Investment Round: iZettle, Inventure, Manticore Games, Bizzabo

Investment Round is our weekly update on which firms have secured new funding, which areas are seeing the most financing, and who is putting up the cash that enables these companies to keep pushing the capabilities of mobile marketing further.

iZettle secures €40m to accelerate growth
Mobile payments and business platform iZettle has raised €40m (£35.3m) in funding to accelerate its growth strategy and product innovation, as it seeks to expand its reach in Europe, Latin America and beyond. The Series E round reportedly pushes the Stockholm-based company close to a billion-dollar valuation.

The round was led by early backer and venture capital firm Dawn, as well as The Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund and various existing investors. iZettle began as a mobile payments firm in 2011, and has already expanded its reach to become a small business commerce platform, enabling companies to take payments, register and track sales, and get funding. The new funding will help to scale up its offering and power new products for enterprises.

“iZettle is currently in an extensive expansion phase and is in a unique position to make a difference for millions of small businesses,” said Jacob de Geer, co-founder and CEO of iZettle. “Through today’s announcement we’re able to allocate additional resources in order to accelerate our ambitious growth plan and product innovation. I’m proud to welcome such renowned, long-term investors to the iZettle family.”

“iZettle gives small businesses the digital tools they need to gain the competitive edge against big corporations, which is crucial in today’s technology-driven market place,” said Josh Bell, general partner at Dawn. “The company is a true disruptor and we are delights to be co-leading the round in one of Europe’s signature fintech businesses, as it continues its expansion drive.”

Finnish VC firm Inventure announces new €110m fund for early-stage tech startups
Inventure, a venture capital firm that focuses on Nordic tech entrepreneurs, has completed the first close of its new fund, Inventure Fund III, with €110m earmarked for small, cutting-edge firms that are carrying out the next generation of tech development in the region. The firm is hoping to up the total investment available to €135m by the end of the year.

With contributions from the European Investment Fund, Finnish Industry Investment, Nordea Life Finland, ELO, Ilmarinen and other unnamed institutional and private investors, Inventure Fund III will focus on seed funding and Series A Rounds for companies based in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the Baltics. According to Inventure, the fund is the largest pure early-stage technology fund ever raised in Finland.

“Our conviction about the Nordic opportunity is greater today than ever before,” said an Inventure spokesperson in a blog post announcing the fund close. “Playing our part in building successful tech companies in the Nordics, we hope to contribute to the growth and development of the whole region. It’s been 12 years since we set up Inventure, and we are proud to call 1,350 people employed by our portfolio companies our extended family. Now, we want to triple this number. Like a startup closing another round of funding, we want to continue the growth.”

Former Zynga executives aim to tackle multiplayer gaming as Manticore emerges from stealth
Frederic Descamps and Jordan Maynard, two former Zynga executives who previously founded games studio A Bit Lucky, have announced their new project, Manticore Games, which has just secured $15m in Series A funding in a round led by Benchmark. The round also saw contributions by Bitkraft Esports Ventures, CrunchFund, Macro Ventures, Correlation Ventures, SV Angel and several high-profile gaming and tech entrepreneurs.

Manticore Games will focus on “hardcore multiplayer gameplay, leveraging user generated content” according to Descamps, aiming to capitalise on the popularity of hits such as League of Legends, Rocket League and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The studio is hard at work on its first project, but is yet to reveal any further details.

“I have been looking forward to working with Frederic and Jordan for many years,” said Mitch Lasky, general partner at Benchmark, who will join Manticore’s board. “We have had an ongoing conversation about unique ways to create value and fun for gamers, and I am thrilled to help them build their exciting new company.”

Events management platform Bizzabo raises $15m
With funding led by Pilot Growth Equity, with participation from Maor and existing investors, events management platform Bizzabo has closed a $15m (£11.2m) investment round, bringing its total funding to $30m as it aims to revolutionise the events planning industry with its cloud-based technology. The new capital will be used to support the company’s rapidly growing customer base, and accelerate new product developments.

“Over the past decade, we’ve seen the sales cloud develop, then the marketing cloud, and now it is time for the events cloud to rise,” said Eran Ben-Shushan, co-founder and CEO of Bizzabo. “Bizzabo is uniquely positioned for growth at this long-awaited crossroads of a multi-billion-dollar events software industry and a technological revolution. We took some big bets in the past that paid off thanks to our team’s incredible passion and belief in the importance of events to our world. With this additional capital, we will continue building the best event success platform in the market. To successfully do that, we are planning to double our teams in both Tel Aviv and New York over the next year.”

Bizzabo has had a successful year that has seen annual recurring revenue grow more than 200 per cent, and this latest series of funding comes just eight months after its previous round. The firm’s technology automates time-consuming tasks related to email, social media and web marketing, as well as managing contacts and analysing data to help boost registrations at events and improve attendee experience. As part of this new funding, John DeLoche, co-founder and managing director of Pilot Growth, will be joining the company’s board of directors, and is hoping to help transform the firm into a category leader in the event management software market.