fintech companies (CB Insights). after having experienced a 78% increase in transactions volume compared to 2019. In the past year culminated Satispay secured a €93M Series C funding led by Square and Tencent to accelerate international expansion as well as strengthen its position in Italy (IBS intelligence).

Talking about secrets for success, Dalmasso once explained how important it is to tell your idea to everyone: “The more you explain your idea the more questions you’ll ask yourself. This is what helped us in attracting interested people and many early investors”.

Ventures 101

🥳 A Guide to Recognizing Your Angels

1.5x more likely to survive the first 18 to 36 month post inception. 4x more likely to undergo a successful exit. 2x more likely to obtain follow-on funding. These are the stats of startups backed by angel investors (NBER).


“Nice stats. But let’s talk about VC funds now”. Institutional investment funds are raising more and more capital and funds are becoming increasingly flexible. Yet not all deals are suitable for VCs, who must align their investment scope to their LPs expectations. Such restrictions do not apply to angel investors. Therefore, angel investors play a crucial role in further democratising access to funding in the earliest stages (LinkedIn <- spot on article on the European situation).


“Ok. What do they have to offer?”. When a startup founder succeeds, they inspire founders to perhaps launch their own venture. But when said founder backs up-and-coming entrepreneurs, they are not only giving them cash and hands-on strategic support. They're providing a platform where innovators and entrepreneurs can get noticed. Also VCs agree that the best investment opportunities come through referrals from members of their network, such as LPs that are active in the ecosystem or founders.


“Easy said. But how do I get in touch with them?”. Oftentimes angels are partnering to invest as a collective. Why is that? Individual angels benefit from the decreased risk and increased exposure and competitiveness in the market (Business Angels Europe), while founders have access to a broader network and more areas of expertise. Eventually VCs are not too far away. As a matter of fact they foster communities of angels through scout programmes. This approach was first applied in Silicon Valley, then exported to Europe, where firms like Atomico and Sequoia are enabling players in the space to sign small checks (sifted).

If unsure, find yourself an angel.

Of Unicorns and Cowboys

🦄 The Rounds

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

🇬🇧 Chip: Graphcore raised $222M at $2.77B valuation. The Bristol-based scale-up has a proprietary chip architecture optimized for AI applications.

🇬🇧 Retail+: Brightpearl raised $33M Series C. The UK-based startup manages a platform covering all aspects of retail operations, easing multichannel sales.

🇮🇱 4D: Founded by two serial entrepreneurs, CommonGround raised $19M. Still in stealth mode, it has the goal to rething the experience of videoconferecing.

🇪🇪 Easy Rental: Estonian Rendin raised €1.2M for its long-term rental platform. Its no-deposit solution uses an insurance layer to mitigate risks.

🤠 The Funds

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

🇯🇵 Lifeline: SoftBank backed its portfolio company Katerra with additional $200M to save the proptech company from bankruptcy. The money will come from Vision Fund I.

🧑‍🎤 ... and The Quirky Ones

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

🇩🇪 Gambit: Delivery Hero's must sell Delivery Hero South Korea to acquire Woowa Brothers. The $4B deal includes Japan and Vietnam operations.

🇨🇳 Competition: is extremely high in Chinese schools... and among its online education platform. Zuoyebang raised $1.6B. It has 170 million monthly active users.
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