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Helsinki-based Yousician lands €23.1 million to reimagine music education

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Yousician, an interactive music platform, announces the closing of an approx. 23.1 million Series B round of funding for its platforms – Yousician and GuitarTuna – bringing its total raised to 35 million.

Yousician is reimagining music education. Using interactive learning techniques, Yousician empowers anyone to learn and play the guitar, piano, ukulele, bass and singing. GuitarTuna, also part of the Yousician family, is the #1 instrument tuner in the world. The Yousician and GuitarTuna platforms are used by 20 million people around the world each month and reached a total revenue of 41.2 million in 2020.

The Silicon Valley venture firm, True Ventures, is the company’s lead investor. New investors in this round include Amazon’s Alexa Fund and MPL Ventures LLP. Angel investors include Mark Pincus, founder of Zynga; Jason Calacanis, founder of LAUNCH Fund; David Helgason, founder of Unity Technologies; Rolf Schrömgens, co-founder of Trivago; Moaffak Ahmed, founder of Cooler Future, and Bryan Meehan, executive chairman of Blue Bottle Coffee Company.

Jon Callaghan, co-founder of True Ventures, said: “We’re proud to stand behind a company and team that brings the joy and excitement of playing an instrument into more homes and families.”

Yousician’s gamified approach to music education uses innovative audio recognition technology that differentiates the platform from its competitors. The audio feature listens to the user play and provides real-time feedback. This creates an educational and structural learning path for users at any experience level. The platform also provides lesson plans created by in-house music teachers. The experience is that of an on-demand music school with world-class instructors at the helm to guide interactive learning.

With the new funding, Yousician will further develop its product offering to refresh its user journey, make key new hires, and invest in both brand marketing and artist partnerships. These new funds will also fuel new partnerships with world class musicians, who are invited into the fold to show the world’s budding artists how to play like a pro, bringing artists even closer to their 20 million users.

“This is a very exciting time for Yousician and aspiring musicians everywhere,” said Chris Thür, co-founder and CEO of Yousician. “With this new funding round, and investors that really understand what we are doing and why, we are poised to bring learning and playing music to more people, in more places, than ever before.”

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Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/04/helsinki-based-yousician-lands-e23-1-million-to-reimagine-music-education/

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Report: Seattle digital remittance startup Remitly hires banks for IPO at around $5B valuation

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(Remitly Photo)

The news: Seattle startup Remitly has hired investment banks to prepare for an initial public offering, according to Reuters. The IPO would value Remitly at around $5 billion, Reuters reported — a sizable spike from its last valuation of $1.5 billion in July. Remitly declined to comment when contacted by GeekWire.

Remitly background: Founded in 2011, Remitly’s mobile technology lets people send and receive money across borders, including immigrants in the U.S. and U.K. who support families back home in countries such as the Philippines, India, El Salvador, and others. The service eliminates forms, codes, agents, and other fees typically associated with the international money transfer process dominated by Western Union, MoneyGram, and other longstanding providers.

Last funding: Remitly raised $85 million in July at a $1.5 billion valuation. Total funding to date, which includes a $220 million cash infusion from July 2019, is nearly $400 million.

Remitly, ranked No. 3 on the GeekWire 200 list of top Pacific Northwest tech startups, has around 1,000 employees across its Seattle HQ and six other offices in Spokane, Wash., London, Cork, Krakow, Manila, and Managua.

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Source: https://www.geekwire.com/2021/report-seattle-digital-remittance-startup-remitly-hires-banks-ipo-around-5b-valuation/

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To buy time for a failing startup, recreate the engineering process

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In non-aerobatic fixed-wing aviation, spins are an emergency. If you don’t have spin recovery training, you can easily make things worse, dramatically increasing your chances of crashing. Despite the life-and-death consequences, licensed amateur pilots in the United States are not required to train for this. Uncontrolled spins don’t happen often enough to warrant the training.

Startups can enter the equivalent of a spin as well. My startup, Kolide, entered a dangerous spin in early 2018, only a year after our Series A fundraise. We had little traction and we were quickly burning through our sizable cash reserves. We were spinning out of control, certain to hit the ground in no time.

Kolide had a lot going for it that enabled me to recover the company, but by far the most important was that we recognized we were in a spin very early, and we had enough cash remaining (and therefore sufficient time) to execute a recovery plan.

