Metaview’s tool records interview notes so that hiring managers don’t have to

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Illustration of a group of applicants waiting outside a door for a job interview.

Image Credits: lemono / Getty Images

Siadhal Magos and Shahriar Tajbakhsh were working at Uber and Palantir, respectively, when they both came to the realization that hiring — particularly the process of interviewing — was becoming unwieldy for many corporate HR departments.

“It was clear to us that the most important part of the hiring process is the interviews, but also the most opaque and unreliable part,” Magos told TechCrunch. “On top of this, there’s a bunch of toil associated with taking notes and writing up feedback that many interviewers and hiring managers do everything they can to avoid.”

Magos and Tajbakhsh thought that the hiring process was ripe for disruption, but they wanted to avoid abstracting away too much of the human element. So they launched Metaview, an AI-powered note-taking app for recruiters and hiring managers that records, analyzes and summarizes job interviews.

“Metaview is an AI note-taker built specifically for the hiring process,” Magos said. “It helps recruiters and hiring managers focus more on getting to know candidates and less on extracting data from the conversations. As a consequence, recruiters and hiring managers save a ton of time writing up notes and are more present during interviews because they’re not having to multitask.”

Metaview integrates with apps, phone systems, videoconferencing platforms and tools like Calendly and GoodTime to automatically capture the content of interviews. Magos says the platform “accounts for the nuances of recruiting conversations” and “enriches itself with data from other sources,” such as applicant tracking systems, to highlight the most relevant moments.

“Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet all have transcription built in, which is a possible alternative to Metaview,” Magos said. “But the information that Metaview’s AI pulls out from interviews is far more relevant to the recruiting use case than generic alternatives, and we also assist users with the next steps in their recruiting workflows in and around these conversations.”

Metaview

Image Credits: Metaview

Certainly, there’s plenty wrong with traditional job interviewing, and a note-taking and conversation-analyzing app like Metaview could help, at least in theory. As a piece in Psychology Today notes, the human brain is rife with biases that hinder our judgement and decision making, for example a tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered and to interpret information in a way that confirms our preexisting beliefs.

The question is, does Metaview work — and, more importantly, work equally well for all users?

Even the best AI-powered speech dictation systems suffer from their own biases. A Stanford study showed that error rates for Black speakers on speech-to-text services from Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft are nearly double those for white speakers. Another, more recent study published in the journal Computer Speech and Language found statistically significant differences in the way two leading speech recognition models treated speakers of different genders, ages and accents.

There’s also hallucination to consider. AI makes mistakes summarizing, including in meeting summaries. In a recent story, The Wall Street Journal cited an instance where, for one early adopter using Microsoft’s AI Copilot tool for summarizing meetings, Copilot invented attendees and implied calls were about subjects that were never discussed.

When asked what steps Metaview has taken, if any, to mitigate bias and other algorithmic issues, Magos claimed that Metaview’s training data is diverse enough to yield models that “surpass human performance” on recruitment workflows and perform well on popular benchmarks for bias.

I’m skeptical and a bit wary, too, of Metaview’s approach to how it handles speech data. Magos says that Metaview stores conversation data for two years by default unless users request that the data be deleted. That seems like an exceptionally long time.

But none of this appears to have affected Metaview’s ability to get funding or customers.

Metaview this month raised $7 million from investors including Plural, Coelius Capital and Vertex Ventures, bringing the London-based startup’s total raised to $14 million. Metaview’s client count stands at 500 companies, Magos says, including Brex, Quora, Pleo and Improbable — and it’s grown 2,000% year-over-year.

“The money will be used to grow the product and engineering team primarily, and give more fuel to our sales and marketing efforts,” Magos said. “We will triple the product and engineering team, further fine-tune our conversation synthesis engine so our AI is automatically extracting exactly the right information our customers need and develop systems to proactively detect issues like inconsistencies in the interview process and candidates that appear to be losing interest.”

Funding for TripleMed to achieve CE marking

Brightland Venture Partners

 


Solutions for better treatment of aortic aneurysms step closer

Geleen, March 21, 2024.

TripleMed BV is a medical startup focused on improving the treatment of aortic aneurysms. A consortium of existing and new investors has contributed more than two million euros to enable the clinical trials needed for CE marking and market launch. The aim is to achieve CE marking early in 2025. LIOF previously invested from the Limburg Business Development Fund (LBDF) and has now taken a stake in the company through the Participation Fund. Existing shareholder Brightlands Venture Partners (BVP) reinvested in TripleMed from its Chemelot Ventures fund.

