Author: Anamaria Iuga

What we got up to in 2022

This post is by Anamaria Iuga from Seedcamp

37 new additions to the Seedcamp Nation, £1Bn+ raised, 2 new unicorns, and our ecosystem support continues with the launch of Seedcamp Firsts and Seedsummit

2022 has been another rollercoaster of a year.

While the global backdrop has presented fresh challenges for everyone to face, we’ve remained hard at work identifying and partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs, building at the earliest stages, and tackling problems we believe have the potential to go the distance and weather the current storm. 

As early-stage investors, we are encouraged by the continued optimism we’re seeing from exceptional founders who are so passionate about their mission that they won’t be dissuaded from bringing it to life. We remain committed to backing these individuals and supporting them on their journeys. 

You can see the wider market correction reflected in our annual number of investments which is more in line with where we were pre-pandemic, with 37 companies joining the Seedcamp Nation in 2022 (compared to 50 in 2021). These companies span the likes of Ourspace – a company set to redesign teams – and Rerun, which is building open-source visualization tools for computer vision in the real world. We do feel this is one of those times when the next billion-dollar companies are being created.

In spite of the bleak forecast, there is still growth to be had. Collectively, our portfolio companies have raised over $1bn in 2022. We’ve seen wefox raise one of the largest Insurtech rounds at a post-money valuation of $4.5 billion, representing (Read more...)

Why we are supporting Seedsummit’s mission to simplify the startup legal journey

This post is by Anamaria Iuga from Seedcamp

Starting a company is hard. There are so many hurdles to overcome, and today’s macro-environment certainly doesn’t make things any easier. However, we do believe that there are steps that can be taken to ensure that companies starting up today can do so with practical guidance and support to avoid expensive mistakes down the line. 

That’s why we’re excited to launch Seedsummit, a collaborative effort by law firms and early-stage VCs to support European founders by bringing transparency to the key legal documents needed when starting and building a company.

On a mission to make the lives of founders easier, Seedsummit offers a free, one-stop shop for a startup’s legal journey from the moment they incorporate to their first institutional round. The European initiative focuses initially on founders incorporated in the UK, France, Portugal, Denmark, and Germany, with more countries to come in 2023.

“When I first became a founder, legals were a black box to me. Seedsummit gave me the confidence to know what to look out for when I started working with a lawyer,” says Imi Faghmous, Co-Founder of Inovia Bio, one of our portfolio companies.

Started in 2009 with an open-sourced term sheet, the Seedsummit initiative has since evolved into a full-stack platform featuring key documents across Europe’s main startup hubs. Legal documents include a founders’ agreement to help jumpstart company building, employment documents, and privacy policies to build out the business, and financing documents to raise a first institutional round. 

“Seedsummit is a community effort (Read more...)

Popup secures $3.5M pre-seed round to launch game-changing no-code e-commerce platform for entrepreneurs of all sizes

This post is by Anamaria Iuga from Seedcamp

While technology, consumer shopping behavior, and online engagement have evolved dramatically over the last decades, e-commerce has failed to keep up with innovations and trends in social media, live streaming, conversational and cross-border commerce, or virtual shopping. 

Tired of the constraints of this one-size-fits-all blueprint – the homepage, collection pages, product pages, and checkout – entrepreneurs, creators, and brands want to push the boundaries, innovate and scale their stores. 

This is why we are excited to back Popup, a no-code e-commerce platform for merchants of all sizes, on a mission to change that. Founded by Matteo Grassi and Corey Holmes, former co-workers at Shopify, Popup is a fresh spin on e-commerce platforms. 

The company offers a modular, customizable platform for sellers to serve their unique customers anywhere in the world. Recognising that most shoppers’ journeys aren’t linear, Popup enables sellers to direct consumers to multiple entry points and pathways to purchase. 

Popup Stores allow sellers to visually control the customer journey – creating powerful sales journeys and unique, personalized experiences that convert visitors into paying customers. On the backend, Popup offers the ability to optimize workflows by automating tasks and helping marketers to A/B test pages, journeys, checkout, and more. Thus, they provide actionable data that sellers can use to improve their customers’ experience. 

Popup’s visual drag-and-drop Journey Builder helps sellers set up their stores to guide customers through the entire buying process. The no-code, modular approach to page sections allows sellers to uniquely customize their site to (Read more...)

DinMo aims to build a new, privacy-compliant standard for the Customer Data Platform industry, with €1.6M in initial funding

This post is by Anamaria Iuga from Seedcamp

As stricter privacy laws come into effect, companies of all sizes are actively looking for ways to adopt their first-party data strategies. With the end of third-party cookies, marketing teams are the most impacted and need new, privacy-compliant data solutions to optimize their campaigns across all activation platforms. Legacy customer data platform solutions (CDP) such as Adobe, mParticle, or Salesforce present many limitations to wide adoption, especially for companies with small marketing budgets. These limitations include expensive subscriptions, complex technical implementation, and the fact that they store customers’ data in their backend. 

