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Waggel launches ‘fully digital’ pet insurance

Waggel, a new ‘insurtech’ startup in the U.K., is officially launching today to offer what it describes as “fully digital” pet insurance. Founded by Andrew Leal, and Ross Fretten (a contestant of The Apprentice 2017), the company wants to offer more transparent cover for your pet, where you’ll know exactly how much you’re paying and for what provision, as well as offer rewards for improving the care of your animal. “The biggest problem in pet insurance and insurance in general is the lack of value that customers get with a policy,” says Leal. “You pay a monthly fee and get nothing in return except maybe a promise to pay out a claim in the future. On top of this, pet insurance has become extremely complicated for users with confusing policy names and jargon-rich wording. The industry is still largely paper based, slow and terrible at communicating with customers and as a result falling well short of todays consumer expectations. Insurance is very much a grudge purchase”. Leal says that Waggel is attempting to solve this by offering a fully digital solution that puts the customer experience first “to alleviate the stress that is typical of insurance”. You are able to get a quote within 30 seconds that explains in simple language what you’re getting for your money. You can also make a claim within the app and track that claim in real-time, while Waggel promises to be transparent on how much it is paying out and why. “All without having to hear another minute of hold music!” quips the Waggel founder. In addition to the startup’s core insurance product, Waggel offers a rewards programme that Leal says makes it easier and more affordable for customers to take preventative care of their pet through feeding them higher quality nutrition. This comes in the form of “discounts with our hand-picked quality pet food partners,” he says. In terms of competition, Leal says there are numerous incumbents in the pet insurance space but cites PetPlan and Animal Friends as the main two. “Pet insurance has gotten stuck in a vicious cycle,” he adds.…

Contentful raises $33.5M for its headless CMS platform

Contentful, a Berlin- and San Francisco-based startup that provides content management infrastructure for companies like Spotify, Nike, Lyft and others, today announced that it has raised a $33.5 million Series D funding round led by Sapphire Ventures, with participation from OMERS Ventures and Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors General Catalyst, Benchmark, Balderton Capital and Hercules. In total, the company has now raised $78.3 million. It’s been less than a year since the company raised its Series C round and, as Contentful co-founder and CEO Sascha Konietzke told me, the company didn’t really need to raise right now. “We had just raised our last round about a year ago. We still had plenty of cash in our bank account and we didn’t need to raise as of now,” said Konietzke. “But we saw a lot of economic uncertainty, so we thought it might be a good moment in time to recharge. And at the same time, we already had some interesting conversations ongoing with Sapphire [formerly SAP Ventures] and Salesforce. So we saw the opportunity to add more funding and also start getting into a tight relationship with both of these players.” The original plan for Contentful was to focus almost explicitly on mobile. As it turns out, though, the company’s customers also wanted to use the service to handle its web-based applications and these days, Contentful happily supports both. “What we’re seeing is that everything is becoming an application,” he told me. “We started with native mobile application, but even the websites nowadays are often an application.” In its early days, Contentful focused only on developers. Now, however, that’s changing, and having these connections to large enterprise players like SAP and Salesforce surely isn’t going to hurt the company as it looks to bring on larger enterprise accounts. Currently, the company’s focus is very much on Europe and North America, which account for about 80 percent of its customers. For now, Contentful plans to continue to focus on these regions, though it obviously supports customers anywhere in the world. Contentful only exists as a hosted platform. As of now, the company doesn’t have…

Flipdish raises €4.8M Series A to wean restaurants off takeout aggregators like Just Eat

