Venture May 2019
After a slow start to the year, there has been a flurry of activity in recent weeks. Of the three recent deals launched, Meatless has now closed for further applications, Heist Studios (a UK-based ecommerce company selling women’s tights and shapewear) is in the process of closing while Medlanes remains open.
Declan Magee leads Venture at Elkstone.
Elkstone Venture Showcase – Wednesday, 29th May
Later this month on the evening of Wednesday 29th, we will be hosting our Second Annual Venture Showcase event at the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin. This is a great opportunity for our Club members to meet the founders from a number of our portfolio companies and to hear and see their vision and plans for the future of their respective businesses. The format will be some short formal presentations from the founders but with lots of opportunity to question, probe and network with them afterwards. There will a wide variety of sectors represented, both domestic and international, with both deals where the Club has already invested and others that are in the pipeline but are looking for funding in the immediate future. The evening will be very engaging for those interested in early stage venture investing and, hopefully, financially rewarding. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
VENTURE CLUB COMPANY NEWS
LetsGetChecked, the direct-to-consumer at home health testing platform, announced that it has closed a $30m Series B funding round. The round was led by Leerink Transformation Partners, a Boston-based growth equity firm focussed on healthcare IT. The round was also supported by key shareholders UnitedHealth and Qiming along with Elkstone. LetsGetChecked will use this funding to continue scaling the company’s consumer brand in diagnostics, as it currently serves the entire U.S., Canada and Europe. The funding will also be used to fuel the development of the core technology platform and on expanding manufacturing and logistical capabilities throughout North America.
Users can order in-state physician-approved laboratory tests via LetsGetChecked.com or through partner retailers, including CVS, Walmart, Pharmaca, and McKesson online stores. Anonymized tests are then shipped from the company’s ISO accredited facility by next day delivery and individuals can complete and return the samples for rapid processing within as little as two days. Tests are performed by leading CLIA-certified reference labs. Throughout the process, patients are connected with in-state board-certified physicians to discuss any abnormal results and determine the best course of action for treatment and care. Patients also receive a nurse call to discuss the results live, which can be accompanied by an e-prescription at no additional cost to the pharmacy of their choice. LetsGetChecked’s portfolio of testing procedures currently includes wellness testing (cholesterol, thyroid, etc.), cancer screening, sexual health testing, fertility testing, genetic testing, and pharmacogenomic testing among others.
Since Elkstone first got involved with Peter and his team in late 2016, they have shown a great ability to scale rapidly and successfully by seizing the market opportunity open to them. This funding round marks another key milestone in the development of the company. Well done to all!
Medlanes gmbH, is a German platform for booking doctor house calls. Medlanes has conducted over 18,000 doctor house visits since 2016, with €1.3m revenue in 2018. The company recently pivoted its business model from B2C to B2B2C, using partnerships with health insurance companies and large corporates to access their customers and employees respectively. Medlanes is beginning to employ full-time doctors also, which has greatly improved margins. The company is focusing on scaling this new business model in 2019, where it forecasts a similar revenue number but a much better bottom line and a clearer path to long-term profitability. We are currently raising €500,000 as part of the company’s current funding round.
The Meatless Farm Company, is a UK based plant-based meat alternative company. Meatless has already launched its first products (mince and burgers) with UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s in Q4 2018 with a third product (sausages) to start later this month. The company has pushed further into the UK grocery sector through launches with Morrison (April) and Co-op (May) while negotiations with other grocers (including Asda and Tesco) will expand the UK portfolio further over the coming months. Meatless is also targeting the Food Service sector and the existing trial with Wetherspoons has been extended to 20 further airport destinations recently with a view to extending further to its 900 pub estate by the end of Q3 2019. Internationally, the drive for exports has led to Meatless securing a listing in 450 Whole Foods USA stores starting Q3. Securing such a premium marque name is important not just in terms of its financial contribution to the group but also as validation of the quality of its products. Elkstone is raising up to £1m from its Club members as part of the current fundraise.
HealthBeacon, the medical adherence technology company, announced an Innovation Partnership with Dublin City University through the establishment of HealthBeacon Labs, a new research and development facility at their recently expanded Dublin HQ. Both parties will work together to build predictive patient behaviour models based on real-world insights, recognising the importance of data analytics in improving patient care. The partnership recognizes that the fusion of internet of things, technologies, artificial intelligence and large amounts of good quality data presents significant opportunities to meaningfully empower health care providers and their users, with insights which can lead to real improvements in healthcare delivery and patient-empowerment. The company also announced that, as part of its international expansion and rollout, it has entered into the UK market.
SoapBox Labs, the childrens’ voice tech platform, announced that will partner with language platform Lingumi to bring its speech recognition to Lingumi’s app. The app will use SoapBox’s technology to provide an assessment for children using it to learn English. The app reviews and provides instant feedback to the user having assessed the fluency and pronunciation. “By integrating the SoapBox API, Lingumi can now assess and track the English speaking progress of thousands of children every day, motivate them to accelerate their learning, and provide feedback to their parents, all in a scalable and cost effective way”, according to CEO, Dr. Patricia Scanlon.
HANetf, which provides a white label platform solution to issuers of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) has announced the launch of two further innovative products. HAN-GINS Healthcare Innovation will provide investors access to companies active in advanced life sciences and intelligent healthcare while KMEFIC FTSE Kuwait will allow investors to participate in the performance of the Kuwaiti market. Both products are available on the Xetra and Borse Frankfurt.
OTHER NON-CLUB NEWS
Elvie, the UK based femtech company, announced that it has raised $42m in a Series B funding round. The financing was led by private holding company IPGL and supported by existing shareholders Octopus Ventures and Impact Ventures. The funding represents the largest femtech company raise to date. founded in 2013, the company has launched two products to date – the Elvie Trainer, an app-connected kegel trainer that helps women strengthen their pelvic floor with real time biofeedback. The latest product is the Elvie Pump, a silent wearable breast pump.
SuperAwesome, the global kidtech platform, announced that it has expanded its footprint further with an investment of $2m in Kids Corp of Argentina. Both companies make technology to help content creators to comply with laws around child online privacy and advertising to minors. The investment will help finance Kids Corp expansion into Brazil, Chile and Peru from its current bases in Argentina, Mexico and Colombia. There has been media speculation that SuperAwesome has discussed with investment bankers the possibility of an IPO, perhaps as early as next year.
German based fintech, Smava, announced that it has appointed Goldman Sachs to investigate a dual process approach to the company whereby it is exploring an IPO for the company while simultaneously looking at a possible sale. Smava operates a lending platform focussed on the consumer loan market.
Kontainers, the digital platform for containerised shipping announced the addition of Toll Group ( a leading international freight forwarding and supply chain management services company) as a customer in a deal reported to be worth $1.15m. Kontainers already supports four of the top 20 shipping brands including market leader, Maersk.