Setting a new record for Hungarian companies, this €10M Series A proves that CEE startups are gaining visibility on the world stage. Companies like UIPath, Brainly, and Vinted are also brandishing the flag for the region, demonstrating that it’s possible to attract international attention even when your headquarters aren’t based in a traditional startup hub.
But of course, it all starts with the quality of the product.
Strong Risk Tech as a Cornerstone
From its earliest incarnation, SEON was always about strong technology. When Tamas and Bence couldn’t find a good risk startup to protect their crypto exchange from fraudsters, they decided to build it themselves.
The products, in short, were designed as an antidote to legacy risk companies, whose expensive integrations and outdated data analysis tools did not meet the needs of small businesses. They wanted more agile tools, with better results and faster implementation.
It turns out SEON and its early adopters weren’t the only ones interested. Innovative anti-fraud technology is increasingly valued by big companies too. Air France, Avis, and Patreon are now all big fans
Focusing on the Next Steps
Closing a funding round feels both like a victory and a challenge. The stakes get higher. Business decisions become more impactful. Luckily, SEON is already a sustainable startup. But it doesn’t mean they plan on resting on our laurels.
SEON has a long-term game plan and a big mission: to eradicate online fraud.
This is only possible thanks to all the people at the startup who work hard every day to make it happen. Growing the team, enabling their growth and that of their products to benefit customers is exactly what this investment is all about.
Glovo, one of the world’s leading multi-category delivery players, today announced that it has raised €450M ($530M) in its Series F funding round led by New York-based investment managers Lugard Road Capital and the Luxor Capital Group.
The round also saw participation from returning investors including Delivery Hero, Drake Enterprises, and GP Bullhound, and reflects both the significant growth potential in the online delivery sector and the strong demand from existing shareholders to invest in the company.
“We’re thrilled to have the continued backing of Luxor Capital Group and all of our existing investors. Over the last few months, we’ve moved very, very quickly but our vision remains unchanged. This investment will allow us to double-down in our core markets, accelerate our leadership position in places where we are already very strong, and continue to expand our excellent Q-Commerce division, as well as bring new innovations to our unique multi-category offering to extend more choice to our customers.” Said,Oscar Pierre, Co-founder, and CEO of Glovo.
Following this latest funding round, the largest in history for a Spanish startup, Glovo will invest in expanding its footprint in the 20 markets in which it currently operates. The company will also focus on growing its newly-launched Q-Commerce division, which forms a significant part of its strategic commitment to multi-category deliveries in these markets.
Earlier this year Glovo announced a €100M partnership with Swiss-based real estate firm Stoneweg to grow its network of dark stores and the hiring of new CTO, Narek Verdian, who recently served as vice-president of engineering at American Express. Verdian will oversee the expansion of the engineering team from 300 to 500 at Glovo’s Barcelona headquarters and its tech hubs in Madrid and Warsaw.
Q-Commerce division excels in “ultra-fast” delivery
The focus of the funding for Glovo will center around its Q-Commerce division and deepening its unique multi-category offerings in all the markets in which it operates. The company, which has a strong base of more than 10 million users and a marketplace of premier partners, is paying particular attention to growing its groceries and retail categories through key local partnerships. In its biggest cities, it’s already able to provide ultra-fast last-mile delivery within 10 minutes through its network of dark stores, as the company anticipates a permanent shift in consumer habits towards same-day and instant delivery.
More focus on groceries and partnerships with leading retailers
To spur on the growth of its groceries category, Glovo will continue to seek strategic partnerships similar to its deals with supermarkets such as Carrefour, Continente, and Kaufland, while also investing in its own infrastructure and fulfillment centers. The company currently operates dark stores in cities including Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon and Milan, and will be opening similar stores in Valencia, Rome, Porto, and Bucharest, among others. The company aims to have 200 dark stores by the end of 2021.
Jonathan Green, Founder and Portfolio Manager at Lugard Road Capital, said: “Our investment in Glovo reflects our commitment to a company and leadership team that continues to innovate and disrupt in the on-demand delivery space. As a long-term investor in Glovo, we are excited to watch the company continue to delight its customers through its unique multi-category offering, amidst an enormous market opportunity in both existing and new geographies.”
Glovo is a pioneering multi-category delivery app and one of the world’s leading delivery platforms. Founded in Barcelona in 2015, it operates in Southern Europe and EEMEA. The app connects users with restaurants, grocery chains, pharmacies, and retail stores, and also includes an “anything” category that allows users to order whatever they want in their city.
About Lugard Road Capital
Lugard Road Capital is a multi-billion dollar global investment fund primarily focused on public and private companies in the Internet, software, consumer, and technology sectors.
