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The Podcast is a show discussing the most interesting stories from the European technology scene.


“This is the first of many of minority funds,” says Europe’s first black solo GP
Interview with Maria Rotilu, founder and general partner, Openseed, a fund which is raising $10m to invest in startups at the earliest stages in Europe and Africa.Rotilu discusses-The the birth of Openseed, The benefits of being a solo general partner, What type of investments Openseed is interested in, Why startups should partner up with Openseed, and The investment landscape in Europe and Africa.
24:22 5/30/24
An interview with Manuel Lemos from Enline
Enline is the winner of the EIT Venture Award for their vegetation and landslide predictive forecast programme. The company develops tech such as  dynamic line rating and digital twins to help utilities get more out of their existing infrastructure.
13:46 4/8/24
An interview with Christer Bergquist from Altris AB
Altris AB is the winner of the EIT Innovation Team Award for their sodium-ion batteries. The batteries enable high performance batteries to accelerate the energy transition, without increasing the cost to the environment or to customers.
08:59 4/8/24
An interview with the founders of HiQ-CARB and Woamy, winners of the recent EIT 2024 awards
We talked with Mohamed Elamir and  Dr. Andreas Bittner.Mohammad is the winner of the EIT Changemaker Award and co-founder of Woamy, which develops biodegradable plastic-free biofoam for protective packaging to replace harmful plastic foams. Andreas Bittner is the winner of the Public Award winner from HiQ-CARB, a team that produces sustainable and resource-efficient nanomaterials for high-performance batteries. These materials enable faster-charging electric vehicles, extended battery life spans for mobile phones, and enhanced safety and longevity for battery-powered devices.
14:15 4/8/24
25 per cent of fintechs pitching top VC are AI-first startups
Around 25 per cent of fintechs pitching a top VC for funding are AI-first startups, according to a top VC.Asked what per cent of fintechs pitching Breega, a European VC which backs UK savings and investment app Moneybox and UK card-consolidator Curve, are AI-first startups, Breega partner Benjamin Deplus said:“I guess in fintech, it. Is still pretty low.“I mean you have AI involved but it’s mostly for workflow automation. It's not the heart of the product.“I think that is the opportunity for the next years. In fintech, AI-first companies, they are, from what I see, maybe 25 per cent of the companies have AI-first.”Deplus was speaking on the fintech podcast with Florian Reichert, partner and managing director at Picus Capital, the early-stage tech investment firm, which backs Dutch payment processing tech firm Silverflow and French BNPL firm Alma.The pair discussed an array of subjects focused on fintech and VC trends in 2024.On hot investment fintech sectors in 2024, two of those cited by the pair were CFO stack fintechs and payment infrastructure fintechs.Reichert said:“We have seen a lot of promising early-stage funding for infrastructure plays when it comes to fintech and especially payments.“All of these have a bit longer time to market because you have much more product to build.“A lot of them will now this year and next year move into very interesting stages of scale to make them very attractive for growth capital.”Deplus said: “There is still a lot to do in the CFO stack, from enterprise to SMB. Actually, with this AI wave, there is a lot to be done in the financial planning space.”
33:55 2/20/24
“Never too late and never too early” to launch a startup, says founder of one of Finland’s biggest fintech
“It’s never too late and it’s never too early” to launch a startup, according to the co-founder and co-CEO of Enfuce, the payment startup and one of Finland’s biggest fintech.Monika Liikamaa, co-CEO & co-founder of Enfuce, was speaking along with Michaela Berglund, CEO and founder of Feminvest, an events and education platform for women which has also launched an €8.8 million fund to invest in Nordic startups which are majority owned by women.The pair discussed the dearth of female founders, female CEOs and females working in VCs- and its impact on the industry.Asked her thoughts on seeing headlines in the media denoting gender such as “female founder raises .... ” and “……  appoints first female CEO”,  Liikamaa says she found the headlines “empowering”-as it shows women were achieving feats.That said, Liikamaa added:“Is it something that I would like it to be? No, it kind of alludes to a founder is a male. But that is the world we are living in and we need to change it. I hope, a couple of generations later, that would be seen as ridiculous."Liikamaa pointed to data showing companies with female directors outperforming those with male directors.She said women were partially to blame for the lack of female founders, as they hadn’t explained well enough that women can be founders and have families as well.In the UK, Anne Boden, founder, Starling Bank; PensionBee founder and  CEO Romi Savova; and Lisa Jacobs, CEO of Funding Circle, are examples of high-profile female leaders.Liikamaa added:“What we need to teach the younger generation is that it’s ok to want to achieve, it’s ok to work your ass off. And it’s never too late and it’s never too early to found something and be passionate about it.”Talking about Feminvest’s VC fund, Berglund said:“The response has been incredible. The interest has been super high.“I have been approached by women and men across Europe saying ‘wow finally, thank you for taking the bet'."
