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Fundraising Strategies: Insights from Years in the VC Arena

Fundraising Strategies: Insights from Years in the VC Arena

Although these days it might seem that there are startups and funds just about everywhere, I would suggest that this is in fact a relatively recent development. If we look at Spain, it is only now that second and third cycle entrepreneurs are finally being identified, i.e., individuals who have founded a “technological” startup, have successfully sold it and have then returned with a new idea.

Tuenti, Social Point and Idealista, to name but three of the most high-profile cases, pushed startups to the center of the stage, showed the business community that tech entrepreneurship affords huge opportunities, and laid the foundations for what is now a country featuring several high-performance hubs (Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Bilbao), a law that brought improvements, and local funds able to lead decent-sized rounds.

As a venture capitalist and after eight years on the front line, first of all I would proffer a tip that may seem self-evident yet is anything but: founders need to measure the timing of funding very carefully. Raising a round in the middle of a venture capital winter is very different from doing so in times of absolute buzz, or at the peak of a technology’s hype or when that industry vertical is on the slide. This decision will set the startup’s value and future growth requirements in stone.

Once you take the decision to embark on this career, two things come into play. Firstly, funds greatly welcome the fact that the entrepreneur seeks them out. Rather than playing the quantity game, it is better to stress the qualitative dimension: I want you and I want you for these reasons. Express a genuine interest in the potential investors, emphasizing why you specifically want them on board.

Secondly, it is crucial that the startup knocks on the VC’s door with references, with a background, and with the endorsement of other proven entrepreneurs. The cornerstone of the founder-fund relationship is not the initial email or the subsequent video call: it is reputation. This prompts another question: are events essential to get good press? The best event (and the best networking) is a dinner at a serial entrepreneur’s home.

Besides, in the startup funding game, cultivating long-term relationships is a strategic win. Prioritize connections with proven colleagues and investors for a track record that speaks for itself. Beyond a one-time pitch, this approach builds trust and opens doors for ongoing support across various ventures. To delve deeper into understanding investors, prioritize exploring their portfolios as part of your journey. It’s not just about the immediate pitch; it’s about playing the long-term game and winning over investors with your proven history, talking with portfolio experience and even aligning your expertise with the fund thesis.

We always talk about the pitch and the deck, the obvious next steps in this fledgling relationship, and here I would emphasize not only eloquence and look (eloquence depends on the speaker; the look can be hired) but also keeping track of all the information made available to investors. Spending money in the look of the pitch deck is also advised, in a competitive landscape, the use of visuals becomes particularly valuable. A data room is indispensable and the most scalable way to get across a startup’s KPIs. It is also recommended to send a monthly update that really helps to generate transparency and builds trust with the VC.

As you embark on this journey, careful budget management is key. Manage your budget by not spending on expensive M&A advisories, consider prioritizing expenditures on valuable investor information and databases. Combining an in-depth understanding of VC portfolios with savvy resource allocation increases the likelihood of building meaningful connections with investors and optimizes fundraising efficiency. Sometimes, specially in advanced stages, a dedicated investor relations profile can be valuable, balancing this role is essential to avoid overwhelming the CEO. Traditionally, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has shouldered this responsibility, embodying a conventional corporate image. However, in the evolving VC landscape, bringing in a professional with diverse commercial skills can enhance the organization’s capacity to effectively pursue and secure funding from various sources.

As for the industry verticals and technologies that funds cherish most, we already know there are all kinds of investment theses. Leveraging the location in the world where you operate is arguably almost more germane. In Spain, an edtech will cash in on the language factor; if you are a fintech you will find enormous opportunities in the United Kingdom; in France there is a significant state aid framework.

Artificial intelligence is presently at the forefront of technological advancements. However, as always, there will be an 80-20 pattern: 20% of the players will grab 80% of the market. There will be business opportunities in that other 20% free from the stranglehold of a few, as there still are in SaaS (software as a service), cybersecurity, process management, and technology that supports traditional sectors amenable to speedy digital transformation (restaurants, fitness centers, etc.).

Venture capital fund and selection teams meticulously scrutinize potential investments, and certain red lines can act as obstacles. A founder’s first startup without a solid foundation of intellectual property or proprietary technology may give pause, signaling a potential lack of unique value or defensibility in the market. Additionally, unvalidated business models raise skepticism about the startup’s viability and market fit. Furthermore, seeking an excessive amount of funding or presenting an overly diluted cap table can be perceived as signs of financial mismanagement or an unrealistic understanding of the startup’s needs. While exceptions might exist, these elements can create hesitancy among investors.

