$6M Series A funding for blockchain startup that helps businesses improve their sustainability

Diginex

We all know how big of an impact, companies can have on the world around us. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) reporting is a great way to assess this impact and traditionally, a few large organisations with budgets and resources to spare were the ones publishing these reports. However, the pressure to publish ESG reports is mounting on companies of all sizes and it can be difficult for smaller companies. This is where the UK-registered startup Diginex comes in, which aims to make ESG reporting more accessible and mainstream. 

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Tailor Brands raises $50M, aims to be one-stop shop for small businesses to launch

Tailor Brands

Tailor Brands, a startup that automates parts of the branding and marketing process for small businesses, announced Thursday it has raised $50 million in Series C funding. GoDaddy led the round as a strategic partner and was joined by OurCrowd and existing investors Pitango Growth, Mangrove Capital Partners, Armat Group, Disruptive VC and Whip Media founder Richard Rosenblatt. Tailor Brands has now raised a total of $70 million since its inception in 2015.

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Taste intelligence startup Halla closes $4.5M Series A1 to predict which grocery items shoppers will buy

Halla IO

Halla wants to answer the question of how people decide what to eat, and now has $4.5 million in fresh Series A1 capital from Food Retail Ventures to do it.

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Vaayu secures $1.6M in pre-seed funding to develop their world-saving product

Vaayu

Vaayu, a real-time carbon footprint tracker for retailers, has raised $1.6 million in pre-seed funding. The company plans to use the investment, which was led by Amsterdam-based female-led VC CapitalT, to support their expansion and product development ahead of moving out of their closed beta phase later this year. Further, the funding was supported by a number of angel investors including Atomico’s Angel Program, Planet Positive LP, Saarbrücker 21, Expedite Ventures and NP-Hard Ventures. 
The fashion industry is, globally, responsible for around 10% of annual carbon emissions. Vaayu’s product empowers retailers to act to reduce their contribution by providing real-time feedback. Modern trends, in both fashion and retail, mean that e-commerce has been having an increasing impact on the environment. This has grown during the pandemic, after an initial dip, with a big increase in things like shipping and packaging. Ecommerce also has several features that are significantly less common in traditional retail, such as returns and multiple orders for sizing. Collectively these add significantly to a retailer’s environmental impact. 
First-ever carbon tracking software for retailers
Vaayu was born out of co-founder Namrata Sandhu’s experience in fashion and sustainability. Starting as a sustainability consultant, she spent many years working in the Arcadia Group before becoming head of sustainability at Zalando. She started Vaayu, along with co-founders Anita Daminov and Luca Schmid in December 2020 and rapidly progressed the idea to a closed beta with 25 European retailers, including global brands like Missoma and Organic Basics. 
The business is also notably female-led. Not only are two of the three co-founders women, but they have taken their time to ensure that the company retains its gender diversity. The backing by female-led CapitalT was important, since Sandhu felt it meant they understood Vaayu’s wider goals and ambitions. It now means that over 60% of the people around Vaayu’s top table are women. 

