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Swalaab and Grow Venture Partners new funds. Skydweller raised €30m. Denodo.

October 16, 2023 • Issue #389

As your business grows, data questions get more complicated. "How much do I sell?" becomes "What are my sales by region and product line?" or "What are my profit margins?". Simple questions turn complex. Data systems that worked well early on, begin to fracture under new demands. Suddenly, leaving your data unable to tell you what you need to know. Or worse, you start second-guessing it.

We feel your pain. At zenital, we specialize in preparing businesses for growth. We optimize data systems to maintain quality at scale.

zenital has been the key ally for teams like yours in Spain, the UK, Switzerland, and the US, helping them grow and understand the most difficult and complex issues about their data.

If you're ready to tackle your company's data challenges, contact us today to discuss how we can help you.

Startup funding news 💸

  • Madrid and US-based Skydweller raised €30m in debt from the EU's EIB. The company, which develops autonomous airplanes, has 100 employees in Spain
  • Madrid-based biotech company Life Length raised €4m. The company claims to be "the world leader in telomere biology and related assays focusing on cellular senescence, aging and longevity"
  • Barcelona-based energy startup Sunhero received a €3m loan from BBVA Spark
  • Barcelona-based biomonitoring company Onalabs raised €1.8m
  • Barcelona-based recruiting startup Workfully raised €1.2m, led by Indico Capital
  • Valencia-based HUNTY raised €1.2m to lead the digital transformation of the hunting sector
  • Other rounds of funding: PharmaDate
  • Startups looking for funding: Healz, Dolfin, Prezo

M&A activity 🎊

  • Freepik announced the acquisition of EyeEm, a Berlin-based photo marketplace. EyeEm was once considered a European Instagram competitor, but the company ended up going into bankruptcy earlier this year after it was acquired by Talenthouse in 2021. According to Techcrunch, "the plan will be to integrate EyeEm’s existing photo library — which totals some 160 million images, with a wider community of close to 150,000 photographers, the company tells me — into Freepik’s platform". Official Freepik announcement here
  • Also related to Freepik, an article in Expansion said that, according to sources, EQT (the PE firm that owns 53% of the company) plans to try to sell Freepik in 2024, but not this year. EQT would be aiming for a €1b valuation of Freepik, vs. the €225m valuation it paid in 2020
  • The sale of fitness startup Volava to Mad Dogg Athletics (the company that created spinning) is now complete. Final price of €300k

Investor & accelerator news 🚀

  • Swanlaab announced the launch of a new €60m fund to invest in agritech and foodtech companies. The goal is to invest in 12 to 20 companies, up to €3m in each. Swanlaab also recently announced the first closing of its second tech fund at €45m. More info here
  • Another agritech fund announced last week, Mar Oceana VC's €25m fund
  • Deep tech fund Grow Venture Partners to launch its second €50m fund, to invest €500k to €1m in around 30 startups
  • Wayra, Iker Casillas (SportBoost) and Pau Gasol (Gasol16 Ventures) announced a partnership to help health and sports startups with business development and funding efforts. The program is aimed at startups that are past idea phase. More info here

Startup news 💡

  • Profile of data virtualization company Denodo, based in A Coruña. The company, whose origins trace back to 1999, recently raised more than $300m. It hasn't been officially announced as such, but I'm pretty sure the company has also surpassed the $1b valuation
  • In 2022, Iberdrola announced that it would buy up to 10k of Wallbox's superchargers. The delivery of the first 85 chargers took place in the first six months of this year, as announced last week. Iberdrola is one of Wallbox's largest shareholders
  • Cybersec startup Palantir has signed a €16.5m contract with the Spanish Ministry of Defence, to provide "military intelligence". I believe this is the second public contract Palantir has won in Spain
  • Tech consulting firm Sngular announced its financial results for the first half of 2023: €52m in sales (+20% YoY) and EBITDA of €8.2m (+21% YoY)
  • Santa Lucia and El Rerente published a report on the Spanish insurtech market. Full report here. Another report, this time an overview of Spanish startups working in the mental health space
  • Fintech platform MyInvestor to offer, for the first time, the possibility of investing as little as €10k in VC vehicle Actyus Secondary Fund, a fund managed by Arcano
  • Gactivos is a new fintech startup that connects large real estate properties (buildings, etc) with professional investors, for financing purposes
  • Brite is a Swedish account-to-account payments startup that has its second largest office in Malaga, where it has around 25 employees. The firm recently closed a $60m round and now says that it plans to double its workforce in the city
  • Adigital, the Spanish Association for the Digital Economy, announced in collaboration with EsTech a proposal to create a "Ley de Escalabilidad" that would complement the recently introduced "Ley de Startups" but with the goal of focusing more on scaleups, or tech companies that have reached maturity. More info here, and the report that was presented also available here
  • Startup profiles:
  • Vuala: fintech

Big company news 🏦

  • Air Europa disclosed that hackers got access to its systems and stole credit card information from millions of customers. As a result of the attack, the airline asked some consumers to cancel their credit and debit cards. Amazing. More info here
  • In 2018, Spain's antitrust watchdog CNMC, imposed a €29m fine to Indra, Accenture, IBM, Software AG, Atos, Connectis ICT and three more companies, all tech consulting firms. After more than three years of investigations, the CNMC argued that all firms had employed anti competitive practices in public tenders by colluding on prices to avoid competition from other companies. All of the fined entities filed complaints with the Audiencia Nacional because they deemed the fines to be wrong. Well, the Audencia Nacional came out last week and said that the fines stand because it has enough evidence of anti competitive practices. More info here
  • Inditex said that it did €436m in sales and €54m in net profit with its online stores in countries where it doesn't have any retail presence. The company also disclosed that "two thirds of product returns from online sales happen at physical stores"

Don’t miss the first onsite event about GenAI for Startups at Google for Startups Campus Madrid! October 18th from 3pm to 6pm

Interesting reads 🤓

  • Alberto Torron, co-founder of Incremental and Todotaladros, published "32 Consejos para sobrevivir a la venta online en Amazon"
  • Miguel Arias, general partner at Kfund, published "some thoughts with entrepreneurs on the importance of having an Operating system for your scale up, to ensure a smooth execution"
  • Heber Trujillo, ML engineer at Glovo, wrote "Common but overlooked causes of ML system failures Part I: Degenerate Feedback Loops"
  • Ignacio Arriaga, co-founder of Acumbamail, published "Go to market 101"
  • Iñaki Uriz, co-founder of travel tech startup Caravelo, published "Why Airlines Struggle to Innovate"

Podcasts 🎧

  • Itnig interviewed Carlos Pierre, CEO of proptech startup Badi
  • Historias de Crecimiento interviewed Jordi Agusti, CEO of travel startup Waynabox
  • Product Hackers interviewed Johanna Gallo, co-founder of sustainability startup Aplanet