In essence, entrepreneurship and venture capital are not bound by rigid formulas. Amidst the complexities of numbers, situational analyses, and business models, the underestimated force of common sense proves to be a formidable tool. Success transcends quantitative metrics, relying on intangibles like impeccable timing, unwavering transparency, a resilient team, collective expertise, and an ongoing readiness to respond to inquiries while sharing key performance indicators (KPIs). The intricate interplay of these elements defines the art of navigating the entrepreneurial landscape and securing venture capital. It’s the amalgamation of strategic insight and human dynamics that drives ventures towards enduring success.

Darío Villena
Feb 13 · 2024 Darío Villena Advisor

Felix Laumann, CEO at NeuralSpace: “Our goal is to become a world leader in language AI in Asia and Africa”

Felix Laumann, CEO at NeuralSpace: “Our goal is to become a world leader in language AI in Asia and Africa”

UK-based NeuralSpace debuted in 2021 with a powerful language AI model that can translate text and speech into over 100 languages and regional dialects with an emphasis on Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Translation accuracy, linguistic variety, and data privacy are the hallmarks of its platform.

Felix Laumann is the CEO of this startup based in King’s Cross, London. To date, the company has raised more than $3 million with the backing of GoHub Ventures.

 

Question: What would NeuralSpace’s pitch be like today if you were on stage at the most important event on the planet?

Answer: I honestly believe that nothing would change in my speech compared to the ones I gave at the outset. In the last couple of months, AI applied to language has attracted a lot of public and media attention, especially owing to LLMs (large language models such as OpenAI’s with ChatGPT). However, the number of sensitive tasks that call for in-depth understanding of language whether spoken or written is still huge, ranging from scrutinizing competitors based on their online presence to putting together a compelling marketing kit or disentangling a call between a customer and an agent in an attempt to optimize that communication.

Many of these tasks can be automated in part or in whole with the help of AI. Plus, much of the technological race in this field is anchored in using only English and other European languages, whereas NeuralSpace seeks to deliver highly accurate solutions for languages and regional dialects spoken in other parts of the world.

 

Q: What makes NeuralSpace different in a market with so many rivals?

A: Most AI tools work with European languages even though 90% of the world’s population speaks another native language. Our company was set up to redress this imbalance. We have developed the most robust and customizable technology regardless of the industry or use case to automatically translate from speech to text and to enhance the effectiveness of virtual assistants (chatbots, voicebots).

In addition to helping developers to craft their own software using NeuralSpace’s APIs, we also offer enterprise solutions in which we personalize our products. When it comes to complex enterprise solutions, we strive to fully understand the customer’s business problem before suggesting any solutions. For example, as explained in GoHub Ventures’ Tech Unpacked inaugural edition, oil giant Aramco uses our DocAI solution to analyze complex documents and extract qualitative content, a process previously done 100% manually.

 

Q: Let’s talk about NeuralSpace’s next milestones and where you see the company five years from now when the AI revolution will have fully spread its wings.

A: Our goal is to become the world’s leading provider of language AI in African and Asian languages and dialects. The potential fields of use of our technology are vast. In the short term, we are expanding the capabilities of our AI-driven enterprise solutions and a good example of this is our speech recognition tool, VoiceAI. We are also delivering a world-class development experience, enabling more professionals and organizations to harness the transformative power of language AI in their software applications.

Our long-term commitment is straightforward: to help all kinds of companies in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa to ramp up their productivity, efficiency, and cost savings, thereby putting them in a prime position to significantly enhance their performance.

 

Q: Let’s talk about the AI boom. Will there be room for everyone or will big tech firms verge on oligopoly with hegemonic solutions and/or buying out startups with disruptive proposals?

A: The market is so large that big tech firms and startups will rub shoulders. It is likely that all tools which can tap into the capabilities of artificial intelligence will leverage this technology in the future as companies need to stay competitive. The surge of innovation we have seen over the last 12 months is incredible.

In this scenario, startups have the agility and speed to make the most of technological breakthroughs and adapt to customer needs which often call for bespoke models or product adaptations. The big players can’t offer this level of customization.

 

Q: Turning to regulation, there are two opposing schools of thought: the more liberal led by people such as Marc Andreessen who advocate letting artificial intelligence develop with hardly any restrictions, and the more moderate players (Geoffrey Hilton, Sam Altman) who are pushing for clear limits.

