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Meniga announces €7.3m investment led by Velocity Capital and Frumtak Ventures

Meniga just announced it raised a €7.3m ($8.3m) round led by current investors Velocity Capital and Frumtak Ventures earlier this year. The funding will be used to further expand its white label personal finance, personalization and data-driven marketing solutions for retail banks and merchants, according to a statement. Following the funding, Willem Willemstein, Chairman and CEO of Velocity Capital, joins Meniga’s board of directors.

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Georg Lúðvíksson, Co-founder and CEO of Meniga

“For the past seven years we have focused on honing our digital banking products,” Georg Lúðvíksson, co-founder and CEO of Meniga said in a written statement.  “Now, in addition to supporting banks in helping their customers better understand and manage their finances, we can further help banks engage with merchants and be compliant with upcoming regulations, such as PSD2.”

The company has become known for its white-label personal finance management solutions, that they integrate with the online banks of their customers. Last year news broke of a deal with Europe’s leading bank, Santander. In addition to PFM software, the company has been developing solutions that leverage the massive amounts of data they have access to. In what the company calls “Card-Linked Offers and Consumer Spending Analytics platform” they offer analysis of consumer trends, and give merchants the ability to target people based on their consumption behavior. These products have been live in Iceland under the name Kjördæmi for some time.

 

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The Memo: Study Cake, and thoughts on Startup Reykjavik investor day

First a couple of announcements:

We’re hosting an after-work meetup at Loft in two weeks.
We think there should be more opportunities for people in the tech and startup sectors to meet and connect, so we’ve decided to host a meetup. It’ll be on Friday September 2nd at Loft Hostel, between 5-8 PM. We’d love for you to come and grab a beer with us.

Also, we’re still looking for term sheets 🙏

We’ve gotten several submissions, but need more to be able to analyse the situation. If you have any, please send us 🙂 (message us).

Now, on to the Memo:

Study Cake boys quit to go study, and reveal a (potential) pink elephant in the room

A couple of weeks ago, the Study Cake team sent out an open letter detailing their decision to quit and go back to school. In the post, they discuss how an investment fund offered a 10m ISK investment, but pulled the offer “at the last minute.” They then talk about an investment for 35m ISK, which they then declined, to go back to school.

It’s not clear whether this 10m ISK investment (that got pulled) and the other one they were closing are from the same fund, but by how the team describes the fund pulling an offer at the last minute, is alarming. The Icelandic startup scene is young, and many founders are first time founders, and therefore don’t have any experience with investors and funds. But making an offer and pulling it last minute is just general bad behaviour, and should be talked about.

Now, I might be reading too much into this particular incident – I don’t know the exact details for the offer being pulled and they might very well be reasonable – but the bigger theme is that we as a community haven’t started talking openly about investor / founder interactions.

How can we as a community make sure that important things like these get discussed? Whose responsibility is it to talk about them? What can we at Norðurskautið do to help?

Startup Reykjavik investor day is upcoming

This Friday, August 26th, is Startup Reykjavik investor day. It’s similar to most other accelerator demo days / investor days in the way that the companies pitch to a group of investors, executives and stakeholders. We covered last years investor day: Overview of companies, and Comments from Linus Dahg, VC at Wellington Partners.

This will be the fifth batch to graduate from Startup Reykjavik for a total of 50 companies. A quick tally based on their website, suggests that of the 40 companies from previous years, six have gotten equity funding. A much larger percentage have received funding in the form of grants, mostly from the TDF. To my knowledge, the funding rounds have had considerable lead time – that is they raised a round a considerable amount of time after the demo day.

It will be interesting to see this year’s batch, and follow the development. Will there be a Q3 investment in a Startup Reykjavik ’16 company? What do you think? What company is most likely?

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The Memo: Funding rounds and Startup Reykjavik’s term sheet

Last week was eventful. Two funding rounds announced and Icelandic media wrote a lot about startups. Norðurskautið was also working on some interesting news – we’ll get to that later. Before the memo, a short request.

We would like your term sheet 🙏

We’re researching how the term sheet culture is in Iceland. To do that we need, you guessed it, term sheets. Anything from angel rounds to growth rounds. We’re focusing on Icelandic term sheets, from Icelandic investors.

We understand some of the things in the term sheet are sensitive. Feel free to black out anything that is either identifying or confidential. We won’t publish anything without talking to you first – and if we publish anything it most likely won’t be terms heets. More just interesting findings, if there are any. If you don’t have a term sheet yourself, please help us by spreading the word 🙂 Just send me a message if you can help.