Lenn Houbiers, investment manager at LIOF
: “The TripleMed solution will eventually lead to more efficient management of aortic aneurysms, better quality of life and lower healthcare costs. In doing so, TripleMed makes an important contribution to the health transition, one of the transitions on which LIOF is strongly focused.”

Solutions under development
TripleMed is currently conducting clinical studies at a number of hospitals in the Netherlands and Belgium to validate AneuFix Endoleak Repair (fixing a leak after aneurysm surgery) and AneuFill Prophylactic Sac Filling (preventive insertion of a polymer to prevent leaks). The AneuFix/AneuFill concept is a 2-component polymer in a syringe. Upon insertion, the 2 components are mixed and then harden into an elastic permanent implant in the aneurysm.

Clinical trials started in 2020, 33 patients have been treated to date. The interim results of the clinical trial are very positive, in 89% of the patients the leakage remains stopped for a long time. By the end of 2024, the company hopes to have treated 57 patients and thus completed the clinical study so that CE marking can be obtained for AneuFix, followed in 2026 by CE marking for Aneufill.

“We are pleased with the new financial injection that will allow us to continue our research and achieve the certification required for the market launch of both products” said Tjeerd Homsma, CEO of TripleMed.”

Extent of aortic aneurysms
More than 150,000 patients worldwide are treated for aortic aneurysms each year. As many as 10-15% of all aortic aneurysms previously treated with stent-grafts experience leakage and further growth of the aneurysm. No effective treatment currently exists for this.

About TripleMed
TripleMed was founded in 2011 by three reputed vascular surgeons, Dr. Hans Brom, Dr. Alexander de Vries and Prof. Dr. Michael Jacobs. The company is based at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen. TripleMed focuses on developing innovative and cost-effective solutions for the treatment of aortic aneurysms.
Despite the obvious benefits of endovascular treatment using endoprostheses, the procedure is associated with a relatively high number of complications and repeat operations in the years following the initial surgery, which has a major impact on patients’ quality of life and high costs. With its products, TripleMed expects to make a significant improvement to more effective and cost-efficient treatment of aortic aneurysms.
More information:  www.triplemedical.com.

About Brightlands Venture Partners
Brightlands Venture Partners (BVP) is the fund manager of Chemelot Ventures and is a so-called ecosystem investor. BVP invests in companies benefiting from and contributing to the Brightlands campuses in the south of the Netherlands. Other funds under management are BVP Fund IV, Brightlands Agrifood Fund and Limburg Ventures. Chemelot Ventures has a portfolio of investments in startups and scaleups in sustainability and health. Together the BVP funds have made over 50 investments.
More information on https://brightlandsventurepartners.com/.

AneuFill procedure - TripleMed.PNG

Image on the left: During the procedure, AneuFill polymer is inserted through a filling catheter immediately after the endoprosthesis is placed (green).
Image on the right: The entire space of the aneurysm around the endoprosthesis is filled with AneuFill polymer (blue).

 

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Omnispace Expands Spectrum Portfolio with Authorization to Operate Mobile Satellite System in Brazil

TDF Ventures logo

Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) Clears Omnispace’s Brazilian Subsidiary to Sell Mobile Satellite Capacity in Brazil

TYSONS, Va.Feb. 19, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Omnispace LLC, the company redefining global mobile connectivity, today announced that on December 14, 2023Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) approved its subsidiary Omnispace Comunicações Brasil Ltda’s request to operate its non-geostationary satellite (NGSO) system nationwide.  After conducting a public consultation and technical reviews, ANATEL determined that Omnispace meets the requirements to utilize the S-band (1980-2010 MHz / 2170-2200 MHz) in line with the ITU Radio Regulations global Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) allocation and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) n256 band specifications.

This regulatory milestone adds to Omnispace’s growing global portfolio of countries where it has achieved regulatory approvals and spectrum access. In total, Omnispace now has market access to reach more than 735 million people across Latin AmericaAsiaAfrica and the Middle East. Together with partners that have spectrum access in 3GPP 5G NTN bands, Omnispace is poised to deliver access in all major international markets as part of a next generation global 5G NGSO system.