A: The AI industry needs to evolve responsibly and transparently. Safeguarding security, privacy, and human rights must be a priority. Our team fully grasps this integrity requirement and applies it to every aspect of the process, from data collection and algorithm design to product rollout and customer interaction. In fact, my feeling is that the AI and machine learning community is more than willing to engage in a healthy regulatory discussion and work with society to strike a balance.

 

Q: Some compare the emergence of generative AI to the invention of the printing press or the automobile. Where is humanity heading as a result of this revolution?

A: There is no question that artificial intelligence will completely change the way businesses operate. More productivity means more growth. Automating tedious tasks also enables the employee to focus on more complex issues and feel more satisfied with their mission. At the same time, the company gets more out of its workforce. New jobs will also come along, including the position of head of AI strategy (a kind of CAI working hand in hand with the CEO). The conversation has shifted significantly over the last year: the question is no longer whether a company should use artificial intelligence. The question is how to leverage it to stand out from the competition.

Feb 05 · 2024 GoHub Ventures

Challenges and Contrasts for AI-powered Startups Between Open Source Models and ChatGPT

Challenges and Contrasts for AI-powered Startups Between Open Source Models and ChatGPT

In today’s tech-driven world, Venture Capital firms investing in startups can’t simply stick to funding as their primary -and only- value. Not even ‘smart money’, the term that applies to funding plus access to a pro network, is enough. In order to run the extra mile there has to be a full collaboration between investors, founders and boards. We call it ​​commitment: one of GoHub Ventures’ values expressed in our previous article ‘Anatomy of a Rebranding’.

So, in order to put our money where our mouth is, GoHub Ventures hosted its inaugural edition of Tech Unpacked, a series of events designed to explore cutting-edge technologies, foster networking and build key alliances.

 

Tech Unpacked #1: Summary

On a show conducted by Guillermo Flor (GoHub Ventures) under the headline of ‘Open Source AI vs ChatGPT: How to Build Privacy Aware AI Apps’, attendees heard expert insights from Iván Martínez (PrivateGPT) and Rory McElearney (Valencia Codes) about the considerations in data privacy when deciding whether to build or buy an AI-based solution. After listening to the experts, participants got down to work on a hands-on hackathon that elevated the experience into an interactive evening that ended with pizza for everyone.

To kickoff Tech Unpacked #1, several startups from GoHub Ventures’ portfolio introduced real cases of AI-powered solutions they’re currently serving to clients:

  • David Purón (Barbara) explained how Spanish multinational Acciona (a conglomerate dedicated to the development and management of infrastructure and renewable energy) has implemented AI to predict in real time the amount of chemicals their plants need for operations. Thanks to this, the company is more efficient when it comes to operational costs and also improves safety levels at their facilities.
  • Felix Laumann (NeuralSpace) detailed how oil giant Aramco uses their DocAI solution to analyze complex documents and extract qualitative content, a process previously done 100% manually.
  • Fernando Pérez (Aunoa) told how their AI Chatbots improve customer experience by automating interactions and conversations on WhatsApp, Facebook or a website.

 

Build or Buy an AI-based solution

Expert’s panel with Iván Martínez (PrivateGPT) and Rory McElearney (Valencia Codes) discussed the convenience of building or buying an AI-based solution. As in many cases, the answer is… it depends!

According to the invitees, one must think first about the problem they’re trying to solve. If the problem is core to business, building your own AI-based solution is a road you may want to explore…as long as you have the knowledge and legal aspects covered. However, if the problem isn’t core to your activity, you may want to take advantage of existing AI-based solutions rather than building your own.

When building your own AI-based solutions, infrastructure and privacy are another two aspects to take in consideration. First, you’ll need to host your model locally or cloud and this might get expensive so… you may want to think twice and follow the golden rule of ‘just build when it’s core’. Second, you become responsible for what data and how safely you store it… and legislation is different depending on where you’re based.

Existing AI-based solutions are perfect for try and error, since you can create magic in a few hours…as hackathon attendees proved. Teams of tech and non-tech profiles were formed on the fly and they just needed a couple hours to transform these ideas into MVPs:

  • Summarization solution for notes taken during working meetings.
  • Git commits message improver and tests code generator.
  • Psychologist assistant trained with psychology books.
  • Sales sentiment analysis using sales calls as input.
  • Marketing content generator using past posts.
  • User interface for PrivateGPT with add-ons like sessions, history, login and more.

At the current stage of AI’s development and adoption, the experts highlighted a few scenarios when AI is a perfect partner for companies:

  • Document Analysis & Summarization.
  • Customer Support.
  • Content Creation.
  • Business Intelligence (take better decisions with more data gathered with AI support).