Calculating a retailer’s carbon footprint had, previously, been a laborious and expensive process. Sandhu had been responsible for these, although many other retailers resorted to hiring external consultants for an annual process. “Traditionally, we’d pull things in and be calculating everything on Excel spreadsheets,” Sandhu explained to us. “But e-commerce is a fast-moving space, your business footprint changes quickly, and the big markets you had last year may not be the biggest markets you have this year.” The consequence was that businesses would have a carbon accounting statement that was already out of date when it was produced. 
Vaayu changes the calculation, using live data to provide immediate feedback. By integrating with point-of-sale systems, like Shopify or WooCommerce, it can understand the current business volumes and, using known information on logistics and operations — right down to the packaging required — give a current indication of the retailer’s carbon footprint. Live information has significant benefits, retailers can immediately see the consequences of their actions, but can also see what impact purchasing trends are having and, if necessary, work to minimise their environmental impact. 
The product focuses on fashion retail. So, while there are competitors who work in the carbon audit field, Vaayu only works in the fashion retail industry. “It means you’re much more able to benchmark different from a data perspective,” Sandhu says. “It makes the process of optimisation much more specific because it’s all focused on a specific business model.” 
Expansion plans in EU and UK
Having had a successfully closed beta phase, Berlin-based Vaayu will be using their pre-seed funding to plan for the next phases of their expansion. Currently focussed on Europe and later the UK, they are expanding their team and preparing for their public launch before seeking additional funding. Vaayu have deliberately worked with customers from the outset, ensuring they can build a model that offers more than just a theoretical assessment of carbon footprint. Their beta phase has focused on ensuring the integration provides actionable data for their businesses. Sandhu stresses that working in partnership with businesses is integral to their product, “we didn’t just go away into a silo and build an app. We really pulled in customers from the start, and built it with them because we wanted to make sure it helped them.” 
Vaayu is working with Missoma which is one of the UK’s fastest-growing private companies, Marisa Hordern, CEO and Creative Director, Missoma says, “Partnering with Vaayu as part of our sustainability journey was paramount to our own internal mission. With extensive backgrounds in retail, they truly understand our needs while allowing us to digitalise our data in real-time and push the boundaries of what we could be, even further.”
The UN has set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, less than nine years away. Retailers are the third-largest contributor to global emissions, and Vaayu plans to play a big role in helping them reduce that. Their goal is to help retailers reduce their emissions by one gigaton — more than the combined annual emissions of France and Germany — meaning that for Vaayu success not just a growing business, but a better world for everyone. 
Janneke Niessen, founding partner, CapitalT commented: “We are very excited to join Vaayu on their mission to reduce carbon emission for retailers worldwide. The Vaayu product is very scalable and its quick and easy implementation allows for fast adoption. We are confident that with this experienced team, Vaayu will soon be one of the fastest-growing climate tech companies in Europe and the world.”

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Diversifying tech: London-based Robin AI secures £1.75M funding to fuel AI-powered contracts

Robin AI

As technology evolves, it is aimed to be used for bettering our lives while making difficult tasks easier. Similarly, in the legal domain, there are multiple grinding or repetitive tasks that are time-consuming and take away from important matters. In order to mitigate this, London-based startup Robin AI offers a solution that is said to automatically reviewing such legal documents. The startup has now secured a £1.75 million investment as well. 

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ALPIMA, an SaaS Platform for Investment Management, chosen by BBVA for scaling Quant Investment solutions

Math Equation Complex Abstract

ALPIMA is a business-to-business (B2B) tech and advisory firm serving banking institutions, fund managers and wealth management companies globally. Its goal is to leverage the latest technological advances in data science to assist its customers with creating investment strategies with conviction and empower them to offer customization and personalization at scale.

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How AI’s IPO darling UiPath, made the RPA sector hot

UiPath stock chart

(RPA) Robotic Process Automation leader UiPath, can only increase market share, therefore economic value to customers and shareholders. Although UiPath’s shares are back to their IPO’s listing pricing of US$69, it will more than likely increase in the coming quarters. Down from a peak of US$85.12 on May 24th 2021, the drop was due to concerns of existing stock holders concerned of additional shares from the executive team offloading their earned holdings.

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Copado delivers the First Multi-Cloud DevOps Platform for Enterprise SaaS with its summer 21 release

Copado

opado, a leading DevOps platform powering the world’s largest digital transformations,  announced a milestone release as it opens up its platform for true multi-cloud DevOps for enterprise SaaS and low-code development. The Summer 21 release delivers open connectivity to any SaaS platform, a universal CI/CD engine, and will support more than 12 clouds by the end of 2021, including Mulesoft, SAP and Veeva.

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C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute announces AI for Energy and Climate Security Grantees

Climate lock

C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute (C3.ai DTI) announced the second round of C3.ai DTI awards, focused on using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and digital transformation to advance energy efficiency and lead the way to a lower-carbon, higher-efficiency economy that will ensure energy and climate security.