 

Since 2019, Omnispace Comunicações Brasil has demonstrated its NGSO MSS and IoT capabilities on its current system through a series of experimental licenses in Brazil. The pilot projects included showcasing MSS on a ship that journeyed more than 44,000 kilometers on the Amazon and Madeira Rivers to provide connectivity throughout those remote areas that do not have access to terrestrial mobile connectivity.  Omnispace also conducted vehicle tracking and Internet of Things (IoT) pilot projects in the state of São Paulo to test direct-to-device (D2D) communications. Omnispace is the first company to successfully conduct mobile satellite tests in the S-band in Brazil and will now be the first satellite operator licensed in Brazil for this band with an operational system.

“We look forward to providing MSS and IoT services in Brazil, which is at the forefront of the global stage for creating a harmonized S-band MSS ecosystem,” said Ram Viswanathan, President and CEO for Omnispace LLC. “This approval by ANATEL is a key component in accelerating our vision to unlock the full potential of direct-to-device connectivity globally leveraging standards-based technology. Brazil is part of a global map of countries and spectrum access that we have assembled, putting us closer to creating the necessary foundation for an exceptional voice, text, and data experience.”

“Obtaining an authorization to operate in Brazil has been one of my primary objectives since I first joined Omnispace.  We are grateful for the diligence, transparency, technical capabilities, and global leadership of Brazil’s regulatory authority, ANATEL, in supporting spectrum efficiency and technologies that will benefit Brazilian consumers, businesses and the economy,” said Mindel De La Torre, Chief Regulatory and International Strategy Officer of Omnispace LLC. “We eagerly anticipate connecting rural and remote communities, and fostering economic, environmental, and educational opportunities through the widespread expansion of satellite communications across both the country and the region.”

Learn more about Omnispace’s plans to offer enhanced 3GPP standards-based 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN) global, mobile direct-to-device connectivity at Omnispace.com.

About Omnispace, LLC 

Headquartered in the Washington D.C. area, and founded by veteran telecommunications and satellite industry executives, Omnispace is redefining mobile connectivity for the 21st century. By leveraging 5G technologies, the company is combining the global footprint of a non-geostationary satellite constellation with the mobile networks of the world’s leading telecom companies to bring an interoperable “one network” connectivity to users and IoT devices anywhere on the globe.

Learn more at: Omnispace.com and follow on LinkedIn or Twitter @omnispace.

Media contact:

Marie Knowles

mknowles@omnispace.com

SOURCE Omnispace

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Gresham House Ventures exits logistics and warehousing specialist Master Removers Group for 3.4x money multiple

Gresham House

Gresham House Ventures has exited its stake in logistics, warehousing and removals business Master Removers Group (MRG), via the sale of Bishopsgate, its B2B logistics division, to listed Swedish group Elanders AB (Elanders) and alongside this the sale of its shares in MRG’s domestic removals business to management.

Gresham House Ventures initially invested £7.2mn into MRG via the Mobeus VCTs in 2014. MRG has delivered consistent growth since then, despite various macroeconomic headwinds. The VCTs’ investment has driven both an increase in penetration among Bishopsgate’s existing customers and an expansion of its customer base. The removals business has also grown consistently over this period, expanding geographically through the completion of several astute acquisitions.

The sale of Bishopsgate to Elanders, based on an enterprise value of £47.5mn, has been approved by both the business’s management team and Gresham House Ventures, and will enable Elanders to develop its presence in the UK market while providing long-term continuity for Bishopsgate’s 276 staff. 47 members of staff across both Bishopsgate and MRG’s domestic removals business will also directly benefit from the deal via a generous share ownership scheme that has long rewarded key staff for the continued effective running of the business with regular dividends.

For Gresham House Ventures, the exit delivers a strong return, with an IRR of 26.6% over the nine-year holding period and a money multiple of 3.4x.

The exit continues a busy period of dealmaking for Gresham House Ventures, which recently made a £1.75mn follow-on investment in e-commerce software business Patchworks. This followed a £1.1mn investment into biotech research business Metrion Biosciences, a £1.4mn investment into tailor-made holiday company TravelLocal and a £3mn investment into leading travel technology business Branchspace.

