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Securitize raised $47m. Trouble for Holaluz and solar companies.

May 13, 2024 • Issue #417

Manual processes lead to error management and correction.

One of our clients in the international wholesale sector had a person working an average of 6 hours per week on the management of weekly reports. Every Friday, he’d receive excel files from the different subsidiaries of the company, and had to:

  • - Ensure that all documents were received
  • - Follow up on non-deliverers
  • - Validate that the files were not corrupt, and contained the expected data
  • - In case of missing data, ask for it again
  • - Apply the necessary transformations
  • - And finally consolidate it into a single file to be visualised in a Business Intelligence tool
  • This is a ton of time spent every year on Excel management time: almost 2 months of the year spent on potentially automatable tasks. A big opportunity cost.

    For this reason, at zenital we’ve decided to build ExcelAnts, a tool to automate manual excel processes, reducing human error and ensuring efficient management of business information.

    If this resonates and your company could be in a similar situation, we’d love to chat and understand how we could help you.

    Startup funding news 💸

    • Securitize, the leader in tokenizing real-world assets, raised $47 million, led by BlackRock. The company, based in Miami, is led by Spaniard Carlos Domingo and also has several employees in Spain
    • Indigitall, specializing in marketing automation, raised €6 million, led by Adara Ventures. Adara wrote about the investment here
    • Medicsen, a healthcare technology company, received €5 million in financing to further develop its smart adaptive care solutions
    • The Wise Seeker, an HR/recruiting platform, raised €4.7 million from CDTI
    • GFAL, a web3 gaming startup, raised €3 million in a seed funding round with the participation of notable investors such as the founder of EA (Trip Hawkins), Supercell (Ilkka Paananen) and one of the general partners of Benchmark (Mitch Lasky)
    • Neurologyca, a neuro-AI technology company, raised €1.6 million via Sego Venture
    • Joppy, a tech job platform, raised €530,000 and acquired the business of Rviewer. More about the news here
    • Veterinary distributor Equinvest raised funding from Nzyme, the PE firm launched by Kibo and Oliver Wyman
    • Cuideo, an elderly care platform, received an investment from GCO Ventures; details on the funding amount were not specified

    M&A activity 🎊

    • Begreat Capital, Coremind Ventures, and Laren Capital acquired a majority stake in Visagov, a travel services startup specializing in auxiliary services for the tourism sector. The company's first product is a SaaS platform for online visa processing. The company, based in Barcelona, has processed over 168,000 visas in 2023, generating a revenue of over €15 million with an EBITDA of €3 million

    Investor & accelerator news 🚀

    • Reuse, a Chilean company focusing on the circular economy, secured a $4.5 million round led by Seaya Cathay Latam
    • Eoniq fund extends the deadline to close its new fund with the aim of reaching over €30 million euros in public-private investment. Currently, they have €15 million of private investment and are looking to raise another €5 million. The fund mostly focuses in investing in Andalusia and other regiones
    • CRB Health Tech has completed a €20 million first closing of its digital health fund with Sanitas as a reference investor. The fund will focus on investing in Spanish and European companies in late Seed or Series A stage that have passed clinical validation and regulatory approval
    • Pablo Casado's venture capital fund, Hyperion, which specializes in defense and cybersec, has raised over €40 million for its first closing out of the targeted €150 million

