Finance Friday: Who raised funding this week? November 27-December 1

A selection of some of the start-ups who announced successful funding rounds this week Nov 27-Dec 1. Did we miss yours? Get in touch with us to feature

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London-based LabGenius raises $3.66m seed funding for its ‘Silicon Scientist’, Eva

Who: Synthetic biology start-up LabGenius
How much: $3.66m
Who are the investors: Led by Kindred Capital and Acequia Capital with participation from Backed VC, Beast Ventures, Berggruen Holdings Ltd, and System.One
For what: The start-up will now establish a purpose-built R&D facility in Central London and mature its autonomous AI-driven evolution engine
What they said:

Dr James Field, founder and CEO of LabGenius, said:

“EVA is a Silicon Scientist hooked up to a bank of liquid handling robots. By combining intelligence with empirical exploration, EVA is able to iteratively learn through conducting its own scientific experiments.

“Right now, EVA is unpicking Nature’s design rules with unparalleled speed and dexterity.

“Once equipped with this knowledge, EVA will give us the ability to engineer life with unprecedented control.

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“Critically, this technology will give us the ability to harness new materials and therapies that we do not or even cannot fully understand.”

APEXX raises $4m seed funding to “boost transparency” in the payments industry

Who: London-based fintech APEXX
How much: $4m (£2.3m) in seed funding
Who are the investors: The funding round was led by Forward Partners with support from MMC Ventures and Norway-based Alliance Venture. APEXX was also awarded a grant by Innovate UK.
For what: APEXX will extend its global network of acquirers, payment providers and merchants, and fund product development
What they said:

Dan Bailey, investor at MMC Ventures, said:

“Large merchants have for too long been stuck with a choice between convenience at the expense of opaque pricing and hidden fees, or complex networks of different acquirers.

“APEXX’s platform handles both the complexities of multiple acquirers and routing optimisation through one single integration.

Balderton Capital launches $375m fund for fast growing European tech start-ups

Who: European VC Balderton Capital
How much: $375m
Who are the investors: Raised from new and existing investors from the USA, Asia and Europe
For what: To invest in fast growing European tech start-ups
What they said:

Bernard Liautaud, managing partner at Balderton Capital, said:

“Europe’s technology sector has already produced many game-changing global companies, but we are still waiting for our continent’s very own Google, Amazon or Facebook to emerge.

“As European startups grow bigger faster, we are convinced that is finally about to change.

“With growth accelerating – this year to date European companies have attracted more than $12.5bn of venture investments – the continent can now produce and scale tech businesses of global significance.

“From A.I. to gaming, and music to messaging, Europe has built up reservoirs of world-class expertise which has inspired a generation of entrepreneurs with ten times the ambition of a decade ago.”

Seed stage VC Episode 1 Partners raises £60m fund to back early-stage start-ups

Who: London-based seed stage VC Episode 1 Partners
How much: £60m
Who are the investors: Raised with the support of the British Business Bank, the UK government’s economic development bank
For what: To invest in early-stage start-ups with high-growth potential
What they said:

Ken Cooper, managing director of Venture Solutions at the British Business Bank, said:

“We’re very happy to be investing once again in Episode 1, providing £36m of investment to their new fund. This is our 26th such commitment under our ECF programme, which now has a total investment capacity approaching £1.1bn.

“It is encouraging that the team was able to launch a significantly bigger fund with a bolder ambition, showing there is a quality of opportunity out there in the UK market for such investment”

AI predictive maintenance start-up Shepherd bags $870,000 seed funding

Who: IoT start-up Shepherd
How much: $870,000 seed funding
Who are the investors: In May 2017, Shepherd was selected as one of the five startups for Founders Factory’s fintech accelerator programme, backed by Aviva
For what: Cash injection will support the company’s UK growth and further development of its AI tools
What they said:

Will Brocklebank, founder and CEO of Shepherd said:

“After 10 years in building services I saw the opportunity for Shepherd to bring proven technology to deal with some of the challenges the FM industry faces.  Use of our technology enables facilities management companies to provide a dramatically faster and more effective service at lower cost.

“For those companies with regulatory monitoring requirements, Shepherd’s low cost maintenance technology can show compliance 24 hours a day as opposed to reliance on infrequent manual checks.”

Manchester-based MindTrace raises £1.3m to create self-learning machines

Who: AI start-up MindTrace
How much: £1.3m
Who are the investors: Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV) and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, through NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers
For what: The funding will allow the company to recruit a research and development team and a CEO, develop a prototype in collaboration with a major car manufacturer and raise Series A investment to bring the product to market
What they said:

Michael Dimelow, head of investment at ADV, said:

“MindTrace represents a landmark opportunity to define the artificial intelligence industry through the development of unsupervised learning. Truly unsupervised machine learning has never been achieved and its potential to change society, business and the world is infinite.

“This combined with a team of global sector leaders based in Manchester – the original home of computers – is an extraordinary recipe. We’re really excited to support the company’s growth going forward”.

Fintech start-up StrideUp raises £1.6m seed funding to help people buy homes

Who: Fintech start-up StrideUp
How much: £1.6m seed funding
Who are the investors: Led by European VC Picus Capital and included a group of angel investors from within the tech, finance and real estate industry
For what: The funding will be used to accelerate growth by making key hires in operations, development, marketing and risk
What they said:

Sakeeb Zaman, co-founder of StrideUp, said:

“Housing affordability is one of the UK’s most pressing financial issues. Homeowners are almost twice as likely to be satisfied with their housing tenure compared to renters, but many people are stuck renting for years because of high house prices and limited availability of mortgages.

“With frustration building up we saw a pressing need for an alternative solution. StrideUp gives people an easier and more gradual approach to homeownership – they simply start by buying a portion of their home and can increase as they save.”