To identify the most promising collaborative consumption start-ups in Europe Informilo asked some of the most active investors to nominate and evaluate companies outside their own portfolios. Europe has some strong entrants in areas such as collaborative consumption, big data and social gaming . Some, like Hailo, Housetrip, Funding Circle, Datasift and BlaBlaCar are well-known, others such as Ourcrowd , etoro and Pretty Simple Games are just starting to grab headlines. Below find our picks for the top 25.
What it does: Links licensed cab drivers with would-be passengers via smartphone apps.
Why it’s hot: An app that links licensed cab drivers – starting in London, but now also offering the service in New York, Dublin, Boston, Toronto and Chicago – with passengers via the two main smartphone platforms, iOS and Android, is set to become a must-have for denizens of those cities. In late December Hailo raised an additional $30 million in funding, on top of earlier investment of $17 million; the latest round values the company at $140 million. The business is solidly backed for further development as it moves to take on Uber in the U.S.
What it does: A trusted community marketplace that connects drivers with empty seats to passengers looking for a ride.
Why it’s hot: BlaBlaCar has 2.4 million members across nine countries and transports more than 600,000 people every month, creating an entirely new, people-powered transport network. The company claims over 10 million seats have been offered since January 2009, and over one billion miles shared.
What it does:Calls itself the world’s largest ride-sharing service.
Why it’s hot: Carpooling.com connects people in over 40 countries so they can share their rides. Since its launch 10 years ago as a student project 40 million rides have been shared. Two million users are served every month; each day the site offers access to 750,000 rides. Investors include Earlybird Venture Capital (Series A & B) and Daimler AG (Series C).
What it does: Online holiday rentals.
Why it’s hot: More than 130,000 properties are available in over 15,000 destinations around the world. By the end of 2012, travelers had booked more than 3 million nights’ sleep via HouseTrip since its launch in 2010. In October HouseTrip.com announced a $40 million Series C funding round led by Accel Partners, with existing investors Balderton Capital and Index Ventures also participating. In its first year, HouseTrip.com was awarded the CTI startup label of the year and VentureKick awards. The company is focused on Europe, the largest segment of the $100 billion+ global holiday rental market.
What it does: Luxury version of Airbnb.
Why it’s hot: onefinestay offers stays in “unhotels” — high-end properties that onefinestay prepares for guests with toiletries, linens and local recommendations. The company manages more than 1,000 properties in London and New York City. In June 2012 it raised $12 million in Series B financing led by Canaan Partners; existing investors Index Ventures and PROfounders participated in this round, bringing total capital raised to date to $16 million. Revenues increased tenfold in 2011.
What it does: Vacation home exchange.
Why it’s hot: Launched in 2011, Love Home Swap offers members (who pay a subscription fee) the opportunity to swap their homes for stylish residences across 100 countries for free. The company grew tenfold after an initial £850,000 investment; in November 2012 it raised another £800,000 from its investor MMC Ventures plus several angels. It’s currently on track to hit 50,000 homes listed by mid-2013, through growth and possibly acquisitions. Also working on a new form of insurance product tailored to swaps.
What it does:An online marketplace to help businesses find fast finance, and investors get better returns.
Why it’s hot: Backed by Index Ventures, Union Square Ventures, and a number of prominent angel investors to the tune of £13.2 million so far. More than 1,000 businesses have been funded, with a total loan value to date of £78.5 million. Now lending more than £1 million a month, usually in tranches of £5,000 to £100,000. Tapping into the trend for peer-to-peer lending.
What it does:VC/crowd-funding platform.
Why it’s hot:So far 16 start-ups have raised some $12 million in capital since the February 5th launch of OurCrowd, a hybrid venture capital and crowd-funding platform that has its own $5.6 million fund. Some have used the platform to close rounds in a matter of days. OurCrowd is currently focused on Israeli start-ups, and its membership is restricted to investors meeting stringent accreditation requirements.
What it does:Equity crowdfunding platform.
Why it’s hot:Crowdcube is the UK’s leading crowdfunding player, with 49 businesses raising more than £10 million so far. The company has 35,000 member investors. Launched in February 2011, in early May 2013 Crowdcube used its own platform to raise £1.5 million in just three days from 259 investors. Existing investors met the initial funding target of £250,000 within the first five hours of the pitch going live, making it the fastest equity funding on a crowdfunding website anywhere in the world.
What it does:Equity crowdsourcing platform.
Why it’s hot:Seedrs was the world’s first equity crowdfunding platform to be approved by a major financial regulator (the FSA in the UK), in May 2012. It opened for business in July of last year and allows any UK resident to invest from £10 up to a maximum of £150,000 in seed-stage start-up companies. So far, 25 start-ups have collectively raised a total of £1.3 million in investment through the platform.
What it does:The UK’s largest peer-to-peer lending site.
Why it’s hot:Launched in March 2005, Zopa was the world’s first online peer-to-peer lending marketplace. The company has around half a million members who have now lent more than £309 million between each other. Voted ‘Moneywise’s Most Trusted Personal Loans Provider’ for 2012, 2011 and 2010, in December Zopa raised an undisclosed sum from Augmentum Capital. This follows £22.2 million raised in three rounds in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The funds will support further growth in the UK.
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
What it does:Social investment network.
