With their second seed fund, eCircle founders Alex Meyer and Thomas Wilke add four internationally recognised start-up teams from the AI space to their portfolio
Munich, 4th December 2018: With four new investments, the Munich-based venture capital investor 42CAP has added pioneering AI technology for customer services, supplier sourcing, synthetic customer data, and intelligent assistants to their portfolio. With their second seed fund, eCircle founders Alex Meyer and Thomas Wilke have invested in AI start-ups Zelros from Paris, Mostly AI from Vienna, scoutbee from Würzburg, as well as in Munich-based company e-bot7. What all four business models have in common is their proprietary technology and expertise within the core team – an approach reflected in 42CAP itself: besides the experienced entrepreneurs Wilke and Meyer, the team is complemented by venture partners, such as Moritz Zimmermann who was one of the founders of Hybris, a commerce software solution sold to SAP in 2013 for more than one billion Euro. 42CAP’s second seed fund had its first closing at 30 million Euro early this year, with final closing planned for the beginning of 2019 at 50 million Euro.
“We are delighted to have gained the trust of such excellent entrepreneurs,” says Alex Meyer, General Partner at 42CAP, “and are looking forward to supporting them in their vision of applying AI. Each of the four companies has global ambition, and all of them share a strong combination of complementary personalities in their management teams, including both the latest academic research expertise and a sense for business realities in their respective markets.”
Thomas Wilke, General Partner at 42CAP and an experienced CTO, adds that “even at this early stage, these start-ups are pursuing B2B approaches which use artificial intelligence in a visionary way – approaches they can back up with an extensive knowledge in product development. This kind of innovation is increasingly changing the very definition of software and will induce the shift from intelligent solutions to truly creative systems.”
Joining forces with HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Meyer and Wilke took the co-lead in the seed financing for scoutbee, which gathered a total of four million dollars in venture capital from a range of investors including US software specialist Toba Capital. With its proprietary AI ARTIMIS, the start-up from Würzburg, analyses billions of data sets in order to identify the best custom procurement solution for purchasing managers and makes it readily available on its supplier platform. The founding team around CEO Gregor Stuehler has deep domain expertise in procurement.
Together with Push Ventures, 42CAP also invested one million Euro in Mostly AI, a Vienna-based start-up synthesising data in order to allow market research and product testing on anonymised customer information without any data protection risks. The founders include medical physicists Klaudius Kalcher and Roland Boubela as well as mathematician and economist Michael Platzer, who already received an award in 2017 for the research results of his dissertation in the USA.
With a round of two million Euro, 42CAP furthermore acted as lead investor in the seed round of e-bot7. Founded in 2016, the core of the company’s system are complex NLP algorithms trained on historic customer service scripts and constantly optimised in operations. In addition, the Agent+KI® hybrid model development ensures that even during the training stage only correct answers are sent to customers. The founders Fabian Beringer, Xaver Lehmann, und Maximilian Gerer were included in the Forbes 2018 list of future technology pioneers and made the German issue’s version of the business magazine’s Top 30 under 30.
By investing in the Paris-based start-up Zelros, 42CAP is supporting the vision of using technology to streamline what is currently one of the world’s most bureaucratic industries: insurance. Applying artificial intelligence, the start-up aims to digitise and improve insurance processes by offering intelligent analysis and prioritisation of insurance Claims and data-supported needs analyses for Sales; this allows insurers not only to optimise existing processes, but also to lower costs and increase their revenue significantly. The team around CEO Christophe Bourguignat is one of the most innovative in the French start-up scene, recently being awarded the “AI Start-up of the Year” title by “Argus de l’Assurance” and named “Most Innovative Start-up” at the Big Data Congress Paris 2018.
The 42CAP investors Alex Mayer and Thomas Wilke invest in seed stage companies with global ambitions. With eCircle they previously built one of Europe’s largest SaaS start-ups and sold the profitable company to Teradata (NYSE:TDC) in 2012. The 42CAP credo Peers amongst Entrepreneurs is reflected in their investment approach, with which they support data- and technology-driven business models, product-focused founders and sustainable venture development. This background is appreciated by founder personalities, such as Nicolas Reboud (SHINE, Paris), Inigo Ijuantegui (Ontruck, Madrid), Alex Igelsböck (Adverity, Vienna) as well as Konstantin Mehl (Kaia, Munich).
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