This is why we are excited to back, DinMo, a Paris-based SaaS platform for non-technical teams that can help businesses access and use customer data without code. Founded and led by Oussama Ghanmi, ex-Chief Data Officer at the French Next-40 Edech company Ornikar and a seasoned data consultant – DinMo is on a mission to create a new standard for the Customer Data Platform industry by leveraging companies’ existing cloud data warehouses. 

While working as Data Director, Ghanmi identified a new way to solve the rapidly growing need for marketing teams to have an easy-to-use solution to access and use their customer data across all their activation platforms. 

“I worked for a global apparel brand on building a data platform on Snowflake. At the end of the project, someone from the marketing team asked me to add a table on a dashboard so he could extract the data in a CSV file, then build some (Read more...)

Surfboard raises $5m to supercharge collaboration in Customer Support teams

This post is by Anamaria Iuga from Seedcamp

The shift to remote work for the customer service industry during the Covid-19 pandemic is here to stay. With it comes previously unforeseen challenges, in particular: isolation, a loss of work-life balance, and pervasive workforce surveillance. Spreadsheets and archaic workforce management software have been long outdated, and remote and hybrid work clearly proved their inadequacy in running companies. Furthermore, in an uninspired effort to preserve efficiency and work productivity, many managers fell into the trap of invasively tracking and monitoring their teams, further eroding the trust-based employee-employer relationship.

This is why we are excited to back, Surfboard, a collaborative planning software that connects disparate systems and data, aiming to make work more human by reducing burnout and increasing scheduling flexibility to match how people want to work. Founded in 2021, at the height of the Covid crisis, the UK-based company is on a mission to redefine how teams work together through increased transparency, fair scheduling, and collaborative team planning. 

The status quo for managing Customer support teams includes cobbled-together systems comprising ticketing providers, time-off data from HR platforms, meetings from calendars, messaging from Slack or Teams, and spreadsheets. When adding in the complexities of remote working, multiple time zones, and flexible work patterns, scheduling becomes a nightmare for managers and leads to underperforming teams.

Surfboard’s intuitive and easy-to-use platform streamlines team management and scheduling into a quick, seamless, and adaptable process. Within one week of using Surfboard, customers have seen an 80% reduction in the time spent on scheduling (Read more...)

[Seedcamp Firsts] Scaling Customer Operations: Change is the only constant

This post is by Anamaria Iuga from Seedcamp

In Part II of our Seedcamp Firsts series on customer operations, Rona Ruthen and Natasha Lytton delve into scaling – a phase when change is the only constant.

Rona shares her incredible experiences scaling operations across various roles, including VP of customer operations at Monzo, where she helped the company grow from 1 million to six, all largely over the Covid pandemic. With more than 15 years of experience in FinTech financial services and payment solutions in companies in Israel and the UK, she is a seasoned expert in scaling up customer service and operations.

“You want everyone to be fully aligned with the vision of the company priorities and what you’re trying to achieve. If you get everyone behind that, everything else gets easier. It sounds simple, but when you’re a company that, let’s say where you were 50 people three months ago, you’re now 75, you’re going to be 150 in six months – not everyone remembers the priorities or the vision or understands it in the same way. You have to say it over and over again.

Rona Ruthen

If you’re short on time, we’ve pulled some key learnings for you below, but we strongly recommend you to listen to the full conversation to learn how to first set up customer operations in your company. 

Key Takeaways

  1. In the hyper-growth stage, change is the only constant. You have all the growing pains of a company that’s now growing super fast when you probably don’t have the (Read more...)

🎙️ Seedcamp Firsts Content Library 

This post is by Anamaria Iuga from Seedcamp

We’re excited to introduce Seedcamp Firsts, the definitive guide to the all-important first steps in company building brought to you through first-hand experiences and lessons learned from the brightest minds across the Seedcamp Nation. 

The power of the Seedcamp Nation comes from the incredible breadth of experience that’s been lived across it. We want to open up this hard-won knowledge and insights from the exceptional founders we’ve backed to our mentors, Experts in Residence, Venture partners, and our core team. 

Our ultimate goal with Seedcamp Firsts is to help support the next generation of exceptional entrepreneurs navigate those critical first steps in building a business.

