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Investors pour funding into logistics-focused communication system

Workplace collaboration software provider Sedna Systems said Monday it has landed $34 million in funding to grow the reach of its system that is designed to wean distributed organizations off a reliance on email.

Although the software is applicable to a range of sectors where decentralized teams use multiple communications channels to coordinate, Sedna sees a sizable opportunity in the global logistics industry, founder and CEO Bill Dobie told JOC.com.

Founded in 2017, London-based Sedna initially gained traction in the bulk shipping sector, based on Dobie’s background in that sector. It has since attracted customers in a range of maritime and logistics verticals, including third-party logistics providers, ship services agencies, and commodity traders.

The $34 million series B round was led by New York-based venture capital firm Insight Partners, an active early-stage investor that has backed companies in the logistics space for 25 years, partner Rebecca Liu-Doyle told JOC.com. Among its recent moves are leading project44’s $100 million round in December and funding into last-mile technology provider Bringg and freight payment platform PayCargo. Insight also has a longstanding stake in supply chain management software provider E2open.

“The sectors that we find attractive are large, complex, and confusing,” Liu-Doyle said. “Logistics is a massive market, with $1.5 trillion spent in the US alone. It’s vast, with stakeholders that need to coordinate highly important transactions. But we’re by no means only logistics-focused investors. We’re enterprise-focused investors. We want to catch inflection points in the transformation of industries.”

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CENSIA Raises $21m in Series A Funding to Bring Bias-free Intelligence to Human Capital Management

Censia, a leading provider of Talent Intelligence technology, today announced it has raised $21M in Series A funding in a round led by Marbruck Investments. Marbruck joins existing investors Streamlined Ventures, Merus Capital, The CXO Fund, and CerraCap bringing the company’s total funding to over $30 million.

With this funding, Censia will expand go-to-market efforts, scale their API-first offering, and continue product innovations for talent acquisition and workforce planning powering HR technologies of the future with AI.

Censia was built on the belief that unconscious bias in talent decisions is affecting billions of highly capable people around the world from getting opportunities they deserve, contributing to the talent shortage, and impacting organizations’ bottom line.

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Agranimo’s analytics platform wins funding boost

Brilliant Hire’s Smart Job Matching

Agritech start up Agranimo has announced that it has received €2m from Nector Holdings, the agtech arm of HL Halls, to allow it to further develop its data analytics platform for the produce industry.

The technology uses farm climate, soil and leaf sampling data to forecast orchard yields and help optimise field management and logistics.

Agranimo, which has offices in Santiago and Berlin, said the investment would enable it to improve its analytics to better use on-farm data in the supply chain, and expand the suite of tools to address the needs of smaller farmers and larger corporate clients looking for streamlined plant-relevant soil and climate data analysis.

Announcing the investment, Agranimo said Nector’s global presence in fruit production, sourcing, and made it the ideal partner.

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parcelLab secures $112M to help global brands deliver a seamless experience

The leading Operations Experience Management platform, parcelLab, announced today that it has secured US$112 million in Series C funding led by global venture capital and private equity firm, Insight Partners. Endeit Capital joined as a co-investor as well as existing investors Capnamic Ventures and coparion. The funding will enable the Operations Experience category leader to accelerate its mission of bringing people and brands closer together.

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‘Shopify for physical stores’ raises £1.3m

Retail disrupter Mercaux has secured £1.3 million in new debt financing from Flashpoint Venture Debt. 

The London firm helps transform retail stores from simple point of sale, into multi-purpose centres that deliver a personalised in-store customer experience and omnichannel sales, as well as serve as customer acquisition and remote selling channels.  

It achieves this by deploying built-for-purpose modular in-store digital platform that connects stores to eCommerce and other systems, such as OMS, PIM and CRM.  

The company’s in-store solutions are operated by store associates, or self-served by customers, and also reveal a rich pool of in-store customer behaviour data that can be leveraged in other channels. 

Mercaux’s clients include Stadium Goods, Dufry, Holland & Barrett and TENDAM (formerly the Cortifiel Group), operating in more than 1,000 stores across the world.  

Founder and CEO Olga Kotsur said: “What Shopify is for eCommerce, Mercaux is for physical stores.  

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Breinify announces $11M seed to bring data science to the marketing team

Breinify is a startup working to apply data science to personalization, and do it in a way that makes it accessible to nontechnical marketing employees to build more meaningful customer experiences. The company announced a funding round totaling $11 million.

