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The Climb #10 - Le Wagon accelerates, cars become consumer electronics, Sequoia comes out and more 🔥

Hello everyone! While the coronavirus continues to spread and cut into the global economy, interestin
The Climb #10 - Le Wagon accelerates, cars become consumer electronics, Sequoia comes out and more 🔥
By Ghislain de Buchet • Issue #10 • View online
Hello everyone!
While the coronavirus continues to spread and cut into the global economy, interesting funding rounds have been disclosed in France, car manufacturer Citroën enters the tough micromobility war with the unveiling of the AMI and American VCs are definitely on site. We also notice a game-changing verdict from the French Supreme Court that could affect all marketplaces that work with freelancers.

🥖 Major funding rounds in France
> Music app publisher MWM raised €50m in a round led by Blisce/ and followed by Idinvest, Bpifrance, Aglaé Ventures and Xavier Niel. The startup, which generated 400m app downloads since its inception in 2012, now targets new verticals in the creative space.
> Co-living startup Colonies bagged €30m from Idinvest, GFC and La Financière Saint James. The company provides fully equipped shared apartments to young people and operates day-to-day chores to offer a seamless experience. LBO France also committed to invest €150m in real-estate projects to be potentially managed by Colonies.
> 7-year-old coding school Le Wagon raised its first funding ever with Cathay Capital and Africinvest investing €17m in the company. Le Wagon, which has 38 campuses across 25 countries, is breakeven since day 1 but decided to raise fresh money to launch new courses and open new countries
> In Sun We Trust, which simulates solar panel benefits and helps households in all aspects of the transition process, raised €17m from Axel Johnson.
> Fintech Alma, which offers a solution to small ecommerce merchants to implement installment payments, raised €12.5m from its existing investors Idinvest and ISAI plus €17m in debt. The startup now targets small offline stores and B2B payments.
> Other funding rounds include new-gen cashback fintech Paylead (€6m), plant energy efficiency measurement solution Energiency (€4.5m), data-driven environmental decisions solution provider Demand Side Instruments (€3.6m), public data optimization solution Manty (€2.4m), children delivered-at-home clothing box Little Cigogne (€2.2m), blockchain-based food traceability solution Connecting Food (€2.1m), surgery robot Ganymed (€2m) and bicycle last-mile delivery solution Tousfacteurs (€1.5m) among others.
⚡ Other hot moves in France
> A Uber driver is an employee, Cour de Cassation (France’s Supreme Court equivalent) said. The verdict will set a precedent for other future disputes with platforms employing freelancers in France.
> Citroën unveiled AMI, a €6,900 2-seater license-free vehicle which can be ordered online and delivered at home as of the end of this month. The “car” will also be available for purchase at technology-focused stores Fnac-Darty, showing how the line between automakers and digital is blurring. Small, affordable and electric, the vehicle will mostly compete with micromobility solutions such as electric scooters, free-floating bicycles, on-demand moped scooters, etc. in congested cities that try to reduce the number of vehicles equipped with combustion engines.
Do you buy the design? 😂
Do you buy the design? 😂
> POS digitization SaaS SoCloz got acquired by Savoye. The solution is already live in 30,000 physical stores across 18 countries. SoCloz, which is already breakeven, will strengthen Savoye’s range of omnichannel software.
> UK-based payment platform unicorn Checkout.com acquired its French rival ProcessOut at an undisclosed valuation.
🌍 European champions
> Alibaba’s financial arm Ant Financial bought a minority stake in buy-now-pay-later Swedish unicorn Klarna (valued c. $5.5bn) for an undisclosed amount.
🤝 Fellow backers
> Despite refusing to admit that they were looking for a partner in Europe, American top-tier VC Sequoia finally recruited Luciana Lixandru from Accel Partners. She had invested in big names such as Algolia, Deliveroo, UiPath, Vinted and more.
Luciana Lixandru
Excited to share that I’m joining the @Sequoia team in September. I can't wait to work together to find the next generation of exceptional founders in Europe. Thank you to @Accel and the wonderful entrepreneurs I've partnered with over the past 8 years. https://t.co/K6FYvj8ClT
1:57 PM - 10 Mar 2020
> Russian RTP Global launched a $650m vehicle to back early-stage startups across Europe, North America, India and Southeast Asia.
> Helsinki-based Sparkmind.vc has a fresh €40m vehicle -and targets €60m by the end of the year- to deploy in edtech companies anywhere between Seed and Series B. Startups from the Nordics are preferred but the firm also expects to scout opportunities in other European countries.
And also…
> Julien-David Nitlech becomes Managing Partner at Iris Capital which he joined in 2013.
> France-based Axeleo Capital welcomes Mathias Flattin as Partner (formerly investment manager at Xange).
🔥 Meanwhile in the East... (brief and short)
> The self-driving car race keeps intensifying. Chinese self-driving company Pony.ai secured $400m from Japanese automaker Toyota at a $3bn+ valuation. In the US, Google self-driving car subsidiary Waymo announced a $2.25bn raise from outside investors and Alphabet itself.
> Towards gigantic apps: Alibaba announced a plan to counter WeChat’s dominance in China. Its financial arm Ant Financial targets 40m mini-programs to be available directly within its super-app Alipay instead of 1.7m today.
📦 Misc
> A data sharing agreement has been signed between the European Union and Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and Tripadvisor. Those short-term rental actors agreed to make some of their data public via Eurostat. We’ll quickly have a better understanding of the impact of peer-to-peer rental on the EU economy.
> We Love Data: A new community around data is being launched in Paris by DataBird. If you plan to attend the first sessions, I might see you there.
🧮 By the numberz
> 400m monthly active users reached for Huawei’s app store. Since May 2019, the Chinese firm cannot use Google’s services anymore, which led it to develop its own ecosystem to compete with Apple and Android.
💡 Essential content
> An extensive Series A guide published by YC.
> If you lack book ideas while you’re stuck at home, here’s an inspiring tweetstorm triggered by a16z’s GP Andrew Chen.
> DNVBs: buzz word or a new class of assets? A comprehensive research report on the DNVB phenomenon.
That's it for this issue.
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-See you in two weeks-
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Ghislain de Buchet

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