25 European deep-tech start-ups to watch in 2019

22 Jan 2019

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When it comes to deep tech, from AI to big data and AR, Europe is neck and neck with Asia and Silicon Valley.

European deep-tech start-ups demonstrate the best opportunities for scaling up.

And, according to the recent State of European Tech report, Europe’s tech industry is growing five times faster than the rest of the European economy in terms of gross value added, a level that has accelerated in recent years.

Last year, our Europe Start-up 100 2018 list looked at various players demonstrating how Europe is gathering momentum in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles (AVs), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), robotics, big data and more.

This listing is part of our Europe Start-up 100 series for 2019, which every day this week is focusing on a different list, including fintech and e-commerce, hardware and the internet of things (IoT), and medtech and life sciences start-ups. On Friday (25 January), we will publish our full Europe Start-up 100 list of the ones to watch.

Remember, these lists are not absolute because they are only a dip in the ocean of European innovation. As such, they are devised to give you a flavour of the kind of activity that is happening.

And so, in the realm of deep tech, here are 25 European start-ups to watch in 2019.

Admix (UK)

AR and VR are set to be a large part of digital existence in coming years. Advertising is no exception – at least, it won’t be in London-founded start-up Admix. Formerly known as Advir, Admix is a monetisation platform for VR and AR developers that enables non-intrusive product placements within their content. The company raised $2.1m in a venture round in November from investors that include Speedinvest and Suir Valley Ventures.

Aiden.ai (UK)

An AI-powered analyst for mobile acquisition teams, Aiden.ai was founded in 2016 by Marie Outtier and Pierre-Jean (PJ) Camillieri. The analyst can provide insights into marketing campaigns and create smart reports to monitor performance, aiming to make life easier for mobile app marketers. Headquartered in both London and San Francisco, Aiden.ai raised $750,000 in a seed round led by Kima Ventures in 2017, followed by a €1.4m seed round led by Partech last November.

Algolia (France)

Led by CEO Nicolas Dessaigne, Algolia is a SaaS start-up that was founded in Paris in 2012 and also has offices in San Francisco. A hosted search engine API, Algolia provides product teams with the resources and tools they need to create fast, relevant searches. A funding round in June 2017 led by Accel yielded an incredible $53m, and overall funding raised by Algolia is understood to stand at $74.3m.

Aylien (Ireland)

Aylien is a Dublin data science platform that offers AI-powered content analysis solutions. The brainchild of CEO Parsa Ghaffari, Aylien’s Text Analysis API is a package of eight tools for natural language processing, machine learning and information retrieval, to easily extract valuable meaning from documents. Founded in 2011, Aylien announced 70 new jobs in 2017 after receiving €2m in funding in a round led by Atlantic Bridge University Fund along with existing investors SOSV and Enterprise Ireland.

Avora (UK)

Avora is a next-generation data intelligence solution powered by machine learning, providing what it calls ‘business intelligence as a service’. Founded in London in 2014 by Ricky Thomas, in 2017 it raised £1.5m from investors including Crane Venture Partners, Ricardo Schaefer, Peter Simon (founder of clothing retailer Monsoon) and Steve Garnett (former chair of Salesforce EMEA). A recent Series A round of $6.5m (£5.1m) has brought total funding so far to $10.5m.

Boxever (Ireland)

Boxever uses big data and predictive analytics to gather and analyse customer data in real time, creating a single customer view that powers one-to-one marketing and personalisation. Founded in 2011 by Dave O’Flanagan, Dermot O’Connor and Alan Giles, Boxever has raised $19m in funding so far from investors that include Polaris Partners, Silicon Valley Bank and Frontline Ventures.

CloudKPI (Ireland)

Irish start-up CloudKPI is an analytics SaaS start-up delivering cross-business metrics using machine learning. The company was founded in Ireland by Brenda Jordan and Maeve Kneafsey in 2012. However, CloudKPI really came to life in 2018, according to founder Kneafsey. “CloudKPI Version 1 was released in June 2018. Within the first four weeks, CloudKPI had paying customers in two US states along with two proof-of-concept trials with large international service providers.” Since then, the company has placed third in the Venture Clash 2018 Global Venture Challenge, resulting in $500,000 in funding.

