Veesual raises a $7.5 million Seed round

AXA

AI-Powered Virtual Try-On Technology Platform For The Fashion Industry Veesual Raises $7.5 Million, Announces US Expansion With New EILEEN FISHER Partnership

Investment for market leader of image generation technology for fashion brands and retailers in Europe will now support US customers looking to overcome inclusivity challenges

New York, NY—April 17, 2024—Veesual, a Paris-based virtual try-on platform for the fashion industry that revolutionizes the way online shoppers experience digital retail, today announced the closing of a $7.5 million dollar Seed round led by AVP (AXA Venture Partners) and Techstars. The investment will accelerate delivery of the company’s plans to expand into the US market by opening its first US-based office, recruiting senior US talent, enhancing its current product offering for US apparel companies and more. A cornerstone of Veesual’s US expansion is a new partnership with leading women’s fashion brand EILEEN FISHER. Under the terms of the collaboration, Veesual’s augmented shopping experiences powered by next-generation virtual try-on technology have been integrated into the EILEEN FISHER online shopping experience.

Founded in 2020, Veesual is on a mission to transform the online shopping experience for all customers, independent of style, fit and fashion preferences. Through its Augmented Shopping solutions Mix&Match, Switch Model and Look Inspiration, Veesual’s proprietary 2D-based Image Generation Engine (IGT) was designed specifically for fashion brands to deliver high-quality imagery at scale, and to be able to adapt several pieces of clothing on any model, with natural renderings and precise fitting. Veesual works with leading brands and retailers in Europe including premium (Claudie Pierlot), kids fashion (Sergent Major and DPAM), and popular fashion (La Redoute and Gemo).

While brands are working to reflect diversity for e-commerce shoppers by featuring models of different ethnicities, ages and body types, it can be extremely costly to shoot individual products on various models. Veesual’s Switch Model experience allows customers to choose a model they identify with while simultaneously accelerating online sales and reducing returns for brands.

We are thrilled to be the first US brand to partner with Veesual on this innovative new virtual try-on tool,” notes Blair Silverman, Vice President of E-commerce at EILEEN FISHER. “EILEEN FISHER is committed to inclusivity, designing clothes that cater to every body shape. Navigating online shopping poses challenges, particularly in predicting how garments fit diverse body types. Our collaboration with Veesual addresses these challenges head-on and we are proud to be launching a tool that is sure to be a new standard for e-commerce.

While 3D-based try-on technology can be expensive and time-consuming, 2D image solutions offer a scalable and cost-effective solution for brands that engage shoppers. According to recent data published by Insider Intelligence, by 2026 e-commerce is expected to total over $8.1 trillion and 24% of retail purchases are expected to take place online. Veesual enables brands to create a more seamless and inclusive shopping experience for customers and in turn, yield higher sales and a lower return rate, allowing them to capture a larger percentage of online sales.

We are proud to invest in Veesual, in order to accelerate its commercial roll-out and pursue its technological developments, as well as its international expansion,” said François Robinet, Managing Partner of AVP. “We believe in Maxime and his team’s vision. They have demonstrated a strong ability to execute and understand market challenges by offering fashion brands solutions to optimize their customer experience. With a presence on both sides of the Atlantic, AVP’s teams will be able to support Veesual in the next stages of its development.

To support aggressive growth in the US, Veesual is working to recruit more senior talent and will open its first US office in New York in 2025. In addition to e-commerce, Veesual aims to create value for brands by displaying generated images on their acquisition and retargeting channels.

“The global fashion ecosystem is undergoing a seismic shift right now. The industry is increasingly focused on sustainable production, a better, more relevant buying experience and upcycling as a new standard. At Veesual, we’re meeting those changes by drastically improving how shoppers buy online which creates a more inclusive retail experience while also improving fit and reducing waste,” said Veesual Co-Founder and CEO, Maxime Patte. “This fundraise is critical for our plans as we scale in the United States with brands who are pioneering the augmented shopping experience. We anticipate significant growth in 2024 and beyond.

About AVP

AVP is a global venture capital firm specializing in high-growth, technology-enabled companies, managing more than $2 billion in assets across four investment strategies: Venture, Growth, Late Growth, and Fund of Funds. Since its establishment in 2016, AVP has invested in more than 60 technology companies in Venture and Growth stages in the US and Europe. With offices in New York, London, and Paris, AVP supports companies in expanding internationally and provides portfolio companies with tailored business development opportunities to further accelerate their growth. AVP operates under AXA IM- Alts, the alternative investment business unit of AXA IM.

For more information, visit axavp.com
Contact: Sébastien Loubry, Partner Business development (sebastien@axavp.com)

About Veesual

Founded in 2020, Veesual was developed when co-founders Maxime Patte and Damien Meurisse recognized the limited means of fashion brands to visually engage diverse customers online. The platform offers solutions that leverage the power of images to create inclusive experiences that engage all customers. Globally, brands including Claudie Pierlot, Sergeant Major and La Redoute use Veesual. To date, these partnerships have outperformed expectations, with a 75% average increase in conversation rate and a more than 20% increase in average order value for shoppers who engaged with one of Veesual’s solutions. Veesual, a Techstars portfolio company, was part of Station F’s Founders program and has raised $7.5M to date. For more information, please visit https://www.veesual.ai/.

About EILEEN FISHER, Inc.