32:37 2/13/24
BUX CEO says he wants to protect neobroker from “too much" ABN AMRO influence
The CEO of a European neobroker startup recently acquired by Dutch financial services giant ABN AMRO says it’s his job to keep BUX protected from “too much influence from the larger organisation”.In the podcast, Yorick Naeff, BUX CEO, gives us the background to ABN AMRO’s purchase of BUX, announced in December last year.The Dutch giant was an early stage investor in BUX- most famous for offering commission-free trading to European investors- and the pair are also tech partners.“We started discussing opportunities around the summer last year and at some point these things become more concrete,” says Naeff.“I am very much aware of the pitfalls of becoming part of a larger corporate beast. I think it is up to me to make sure obviously that we keep our innovative power and agility.”He added it was his job as CEO to “protect” BUX from “too much influence from the larger organisation”.For example, he wants to ensure that BUX doesn't become too subsumed within ABN AMRO, losing its ability to launch products quickly and also that BUX maintains its tech stack.On the flip side, he points to the benefits of the tie-up, pointing to ABN AMRO’s global reputation, knowledge and experience across financial services.Elsewhere in the podcast, Naeff talks about other recent changes to BUX, including 40 per cent job cuts, amid a tough economic environment and why it is shifting out of crypto.Finally, he talks about the importance for him of work-life balance and says meditation works for him.
34:11 1/12/24
“There is no entrepreneurial gene”, says top VC and author of Start-up Century
“There is no entrepreneurial gene, I don’t think,” says James Wise, partner at VC firm Balderton Capital and author of Start-Up-Century.He adds:“I don’t think it is in your DNA. But certainly, your upbringing and the role models you have around you do make a big difference.”Wise gives us the full skinny on his new book, Start-Up Nation, which offers a fresh look at the rise in entrepreneurship and startups and how they are changing the world of work as well as what the changing economy means for the future.He talks about fintech luminaries, such as GoCardless founder Hiroki Takeuchi who was “integral” to some of the thinking behind the book.On Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield and Revolut co-founder Nikolay Storonsky, Wise said:“If you look at the backgrounds of Tom and Nikolay, they are both incredibly competitive, entrepreneurial people.”Wise also offers his view on some of the latest fintech trends.
28:12 11/29/23
Middle East conflict is “horrible” and could drive a new inflation scare, says Zopa boss
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is “horrible” and will “continue to create concerns” across the world, including the investment community, according to Jaidev Janardana, CEO of UK fintech lender Zopa.The CEO pointed out that the Middle East was where the world gets a lot of its oil from.Janardana said:“What happens in the Middle East? It’s hard to predict.  I am assuming there will be concerns about the conflict spreading and thus putting pressure on oil prices again, driving a new potential inflation scare.“There is, of course, the tremendous humanitarian cost of what is happening there and what does that do to the West’s ability to support the war in Ukraine? And it’s still a very rapidly developing situation.“There are many potential scenarios where this can go, where this can get worse. And when that happens, then investors tend to be careful with their money and they like to put that in cash, rather than in stocks.”Elsewhere in the interview, Janardana talks about some of the high points for Zopa this year, including topping one million customers and crossing £3 billion in deposits.In 2023, Zopa underwent two fundraising rounds, amid a challenging funding landscape.But Janardana said the two £75m funding rounds “were not that hard”, owing he said to Zopa’s growth and customer demand for its products.The fintech boss also touched on whether market conditions had improved to the extent that Zopa would likely soon IPO; the potential launch of new products; and its relationship with investor SoftBank.   
27:51 10/17/23
London a fintech “behemoth”, says Plaid leader
Last month, Singapore-based Nium announced that it had chosen London as its European HQ while US fintech Plaid has dual European headquarters in London and Amsterdam.The two executives discuss the virtues of their international fintechs having European headquarters and why they chose the cities they are located in.Sandhofer says: “London is proving to be one of the best ecosystems for fintechs overall.”Lambert says: “The two top priorities for us are, one, being very, very close to our customers and the people we think should be our customers and then, two, being very, very close to hiring pools of super talented people that want to work directly with those customers in both markets.“And London and Amsterdam were pretty obvious choices for us.”Lambert adds that London and Amsterdam stand out for their “fintech presence”, adding that London is “a kind of a behemoth”.Sandhofer says that in European cities outside of London and Amsterdam, where Nium also has a hub in, it is “harder to find talent which is willing to work only in English”.On having dual headquarters, Lambert says:“The challenge of a dual headquartered set up is obviously when teams are physically disparate it might be difficult to foster conversation.“I think that has been very untrue for us, particularly because we are aware of the risk.”The pair also discuss their current working practices, the benefits of hybrid working and whether they plan to open further European offices.
