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Pennylane raises $18.3 million for its accounting service



French startup Pennylane has raised a new $18.3 million funding round (€15 million). Interestingly, this is Sequoia Capital’s first investment in France after they announced ambitious expansion plans in Europe.

If you’re not familiar with Pennylane, the startup has been developing an accounting platform that improves accounting for both clients and their accountants. Focused on small and medium companies, the company has already attracted hundreds of clients as it says 1,000 executives are currently using Pennylane.

If you’re running a small company, chances are you’re using Microsoft Excel or another financial tool for your financial projections. You’re also sending all your invoices, payroll info and more to your accountant. Essentially, you’re doing the same thing twice.

Pennylane lets you connect your account with third-party services that already hold valuable information, such as Stripe, Payfit, Qonto, Zoho, Sellsy, etc. Data is then synchronized regularly so that you can check outstanding invoices, pay your suppliers and see where you’re standing when it comes to inbound and outbound payments.

On the other side of the equation, Pennylane works with 100 accounting firms that could handle accounting tasks for you. You can ask Pennylane to connect you with an accountant and they’ll leverage your Pennylane data to complete their work.

If you already have an accountant or you have your own in-house accounting team, you can also tell them to create an account on Pennylane and retrieve accounting data from the platform. Pennylane acts as the central repository where your financial data is always up to date.

“Pennylane is becoming the key financial management platform for SME’s in Europe,” Sequoia partner Luciana Lixandru said in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with their exceptional team to ensure businesses of any size can have a single, up-to-date source for their financial data and improve how they collaborate with their accountants.”

Up next, the startup wants to build a ‘financial operating system’ for European small and medium enterprises. You can imagine a marketplace of services that clients can choose to use in addition to Pennylane’s core product.

Pennylane has been on a roll as the company raised an $18.4 million Series A round just a few months ago. Global Founders Capital and Partech led the Series A back in January.

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Business accounts for founders? ‘Reimagine’ a better future (Sponsored)



As EU-Startups is a small company, we understand the frustrations faced by founders and their teams. It’s not uncommon for founders to contact us with their common pain points asking for advice, and we often hear about shared challenges of European founders through our news and interview articles.

Remagine, the financial launchpad for startups, has conducted proprietary research on this topic, and revealed several pain points commonly felt by early-stage startups, which are not, it seems, currently addressed by products on today’s market. Of these, they have identified a few:

  1. The time wasted managing expenses
  2. The difficulty with delegating financial responsibilities when compared to scaling business
  3. That most founders and their communities care about being purpose-driven and impactful, but are uncertain how to incorporate this into their business

Remagine’s mission is to help founders reach their goals, and startups develop on their own terms. From incorporation to scaling and beyond, they help startups grow in a way that’s great for people, planet and profits.

As experienced entrepreneurs themselves, Basti and Julia’s goal when they co-founded Remagine was to create a more holistic approach to financial services. Beyond just offering a financial product, Remagine acts as a partner to founders, supporting them through important milestones.

This intimate collaboration with startups has seen great success so far. One of their first lending customers grew sales by 45% thanks to their funding solution. What makes this even more impressive is that they achieved this without giving up any control over their business.

Remagine’s founder-friendly and tech-driven solutions are designed to help founders scale their business while keeping their hands on the steering wheel. A core part of their offering is inspiring startups to be more sustainable and impactful as they grow. They achieve this in three important ways:

  1. Revenue Based Finance: Their financing solution gives startups cash injections for a clearly defined purpose, like marketing or advertising. Founders can fund growth without diluting equity or giving up a board seat. Startups can receive up to €1 million in funding quickly and the loan repayment is flexible, via a fixed percentage of company revenue.
  2. Building a growth roadmap: Remagine works hand-in-hand with startups to help them reach and surpass their goals while also having a positive impact on the planet. They understand how tricky the early stages of launching a company can be, and are there to support founders.
  3. Business accounts (coming soon): Their products are tailored specifically to founders and startups.

Curious to learn more? If you’re interested, you can join the waitlist to be among the first to get access and become part of a movement that is using business for good.

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Oslo-based Memory raises €11.6 million to scale its time-tracking tool & launch ‘deep work’ tool



Norwegian AI startup Memory, which builds software to help businesses make dramatically better use of their time, today announced an investment of around €11.6 million led by Melesio and Sanden, with participation from existing investors Investinor, Concentric and SNÖ Ventures.

Founded by Norwegian entrepreneur Mathias Mikkelsen, Memory pursues an ambitious vision of an AI-enabled future, seeking to create tools which solve the abuses of time in the modern workplace. 

