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PLD Space's launch. Kfund's $250m early growth fund. Factorial and Fuell.

October 9, 2023 • Issue #388

Is Generative AI on your Startup's radar?

On October 18th, don’t miss the first onsite event about GenAI for Startups at Google for Startups Campus Madrid ! A unique opportunity to learn from the inside all the new features of this tech, discover its various applications and solve potential doubts with Google Cloud experts.

You'll be able to learn from Google Deepmind, an Alphabet subsidiary focusing on AI, ML, and neuroscience research. Since 2010, the company has developed gen AI systems including faster identification of eye diseases and playing complex games like chess, Go, and Shogi.

You'll also have the opportunity to learn from pioneering Spanish startups with GenAI applications on why they're using it and how it has changed their business.

To wrap up the event, you'll discover from the Google Cloud engineering team all the options for your startup to work with Generative AI in an easy way. We'll explain the basics of GenAI, its possible applications and specific use cases for startups.

If you don’t want to miss this event, sign up now!

Startup funding news 💸

  • Second consecutive article, in back to back weeks, about the increasing interest of startups in debt products, and the proliferation of debt-specific options for startups. Featuring BBVA Spark, Santander and Inveready's venture debt fund, and other vehicles
  • Alicante-based biotech company Laminar Pharma raised €8m from David Devesa's family office and OK Venture. Laminar performs discovery, rational design and initial clinical development of new MLT-based drugs
  • Barcelona-based motorbike ecommerce company Mundimoto raised €6m in debt from BBVA Spark
  • Madrid-based fintech startup Divilo raised €6m
  • Barcelona-based ADmit Therapeutics, a startup that’s developing an alzheimer’s disease early detection technology, raised €5.4m, led by Clave Capital
  • Barcelona-based Genie raised €1.1m to empower data science teams with its no-code app builder. The round was led by Speedinvest
  • Santiago-based people analytics and mental health company Mentiness raised funding, including from Soluble Studio. Soluble's founder Ismael Barros wrote about it here
  • Other rounds of funding: Roiward,

M&A activity 🎊

  • Factorial acquired corporate expense management company Fuell. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Fuell founders were interviewed in an Itnig podcast to talk about the deal, the M&A process, and other interesting deals. Both Fuell and Factorial are Kfund portfolio companies
  • Interview with Merete Hverven, CEO of Visma. Visma is a Norwegian software company that in the past couple of years has acquired four Spanish startups: Holded, Declarando, Woffu and Quaderno. Merete talks about why they're interested in the Spanish market
  • Covermanager acquired French competitor Guestonline
  • French fintech company Qonto, which already has a significant presence in Spain, says it's interested in acquiring local fintech companies

Investor & accelerator news 🚀

  • We at Kfund announced the final closing of Leadwind, our early growth fund, at $250m, as well as the first five investments (Voicemod, Quibim, Digibee, nFlux and Factorial). To be able to successfully raise a fund of such size in the current environment is no small feat, and we're very eager to talk to more Series A companies that are currently fundraising or that will be soon. Send us an email! More details here
  • Banco Santander to launch a €100m fund to invest in secondary opportunities in the VC sector. This could mean either acquiring LP stakes in existing funds, as well as direct investments in companies
  • Profile of Aquilino Peña and Kibo Ventures in Actualidad Economica
  • Profile of Carmen Pumariño (investment director) and Zubi Capital's new fund (with a target size of €20m) to invest in "impact driven companies led by underrepresented founders"
  • Jordi Plana, co-founder of Beezy (acquired by Appspace in 2021), announced the launch of its own investment firm under the Inveready umbrella. Sakata Ventures 73 has a target size of €3m
  • Inveready participated in the €40m Series C round of German proptech startup Habyt