30:34 10/10/23
Ten years ago VC funds in Sand Hill Road wouldn’t “even fly to Los Angeles”
Lucas Timberlake, general partner at Fintech Ventures Fund, the US VC that has a focus on fintech and insurtech, and Ricardo Schäfer,early-stage investor and partner at Revolut backer Target Global, discuss the differences between European VC and US VC funds while also offering insights into the European fintech market.Timberlake, though, says the most prominent difference is between US West Coast VCs and US East Coast VCs, which are more aligned to European VCs.Timberlake says, generally speaking, US West Coast VCs are looking for binary outcomes, while US East Coast and European VCs are more focused on revenue and loss aversion.Schäfer said it was difficult to generalise about the differences between US and European VC funds, given fund-to-fund differences.That said, he said European VC funds tend to be a little smaller in size.The pair also discuss the trend of US VCs, such as Sequoia and General Catalyst, opening London offices, Schäfer said: “When I first went to the US ten years ago, I remember talking to funds on Silicon Valley's Sand Hill Road and they wouldn’t even fly to Los Angeles. Europe was really kind of far away.“Of course, if you are on the ground and you can play at seed, and if you hit the winners you will obviously be a lot better at deploying capital because you have to build relationships.”He said this strategy of US VCs ploughing more resources into Europe was seeming to work.Timberlake says: “I think it makes sense specifically for the multi-stage funds to have a presence in Europe from seed onwards.”On whether the trend of US VCs investing heavily in Europe would continue, Schäfer said: “Obviously what you have seen over the last couple of years is big fintechs emerge out of Europe. If you look at Wise, if you know look at Revolut, obviously Klarna and a bunch of others. That has definitely created a lot of attention.”
24:28 9/5/23
Scandinavian tech giants like Spotify and Klarna "have fostered a new generation of entrepreneurs”
Scandinavia is home to some of the most celebrated tech companies in recent years: Skype, Spotify, and Klarna. Cities like Stockholm and Copenhagen are also home to a new generation of startups creating waves across Europe.In this podcast, we talk to Henrik Rosvall, chief operating officer of Stockholm-based climate fintech Doconomy and Emil Stigsgaard Fuglsang, co-founder and chief operating officer at Matter, the Copenhagen-based sustainability insights fintech.We discuss the fintech scene in Scandinavia and why it is the envy of other nations across Europe; the factors that make cities like Stockholm and Copenhagen attractive fintech ecosystems; how receptive Scandinavians are to startups and fintechs; and whether the desire to tackle the climate crisis is particularly acute in the Nordics.Commenting on Scandinavian success stories like Klarna and Spotify, Rosvall said: “The big giants have fostered a new generation of entrepreneurs.”Fuglsang says that those fintechs that are successful in the region are usually successful globally too.Those that make it in the region “typically make it because we go global quite quick and that is because [Scandinavia] has fairly small markets,” he saysThe pair also discuss that the relatively high standards of living in the Nordics mean there is generally a higher motivation to care about climate change and try and tackle it.
19:13 8/23/23
“No one should be a denied a bank account”, says Politically Exposed Persons expert amid Farage bank account row
This week the seldom talked about world of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) came into the spotlight after Nigel Farage claimed the banks did not want him as a customer due to him being a PEP.The row between Farage and NatWest bank has already accounted for the heads of the CEOs of NatWest and Coutts, the prestigious private bank for the wealthy it owns, and looks set to rumble on.In this podcast, we chat with a PEP expert Alia Mahmud, who is the Regulatory Affairs Practice Lead at compliance data provider ComplyAdvantage.Mahmud tells us what exactly a PEP is; how fintechs manage PEP clients and the extra due diligence involved; and why fintechs and other financial institutions might want to reduce their number of PEP clients.She says that being a PEP involves a “whole lot of complications” and Mahmud also tells us why it is “prudent” for fintechs not get publicly involved in commenting on clients’ political and social beliefs.
20:11 7/28/23
A decade in, what's next for UK-born digital identity verification software scale-up Onfido? CEO Mike Tuchen spills the beans
Founded in London back in 2012, Onfido has become one of the global leaders in the digital identity verification and authentication services.We caught up with Mike Tuchen, who joined the company almost three years ago after stints as CEO of companies like Rapid7 and Talend, and was brought on board to lead the scale-up and supercharge global growth.Started with merely $30,000 in seed funding a decade ago, Onfido has raised more than $200 million in funding to date, and currently employs more than 600 staff around the globe.According to Tuchen, revenue has reached well over $100 million a year, but getting the multi-national company to cashflow-positivity while maintaining healthy growth figures is one of his priorities.We didn't only talk numbers though; Tuchen also went deep into Onfido's software, its positioning, how and why it uses artificial intelligence in its products, combatting bad actors and deepfakes, the war for talent, the company's recent acquisition of Airside, his take on the UK and European technology ecosystems, and much more.You can also watch the interview directly on YouTube. 