EILEEN FISHER has been making a system of simple, timeless clothes for nearly 40 years. A socially conscious company, EILEEN FISHER designs its clothing to be part of a responsible lifecycle, starting with sustainable materials, then taking back its clothes to be resold (Renew) or remade into something entirely new (Waste No More). The company became a B Corp in 2016, which means it voluntarily meets high criteria for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. The company’s clothes are sold online at eileenfisher.com, in more than 50 EILEEN FISHER stores in North America and over 500 department and specialty stores globally. Good-as-new pieces are resold at eileenfisherrenew.com, in two EILEEN FISHER Renew stores, and select EILEEN FISHER retail stores nationwide.

Media Contact

Courtney Page
Rally Point PR courtney.page@rallypoint.pr

Altura raises 3 million euros in funding. AI-driven bid management software changes way of working.

Fortino Capital

Increasingly, government agencies, as well as private and public organisations, are using formal procurement processes such as a Request for X (RFX) to find a supplier for their contract. These processes are known for their complexity and the enormous amount of documentation required of participants. Altura has developed software to simplify the entire process around creating and managing proposals with the help of AI.  In the coming years, this development promises to dramatically change interactions between governmental organisations and companies, as well as business-to-business collaborations. With an investment of three million euros, Netherlands based Altura is poised to change the playing field in the world of proposal procedures.

Matthijs Huiskamp, founder and CEO Altura: “I see inefficiency in how companies and governments do business with other parties. This is because there is so much manual work and unnecessary steps. With the knowledge and automation in our software, those factors are removed and with that there is more room for vision, creativity, strategy and focus. AI plays the leading role in this.”

Matthijs Huiskamp, founder and CEO Altura

Future of doing business

Increasingly, business purchases are being completed through an RFX. In fact, in recent years, we are seeing smaller organisations purchasing through this route as well. RFX deals include a Request for Bid (RFB), Request for Information (RFI), Request for Proposal (RFP), Request for Quotation (RFQ) and a Request for Tender (RFT).

An RFX is an orderly step for an organisation to fairly compare all parties. The government is already required to follow this process in the form of tendering. For participating organisations, an RFX is often an expensive and time-consuming process with stacks of documents involving days of manual work.

From a database with insights into previous proposals, Altura can easily form the right strategy, price and text to increase the likelihood of success.

 

3 million euros funding

Altura launched the first version of its software two years ago. When founders Matthijs Huiskamp and Jordi van der Hek started exploratory talks with investors for a new round of growth, Curiosity VC was immediately enthusiastic and interested. Because of their focus on Artificial Intelligence, Curiosity turned out to be the perfect partner. Subsequently, they found a suitable co-investor in Fortino Capital with the necessary international knowledge and experience.

Wouter Goossens, Investment Director at Fortino Capital: “We see that companies are increasingly buying through RFXs. Matthijs and Jordi have the ambition to become category leaders with software to make bid management more efficient and effective. This objective and the speed at which the company is currently growing really appeal to us.”

Wouter Goossens, Fortino Capital

With the growth money, Altura will further improve their software. There will be a significant investment in tech talent to expand the platform.

The plan is to implement more products and provide even more quality support
to create a perfectly streamlined process.

Herman Kienhuis, managing partner at Curiosity VC: “We have researched the whole market in the field of AI in bid software and see that Altura is the best party. They use new AI technologies for finding and analysing tenders and RFXs, for automating time-consuming manual tasks and also as an assistant for proposal writing. This growth capital will allow them to accelerate their product development and commercial rollout.”

 

AI is storming the proposal management market

Bid management is now subject to AI disruption. That means the manner in which big companies do business and how the government spends is going to be changed. In five years, the field of RFX and procurement will look completely different. Altura is using AI to embrace and accelerate that change. All manual tasks will be solved with artificial intelligence and contextual data from companies. That leaves more time for the work that really matters.

The bid management software uses Large Language Models (LLMs), Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) and Custom Prompting. Vector database technology and Graph database technology is deployed.

Thus, Altura’s software can support every step, providing a complete proposal process, from identifying new opportunities to project management and data analysis. The software can scrape product data from platforms, very accurately scan information from documents, estimate financial risks, summarize and organise content in a knowledge library. Based on the information found in the documentation, automated actions are created such as a schedule, task list, text for the proposal and other content. This significantly reduces manual tasks.

 

About Altura

Altura is the market leader in bid management software. The software combines data with technology for a winning proposal process. With Altura, teams can make better proposals by getting the right data insights and administrative tasks are automated by AI. Learn more: https://altura.io

 

About Curiosity VC

Curiosity is a Dutch venture capital fund focused on early-stage investments in AI software startups in the Benelux, Nordic and Baltic countries. Curiosity is led by two experienced operator investors, Herman Kienhuis and Maurice Beckand Verwee, supported by a community of expert advisors and portfolio entrepreneurs who are all co-owners of the fund. Learn more: https://www.curiosityvc.com

 

About Fortino Capital

Fortino Capital is a European investment company focused on high growth B2B software companies. From its offices in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, Fortino supports ambitious entrepreneurs and founders.

Unveiling the Intersection of Private Equity and Artificial Intelligence: Driving Innovation and Value

Artificial Intelligence

Private Equity Ventures into the AI Frontier: Unveiling Investments in Cutting-Edge Technology

Private equity companies have long been at the forefront of identifying lucrative investment opportunities across various industries. In recent years, the convergence of finance and technology has paved the way for a new wave of investments in artificial intelligence (AI) companies. These ventures not only underscore the transformative potential of AI but also highlight the strategic foresight of private equity firms in capitalizing on disruptive technologies to drive growth and generate value.