    Startup news 💡

    • Lots of articles last week about the Holaluz crisis. The tough situation is not exclusive to the Barcelona-based company, but to many players in the residential self-consumption space:
    • Shareholder funds refused to sign off on the company's accounts and management report. In light of the delicate financial situation, the board of directors approved the possibility of filing for pre-bankruptcy proceedings. Holaluz has reported losses of €26 million (vs. €5 million last year) and a negative working capital of €44 million. Holaluz seeks €21 million to address liquidity issues
    • According to this, the shareholders of Holaluz are requesting the removal of Carlota Pi, CEO and co-founder of the company
    • Cinco Dias published a summary of the company’s financials and troubles in recent times
    • The financial crisis poses significant risks to the Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), as nearly 70% of the company's debt is backed by the institution
    • This tough situation not only applies to Holaluz, but also to several other energy companies. Renewable energy companies in Spain are experiencing multi-million dollar losses, employment regulation procedures (EREs), and stock market declines due to cannibalism and zero prices
    • Why is this happening now? The boom in residential self-consumption, driven by rising electricity prices and government incentives, peaked in 2022. However, the installation rate dropped significantly in 2023, indicating a sharp reversal in the sector's growth trajectory, particularly in the residential segment.
    • Solarprofit, another energy company, also recently declared pre-bankruptcy proceedings and announced an ERE affecting 90% of its workforce
    • Company profiles:
    • Profile of Caravelo, the Spanish startup company that provides subscription solutions to the travel industry: “Why Caravelo’s betting it all on subscriptions”
    • Profile of Prodevelop, a company that offers software solutions for the internal management of ports, optimizing vessel traffic processes and reducing waiting times. The company has a staff of 120 people and expects to achieve a turnover of €8.5 million in 2023
    • Profile of Magnific AI, the tool that improves photo and picture quality applying AI. The company has attracted 700,000 users in just five months and is fully bootstrapped with only two people working on it full time, co-founders Javi Lopez and Emilio Nicolas
    • Profile of Agforest, a startup that uses geospatial AI technology to drive sustainability, will invest €6 million in R&D at its headquarters in Malaga
    • Profile of Micolet, a clothing second hand marketplace
    • Interview with Ruben Bonet, co-Founder & CEO of Fractus, a deep tech company licensing antenna technology for telecommunication networks and for wireless devices such as smartphones and IoT. Fractus has +$200 million total sales, customers like Samsung, LG or Motorola, and its antennas are present in 10 billion devices. Bonet is also one of the founders of investment firm Abac Nest
    • Galgus has doubled its revenue to reach €4.3 million euros in 2023, with projections to reach €7 million this year. Galgus develops cloud-based intelligent WiFi technology that optimises network performance
    • Jeff is heading towards liquidation after withdrawing its proposal for a creditors' agreement. The firm Pace Partners has expressed disagreement with the proposal and believes that bankruptcy laws have been violated. An external investor who was planning to rescue the company has also withdrawn their intention to invest due to the instability of the bankruptcy proceeding
    • Gerard Vilaplana, VP of Digital & eCommerce at Kave Home, discusses the significant role of ecommerce in the company's revenue, accounting for nearly 50% of the total sales
    • Uptodown has finished its fight against the Google and Apple duopoly in European institutions. Through the Coalition for Mobile App Equity, Uptodown sought to correctly apply the Digital Markets Act to open the sector to competition. Now, it is up to the European Commission to decide how to punish or not these companies' anti-competitive practices
    • BCN Visuals, a startup specializing in 3D advertising technology, has designed the visuals for Sphere, the largest light attraction in Las Vegas. The company closed 2023 with €10 million in revenue
    • Bigle Legal launched Libra, a new AI tool for legal departments. Libra is a virtual assistant specialized in legal areas, capable of summarizing, analyzing, translating, and generating clauses and queries about contracts and legal documents
    • Lists of startups:
    • put together a list of 10 Spanish startups to watch in 2024
    • The Jobandtalent Mafia: this article highlights startups that have been created by former employees of Jobandtalent

    Big company news 🏦

    • Amazon's decision to halt new logistics center construction in Spain since September 2022 has led to a record surge in warehouse vacancies, particularly in Madrid, where the vacancy rate in the first crown hit 12.3%
    • Uber joins the board of directors of Auro, a long-time partner of Cabify, amid a legal dispute in the Constitutional Court. Auro has traditionally been one of Cabify's main partners, but the relationship has been affected by competition between the two companies
    • Ryanair has filed a complaint against eDreams with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, accusing the online travel agency of deceiving users with fictitious discounts and hidden margins through its Prime subscription

    Interesting reads 🤓

    • Why Spanish startups decide to move their headquarters to the US. The main reasons are due to the demand from investment funds, contract standardization, and legal security
    • Gerard Clos, co-founder of Latitude, published “6 Best Embedded Databases for 2024”
    • Ignacio Arriaga published “En defensa de las cosas inútiles”
    • "The CTO Toolbox" is a book written by Sergio Gago Huerta and friends, providing a collection of tools and insights for experienced and new CTOs

    Podcasts 🎧

    • Interview with Juan García Braschi, former director and co-founder of Cabify and founder of Boopos
    • Interview with Javier Ferreira, co-CEO of gaming company Scopely
    • Interview with Julián M. Drault, co-founder of EmBlue