Bob Henry, portfolio director at Gresham House Ventures, said:

“This investment has been a major success story for the Mobeus VCTs and has delivered an outstanding return over a long period. The VCTs’ investment, combined with the strategic vision of the management team and its unerring focus on quality of service, has created long-term shareholder value, which is now being realised. The offer from Elanders is compelling for both Gresham House Ventures and MRG’s management team and will deliver long-term continuity for Bishopsgate’s staff and customers.

Tim Bloch, managing director at Bishopsgate, said:

“Our relationship with Gresham House Ventures has been a major driver of a long period of growth for Master Removers Group and Bishopsgate, and we are grateful for its longstanding support and close guidance over the last nine years. We are aligned in believing that now is the time for Bishopsgate to continue its journey under new ownership and Elanders is ideally positioned to take the business forward over the coming years.”

 

Read more about Master Removers Group >

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Renewcast secures €850K in seed funding to revolitionize wind power forecasting

Helen Ventures

Renewcast, an innovative Italian company specializing in advanced wind power generation forecasting, has successfully closed its seed financing round, raising approximately €850,000. This round was led by Helen Venture of Finland and saw follow-on participation from Tech4Planet, the National Technology Transfer Hub of Environmental Sustainability launched by CDP Venture Capital SGR, along with continued support from funding team and previous investors Beamline Fund, and Mindtitan, the latest as strategic development partner.

Renewcast is at the forefront of the wind power generation forecasting technology with its proprietary SaaS AI/Deep Learning platform. The platform enables more accurate forecasting of day-ahead and intra-day wind production based on existing weather forecasts data, creating significant balancing cost savings.

Fabio Nicolò, CEO and Founder of Renewcast, says, “We are excited and honored for the trust and support shown by Helen Venture, CdP Tech4Planet, along with all our existing partner and investors. This funding will greatly accelerate our market penetration and enhance our technological capabilities, enabling us to serve a global portfolio of corporate clients with our fully automated Azure Cloud based platform.”

Mikael Myllymäki, Vice President and Head Of Helen Ventures adds, “Wind forecasting represents a huge market opportunity, especially in the context of strongly fluctuating energy prices and imperative of deploying renewable energy production. We are convinced in Renewcast’s exceptional prediction accuracy, as validated by our experts, and the seasoned management team leading the company, who have secured great early customer traction.”

Claudia Pingue, head of CDP Venture Capital SGR’s Technology Transfer Fund, comments, “The reliability of wind forecasting is crucial for the sustainable transition to renewable energy. The global market potential, combined with Renewcast’s experienced team and deep market understanding, made this an attractive investment, reinforced by strong validation from major utilities.”

Renewcast has already proven its technology with over 500 MW of installed wind turbines across Italy and Europe. Clients such as Utilitas Wind in Latvia have scaled up from pilot to commercial service, recognizing the superior reliability of Renewcast’s forecasting.

Renars Urbanovics, Board Member of Utilitas Wind Latvia, states, “Renewcast’s forecasting reliability is 20-30% better than our benchmark. We’re fully confident in the value we receive from Renewcast’s services, which is why we’ve opted for a premium-price-for-premium-performance agreement.”

The successful closure of this seed round was facilitated by the expert legal guidance of Avvocati. Net team (Alessandro M. LerroMatteo Ettore PanizzaGiulio De Bruno) for Renewcast, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP team (Attilio Mazzilli, Alessandro VittoriaPietro FazziniClaudia Francesca Micol Cirinà), representing Helen Ventures.

Founded in 2020, Renewcast is emerging as a game-changer in the wind power generation forecasting industry with its cutting-edge machine learning SaaS platform. The company has been recognized with awards such as “Bando Pre-Seed” and Boost Your Ideas from Lazio Innova, and is part of the Beamline Accelerator Portfolio which contributed significantly to reach current results. Supported by MindTitan as a technological strategic partner, Renewcast’s dynamic leadership team is propelling the company toward global leadership in renewable forecasting services.

The team is lead by CEO & Founder Fabio Nicolò, with over 28 years of experience in management consulting in the energy sector across Italy, Europe, and the USA, and an Executive MBA from Stanford, USA; Ugo Mattoni, CCO & Co-Founder, with 35+ years in the energy sector in Italy and Europe, and an MBA from Luiss Business School; Sibghat Ullah, Senior ML Engineer & Co-Founder, with 5+ years in IT, Data Science, AI & ML engineering, holding a PhD in Data Science and a Master’s Degree in Computer Science; and Marco Piscopiello, Product Optimization Lead, Holding a degree in engineering, with more than 12 years of experience in the energy sector, power and demand forecasting, data science, and data architectures.