 

Future of AI: super customization, fakes and jobs threat

Tech Unpacked is also about expressing views and forecasting what’s next, so attendees also had the chance to hear from experts about the future of AI.

Three industries where AI is going to have a massive impact, according to Iván Martínez (PrivateGPT) and Rory McElearney (Valencia Codes) are LegalTech, Fintech and HealthTech.

To understand what degree of disruption and how this can impact our lives, the experts explained a case within the Health sector. According to their opinion, we are walking into an era of super customization thanks to AI.

If you think of two patients today who have been diagnosed with the same illness, they’re probably getting a very similar treatment. However, they’re two very completely different persons. With AI’s penetration on the Health industry, the treatments that are similar today will tend to a higher level of customization.

Based on economic history, experts also agreed that manual low value work will go away while AI’s adoption increases, as it has happened through decades with any revolution whether it’s mechanical or technological.

Last but not least, experts also expressed their concerns about AI created content. According to their opinion, we’re not yet ready to distinguish real content from an AI created one. They consider this a threat that may affect from a simple domestic cybercrime to a massive fraud.

However, as the winners of Tech Unpacked hackathon showed, AI could be also super helpful for content creation. The group created a solution that produces content for marketing purposes (blog posts, shareables, etc.) by running AI models through previously published texts. A big help for marketers that today spend tons of time selecting and creating bullet points and catchy phrases for their audiences.

Who knows if soon they’ll become a new GoHub Ventures portfolio member!

Sara Sanjuan, Head of Marketing & Communicarions at GoHub Ventures
Feb 01 · 2024 Sara Sanjuan Head of Marketing & Comms

Agrow Analytics Secures €650,000 to Lead Water Footprint Compensation and Smart Irrigation

Agrow Analytics Secures €650,000 to Lead Water Footprint Compensation and Smart Irrigation

The Malaga-based startup Agrow Analytics has started 2024 by raising €650,000 in a seed round led by GoHub Ventures, Demium Capital and First Drop, which will allow the company to consolidate its precision technology focused on optimizing water use and reducing water footprint in agriculture. 

Agrow Analytics has developed a system that unifies all data related to irrigation and processes it together to automate accurate recommendations of where, when and how much to irrigate in advance. Thanks to these recommendations, the efficiency and real-time monitoring of producers’ water footprint is improved, allowing third-party corporations to compensate for their water footprint through these savings generated from the use of artificial intelligence, satellite images and IoT devices. 

The round, which will help in the company’s international expansion, reaffirms its commitment to sustainable agriculture, in a sector that is in full swing due to the needs of climate change and ESG regulations at the international level. 

  

First Water Footprint Compensation Contract in Europe

Since its creation in 2021, the startup led by Antonella Maggioni has experienced exponential growth, achieving significant milestones such as the EIT Food Water Scarcity award and the first water footprint compensation contract in Europe, which will allow large corporations to compensate their footprint through Agrow Analytics. 

In addition, the company has been recognized as one of the most innovative companies at the technological level, including the granting at the end of 2023 of a NEOTEC grant. 

The company has been consolidating its position as a leader in the Climate Tech sector and as a pioneer in the generation of water credits and compensation, guiding companies towards a Water Positive footprint and the restoration of river basins. 

  

€650,000 Seed Round to Boost Growth

The €650,000 seed round of investment in which the venture capital funds GoHub Ventures and First Drop, and the manager Demium Capital, have participated, will allow the startup to boost its growth. 

For its co-founder and CEO, Antonella Maggioni, the round “marks a milestone in our international expansion and in the continuous innovation in precision agriculture“, and she thanks “the support of GoHub Ventures, Demium Capital and First Drop in this exciting new stage“. 

The round comes at a key moment, as the number of companies required to submit sustainability reports under the EU Directive has increased fivefold, including the amount of water used in their operations, production processes or supply chains, and, associated with this, include details on efforts to control and reduce water consumption. 

In a context where currently 70% of the available freshwater is used in agriculture and it is estimated that global water demand will increase by 30% by 2030, holistic solutions are needed for companies to achieve their Water Security and Replenishment strategies and that, in parallel, producers can transition to a more efficient and technological agriculture. 

For Inés Calabuig, Managing Partner of GoHub Ventures, the investment in Agrow Analytics means “the reaffirmation of the trust in the team that passed through the former GoHub Ventures acceleration program a year ago and that has become a strategic and innovative partner in terms of water footprint and sustainability“. 

We are excited to continue supporting Agrow Analytics in its mission to lead the sustainable transformation of the agricultural sector and in the creation of a company that will be a benchmark in Europe and Latin America in this sector“, adds Jorge Dobón, founder of Demium Capital.

