the hottest consumer app is from Europe

#80

Happy Sunday from a sunny Stockholm, where we are at last enjoying a streak of beautiful days.

Big welcome to the new subscribers!

Today we cover the details of an investment deal that I haven’t seen on the usual Euro media channels and which will probably be written about extensively in the following days.

Enjoy.


✍️ Observations

The hottest consumer app is from Europe.

This week, while Europeans were busy dealing with the hundreds of millions spent in order to have their groceries delivered in 10 minutes (most of it paid for by the Arabs, which led both deals), a classic tech startup story was unfolding in Andorra, the minuscule state from the Spanish/French border.

This is where two young French developers - Alexis Barreyat and Kévin Perreau - are building an app called BeReal, which allegedly is the next big thing in consumer tech, at par with Clubhouse.

About a year ago Alexis and Kévin developed a mobile app (kind of) like Instagram with a twist - it allows posting a photo a day as it sends a daily alert to users to post a picture within two minutes.

The app is free to download and didn’t really take off until the beginning of 2021.

Fast forward to this week, the two guys, who are the only people working for the app, just raised a whopping $30 million investment round, backed by a16z, Accel and DST.

The story goes that the two founders had a preliminary fundraising deal with Xavier Niel’s people (who was convinced by his son, an avid user of the app) at less than €10 million valuation agreed upon last week.

A couple of days ago the Americans found out and closed a new deal at $150 million.

30 million pre-everything at $150 mil post is more than what Clubhouse raised 14 months ago exactly in the same position as BeReal, but with some Silicon Valley hype on top.

The difference is that the two French already had an initial deal with Xavier, and so the whole transaction became 15X+ more expensive in a few days just because the Americans really wanted in!

This is how it’s done and I know many local European pros just rolling their eyes reading this. When you are the best in the world, the cost of missing out is simply too high to sit out of the game just because you find the entry fee expensive, not too many investors are comfortable with this concept.

Who are the Americans? Accel’s European boss Sonali De Rycker and Andrew Chen of a16z.

Lastly, apart from Americans winning (again) the best local deals, the acid test is of course getting it off the ground and hiring the right people to make it a success. Instagram, Snapchat and the likes badly need competition, let’s see if we can pull it off from Europe.

Product wise, the app feels quite rough and surely needs to have at least a few kinks fixed to provide a smooth experience. Besides, it’d be interesting to find out whether the French behavior (app is popular in Paris and Lyon only) is replicable and scalable in New York or Los Angeles, for example, as Europe is rather a region of late adopters, not of early adopters. Maybe it’s just an incentive problem, certainly a lot of paths to explore.

Also worth mentioning is that BeAble has already an Android version, big plus since Android has 70% market share in Europe.

The biz development is also more difficult here because of fragmentation (different cultures, languages etc) - but nothing that 30 million wouldn’t be able to solve, though.

Traction first now - if I were to take a guess, those guys will move to US soon, it’s just a better place to grow this kind of app, especially a la long, when they will have to implement a monetisation model. Europe is rather a secondary market in a grand scheme of things.

Exciting nonetheless.

Kudos to Eric who had the scoop.

PS. That’s the kind of intel the Nordic 9 customers get on weekly basis. Please subscribe, thank you.


🔥 Interesting deals

Nordics

🇸🇪 Söderberg & Partners, a non-bank provider of financial services, raised $303 million.
🇸🇪 Doktor.se, provider of telemedicine services, raised $60+ million.
🇸🇪 Teemyco, SAAS developer for virtual offices, raised $3.2 million.
🇪🇪 Nordigen, which positions itself as a free version of Tink (an open banking unicorn wannabe), raised $2.6 million.
🇫🇮 eMabler, SAAS developer for EV charging stations, raised $770k.

DACH

🇩🇪 Cognigy, developer of enterprise software used for self-service conversational artificial intelligence automation, raised $44 million.
🇩🇪 Blackrock Neurotech, which does brain-computer interface (BCI) technology and manufacturing, raised $10 million.
🇩🇪 OroraTech, which does SAAS for global wildfire detection and monitoring, raised $7 million.
🇨🇭 FQX, financial service provider of electronic promissory notes, raised $4.7 million.
🇦🇹 Bikemap, operating a community-generated cycling maps platform, also raised.

France

🇫🇷 DataDome, SAAS protecting e-commerce biz against bot-driven fraud, raised $35 million.
🇫🇷 Wethenew, ecommerce operation selling sneakers, raised $12.1 million.
🇫🇷 DivRiots, developers of a framework for frontend developers, raised $3 million.
🇫🇷 June, building an analytics product on top of Segment, raised $1.9 million.

UK

🇬🇧 Antidote, which operates a marketplace for medical research, raised $23.2 million.
🇬🇧 Urban Jungle, which sells insurance for the real estate industry, raised $11.3 million.
🇬🇧 ikigai, which builds a mobile wealth management platform that combines wealth management and everyday banking in one single application, raised $2.7 million.
🇬🇧 Woolf, which does an educational platform sold as a service, raised $2 million.

Other hubs

🇪🇸 Capchase, which sells financial credit against accounts receivables for SAAS companies with recurring revenues, raised $125 million.
They also snagged Henrik Grim of Northzone as GM Europe. Good catch.
🇳🇱 Moonshot, which builds tech used to identify and mitigate online harms, raised $7 million.
🇳🇱 Sentinels, which does a data monitoring software platform for financial institutions, raised $7 million.
🇵🇱 Molecule.one, developers of novel chemical synthesis solutions for synthetic chemists, raised $4.6 million.