ABN AMRO and Motive Partners form strategic partnership

Motive Partners

ABN AMRO Bank NV today announced its strategic partnership with Motive Partners, a leading international specialist private equity firm focusing on venture, growth equity and buyout investments in technology-enabled financial and business services.

AMSTERDAM–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The move demonstrates a joint commitment from two sizable financial technology investors to support continued innovation and growth in the evolving fintech landscape. Motive Ventures, the early-stage venture arm of Motive Partners, will manage the ABN AMRO Ventures Fund (AAV), consisting of 15 early-stage companies. In addition, ABN AMRO will become a significant investor in Motive-managed vehicles.

“Banking for better, for generations to come”

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With funding in the financial services industry declining by 70% between 2021 and 2022, and numerous venture capitalists reducing their investment programmes, Motive Partners and ABN AMRO are charting a new course. Their partnership unites two leading venture platforms, each with decades of fintech expertise and a dedication to innovation in both financial services and venture capital. Their goal is to strengthen the fintech sector and boost innovation by bringing Motive Partners’ ecosystem and experts to the AAV portfolio and ABN AMRO’s broader network. Motive Ventures’ portfolio consists of 21 investments in seed and series A stage companies, spanning the United States and Europe. The combined AAV-Motive Ventures portfolio will thus number 36 companies.

The new partnership has been formed on two pillars. First, Motive Ventures will assume the management of AAV with €150 million in assets under management, leveraging Motive Partners’ breadth and depth of expertise. To ensure seamless continuity of AAV’s operations and to strengthen the capabilities at Motive Ventures, Hugo Bongers, Managing Director and Head of ABN AMRO Ventures, and Tim Wanders, Executive Director at ABN AMRO, are joining Motive Ventures as Partner and Principal, respectively.

Second, ABN AMRO will become a significant investor in Motive-managed vehicles. This investment underscores ABN AMRO’s appetite and continued commitment to exploring new frontiers in fintech innovation in partnership with Motive Partners.

Edwin van Bommel, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at ABN AMRO commented: “Our collaboration with Motive Ventures is a major milestone for ABN AMRO. We believe that joining forces with a definitive leader in the rapidly evolving fintech landscape will not only drive innovation but also enhance our competitive edge. This partnership will strongly support our strategic ambition of being a personal bank in the digital age for our customers.”

Ramin Niroumand, Partner at Motive Partners and Head of Motive Ventures commented: “ABN AMRO has long been a leader among financial institutions in European fintech investing. With portfolio companies like Tink and Penta, they have already demonstrated great investments and exits, and a deep understanding of how to deliver strategic value to the global ecosystem. We have already worked together on several co-investments, which is why we are so happy that Hugo and Tim are joining the Motive Ventures team.”

The strategic partnership is expected to close in Q4 2023, with Hugo Bongers and Tim Wanders joining the Motive team before the end of the year.

About ABN AMRO

ABN AMRO is a Northwest European bank for retail, corporate and private banking clients, headquartered in Amsterdam. For our clients, we aim to be a personal bank in the digital age. A bank that shapes and enables the transition to a sustainable society, together with our clients and partners. Our efforts are based on our purpose: “Banking for better, for generations to come”. Our focus is on Northwest Europe. With more than 20,000 colleagues, of which approximately 5,000 work outside the Netherlands, we serve more than 5 million clients.

About Motive Partners

Motive Partners is a specialist private equity firm with offices in New York City, London and Berlin, focusing on venture, growth equity and buyout investments in technology-enabled financial and business services companies based in North America and Europe, and serving five primary subsectors: Banking & Payments, Capital Markets, Data & Analytics, Investment Management and Insurance. Motive Partners brings differentiated expertise, connectivity and capabilities to create long-term value in financial technology companies. For more information, please visit www.motivepartners.com.

About Motive Ventures

Motive Ventures is the early-stage investment arm of Motive Partners, focused on pre-seed through to Series A financial technology investments in North America and Europe. Motive Ventures is backed by globally recognized tech entrepreneurs, industry veterans as well as leading institutions and venture investors. Today the team consists of 13 employees across Berlin, London and New York.

