Elkstone Venture – Monthly Update August 2018
We successfully launched and closed deals in the last 6 weeks for Flipdish, HealthBeacon, Coras, and Batch Organics. In May, we held our annual Venture Club event, at which Founders of several of our supported venture companies presented and engaged with Club members. On 31 May, Alan was on the judging panel of Futurescope 2018, which is Ireland’s only event dedicated to supporting all stages of the business innovation life cycle. In June, we commenced an association with Trinity LaunchBox – a summer accelerator programme open to 10 teams of Trinity students (undergraduate and postgraduate) with an early-stage business. In the final stage of this process in August these teams will present their business plan to Elkstone.
Declan Magee leads Venture at Elkstone.
Some Club Deal Updates
Batch Organics is our latest club deal to launch, which was oversubscribed and successfully closed ahead of deadline. Batch Organics is an ambitious consumer branded company in the prepared food market. The company began with a small range of products in the frozen category, it has since successfully captured a loyal and growing customer base through direct-to-consumer channels. Using customer retention data, NPS scores, and a range of digital marketing approaches, Batch Organics has grown this business to an annual run-rate of £1m in less than a year. The product range will be broadened further, as Management has developed a strong pipeline of product offerings. While the initial focus has been on the UK market, expansion into new markets in Continental European countries is likely over the next 12 months.
We successfully closed the deal for HealthBeacon launched last month. HealthBeacon is a digital therapeutics company whose initial product, the Smart sharps bin, digitally connects patients, clinicians and drug manufacturers to enable improved medicine adherence. The company has received strong validation from its launch customer who are using the HealthBeacon platform in combination with their high value, at-home injectable medication. A European roll-out is underway with entry to North America cleared following recent FDA approval. Since receiving this approval, the company has successfully launched into the US market, through its partnership with the Magic Foundation to make the world’s first connected Sharps Bin available to patient’s that suffer from Growth Disorders in the USA. HealthBeacon already serves thousands of patients across 10 existing markets. The CEO, Jim Joyce, recently presented at our Venture event at the end of May. Some recent press coverage on Jim and his team can be found here.
Flipdish, which builds, designs and operates own label food ordering apps and websites for restaurants and takeaways at a fraction of the cost of larger third party aggregators, has closed a funding round of €2million. This brings the total funding raised to date by the Irish tech start-up to almost €3 million. It has also more than doubled its team from 8 to 20 in the last 12 months, with plans to add a further 10 employees in the near future. CEO Conor McCarthy set up the company with his brother James, after seeing the massive shift to mobile and on demand ordering by takeaway consumers: “At Flipdish we are on a mission to give the restauranteurs back control of their business and destiny by giving them a direct relationship with their customers, reducing their costs, and providing the tools to compete and win online.” The funding announcement received a lot of media coverage most notably in: The Irish Independent; Silicon Republic; RTE, amongst others.
Other Elkstone Deals:
Kontainers, the freight software specialist has launched a simplified version of a freight platform enabling small to medium freight companies afford an own-branded digital platform “to rival that of digital freight forwarders such as Flexport.” This product is already used by two ‘top 20’ global freight forwarders, and two ‘top 20’ global container lines – including the world’s largest, Maersk. The company has made the front cover and front two pages of editorial of the publication Lloyds Loading List discussing how it is making digital forwarding available to all companies – “Digital Forwarding now affordable for all” – Read the full article here.
The Venture article this month is focused on venture investing and investments ‘that got away’. Bessemer Venture Partners is a venerable institution when it comes to venture investing. In a refreshingly honest review of potential investments ‘that got away’, a read of their Anti Portfolio causes all those interested in the space to pause and think – would I have done anything different? While Elkstone is 100 years younger than Bessemer, we may need to set up our own version of the Anti Portfolio. A little over two years ago, we had the opportunity to invest in Revolut, a UK based fintech company. In April this year, Revolut announced that it had completed a $250m funding and, in the process, brought the company into the hallowed ground of unicorn status (companies with a valuation of over $1bn). The valuation uplift over that period was c. 20X. While we can beat ourselves up for not investing at the time, the prime reason for not proceeding was that we couldn’t get to meet the founders. This is of vital importance in any early stage company. Still, it’s a pity we didn’t get to meet them. Read the full article here.