Jan 30 · 2024 GoHub Ventures

Depasify Closes a €2,2 Million Investment Round Led by GoHub Ventures and JME Ventures

Depasify Closes a €2,2 Million Investment Round Led by GoHub Ventures and JME Ventures

Depasify, the startup that facilitates financial institutions’ entry into the world of digital assets, has raised €2,2 million in its first investment round, led by GoHub Ventures and JME Ventures.

The round, which also included the participation of Actyus, Lanai Capital Partners, and Telefónica through Wayra, will allow the Valencian fintech to boost its growth within the European banking sector and expand its team.

The startup, founded in 2021, offers an extension to traditional banking cores with a focus on digital assets, enabling new business opportunities for institutions without impacting the complexity they already face in this area, making it unique in Europe.

Depasify allows the construction of financial products based on digital assets in a quick and easy way, thus reducing go-to-market times by 80% through a single integration. The infrastructure unites the different stakeholders and orchestrates the entire value chain, focusing not only on technology, but also on regulatory compliance, simplifying transactional reconciliation between both worlds and allowing its customers to focus on what is important in their businesses.

In the words of its CEO and founder, Alberto Martín, “at Depasify we take care of the boring but essential part of digital assets. Financial institutions navigate the triangle between digitization, risk, and speed to market in the best possible way. Our proposal helps them take a step forward to gain capabilities without having to rebuild their entire house.”

The round comes at a time when investment in Web3, according to Crunchbase’s industry analysis, is at its lowest level since 2021, making the round one of the largest in its stage in Spain and materializing Depasify’s potential in the sector.

In such a complex environment as Web3, the presence of solutions like Depasify is essential to simplify and facilitate operations with digital assets. At GoHub Ventures, we firmly believe in Alberto’s vision and experience to unlock the full potential of the startup, and we are confident in boosting its growth by providing our deep technological knowledge and international focus“, says Inés Calabuig, Managing Partner at GoHub Ventures.

Alberto is a founder with excellent technical knowledge and execution skills. His experience in fintech, his background as a programmer, and his vision of the world of digital assets make Depasify well-positioned to become a relevant company in this emerging high-potential sector“, adds Iván Landabaso, Partner at JME Ventures.

Jan 16 · 2024 GoHub Ventures

GoHub Ventures: Anatomy of a Rebranding

GoHub Ventures: Anatomy of a Rebranding

New year, new brand. If you’re reading this article or you’ve landed recently on our website scouting through our portfolio, you may have noticed a different look and feel. Yes, we’ve been through a rebranding (and we want you to know why)!

 

Rebranding: What is it?

Let’s start with a little bit of theory. Rebranding is the process of transforming your brand to express a new identity. This includes creating a new company logo, colors scheme, naming, slogan… but also calling into question other fundamentals of the business such as mission, vision, philosophy, etc.

A good practice when kicking off a rebranding is establishing once again all these ‘spiritual’ aspects of the company in order to envision a new identity, which will be expressed by tangibles such as the logo, copy’s and so on.

For this reformulation, many marketers recommend Carl Jung’s archetypes as an exercise to mirror your brand with different personalities created by the famous psychologist: The Innocent, Everyman, Hero, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Lover, Caregiver, Jester, and Sage. See the example below for a better understanding and try the exercise for your own brand!

Brand Archetypes

 

Our Reasons for Rebranding

Companies, and this includes VCs of course, rebrand for different reasons. It could be as a result of a merger and acquisition, to get away from a reputation crisis, to catch massive attention… Think of X -former Twitter-, perhaps the reason for the change includes a little bit of these three motives.

That is not the case for GoHub Ventures rebranding. We want to set the beginning of a new era on our fund and to accomplish this we evolved our brand. Here are the key points behind GoHub Ventures rebranding:

  • We were born within the water utility company Global Omnium Group and this caused the impression that we were only interested in water-related solutions, especially when having a logo that included a drop… Today, we want to tell the world that GoHub Ventures invests in B2B software startups with highly technological and differential solutions that help optimization and automation of cross-cutting processes to any type of industry, from Seed to Series A, all across Europe, North America and Latam.

