Founders leverage, venture debt and audio-based social networks


This is the 28th edition of Sunday CET, a weekly curation of practical observations from the European investment and startup landscape.

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Writing this from Stockholm where it’s a typical Swedish spring day, cloudy w/ 8 degrees.

I made a few adjustments and added some new sections for this edition, hope you like them. As always, please reply with your thoughts and comments and let’s get the discussion started - I answered to a few of you as there’s an ongoing conversation about US vs Europe from last week.

More money in the market
Startup bets
Interesting people
Research, data, observations
What others think

More money in the market

🇪🇸 Beamonte Investments, based in Boston, USA, announced launching Segovia Capital, a €350 million investment platform focused on investing in small and medium-sized companies in industrial sectors in Spain.

🇮🇱 Sweetwood Ventures, the Luxembourg incorporated venture capital arm of Sweetwood Capital, closed its first Israel-focused venture capital Fund of Funds, at $70 million.

🇵🇱 Inovo Venture Partners from Poland has announced its second €40 million fund to support tech companies throughout the region and accelerate European startups.

🇨🇭 Cédric Waldburger announced Tomahawk.VC, a $20 million decentralized venture capital firm without an office looking to invest in B2B SaaS startups.

Startup bets

🇨🇦 swim goggles with a smart display

🇩🇰 secondary market operator for private, pre-IPO companies

🇫🇮 food products based on insects

🇫🇷 collaborative documentation tool a la G Docs - see use case

🇮🇪 speech recognition technology for kids used for literacy, language learning or fun

🇪🇸 open-source React-based framework designed exclusively for Wordpress

🇸🇪 Google Docs for music production

🇸🇪 in-home groceries delivery

🇨🇭 Airbnb for campervans

🇬🇧 audio sleep and mindfulness app for kids

🇬🇧 open banking platform providing accurate credit scoring

🇬🇧 1-1 appointment with a virtual barber who will coach you to give you that perfect snip


  • About a week ago, a group of US-based investors started making buzz about Clubhouse, an (invite only) audio-based social network. It is a simple, basic app where people can spontaneously jump into voice chat rooms together. You see the unlabeled rooms of all the people you follow, and you can join to talk or just listen along.

    It can be fun, especially now, since we are forced to work at home - whenever you have downtime you hop on and have a chat with, or listen to, whoever interesting is online.

    As, so far, the use is evidenced by a very niched audience (VCs), I’m not sure whether it has a future as a product or it’s just a feature that Zoom or Facebook can copy easily. And even though it looks like a fad used by bored people, there is something there - I do find it interesting in the context of online streaming events, as a perfect complement for the networking aspects.

    If you decompose the value provided by an event, you have the content per se and then you have the networking and meetings from the halls. Clubhouse can play a proxy role for the latter. As a standalone product, it can become an addon for online events, for example, or yet another social network used for personal branding and community building, intersecting with what video is for Instagram these days.

    Also, check out this - a similar idea to Clubhouse but built on top of Zoom. The app creates breakout rooms similar to an in-person conference. Each breakout room is connected to a Zoom meeting + a Google Doc and people can move themselves between breakout rooms.

Interesting people

🇬🇧 Sarah Nöckel

Job: Investment manager @ Northzone

Background: Mixed, both in terms of verticals - media, research and venture investment - and in terms of experience - builder, (head of) operations and investor.

Why interesting?
Sarah built fast and from nothing Femstreet, a 10k people community for women in tech and venture capital. All centered around a newsletter, a Slack group, and an events program. Probably just a mean to a career as investor but building an online community from zero is not exactly trivial these days.

Twitter | Medium

🇩🇰 Rasmus Bjerngaard

Job: Co-founder / CEO @ Nextfood

Background: mixed, worked as an investor for seven years and made the switch to the startup world 4 years ago.

Why interesting? I learnt about Rasmus through what he is building - a tech-based plant growing startup, a problem which is not easy to solve, with a business case far from straightforward and conventional. Also, the guy had worked as an investor beforehand - it is not very often to see somebody with a secure investment career to jump ship in the risky, uncomfortable startup world, it’s usually the other way around.


📚 Books

Carlota Perez - Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital

Ran into it last week, written two decades ago and explaining extremely well the good and the bad economic periods and cycles. It also connects directly tech innovation to paradigm shifts, with specific history examples of bang, bust and renewal going all the way back to the industrial revolution. It’s a handy, eye-opening read, fitting to the times we’re living.

By all means get it and read it, if you didn’t already. I asked my friends from CEO Library to help with a couple of free copies for you, just email me if you would like one, first come, first serve.

Research, data, observations

🇪🇸 Very good series of articles about venture debt - explained in plain English and founder friendly. VD is a financing option these days!

🇬🇧 Reminder: Why Venture Debt: The Facts

🇩🇪 A simple mobile subs metrics dashboard for early stage consumer software subscription companies (NB: examples are good, building your own models is better)

🇺🇦 Great insights about the future of remote working put together by Gitlab

🇪🇺 In many European countries around 50% of startups have put staff on temporary leave. But will these employees ever come back?

🇪🇺 The 2020 European venture activity, Pitchbook version.

🇪🇺 Covid-19 VC Barometer in Europe (week #5 - April 13-17)

🇪🇺 COVID-19's Influence on the European VC Market. (Pitchbook again)

🇫🇮 AR done right - use an app to animate colorful murals on exterior walls

🇫🇮 Another AR application made in Finland - as the City of Helsinki wants to make the May 1 celebration virtual, they will stream live concerts and the users browser based system will create detailed virtual environment around the artists & lets the avatar audience react via emojis. Pretty cool.

🇫🇷 After lock downs in France, micromobility operator Pony was able to shift 40% of its shared scooter and bike fleet to personal rentals in France. For its shared fleet, average trip lengths increased by 25%.

🇩🇰 The Danish news site Zetland did an experiment where they offered people to set their own price for the first month -> 1,443 people subscribed:
- 34% paid nothing
- 15% paid $1-$3
- 34% paid $3-$7
- 16% paid $7-$19
- ...and 1% paid more than the $19 (the standard rate)

🇫🇷 NBC sold its 25% stake in EuroNews, the pay-TV group headquartered in France. The deal now gives the Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris an 88% stake in EuroNews.

🇩🇪 BuzzFeed’s office from Germany is for sale - “If we aren’t able to identify partners, we will unfortunately have to cease operations..”

🇬🇧 Overseas student fees as % of total UK universities income can go as high as 70%. (data for 2018-19, source)

🇩🇪 Berlin will finally have a decent airport starting this fall

🇳🇴 This week, Norway opened the world's longest and deepest underwater tunnel. It's 14km long and part of a €150 billion initiative to upgrade Norway's infrastructure. This is how they held the ribbon cutting ceremony.

🇬🇧 An art gallery has transformed its collection into jigsaws for people to piece together online.


  • Premium games generate $10 billion in March alone

What others think

🇬🇧 When negotiating terms, founders have more leverage than they think. Why is that and how do you get to a successful outcome? thread

🇬🇧 What’s next for private markets + deck (David Kelnar)

🇬🇧 Our world in flow change + Six scenarios for the post-pandemic world (David Galbraith)

🇬🇧 A great deck on leadership (Hugh MacLeod)


Happy Sunday!

Thanks for reading 🙌

Reply with comments or other topics or resources that would be helpful in future editions.

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