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QIMA acquires stake in London-based Supply Chain Resiliency startup Kavida.ai

hand - binary - squares

QIMA, the leading provider of quality control and supply chain compliance solutions, announces it has invested in Kavida.ai, a London-based startup that builds supply chain digital replicas and uses artificial intelligence to help enterprises prevent and mitigate supply chain disruptions in real-time or before they occur.

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EdgeCortix collaborates with Cadence to accelerate AI Chip Design

Cadence - Edgecortix

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. announced that EdgeCortix, Inc., a leading innovator, focused on artificial intelligence (AI) driven software and hardware acceleration solutions, specially designed for edge computing scenarios, has deployed multiple Cadence verification and digital tools to accelerate the design and verification of its edge AI chips.

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Google’s Gradient Ventures leads $8.2M Series A for Vault Platform’s misconduct reporting SaaS

Vault platform - Gradient Ventures

Fixing workplace misconduct reporting is a mission that’s snagged London-based Vault Platform backing from Google’s AI focused fund, Gradient Ventures, which is the lead investor in an $8.2 million Series A that’s being announced today.

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NICE ranks top of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant in 2021 for Workforce Engagement Management

Nice - Gartner magic quadrant

NICE was recognized as a leader in the report “Gartner Magic Quadrant for Workforce Engagement Management” for the thirteenth consecutive year. The company is positioned higher on the axis of “Completeness of vision” and further ahead on the axis of “Ability to execute”, respectively.

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Relativity acquires Text IQ to drive Leadership in AI for e-Discovery, compliance and privacy

TextIQ - Relativity

Relativity, a global legal and compliance technology company, announced that it has acquired Text IQ, a Top 100 AI company applying artificial intelligence (AI) to identify sensitive data.

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Interactio, a remote interpretation platform, grabs $30M after seeing 12x growth during COVID-19

Interactio

Interactio, a remote interpretation platform whose customers include massive institutions like the United Nations, European Commission and Parliament along with corporates like BMW, JP Morgan and Microsoft, has closed a whopping $30 million Series A.

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Worksome pulls $13M into its high skill freelancer talent platform

Worksome

More money for the now very buzzy business of reshaping how people work: Worksome is announcing it recently closed a $13 million Series A funding round for its “freelance talent platform” — after racking up 10x growth in revenue since January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a remote working boom. The 2017 founded startup, which has a couple of ex-Googlers in its leadership team, has built a platform to connect freelancers looking for professional roles with employers needing tools to find and manage freelancer talent.

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Elderly caretech platform Birdie gets $11.5M Series A led by Index

Birdie

SaaS-maker Birdie has closed an $11.5 million Series A round of funding led by Index Ventures. Existing investor Kamet Ventures also participated. The UK-based caretech startup has raised a total of $22.9M since being founded back in 2017 (a 2018 raise that was called a Series A at the time is now being classed as a seed expansion). It’s focused on building tools for social care providers to drive efficiencies in a chronically under resourced sector.

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Persona lands $50M for identity verification after seeing 10x YoY revenue growth

Persona

Persona, a startup focused on creating a personalized identity verification experience “for any use case,” aims to differentiate itself in an increasingly crowded space. And investors are banking on the San Francisco-based company’s ability to help businesses customize the identity verification process — and beyond — via its no-code platform in the form of a $50 million Series B funding round. 

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Vectra AI picks up $130M at a $1.2B valuation for its network approach to threat detection and response

Vectra AI

Cybersecurity nightmares like the SolarWinds hack highlight how malicious hackers continue to exploit vulnerabilities in software and apps to do their dirty work. Today a startup that’s built a platform to help organizations protect themselves from this by running threat detection and response at the network level is announcing a big round of funding to continue its growth. Vectra AI, which provides a cloud-based service that uses artificial intelligence technology to monitor both on-premise and cloud-based networks for intrusions, has closed a round of $130 million at a post-money valuation of $1.2 billion.

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