CognitionX (UK)

London company CognitionX offers an AI advice platform, aiming to “ensure a safe and responsible transition to an AI-driven society”. Users can access its free directory of AI products, services and case studies, and keep up to date with the latest news on the technology. It also hosts an annual festival called CogX, which it says attracted more than 6,500 attendees in 2018. CognitionX was founded in 2015 by Charlie Muirhead and Tabitha Goldstaub. It closed two venture rounds in 2018, reaching more than $4m in funding to date.

Decibel (UK)

Decibel reveals exactly how users behave on websites and within apps, making it easier for enterprise businesses to quantify and improve customer experience. Founded in 2013, Decibel is led by CEO Ben Harris. In 2017, it raised $9m in a Series A round from Eight Roads Ventures alongside Sigma Prime Ventures.

FinScience (Italy)

FinScience is a data analytics platform for the financial sector. Using AI algorithms, the platform collects and analyses large amounts of structured and unstructured data to identify trends, both in the medium and long term. Founded last year by former senior managers at Google and data experts Fabrizio Milano d’Aragona, Alessandro Arrigo, Mauro Arte and Claudio Zamboni, FinScience has raised a seed round of €1m from angel investors.

Fraugster (Germany)

German-Israeli payment security start-up Fraugster launched its fraud protection solution in the summer of 2017 following a $5m funding round led by international VC fund Earlybird. Ending 2018 with a further $14m in Series B funding led by CommerzVentures, the Berlin-based company has set itself up for a solid 2019. Founders Max Laemmle (CEO) and Chen Zamir put their respective fintech and analytics brains together to found Fraugster in 2014. Their system uses AI to predict fraudulent transactions, which they say is their key advantage in this space.

Huddly (Norway)

Founded in Oslo in 2013 by Anders Eikenes and Stein Ove Eriksen, Huddly is a vision technology company that combines hardware, software and AI to create intelligent camera systems. In 2017, it secured a major partnership with Google whereby its Go camera was chosen as an accessory of the Google Hangouts Meet kit. In December, it announced the acquisition of a Norwegian AI start-up called Epigram to further develop its intelligent camera technology. In 2017, Huddly secured $20m in two separate funding rounds, preceded by the more than $5m raised in 2016.

Imerso (Norway)

Imerso is a computer vision company based in Oslo that provides digital twins of building sites. The company was founded in 2014 by Federico Valente, Simen Andresen and Sarah Müller. Valente said: “The more complex the construction project, the more difficult it is to coordinate the various disciplines and monitor progress accurately. Our goal is to bring the construction site back to the office and get everyone on the same page.” It closed a €1.8m seed round from Vito One, NewMark Capital, 500 Startups and TRK Group in November 2018. Previously, it received a €50,000 grant from EASME (EU Executive Agency for SMEs).

Knime (Switzerland)

Swiss data science company Knime has created a leading open solution for data-driven innovation, designed for discovering the potential hidden in data, mining for fresh insights or predicting new futures. Led by CEO Michael Berthold, Knime raised €20m in an investment led by Invus in 2017.

Logical Clocks (Sweden)

Stockholm’s Logical Clocks provides enterprise support for its open source Hopsworks platform, which integrates popular data processing systems such as Apache Spark, TensorFlow, Hops Hadoop, Kafka and more. Leveraging a user-friendly interface, it simplifies the process of converting reams of data into actionable insights. The service has proved popular – the firm boasts high-profile tech industry clients such as Spotify, Oracle, Mobilaris, Scania and more. A recent seed funding round, which was announced in November 2018 and led by Inventure, netted Logical Clocks €1.3m.

Mavenoid (Sweden)

Mavenoid is a Swedish automation start-up that was founded by Shahan Lilja and Gintautas Miliauskas in 2016, and launched in 2017. It is a troubleshooting platform that serves as the first level of technical support. A customer arriving at a website with Mavenoid is asked a series of structured multiple-choice questions that narrow down the issue with their product. In October 2018, Mavenoid raised $1.9m in a seed funding round led by Point Nine Capital, with participation from Creandum and angel investors.

