September 20, 2019

The biggest European tech startup news stories this week

From happy buttons to ThingTesting, it was another big week for European startup news. Here is everything you need to know.

Here is all the news about startups in Europe this week — from green happy buttons to ThingTesting — brought to you by our pan-European team of Sifted journalists. If you want the news (and so much more) in your inbox three times a week, sign up to our newsletter.

? If you ask the team at HappyOrNot how happy they are this week, they would probably push the dark green, big smiley-face button. The Finnish customer-feedback startup raised $25m to supercharge the 9-year-old company’s growth in existing markets throughout Europe and the US.

? Danish plant-based meal delivery service Simple Feast raised another €30m to launch its business in the US, hoping to find new customers among health-conscious Californians.


? Beekeeper, a Swiss workplace comms platform, raised $45m. Unlike Slack, Beekeeper is aimed at “non-desk” workers in sectors such as hospitality, manufacturing and retail. There are plenty of them; apparently, 80% of the world’s workers don’t work at a desk.

✈️ ZeroAvia has a £2.7m from the UK government and plans to develop a hydrogen fuel system that could fly a 20-seater plane.

☕ Coworking company Huckletree opened three new spaces: in Oslo, Dublin and Manchester. Each will be themed: the Manchester site will be geared towards digital lifestyle and media, the Oslo site (acquired from Pier X) will be focused on VC and scale-ups, and the Dublin site on fintech.

? London VC firms remain woefully behind on diversity and inclusion, according to Diversity VC's latest report.

? ThingTesting, the Instagram account turned product review startup, has raised a small pre-seed round in a bid to become the “Rotten Tomatoes of brands”. The plan is to launch a website and a paid-for membership scheme for big fans of new direct-to-consumer brands.

☁️ Fashion, fertilizers and forecasts – all winners at the Norrsken Awards. Among hundreds of nominated impact startups in the Nordics, three winners, Re:newcell, N2 Applied and Ignitia, were picked at Norrsken Impact Week’s closing gala in Stockholm last night. Keep an eye out for these in the future.

?️ In holiday rental news:

  • Holidu, a Munich-based startup that compares the prices of listings across sites like Airbnb and, has raised €40m. It wants to be like Skyscanner, but for accommodation.
  • Meanwhile, in an odd plot twist, Lavanda (which began life as a laundry service) has raised $5m to grow its short-term rental platform. It helps real estate firms and landlords rent out their properties for short periods (ie. while a flat is being sold).

? Amazon Go competitor Trigo has raised $22m to further develop its check-out free shopping system. The Israeli startup was only founded in 2018, but has already landed partnerships with supermarkets in Europe and Israel.

?️ Swedish peer-to-peer lending platform Lendify is looking to add mortgages to its product range. Over recent years, big banks have been losing customers to new providers with better rates.

? International recruitment startup Next Station has raised €1m. It’s operational in France, Spain and Germany. Have you used it? Let us know.

? In mobility news:

  • Ride hailing firm Bolt has taken on AOC at her own game and announced a “Green Plan”. It will invest €10m between now till 2025 to offset the carbon emissions of its rides. (In 2016, road transport made up 20% of Europe’s Co2 emissions.)
  • ViaVan, a joint venture between Via and Mercedes-Benz in Europe, has launched its first on-demand service in Finland. It’s partnered with Helsinki’s regional transport authority to pick up passengers travelling to and from train and metro stations. The question is whether it will be convenient and cheap enough to convince commuters to cut down on their car use.
  • Electric scooters have caused 74 accidents and hundreds of traffic offences in the three months since they were legalised in Berlin, according to police.