The AI Revolution: Transforming Industries

Artificial intelligence, encompassing machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and predictive analytics, has emerged as a game-changer across numerous sectors. From healthcare and finance to retail and manufacturing, AI technologies are revolutionizing business operations, enhancing productivity, and enabling data-driven decision-making.

In healthcare, AI-powered algorithms are driving innovations in medical diagnosis, drug discovery, and personalized treatment plans. Financial institutions are leveraging AI for fraud detection, risk assessment, and algorithmic trading, while retailers utilize AI-driven insights for demand forecasting, inventory optimization, and customer engagement.

Private Equity’s Foray into AI: Strategic Investments

Private equity firms have recognized the immense potential of AI to disrupt traditional business models and drive competitive advantage. As such, they have actively sought investment opportunities in AI companies at various stages of development, from early-stage startups to established players poised for growth.

One notable example is the acquisition of AI startups specializing in machine learning and predictive analytics. Private equity firms have invested in companies developing AI-driven solutions for customer relationship management, marketing automation, and supply chain optimization, recognizing the value proposition of these technologies in enhancing operational efficiency and driving revenue growth.

Moreover, private equity companies have facilitated the expansion of AI companies through strategic mergers and acquisitions. By providing capital and operational expertise, private equity firms enable AI companies to scale their operations, penetrate new markets, and accelerate product development initiatives.

Case Studies: Private Equity Investments in AI

Several high-profile examples illustrate the growing interest of private equity in AI investments:

  1. Blackstone Group’s Acquisition of HealthEdge: In 2020, Blackstone Group acquired HealthEdge, a leading provider of healthcare IT solutions leveraging AI and machine learning. The acquisition aimed to capitalize on the growing demand for AI-driven healthcare technologies and position HealthEdge for accelerated growth and market expansion.
  2. KKR’s Investment in AppLovin: In 2018, KKR invested in AppLovin, a mobile advertising platform utilizing AI algorithms to optimize ad targeting and user engagement. KKR’s investment valued AppLovin at over $2 billion, highlighting the attractiveness of AI-driven advertising technologies to private equity investors.
  3. Thoma Bravo’s Acquisition of Sophos: In 2019, Thoma Bravo acquired Sophos, a cybersecurity company specializing in AI-powered threat detection and prevention. Thoma Bravo’s investment aimed to capitalize on the growing demand for AI-driven cybersecurity solutions and position Sophos as a market leader in the rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape.

Challenges and Opportunities

While private equity investments in AI present lucrative opportunities for value creation and portfolio diversification, they also entail certain risks and challenges. The rapid pace of technological innovation, regulatory uncertainty, and potential ethical concerns surrounding AI adoption are among the key considerations that private equity firms must navigate.

Furthermore, successful AI investments require a deep understanding of the technology landscape, as well as access to talent with expertise in data science, machine learning, and AI development. Private equity firms must also ensure alignment between their investment thesis and the long-term strategic objectives of AI companies to maximize returns and mitigate downside risks.

Looking Ahead: Shaping the Future of AI Investments

As AI continues to evolve and permeate various industries, private equity firms are expected to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of AI investments. By leveraging their capital, industry expertise, and operational capabilities, private equity companies can accelerate the growth and development of AI startups, drive consolidation within the AI ecosystem, and unlock new sources of value for their investors.

In conclusion, private equity investments in AI represent a convergence of financial acumen and technological innovation, with the potential to reshape industries and drive sustainable growth. As AI continues to gain prominence as a transformative force in the global economy, private equity firms are well-positioned to capitalize on emerging opportunities and generate outsized returns for their stakeholders.

Clearlake Capital Group and Insight Partners complete acquisition of Alteryx

Clearlake

Acquisition will accelerate Alteryx’s innovation in AI and cloud analytics

 

IRVINE, Calif., Mar. 19, 2024 – Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. (“Clearlake”) and Insight Partners L.P. (“Insight”) today announced that their affiliated funds have completed the acquisition of Alteryx, Inc., a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) for enterprise analytics. The transaction was previously announced on December 18, 2023 and approved by Alteryx stockholders on March 13, 2024.

 

“We believe the Alteryx AI and cloud analytics platform provides powerful and differentiated solutions that enable customers to gain critical insights from data driven workflows, ultimately leading to meaningful productivity and efficiency gains for these organizations,” said Behdad Eghbali, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Clearlake and Prashant Mehrotra, Partner and Managing Director at Clearlake. “In partnership with Insight, we are excited to collaborate with the company’s talented employee base and believe that through Clearlake’s O.P.S.® framework and sector expertise, Alteryx will have the resources to accelerate its product innovation and continue to provide valuable solutions to customers.”

 

“Insight has had a front-row seat to Alteryx’s evolution, and we are thrilled to partner with the company as it continues to lead across AI and analytics markets,” said Deven Parekh and Ryan Hinkle, each a Managing Director at Insight Partners. “With a strong and loyal customer base and an exceptionally talented team, we are confident in Alteryx’s ability to excel in this fast-evolving market landscape to reach its full potential.”

 

As a result of the completion of the transaction, Alteryx stockholders will receive $48.25 in cash for each share of Alteryx Class A or Class B common stock that they own. Alteryx is now a privately held company and its common stock has ceased trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

 

Advisors

Qatalyst Partners LP served as exclusive financial advisor, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation and Fenwick & West LLP served as legal advisors to Alteryx.