Metron (France)

Metron is an energy intelligence start-up that is headquartered in Paris and also has offices in Milan, Dubai, Singapore, Bogotá and São Paulo. It uses an AI engine to help industrial factories reduce their energy consumption and create a more sustainable future. The company was founded in 2013 and is led by CEO Vincent Sciandra. Metron has raised €12m in funding so far, including a venture round in October 2018 worth €8m. Investors include BNP Paribas, Breed Reply and Financière Fonds Privés.

Oden Technologies (UK)

Founded in London and with offices in New York, data science player Oden Technologies has developed a cloud-based data analytics platform for industrial IoT applications. Its software pulls data from existing enterprise resource planning and quality control systems on the manufacturing line and provides real-time analytics based on the data. It was founded by Peter Brand and Willem Sundblad in 2014. Last July, it raised $10m in a Series A round from Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström’s Atomico as well as EQT Ventures, bringing total funding raised to $15.9m.

OneSoil (Belarus)

OneSoil has developed a global AI-based precision farming platform that analyses satellite images and, using machine-learning technologies, assists farmers in making informed agricultural decisions in real time. The Belarusian company claims to have all fields in Europe and the US covered, and the website and mobile app are currently free to use. For revenue, the company intends to roll out paid services for larger agribusinesses. Founded in Minsk in 2017 by Vsevolod Genin, Slava Mazai and Sasha Yakovlev, OneSoil raised $500,000 in a seed round that year, with investors including Haxus and Bulba Ventures.

Siren (Ireland)

Galway semantic data science intelligence company Siren’s platform leverages relationships across numerous datasets, creating meaningful and accessible data along with dashboard analytics, knowledge graphs and real-time alerts. Led by CEO John Randles, Siren secured €3m in a 2018 seed round, bringing total investment so far to €4m.

Stratio (Spain)

Founded in January 2014, big-data start-up Stratio has its headquarters in Silicon Valley, but its major base of operations is in Madrid, in addition to offices in Colombia and Brazil. Led by CEO Óscar Méndez, it has grown to a headcount of more than 200 employees. In September of last year, it revealed the closing of €13m in Series B funding led by Adara Ventures. Last November, Telefónica announced a partnership with Stratio to integrate the start-up’s platform into Telefónica’s own big-data plans among its corporate customers.

Timely (Norway)

Oslo-based Timely is a time-tracking tool powered by machine learning for freelancers and teams. Founded by Mathias Mikkelsen, Timely has raised more than $1m in funding to date from investors including SNÖ Ventures and 500 Startups.

VR Education Holdings (Ireland)

A pioneer in the digital future of learning, VR Education Holdings (Immersive VR Education) uses AR and VR technology to make education accessible regardless of financial status or physical ability. Founded by David and Sandra Whelan in Waterford in 2014, VR Education Holdings has received €1m in funding, with investors including Kernel Capital, Enterprise Ireland and Suir Valley Ventures. It reported a 30pc increase in revenues in 2018 in its first reported earnings since it listed on the Irish and London stock exchanges.

Webio (Ireland)

What Irish start-up Webio does, to quote its CEO and co-founder Cormac O’Neill from his conversation with Siliconrepublic.com, is “automate and streamline enterprise to consumer conversations”. It allows businesses to provide customer service through popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, apps that these customers will likely feel extremely comfortable using. The company launched its platform after a seed round in 2016 raised €1.75m.

Zeotap (Germany)

Zeotap from Berlin is a big-data platform that has allowed telecoms and marketers to use privacy-compliant customer data for advertising. Founded in 2014 by Daniel Heer and Projjol Banerjea, Zeotap has raised $21.4m in total funding so far.

Disclosure: SOSV is an investor in Silicon Republic

Updated, 3.25pm, 6 February 2019: This article was updated to include Sasha Yakovlev as the third founder of OneSoil.