Contacts

ABN Amro Press Office
pressrelations@nl.abnamro.com

Motive Partners
Sam Tidswell-Norrish, Managing Director
sam@motivepartners.com

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Oyster Heaven creates the first scalable solution to regenerate lost oyster reefs

Orange Wings Investments

Rotterdam-based startup raises €800,000 from Orange Wings Investments

27 June 2023|Press Release|OWI|Oyster Heaven

Shawn Harris and George Birch

Oyster Heaven, a Rotterdam-based startup founded by George Birch, has raised €800,000 in funding from Orange Wings Investments to facilitate the next stage in their growth. The investment will support the startup’s goals toward marine restoration, offering the first cost-effective solution to sustainably restore native oyster reefs around the world.

Oyster reefs play an important role in the marine ecosystem. They form a habitat for hundreds of species, filter water, and are one of the most natural and cost-effective ways to manage excess nitrogen from the ocean and help fight climate change.

20-30% of the North Sea used to be covered by oyster reefs, but 150 years ago they were considered cheap food and were overharvested to near extinction without realising the damage that would cause. Now, 95% of these reefs are gone, and much of the ocean floor is a marine desert not suitable for oysters to grow on.


The first scalable solution to regrow lost oyster reefs: The Mother Reef

Founded in 2021 by George Birch, 32, Oyster Heaven is turning the tide by regenerating oyster reefs at a large scale. With extensive scientific research, the startup is able to unlock the biggest bottleneck for oyster restoration by creating a low-cost and efficient substrate for oysters: the Mother Reef. This natural reef system made of clay is scaffolding pre-loaded with baby oysters essential for repopulating the deserted sea floor.

After successful lab and field testing to prove the efficiency of the Mother Reef over the last two years, on-land tests continue at Stichting Zeeschelp in Zeeland in order to prove beyond a doubt the effectiveness of the technology. So far, 10,000s of baby oysters (spats) have attached to the Mother Reefs and are thriving.

Ocean conservation meets financial scalability

Oyster Heaven was born out of a desire to combine ocean conservation with financially scalable models that are independent of philanthropy. With his unusual background, a mix of both marine and terrestrial conservation and financial management, Birch is well-prepared to lead the startup to success.

“Sustainability has been the sole ambition of my career. I have been obsessed with finding a way to get mainstream finance to invest in the health of our oceans. Oyster Heaven is the opportunity to make this happen. Today, countries are in various stages of recognizing the value of ecosystem services. Oyster Heaven is leading the way, preparing for a society willing to pay for the services oyster reefs can provide.” says George.

By partnering with local fishing communities to plant the Mother Reefs into the ocean and protect the new marine oases, the startup anticipates a boon to the new circular economy.

Support from Orange Wings Investments

The €800,000 investment in Oyster Heaven is backed by Orange Wings Investments, an early-stage VC supporting changemakers with brilliant ideas and giving wings to future champions. “Our operations should bring back millions of oysters and other marine life to the seas,” according to Orange Wings Investments founder Shawn Harris. “We are really excited about investing in a cost-effective solution that can reverse the losses we are having in the seas globally.”

The most impactful oyster restoration project in Europe

The startup is positioned to deploy 5 million oysters in Europe and the US in 2024, and aims to have regenerated 100 million oysters by 2027, anticipating significant improvement in marine biodiversity, water quality and waste management in various industries.

Their success will be the first financially sustainable solution to help our oceans by restoring marine life, making them the most scalable and impactful oyster restoration force in Europe.

About Oyster Heaven

The Rotterdam startup and nature conservation organisation Oyster Heaven – founded in 2021 by George Birch – is a regeneration first organisation whose central mission is to regenerate oyster reefs on a large scale. Birch obtained his MBA from Erasmus in Rotterdam and has worked at Blue Marine Foundation and Janus Henderson, among others. Oyster Heaven’s vision is a society where people can continue to live comfortably by helping the environment and vital industries, such as housing and food suppliers, continue to exist in the future. The company is supported by Blue Oyster Environmental, DTU Aqua, Newcastle University, Mantis Consulting, Metabolic, Rewilding Britain, Stichting Zeeschelp, WWF, and a scientific advisory board.

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Baird Capital Invests in Parallax

Baird Capital

Baird Capital’s Venture Capital team today announced it led a Series B funding round in Parallax, a leading provider of predictive forecasting and capacity planning software for digital services and organizations. Parallax plans to utilize the new capital to fuel its product innovation initiatives, expand its market presence, and further scale its operations to meet the growing demand for solutions.