Flipdish, the online ordering and loyalty platform for takeaways and restaurants, has closed a €4.8 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Rocket Internet’s Global Founders Capital, with participation by existing investor Elkstone. Founded in 2015, Flipdish enables restaurants to directly accept online orders and manage their online presence and operations in a bid to help wean them off over-reliance (or order hijacking) by takeout marketplaces and aggregators, such as Just Eat or Deliveroo. Specifically, the Irish startup enables individual restaurants and restaurant chains to compete with takeout aggregators by accepting online orders directly from customers with “lower costs and a higher control over the customer experience.” The proposition is similar to a crop of new startups that are helping hotels secure more direct bookings online rather than perpetually giving away a large part of their margins to the likes of Booking.com. “In the last 10 years there’s been a sudden shift in the importance of technology: people who used to phone takeaways to place orders, now will only order online,” Flipdish CEO Conor McCarthy tells me. “The largest food companies are able to facilitate this by putting huge resources into development, but small and medium businesses aren’t able to put millions of euro into developing their own software. We are levelling the playing field by making this technology available to all sized businesses and giving them the tools to compete and win online.” Those tools include an online loyalty system and ordering platform, which comes with automated re-marketing and retention features. “Ensuring that this is all automated means the restaurants and takeaways can focus on creating great food and we will take care of their online presence,” adds McCarthy. Noteworthy is that Flipdish isn’t generating revenue through a subscription-based offering. Instead, it charges a fee for each order placed through the platform. The idea is that the success of restaurants offering direct online ordering is tied to Flipdish’s own success “If they don’t receive online orders, then we don’t make any money,” quips the Flipdish CEO. “I think this structure sets us apart from our competitors.…

LeanIX, the SaaS that lets enterprises map out their software architecture, closes $30M Series C

LeanIX, the Software-as-a-Service for “Enterprise Architecture Management,” has closed $30 million in Series C funding. The round is led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from previous investors Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (DTCP), Capnamic Ventures and Iris Capital. It brings LeanIX’s total funding to nearly $40 million since the German company was founded in 2012. Operating in the enterprise architecture space, previously the domain of a company’s IT team only, LeanIX’s SaaS might well be described as a “Google Maps for IT architectures.” The software lets enterprises map out all of the legacy software or modern SaaS that the organisation is run on, including creating meta data on things like what business process it is used for or capable of supporting, what tech (and version) powers it, what teams are using or have access to it, who is responsible for it, as well as how the different architecture fits together. From this vantage point, enterprises can not only keep a better handle on all of the software from different vendors they are buying in, including how that differs or might be better utilised across distributed teams, but also act in a more nimble way in terms of how they adopt new solutions or decommission legacy ones. In a call with André Christ, co-founder and CEO, he described LeanIX as providing a “single source of truth” for an enterprise’s architecture. He also explained that the SaaS takes a semi-automatic approach to how it maps out that data. A lot of the initial data entry will need to be done manually, but this is designed to be done collaboratively across an organisation and supported by an “easy-to-use UX,” while LeanIX also extracts some data automatically via integrations with ServiceNow (e.g. scanning software on servers) or Signavio (e.g. how IT Systems are used in Business Processes). More broadly, Christ tells me that the need for a solution like LeanIX is only increasing, as enterprise architecture has shifted away from monolithic vendors and software to the use of a sprawling array of cloud or on-premise software where each typically does one job or business…

Taiwan-based travel startup AsiaYo raises $7M Series B led by Alibaba Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund

AsiaYo, a travel accommodation booking platform based in Taipei, Taiwan, has raised a $7 million Series B led by Alibaba Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund, a nonprofit initiative run by the Chinese e-commerce giant, and China Development Financial. Darwin Ventures and Delta Ventures also participated in the round, which brings AsiaYo’s total raised since its launch in 2014 to $10 million, including a $3 million Series A. Founded by CEO C.K. Cheng, AsiaYo has grown over the past four years to a team of about 100 people and now claims about 300,000 members on its site. In addition to Taiwan, the platform operates in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand, and says overseas bookings account for 60 percent of its business. AsiaYo’s new funding will be used to launch in new markets, with operations in Singapore and Malaysia and a new Japanese website slated to launch next year. Cheng told TechCrunch that it picked Singapore and Malaysia as its newest markets because of the amount of travel between the two countries, which are next to one another. AsiaYo works with 50 partners, including Hong Kong Airlines, KKday and Rakuten LIFULL STAY, to provide reward programs and deals on vacation bookings. The website is currently available in English, Chinese and Korean and claims 60,000 listings across 60 cities. The startup targets younger tourists traveling within Asia with what it calls “hyper-personalized journeys” created with the help of its AI-based algorithm AYSort, which analyzes user behavior to provide booking suggestions. In a press statement, Alibaba Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund executive director Andrew Lee said “With rapid economic development across Asia, we have seen a significant rise in inter-regional tourism. AsiaYo has capitalized on this trend, demonstrating its growth potential. We’re currently working with AsiaYo to further develop technological capabilities in the travel industry.” AsiaYo’s listings include a combination of rooms, apartments, hostels and hotels, which means it competes against a wide variety of other accommodation booking sites, like Airbnb, Agoda and HotelQuickly. The startup differentiates, however, by verifying listings with landlords before they go live for quality assurance and to “inspire travelers to step out…