GoHub Ventures Logos

  • We want to situate entrepreneurs and founders at the very front of our success. They are the leading figures and the reason why we exist, that’s why GoHub Ventures’ culture revolves around the motto ‘We don’t change the world, our founders do’. We like to call ourselves the believers behind the believers because at some point we all needed someone to believe in us when nobody else did. That is the image we want to transmit to our founders.
  • A renovated compromise with sustainability in the best way we know, through innovation. It’s soon to jump into details, but we’re working on a new cutting-edge space located in Benicassim (Castellón, Spain) where technology, innovation and sustainability coexist. Plus, GoHub Ventures is also keeping an eye on new verticals such as HealthTech and Oceans.

 

Our Values

  • Tech-Savvy. We have successfully developed and implemented technological solutions around the world, granting us a clear vision on how to make this happen and how to not make this happen too. We will pass on these insights to you, sparing you unnecessary hurdles. 
  • Trustful. We will equip you with the necessary tools, connections, know-how, and expertise to develop your business plan while keeping a very straightforward approach. We won’t tiptoe around delicate issues as our ultimate goal is to see you succeed, just as much as you do. 
  • Connected. As a fund originating from a corporate, we built an extensive network that reaches far beyond the venture capital ecosystem. Our aim is to assist you in cultivating strong partnerships with other corporations to create synergies that not only benefit our own relationship but also add strategic value to your business. 
  • Committed. We are surrounded by enablers. A handpicked group of tech-leading professionals at your disposal ready to assist you in forging key partnerships, expanding into international markets, and providing deep insights into the world of technology, business and investment on a global scale.
  • Forward-Thinking. We support startups using the latest technological trends such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning or Web3 for different sectors like Fintech, Insurtech, Climate Tech and soon to come, Healthtech.
  • Sustainable. We are conscious about the importance of working towards a more sustainable future, firmly believing that technology is the cornerstone to build a better world. That is why we actively consider startups that align with this mindset.

And what a better way to usher in this new era and these new values than during our most special annual event, GoHub Ventures Founders Day? On October 25th, we gathered our portfolio startups and some investor friends at Masia Bellver for a catch up session where they got a scoop on GoHub Ventures rebranding and our redefined focus going forward.

 

Our Fund

GoHub Ventures Fund II -already regulated by CNMV authorities- is fueled with €60M aimed at investing in B2B SaaS startups with highly technological and differential solutions that help optimization and automation of cross-cutting processes to any type of industry. 

When deciding whether to invest or to not invest in a startup, we pay special attention to the team, the commercial traction and the founders’ vision.

Regarding size and location of the startup applicants, we consider companies from Seed to Series A, all across Europe, North America and Latam. 

We kindly invite you to have a look at our new brand website, discover our approach, portfolio and encourage you to get in touch!

Sara Sanjuan, Head of Marketing & Communicarions at GoHub Ventures
Jan 11 · 2024 Sara Sanjuan Head of Marketing & Comms

GoHub Ventures Backs Data Validation and Monitoring Software BaseCap in its Second Consecutive Investment in the U.S.

GoHub Ventures Backs Data Validation and Monitoring Software BaseCap in its Second Consecutive Investment in the U.S.

GoHub Ventures announces its second consecutive investment in the United States. The chosen startup is BaseCap, a data quality company specializing in data validation and monitoring that has raised an $8,2 million Series A round.

This operation is led by two American funds with great expertise in the financial sector, L’Attitude Ventures and Mendon Venture Partners, with GoHub Ventures and Viena-based Cherrypick Ventures as followers.

Through this round, GoHub Ventures reinforces its global strategy based on the commitment to invest in startups with B2B software models. Recently, GoHub Ventures launched its Fund II, endowed with 60 million euros and endorsed by the Securities & Exchange Commission (CNMV).

With growing traction in fintech in the U.S., BaseCap’s software can also be applied to businesses and companies in other verticals, such as health and insurance, given their vast use cases. In the case of a mortgage lender selling loans through the mortgage marketplace, it may happen, that the buyer of such loans uses data in a different format. BaseCap automatically transforms the data, validates its integrity, and saves the client time and money.

Inés Calabuig, Managing Partner at GoHub Ventures, stresses that the fund aims to “identify technologies with enough potential to revolutionize entire industries. And that is exactly what we think BaseCap will achieve with its data automation systems. Led by Steven and Nicolas, this is one of the best teams we have met lately, and we are convinced that the startup has a differentiating platform for hundreds of thousands of financial, insurance, and healthcare companies.”

“We are incredibly excited by the product expertise in enterprise software and the global expansion opportunities that come from partnering with an investor like GoHub”, says Nicolas Guillen, Co-founder and CFO at BaseCap.