“Through our own investments in professional services businesses across the Baird Capital portfolio, we’ve witnessed firsthand the importance of effective resource management and its impact on workforce utilization and profitability,” said Jim Pavlik, Partner with Baird Capital’s Venture team and newly appointed Board member at Parallax. “We’ve been extremely impressed with Parallax’s cloud-based platform and its ability to optimize resource planning and forecasting for its clients and are very excited to partner with the Parallax team and support their continued investments in growing the business.”

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Supercharging Sales Teams Why we’re investing in Kush and Ahmed of Vartana

Activant Capital

Activant is excited to announce that we have led Vartana’s $20M Series B, with participation from existing investors Mayfield Fund and Audacious Ventures. We’re proud to partner with co-founders Kush & Ahmed and the entire Vartana team on their mission to streamline the sales closing process.

This partnership has been three years in the making. We began researching B2B commerce and checkout years ago, publishing our perspectives in TechCrunch in 2021 and three research reports on the topic last year. We were subsequently introduced to Kush and Ahmed through those reports, and when we saw what they were building at Vartana, we realized it was special.

The Delicate Dance of Sales

Pretend for a moment you’re an enterprise sales rep. It’s the last week of the quarter, and you’re just $50k away from meeting your quota. Your last prospect is nearing the dotted line, but before you know it, the close date gets pushed out by two weeks. Why? Your potential customer needs to finance their purchase (it’s a $200K ACV, 3-year deal), but they’re stuck in a back-and-forth PDF battle between your financing team, a lender, and the sales deal desk – there’s barely an end in sight.

But wait. In a world where software is eating the world – where you can sign up and buy anything with just a few clicks – why are sales teams still so critical? If product is good enough, why doesn’t it just sell itself?

Take a look at Slack – one the darlings of the B2B “bottoms-up SaaS” movement of the 2010’s. The experience was consumer-grade, the signup was easy and self-serve, and the product spread virally through organizations. In 2015, Co-founder & CEO Stuart Butterfield said, “I believe we can have no commissions forever…we can have no outbound sales forever.”

Today, sales makes up nearly a quarter of Slack’s team – 900 people. Why? Because as technology companies move upmarket, their customers need to work with sales teams to build alignment across the organization, no matter how great the product is. Separate studies by Salesforce and Gartner found that approximately 75% of B2B buyers expect to interact with a salesperson during their buying journey.

Larger customers are more complex – with existing tech stacks, multiple geographies and languages, and complicated org structures. This, coupled with the woes associated with financing large purchases (think $100K+/year, 3-5 year deals) so that vendors receive payment up front and buyers can pay over time, makes a long list before the customer can sign on the dotted line. In the end, the best enterprise sales reps are skillful guides to their customers through the dreaded gauntlet of “stakeholder alignment.”

No More PDF Battles

The current climate is all about being resourceful and efficient, and sales teams are no exception. While we’ve seen some strides in sales automation, one of the biggest friction points for buyers and sellers remains the financing process.

Remember the PDF battle? This incumbent process of offering flexible payments is full of paperwork and intentionally opaque, making it slow and difficult to scale. It bogs down sales teams when speed and customer service matter most – during the deal-closing process. B2B sales teams need to build alignment within their own organization (namely finance and sales orgs), and within their customer’s (namely procurement and legal).

Vartana is an end-to-end sales closing platform that embeds financing and payment options at the point of purchase for enterprise technology. It enables:

  • Sales teams to increase efficiency and velocity. Vartana lives in the CRM, the home for sales teams. It underwrites every potential deal, and provides a closing, payments, and financing toolkit that helps qualify, win, and execute more deals. The result is more sales closed, faster, and more commissions.
  • Finance teams to drive higher revenue and cash today. Vartana eliminates manual workflows, allowing finance teams to support sales while also ensuring high-quality customers. It even fits into existing captive financing processes and can free up liquidity for many vendors who today, reluctantly offer financing off their balance sheets to win and retain important customers.
  • End customers to purchase business critical technology like cybersecurity, cloud, and IoT solutions today without massive cash outlays upfront, all while streamlining the entire sales process.

Vartana’s Approach

Vartana’s go-to-market targets adoption at the sales level – those who are actually selling in the trenches. When we talked to reps who had closed deals using Vartana, they said that the thought of having it removed from their toolbox would put them at a severe disadvantage.