All spins start with a stall — a reduction in lift when either the aircraft is flying too slowly or the nose is pointed too high. In Kolide’s case, we were doing both.

First, we raised too much money too fast. In order to justify the post-money valuation that came with the raise, we set unattainable goals. To make matters worse, we lacked the confidence in our product and strategy, so we developed our solution with hesitancy, underspending in critical areas. As a result, we were flying too steep and too slow. We stalled.

If a stall isn’t corrected promptly, a spin can develop. Flat spins are one of the worst. Once the flat spin starts, there are a number of techniques experienced pilots should perform to recover the aircraft. Nearly all of these techniques require a critical resource, altitude — or, put another way, time.

Just like amateur pilots, startup CEOs don’t receive spin recovery training. When Kolide was spinning out of control, the vast majority of the advice I received was to cut our losses and sell the company or return the money to the investors.

At the time, I didn’t find any promising examples of companies with these same problems successfully recovering; I found only smoldering wreckage. By February 2019, my co-founders departed.

Despite this tell-tale sign of imminent demise, I was ultimately able to recover and put us on track for a great fundraise. Here’s how I recreated the engineering process.

Buying time

Kolide had a lot going for it that enabled me to recover the company, but by far the most important was that we recognized we were in a spin very early, and we had enough cash remaining (and therefore sufficient time) to execute a recovery plan. Even waiting just a few more months would have likely changed the outcome.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/07/to-buy-time-for-a-failing-startup-recreate-the-engineering-process/

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Weekly VC Overview: All 80+ European startup funding rounds we tracked this week (3-7 May 2021)

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Anto has a creative and strategic background in Film, Marketing and Communications. With a multicultural perspective from living in different places such as Colombia, Costa Rica, Germany and London, she’s now based in the tech hub that is Barcelona. Passionate about the whys and hows, digital transformation and all that creates a meaningful impact.

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Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/05/weekly-vc-overview-all-80-european-startup-funding-rounds-we-tracked-this-week-3-7-may-2021/

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GeekWire 200 update: GeekWire Awards finalists climb the rankings as others ‘exit’

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The GeekWire Awards are fast approaching on May 20, but the spirit of our annual startup and technology celebration extends beyond a single ceremony.

It is a true community effort. This year, GeekWire received nearly 200 community nominations and looked at each category anew through the lens of an ongoing pandemic. The nomination, selection and voting process spans more than two months.

Over a two week period in April, readers cast more than 6,000 votes across 12 categories. These community votes will be factored in with feedback from this year’s judging panel composed of 21 tech and business leaders.

Voting is now closed but no matter who takes home a robot trophy on May 20, the finalists in each of these categories are making waves in the region’s tech ecosystem. They have been nominated by their peers and recognized for their innovative work.

Finalists on the rise

Below are where some of these finalists rank and how far they’ve moved up on the GeekWire 200, our ranking of privately-held tech companies based in the Pacific Northwest. See all the finalists and categories here.

Making their exits

Companies that go public or get acquired “graduate” from the GeekWire 200 — that includes all finalists in this year’s Deal of the Year: IPOs/Acquisitions category. Here is where each company ranked prior to their exits:

  • Athira Pharma (not ranked)
  • Auth0 (No. 4 in March 2021)
  • Accolade (No. 7 in June 2020)
  • Rover (No. 7 in March 2021)
  • Sana Biotechnology (No. 100 in January 2021)

A number of GeekWire Awards finalists are not currently ranked on the GeekWire 200 — not yet, at least. Be sure to check the list for future updates as these companies make their GeekWire 200 debut.

The GeekWire 200 is derived from our broader list of more than 1,600 startups headquartered in Washington, Oregon, Idaho or British Columbia.

Register for free to watch the winners announced live at this year’s virtual GeekWire Awards on May 20.

About the latest GeekWire 200

You may have noticed a lot of movement in the latest GeekWire 200 rankings. In addition to a number of high ranking companies “graduating” from the list, we recently completed a thorough audit of the top 200 companies. This is an ongoing project to update and improve our Startup List and community resources. Questions? Contact Editorial Operations Director Cara Kuhlman at cara@geekwire.com.

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Source: https://www.geekwire.com/2021/geekwire-200-update-geekwire-awards-finalists-climb-rankings-others-graduate/

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