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.
Gift Card Marketplace Raise Secures $60m in Funding
Almost everyone has a half-spent gift card floating somewhere forgotten at the back of their wallet, or a full one for a store they never plan on visiting. Raise is a mobile-first marketplace that helps people transform these wasted vouchers into cash or gift cards for brands they shop at more frequently, and with 2m users spending an average of $500 (£370), the firm has attracted several big investors in its latest funding round.
Accel Partners, PayPal, NEA and Bessemer Venture Partners have all invested in the platform, adding $60m to the company’s coffers and bringing its total investment so far to over $147m since it launched in 2013. The platform works with nearly 400 brands including Starbucks, Lyft, Walmart, Best Buy and Apples iTunes.
As well as enabling individual consumers to trade gift cards, Raise also works with brands who sell discounted cards. Retail figures show that gift cards lead to around 45 per cent overspend during the first transaction, so brands who are seemingly giving away cash at a discount actually make back their investment and then some in guaranteed revenue.
“Now more than ever, people need to get the most out of their money,” said George Bousis, founder and CEO. “Raise helps put the purchase power back into the hands of the consumer, and that’s what giving yourself a raise is all about.”
UK Fintech Startup Announces $22.5m Investment
GoCardless is a London-based startup that helps firms around the world process recurring payments using an international bank-to-bank network to connect the UK, Sweden, the Eurozone and beyond. The company has just raised $22.5m in funding from investors including Accel Partners and Balderton Capital off the back of record annual growth in the UK.
The company has processed £3bn worth of transactions for over 30,000 organisations across the UK and Europe, and is planning to use the new funding to accelerate the growth of its network, with expansion into Australia and Denmark already announced. The firm has recently secured partnerships with Sage, QuickBooks and Zuora, and earlier this year its leadership team expanded with hires from Demandware and Skyscanner.
“As more and more businesses become international, they face endless frustrations in managing payments across multiple territories,” said Hiroki Takeuchi, CEO and founder of GoCardless. “What we have engineered is a way to simply plug recurring payments into their existing systems, across the world, so they can focus on the challenges that really matter.”
European Investment Bank Provides iZettle with €30m in Funding
Swedish fintech and POS technology firm iZettle will receive €30m (£26.5m) in debt funding from the European Investment Bank over the next three years, with the aim of driving research and development for financial and commercial tools that will help small and medium-sized businesses. The funds will be earmarked for four key business areas: developing next generation payment infrastructure, providing insights and actions through machine learning and AI, digitising commerce processes, and scaling legislative and compliance systems.
“This load is something that the EIB is proud of,” said Alexander Stubb, vice president of the European Investment Bank. “It stands testimony to EIB’s ongoing effort to improve the access to funding for European mid-cap companies. iZettle is a young and innovative company which helps digitalise our economy and improves the business and cost structure of millions of small shops.”
“We’re proud to receive this stamp of approval from the EIB,” said Jacob de Geer, CEO and co-founder of iZettle. “It’s the type of offer you can’t refuse and it will allow us to further accelerate our growth and continue to level the playing field for small businesses, giving them access to tools to take on the big corporations.”
Balderton Capital Leads $10m Round for Funnel
Everyone is looking for efficiency in their digital marketing spend, and Funnel, a startup headquartered in Stockholm, is centred around providing just that, offering companies software-as-a-service that analyses the effectiveness of their online marketing spend across multiple channels. The company has just raised $10m in Series A funding led by London-based firm Balderton Capital, with participation from existing investors including Industrifonden and Zobito.
The company, with currently supports 265 advertising platforms, will use the funding to invest in expanding its reach, as well as supporting the growth of its US business, which it launched at the end of 2016 and which already generates a quarter of the firm’s revenues. The company is also preparing to step beyond advertising data to wider marketing data.
“Balderton initially learned about Funnel because a number of our portfolio companies were using it and could not stop saying great things about it,” said Suranga Chandratillake, general partner at Balderton Capital, who will join Funnel’s board as part of the investment. “When we dug deeper, we were surprised to find that there were so few alternatives available for marketers. Every day, more and more businesses, both tech and traditional, spend more of their marketing spend online. The number of channels that companies can use to advertise is only set to grow. Companies that can aggregate and analyse this data can benefit from massive opportunities to both reduce cost and also increase effectiveness of their marketing spend.”