Venture November 2019
There were many successful developments across our portfolio this month, most notably Manna closing significant follow-on funding from US investors, which included Peter Thiel’s esteemed Founders Fund. Elkstone was well represented at global technology conferences Web Summit and SaaStock in Lisbon and Dublin respectively as we continue to develop meaningful connections in the startup ecosystem at home and internationally. In terms of pipeline, we anticipate a strong finish to the year as we move close to completion on a number of exciting deals.
Paddy Dillon is a Venture Analyst at Elkstone.
Elkstone at Web Summit
Elkstone’s Venture team was represented by Declan Magee and Paddy Dillon at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal from November 4th-7th. Web Summit is Europe’s largest technology conference with over 70,000 attendees including over 2,100 early stage startups from around the world and over 1,000 investors. The team’s focus was concentrated on meeting some of Europe’s most exciting new startups for our Venture Club, building new relationships with other European VCs, further developing Elkstone’s international profile and having a finger on the pulse of the European technology ecosystem. Paddy also acted as one of the judges for a stage of Web Summit’s showpiece PITCH competition, which sees 135 shortlisted startups compete to be crowned as PITCH champion. Manna Founder Bobby Healy also gave a compelling talk titled ‘Drones and food delivery: A marriage made in heaven” in front of a packed audience at the AutoTech and Robotics stage on day three of the conference.
Pictured: Declan Magee arriving at Web Summit and Paddy Dillon addressing a startup participant during Web Summit’s PITCH competition.
Supporting Trinity Entrepreneurial Society (TES)
The TES Incubator Programme provides students with a practical platform of supports and mentorship to enable them to develop their business ideas. Members of the Elkstone Venture team are actively supporting students on the TES Incubator Programme on their entrepreneurial journey. Paddy Dillon was a member of the judging panel on launch night which selected eight startups for this year’s programme.
VENTURE CLUB COMPANY NEWS
Manna recently closed a significant funding round from leading US investors including specialist logistics VC Dynamo Ventures and Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund (early backers of Facebook, Airbnb, SpaceX, Stripe, etc.). This round was completed at a substantial premium to the Elkstone Venture Club’s initial seed investment in Manna and will give the company additional runway as it targets commencing commercial trials both in Ireland and abroad over the next few months. This investment also further underlines the growing confidence from top tier investors in the imminent widespread adoption of commercial drone delivery technology.
Manna was recently featured in Forbes’ list of ‘Four Exciting Startups Flying The Flag For Ireland’ alongside the Elkstone-sponsored Idea 2 Scale entrepreneurial community.
SoapBox Labs has been selected by the Florida Center for Reading Research as its voice technology partner to develop next-generation literacy assessments that will help educators better understand children’s reading and language skills. This $30m educational programme, called Reach Every Reader, is run in partnership with Harvard University and MIT and is most notably backed by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. This is another impressive endorsement for SoapBox Labs, which signed other significant partnerships with Microsoft and Lingumi earlier this year.
The Meatless Farm Co. was listed as one of seven leading European plant-based meat food startups by Sifted, the Financial Times’ online publication for Europe’s innovators and entrepreneurs. The UK-based startup was commended for being a rare case of a European company seeing US success in this competitive marketplace, which relates to its listing in over 450 Whole Foods stores across 43 states.
Congratulations to LetsGetChecked, which was listed in CB Insights’ Digital Health 150, a selection of the most promising 150 private digital health startups redefining the healthcare industry through transformative models of primary care and emerging technological solutions for healthcare providers.
Elkstone-supported companies had a successful night at the National Startup Awards with SalesOptimize winning Gold in the Emerging-Tech Startup category, Flipdish winning Silver in the Tech Startup category and Change Donations winning Silver in the Fintech Startup category. A great result for these impressive Irish companies and their Founders!
Pictured collecting their awards are: SalesOptimize (left) and Flipdish (right).
OTHER VENTURE NEWS
Congratulations to Elkstone portfolio company SuperAwesome, which won a Tech4Good Pioneer Prize at The Telegraph’s first ever “Tech for Good” conference. Hundreds of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and policy makers gathered in central London for the awards, which celebrated the contributions of British technology companies making a positive social impact. SuperAwesome, led by founder Dylan Collins, provides companies with the tools for safe digital engagement with almost half a billion children every month.
This month’s article is from private market data platform Pitchbook, which looks at ‘The Many Faces of Disruption’ with its key takeaways from Web Summit 2019. Read the full article here.