Elkstone Venture June 2020
June was a very active month for the Elkstone Venture Club which saw Elkstone exit from Kontainers, the closing of several follow-on rounds in Elkstone’s portfolio companies including Manna, MysteryVibe and Volders and the closing of a new deal, Prommt, a company that digitalises offline transactions. We were delighted to accommodate all interest in the deal, which was initially oversubscribed on the same day it launched.
COVID-19 continues to present challenges for certain portfolio companies that are particularly reliant on the movement and gathering of people, though we are pleased to see some early signs of recovery as the lockdown is eased across Europe. With that said, companies operating within the digital healthcare space like HealthBeacon, LetsGetChecked and Heartbeat Labs are maintaining increased traction as a result of the tailwind created from the pandemic. Some health experts envisage a ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 sometime in Q3/Q4 2020 and we are working closely with our entire portfolio to ensure preparedness for this possibility. Overall, we remain cautiously optimistic on this front and are very excited to kick off July with a healthy pipeline of opportunities which we’re seeing in both Ireland and overseas.
Vlad Evseev is a Venture Analyst at Elkstone.
VENTURE PORTFOLIO COMPANY NEWS
Kontainers Acquired by Descartes Systems Group
Elkstone portfolio company Kontainers, a provider of client-facing digital freight execution platforms, was acquired by Canadian company Descartes Systems Group, a leading provider of solutions to freight forwarders with more than 10,000 forwarding customers across the globe. Elkstone has been delighted to have supported Kontainers on its journey and we are looking forward to seeing it achieve its full global potential as part of Descartes. Commenting on the deal, Chris Jones, EVP Marketing & Services, Descartes Systems Group said “Digital transformation is a big topic for forwarders, and Descartes is helping our customers make the change……….What we didn’t have was the customer-facing solution for digital transformation. Kontainers provides that important capability to allow our customers to achieve an end-to-end transformation.” Read more about the deal as featured in Logistics Management Magazine here.
Irish companies stepping up to help during COVID-19
HealthBeacon was featured, along with LetsGetChecked, in an Irish Times piece on the Irish companies stepping up to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. CTO Kieran Daly described how the company is adapting its offering for the acute needs that COVID-19 brings whilst taking a longer-term view of how best to support patients with its Injection Care Management System in a world where digital health is more important than ever.
The company also announced that members of Laya Healthcare will be reimbursed on injectable medications, as well as providing them with virtual care support, co-ordination of medication delivery, medical waste collection, and home monitoring with the HealthBeacon Smart Sharps Bin. Read more here.
Coras Bridge Funding Round
Coras closed a bridge financing round by way of Convertible Loan Note where the Company raised £580k+ with participation from existing shareholders including Atlantic Bridge and the Elkstone Venture Club. This funding will see the company through to early 2021 at current cash burn rates. Coras is looking to capitalise on the momentum of its recent round by raising a crowd sourced equity funding round on Crowdcube. The round is open to the public and more info on how one can invest can be seen here.
Theo Saville, Co-founder & CEO of CloudNC, speaks to UBS
Theo Saville, Co-founder and CEO of CloudNC, recently spoke to UBS about autonomous manufacturing, the next industrial revolution and CloudNC’s mission – building autonomous factories of the future to make manufacturing 10x more efficient, sustainable and faster than anything we see today. Please click here to access the UBS interview. Theo explains how the last industrial revolution was one of automation. Machines were created that could make the same thing thousands of times, quicker and more reliably than humans ever could previously. The catch is that a person is still needed to provide a machine with new instructions to change production. It’s the biggest problem in manufacturing and solving it is CloudNC’s mission. The next industrial revolution is about autonomy – giving machines the ability to reprogram themselves. For those interested in learning a little bit more, Theo provides his own view into the next industrial revolution here.
PODCAST AND TV INTERVIEWS
Earlier this month, Alan Merriman sat down with Gary Fox of the Entrepreneur Experiment Podcast. Alan talks about Ireland’s start-up ecosystem and reveals exactly what he seeks in a founder and a venture investment, as well as his own personal account of how he got started in venture investing. Alan also emphasises the different ways how Elkstone supports Irish early-stage ventures, and his hopes for Government legislative change to enable the launch of the Elkstone EIIS Ireland venture fund this year. You can listen to the podcast here or on any major music/podcast platform including Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
After closing its Series C round in April, LetsGetChecked continues to feature on international news platforms. Founder and CEO Peter Foley spoke to Fox Business earlier this month about the company’s at-home coronavirus testing kit. Customers in the US can order their own FDA-approved testing kit and receive test results directly to their homes within 24 hours. Watch the full video (3:57 mins) interview here.