This is GoHub Ventures’ second consecutive investment in the United States. A month ago, it unveiled its stake in LifeX Ventures, a $100 million venture capital vehicle heavily focused on longevity and climate tech. Geographic diversification is one of the keys to Fund II, whose base will continue to be B2B SaaS startups specializing in verticals such as AI Enterprise, Web3, Sustainability, Fintech and Insurtech.

May 03 · 2023 GoHub Ventures

GoHub Ventures Invests in UK-based NeuralSpace to Bring Voice AI to All Local Languages Around the World

GoHub Ventures Invests in UK-based NeuralSpace to Bring Voice AI to All Local Languages Around the World

The $1.1 million add-on investment completes NeuralSpace’s Seed round of $2.8 million, which is led by GoHub Ventures and Merus Capital. Further investors are early-stage investor APX, Techstars, Verissimo and a few impactful angels.

The investment will help NeuralSpace to scale its voice AI technology alongside its existing services, which went live as a self-serve toolkit in January 2022 with Language Understanding in 90+ languages, and multiple auxiliary functionalities such as automatic data augmentation, automatic data set conversion (from Rasa, Google Dialogflow and Microsoft LUIS), language detection to capture the language preference of a user automatically, and translation to convert a user’s input whenever needed for additional context.

NeuralSpace now aims to develop the most accurate speech models (both Speech-to-Text and Text-to-Speech) for locally spoken languages. Furthermore, it develops pre-built end-to-end products such as video localization (or automatic overdubbing), which are combinations of the existing speech and text services that are already live on the NeuralSpace Platform as standalone features.

 

What is NeuralSpace?

NeuralSpace is a Natural Language Processing (NLP) company specializing in local, or low-resource languages. The NeuralSpace Platform is a collection of proprietary language models that can process up to 100 different languages. The latest funding will be used to double down on the voice AI development at NeuralSpace, which will include building models for mixing languages (such as Arabic-English, Chinese-English, Spanish-English or Hindi-English), and significantly increasing the accuracy of automatic speech recognition (ASR) models in locally spoken languages, compared to current market leaders.

Using the NeuralSpace Platform does not require any machine learning expertise, and all that is needed is a handful of data to train and continuously improve each user’s custom models. The NeuralSpace Platform is a no-code, modular user interface and each of its services, from Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to Entity Recognition, Speech-to-Text, Machine Translation and Transliteration can be taken as a standalone product, even installed on-premise if required. In the end, users only need to connect their custom models with REST APIs.

NeuralSpace’s Co-founder & CEO Felix Laumann points out that “training latest deep learning models accurately on very small data sets, which any local, low-resource language usually suffers from, is a very challenging task because models are usually designed to perform well in English with terabytes of available text and speech data but not in languages with a few hundred megabytes of data.

 

 

Private Cloud Deployment

NeuralSpace offers to deploy the NeuralSpace Platform on-premise (or “private cloud”). It has already successfully done this with Hello Ebbot, a Swedish chatbot development company operating in Scandinavian and other European languages, where the NeuralSpace Platform is hosted on infrastructure arranged and provided by Hello Ebbot. It allows Hello Ebbot to comply with GDPR requirements as customer-owned data are not shared or processed outside of the private cloud that is owned by Hello Ebbot and hosted in the European Union.

 

One-Stop Solution

One of NeuralSpace’s most important propositions for any developer is that all NLP requirements can be fulfilled within one single platform and switching between multiple vendors with different data formats for different NLP-related features is not required anymore. The NeuralSpace Platform provides various NLP-specific services like Language Understanding, Entity Recognition, Machine Transliteration, Transliteration, Speech-to-Text and many more in one place so that developers do not need to think about handling different services, payments, and contracts.

 

Scalability

One of the key advantages of the NeuralSpace Platform is its scalability. It is designed in such a way that it can linearly scale to millions of requests every hour, which is achieved by a proprietary compute-load watcher, data allocator, and training scheduler. The scalability is extensively evaluated through load testing techniques by simulating a large number of requests the NeuralSpace Platform receives at the same time, providing statistics around the limits for a given number of model replicas, and providing an estimated cost for the infrastructure required for the given load quantities. Thus, it makes it easy for any developer to assess the economic feasibility of using NeuralSpace without having to go through a lengthy process of experimentation first.

Sep 26 · 2022 GoHub Ventures

GoHub Ventures Enters the Metaverse Investing in Union Avatars

GoHub Ventures Enters the Metaverse Investing in Union Avatars

Union Avatars, a company dedicated to creating avatars for the metaverse, has raised 1,2 million euros in a funding round that has been led by the venture capital manager Inveready and FI Group, a consultancy specialized in advising companies on the management of R&D financing.