26:52 7/26/23
Dronamics CEO Svilen Rangelov on building the first cargo drone airline in the world (out of Bulgaria)
Bulgarian cargo drone manufacturer Dronamics today extended its pre-Series A funding round to raise €2 million euro from private investors exclusively via SeedBlink, the Romania-based crowdfunding platform.A few months back, the company raised $40 million right before completing the first successful flight of its flagship aircraft, the Black Swan.As the deep tech firm gears up to close a Series A round, Dronamics wants to build on the momentum by commercialising its drone.We caught up with one of the two brothers who co-founded the company, CEO Svilen Rangelov, to learn more about the startup's fascinating journey.You can also watch the interview on YouTube
21:57 7/20/23
Big moves in AI, Getir exits Spain, how US companies fare in Europe, and Henry Philipson from ESG_VC
Up this week:The AI wars are heating up: During London Tech Week Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set the goal of establishing the UK as the global home of artificial intelligence. This week OpenAI, the firm behind ChatGPT, announced that it would open its first international office in London, and Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis went on record stating that his engineers are building an AI system dubbed Gemini that will be more capable than that of OpenAI. All the while Stability AI, the company behind Stable Diffusion is looking, well, a bit unstable.A new report from Frontline Growth took a look at how US companies succeed and fail when it comes to European expansion. Representing up to 40% of global revenue for public software businesses, The authors note that "the strength of today's European tech ecosystem makes ignoring the region a costly mistake." Frontline goes on to cite the problem of success amnesia, where companies focus on sales at the expense of local marketing, community development, and brand-building efforts. Their data shows that 50% of companies don't have a single marketing resource in Europe a year after landing.Following a retreat from France, Turkish speedy grocery service Getir is now pulling out of Spain. Spain's biggest trade union CCOO didn't mince words stating, "We condemn the disastrous business management of Getir, which has not known how to grow or have a market strategy in Spain. Now its staff will suffer the biggest harm." In light of these developments, it would appear as though Getir's rumoured offer to acquire Flink might well be off the table.VTT Spinout Steady Energy is working on a 50MW nuclear reactor to be used to heat homes in Europe. Operating at significantly lower temperatures and pressure than a traditional reactor, the company's CEO Tommi Nyman says, "The pressure required by the LDR-50 reactor is comparable to the pressure that of a household espresso machine. It operates at a lower pressure than a district heating network. This ensures that in case of a malfunction which leads to a leak, the leak is contained within the heating plant, without endangering people or the environment."Working on the algorithms that drive quantum computing, specifically, applying these algorithms to drug discovery and development, Finnish startup Algorithmiq 's CEO and co-founder Sabrina Maniscalco says that, "a useful quantum advantage is coming sooner than many think."A new report issued by ESG_VC and BVCA analysed ESG data provided by 450 startups backed by leading venture capital firms including Lakestar, Balderton, Molten Ventures, Highland Europe, Beringea, and MMC Ventures. We spoke to ESG_VC co-founder Henry Philipson about how the initiative is aiming to assist startups navigate the world of ESG, as well as gather his response to commentary that startups shouldn't be focusing on ESG in early days.
19:44 6/30/23
Bolt 🩷's Starship, a Code Red, an iron fist at the EIB, AI a-plenty, Tech City, and it's Pollen season
Shhhh. Can you hear it? Listen in. Very carefully. Yes, yes, that's the unmistakable sound of an ecosystem that's staring down a summer full of iced tea and days by the lake. Or, is that just me?Either way, due to popular demand stemming from her appearance at our Summit just last month, we're welcoming Earlybird Venture Capital's Marieke Gehres to the show today where she brings a unique opinion to this week's news.We're talkin':- Finally, Bolt + Starship have ‘shipped’! - Bolt's new scooters are on the lookout for bad riders- Are new immigrant policies a threat to the Finnish start-up ecosystem?- Crappy photos no more thanks to generative AI- How do you get the US Marine Corps as a client? The power of partnerships - €100 million tech campus planned for Vilnius – Tech Zity to create ‘largest tech campus in Europe’- EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager is in the running for the top job at the European Investment Bank- Open AI - stolen EMEA account details for sale- EasyTranslate is using generative AI to drill down to client-specific language models- Wimbledon and IBM for AI tennis- The BBC documentary about London-based events startup Pollen and its collapse: Crashed: $800 million festival fail- Sequoia's new tool to help find talent: Atlas.All this, and a whole lot more on this week's episode of the Drive at Five!
39:52 6/23/23
Argentinian tech giant Globant plans to double down on Europe: A chat with Fernando Matzkin, who's leading the charge
Founded two decades ago, Argentinia-born Globant has become a technology partner for some of the world's leading organisations. Increasingly, it's looking at Europe to expand its business and grow its now 28,000-strong workforce.Globant may not be a household name in the global tech field, but arguably it should be.Founded in Buenos Aires by four friends back in 2003, the software development giant went public in 2014 and currently has a market cap just south of $8 billion, bringing in hundreds of millions in revenue on a quarterly basis from clients all over the world.Its relationship with Europe goes back a long way. The company opened an office in London around a year after its founding, and one of its first key clients was the UK-based then, the company has built up its business in this part of the world and opened quite a number of talent hubs, from the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy to smaller countries such as Romania, Poland, and Denmark.It also captured attention globally at the tail end of last year by scoring a multi-year agreement with football's world governing body FIFA to "supercharge the growth of the FIFA+ streaming platform and support football’s flagship events".We caught up with Fernando Matzkin, Chief Business Officer and GM of Europe for the company, to learn more about its future plans for European expansion.Matzkin, who's been with Globant for more than 14 years, previously headed up the company's business in North America, and is now tasked with growing its business in Europe, where it already has more than 11,000 staff.Globant aims to do that through client recruitment and partnerships, as well as opening new and further boosting existing talent hubs, but also through targeted acquisitions and startup investments, Matzkin says.The company has a CVC fund called - simply - 'Globant Ventures' but also operates the 'Be Kind Tech Fund', which invests in startups that tackle the misuse of technology in society.Currently, Europe represents only 15% of Globant's revenue, but the desire to grow that footprint to a bigger percentage is clear.Recently, it made acquisitions in France (Pentalog), Denmark (Vertic), and Italy (Sysdata) and announced back in September 2021 it would invest £65 million over a number of years to bolster its business in the UK.Stay tuned for much more Globant activity in Europe in the near future.
