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The Climb #12 - Short videos, at-home entertainment, more $ into data intelligence, a GDPR-friendly merger and more 🔥

Good morning all! Just like two weeks ago, the investment cycle is a looot slower than usual and inve
The Climb #12 - Short videos, at-home entertainment, more $ into data intelligence, a GDPR-friendly merger and more 🔥
By Ghislain de Buchet • Issue #12 • View online
Good morning all!
Just like two weeks ago, the investment cycle is a looot slower than usual and investors don’t expect a return to normal any time soon. March happened to be an almost dry month in external funding, with VCs trying to figure out what to do with their portfolio companies and finalizing rounds that were already in the closing phase.
Fortunately, some segments will emerge stronger from this period. In this issue we’ll talk entertainment at home.

🥖 Funding activity in France
> Qarnot Computing raised a €6m Series B from Caisse Des Dépôts, Groupe Casino, ENGIE and A/O Proptech. The startup sells HPC (High Performance Computing) capabilities and uses released heat to reduce costs related to the infrastructure, maintenance and cooling of data centers. On top of its new-gen HPC offer, Qarnot sells OASIS, a software to collect and analyze data in buildings.
> Riot (YC 2020), founded by Benjamin Netter (also co-founder of October) raised $2m in SAFE from Frst, Kima Ventures and FundersClub. The startup offers a solution to protect companies from cybersecurity threats, training employees not to get hacked via a SaaS.
> Other funding rounds include drug development biotech Dynacure (€50m), green energy provider ekWateur (€1.5m), follow-up telemedicine startup Cureety (€1.2), connected lockers Boks (€1.2m), international law search engine Jus Mundi (€1m) and legaltech platform Closd (€600k) among others.
⚡ Other hot moves in France
> Data Legal Drive acquired its competitor Captain DPO to strengthen its leadership position in France as data policies continue to toughen. As of today, the two companies offer a SaaS to monitor GDPR compliance.
> Logistics company CMA-CGM acquired ecommerce specialist Oxatis which was in receivership since last November.
🌍 Stories in Europe
> Brussels-based data intelligence company Collibra bagged a $112.5m Series F at a $2.3bn valuation from Index Ventures, Battery Ventures, ICONIQ, Dawn Capital and CapitalG. The 10-year-old unicorn provides companies with tools to manage, store and unlock the value of their data while coping with GDPR and other regulations. The company works with 450+ customers across the globe.
> Covid 1, OneWeb 0 - The half-London-half-Virginia-HQed communication company has filed for bankruptcy in the US after a failed attempt to raise 2 more billion of dollars from Softbank. The firm had raised c. $3bn from a range of investors from Richard Branson to Qualcomm to Airbus to Softbank and was on a mission to offer consistent high-speed internet to the world thanks to a constellation of satellites in low earth orbit (LEO). Satellite industry disruptors Starlink (SpaceX) and Kuiper (Amazon) remain in the space internet race and could acquire assets from the bankrupted company. It’s definitely a billionaire game. FT has more here.
🤝 Fellow backers
> Netherlands-based venture and growth capital firm Gilde Healthcare raised €416m for its 5th fund. Tickets comprised between €10m et €40m will be invested into digital health and medtech startups across Europe and North America.
> Amsterdam-based Revo Capital Management closed its 2nd fund with €40m commited. The investment firm focuses on early-stage tech startups based in Turkey and Eastern Europe.
🔥 Meanwhile in the East...
> Bytedance is on fire. The firm, which is the only Chinese tech player that managed to make a consumer app mainstream beyond China and its neighboring countries (almost 2bn downloads since inception and 1bn users today), is also becoming a streaming service. The company started to offer movies on Douyin (the local version of TikTok) as most theaters in the country remain closed or are having on/off periods since last January. The decacorn keeps diversifying to offer more than short lip-syncing videos and step-up its audience on the local app. Also, the company developed Resso, a music streaming social app for Generation Z, that aims at competing with Spotify globally. As of today, Resso is only live in India and in test-mode in some other countries.
As video platforms are expected to play a big role in the future of ecommerce, YouTube is afraid of missing a huge turning point. To counterattack TikTok, Alphabet’s subsidiary decided to roll-out its own short-video platform named Shorts by the end of the year. The app will take advantage of licensed music that YouTube Music already has and lots of Shorts users will probably derive from the existing platform. It is very uncertain that Youtube will succeed in competing in this segment, especially if it doesn’t manage to build a content network effect as TikTok did. Facebook already tried to develop something similar with Lasso but has mostly failed at attracting users until today.
> Luckin Coffee, a China-based Starbucks-like coffee chain that went public in May 2019, saw its share price collapse by nearly 80% after it appeared that the COO and some of its team members faked roughly half of 2019 sales ($310m over $732m published).
I wouldn't even ski this one 🚑
I wouldn't even ski this one 🚑
🏠 At-home entertainment
As most of us spend our whole days at home, it is essential to relax so that we don’t just work, eat, sleep and repeat. It turns out that startups and big techs have been working for years to make entertainment at home fun and accessible, but the current pandemic should definitely strengthen and boost growth of numerous categories. Fortunately, I don’t think we’re cutting out socializing. Going out and meeting others are basic needs.
Make home great again
Make home great again
> 🎞️ Video streaming services were already mainstream but the lockdown made them must-haves. In the short term, screen time is expected to boom. Netflix has been leading the way since then but other players could grab a significant share of this highly competitive market. User attention gets pricier and pricier. Disney+ is growing fast, large US media keep entering the market, TV incumbents try as much as they can to remain in the race and YouTube is still there. Quibi, a LA-based startup founded by seasoned media executive Jeffrey Katzenberg (co-founder of Dreamworks and former Chairman of Disney Pictures) has launched in the US after having raised c. $1.8bn. The startup opted for a full mobile angle, offering an innovative format (10 to 20 min videos). Quibi just launched with 50 shows and a 90-day free trial.
> 🎮 Already growing at a fast pace and well funded by VCs, the gaming industry could recruit even more users, picking in the pool of 3bn people stuck at home. In the last years, gaming has been boosted by social video platforms like Twitch, where people can broadcast, watch and talk about video games. Cloud gaming services are expected to be a game changer in the industry with the biggest tech players active in the field: Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud, GeForce Now of Nvidia among others. French startup Blade raised €30m last October to further develop its high performance cloud computer (Shadow).
> 🚴 Deprived of their members, many gyms are going online to maintain close contact with their existing customer base and acquire new members. And it turns out that fitness at home is more doable than most of us had thought, the hardest part of it being motivation. Although some people will still prefer going to their favorite gym by the corner, one might think there is a significant market opportunity to equip, train and motivate consumers via digital. Smart home gym companies like Peloton, Tonal or Mirror are already well underway to build a seamless and full-stack gym experience at home.
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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