European News Briefs, July 2012


Cloth Capital

San Francisco-based Blumberg Capital has slipped in between the sheets with Urbanara, an online retailer of domestic textiles, such as bathmats and bed linen.

A €3.5 million ($4.3 million) Series A round was led by Blumberg, which joins existing investors Grazia Equity,Brain-to-Ventures and Taishan Angel in the latest funding round.

Taishan Angel provided seed funding in 2011, when Urbanara was launched, though it normally invests in Chinese early stage companies.

The Series A round will help the company stretch out from its current markets in Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom.


Fidelity Follows Beaten Path to Notonthehighstreet

Alternative gifts website has rung up another eye-catching round of funding.

Fidelity Growth Partners led a £10 million ($15 million) Series D round, which will fund technology improvement and more additions to the company’s 50,000-product catalogue.

It is the second United States investor to target Notonthehighstreet, which previously raised £7.5 million ($11.6 million) from Swiss firm Index Ventures and Menlo Park, Calif.-based Greylock Partners.

That is a world away from the £70,000 ($110,000) raised six years ago by Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish when they remortgaged their houses and founded the company.

Although the British Internet business has attracted U.S. investment, the two women are still focused on domestic growth, though a new multi-currency capability on their site suggests that international expansion is not far away.


French VCs Convinced by Simoncini’s Vision

Serial entrepreneur Marc Simoncini has raised €17.5 million ($21.7 million) for his latest venture, online spectacle retailer

Most of the capital was raised from three Paris firms: Idinvest Partners, Orkos Capital andPartech International.

Idinvest contributed €7.5 million ($9.3 million), having already backed two other Simoncini companies. One of them, online dating service Meetic, went public in 2005, four years after its launch. Of his latest venture, Simoncini said the funding would help Sensee meet its goal of offering contact lenses and glasses of identical quality to regular opticians, but at half the price.


Tape Ticks the Right Boxes

Berlin-based has a troop of business angels and venture capital investors marching to the beat of its personalized music video service.

Munich-based Atlantic Capital Partners has led a €5 million ($6 million) A round for the company, supported by film producers DCM Productions and growth finance bank IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft.

IBB invested through the €30 million ($37 million) VC Fonds Kreativwirtschaft Berlin fund, designed to support small businesses in the German capital’s creative market. operates a website that has become Germany’s leading music streaming platform since it launched in 2008 and now boasts revenue of €20 million ($25 million). Part of the funding will be used to extend the reach of the website to different devices.


Hexagon to Shape myVR’s Future

After five years charting the course at myVR Software, Norwegian venture firm Viking Venture has exited the mapping business in a trade sale to Swedish company Hexagon.

Founded in 2003, myVR’s software allows for 3D and 360-degree viewing of maps on desktop computers and mobile devices.

While details of the sale were not given, Hexagon said it was particularly interested in myVR’s ability to transmit real-time 3D data to mobile devices.


Prosonix Wraps Year-Long Round

Belgian venture firm Gimv has breathed yet more life into respiratory medicine developer Prosonix with a £5.7 million ($8.8 million) investment.

The Gimv funding capped off a two-stage, £17.1 million ($26.3 million) Series B round that attracted international backing last year.

London-based Entrepreneurs Fund and Solon Ventures, French firm Ventech, Dutch investor Gilde Healthcare Partners and Belgian VC Quest for Growth together invested £11.4 million ($18 million) in June 2011.

Prosonix makes inhalable medicines for respiratory problems, such as asthma and will use the funding to develop its product range.


Israel Cleantech goes Dutch

Israeli firm Cleantech Ventures led a $6 million round of Dutch company AcousticEye that was supported by Sequoia Capital, which also provided AcousticEye’s first and undisclosed financing in 2010.

The new funding will fund research and development and the global rollout of AcousticEye’s products, used to inspect heat exchangers and boilers.


Ocean Outdoor Flows from Smedvig to LDC

Development capital provider Smedvig Capital has sold advertising company Ocean Outdoor to fellow London firm LDC for £35 million ($55 million).

The exit heralds a 4x return for Smedvig, which funded Ocean’s move into large, outdoor digital advertising screens after initially investing in 2008.

The exit leaves Smedvig with a portfolio of seven companies, including Selstor, a Swedish self-storage company, and Myhomemove, a British legal services business.

Smedvig invests from £2 million to £15 million ($3.1 million to $24 million) in niche companies across the United Kingdom and the Nordics and manages more than £400 million ($628 million) in assets.

Compiled by Alex Derber