24:53 6/20/23
🎙️ The global startup ecosystem report, fun times for fintech, one big seed round, the EU votes to regulate AI, a16z opens up shop in The Big Smoke
In case you weren't paying attention, a whole boatload of activity happened across the European tech scene this week. So much so that we had trouble whittling down what to discuss and what to let slide. In discussion:- The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2023 (GSER 2023)- German autonomous trucking company FERNRIDE announces it has raised $31 million in Series A funding. - Venture capital firm Molten Ventures has written down its holding in Revolut by 40%, adding to the fintech company’s recent trouble as it struggles to gain a UK banking licence.- Stock trading app Freetrade is cutting its pre-money valuation by around 65% ahead of a planned Crowdcube fundraise later this month.- UK payments unicorn GoCardless is to cut 17% of staff in a bid to shave 15% off its cost base and quote unquote rediscover its scrappy startup energy.- Digital bank Zopa, also based in the UK, is rejigging its leadership team.- Amsterdam-based cloud banking provider Mambu has announced the immediate departure of its CEO and co-founder Eugene Danilkis for “personal reasons”.- France is openly courting to become the home of Tesla's next Gigafactory in Europe.- Earlier this week, Musk met with the Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni as leaders in Europe attempt to woo the Tesla boss into building a new car manufacturing facility in their countries.- Less than a month old startup Mistral AI raised a seed round of €105 million at a €240 million valuation.- Wargraphs sells to M.O.B.A Network for €50 million.- Wayflyer renews debt line of $300 million from JP Morgan.- EU Regulation Update- Amsterdam - Framer AI- Mercedes adding ChatGPT to their cars- a16z crypto comes to London. - Pirate Summit scuttles the ship with its last burn.All this and a whole lot more on this week's Drive at Five!
34:40 6/16/23
From 'body leasing' to 'friendshoring': Romania's Accesa demonstrates the value-add in IT partnerships
Acquired by Germany-based Ratiodata in November 2020, Romania-born tech solutions giant Accesa is a perfect example of how 'IT outsourcing' has evolved in the last 20 years. Accesa CEO Andrea Marliere explains.Accesa is a leading technology services company headquartered in Cluj-Napoca (Romania), with offices in Zurich, Oradea and Munich. Over the past 16 years, the company has managed to establish itself as an employer of choice for IT professionals.Today, the company offers a wide array of technology competences and partnerships, providing services like software development, cloud solutions, automation, artificial intelligence, e-commerce and intelligence workplace solutions, and much more.In November 2020, Accesa joined forces with Ratiodata, one of the largest system houses and service providers for banking technology and document digitalisation in Germany. This has allowed the company to grow to around 1,200 IT professionals on the team, servicing more than 70 clients globally.In the past, companies would simply outsource their IT needs to third-party vendors who would provide temporary staff to work on specific projects.Today, however, nearshoring has become a more sophisticated and strategic approach than pure outsourcing. Rather than simply providing staff on a temporary basis, nearshoring involves integrating the outsourcing partner into the company's value chain. This means that the outsourcing partner becomes a strategic partner to the company, working closely with them to achieve specific business objectives.I caught up with Accesa CEO Andrea Marliere to learn from about this shift to nearshoring, and the new trend which is 'friendshoring'.She explained more about how and why she joined the company, how the company ended up joining Ratiodata, and how Accesa aims to deliver value to its partners now and in the future (with case studies to boot!).
27:38 6/15/23
🎙️Generative AI is an “absolute game-changer” and will be as revolutionary as email, say experts, but they caution it will take time for firms to reap the benefits
The fintech industry- and the business world- is grappling with generative AI, which experts say has the potential to revolutionise financial services. Spearheaded by the rival of ChatGPT, fintechs are being wooed by generative AI’s potential to transform their way of working, from back to front office.In this podcast, we chat with Alexandra Mousavizadeh, an economist who benchmarks banks’ adoption of AI and Christian Trummer, the co-founder and CTO of crypto company Bitpanda, about the potential of AI.Mousavizadeh says generative AI will be as transformative as email and “change the way we work”.“The release of ChatGPT has put AI at the top of mind of every CEO in every sector,” she says.But she caveats this by saying generative AI is not a “plug and play” and highlights the challenge of running Large Language Models (LLMs), the algorithmic basis for AI-powered Chatbots like ChatGPT, on financial data.Trummer, meanwhile, predicts that in the future amid the rise of generative AI, “everyone will need to be a prompt engineer”.Bitpanda has recently made a whopping $10m investment in AI and Trummer discusses how the money will be spent and what impact the technology will have on his business and fintech more broadly.