The investment was led by Gutbrain Ventures and PBJ Capital with participation from Streamlined Ventures, CXO Fund, Amino Capital, Startup Capital Ventures and Sterling Road.

Breinify co-founder and CEO Diane Keng says that she and co-founder and CTO Philipp Meisen started the company to bring predictive personalization based on data science to marketers with the goal of helping them improve a customer’s experience by personalizing messages tailored to individual tastes.

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Gappify, Inc. Announces Closing of Equity Financing

Gappify, Inc. (“Gappify”), a provider of digital workers for the accounting enterprise, today announced that it has completed a financing round led by Stage 2 Capital. As part of the transaction, Stage 2 Capital Managing Partner, Jay Po, will join Gappify’s Board of Directors.

Gappify, whose team consists of former accountants and KPMG auditors, will use the funding to invest in new product development and accelerate sales and marketing efforts.

“Gappify is excited to build innovative, industry-leading products that help corporate accountants close their books faster and in a compliant and efficient manner,” said Jotham Ty, CEO and founder of Gappify. “This investment will enable our team to develop autonomous solutions for more processes within the Controllership, and provide our customers an enhanced experience with robust capabilities and deep system integrations.”

“We were impressed with Gappify’s vision for modernizing the accounting profession,” added Stage 2 Capital’s Jay Po. “With more CFOs prioritizing efficiencies and compliance in their accounting organization, we see an enormous opportunity to partner with Gappify to accelerate digital transformation efforts and create immediate value for the Controllership function.”

Other participants in the financing round include SaaS Ventures, Manila Angel Investor Network, Pasudeco Investment Management Corporation, Overtime.vc, and former Oracle CFO Jeff Epstein.

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Final-mile fulfillment startup parcelLab closes $112M Series C funding led by Insight Partners

Munich-based parcelLab, which offers a final-mile fulfillment service for online retailers, has closed a $112 million (GB£80 million) Series C funding round led by the U.S. VC/PE firm Insight Partners.

Germany’s Endeit Capital participated as a co-investor, alongside existing investors Capnamic Ventures and coparion. ParcelLab last raised an undisclosed Series B in October 2019. The new funding will feed into parcelLab’s global expansion plans and new product development.

Founded in 2015 by Tobias Buxhoidt (CEO), Julian Krenge (CTO) and Anton Eder (COO), the startup has managed to bag such customers as Lidl, to which it provides automated personalized shipping messages. This means that as much as 85% of Lidl customers return to its website.

It also works with Ikea and Farfetch to increase basket sizes and email open rates of — it claims — over 90%, 25% reductions in WISMO (where is my order) and increases of customer reviews.

In a statement, Tobias Buxhoidt, CEO and founder of parcelLab, said: “As e-commerce becomes increasingly competitive, providing unique and branded experiences will drive growth. Identifying opportunities to further connect with people and build a better, stronger relationship is a key differentiator.”

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Pecan AI Raises $35M To Accelerate AI Adoption In Predictive Analytics

Israeli startup Pecan AI, the business-ready predictive analytics company announced on Wednesday it raised $35 million in new funding to “equip both commercial analysts and business stakeholders with the power of predictive AI,” the company said in a statement.

The round was led by global investor GGV Capital with participation from Vintage as well as existing investors Dell Technologies Capital, S-Capital, and Mindset.

This round brings the company’s total financing to more than $50 million.

This Series B will allow Pecan to expand its operations globally and continue to help organizations accelerate the adoption of AI and advanced analytics.

“Pecan was designed to drive business value from AI. In one intuitive platform, analysts and business stakeholders can obtain actionable insights and see outputs in a matter of days after adding their raw data — helping companies evolve from BI to AI,” said Zohar Bronfman, CEO and co-founder at Pecan, “We have seen tremendous uptake from organizations of all sizes, and are looking forward to expanding globally and bringing real business value to our customers.”

The business world knows that AI will somehow power the next revolution in analytics. But rollouts of AI have been slow, and there is a gap estimated in the dozens of billions of dollars between the potential of AI and businesses’ ability to implement and deploy complex models. Pecan “democratizes data science and AI” by putting the power of predictive modeling in the hands of business analysts with a platform that models its straightforwardness after classic BI.

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BigID: $30 Million Funding And $1.25 Billion Valuation

BigID — a leader in data discovery and intelligence for privacy, protection and perspective — announced a $30 million investment from Advent International, extending the company’s $70 million Series D financing raised in December 2020. And BigID has raised $200 million over 4 rounds since September 2019. This latest funding round brings BigID’s valuation to $1.25 billion.

