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Cobee's exit. Argilla acquired by Hugging Face. Bespoke Pixel raised €25m.

June 17, 2024 • Issue #423

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Startup funding news 💸

  • A group of European gaming pioneers, led by former Ubisoft executive David Polfeldt, is investing €25 million to establish Bespoke Pixel in Barcelona. The new studio will focus on developing AAA games for consoles and PCs
  • According to El Confidencial, Cabify has requested additional capital from its shareholders, raising €20 million to support its growth plans. Despite strong performance in 2023, with revenues of approximately €831.2 million (+30% YoY), Cabify continues to seek funds to maintain positive cash flow. Notable participants in this funding round include Orilla Asset Management, Mutua Madrileña, and Rakuten, while prominent investors like Rosauro Varo and Seaya Ventures did not participate
  • NeuronUP, a Logroño-based leader in cognitive rehabilitation, raised €10 million from Moira Capital Partners. NeuronUP uses advanced technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence for neurorehabilitation purposes
  • Santander and Barlon Capital have invested €7 million in the room rental app Badi. The funding, split between €5 million from Barlon Capital and €2 million in debt from Santander, will support Badi's business expansion. In its first iteration, Badi raised more than $50 million from VCs, but reached an agreement with them to regain back control of the company. Founder Carlos Pierre wrote about it here
  • Ray Studios, a Paris-based startup founded by David Rodríguez (founder of CornerJob), raised €4.62 million to expand its tattoo removal business. The round was led by Nickleby Capital. The company operates in Spain, France, and Belgium
  • Barcelona-based startup Danelfin has raised €2 million in a funding round led by Nauta Capital to develop its AI-powered stock analytics platform
  • Poolcomet, an online swimming pool supply store, raised funding from a bunch of well-known business angels from companies such as Deporvillage, Indexa Capital, Freepik, Packlink and others. Poolcomet currently has annualized revenues of approximately €3 million euros

M&A activity 🎊

  • Employee benefits startup Cobee was acquired by French competitor Pluxee. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Cobee had raised more than $50 million in funding from international VCs Balderton, Notion and Octopus, as well as local investors such as Encomenda and Lanai. Co-founder Borja Aranguren wrote about the exit here, and so did investor and board member Oriol Juncosa, here
  • Argilla, an open-source data curation platform for LLMs, got acquired by French startup Hugging Face for $10 million (according to Bloomberg ). Argilla’s founder Daniel Vila wrote about the exit here. Argilla had raised funding from Criteria Venture Tech (formerly Caixa Capital Risc), among others
  • EQT is seeking to reinvest in Idealista as a minority shareholder alongside Cinven, which is negotiating exclusively to acquire the real estate portal for around €3 billion. EQT, holding 55% of Idealista, intends to reinvest via its EQT X fund
  • Babel, a tech consulting firm which serves major banks and insurers, is up for sale with a valuation of around €300 million. Babel is expected to close the year with revenues over €220 million and an EBITDA of €25 million, thus looking for a 12x EBITDA multiple
  • Catalan telco Parlem has acquired Pinergia's telco business, expanding its offering of mobile telephony and fiber optic services in the Pyrenees area. In 2023, Parlem recorded a positive EBITDA of three million euros and increased its revenue by 36%
  • PE firm PSG is putting the technology company Mapal up for sale, targeting a price of up to €350 million. Mapal specializes in software solutions for the hospitality industry
  • US AI startup Harvey is aiming for a $2 billion valuation and considering the acquisition legal company vLex. vLex, with offices in Spain and in the US, was recently part of a merge

Investor & accelerator news 🚀

  • Inveready launched "Club Deal" a new direct investment proposal aimed at family offices and individual investors. This initiative allows investors to co-invest alongside Inveready in technology companies Spanish investors investing abroad:
  • The Venture City co-led a €10 million round of British startup Sidekick
  • Nina Capital participated in the financing of Swiss biotech company Rivia
  • LaLiga, in collaboration with accelerator SportBoost, has launched the Meet LaLiga EA Sports innovation program. This initiative aims to identify and support startups developing innovative solutions in sports technology New report: State of Corporate Venturing in Spain in 2024