34:41 6/13/23
Checking in with 'climate fintech' scale-up Doconomy: An interview with CEO Mathias Wikström
We caught up with Mathias Wikström, CEO of Sweden's Doconomy, to learn more about its platform to measure climate and social impact in the financial services industry.The Stockholm-based scale-up, which recently acquired fellow Swedish financial wellbeing fintech Dreams Technology for an undisclosed sum, last raised funding back in September 2021.We asked Wikström what's been up with the business since, if fresh financing will (need) to be raised, and learned more about how the company helps banks, brands, and consumers better understand and reduce their environmental impact.You can watch the video on YouTube here.
22:35 6/12/23
🎙️Moving at angel speed without the traditional VC formality: Solo GP Sarah Drinkwater and her new £10 million fund
On this Drive at Five editione speziale the omnipresent community builder/angel investor/and now Solo GP, Sarah Drinkwater sits in to discuss her newly announced fund, Common Magic.Tune in, turn it up, and start taking notes, because this week we're talking:- What is a Solo GP fund?- Angel speed, less structure, more access.- Nightclub term sheets.- Traditions to keep, traditions to change.- Sarah has raised one-third of a targeted £10 million.- Investing in 30 to 35 startups in Europe and the US at the pre-seed and seed stage.- "Hey kid, here's a hundred bucks, don't spend it all in one place."- "Products with community at their core." What does that mean?- Sarah's first job? You do not want to miss the answer.- Flexing the Google- 2014 - 2018 London. Good times.- SuperVenture: 40 people at a meeting, 38 in ironed white or blue shirts.- Temperature check: what is the funding landscape like at the minute?- What are LPs looking for right now?- Who do you see as people, "who are underestimated and underrepresented in their field"?- Grit!- An eye infection, pitching for 50 hours a week, and nobody says yes.- Pitfalls founders should be aware of when setting out on community building.- Nick breathes community. But only if they smell good.- A thesis, an ah-ha moment, and a "but isn't this obvious?"- Great club nights.- "I'm always nervous about trends because trends imply impermanence."- Building community is hard. Community builders are busy.
26:12 6/9/23
🎙️ Sex, Money, Creative Equity, Travel, AI, and Jeff - the Drive at Five - Episode 35
With the team finally recovered from anything and everything that was the Summit, we're back guns a-blazin'.This week we're talkin':- Sex tech - it's not what people think it is.- Quinky is a company that's developing an app providing sex education through gamification for Gen-Z’s- "We are after all the IP branch of the oldest industry in the world – Sex’ and ‘Social permission and the confidence to ask for what they want in the bedroom because that transcends to the boardroom" - Dominique Karetsos, CEO of the Healthy Pleasure Group.- Elaine Burke in the Business Post Connected goes into detail about different areas of sex tech.- British digital bank Monzo has hit profitability for the first time.- Klarna, the Swedish buy now, pay later company, also recently unveiled that it has halved its net loss in the first quarter.- Revolut is definitely not profitable yet, but it has announced reaching over 30 million retail customers making 400 million transactions a month.- Taxfix has laid off 20% of its staff — 120 employees — as part of wider restructuring of the business aimed at cutting costs.- Vitamin has folded.- John Reynolds knows fintech.- Creative equity is the new investment.- Today global travel experiences platform and marketplace GetYourGuide, announced the closing of $194 million in equity and credit financing.- NVIDIA was and then they weren't, but either way, the keynote was hot shiz.- AI made the cover of TIME Magazine.- More letters about AI. Probably lost in the post.- OpenAI is handing out cold hard cash.- Italy bans, unbans, and now establishes a state-backed fund to support AI startups.- Japan says copyright, schmopyright when it comes to training AI.- Your honour, ChatGPT has no further questions.- Spanish startup Jeff never closed a €90 million round, hasn’t paid employees for nine months, and is now filing for bankruptcy. All this and a whole lot more in this week's Drive at Five! If you've enjoyed this show, be sure to like, subscribe, tell your friends, tell your enemies, hell, tell your dog too.
39:34 6/2/23
🎙️ Founder and CEO of Dutch challenger bank bunq reveals possible new funding round, profitability landmark and rubbishes claims he’s a bad boss
Niknam set up bunq in 2012, inspired to reinvent banking in the wake of the financial crisis. Today, bunq is one of the most well-known challenger banks across Europe, with millions of users across the Netherlands, Germany, France, and other European contrives.Next up, it is launching in the US market, a tough nut to crack where other European fintechs have struggled.In this podcast, Niknam, a serial entrepreneur who set up his first company when he was just 16, offers his insight into some of the latest fintech news stories.This includes revealing his dealings with fintech regulators in light of strained relations between rival neobank Revolut and UK regulators.“Maybe Revolut’s relationship with the regulators is good and this is just a way for Nik [Storonsky] to get free publicity,” Niknam says.He also offers a damning view of the current commercial potential of crypto and blockchain applications.Talking about bunq, Niknam reveals the challenger bank is on course to make a full-year profit for the first time, as challenger banks across Europe face increased pressure to swing into the black.He also shines a light on bunq’s plans to launch in the US, and how it might be bolstered by a new funding round.On the European challenger bank market, he tells us why he thinks bunq’s subscription model will win out against free-of-charge rivals.“Any business that wants to survive needs to be profitable,” he says, in a dig at rivals who have amassed millions of customers but remain unprofitable.Finally, Niknam addresses criticism about his management style, saying those employees who criticise him didn’t meet the grade.On disgruntled ex-bunq employees “venting” online, he says, “We always find it a bit sad that people don’t discuss it internally” but “it’s a free country”.