🇪🇺 Euro May data

Here’s some Euro investment intel from last month.

Most active investors:

  • VCs: Speedinvest, Kima Ventures

  • angels: Martin Villig, Charlie Songhurst, Didier Valet

  • other types: Eurazeo, Blackrock, Temasek

By region:

  • Europe: Bpifrance, Speedinvest, Kima Ventures

  • Nordics & Baltics: EQT Ventures, Almi Invest

  • DACH: Speedinvest, HTGF, GFC

  • France: Bpifrance, Kima Ventures, Eurazeo

  • UK: Seedcamp, Index Ventures

  • Spain: K Fund

  • USA: Accel, BlackRock, YC

Hubs:

  • London - 61 deals

  • Paris - 44 deals

  • Berlin - 31 deals

  • Stockholm - 31 deals

  • Munich - 17 deals

Largest investment deals:

  • Sinch - $1.14bn

  • Trade Republic - $900M

  • Wefox - $650M

  • Flix - $650M (includes debt)

  • Contentsquare - $500M

Number of deals breakdown:

  • <$500k: 7%

  • $500k-1M: 9%

  • $1-5M: 30%

  • $5-10M: 12%

  • $10-20M: 10%

  • $20-50M: 7%

  • $50M+: 8%

  • undisclosed value: 17%

Sample size: 450 deals (minority equity stakes only, no secondary, debt or grants etc) and 1100 investors active for the month. Data is preliminary as we constantly update it - available for Nordic 9 customers.


💡 Charts and data

Depop user breakdown*

*Context


🚀 Other notes

🇪🇺 This week, two startups building mobile apps dedicated to couple therapy raised - one from Sweden and the other from the UK.

🇪🇺 The decline of Europe:

20 years ago, 41 of the world's 100 most valuable companies were in Europe. Now the figure is down to 15.

This was circulated on Twitter this week, not a surprise if you actually have been doing business in Europe and abroad.

The funniest take on it: Europeans are working to live and less live to work - you cannot teach ambition but this doesn’t have to apply to politicians and how they do their job for creating a thriving business environment.

🇪🇺 And here’s an anecdote that you can take as a strong correlation for Europe not really counting in the worldwide tech business very soon either:

About half of our “new deal activity” [from the deal pipeline] right now is happening outside of the US. And very little of it is in western Europe where most of our non-US investing has been for the last decade.

🇪🇺 Here’s an European pattern for building tech startups:

*Quit comfy software jobs in Germany.
*Move to Paris.
*Build a rough product, put it in front of users.
*Apply to On Deck. Get into On Deck.
*Apply to YC. Get into YC.
*Position startup as a San Francisco one.
*Get back and raise money from European investors.

🇳🇱 Prosus, the Amsterdam-based internet arm of Naspers acquired Stack Overflow, probably one of the best worldwide assets serving software developers from everywhere. Price tag: $1.8 billion.

Prosus is just one arm of Naspers, a South African company that started as a newspaper publisher and made a single amazing investment in 2001: it acquired almost half of Tencent for $32 million, a stake that is now worth about $200 billion. 

🇪🇺 EIF made a total of 86 fund deployments worth €1.8bn in European VC funds in 2020. That is 5.5% of the €33bn Atomico says it was spent by VCs in Europe in 2020.

The numbers are from a report made by the European Investment Fund. From the same report:

1 million EU businesses are already selling goods and services via online platforms, and more than 50% of small and medium-sized enterprises selling through online marketplaces sell cross-border.

🇮🇹 Meet Khaby Lame, the 21-year-old Italian TikTok star with over 55 million followers.

🇪🇺 Good effort from Sifted to make public some benchmarks on equity employee deals. The funny thing is that them reaching out to startups for this created a little PR storm and decisions have been made as a consequence.

🇳🇴 The best-selling car in Norway in May was Ford's electric Mustang.

Battery electric vehicles made up 60.4% of all new cars sold in Norway last month, up from 43.1% last year. link

🇪🇺 The EU unveiled plans for a digital ID wallet that residents could use to access services across the 27-nation bloc

🇨🇭 More than 60% of Nestlé's mainstream food and drinks products do not meet a 'recognised definition of health', according to the company.

🇱🇹 The city of Vilnius installed a circular “door” for a real time portal near its train station that connects to a similar portal in Lublin, Poland, about 600 km away.

🇪🇺 In Europe, a man’s mistress comes over for dinner and eats with the entire family. Then she plays charades with everyone, and she usually wins. The man’s wife doesn’t mind, because she’s tired of charades - fun read

🛠️ Y Combinator launched a job board for their alumni companies

+ Two Y Combinator entrepreneurs were kicked out for talking about issues within the accelerator.

🎤 Clubhouse hired a Head of International whose job is building global communities on Clubhouse. As a coincidence, she is also the wife of an a16z partner, the CH lead investor.

🖊️ If I add just 10 paying subscribers to my Substack newsletter, I generate more money in a single month than I did on Medium over the last year.

+ Facebook’s clone of Substack is like Substack except:
*You can’t write for it. Only people FB is recruiting - and paying - for 2-year deals.
*Facebook doesn’t want politics in its Substack - the stuff everyone reads/loves/hates on Substack.
*It’s called Bulletin.


Thanks for reading 🙌

Created every Sunday by @drnovac of Nordic 9 with weekly notes and observations from the European startup ecosystem.

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