Startup news 💡

  • Quite a few startups announced new product launches last week:
  • Tinybird launched Tinybird Charts, a new functionality to turn API Endpoints into real-time visualizations
  • Cofers, a new startup founded by the former CTO of Packlink and key employees of GoTrendier
  • ForceManager launched Dana AI Plus, an AI-powered tool that provides support, automates sales reporting, and boosts productivity by reducing administrative tasks
  • Freepik introduced Retouch, a tool to remove, edit, and adjust details of images in real time
  • TaxDown launched AsesorIA, a free tax chatbot expert in income tax returns
  • Capchase, the provider of non-dilutive financing, announced its expansion into Ireland
  • Long interview with Diego Bestard, CEO and co-founder of Urbanitae. He discusses the company's success in revolutionizing real estate investment in Spain through crowdfunding. Urbanitae has facilitated over 140 projects with more than 100,000 investments, and helping real estate projects raise over €280 million euros since 2019. Urbanitae is a Kfund portfolio company
  • The bankruptcy administrator of Scytl has initiated the sale of the company's assets in batches as part of its liquidation process. This step follows Scytl's insolvency declaration and aims to maximize the value of the remaining assets. The sale process includes various technological and intellectual property assets
  • Humanox, a startup known for its smart shin guards and backed by investors like Telefónica, faces legal action from 122 investors. The company promised a Nasdaq listing or a refund with interest after a 2021 capital increase via broker GPM, which failed to materialize
  • Pro Shop, a company specializing in padel equipment, anticipates doubling its revenues to €20 million in 2024 due to the sport's boom in Spain
  • Flying Bark Productions, an Australian animation studio, is set to open a new studio in Madrid. The Madrid studio will complement Flying Bark's existing operations, enabling the company to undertake more extensive and diverse animation projects
  • Startup profiles:
  • Kolau: AI-based websuite builder

Big company news 🏦

  • PE firms Cinven and EQT are planning to sell a stake in Hotelbeds and take a dividend of €440 million ahead of the potential sale. The private equity firms are preparing Hotelbeds for an initial public offering (IPO) or a private sale, expected to value the company at around €3 billion
  • More data centre news:
  • Nunsys said that it is investing €15 million to expand its data center in Paterna, Valencia, which it acquired from Tissat in 2018
  • Microsoft has opened its first data center region in Spain focused on AI capabilities
  • Also on the topic of AI:
  • Engineer and entrepreneur Ignasi Belda has been appointed as the CEO of Aesia, the Spanish Agency for Supervision of Artificial Intelligence
  • Sony has chosen Barcelona to install a AI research center, with the aim of developing AI systems and exploring projects related to gastronomy
  • The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) closed the door to an agreement with to close the file of the 'megafine' of €486 million for abuse of dominant position
  • Santander launched Zinia in Spain, a Buy-Now-Pay-Later service

Interesting reads 🤓

  • Marcos Sorribas, co-founder of Tacter, published “Why is "The Gaming Vertical Platform" the next $1B opportunity?“. Tacter is a Kfund portfolio company
  • Ignacio Arriaga published “Qué puedes aprender sobre el leak de Google“
  • Javier Escribano published “Necesitamos más y mejores Engineering Managers“

Podcasts 🎧

  • Expansion interviewed Alejandro Artacho (Spotahome)
  • Evergrowing interviewed Miguel Carranza (RevenueCat)
  • Product Leaders interviewed Luis Llorens (PlugAndPlay)
  • Itnig interviewed Luis Osorio (Stayforlong)
  • 0100 Conferences interviewed Yoko Kojima (Mundi Ventures)
  • Historias de Crecimiento interviewed Alicia Zurita (Lubets)
  • Kfund interviewed Alexandre Berriche (Fleet)
  • SeedRocket interviewed Eduardo Navarro (Sherpa, Urbanitae, Crescenta)
  • Product Hackers interviewed Christian Rodriguez (Mutter Ventures)