Why it’s hot: Almost three million traders have placed more than 56 million trades through this Israeli company’s award-winning OpenBook and WebTrader platforms since January 2012. Traders can learn from each other, share live trading information and use their collective trading power. Received Best of Show at FinovateFall for its Social Trading Index, which enables traders to create their own indices and make them available to the eToro social investment network.
What it does:Global online marketplace offering tasks and services, usually for $5.
Why it’s hot:The site lists more than1.5 million services available for $5 to $150. Provides a “living marketplace” for micro-entrepreneurs in more than 200 countries. In 2012 Accel Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners invested $15 million in Fiverr, bringing total funding to $20 million.
UNDER THE RADAR/EARLY STAGE
What it does:Peer-to-peer car rental portal.
Why it’s hot:Previously known as VoitureLib, Drivy enables car owners to rent out their vehicles when they’re not in use. Alven Capital and Index Ventures invested €2 million in Drivy last year. The service is currently focused on France, where it has more than 5,000 cars available to rent and more than 50,000 registered users. The investment will undoubtedly be used to grow outside Drivy’s home country.
What it does:Modern-day version of a supper club.
Why it’s hot: Cookening’s initial goal is to be a platform for tourists in Paris to find an authentic home-cooked meal. But the service is open to users around the world. The company is self-funded so far and is currently looking for funding to start doing “some pragmatic and tactical user acquisition.”
What it does:Story-sharing community.
Why it’s hot: A site where (mainly young) users can publish their own stories — or movellas as the founders call them — and interact with a community to talk about writing and stories. The Movellas platform currently sees more than 75,000 monthly visits and 500,000 monthly eBook downloads. Received €500,000 in angel funding in 2011.
What it does:Social “expressions” platform.
Why it’s hot: Urturn provides templates and virtual stickers to allow users to customize photos, add music or video clips, and then share them on Urturn or on other social platforms. Until January the company was know as Webdoc. In mid-May Urturn launched an iOS app, and announced it had received $13.4 million in Series A funding from Balderton Capital ($10.7 million) and the private equity arm of Debiopharm Group ($2.7 million).
What it does:Shared meals.
Why it’s hot: A non-profit foundation, Shareyourmeal.net’s model is similar to Cookening’s, except meals are taken away rather than eaten in the cook’s home, and the service focuses on encouraging neighbors to share meals with one another to meet new people and reduce food waste. More than 73,000 meals have already been shared through the service, which is now expanding globally.
BIG DATA REVOLUTION
Reading, UK (& San Francisco, U.S.)
What it does: Filtering and data mining software that targets social media.
Why it’s hot: Datasift enables companies to track and filter trending topics, sentiment and geolocation data from Twitter, for a variety of business uses. Last year it raised €4.7 million funding from IA Ventures and GRP Partners, bringing the total raised to $15 million. It also has data partnerships with Lexalytics and Klout.
NEW ENTRANTS IN GAMING
What it does:Real-time social gaming developer.
Why it’s hot: Since pivoting to become a “tablet-first” publisher the company has released two games: Hay Market and Clash of Clans; one is a global hit; the other a blockbuster. The company is now generating revenues of $2.4 million a day (up from $500,000 a day last year).
Pretty Simple Games
What it does:Social gaming.
Why it’s hot: In the past few months, Pretty Simple’s social investigation game Criminal Case has gained more than four million daily active users, putting the company among the top 10 game developers on Facebook. Its first title, My Shops, had 300,000 daily users six months after launch in 2010 and still has more than one million monthly active users. Idinvest Partnersinvested $2.5 million in the company in 2011. Pretty Simple expect 2013 revenues to be in the “8 figures range.”
What it does:Social gaming.
Why it’s hot: Since its launch in 2009, Plarium’s games and applications have seen more than 70 million players worldwide, with more than 3 million daily players. Revenues have doubled each year. Plarium is Facebook’s number three hardcore games developer, and is currently planning an expansion into the mobile arena. Plarium games are currently available on all major social networks, including Facebook, Google+, Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki and Mail.ru.
What it does:Social game development environment.
Why it’s hot: Since its launch 18 months ago, Social Quantum has created studios in the CIS and Eastern Europe; grown its registered user base to over 50 million, with five million unique visitors a day; and gained a place as the leading game applications on the social network “Odnoklassniki.ru.” Its Megapolis game was the success story of the month on Facebook in December with more than three million monthly active users, many of whom were playing on the go on iOS and Android.
What it does:Social gaming.
Why it’s hot: Founded in 2008, Social Point is one of the leading social and casual game providers on the major social networks. Its games are played worldwide by nearly 38 million people every month and are translated into many different languages. Its titles are among the most popular on-line and include Dragon City, Social Empires, and Social Wars. The company has raised more than $10 million from Nauta Capital, Idinvest Partners, and BBVA.
What it does:Social “edu-gaming.”
Why it’s hot: Founded by entrepreneurs from Google, Amazon, Playfish, EA and academia, Brainbow claims to “turn knowledge into games.” The founders believe games can have a positive impact on society by combining games, health and education into fun and social experiences that will challenge the user’s brain. Seed investors (for a £1 million+ round) include Initial Capital, DN Capital, LVP, Lifeline Ventures, Jaina Capital and prominent angel investors such as Anil Hansjee (ex-Google), Frank Sagnier (ex-EA) and Limvirak Chea (Inmobi). The company has released ‘Brainbow Numbers’ and ’6 Numbers’ as iOS apps so far.