37:26 6/1/23
🎙️ The Drive at Five - The Summit wrap up, Flink holds Getir at bay, and AI believe in miracles
Alright meow, listen up, because we've got a whole lotta content to recap and a whole lotta people to thank. If you missed us in Brussels earlier this week, you missed a day full of networking, great talks, and a party that saw music selections by our very own resident DJ, Mr. Robin Wauters. Meow, to those of you who've already asked - we haven't set the date for next year, but if I know my bosses, they'll be kicking off some superwickedcrazy early bird ticket sales sometime soon. Stay tuned.Up this week:- Cate goes nuclear. With Heike Freund, Chief Operating Officer, Marvel Fusion and Mathieu de Lophem Partner, Nuketech.- Manna Drones' Bobby Healy reveals the company's most delivered item, and we ponder how another type of product delivery might work.- Meatable has developed the ability to create high-quality cultivated meat in only eight days.- Google co-founder Sergey Brin orders up a $330,000 burger.- Wall-e isn't what you think it is. Or is it?- Spacetech and sustainability DO go together. Quite well in fact.- Quantum computing: The magic number is 300.- Flink has reportedly raised at least €150 million as takeover talks with Getir remain fruitless.- Fake news about the Pentagon.- NVIDIA is set to join the trillion-dollar club.- Microsoft marches on with AI offerings. Are we looking at Clippy 6.0?- OpenAI and governance. 'Nuff said.- Adobe introduces generative AI in photoshop, Dan puts it to the test.- Fiona sat down with Caroline Farberger, Nora Beavy, and Merike Gehrts at our Summit to discuss diversity.- and Robin's anxious to watch videos!All this, and a whole lot more on this week's Drive at Five!
27:14 5/26/23
🎙️ The Drive at Five - The Summit, pet tech, Revolut, Seedcamp, fake tans, and the AI of the Tiger
It's all happening man! The Summit is coming up next week, and on a personal note, I can't wait to see and meet and have a beer with each and every one of you. No seriously, buy me a drink, I'll show you.It's been a crazy week and the editorial team is in fine spirits, give a listen to this one folks!Up this week:- Cate throws us a bone and fills us in on what's waggin' in the world of pet tech- BASF business incubator Chemovator has opened its door to startups outside of the company- We stand in solidarity with CNET journalists- The Titanic: Full-sized scans reveal the wreck as never seen before- Regulators say no no no to Revolut's bid for a full on banking license- Seedcamp hauls home $180 million- Fake Tan meets Fake Article. Irish Times got played and Fiona fell for it too- Evie Ring by Movano announced its launch date for September - Elkstone has closed its €100 million early-stage venture fund- The EU Artificial Intelligence Act- Sam Altman at Congress- Zoom + Anthropic- Buzzfeed- The Creator- The Death of a TranslatorAll this and waaaaaay more on this week's Drive at Five.
37:02 5/19/23
🎙️ The Drive at Five - The European EV revolution, the Baltics beyond borders, Kubernetes, Aiii carumba, and more than just groceries?
Should anyone tell you that preparing for an event is a piece of cake, run. Run far and fast. In case you don't know what I'm alluding to, it's crunch time here at as we gear up for our annual Summit in just 12 days' time. We've got an incredible roster of speakers lined up, and I personally can't wait to geek out on the quantum computers and space tech panels I'll be hosting.But the news cycle is a never-ending beast and it's been a busy week. Let's get you up to speed:01:49 - Paris-based EV charging infrastructure builder Driveco has raised €250 million in a new funding round.02:10 - Jolt Energy announced a €150 million investment from InfraRed Capital Partners to bring its ultra-fast charging stations to urban areas across Europe and the US.02:24 - A few weeks ago, Helsinki-based electric vehicle charging platform Virta also raised €85 million in a new funding round.02:41 - Shell struck a deal to acquire the evpass EV charging network in Switzerland.02:55 - Tesla drops prices in Spain as it goes head-to-head with Wallbox.03:23 - The E-20 highway.04:32 - What is the ultimate charging tune?05:00 - "In Norway, the Electric Vehicle Future Has Already Arrived"06:07 - Where was the first electric vehicle made? Dan thought it was Dr. Porsche in Vienna, but Nick knows the real deal.07:11 - Fiona weighs in on the Baltics and promotes Robin's appearance on The Pursuit of Scrappiness podcast.08:12 - The Scaling of Ecosystems panel with ARC CEO Stuart Grant, Maria 01 CEO Ville Simola, and BeCentral Co-founder and MD Laurent Hublet.10:30 - In contrast to Robin admitting that he doesn't make predictions on Episode 8 of Selected - The Sesamers podcast, Cate is going out on a limb and predicting ...11:03 - Green software to be the next big thing.11:25 - The ICT sector is responsible for up to 3.9% of global emissions — almost as much as the airline and shipping industries.12:20 - Cate spoke with Dr. Huamin Chen, a Senior Principal Software Engineer and Sustainability Technical team lead at the Red Hat about project Kepler.15:31 - Doing more with less.16:44 - Aiiii Carumba!17:32 - IBM goes BIG on AI.18:02 - Hugging Face, the darling of open-sourcing everything AI launches transformers agent.19:39 - Google I/O. Ohhhhhh.22:08 - Humane is starting to creep out into the world.22:59 - Everseen is using AI to help companies keep tabs on inventory. And announced a €65 million raise this week.24:22 - 23-year-old Snapchat influencer Caryn Marjorie used OpenAI’s technology to create an A.I. version of herself that will be your girlfriend for $1 per minute. Caryn. CAAAAARRRRRYYYN!25:41 - RewindAI turns the tables on investors and comes out winning big.26:44 - The EU's new rules and regs on AI - we're going deep next week. Promise.27:30 - Wingcopter announced the raise of €40 million this week alongside a pilot project that will see the drone maker flying high above German skies and delivering groceries to remote locales. Now, if Getir gets Flink and essentially creates a monopoly in the groceries-to-your-door space, do they have aspirations much bigger than just snacks? I can think of a certain book distributor that certainly went down that path.31:25 - All good things must come to an end, and so it is with Pirate Summit.All this and a whole lot more on this week's Drive at Five!
