Fond-ICO Global. €20m for Inbrain. AI Regulation.
December 18, 2023 • Issue #398
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 United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the United States, 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 💸
- Inbrain Neuroelectronics, a spin-off from ICN2 and Icrea, secured a €20m loan from the European Investment Bank (BEI)
- Malaga-based proptech Check To Build raised €1.2m, led by Swedish family office Kulldorff
- Madrid-based Device Management solution (MDM) startup Applivery raised €1m from Pedro Tortosa (Peak Thomas) and Lead Angels by Intelectium
- Bewater Funds invested in elAbogado. The size of the transaction was not disclosed. The transaction was not an equity raise, but a secondary transaction. The company is cash flow positive and profitable
- Other rounds of funding: Aitaca, Cycle Platform, Yuccs, Arediana, MasLeads, teknoCEA,
M&A activity 🎊
- Siemens acquired Basque startup BuntPlanet. The company develops a smart water management solution which permit a water utility to manage its water network/assets remotely
Investor & accelerator news 🚀
- Fond-ICO Global launched its 16th call with €900m investment in sustainable and digital investment firms. This public-private collaboration will select up to 12 private equity and VC managers/funds across categories like incubation, technology transfer, venture capital, and expansion
- Profile of VC firm Enzo Ventures, led by Edgar Vicente and Iván Fernández, both under 30. The company's first fund is of €15m and invests between €100k and €500k per startup
- ABANCA Innova has opened applications for the 9th edition of its Startup Program. The program offers mentorship, potential direct capital investment opportunities, and a chance to implement a proof of concept with the bank. Applications close on December 17
- Invivo Partners invested €2m in Belgian biotech startup EsoBiotec
Startup news 💡
- Selling drugs and medicines online that require prescription is illegal Spain. Several companies have tried this in the past and they've always been stopped by regulators. Now it's been known that the Audiencia Nacional of Spain has ruled against the latest attempt to sell prescription medications online through the Telefarmacia App. The court upheld the decision by the Ministry of Health, declaring the service illegal as it acts as an intermediary rather than a 'mandatary'
- Profile of Matteco, one of the last startups out of Iker Marcaide's venture builder. The company aims to play a key role in the green hydrogen sector. On the topic, Sifted published an article last week on the boom of green hydrogen startups in Spain in recent times: "Spain seizes green hydrogen after solar energy fiasco: Green hydrogen startups are mushrooming in Spain but founders ask for sustained support"
- Profile of 011h, a proptech startup co-founded by Lucas Carne, who had previously built and sold Privalia. The company aims to revolutionize the construction industry by implementing a "startup within a startup" model. They have developed an app for efficient, sustainable building designs and a construction company that executes these projects using carbon-neutral materials
- Aitor Garcia Rey, CTO of instant payments API startup Devengo, published "Engineering Principles at Devengo: How does the Devengo engineering team choose a particular approach between multiple viable solutions?"
- Sergi Borja, founder of Honei, published "How My Insecurities as a First-time Founder Drove Us to $10M GMV in Our First Year"
- Freepik did a Product Hunt launch for Freepik Pikaso, a tool that allows users to create images from sketches, icons, photos, or their webcam in real time
- Reverse logistics startup Rever said that its volume of business, customer base, staff size, and number of managed returns have all grown tenfold in the past year. The company has also expanded internationally, starting with Italy and France, and says that it handles returns worth €2m in these markets
- Scalar launched Meeting Guidelines, a "product designed to help employees adhere to best practices at scale while providing companies with insightful data"
- Article on AI regulation, featuring Andres Torrubia (Lucentum) and Joaquin Cuenca (Freepik). The EU's efforts to regulate AI have sparked debate among experts who criticize these regulations as potentially hindering innovation. Justo Hidalgo, AI lead at Adigital, also wrote about their opinion on the regulatory framework here
- Continuing with the topic of AI, El Pais interviewed Raquel Urtasun. Born in Pamplona, from 2017 to 2021 she was the Chief Scientist and Head of R&D at Uber's autonomous driving division, ATG. Raquel has now co-founded Waabi, based in Toronto, an AI company building the next generation of self-driving technology
- One year after Spain's Startup Law, investment funds and investors are calling for improvements. They seek changes in tax deductions for individual investors in coinvestment vehicles and more support for scale-ups
- ClubFunding is a French real estate crowdfunding company that has recently launched in Spain and also opened an office in Barcelona
- Prima Seguros, an Italian insurtech operating in the automotive insurance sector, aims to reach 100,000 active clients in Spain by 2024 and double its premiums to €20m
- Startup profiles:
- HarBest Market: food and agritech
- Embat: cashflow management
Big company news 🏦
- Javier Oliván, COO of Meta (Facebook), sold 16,903 shares of the company for over $5.m. This sale, part of an automatic plan for tax payments and variable compensation, resulted from the conversion of restricted stock units (RSUs). Javier Olivan moved back to Spain after the pandemic
- Telefónica proposed a reduction in the maximum severance pay for its workforce restructuring plan (ERE) to 60% of the regulatory salary, affecting 3,950 employees. Unions have strongly rejected this proposal, demanding more favorable economic terms to ensure voluntary participation and retirement access
- Telefónica is planning to replace Huawei's technology in the core of its 5G network in Spain, as part of a broader European move towards technological sovereignty
- Amazon has paid €68m to the Spanish Tax Agency following an inspection of its advertising subsidiary. This payment is a record amount for a tech company in Spain. The investigation, which began in October 2021, focused on VAT payments from 2018 to 2021. Amazon has complied with the settlement
- Bizum to allow to send to receive and send payments to users in Italy and Portugal
Interesting reads 🤓
- Glovo employees Ahmad Hamouda, Software Engineer IV, and Stefania Russo, Head of UX Content, published "How our new machine translation feature transforms your ordering experience"
- Interview with Carlos Jimenez, VP of Product at KingMakers. The interview focuses on "meshing product- and sales-led cultures"