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Now, on to the Memo:

The Startup Reykjavik term sheet

Viðskiptablaðið wrote an article titled “Controversial term in Startup Reykjavik’s term sheet.” (link) The article sprung up from a discussion in the Slack group about a anti-dilution clause. The article is pretty good, discusses the concerns that were raised, and gives Einar Gunnar of Arion Banki a lot of space to explain.

Most of the points make sense, but there was one point that stuck out to me. Einar says (translated from Icelandic):

This clause is meant to protect minority owners, in this case [Arion bank]. The issue could arise that someone is upset about something following the Startup Reykjavik investment, and decides they don’t want Arion bank as a shareholder anymore, and sell auntie Sigga a 94% share of the company for 100.000 ISK. That way they could dilute us in an abnormal way.

The clause in question ensures that Startup Reykjavik Invest keeps its 6% stake if the investment is 40 million ISK or lower (~$340K).  Many angel investments are well within that range. That means that startups that receive an angel investment after SR will often need to deal with the clause. Also, there are many ways in structuring the term sheet to protect small investors, that don’t involve giving that investor free shares in a small financing.

I applaud the debate, and thank Viðskiptablaðið for reporting on these topics. We as a community need to start talking about these things openly.

Two fundings

Last week we saw two announced funding events. Oculis Pharma raised an undisclosed amount from Brunnur Ventures and Silfurberg. Greenqloud raised a $4m investment from Kelly Ireland, who joins the board.

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Great news for the ecosystem. The Oculis Pharma investment reminds us of the vitality of the pharmaceutical industry in Iceland. Sadly, we haven’t covered it much. The reason is simple – we don’t know or understand that industry enough. So if you want to help, by either writing or just giving us tips about interesting things in the pharma space, send us a line.

Greenqloud had its struggles a couple of years back, when they switched out their CEO. Following that, the company pivoted away from providing infrastructure as a service. Their focus now is selling Qstack, cloud management software. The investment suggests that that bet is paying off.

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Oculis Pharma raises Series A led by Brunnur Ventures and Silfurberg

The pharmaceutical startup Oculis Pharma announced a Series A financing led by investors Brunnur Ventures and Silfurberg. The amount is undisclosed.

“We are delighted to receive this support from Brunnur Ventures, Silfurberg and their co-investors to progress our development of DexNP,” Páll Ragnar Jóhannesson, CEO of Oculis, said in a statement. “In addition to providing financial resources, these experienced investors bring Oculis a wealth of operational and industry expertise.”

According to a statement, the new capital will support continued development of the company’s patented solubilizing nanoparticle (SNP) drug delivery platform and the company’s drug candidates, including the first topical eye-drops for treatment of diabetic macular edema. In layman’s terms, the company is both developing a patented technology that increases the effectiveness of eyedrops and solves some of their limitations, and drugs that use this technology. Their diabetic macular edema drug has been approved for treatment in both Europe and the United States.

“Our investment to support the development of Oculis is based on Oculis’ strong scientific research, combined with a great market potential for the company’s drug candidates,” said Árni Blöndal in a statement, GP at Brunnur Ventures, who joins the board following the investment. “The option of drug treatment of DME with self-administered eye-drops, rather than having the only option of surgically injecting drugs into the eye, would by a major advantage in the global battle with this common and severe diabetes complication.”

Stefán Jökull Sveinsson, former head of global R&D at Actavis, one if Iceland’s leading pharmaceuticals, also joins the board in connection with the financing.

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Greenqloud raises $4m from investor Kelly Ireland

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Kelly Ireland

Greenqloud, the maker of cloud management software Qstack, just announced a $4m investment from investor Kelly Ireland. Kelly will join the board of directors of the company. This was announced by Viðskiptablaðið today, and Kelly on Twitter a week ago.

In a conversation with Viðskiptablaðið, Jónsi Stefánsson CEO of Greenqloud said this was a very important partnership. “We are moving into the American market, and partnering with a seasoned expert in the technology industry is very good for us,” Jónsi said (translated from Icelandic).

The company (for the lack of a better word) pivoted in 2015, when they moved from providing environmentally friendly cloud hosting solutions, to selling cloud management software.

Previous investors in the company include NSA Ventures, Keel investments and Novator.

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