Houlihan Lokey, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as financial advisors to Clearlake and Insight.

Sidley Austin LLP served as legal advisor to Clearlake.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as legal advisor to Insight.

ABOUT ALTERYX

Alteryx powers actionable insights with the AI Platform for Enterprise Analytics. With Alteryx, organizations can drive smarter, faster decisions with a secure platform deployable in on-prem, hybrid, and cloud environments. More than 8,000 customers globally rely on Alteryx to automate analytics to improve revenue performance, manage costs, and mitigate risks across their organizations.

 

Alteryx is a registered trademark of Alteryx, Inc. All other product and brand names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

 

ABOUT CLEARLAKE

Founded in 2006, Clearlake is an investment firm operating integrated businesses across private equity, credit, and other related strategies. With a sector-focused approach, the firm seeks to partner with experienced management teams by providing patient, long term capital to dynamic businesses that can benefit from Clearlake’s operational improvement approach, O.P.S.® The firm’s core target sectors are technology, industrials, and consumer. Clearlake currently has over $75 billion of assets under management, and its senior investment principals have led or co-led over 400 investments. The firm is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA with affiliates in Dallas, TX, London, UK, Dublin, Ireland, and Singapore.

 

ABOUT INSIGHT PARTNERS

Insight Partners is a global software investor partnering with high-growth technology, software, and Internet startup and ScaleUp companies that are driving transformative change in their industries. As of December 31, 2023, the firm has over $80 billion in regulatory assets under management. Insight Partners has invested in more than 800 companies worldwide and has seen over 55 portfolio companies achieve an IPO. Headquartered in New York City, Insight has offices in London, Tel Aviv, and the Bay Area. Insight’s mission is to find, fund, and work successfully with visionary executives, providing them with tailored, hands-on software expertise along their growth journey, from their first investment to IPO. For more information on Insight and all its investments, visit insightpartners.com or follow us on X @insightpartners.

 

Media Contacts

 

ALTERYX

Emily Valla

Alteryx, Inc.

pr@alteryx.com

CLEARLAKE

Jennifer Hurson

Lambert

jhurson@lambert.com

INSIGHT

Insight Partners Public Relations

insightpr@insightpartners.com

Kore.ai Secures $150 Million Strategic Growth Investment to Drive AI-powered Customer and Employee Experiences for Global Brands

FTV Capital

Led by FTV Capital, with participation from NVIDIA and existing investors, funding will further solidify Kore.ai’s leading position in explosive advanced AI market

ORLANDO, Fla., January 30, 2024 — Kore.ai, a leader in enterprise conversational and generative AI platform technology, today announced $150 million in funding. The strategic growth investment was led by FTV Capital, a sector-focused growth equity investor with a successful 25+ year track record investing across enterprise technology, along with participation from NVIDIA and existing investors such as Vistara Growth, Sweetwater PE, NextEquity, Nicola and Beedie. The new funding will accelerate Kore.ai’s market expansion and continuous innovation in AI to deliver tangible business and human value at scale.

Poised to seize market momentum around putting AI to work

The AI market has seen rapid growth and disruption driven by advancements in technology and shifting user expectations. Gartner estimates the conversational AI market to reach $377 billion in revenue by 2032, up from $66 billion in 2023. This reflects an exponential demand for enhanced customer experiences, streamlined business operations and innovative GenAI applications addressing specific business tasks.

Kore.ai provides an enterprise-grade no-code platform to help companies of all sizes power business interactions with AI safely and responsibly while driving significant revenue and cost savings. From conversational virtual assistants to generative AI (Gen AI) applications, Kore.ai’s differentiated platform offers purpose-built workflows, highly configurable tools and a flexible, open architecture that are recognized as the leading approach by customers and analysts. This gives teams the ability to craft custom solutions or deploy pre-built, domain-trained virtual assistants across multiple industries such as banking, healthcare and retail and across a variety of functional roles such as IT, HR and others, to accelerate time-to-value.

“We have been working with advanced AI for a decade now – our deep technology expertise and market understanding put us in a prime position to take advantage of the momentum and to do AI right in order to meet growing customer needs,” said Raj Koneru, founder and CEO of Kore.ai. “Sitting above the infrastructure layer and LLM chaos, our open approach grants businesses freedom of choice with built-in guardrails for effective AI implementation. As we look to enhance our Gen AI-powered innovations and drive wider adoption across a variety of market segments, we are pleased to have the backing of FTV Capital, a firm that has significant experience in our space and invaluable connections across the enterprise to augment our exciting growth trajectory.”

“We’ve spent significant time examining the landscape and evaluating advanced-AI platforms, and Kore.ai clearly stood out with its proven enterprise-grade platform capabilities, visionary leadership, strong R&D focus, established global customer base and clear path to profitability,” said Kapil Venkatachalam, partner at FTV Capital. “We’re excited to partner with such an experienced and high-caliber team that consistently delivers world-class innovations, and we look forward to leveraging our deep knowledge and network to catalyze Kore.ai’s success.”

Market understanding and expertise across diverse use cases

Today, several Fortune 2000 companies across a variety of industry verticals leverage Kore.ai to enhance their customer, employee and contact center agent experiences and drive measurable ROI. Customers include leading financial institutions, such as PNC Bank and large global banks, as well as major brands such as AT&T, Cigna, Coca-Cola, Airbus and Roche.