The pandemic accelerated all automation and digital transformation programs by several years as companies recognize the importance of innovating, placing increased pressure on IT leaders to deliver digital initiatives and overcome issues such as data silos. And BigID’s platform reimagines data management for enterprises, combining machine learning-based classification, cataloging, correlation, and cluster analysis to help companies better understand, protect, and derive value from their data. This funding will help BigID expand globally, boost its go-to-market efforts and advance product development in the areas of data privacy, security, and governance.

Advent International is joining BigID’s existing investors including Salesforce Ventures, Tiger Global Management, Glynn Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Scale Venture Partners, and Boldstart Ventures.

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German asset monitoring start-up to expand globally with $6.35m fund

LiveEO, a German-based Earth Observation asset monitoring technology start-up, has secured €5.25 million ($6.35 million) in funding to expand its operations globally.

The Series A investment has been secured from venture capital firms btov Partners, Helen Ventures, DvH Ventures, and Motu Ventures as well as from deep technology investor Andreas Kupke.

Daniel Seidel, co-founder of LiveEO, said: “This funding round is a huge milestone for LiveEO. Over the last 3 years we’ve built up a unique technology stack to analyze earth observation data at scale and we now can realize many new revolutionary features on the basis of this tech backbone.”

LiveEO combines data acquired from satellite imagery and from other sources and then uses artificial intelligence to analyse the data to monitor critical infrastructures such as railways, electricity grids and pipelines.

The startup has plans to introduce their technology in other sectors including construction, mining, insurance, forestry, agriculture and finance.

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Digital behavioural health platform SilverCloud and HSE expand online therapy across Ireland

Digital mental health platform SilverCloud Health, with headquarters in Boston, Dublin and London is making its services available to users nationwide through Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE).

In 2018, the company partnered with the HSE on a pilot programme to offer online psychological tools for depression and anxiety to primary care psychological services and now plans to expand these services in Ireland. 

WHY IT MATTERS

The platform provides evidence-based clinical content, programmes and support for users struggling with their mental health and chronic illness.

A study by the NHS into SilverCloud showed a 50% reduction in symptoms following eight weeks of sessions and improvement in 27% of cases.

The service will also open up referrals from a larger pool of sources, including GPs and Jigsaw, the national centre for youth mental health. SilverCloud’s mental health services are used by 650,000 people globally, acquiring 30,000 new users every month and providing more than 40% of all NHS mental health services.

This surge is in part due to an increase of people seeking support with their mental health during the COVID-19 crisis.

SilverCloud has raised more than €25.5 million from investors to date. In April 2020, the company raised $16 million (€13.6m) in Series B funding to expand into all 50 US states.

Meanwhile, London-based AI digital therapy service HelloSelf raised £5.5 million in Series A funding to expand mental health provisions for post-pandemic Britain. 

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WeGift Raises $12M in Series A+ Funding

WeGift, a London, UK-based company providing the infrastructure for the incentives economy, closed a $12m funding round.

The round was led by AlbionVC with participation from new investor CommerzVentures, as well as Stride.VC, SAP.iO Fund, and Unilever Ventures.

The company intends to use the funds to continue to expand operations and its business reach.

Led by Founder and CEO Aron Alexander, WeGift provides a cloud-based platform and open API solution serving a broad set of needs for medium and enterprise businesses, including acquisition, retention, recognition, and reimbursements. Operating in more than 30 countries, and dozens of languages and currencies, the company’s digital payouts platform and open API solution is directly integrated into every brand on its platform, offering corporate buyers a global network with direct access to more than 700 brands. Habito, Perkbox, Seated, Sodexo, Vodafone, and Vouchercodes all use WeGift’s to digitally engage their audiences.

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Deepgram raises $25 million to build custom enterprise speech recognition models

Deepgram, a Y Combinator graduate building custom speech recognition models, today announced that it raised $25 million in series B funding led by Tiger Global. CEO and cofounder Scott Stephenson says the proceeds will bolster the development of Deepgram’s platform, which enables enterprises to process meetings, calls, and presentations in real time.

The voice and speech recognition tech market is anticipated to be worth $31.82 billion by 2025, driven by new applications in the banking, health care, and automotive industries. In fact, it’s estimated that one in five people in the U.S. interact with a smart speaker on a daily basis and that the share of Google searches conducted by voice in the country recently surpassed 30%.

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