Analysis

May 4, 2023

April 2023 seed rounds: A mobile game planting real trees, exoskeletons to improve mobility and warehouse robots

13 rounds that made it onto Sifted's radar this month

Sadia Nowshin

5 min read

Seed funding in Europe hit €444m in Europe in April, according to Dealroom — €31m more than March, and the first month this year where total funding has increased from the month before.

The UK, France and Germany maintain the podium spots once again. Lower down the list, however, there are some new entrants: Turkey, which didn’t have any seed raises in March's data, comes in seventh place with €13.7m raised, and Belgium follows up in ninth with €11.3m.  

SaaS and healthtech remain at the top of the funding table for industries, with fintech knocked out of third spot by energy. There were also some interesting sectors popping up in the top 10: recruitment startups raised the fifth most seed funding in April, gaming startups raised €11.5m and robotics startups sat in 10th place with €7.5m. 

Advertisement

Though collective funding has gone up, individual rounds have stayed more modest — the largest round of the month went to the UK’s metaverse infrastructure startup MetaGravity, which raised $9.5m and boosted the gaming sector’s overall ranking, followed closely by alternative energy developer Reverion’s €8.5m raise. 

From gene editing for rare disease treatments to a mobile game that will plant trees the more you play, here are 13 seed rounds that caught Sifted’s eye this month.  

Gaming, AI and the metaverse

MetaGravity, based in the UK, raised the month’s biggest round, drumming up $9.5m from investors including Market One Capital, MoonPay and Sino Global Capital. The startup offers decentralised infrastructure to build metaverse-based games and virtual world simulations with little to no programming knowledge, and was founded by serial entrepreneur Rashid Mansoor, who also has AI data startup Adbrain and metaverse for the creator economy builder Hadean under his belt. 

TreesPlease Games incentivises people to download its games with the promise that they’ll also be saving the planet. The company’s flagship game, Longleaf Valley, lets players cash “tree tokens” earned in-game for real-world reforestation efforts. The UK-based startup is partnered with the Eden Reforestation Project charity, and its website claims to have planted around 418k trees since its launch in 2019. It raised $8m this month, led by Lakestar. 

Qdrant raised the month’s third-largest round, drumming up €7.5m from IBB Ventures, 42CAP, Unusual Ventures and angel investor Amr Awadallah. The German startup offers an open-source vector search for software engineers building AI-powered apps, focused on unstructured data like images, audio and videos that large language models like ChatGPT require to learn. By connecting the LLMs with a database of real-time data, its memory can be updated, rather than based on a static database of old events. 

Health and techbio

Denmark’s Teton has developed an AI-driven nursing companion that uses computer vision technology to support staff in healthcare settings through remote ward management. The platform's easily installed camera sensors monitor patients and can then translate recordings into analytics on potential fall hazards or pressure ulcer risks and alert staff to patient behaviour or movement. The startup raised $5.3m from Frontline Ventures and Plural. 

French startup Odimma’s cancer treatment platform uses AI and synthetic DNA technology to develop  precision immunotherapy tailored to specific patients. Identifying the particular markers of tumours then helps inform more effective treatments, and the startup is currently focused on tackling aggressive cancers like melanoma, colorectal and breast cancer. The team secured €2m in seed funding, led by Bpifrance. 

Alia Therapeutics is an Italian gene editing startup that's developing medicines to cure rare genetic diseases. The startup was a spinout of Italy’s University of Trento, and was also part of the country’s first biotech accelerator, BiovelocITA. Its €4.4m seed round extension was led by Sofinnova Partners, which cofounded BiovelocITA. 

Berlin-based Nosh Biofoods is a foodtech startup making alternative proteins from fermented fungi biomass, designed to match the properties of animal products and offer plant-based food at a lower cost than current options. Its €3.2m seed round was led by Earlybird with participation from Clear Current Capital, Grey Silo Ventures and Good Seed Ventures. 

Robotics

The UK’s Productive Machines, which raised £2.2m from investors including Mercia Asset Management and the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund, uses digital twinning to reduce the imperfections and quality issues produced in the milling process. By identifying potential vibrations in machinery — which leave waves on the surface of the object it's working on — the software can help manufacturers improve the quality of parts, reduce the wear and tear on tools and cut down on the materials that need to be scrapped. 

Advertisement

A spinout of Italy’s Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna university, Wearable Robotics builds robotic exoskeletons for rehabilitation, to help people restore motor function and improve mobility. It also combines the robotic systems with virtual reality training and scenarios to gamify the rehabilitation exercises, and raised €2.5m in seed funding from private crowdfunding platform ClubDealOnline. 

Turkey’s Ottobo Robotics builds robots to work alongside human workforces in warehouses, using resource modelling tools to match each workspace with the right robot. The products come equipped with a proprietary Warehouse Intelligence System that offers business analytics and productivity solutions based on each company. The startup raised $1.75m from Eksim Ventures. 

Fintech

Wedio, a Denmark-based platform for filmmakers to rent equipment from local creators, raised DKK9.3m (€1.25m) from investors Wefunder, VF Venture and Founderment. The startup lets users hire out their film gear and rent products like cameras, audio recorders, lighting and drones on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and has global liability coverage so equipment is covered wherever it’s taken. 

Swiss startup Xilva connects investors with regenerative forest initiatives in need of funding. The platform features a portfolio of climate projects that have been screened to check they're actually making a difference and likely to achieve the goals they set — the company connects investors with a project that meets their climate impact goals. It raised $1.8m in seed funding from Insurtech.vc, Brainforest and Bloomsbury Natural Capital. 

UnitPlus, based in Germany, combines a payments account with investment, and raised €1m in seed funding. The company invests a user’s money within set limits in a professionally managed portfolio of sustainable companies, and they can then pay with their investments straight from the account; both functions can be managed in one app. Investors include founder of Planetly Benedikt Franke, Exxeta Ventures and Material Ventures. 

Sadia Nowshin

Sadia Nowshin is an editorial assistant at Sifted. Follow her on X and LinkedIn