Tiger Global and Accel lead facility management startup Facilio’s $6.4M Series A

Facilio, an IoT startup that focuses on facility management software, announced today that it has raised a $6.4 million Series A led by Tiger Global and returning investor Accel. The funding will be used to expand further in India, where Facilio has an office in Chennai, the United States and the Middle East, as well as enter new markets. Facilio is also one of the first new Indian companies Tiger Global has added to its portfolio since hitting pause on new investments there in 2015. Led by Lee Fixel, Tiger Global was among the many venture capital firms that poured money into early-stage Indian startups in 2014-2015 before uncertainty about growth and valuations dampened the funding frenzy. Funding began picking up again this year, but this time the focus is on more mature companies like Swiggy and Zomato. Tiger Global hit a home run when one of its Indian investments, FlipKart, was acquired by Walmart earlier this year and recently reportedly closed a new $3.75 billion fund to focus on India, the U.S. and China. Founded in 2017 by Prabhu Ramachandran, Rajavel Subramanian, Yogendra Babu and Krishnamoorthi Rangasamy, Facilio’s software helps commercial real estate property owners keep on top of regular maintenance, make sure things like air conditioning systems and elevators are functioning properly and lower their energy consumption. In a press statement, Fixel said, “On a global basis, facilities management services and energy spend by buildings each account for more than a trillion dollars. I am optimistic that Facilio can be a true disruptor in this industry.”

Floom, the online marketplace and SaaS for florists, receives $2.5M seed

Floom, the online marketplace and SaaS for independent florists, has raised $2.5 million in a seed funding. The round was round led by Firstminute Capital, and will be used by the London headquartered startup to continue to expand to the U.S., where it already operates in New York and L.A., and to further develop its software offering. Additional investors include Tom Singh (founder of New Look), Pembroke VCT, Wing Chan (CTO digital experiences of The Hut Group), and Carlos Morgado (former CTO of Just Eat). Morgado has also joined Floom’s board. Founded by 31-year-old Lana Elie in 2016, Floom bills itself as a curated marketplace for independent florists. Alongside this, the company’s technology platform gives florists the software and tools they need to create and deliver “beautifully crafted bouquets” to customers. It’s this SaaS play that Elie says sets Floom apart from competitors. “We rely on a network [of florists], like many of the bigger competitors, so that we can offer same-day delivery without the risk of holding stock ourselves,,” she tells me. “But instead of telling the florists what to create and what to hold in stock, we built them an Etsy-like UI to design and deliver beautifully crafted bouquets to our online communities themselves”. This sees florists provided with a “backend management dashboard” to create, allocate and manage inventory, and to co-ordinate with Floom’s marketplace. The software manages and tracks delivery, too. “Customers receive more bouquet options, in more areas, by vetted florists, with the ultimate convenience of a seamless check-out and what everyone really wants: confirmation of safe receipt in their loved one’s hand,” explains Elie. “If the final product doesn’t match the picture, they get their money back, something that most competitors can’t offer, but we solved this by relying on the florists to generate the bouquet catalogue themselves”. On the flower delivery front, Floom’s main competitors are Interflora in the U.K. (owned by 100-year-old conglomerate FTD in the U.S.), as well as 1-800-flowers and Teleflora. “There have been some new players in the flower space, but none solve the problem by creating better technologies,” argues…