About Luxor Capital Group
Luxor Capital Group, LP (“Luxor”) is a multi-billion dollar investment fund that was founded in 2002. Applying a bottom-up, fundamental approach, Luxor takes a long-term view towards investing and often works closely with the management teams of their portfolio companies.
Including Series C funding, the innovative start-up has raised €33 million since its inception in 2015. The company will more than double its 140-strong team of parametric designers, developers, researchers, production specialists, and marketing experts to continue to push the boundaries of furniture design and technology.
Tylko, the Polish digital-first furniture company, announced today the close of a €22 million Series C round of funding led by Israel-based Pitango Ventures and Finnish Evli Growth Partners. Since its creation in 2015, Tylko has served almost 60,000 satisfied customers and shows no signs of slowing down. The €22m investment follows a strong year for Tylko, with its unique approach to furniture design generating a 132% increase in sales in 2020 in comparison to previous years.
The new investment shows confidence in Tylko’s offering of premium design coupled with a user experience that puts the customer in control. The brand’s unique business model is premised on its belief that through investment in innovation and cutting-edge technology, the furniture industry can be swayed from ‘fast furniture’ towards durable, user-first products. By embedding conscious consumption in everything it makes, Tylko incorporates sustainability into high-quality and well-designed products.
Angel investors in this Series C round include Brian Walker, former CEO of furniture giant Herman Miller, who had been advising Tylko prior to his investment, and Mark Williamson, COO of renowned US-based online classes platform MasterClass. As part of this investment, Rami Kalish from Pitango Ventures, Mikko Kuitunen from Evli Growth Partners and Brian Walker will join the company’s Supervisory Board.
A future-proof business model
Tylko has seen sales during the pandemic rise by 132%, as its future-proof business model adopts an online-only, direct-to-consumer (D2C) and made-to-order approach. Individually designed by the customer from home, based on the principles of parametric design, each item is an individual solution. From each order Tylko’s unique proprietary software automates the manufacturing process for its production partners: a directly scalable process.
These advantages have driven the €33 million in funding which Tylko has raised to date.
Tylko will use the Series C capital to find the next generation of creators and talent who will help to drive the company’s mission and vision to make ever-better products through industry-leading technology and a personalised approach to design.
Mikko Kuitunen, Growth Partner at Evli Growth Partners, Founder and CEO of Vincit. “We are impressed by Tylko’s exceptional growth and ability to scale the company as a market leader, offering new, customized solutions within the furniture market. Tylko’s strong impact-driven vision and made-to-order business model drives the market’s transition towards more sustainable solutions. By optimizing material use, production efficiency and offering customers unique, long-lasting design we believe Tylko is positioned at the forefront of such a transition.”
€36m in sales for Tylko during the pandemic
The successful Series C funding round comes off the back of a strong year for Tylko. With the pandemic transforming homes into workplaces, schools and beyond, our interiors have never been more important. Tylko’s unique offering – environmentally conscious, customizable, premium design – has struck a chord with taste-conscious and environmentally minded consumers alike.
In 2020, during the first lockdown, the company saw a 40% MOM growth in trade, with sales from June to August tripling compared to the same time period in 2019. Last year alone, Tylko served over 30,000 satisfied customers.
The furniture market is one of the largest consumer categories. Its online penetration was experiencing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14% before the Covid-19 pandemic, creating market potential in the future. The total furniture market size in Europe and US in 2020 was €341.1 bn. Tylko’s sales have doubled every year since 2015, with 2020 seeing €36m revenue and profitability in Q4.
Rami Kalish, Managing Partner and Co-Founder at Pitango “Tylko has a huge vision to disrupt the furniture industry that has “frozen in time” with its outstanding technology and unwavering commitment to protect Mother Earth. We believe in Tylko because its outstanding founding team excels in all the business parameters of scale, growth and customer satisfaction, while maintaining excellence in executing an inspiring ESG and sustainability vision.”
Create customer value where sustainability and durability are a norm
Tylko is committed to developing contemporary products that positively influence people’s lives whilst preventing negative effects on the planet. The furniture industry contributes heavily to the climate crisis: it is responsible for over a billion trees falling every year, alongside 670 thousand tonnes of landfill in the UK and 10 million tons in the US. Despite the increasing importance of climate, this trend continues to accelerate.
Jacek Majewski, Co-Founder, Co-CEO Tylko, commented on the planned expansion: “Tylko’s vision has always been about putting the user experience first, in order to create a product that is perfectly designed, high-quality and sustainable. We believe that driving sustainability into this huge industry can only be done by creating highly desirable products that will win over customers by their features rather than certificates.”
