Week of wins for Startups 100 alumni companies

PROPERCORN, Koru Kids, HeadBox, Pixoneye, and MiDrive announce major successes with investments, hires and a product launch

On the back of the launch of the Startups 100 2018 in May, five alumni companies have announced major successes in the space of a week.

From investments, to new hires and product launches, the various announcements are yet more evidence of the prestigious index’s history of identifying the UK’s most innovative and promising start-ups.

PROPERCORN hires former Tyrells managing director as CEO

Popcorn brand PROPERCORN has appointed Mike Hedges, the former managing director of Tyrells Potato Crisps, as its new its new CEO

Hedges will work alongside PROPERCRON founders Cassandra Stavrou and Ryan Kohn to fulfil the brand’s global ambitions.

PROPERCORN currently sells more than three million bags per month in seven countries. It recently underwent a major “refresh” including a redesign of its packaging with the help of seven global artists.

Ryan Kohn said: “We have big plans for our next chapter – we want to become the global leaders and standout innovators in healthy snacking. With Hedges on board, we are in an extremely strong position to deliver that vision.”

Hedges added: “I’ve watched with tremendous admiration as Cassandra, Ryan and their team have built PROPERCORN into one of the UK’s best-loved snack brands. I can’t wait to help them deliver their ambitious international goals.’

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Childcare company Koru Kids lands £3.5m seed investment

Koru Kids, the London-based childcare start-up, has raised £3.5m in seed funding led by Forward Partners and Albion Capital, alongside JamJar Investments and a number of angel investors.

Koru Kids was founded in 2016 by former McKinsey & Company consultant Rachel Carrell when she discovered how difficult it was to arrange childcare after the birth of her first child.

The platform assigns one of its own in-house trained nannies to two families, who looks after both sets of children at the same time. This means each family spends less on childcare and the nanny gets a higher-than-average pay.

Carrell commented: “Childcare is a crippling expense and also a major headache for many families. One mum I recently spoke to described her childcare arrangements as a ‘hamster wheel of hell’. With so many problems to solve, we’re incredibly excited to be able to use this investment to build the world’s best childcare service.”

HeadBox launches its STACK booking software in 5,000 UK venues

HeadBox, the three-time Startups 100-listed marketplace for inspiring underused spaces, has announced the roll-out of its booking software across 5,000 UK venues.

Consisting of a booking and payment widget, a CRM dashboard, and a marketing platform, STACK increases the visibility of available venues and makes every venue website “transactional” 24/7, 365 days a year.

This enables its clients to drive enquiries to their own sales channels, and increases enquiries and conversions.

Needham commented: “Our vision is to reinvent the global events industry through technology, and we have developed the HeadBox marketplace and its range of digital tools for the millennial generation that will make up over 50% of the workforce by 2025.”

Pixoneye raises £6m from Octopus Ventures

Pixoneye, the artificial intelligence (AI) insights business has secured £6m in Series A funding from Octopus Ventures.

Founded by Ofri Ben Porat and Nadav Israel in 2015, Pixoneye uses AI to analyse consumer data – such as photos, locations and activities – and provide “optimal targeting”, special offers and loyalty rewards.

To ensure privacy and security, the service is able to do this without seeing, removing or storing data from their device.

Porat commented: “At Pixoneye we’ve pioneered the use of artificial intelligence to deliver valuable and secure outcomes for consumers. So that every consumer intention is met with an intelligent brand interaction, highly relevant to the individual’s circumstances and stage of life.

We’re at a tipping point of AI, where these technologies will increasingly become commonplace and synonymous with giving consumers better choice, optimised pricing and more autonomy.”

Midrive closes £2.5m Crowdcube campaign ahead of learner app launch

Midrive, the driving lesson and insurance platform, has raised £2.5m on Crowdcube ahead of the launch of its latest learner app.

Ready for the law change on 4 June 2018 (enabling learners drivers who are ready to take their test to have motorway driving lessons with an approved instructor), the app helps learners improve their safety awareness and track their progress.

The free app features modules for motorway driving, in addition to insightful lesson reports, and easy lesson scheduling with instructors qualified for motorway driving.

Asher Ismail, MiDrive CEO, said: “For an industry that has historically been slow to progress, today’s law change is an exciting step forward. We’re thrilled to be part of it with the launch of this app. We are also thrilled with this new investment to now have the resources to accelerate our mission to modernise first time driving.

“With the new funds we plan to further develop the Midrive learner app and launch other tools that enable new drivers to learn faster and smarter.”



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