After a rocky start to the year for Europe’s seed funding, signs of a slow recovery are emerging: startups drummed up around €461m in early-stage funding across the continent in May, according to Dealroom, an improvement on April’s €444m. That’s compared to a month-on-month decline in seed funding from January to March — but while funding is up, deal count is down, with 335 rounds in May compared to 351 in April.
The UK, Germany and France held onto their usual top spots in May. The UK retained first place despite seed funding dipping by €44m. France also saw a decrease (of €24m), but second place Germany saw an increase of €14m compared to the month before.
The suspicion that VCs might be going off fintech is substantiated by the sector’s seed-stage stats: the industry’s startups raised €19m in May. Though this was the same figure that earned the sector fourth place in April, this month it slipped down to fifth. Healthtech overtook SaaS for top spot, with new entrants semiconductors and home living making it into the top 10.
Of the 335 seed rounds to take place in May, here are 11 that caught Sifted’s eye.
Healthtech & techbio
UK-based Multiomic Health uses AI to develop new treatments and drugs for metabolic-related diseases and illnesses, like Type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. It raised $6.2m from investors including MMC Ventures, Hoxton Ventures, Verve Ventures, Fifty Years and Ada Ventures.
Would you pay €10k to increase your lifespan? That’s what Swiss longevity startup Biolytica is offering, by using data pulled from factors such as genomic information, blood biomarkers and wearable devices to provide an overview of an individual’s health and suggest ways to improve it. It raised €5.3m from Maximon.
Everyone deserves the option of affordable, accessible therapy — and to try and reduce the barriers, Czech startup Hedepy’s platform connects users with professional therapists for fully remote sessions. It raised €2.2m from RSJ Investments, Nation 1, Purple Ventures and angel investor Leoš Navrátil.
Anavo, based in the Netherlands, develops and discover new drugs to treat diseases and illnesses related to phosphatases — it claims to be the first company to tackle this molecule of the human body, as phosphatases have previously been believed to be undruggable. It raised an €8.5m extension of its seed round in May, bringing its total seed round to €28m.
Consumers are generally put off by crooked carrots and discoloured oranges when there are picture-perfect options on supermarket shelves. But Germany's etepetete is trying to change that, aiming to reduce food waste by selling boxes full of wonky fruit and veg rejected or leftover from supermarkets for shoppers who don’t mind an ugly ingredient. The startup raised €1.8m from sustainability-focused crowdfunding platform Econeers.
Oscillum is a Spanish startup working to help the food and agritech industry run smoother and reduce wastage. It's developing a smart labelling system that monitors the quality of a product using a colour system to display its status. It can be used to show the real expiration date of products or alert users to bacterial growth, and in pharma companies to monitor the efficacy of drugs. The company drummed up €1.5m from Spain’s Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI).
ThreatFabric offers a platform for companies to monitor and manage fraud risks. The Netherlands-based company offers solutions for threats like malware, bots or fake apps and AI-based device fingerprinting for identity verification. It raised the highest seed round of the month, securing €11.5m from investors including Motive Partners, 10X Founders and 14Peaks Capital.
UK-based CultureAI helps companies reduce the security risks posed by employee behaviour. Its platform tries to prevent risk by offering cybersecurity coaching, but also helps companies monitor and respond to any exposed risks that do occur. Investors like Passion Capital, Senovo and Conviction VC pitched into its £7m seed round.
As more children get access to their own electronic devices, the threat to the safety of young people online grows. Ireland-based Cilter Technologies — which raised €1.67m — is developing software that scans all of the data going in and out of a child’s device to scan for malicious or concerning content, and alerting parents to any potential imminent risks.
Improvin is a Swedish AI-powered platform that helps food growers measure and cut their supply chain greenhouse gas emissions. It raised €3.5m in a seed round led by Pale Blue Dot and Dynamo Ventures.
Germany-based Proxima Fusion is developing fusion power plants for cleaner, safer energy sources. It was the first spinout to emerge from the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, and secured €7m led by Plural and UVC Partners, with High-Tech Gründerfonds and the Wilbe Group also pitching in.
German startup LEDCity AG offers energy-efficient lighting options for commercial buildings to reduce costs, and uses motion sensors to automatically adjust to the lighting needs of the space. Credit Suisse and climate-focused Technology Fund contributed to its $2.9m round.