To identify the EMEA companies to watch in 2015, Informilo asked investors to nominate start-ups outside their own portfolios. Since Europe and Israel have an abundance of great start-ups we have not included late-stage companies that are expected to IPO in the next 12 to 18 months such as Spotify, Outbrain, Taboola, Adyen, Klarna, Takeaway and Delivery Hero.
What it does: Ride-sharing community.
Why it’s hot: BlaBlaCar, which helped pioneer this space, has 10 million members across 13 countries and transports more than two million people every month. In August it raised the largest VC round ever in a French start-up — $100 million — from Index Ventures, Accel Partners, ISAI and Lead Edge Capital. The company’s previous round was $10 million in 2012.
What it does: Social investment network.
Why it’s hot: eToro’s social trading platform enables members to engage with global markets by allowing them to see what others are investing in and then copy them. The service has four million members in more than 170 countries. In December the company raised $27 million from China’s Pin An Ventures and SBT Venture Capital, bringing total funding to just under $60 million.
What it does: Global marketplace for tasks and services.
Why it’s hot: Fiverr provides a “living marketplace” for millions of micro-entrepreneurs in 196 countries. So far it has enabled more than three million tasks. In August it raised a $30 million C round from Qumra Capital and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Accel Partners, and individuals, bringing funding to $50 million.
What it does: Enables individuals to lend to SMEs.
Why it’s hot: Backed by Accel Partners, Index Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Ribbit Capital and angels, Funding Circle has enabled more than $750 million in loans to 7,000+ businesses. In October 2013 it merged with San Francisco-based Endurance Lending Network, following a $37 million round; in July 2014 it raised $65 million, bringing total raised to $123 million.
What it does: Delivers meal kits.
Why it’s hot: HelloFresh delivers pre-measured ingredients and recipes so users can make meals at home. The service is available in six countries and serves more than one million meals a month. In June HelloFresh raised $50 million in Series D funding from Insight Venture Partners and existing investor Phenomen VC. Total funding is now $67 million.
What it does: Enterprise cloud collaboration.
Why it’s hot: Huddle is “building the most trusted network for secure cross-organization collaboration in the cloud.” Its services are used by more than 100,000 organizations worldwide, including SEGA, AKQA, Unilever, P&G and KIA Motors. In December Huddle raised $51 million in a Series D round led by Zouk Capital, bringing total funding to $81 million. The funds will support growth in the U.S and Europe.
What it does: Electronic voting.
Why it’s hot: Scytl’s election management and voting platform has been used in more than 38 countries over the last 10 years. The company claims the largest patent portfolio of the industry, with more than 40 international patents and patent applications. In August Scytl secured a $44 million investment as part of a $104 million financing round. It has been profitable since 2006.
What it does: Foreign currency transfer services.
Why it’s hot: TransferWise keeps currency transfer costs down by using the real exchange rate and charging a low service fee. Customers have made foreign exchange transfers totaling more than £1 billion so far. Said to be in advanced talks with Sequoia Capital for a $50 million investment that would value the company at almost $1 billion.
What it does: Information for fixed income liquidity.
Why it’s hot: Algomi connects fixed income professionals, helping them form better trading relationships in a landscape of changing capital, leverage and liquidity requirements. The services are live or being installed in nine banks, and Algomi is opening its network to the buyside now. Rumored to be on the verge of raising a round that will give it a $400 million valuation.
What it does: Bitcoin wallet and website.
Why it’s hot: Blockchain’s site began in 2011 as a Blockchain explorer intended to make it easier for Bitcoin users to study transactions and analyze the bitcoin economy. Shortly after, it launched its popular web-based bitcoin wallet and today it is one of the most highly trafficked bitcoin websites. The company has raised more than $30 million from investors in the U.S. and UK.
What it does: Transaction network for the fund industry.
Why it’s hot: Calastone claims its automated transaction service has enabled the fund industry to reduce the cost of transactions by over 60%. It has more than 730 clients and 6,100 network connections and has carried order value in excess of $280 billion. In 2013 the company raised $18 million from Accel Partners and shareholder Octopus Investments, bring total funding to $23 million.
Reading, UK (& San Francisco, CA, U.S.)
What it does: Social Media big data.
Why it’s hot: Datasift enables its more than 1,000 customers in 40 countries to track and filter trending topics, sentiment and geolocation data from a number of social media sources, for a variety of business uses. It process two billion posts each day. Has raised close to $80 million to date; rumored to be negotiating a Series D round at a $500 million valuation now.
What it does: Cyber intelligence service.
Why it’s hot: Companies expose a great deal of information online, particularly through social media. Hackers use this to launch focused attacks. Sorting through over 80 million sources of information, Digital Shadows delivers a “hacker’s eye view” of an organization, then identifies and helps mitigate risks. Customers include some of the world’s largest banks; revenues in 2014 were expected to exceed £1 million.
