August is peak summer holiday season for Europe’s startup community — so perhaps that explains why the month only saw 138 pre-seed and seed rounds, a 37% drop compared to July’s figures, according to Dealroom. The early-stage scene drummed up €322m, compared to €376m in July.
Though a decline is typical during the summer months, this year the gap was wider: in 2022, August saw deal count drop by 18% compared to July, and €368m was raised.
More than a third of the month’s total came from software-writing AI builder Poolside AI, which raised a huge $126m (€117m) round and bumped France up to the top of the country leaderboard. France was followed by the UK, which raised €58m — 38% less than it managed in July. Germany came third, raising 60% less than its total the month before.
Poolside AI’s huge round also shifted SaaS (which includes AI in Dealroom’s categorisation) to the top of the industry list, followed by marketing and fintech.
Among the other raises that caught Sifted’s eye last month were an app motivating you to get up and go for a run and a startup offering AI-powered work colleagues. Here are some of the startups that managed to close deals in the summer slump.
As the biggest round of the month, Poolside AI’s huge $126m seed round deserves a mention — that’s bigger than fellow AI eye-catcher Mistral, which raised a €105m seed round in June. The US-based startup initially raised $26m in May, but closed its fresh $100m extension last month, plus announced that it would be moving its HQ to Paris. The startup uses a ChatGPT-esque AI application to write software code, so that eventually users can ask it to write the code for an app without needing the knowledge themselves.
FruitCast, a UK startup using AI to produce forecasting and analytics for fruit growers, secured £2.8m from Ceres Agritech and Innovate UK, plus undisclosed investors. The platform helps soft fruit producers plan things like labour and market supply by offering more accurate forecasting of yields and fruit growth.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is rarely in the top 10 for seed funding — but in a quiet August, it made it into the list thanks to a €6.3m seed round from gamified exercise app Rolla. Hellen's Rock Capital and angel investor Mate Rimac — who is the CEO of Croatian electric sports car company Rimac Automobili — backed the app, which offers game-like motivation for runners and cyclists, as well as health monitoring features.
Coachbetter, based in Switzerland, offers an app for football coaches to improve how they manage and train their players through performance tracking and educational resources. It raised $2.9m in funding from investors including Brighteye Ventures, French footballer Steven Nzonzi and executive vice chairman of sports media company DAZN Group, John Gleasure.
The UK’s Mimetrik Solutions bagged £2m in funding from Northern Gritstone for the development of its digital dentistry products, three years after it spun out of the University of Leeds. The company reckons that current products are clunky and limited, potentially leading to dentists giving their patients inaccurate advice — so, Mimetrik Solutions is hoping to build more efficient alternatives to improve care.
Clean Food Group is looking to offer the food and cosmetics industries healthier and more sustainable alternatives to common ingredients that are bad for the planet, particularly oils and fats. It raised £2.3m in August from Döhler and Alianza Team.
Swedish healthtech Acorai is developing a non-invasive handheld device that aims to improve the diagnosis and care of people affected by heart conditions and heart failure. It closed a €1m round from investors including Golden Angels Investors, Springboard Health Angels, Scale Up Life Science Invest and Mayo Clinic.
Novatron Fusion Group, based in Sweden, is building nuclear fusion reactors to produce renewable clean energy and tackle the climate crisis. Its €5m seed round was backed by Industrifonden, EIT InnoEnergy, Santander Asset Management, KTH Holding and Climentum Capital.
Iceland’s Snerpa Power aims to support the transition to cleaner energy by providing a platform for power-intensive companies to participate in flexible energy markets and access a new revenue stream by adjusting energy use to help balance the grid. It raised €2.2m from BackingMinds and Crowberry Capital.
Swedish heat pump instalment startup Drem raised €2m from Peak to offer a cleaner energy alternative to residential buildings. The company also offers customers a personal energy consultant to find the best option and be on call for questions throughout the instalment process.