Check out our growing, multi-media Seedcamp Firsts content library:

1. The founding story of Maze. How to test, explore and validate your first product ideas as an early-stage startup: The first edition of Seedcamp Firsts features Jonathan Widawski, co-founder and CEO of Maze, a Seedcamp-backed growth-stage company on a mission to democratize product research. In conversation with our Venture Partner Devin Hunt, Jo explores everything from prioritising what to build, and when, to how to evaluate customer input in product development decisions.

2. How to first kickstart your content strategy and its power as a key differentiator: Learn all things content from Raphael Allstadt, Co-founder and CEO of tl;dv, and Tom Bangay, Senior Director of Content & Community at Juro – the masterminds behind the companies’ content strategies – from why content was first determined to be an essential (Read more...)

Charging access is still the “new” problem for Electric Vehicle commercial fleets

This post is by Anamaria Iuga from Seedcamp

Our Managing Partner Carlos Espinal’s Q & A with Niall Riddell and André Pinho, founders of Paua, on the interoperability of an ever-expanding yet fractured charging network and making Electric Vehicle (EV) charging user-friendly 

On a recent epic road trip across the UK this summer, I had my high hopes of a seamless charging experience shattered. Besides having to queue up at some stations, finding others out of service, and installing at least 15 apps to cover all the services on offer, I found the cost of electricity for EV charging to be all over the map – ranging from 28p to nearly £1 depending on where the stations were based and their speed of charge.

This cost variance is much wider than in petrol/diesel vehicles and feels like an unfair penalty for those wishing to help the environment through cleaner vehicles. To aggravate things further, charging speeds range from dead slow to 50x faster depending on where the charger is. These further exacerbate the problem of range and cost anxiety for EV owners – after all, time is money. The reality is most people and businesses care more about their time when they are travelling from A to B than p/kWh.

Despite current geopolitical and energy market developments, the demand for Electric Vehicles is on the rise. Customers’ demands are also changing, putting pressure on EV infrastructure providers to offer higher-quality services. In particular, for commercial fleets, for which reliability and cost efficiency are make-or-break factors, improved (Read more...)

[Seedcamp Firsts] How to set up customer support and operations as an early-stage startup

This post is by Anamaria Iuga from Seedcamp

In our latest edition of Seedcamp Firsts, our Head of Brand and Network, Natasha Lytton, speaks with one of our fantastic mentors, Rona Ruthen, about setting up customer support and operations in early-stage startups. 

Rona is one of the best possible people to learn from on this topic following her experience scaling Fintech unicorn Monzo among other well-known startups, including Seedcamp portfolio company Curve. 

Exceptional customer service or customer experience in an early-stage startup should provide the customer with a feeling that whatever they need is either embedded in the product itself or is easily accessible to them.”

Rona Ruthen

If you’re short on time, we’ve pulled some key learnings for you below, but we strongly recommend you listen to the full conversation to learn how to first set up customer operations in your company. 

5 Key Takeaways: 

  1. Setting up customer operations is a strategic decision that every company needs to make and something to revisit at a different point in time. 
  2. You can start a company and not optimise for customer operations or customer support, or customer experience. The first stage is actually deciding if it’s critical for you.
  3. Customer experience is critical for every product that we use and care about. 
  4. The bottom line isn’t Support. The bottom line is customers are trying out your product. You want them to engage with it and to make that whole experience easy, end to end.
  5. As you start scaling customer support, you need more consistency and standardisation in (Read more...)

Food creator JULIENNE BRUNO raises over £6 million to make the vegan prefix obsolete

This post is by Anamaria Iuga from Seedcamp

Plant-based foods are becoming a key part of a more sustainable and ethical food chain. In recent years, consumer demand has increased significantly but so have their expectations for taste, texture, and nutritional value. Especially for alternative, dairy-free products, consumers are looking for high-quality, flavourful options.

This is why we are excited to double down on our investment in JULIENNE BRUNO.

Founded by Axel Katalan (previously concept developer for Alan Yau MBE and Co-Founder of deep location tech brand Pointr), a food lover passionate about recreating the boundless eating experiences one usually has with dairy and meat options, JULIENNE BRUNO offers a different perspective on plant-based food, creating familiar but new products for people to enjoy due to the quality of them, not because they’re vegan.

Since we first met Axel and the team and invested in early 2021, the creative food developer and producer has successfully developed “Collection 01,” a dairy-free experience consisting of three products: Burrella, Crematta, and Superstraccia. Inspired by classics, each product has been given an easily recognisable name yet allowing it to establish its own identity, making the vegan prefix obsolete – aligned with the brand’s belief in the power of both taste and the language used to describe food. 

Axel Katalan, Founder of JULIENNE BRUNO, highlights:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to give a warm welcome to everyone who is just hearing about us for the first time. We are one heart and many hands. Always curious and always (Read more...)