The investment is a direct response to the continued success of Memory’s much-loved first product, Timely, which has been used by over 500,000 people since first launching in 2014. The automatic time tracking tool has quickly become a service-industry staple and is currently used by more than 5,000 paying businesses across 160 countries. It enables businesses to salvage the time and money lost every day to inaccurate manual time tracking, by automatically capturing time spent on all work activities and streamlining invoicing, project management, resource allocation and reporting.

The tremendous shift towards remote and hybrid work models presents a huge opportunity for Memory, which will use the funding to accelerate Timely’s growth internationally within the time tracking and virtual work management market. Funding will also support the development and launch of Memory’s highly anticipated “deep work” tool, Dewo, which leverages AI to help teams create more time for focused, distraction-free work.

In what proved to be a fast-moving and high-demand investment round, Mikkelsen had the fortunate opportunity of picking between a slew of investors for the round.

Mathias Mikkelsen, Founder and CEO of Memory, commented: “We’ve been extremely careful with the investors we’ve brought into the fold and I think that shows by the continued support we’ve received from our existing partners each step of the way. Melesio and Sanden will fit perfectly into that mix; the speed and execution with which the team moves makes them a match made in heaven. They have made a big impact in the Norwegian startup scene, with excellent journeys in both Kahoot and, and we look forward to building something massive together.”

Arild Engh, Partner at Melesio, commented: “Memory’s proven software is already acrredefining how businesses around the world track, plan and manage their time. We look forward to working with the team to help new markets profit from the efficiencies, insights and transparency of a Memory-enabled workforce.”

Kjartan Rist, Partner at Concentric, commented: “We continue to be impressed with Memory’s vision to build and launch best-in-class products for the global marketplace. The company is well on its way to becoming a world leader in workplace productivity and collaboration, particularly in light of the remote and hybrid working revolution of the last 12 months. We look forward to supporting Mathias and the team in this exciting new chapter.”

Ronny Vikdal, Investment Director at Investinor, commented: “It has been a pleasure to be a part of the company’s development over the last few years. We are very impressed by Memory’s team and the results they have created so far. With $14 in place and with new strong investors onboard, Memory is well positioned for continued fast growth.”

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Why NBA superstar Steph Curry just invested in Seattle pay equity startup Syndio



NBA star Stephen Curry. (Aubrie Pick Photo)

Seattle pay equity startup Syndio has scored more than $30 million in funding in its four years, but a new $1 million assist from early-stage investors Penny Jar Capital, announced Monday, is especially noteworthy because the firm is anchored by NBA star Stephen Curry.

A two-time league MVP with the Golden State Warriors, some have called Curry the greatest shooter in NBA history. Off the court, the shots he’s taking on companies such as Syndio are also gaining attention.

“This was really important to me because he’s not part of this hype cycle around equity,” Syndio CEO Maria Colacurcio told GeekWire. “He’s really been committed to this for a long time. And that was really before the U.S. Women’s National Team stuff kicked up.”

She added that Penny Jar and Curry offer a different look on Syndio’s cap table and that Curry is already very involved.

“He’s not just putting his name on something and then backing away,” Colacurcio said.

Colacurcio referenced a piece Curry wrote in The Players’ Tribune in 2018, in which he said he took pay equity personally as the father of two girls who wanted to grow up “knowing that there are no boundaries that can be placed on their futures” … “believing that they can dream big, and strive for careers where they’ll be treated fairly.”

Curry said that fair pay is long overdue and a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed to “progress towards an equitable society.”

“Syndio is an objective solution that removes unconscious bias from the equation and changes the way business leaders tackle workplace equity, making pay equity the standard for companies around the world,” he said in a news release.

Maria Colacurcio of Syndio during the GeekWire Elevator Pitch finals at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle in 2019. (GeekWire File Photo / Dan DeLong)

Syndio’s so-called EquityTech software analyzes salaries, rooting out discriminatory differences in pay that are tied to gender, race, ethnicity or age while providing strategies for fixing those disparities. Of its 160 clients, 40 are in the Fortune 500 and companies include Nordstrom, Salesforce, Slack, General Mills and others. The startup’s software is being used to analyze the pay of 2.6 million employees.

And while the problem Syndio is tackling is an obvious attraction for investors like Curry, Colacurcio said the company’s success is also a big draw.

PREVIOUSLY: NBA star Steph Curry sounds off on robotic referees, Colin Kaepernick, the election and sports tech

Curry is invested in companies such as Miro and Guild Education, which Colacurcio called “massive, successful, SaaS companies,” and previous Syndio investors Bessemer Venture Partners and Emerson Collective are also invested in Guild Education, an upskilling platform.

Syndio meanwhile has seen revenue double from Q1 to Q2 of this year and its year-over-year revenue has tripled.