Over the past several years Kore.ai has consistently demonstrated triple-digit year-over-year growth in revenues. The company automates 450 million interactions a day for about 200 million consumers and two million enterprise users worldwide. In addition to domestic growth, Kore.ai’s growth has been fueled by rising demand from emerging markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, LatAm and the Middle East. As a result, Kore.ai has added new Global 2000 enterprise customers across major verticals.

Kore.ai has been recognized as a leader and an innovator by top analysts, including being named a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Conversational Al Platforms twice in a row.

About Kore.ai

Kore.ai is a leading provider of advanced AI technology with a decade of experience in helping enterprises realize business value through the safe and responsible use of AI. The company’s innovative platform, no-code tools and solutions are used to deliver end-to-end customer and employee experiences from automated to human assisted and to build generative AI enabled applications. Kore.ai takes an open approach allowing companies to choose the LLMs and infrastructure that best meet their business needs. Trusted by over 200 partners and 400 Fortune 2000 companies, Kore.ai helps them navigate their AI strategy. The company has a strong patent portfolio in the AI space and has been recognized as a leader and an innovator by top analysts. Headquartered in Orlando Kore.ai has a network of offices to support customers including in India, the UK, Middle East, Japan, South Korea, and Europe. Visit Kore.ai to learn more.

About FTV Capital

FTV Capital is a sector-focused growth equity investment firm that has raised $6.2 billion to invest in high-growth companies offering a range of innovative solutions in three sectors: enterprise technology and services, financial services, and payments and transaction processing. FTV’s experienced team leverages its domain expertise and proven track record in each of these sectors to help motivated management teams accelerate growth. FTV also provides companies with access to its Global Partner Network®, a group of the world’s leading enterprises and executives who have helped FTV portfolio companies for two decades. Founded in 1998, FTV Capital has invested in 140 portfolio companies, including Agiloft, BillingPlatform, EBANX, Lean Solutions Group, LogicSource, Neptune Flood Insurance, Patra, PlateIQ, ReliaQuest and Vagaro, and successfully exited/partially exited companies including Enfusion (NYSE: ENFN), Globant (NYSE: GLOB), InvestCloud (recapitalized), RapidRatings (recapitalized), Strata Fund Solutions (acquired by Alter Domus), VPay (acquired by Optum) and WorldFirst (acquired by Ant Financial). FTV has offices in San Francisco, New York, Connecticut and London. For more information, please visit www.ftvcapital.com and follow the firm on LinkedIn.

Heex Technologies raises €6 million to support AI applications while reducing their environmental impact with smart data

Shift Invest

To help tech players better exploit the formidable capabilities of AI while reducing their carbon footprint, Heex Technologies has developed a Smart Data platform, extracting only relevant data. The startup raised €6 million from a pool of deeptech investors, including the Dutch VC fund SHIFT Invest and the French, Karista. This second round of funding follows a first round of €3.2 million already led by Karista in 2022 through its spacetech fund Cosmicapital, bringing the company’s total financing to nearly €10 million.

Heex Technologies raises €6 million to support AI applications while reducing their environmental impact with Smart Data

 

Paris, France – January 18th, 2024. Heex was founded in Paris in the spring of 2019 after the founders returned from Silicon Valley, where the boom of new technologies based on artificial intelligence has begun to show the limitations of Big Data. The startup has proved its value proposition by automating and optimizing the processing of only relevant data, thus accelerating technological development, and in parallel reducing their environmental impact. Heex Technologies initially focuses on autonomous vehicles, as the automotive industry is moving towards the Software-Defined Vehicle (SDV) model, inspired by Tesla. Now, with new investments in, Heex will expand to adjacent industries like Smart Cities, Industry 4.0; as more and more companies are expecting to integrate AI and autonomy to increase their productivity.

Bottlenecks to exploit Big Data reliably, safely and sustainably
An astonishing 90% of data stored worldwide today was created in the last two years only. In the ever-increasing digitalization of industries, engineering teams collect a vast amount of unstructured data which is raising challenges in processing, exploiting but also in regulation.

Autonomous vehicles are a good example, but these challenges hold for other automation use cases or big data applications like artificial intelligence and computer vision as well. The amount of data those autonomous vehicles process is enormous, with easily 5,000 gigabytes produced per vehicle per hour. The data is collected and often duplicated, for purposes of continuous software improvement, supervision of operations and sharing insights with stakeholders and governing bodies. However, in the ocean of data recorded, just a tiny portion is regarded as relevant. Cruise, the Silicon Valley startup co-financed by General Motors, stated that only 1% of the data collected was useful for improving its autonomous driving system.

Heex help customers get to the 1% relevant data
“To continue to exploit the formidable potential of AI and automation, the goal is now to only extract the necessary data rather than accumulate it endlessly; development teams do not need more data, they need better datasets.” says Bruno Mendes Da Silva, Co-founder and CEO of Heex Technologies.

Heex provides customers with a platform that allows them to target the relevant data and share that with the right users, for purposes like supervision, system monitoring or continuous software improvement. Customers need to configure specific events that determine the conditions for extracting the associated data.

“In the example of autonomous vehicles, command centers might want to receive real-time notifications in case of a safety event like a near collision with a pedestrian. The platform allows them to just receive that snippet of data instead of constantly streaming all the incoming data. Simultaneously, the autonomous software provider receives other meaningful events data, like system performance issues.”, pursue Bruno Mendes Da Silva.