And Vartana is already live with blue-chip enterprise vendors including Samsara, Verkada, and Domo, which provides exposure to high-quality, lower-risk end-customers who are purchasing mission-critical software.

In addition to building out more products to simplify the life of sales teams, Vartana will be able to extend their reach into other digital form factors like B2B marketplace checkout.

Co-founders Kush and Ahmed embarked on their journey in 2020. Prior, they worked at Motive (formerly KeepTrucking), a fleet management platform, where they encountered inefficient contract management and inflexible payment systems. Their years of hands-on experience gave them an understanding of how deals could be prolonged due to inadequate payment flexibility. This eventually led them to leave Motive with a vision to build Vartana.

When we met Kush and Ahmed, we were deeply impressed with the clarity of their vision. They see Vartana as business that can streamline sales closing today while building over time into a full-fledged platform, and back it up with a relentless focus on execution.

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Sustainable Use of Electric Vehicle Batteries – Voltfang Secures €5 Million Financing

Helen Ventures

Voltfang, the clean-tech startup for energy storage from second-life electric vehicle batteries, has secured €5 million in new capital to scale its production. The consortium is led by the lead investor PT1 – PropTech1 Ventures. Other investors include Helen Ventures, Aurum Impact, Eviny, and the existing investor AENU.

Helen Ventures has been following the fast-growing trend of batteries closely over the past years. “We are excited about our investment in Voltfang. It is evident that a huge uptake of batteries is underway in the electricity system, and it is also evident that second-life batteries will be an important part of this in solving sustainability and cost hurdles,” says Mikael Myllymäki, Vice President and Head of Helen Ventures. “We are very impressed by the agility and customer-focus of the Voltfang team as they have brought their solution to market. It is a privilege to join supporting the team together with such a quality group of investors.”

Voltfang provides a solution to both the battery recycling problem and the energy transition with its high-quality energy storage systems made from used electric vehicle batteries. The Aachen-based startup enables the reuse of EV batteries through a specially developed AI-based software that evaluates battery longevity. “We give the battery a second life in stationary operations. With the help of our operating systems and continuous monitoring, we can make our batteries just as durable as new batteries. We guarantee this with our 10-year Batteryflat,” says David Oudsandji, Co-CEO of Voltfang. The company has already conducted several successful pilot projects in Germany and has won major customers such as ALDI Nord and Schaltbau.

“In ten years, there will be no new batteries in the commercial sector,” says Roman Alberti, Co-CEO of Voltfang. This is not only about the sustainable recycling of batteries but also about saving on material imports and, above all, costs. “With the help of our energy management system, our storage systems can be intelligently deployed, allowing the battery to be amortized as quickly as possible,” explains Roman Alberti.

“We can connect urgently needed capacities to the grid in the coming years to ensure grid stability. This is not only an advantage for our customers but for anyone who wants to avoid blackouts,” explains Afshin Doostdar, CTO of Voltfang. “The grids are not designed for the energy transition. Electric mobility, heat pumps, and fluctuating renewable energies require cost-effective and sustainable intermediate storage solutions that can be deployed in the short term. With our energy storage systems, we achieve this and reach a milestone in addressing the fundamental challenges of the energy transition.”

Voltfang was founded in 2021 and has already brought a certified and market-ready product to market. As a spin-off from RWTH Aachen, the startup now employs 50 people and operates a production site in Aachen. Voltfang aims to deliver more than 40 MWh of storage capacity in its products by the end of 2024.

Fabian Heilemann (AENU): “Stationary battery storage systems will play a central role in the energy system of the future by aligning electricity generation and consumption over time. Since Voltfang’s energy storage systems are made from reused electric vehicle batteries, they not only contribute to the energy transition but also reduce dependence on and consumption of resources compared to the production of new batteries. With their academic and practical expertise, the Voltfang team has the optimal DNA to build a European champion in the field of second-life batteries.”

Niko Samios (PT1): “There is no question that the market opportunity for energy storage will be enormous in the coming years. Sustainable energy production is becoming increasingly affordable, but it needs to be stored somewhere due to the grid structure, and decentralization is the best approach. Future regulatory requirements will further emphasize this process. Voltfang offers the most interesting product in this field that we have seen because they combine a cost advantage with a sustainability bonus.”

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