“Penny Jar really did their diligence with us and I was impressed actually, they did their homework,” Colacurcio said. “What we don’t want to have happen is for this to be construed as just a social impact investment. Obviously our missions are very well aligned, but a big part of this was just purely the momentum as a business that we’re having.”

Colacurcio credits three things that are driving that momentum:

  • The ESG movement around environmental, social, and governance investing. Colacurcio said the S is “squishy” and companies are struggling to figure out how to commit to the S in an actionable, calculable way and pay equity fits that bill.
  • Pay equity is becoming table stakes from an employer brand perspective and to be competitive, employees are engaging in “Google Docs activism,” Colacurcio said, where they’re sharing their salaries and they’re talking about it.
  • It’s not just a gender issue, but a race issue as well. “That was really interesting to Stephen because he’s been looking at this way back when we all talked about it as a gender issue,” Colacurcio said. “So when we started telling and sharing with them that 98% of our customers look beyond just gender and to race as well, that was really interesting to [Penny Jar]. They were like, ‘Wow, they’re actually attacking racial and gender inequity in companies and giving companies a way to prevent these issues from happening.’”

Syndio just released a new tool called Pay Finder, which helps companies guide discretion and eliminate bias in starting pay and promotions.

Data scientist and law professor Zev Eigen launched Syndio in 2017; Colacurcio joined in 2018. Syndio won GeekWire’s Elevator Pitch competition in 2019 and the startup now employs close to 70 people and is hiring.

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This startup is getting ready to launch running shoes based on how fast you run a mile



Vimazi shoes are expected to hit the market this fall. (Vimazi Photo)

Vimazi, a Portland, Ore.-based shoe startup which pairs runners with shoes that match their running pace, has raised $600,000 in seed funding to help launch its high-tech footwear later this year.

The funding will help spur the first round of production, said Scott Tucker, co-founder and CEO of Vimazi. The company declined to provide details on investors.

Vimazi calls its custom midsoles FastPods. They respond to the different speeds of a runner to provide better cushioning and “maximum energy efficiency,” according to the company. FastPods are designed to work in sync with a runner’s pace to move more efficiently, and the heel and forefoot pads are tuned separately, accounting for differences in impact and propulsion forces.

“We discovered that because the forces under your foot change in this very precise way according to how fast you run, that we could use that to engineer a shoe that’s going to perform better,” said Tucker, a competitive runner and shoe industry veteran.

Customers purchase Vimazi shoes based on their running pace. There are six models which cover the range of speeds from 5-to-30 minutes per mile. They will sell for $160.

Before the shoes are available to purchase in this fall, Tucker said the company will publish several scientific papers outlining the engineering and physics to verify how the shoes work.

Vimazi co-founders John Zilly (left) and Scott Tucker. (Vimazi Photos)

Vimazi invented pace-tuned technology, and it is patent pending, Tucker said. Running footwear is a large market, so the startup has many big name competitors, but Tucker isn’t concerned.

“Nobody else has it,” Tucker said. “Furthermore, competitor brands will find it hard to meet the pace-tuned challenge, because they are built on legacy models and claim that every shoe is suitable for every runner. Vimazi says that each runner has specific needs, and that you can meet those needs with pace-tuned shoes.”

The idea of running shoes that provide “energy return” has been around for several years, and some models from brands such as Brooks and Nike tout unique cushioning systems. Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly sparked controversy after elite marathoners broke world records using the shoes, which feature foam that reportedly acts “almost like leg muscles” to prevent fatigue.

John Zilly, Vimazi co-founder and chief marketing officer, said the tech Vimazi has introduced is a “logical jump forward” for the shoe market.

“There’s no reason all running shoes shouldn’t be tuned by pace in the future,” Zilly said. “All walking shoes as well.”

(Vimazi website)

Vimazi also has an app, RunCrush, which helps users create a training plan based on age, gender, current fitness and goal. Other footwear brands have done the same, including Adidas, Under Armour, Asics, and Nike.

Tucker said Vimazi products will enter the market both directly to the consumer through e-commerce and traditional retail channels. The shoe release will begin in the U.S., but Tucker said there is global interest in the product.

Travel restrictions and supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic may push the company’s launch date back. However, Tucker said the pandemic also created more of an interest in running, so the timing of Vimazi’s product launch was “auspicious.”

“People are returning to in-person running races, marathons, that sort of thing,” Tucker said. “So it gives us opportunity for exposure right upon launch.”

Tucker has completed five of the six World Marathon Majors and previously led the running shoe and triathlon branch of biking giant Pearl Izumi. Prior to that, he was president of trail-running brand Montrail, which was acquired by Columbia Sportswear in 2006. He also led running shoes at Scott Sports. Zilly previously ran marketing agency Milepost59.

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