The main distinguishing factor that makes Heex different from the competition is that they are able to perform this data filtering “at the edge”, in real-time. Consequently lower data packages are sent to the cloud, leading to lower connectivity costs, lower storage costs and higher speed of application. Heex technology is hard- and software-agnostic and adapts to the heterogeneity of sensors and software versions, making it easy to deploy for an entire fleet of systems like vehicles, drones, trains, boats and others.

Reduce carbon footprint of data processing resources
Digital technologies are responsible for 3-4% of global greenhouse gas emissions with predictions skyrocketing to 8% by 2030, and this is growing due to the increase of AI technologies. Cloud and data processing fall under scope 3, where listed European companies are obliged to report on under the CSRD as of 2025.

Heex can help customers determine what part of their data can be eliminated, or be saved in less intensive (‘cold’) data storage, leading to ~60% less energy needed compared to storage in the cloud with continuous access. Existing customer cases prove that Heex can eliminate up to 95-99% of the data being processed, resulting in a lower energy consumption of data network transmission and datacenter workload.

Heex got certified by the Solar Impulse Foundation, which lists sustainable, efficient, and profitable technological solutions and with the entrance of SHIFT Invest, an environmental impact investor, Heex wants to professionalize further in this space and embed environmental features in their product offering.

A new €6 million round to expand the technical team, structure the sales team, and expand the product offering
Heex technologies has raised a new €6 million round of funding, led by the venture capital firms SHIFT Invest and Karista and backed by a loan from BPI France. Among other investors is Techstars, which is reinvesting after the startup went through its Tel Aviv accelerator in 2021.

Yvan-Michel Ehkirch, Managing Partner at Karista says: “Several market segments, such as transport, aerospace and energy, are already in the process of making better use of real-time data collected from space to earth, in a more sober and efficient way, to generate new revenue streams and provide new services. Heex and its Founders are already embracing the topic globally in France, Europe and the United States by launching an unprecedented technological solution”.

Heex Technologies already works with major automotive equipment manufacturers in Germany and Asia, as well as with the RATP and Nokia in France. In the United States, the company is working with the US transportation authorities on a five-year experimental project in California, aimed at retrieving relevant data from companies testing autonomous vehicles in order to improve the legislative framework and safety protocols.

“Heex caught our interest because of the huge impact potential on the footprint of data centres, while simultaneously they boost autonomous operations that we see as essential for a low-carbon mobility system.” says Thijs Gitmans, Managing Partner at SHIFT Invest.

BPI invests in Aleph Alpha, Europe’s leading provider of sovereign AI foundation models

Burdaprincipal

BPI invests in Aleph Alpha, Europe’s leading provider of sovereign foundation models and AI applications

Burda Principal Investments (BPI), the international growth capital provider of media and technology company Hubert Burda Media, is participating in Aleph Alpha’s Series B financing round. BPI has been monitoring opportunities in Artificial Intelligence (AI) since 2018 and with this investment, BPI adds another AI company to its portfolio.

BPI is part of a consortium of new and existing investors

Aleph Alpha raised more than 500 million US Dollars from a consortium of a total of seven new investors as well as existing investors from previous rounds. The consortium is led by the Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence (Ipai), Bosch Ventures and the companies of Schwarz Group. Next to BPI, other new investors include the global edge-to-cloud company Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the German multinational enterprise application software company SAP and the Berlin-based Christ&Company Consulting.

Aleph Alpha is a German AI application and research company that has developed a Large Language Model (LLM) called “Luminous”. Both its explainability and its multimodality characterise this model. One of Aleph Alpha’s goals is to make the origin of the information transparent to users and to ensure that partners retain sovereignty over their data. The current investment round is intended to further strengthen the German and European position for the development of value-oriented, sovereign AI. The significant enhancement of the capabilities of LLMs by a European company gives both government agencies and companies the opportunity to build and apply AI in a sovereign environment, as Aleph Alpha combines data protection and security with customisation options.

“As an international growth capital provider, we have been following the global development of AI, and we are convinced that Europe can play a much stronger role in this area. Aleph Alpha has developed one of the few Large Language Models in Europe that can compete with US models, that has reached a relevant scale and has a differentiation that really matters. We are very excited to partner with Aleph Alpha and drive the business forward together with Jonas Andrulis and his team.” Christian Teichmann, CEO at BPI

Aleph Alpha’s goal: to revolutionise AI in Europe

The Heidelberg-based AI company Aleph Alpha was founded in 2019 by Jonas Andrulis and Samuel Weinbach. Aleph Alpha supplies B2B and B2G (Business-to-Government) solutions with explainable and trustworthy AI in fully sovereign applications. The company’s goal is to revolutionise the access and use of artificial general intelligence in Europe. Aleph Alpha researches and develops AI technologies together with strong partners from industry, academia, and government.

On September 7, Aleph Alpha founder and CEO Jonas Andrulis took the stage at Burda’s first DLD AI Summit, together with BPI CEO Christian Teichmann, Adam Bittlingmayer (Modelfront) and Alexander Kudlich (468 Capital). Watch the video of the panel now.

Christian Teichmann, CEO of BPI, and Jonas Andrulis, CEO and founder of Aleph Alpha, together on stage at the DLD Munich 23 in January
© Daniel Grund for DLD / Hubert Burda Media

Fifth Dimension AI raises £2.3 million pre-seed round for its AI partner for real estate professionals

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With a multi-trillion dollar valuation, the global Real Estate industry has been slow in embracing digital transformation. It remains one of the most document-heavy and data-filled industries, with enormous potential for automation and talent upskilling.