Berlin-based Wind Mobility raises $22M for its e-scooter rental service

Wind Mobility, a Berlin-based mobility startup that offers “dockless” e-scooter (and electric bicycle) rentals, has raised $22 million in seed funding, throwing its hat into the ring as European competitor to Bird and Lime. It follows recent raises by Sweden’s VOI ($50 million Series A led by Balderton) and Germany’s Tier (€25 million Series A led by Northzone). All three companies are attempting to be pan-European from the get-go. In other words, you wait all year for the “Bird or Lime of Europe” to appear and three contenders get funded at once. And that’s before we mention Taxify’s entrance into e-scooter rentals or Delivery Hero and Team Europe founder Lukasz Gadowski’s reported plans to enter the space, having picked up backing from the mobility arm of Target global. Meanwhile, despite being U.S. companies, Bird and Lime have received substantial investment from three of Europe’s top venture capital firms. Index and Accel have backed Bird, and Atomico has backed Lime. But I digress… Investing in Wind Mobility’s rather large seed round is Chinese Source Code Capital, and Europe’s HV Holtzbrinck Ventures. The company says the investment will be used for global expansion and to further develop its e-scooter product. Wind currently operates its e-scooter rental service in various cities in Spain, France and the U.S., and its dockless bicycle rental service Byke in Germany. Notably, Wind is currently developing its first proprietary model of electric scooters specifically designed for the sharing market, which co-founder and CEO Eric Wang tells me will become a significant differentiator going forward. “Currently, almost all the scooters on the market are from Ninebot, which is designed for personal use rather than sharing,” he says. “Our own scooters are specifically designed for sharing: longer battery range, swappable battery, more capability to climb hills, sturdy and more fit for sharing. We can also tailor our scooters to the requirement of certain cities. This gives us an edge in continuing to adopt to customer needs and regulatory requirements.” Alongside this, Wind Mobility has developed a proprietary “IoT technology and communication module” that it says gives it better location accuracy…

Cloud communications platform Agora closes $70M Series C to create new developer tools

Agora, a developer of cloud communication APIs, will create products for new markets and verticals after raising a $70 million Series C led by Coatue Management. Existing investors SIG, Morningside Capital and Shunwei Capital also returned for the round, which brings Agora’s total funding so far to $125 million. The startup’s APIs are used by customers, including The Meet Group, Xiaomi, Hike Messenger and Momo, to insert voice, video and group calling or broadcasting features into their apps. Agora claims it recently surpassed two billion installations of its SDKs and routes through its 200 distributed data centers around the world an average of 10 billion minutes of live communications each month. The company is raising capital at a relatively fast pace to support its growth goals. Agora’s last funding announcement was made five months ago, when Agora said it had added a $30 million extension to its Series B, bringing that round to a total of $50 million. Agora was started in 2014 by CEO Tony Zhao, who was a founding engineer at online communication platform WebEx, acquired by Cisco in 2007, and former CTO of Chinese live-streaming video platform YY. Headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., with offices in Shanghai, Agora is a relatively new entrant to a market that includes competitors like Twilio and Tokbox. Agora’s core product is an SDK that enables developers to insert into their apps voice, video and group calling, as well as interactive broadcasting features, but it also recently added SDKs designed specifically for game developers and Facebook’s React Native framework.

‘Cloud canteen’ startup Feedr raises £1.5M to provide office workers with a healthier lunch

Feedr, a food tech startup that delivers healthy and personalised meals to office workers as an alternative to companies setting up their own canteens, has picked up just over £1.5 million in pre-Series A funding. The round is led by London early-stage venture capital firm Episode 1. Also participating is Brent Hoberman’s Founders Factory, and angel investors Errol Damelin (Wonga founder and renowned fintech investor), Richard Glynn (former Ladbrokes CEO and founder of Alinsky Partners) and David Pritchard (founder of OpenTable Europe). Launched in 2016 by Riya Grover and Lyz Swanton, Feedr describes itself as an “intelligent lunch platform” or “cloud canteen.” The startup essentially operates a two-sided marketplace that connects healthy food suppliers with office workers at companies, in addition to arranging delivery. To do this, Feedr publishes a “unique rotating menu” every day and asks workers to choose what they want to eat by 10.30am. It then pools those orders and sends them to the food suppliers it works with, which are mostly artisan and independent food producers, to have ready for delivery at lunch time. The technology behind Feedr handles logistics planning, in terms of predicting and helping to manage demand for each meal on offer from specific suppliers. There is also a large emphasis on personalised recommendations based on the preferences of individual customers and their order history. Food suppliers include Deliciously Ella, Farmstand, We Grill, Potage and Maple & Fitz. Feedr works with a number of sub-contracted platforms to do the deliveries. In a call, Feedr CEO Riya Grover told me the food tech startup has thus far mainly employed a B2B2C strategy by working directly with companies who want to offer their own “cloud canteen” as a perk provided to employees and as part of an employee wellness strategy. This sees each company that signs up with Feedr subsidise the cost of items on the menu so that workers can have a fresh healthy lunch daily for under £5, or cover the cost entirely. To date, Feedr has fed employees at more than 400 companies, including Airbnb, Etsy, DHL and PwC. Grover also talked…

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