Startup news 💡

  • PLD Space launched its reusable Miura-1 rocket during the weekend from a site in Huelva, carrying out Europe’s first fully private rocket launch and offering hope for its stalled space ambitions. More info here
  • Rakuten laid off Jacinto Roca, CEO of its Spanish subsidiary, following an internal audit in which alleged irregularities were found. According to the news, its CFO could also be on his way out. El Confidencial first wrote about the investigation in late August
  • Technology consultancy firm Izertis said that in the first half of 2023 it did almost €60m in sales (+45% YoY) and €9m in EBITDA (+65% YoY)
  • Pullpo is a new tool to detect, analyze, and prioritize bottlenecks in development teams. The company launched on Product Hunt last week. Pullpo claims to "provide a holistic view of your team's health, by analyzing objective data and feedback from developers". The founding team is very interested in talking to companies with dev teams of less than 15 people to gather feedback and iterate product. If that's you, send me an email and I'll be more than happy to connect you with the team. (Pullpo is not a Kfund portfolio company)
  • Javier Escribano, co-founder of Ontruck and now at Escuela Escribano, did a session with Maria Prim (PO) and Cesar Tamagno (Product Design Lead) at Holded, to explain how the ERP company approaches the development of new features
  • Ontruck launched a new business line, Ontruck AI Tech, that will focus on selling software to logistic customers. It feels like a more pure B2B software play than Ontruck's initial product offering. These new features, powered by AI. are pricing and routing engine, predictive incident system and forecast & capacity planning
  • HR and recruitment companies Circular and Joppy launched a new report titled "Trends in Tech recruitment 2024". The report includes insights from 100 companies and 400 tech professionals on hiring shifts, AI, remote work, and more
  • Dani Seijo, co-founder of Diario Motor, Fuell and other companies, announced in a tweet the launch of its newest company: Hawkings. It claims to be "the school of the future" to "enhancing education in a game-like environment"
  • Neobank Rebellion is shutting down
  • Interview with Laura Urquizu, CEO of Redpoints: “No todo el mundo puede emprender. El viaje del emprendedor es el viaje del héroe"
  • Startup profiles:
  • Factorial: HR software
  • Cobee: flexible compensation for employees

Design Graduate es un curso online en vídeo que permite que tú o tu equipo tengáis todas las bases del diseño para mejorar tu producto: investigación para validar tu idea o hacer tests, saber comunicar las features, principios de usabilidad… Y apréndelo de los que ya lo han hecho: profesionales de Cabify, GitHub o Netflix entre otras. Todo por 480€ y págalo a plazos con un 0% de interés. ¡Apúntate, empezamos el 26 de octubre!

Big company news 🏦

  • QMIO is the new and largest public-private quantum computer in Southern Europe, located in Santiago de Compostela and sponsored by Galicia's Supercomputer Centre. More info here
  • Zara's secondhand marketplace, Pre-owned, to launch in Spain before the end of the year
  • Volkswagen's plans to build a gigafactory in Sagunto (Valencia) continue, with a capital injection of €100m and almost an additional €100m in subsidies. The gigafactory will start production of the unified cell in 2026 and will directly employ more than 3k people in the future, with a further up to 30k indirect jobs potentially being created at suppliers and partners in Spain
  • European North vs. South battle on the payments front: Southern European banks (from Spain, Portugal and Italy) are working on a pan-European bizum system, at the same time as our Northern neighbors (Germany, France, Belgium and Holland) announced its own initiative
  • EY Spain has created an AI team composed of 21 socios and 140 specialists

Interesting reads 🤓

  • Dani Latorre, platform lead at Genially, wrote "Guide to manage tech debt"
  • David Bonilla, founder of Manfred, wrote "Cosas a tener en cuenta si quieres vender tu software a empresas"
  • Alfredo Articles, co-founder and CTO of Audiense, wrote "Entropía del Software y la Semana de Refactorización"
  • Simon Muñoz, platform PM at Voicemod, wrote "Should product managers also design?". Also related to Simon, he recently shared on Twitter that his dad passed away in a bycicle accident, caused by a van doing delivery work. Following the accident he shared that he was interested in knowing more about the labor conditions and details of the business, which was covered by Analia Plaza in this article: "La muerte de dos ciclistas destapa los peligros del comercio online: "O conduces rápido o no llegas"

Podcasts 🎧

  • We Are Sales interviewed Jean-Christophe Taunay-Bucalo, Chief Revenue Officer at Travelperk
  • Outliers Podcast interviewed Jaime Bosch, co-founder and CEO of Voicemod
  • SeedRocket interviewed Edurne de Oteiza, Chief of Staff at Wallapop
  • Product Hackers interviewed Gonzalo Torres and Joachim Antonsen to talk about Shopify's go-to-market strategy in Spain