34:54 5/12/23
🎙️ The Drive at Five - TIER, Getir, AI oh my! and updates on the Summit
Aaaaaand we're back! Due in part to the editorial staff being here there and everywhere last week, the Drive at Five took a breather, but to make up for the absence Nick Stevens sits in to provide a comprehensive rundown of what went down in the world of AI this week and what the implications are.But that's not all:02:21 - Sky News reports that European e-scooter giant Tier Mobility is working with bankers at Qatalyst Partners to explore their options for a potential merger with or an outright sale of the company to one of its rivals.05:25 - The Summit is happening on the 24th of May in Brussels. The agenda and full speaker lineup are now live!06:17 - Ahead of the Summit, Fiona interviewed Caroline Farberger where she revealed, "I genuinely thought that the playing field was even when I lived as a man, but I only had to live as a woman for a few months to realise how wrong I had been, how little I understood."07:39 - Fiona also spoke to Summit edtech panelists Svenia Busson, co-founder of the European Edtech Alliance, and Manna drone delivery CEO Bobby Healy about bridging the divide between the education system and real-world employment.11:28 - AI. What a week. Nick breaks down how the employment of AI is affecting the employment of humans, most notably at Chegg, Shopify, and IBM.14:37 - The Guardian reported that a UK competition watchdog launches review of AI market.14:45 - The White House announced new actions to promote responsible AI innovation that protects Americans’ rights and safety.15:07 - The godfather of AI, Dr. Geoffrey Hinton left Google to speak out about the dangers of AI. 16:03 - A leaked document indicates that open source AI will outcompete both Google and OpenAI.19:11 - Istanbul-based Getir, who most recently raised approximately $500 million, is in talks to acquire German competitor Flink. 22:12 - At risk of a Nasdaq delisting, Lilium says it needs to raise $250 million, Tencent puts up $100 million at first close and offers more, but with a caveat.All this and more on this week's Drive at Five!
29:44 5/5/23
🎙️ The Drive at Five - Valuations are in freefall, Rovio gets acquired, Kate's affordable EV's, and de-spamming the spam
Hey, you did it! You made it through another week, but did you catch all the European tech news that's fit to print? If the answer is no, well you've come to the right spot. Now kick off those shoes, grab an icy (or steaming) beverage of your choice, and let us get you up to speed on everything that went down.Note: Please take care when removing said shoes, as it's generally frowned upon at the pub, in the tube, and can be a safety hazard whilst driving.Up this week:01:08 - 4/20, a day that will live in infamy, the day the blue tick died.02:26 - Robin discusses haircuts, specifically valuation haircuts.02:41 - Getir's raised a bunch of cash again, but has seen its valuation nearly halved to $6.5 billion.04:07 - Things aren't looking so good for Berlin-based fintech N26 and its valuation has been decreased to around $3 billion, down from a high of $9 billion.04:57 - CulturePulse raised "just shy of $1 million" in a seed funding round and is possibly de-spamming the spam?07:49 - RebelTech raised €1.5 million to help clean up the tech refurbishing process. And they're using frickin' laser beams!09:29 - Rovio. Angry Birds no more after a €706 million acquisition by Sega?12:42 - French EV maker Kate wants to get a brand new ride in your hands at a starting cost of €15,000.16:22 - John Reynolds is back with a comprehensive look at the European BNPL industry, highlighting the players worth knowing, their positioning, the rise of B2B BNPL, regulation, and much more.16:59 - Lawmakers in the European Parliament this week approved a package of rules aimed at regulating the cryptocurrency industry, aka MiCA.All this, and a whole lot more on this week's edition of the Drive at Five.
19:13 4/21/23