Constant product rotations and disposable furniture have become the norm across the entire industry, with badly sourced materials compounding the issue. Tylko wants to transform this behaviour with a product that is perfectly adjusted to the individual’s space and needs, is easy to assemble and disassemble, and provides a hassle-free product experience. Every item is a durable, individual solution, thereby requiring less consumption and so helping the planet.
As part of the €22 million investment, Tylko will continue to invest in:
Its supply chain, to develop and create new sustainable and durable materials suitable for the furniture industry.
Improved delivery, packaging and logistics processes to ensure the most efficient supply chain optimisation.
An expanded network of collaborators (artists, designers, brands) to reach more people.
Technologies that improve Tylko’s customer experience (AR, Space Recognition, Parametric Design tools).
Tylko’s ambitious investment in people
From its founding in 2015, Tylko began to put together a workplace where employees have the freedom to create, develop and contribute towards the industry. 2021 offers an enormous opportunity to rapidly expand its team which already includes 140 specialists, investing in the best talent in the industry.
Mikołaj Molenda, Co-Founder, Co-CEO Tylko, added:“Right now, we need to invest in the best people in the industry to work with us and achieve Tylko’s mission – to help us build the value for customers and shape the future of the furniture industry. To change our outlook on our home and interior decisions we make. What we offer is a freedom to think, do, change and evolve. Come and join us as we work on innovative solutions for people and the planet.”
Global expansion and new products
Additionally, the new funding will support Tylko’s further expansion into markets beyond Europe as well as the launch of new product categories. Currently, Tylko’s portfolio consists of the original Type01 in Plywood and Veneer and its successor the Type02, two product families in which customers can configure anything from a bookcase to a shoe rack to a TV stand.
In late 2020, Tylko introduced a new product category, with a new version of the configurator and extra features. This illustrates how easily Tylko can expand its product portfolio: simply with further software upgrades, a whole new product family can be made. Further product development in this way is planned for 2021.
University of Warsaw researchers and deepsense.ai launch reinforcement learning project powered by Google’s TensorFlow Research Cloud
Researchers from the University of Warsaw, Google AI and deepsense.ai take on a new reinforcement learning challenge on Cloud TPU hardware accelerators. The goal of the experiment is to end-to-end train an artificial intelligence to play video games fully inside a computation graph.
A team from the University of Warsaw made up of Piotr Miłoś, Błażej Osiński and Henryk Michalewski, has started a collaboration on reinforcement learning research with Łukasz Kaiser from the Google Brain team and with researchers from deepsense.ai. This project is connected to a research program on RL that deepsense.ai started last year.
In the experiment, an artificial intelligence will be end-to-end trained to play video games fully inside a computation graph. Assuming that a game simulator would also be a part of the graph, this could make tasks such as training AI to play video games even faster than what deepsense.ai’s team achieved last year. The intent is to run the training process entirely on Cloud TPUs, which are new machine learning accelerators designed by Google. This will save time previously spent on communication between accelerators and a host computer.
The main experiments are being run on Cloud TPUs via the TensorFlow Research Cloud program and supported by Google Warsaw’s Antonio Gulli, Ignacy Kowalczyk, and Maciej Pytel, who are helping us to deploy our experiments on the Google Cloud Platform. TFRC provides ML researchers with access to second-generation Cloud TPUs, each of which provides 180 teraflops of machine learning acceleration.
Henryk Michalewski, a research team leader on the project, offered his appreciation. “Many thanks to Google for sharing early access to Cloud TPUs with us, as well as to Antonio Gulli and Ignacy Kowalczyk for providing the Google Cloud Platform power to deploy our experiments. With such a strong infrastructure, we’re perfectly equipped to tackle our ambitious goal and leverage the research on reinforcement learning efficiency we started last year.”
In 2017, Michalewski’s team from deepsense.ai published a paper describing a new method they had developed to train a robotic arm to grip a can of coke. Their work was recognized by the General Chairs of the Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL) as one of 11 noteworthy papers in the reinforcement learning and robotics category. The team presented the paper in November at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. The method could be used, for example, to train humanoid robots to combine single steps into a walk or a run.
About deepsense.ai: deepsense.ai supports organizations in unlocking their data potential at all stages of data science maturity. The company delivers AI-based solutions and helps clients grow data science skills in-house under the Training & Development Hub. It has also developed two products for data scientists: Neptune – the Machine Learning Lab, and Seahorse, a visual framework powered by Apache Spark. deepsense.ai is founded and managed by CodiLime, an IT consulting and software engineering company providing professional services for global clients in three core areas: Networks, Security and Big Data & Data Science.
When Falcon Heavy lifts off in 2018, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb) a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage, and fuel Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9.
Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with the crew to the Moon or Mars.