In addition, partners such as GoHub Ventures — from the Global Omnium group —, Outlier Ventures — one of the most prestigious Web3 accelerators in the world — , or Inlea have participated in the capital increase. Along with them, other private investors such as Rat Gasol or Carlos Solana have been present, providing credibility and seniority to Union Avatars from the beginning due to his long business career in the world of innovation, digital business and entrepreneurship. The resources obtained will be used mainly for product development, international expansion and talent.

The company, founded in 2020 by Cai Felip and Jordi Conejero, arose from the idea of uniting the real world with the new digital worlds that now converge in the Metaverse. Now Union Avatars is taking a new step towards Web3, that is, the integration of avatars for the metaverse into the blockchain.

Felip has been present in the blockchain world since 2014, long before even the great interest that the term Metaverse has obtained. The Co-founder and CEO of Union Avatars explains that “the big change is to have an avatar that is like a passport to any metaverse and this is possible thanks to this new integration that we are doing with Web3”.blog_fivecommmThis is the reason why the company, located in Barcelona, plans to launch UnionID, an Digital Identity project with which users will be able to have a totally secure identification system with absolute control over their privacy. Felip affirms that “UnionID will be a 100% secure identification card that will allow us to log in to different platforms without exposing our data and to be able to take our digital assets with us from platform to platform while maintaining absolute control of our privacy. Imagine that you can choose different images to show yourself on your social networks or meetings, but you can also take your favourite virtual shirt from one place to another. And all this without anyone being able to know or sell your data’’.

Currently, the team is made up of 22 people and already has more than 30 clients around the world. The main pain is the representation of people in the Metaverse, so the business is mainly based on B2B, although with the integration in Web3 and the UnionID project, the plan is to focus on the final user.

For 2023, the founders anticipate another funding round to continue growing in this incipient universe. The company has recognized advisors such as Jean Clauteaux, former CEO and Zone Manager of L’Oreal; Simonetta Lulli, former Vice President of Habbo; Fraser Edwards, CEO of Cheqd or Carles Reina, who has been part of companies such as Uber, Sonantic o Tractable.

Sep 19 · 2022 GoHub Ventures

Sales Layer Raises $25M Series B Funding from PeakSpan Capital to Expand B2B PIM Platform Globally

Sales Layer Raises $25M Series B Funding from PeakSpan Capital to Expand B2B PIM Platform Globally

Sales Layer, the leading PIM (Product Information Management) SaaS platform provider for B2B, has announced that it has raised $25M in Series B funding, led by PeakSpan Capital with participation from its Series A investors. The funding follows on from the $3,5M raised by Sales Layer’s Series A investors, Swanlaab and Bright Pixel, in 2020.

The Series B will accelerate Sales Layer’s rapid global growth, hiring across all functions while continuing the expansion of international operations. Alongside the evolution of its product roadmap, Sales Layer will continue to reach new customers and increase its presence in the UK and US markets. With 100% growth year-on-year since 2017, Sales Layer will use this investment to solidify its position as the number one PIM solution in the B2B space.

PeakSpan Capital is a growth equity firm based in New York City and San Mateo, CA with a portfolio of high-growth software businesses and over $1.5B in AUM. The investment will support Sales Layer in scaling and evolving within the maturing e-commerce landscape.

Jack Freeman, Partner at PeakSpan Capital comments on the recent investment: “We’ve been tracking the PIM space for several years and know the industry is poised for substantial growth in light of growing product complexity, an explosion of new channels and the continued rise in E-Commerce volume. We identified Sales Layer last year as an emerging player with a clear focus and opportunity to win the B2B PIM space and have since witnessed the business innovate and scale rapidly on a global basis. We’re excited for the future with Sales Layer and see ample opportunities to scale the team, product and customer base further.

Álvaro Verdoy, Founder & CEO of Sales Layer, explained: “PeakSpan was the strongest VC candidate for Sales Layer. Its team had a very elaborate thesis around e-commerce, supply chain and digital transformation, where PIM plays a very important role. Furthermore, PeakSpan’s experience scaling European businesses in the US will help us to accelerate our expansion.

Following Sales Layer’s Series A funding round in 2020 backed by GoHub Ventures, which was launched to scale globally to offer international operations and strengthen its infrastructure, previous investors Swanlaab and Bright Pixel Capital have continued to support the company throughout the expansion.

After closing out the Series B investment round, Sales Layer is excited to play an even greater and more pivotal role in international digital ecommerce.

Jun 29 · 2022 GoHub Ventures