This is why we are excited to back Fifth Dimension AI, a London-based startup on a mission to amplify the exceptional in real estate professionals. Coming out of a pilot phase, the company launched its flagship product Ellie, a first of its kind AI co-partner developed to improve productivity and amplify exceptional teams in industries that deal with a lot of documents and data. It automates time-consuming tasks such as data analysis and industry research, thus freeing people up to focus on bringing value to their business and fully using their expertise and insights.

Founded in January 2023 by Johnny Morris and Dr. Kate Jarvis, Fifth Dimension AI leverages their wealth of expertise across real estate, finance, and technology. Dr. Kate Jarvis, a large language model wizard with a PhD in Linguistics from Stanford University, has spent over a decade designing Machine Learning-powered products and bringing them to market. Johnny Morris brings more than a decade of real estate experience, in roles such as Chief Operating Officer at Wayhome and Analytics Director at Countrywide. The founders believe that Large Language Models (LLMs) can unlock the exceptional in people, taking away the time-consuming and often boring task of reviewing large quantities of information locked away in disparate documents, and instead producing outputs in a fraction of the time.

Dr. Kate Jarvis, Co-Founder & CEO of Fifth Dimension AI, comments, “This investment is a testament to the recognition of Ellie’s ability to redefine the world of work beginning with the real estate industry. We solve the issue of lifting employees out of time-consuming, repetitive and boring work, working with natural language that is designed to ensure people from all backgrounds can use it in the way that is most productive for them. Ellie empowers knowledge workers to do their best work and lead happier, purposeful, and more fulfilled lives.”

Johnny Morris, Co-Founder & CPO, Fifth Dimension AI, adds, “We designed Ellie to provide real estate professionals with a competitive advantage by providing a partner to help them get done in minutes what usually takes hours. Across our clients, we’ve been amazed by the impact that Ellie has on the newest generation of real estate professionals. These young and ambitious individuals are able to increase their output and amplify their expertise in the industry – in a fraction of the time. With Ellie as their partner, we believe the next generation will have the power to truly move the industry forward.”

Following the completion of an initial pilot scheme running since April, Fifth Dimension AI already boasts nearly 10 major real estate firms as clients, including big names such as Hamptons.

On why we invested in Fifth Dimension AI, our Managing Partner Carlos Espinal comments:

With their wealth of expertise across AI, Real Estate, and Finance, Johnny Morris and Dr. Kate Jarvis are a world-class founding team taking on a massive opportunity to innovate the real estate industry. We love their emphasis on the human element, i.e. enabling real estate professionals to fully leverage their talent and knowledge, and thus focus on high-impact activities that create more business value.

We are excited to co-lead Fifth Dimension AI’s £2.3 Million pre-seed alongside Anthemis’ Female Innovators Lab Fund, with support from Ascension Ventures Ltd, Concrete VC, Love Ventures, Twin Path Ventures, and Sie Ventures. With the new funds the company aims to scale the business’ sales and marketing functions and focus on product development to enhance the tool’s capabilities for an expanding audience across the real estate industry

For more information visit fifthdimensionai.com.

Koios raises Pre-Seed funding to enable leaders and organisations to manage and develop their talent with voice-driven psychometric insights

Seedcamp

To thrive in the current uncertain macroeconomic environment paired with unprecedented technological advancement, organisations of all sizes and across industries, are required to work more efficiently with leaner teams. Now, probably more than ever, it is essential to invest in workforce development and optimisation, to strengthen the employer and employee relationship, boost employee engagement, and ensure a successful long-term collaboration.

This is why we are excited to back Koios, a UK-based voice-driven AI platform set to drastically reduce cost and friction in the personality and management insights market, empowering human understanding between employers and employees. What makes this partnership even more remarkable is that the company was co-founded by our alumnus Alex Lewis, who in his role as Head of Talent, led our talent initiatives and supported our portfolio companies from 2021 until earlier this year.

On a mission to fundamentally improve the way that organisations work with their talent, Koios leverages proprietary voice-driven AI algorithms, to provide low friction and cost-efficient personality insights, thus enabling managers and teams to work together more effectively. Aiming to provide talent leaders and organisations with bespoke ways to communicate, motivate and develop each employee, the company is developing and applying state-of-the-art audio deep learning models using original data collection with an emphasis on a conscientious and ethical approach. To ensure the inclusivity of all people, regardless of race, gender, or geographical origin, Koios acquires original training data.

Started in 2020 by Alex, alongside his friend Tom Sherwood, Koios is rooted in the first-hand pain of lacking tech solutions to support managers and teams the founders have experienced as talent leaders themselves.

Alex Lewis, COO comments:

“In our roles at Spotify, and Seedcamp respectively, Tom and I had been helping companies across the Big Tech, start-up, and the scale-up world for years and one of the biggest buzzwords and blockers to hiring at the time was “culture fit”, which we despised as it had connotations of an individual having to “fit in” rather than a company enabling the success of each employee. As managers and leaders, we’d been through personality assessments over the years and we recognised that there were some useful insights in the more “robust” assessments, and questioned why there wasn’t greater adoption across the industry below leadership level (93% of the market wasn’t being served). After speaking with industry leaders, they made it clear that if friction from self-assessment could be removed and a more cost-effective model be put in place, then there was a great opportunity for mass adoption. 