What it does: Collect direct debits online.
Why it’s hot: GoCardless collects more than half a billion pounds each year for over 30,000 organizations, with year-on-year growth of 600% since it started. In January 2013 it raised a $7 million Series B round from Balderton Capital and existing investors Accel Partners and Passion Capital, bringing the total raised to $11.8 million. In October GoCardless launched an enterprise service.
What it does: Credit rating service.
Why it’s hot: Kreditech’s mission is to build a digital bank for the unscored worldwide. It uses 15,000 data points to fuel its proprietary self-learning credit-scoring algorithm. In 2013 it raised $40 million from new and existing investors. It recently secured a $200 million credit facility from Victory Park Capital. The company is growing 80% per quarter with a current revenue run rate of $25 million.
What it does: Social fashion shopping site.
Why it’s hot: Lyst partners with more than 12,000 leading brands and stores, so users can follow favorites and shop from one place. It has grown over 400% in each of the past two years, and generates $60 million for its brands. Two million shoppers visit the site each month. In January 2014 it raised a $14 million round from Balderton Capital, DFJ Esprit and Accel Partners.
What it does: Online investment management.
Why it’s hot: Nutmeg is the UK’s first online discretionary fund manager. The minimum investment is £1,000. It serves more than 35,000 users and is one of the top 25 wealth managers in the UK. In June it raised $32 million from Balderton Capital, Schroders, Charles Dunstone and existing investors Draper Associates and Armada Investment Group, to reach $50 million in funding.
What it does: Customer experience platform.
Why it’s hot: Qubit collects more than 300 data points to help its customers understand visitors in detail. Founded by four ex-Google employees, Qubit’s data hub processes more than 1.5 billion customer events every day. Clients include Pandora, Superdry, and BT. In September it closed a $26 million Series B round; investors included Accel Partners, Salesforce Ventures and Balderton Capital.
What it does: Members-only travel flash sale site.
Why it’s hot: Secret Escapes negotiates discounted rates (up to 70% off) for luxury hotels and holidays. It’s the UK’s largest private sales site for luxury travel, with over 10 million members worldwide. It operates in Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland and the U.S. Secret Escapes has raised more than £14 million in funding from Index Ventures, Octopus Investments and Atlas Venture.
What it does: Smart mobile keyboard.
Why it’s hot: SwiftKey builds apps that learn from users to make text entry easier and faster. In 2013 and 2012 its app spent more days as Google Play’s No.1 paid download than any other. SwiftKey raised $17.5 million in September 2013 from Index Ventures, Octopus, Cambridge Capital Group and angels, bringing total funding to $21.6 million.
What it does: Global phone directory app.
Why it’s hot: The Truecaller app uses a crowdsourced database to find contact details, and provide caller ID and call-blocking services, for 100 million users in more than 100 countries. In February 2014 the company raised $18.8 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and existing investors; in October it raised $60 million from Sequoia, Atomico, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
What it does: Online fraud prevention.
Why it’s hot: Trustev offers real-time, online verification using social fingerprinting technology. By pattern-matching hundreds of data points about visitors, it lowers lower e-commerce fraud and boosts sales. The company has raised more than $3 million from Enterprise Ireland, ACT Venture Capital, Greycroft Partners, Mangrove Capital Partners, and Telefónica’s Wayra accelerator.
What it does: Marketplace for second-hand clothes.
Why it’s hot: Vinted was founded in 2008 to provide a marketplace for girls in Vilnius to swap clothes with one another. Today it has three million members, 14 million listings, and 60 million monthly visits. In January 2014 Vinted announced a $27 million Series B round led by Insight Venture Partners with participation from Accel, bringing total funding to more than $35 million.
Under The Radar
What it does: Alternative currency trading platform.
Why it’s hot: Still in stealth mode, CRYEX is expected to announce its exchange soon. It says it has attracted a number of high-profile financial industry participants to collaborate and work with the company, and that it raised a significant seed round in late 2014.
What it does: Improves yield for e-commerce merchants.
Why it’s hot: Yieldify’s analytics platform converts visitors into customers. It influences user behavior to drive down cart abandonment. Its communications increase the opt-in rate to 5%-30%, which translates into a real increase of 1,000%-6,000% (average opt-ins are typically just 0.5%). Clients include O2, Phillips and Play.com. It closed a $1.3 million round with leading angel investors in March.
Updates and Clarifications
Update at 15:00, 19 Jan 2015: An earlier version of this story had Blockchain as a British Virgin Island registered company. The company is no longer BVI registered and is now registered in Luxembourg.