With the addition of Martin Lukac, as Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist, Koios developed its proprietary technology to understand personality using voice. Designed as an enablement tool, Talent/Recruiting/HR teams can easily run the Koios app inviting existing employees to partake or sit over existing candidate interview processes. A minimum of 90 seconds is required to provide a bespoke set of personality and management insights from a candidate or employee’s voice to ensure their success in their role.

Lewis adds: “Not only can we provide existing workforce analysis, we will be able to run Koios over the top of an interview process at the click of a button and provide insights from 90 seconds, without the need to change the process or for the candidate or employee to do anything other than consent, of course. We are very conscious to eliminate as much of the bias as possible in the algorithms/models, so we spend a lot of time manually gathering and curating our training data to ensure that our tool serves everyone, regardless of their demographic — be it gender, ethnic background, or accent — so we can provide fair and inclusive insights to be used to lead, manage and develop employees, categorically not to assess their suitability for a role.”

On why we backed Koios, our Managing Partner Carlos Espinal MBE, emphasises: “Koios brings much-needed innovation in the talent development industry, particularly in the tech sector. Having worked closely together with Alex in his previous role as Seedcamp’s Head of Talent, I’ve admired his dedication and passion for nurturing talent across our portfolio and empowering them to thrive. Leveraging voice-driven AI, the platform helps find a better fit between employers and employees, thus facilitating a successful and productive, long-term collaboration. We couldn’t be more excited to back such an exceptional team on their mission to enable employees to reach their full potential and leaders and organisations to develop their workforce effectively.”

We are thrilled to lead Koios’s $550k Pre-Seed funding round, alongside Evolvient Capital and industry angels. With the new funding, Koios aims to prepare its go-live and continue investing in inclusive training data and developing the platform. Talent leaders and organisations can get early access to the platform on the company’s website getkoios.ai.

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Enzai secures $4 million for its global AI Governance platform

Seedcamp

The proliferation of new AI technologies is pushing organisations of all sizes and across industries and verticals to adopt and develop AI solutions at an exponential rate. However, in an expanding regulatory environment and a market climate where consumers believe that organisations should bear responsibility for any misapplication of AI technology, leaders need to prioritise AI governance to fully benefit from the power of AI innovation. Even more so businesses in domains that are inherently risky, such as financial services, healthcare, and insurance, need to understand, manage, and comply with AI-related risks and regulations.

This is why we are excited to back Enzai, a Belfast-based AI governance startup providing organisations with a comprehensive toolkit to navigate these complexities, ensuring the responsible development, deployment, and usage of AI. Coming at a pivotal moment, the company’s mission is to ensure that powerful AI technologies can gain the level of trust necessary to fulfill their true potential.

Founded in 2021 by Ryan Donnelly, a leading lawyer in the AI regulation space, and Jack Carlisle, a software engineer with extensive startup experience, Enzai brings a unique combination of legal, engineering, and data science expertise to build a solution in this area. The team of expert lawyers is tracking AI-focused regulatory developments around the world and responding quickly with new frameworks and features to ensure their customers can stay one step ahead.

Ryan Donnelly, co-founder of Enzai, comments:

“We founded Enzai with a clear vision: to empower organisations to harness the incredible potential of AI, while minimising the risks involved. As AI continues to evolve and permeate every industry, ensuring that it is built and adopted in a responsible, compliant manner has never been more critical. This financing fuels our commitment to enable businesses to innovate in AI with confidence, whilst safeguarding against potential pitfalls, and it paves the way for a future where AI drives both progress and responsibility.”

Enzai enables organisations to build up an inventory of their AI solutions, apply policies and procedures to that AI, and then measure compliance in real-time. “Controls”, the platform’s new feature introduces a new paradigm for building and using AI, allowing cross-functional teams to collaborate and conduct assessments of AI systems.

Jack Carlisle, co-founder of Enza adds:

“(…) we ensure consistency and scalability, enabling organisations of all sizes to manage their AI governance efforts efficiently. It facilitates seamless collaboration between business, legal and technical teams, bridging the gap between domain-specific, regulatory and data science expertise.”

Enzai’s software solution applies across industry verticals, in particular to financial services, healthcare, insurance, HR, and government. Ryan Donnelly emphasises: “anyone that takes their civic and regulatory responsibilities seriously can benefit from AI governance, and our software makes it extremely easy to get going.” 

On why we invested in Enzai, our Partner Tom Wilson, comments:

“We are all dealing with this incredibly powerful new wave of AI technologies. At the current rate of development, it is critical that we find ways to harness this development so that it has a positive impact on the world. We’re thrilled to support Enzai as one of the first investments from our new Fund VI. The team behind Enzai have identified a really strong way of managing AI risk, and their tech is set to be a foundational part of the AI ecosystem.”

We are excited to participate in Enzai’s $4 million seed funding round led by Cavalry Ventures, alongside existing pre-seed investor, Techstart Ventures and leading angel investors including Paul Forster (founder of Indeed.com), Sam Gill (co-founder of Seedcamp-backed Sylvera), and Alexandre Berriche (founder of Fleet). Enzai will use the funding to build out its engineering capabilities and support its go-to-market efforts.

Enzai is “in hiring mode”, with open roles across engineering, operations, policy, sales, and marketing. Check them out and apply here.

For more information, visit enz.ai.

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