May
29
2018
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Startup studio eFounders is gaining some serious traction

European startup studio eFounders is slowly but surely building a portfolio of successful software-as-a-service startups. The company is behind some of the most promising enterprise startups in recent years.

Over the past six months, six eFounders startups have raised $120 million in total, with Front and Aircall leading the pack with a $66 million and a $29 million round. Spendesk raised $9.9 million. Forest, Slite and Station raised seed rounds.

Some of them also attended Y Combinator’s most recent batch. Finally, Technicis acquired TextMaster for an undisclosed sum.

If you don’t know the eFounders model, it’s quite simple. At first, the core eFounders team comes up with an idea and hires a founding team. In exchange for financial and human resources, eFounders keep a significant stake in its startups.

After a year or two, startups should have proven that they can raise a seed round and operate on their own. This way, eFounders can move on to the next project and start new companies.

eFounders currently lists 14 companies on its website. In addition to the ones I already mentioned, there is Mailjet, Mention, Foxintelligence, Forest, Hivy, Folk, Upflow, Briq and Illustrio.

Based on this list, you’d think that eFounders has a nearly perfect track record. But eFounders had to stop a couple of projects, such as PressKing and Muxi. Illustrio seems to be on pause right now as well.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that eFounders has cooked up a secret playbook for software-as-a-service startups. More importantly, it’s also clear that eFounders managed to attract some talented entrepreneurs to lead those startups and transform them into their own startups.

Overall, eFounders companies have raised $175 million in total, have 100,000 clients and 500 employees. Together, they generate $50 million in revenue. eFounders itself has raised $11.4 million.

It’s going to be a long play for eFounders as the company only generates revenue when there’s an exit or a secondary market transaction. As long as startups keep raising more money, eFounders doesn’t get anything, and its stake gets diluted. It’ll only make money when there’s a significant acquisition or an IPO. But the valuation of eFounders’ portfolio also keeps growing, so the outcome looks more and more positive.

May
15
2018
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Aircall raises another $29 million

French startup Aircall has raised a funding round of $29 million for its cloud based call center solution. Draper Esprit led the round with NextWorld Capital, Balderton Capital and Newfund also participating.

The company has raised $40.5 million in total. Aircall participated in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt SF a few years ago. The company first started at eFounders.

Aircall is following the software-as-a-service playbook. First, you take a boring industry like phone systems for large support and sales teams. Second, you bet everything on software. And third, you keep adding new features and integrations, and chasing new customers.

The company now has two offices in New York and Paris and handles millions of calls every day. With today’s funding round, the company plans to hire more people in both offices.

When you sign up to Aircall, you get virtual phone numbers in one or multiple countries. You can then configure a greeting message, add business hours and handle your call queue.

But the magic happens when you have multiple people handling sales or support calls. When someone calls, it can ring multiple people at once or someone specific first, then a second person if the first person isn’t available, etc. You get an overview of all your calls so you can assign them, tag them and more.

Aircall doesn’t work in a vacuum. So you can integrate Aircall with CRMs and other solutions like Salesforce, Zendesk and Zoho. The startup also launched a deep integration with Intercom that lets you switch from a text conversation to a phone call from the popup window.

It’s hard to list all the features right here. But chances are that if you’re running a call center, you’ll have everything you need for your team. Aircall currently costs $30 to $50 per user and per month to access all of this.

Apr
12
2018
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Bubblz lets you collaborate on painful processes

Meet Bubblz, a French startup that wants to optimize all the boring processes that slow you down. If you’re trying to hire someone, if you need to collect information from many people, if you regularly put together marketing campaigns, you can use Bubblz to automate all the steps and collaborate with your coworkers.

Many people use Trello or another kanban-based tool to manage potential new hires and all sorts of processes that require multiple steps. Bubblz uses the same metaphor but with a few extra tricks.

Setting up a process is going to take some thinking and a bit of time. But the idea is that you’ll save a lot of time once you have created a process in Bubblz.

Each step is represented as a column. You can then configure some actions based on each step. For instance, if you’re trying to hire someone, your first step could be an online form to collect information and upload files.

After that, you can review each application and configure multiple buttons. If you click yes, it can move the application to the next column. If you click no, it can send a rejection email and archive the application.

If you decide to hire someone, you can track that the person has signed their contract or automatically send an email to the IT department to make them aware of the new hire. You can define a short todo list for each step.

This is just an example but you can use Bubblz for other painful processes. You can create a new process from scratch or import one from the process library. I don’t think it makes sense to use Bubblz for everything, but it’s the kind of services that can make sense for some very specific issues and departments.

Bubblz uses a software-as-a-service approach. You can create a basic account for free, and the company also offers paid monthly plans for advanced features.

Jun
08
2017
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Algolia raises $53 million for its search engine API

 French startup Algolia just raised a $53 million Series B round led by Accel, a couple of years after raising $18.3 million with… Accel also leading the round. So it looks like it’s a love story between the VC firm and the software-as-a-service startup. Read More

Feb
16
2017
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Vize is a business intelligence tool for the rest of us

vize Chances are that your current company is collecting a ton of data about your customers every second. It’s a goldmine and it often sits there in a corner, unused. Vize is a business intelligence tool that will let you learn more about your business and take advantage of all your data. The company is currently participating in Y Combinator’s winter batch. “The main use case… Read More

Oct
25
2016
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Dataiku grabs $14 million for its collaborative data science platform

office-381228_1920 French startup Dataiku has been profitable for the past three years. But the company wants to go further and is raising a $14 million Series A round led by FirstMark Capital with all existing investors also investing.
Dataiku helps data scientists and data analysts manage huge sets of data to get some insights about what’s happening with their customers, suppliers, transactions and more. Read More

Jun
30
2016
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Aircall launches mobile apps for its cloud phone system for teams

aircall 1 Aircall just launched its mobile apps on iOS and Android out of beta. The company announced the first beta of its mobile app at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. The startup is bringing all the core features of the service to its mobile app. Read More

Jan
20
2016
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Botify Grabs $7.2 Million To Turn You Into An SEO Wizard

perfs.45bbb1f62789 French startup Botify just raised a $7.2 million Series A round from Idinvest and Ventech. The company uses a software-as-a-service approach to make it as seamless as possible to crawl your website and give you insights into your search engine optimization strategy. Yet, Botify isn’t about making optimizations for you. Instead, it gives you data so that you can make optimizations. Botify… Read More

Jun
16
2015
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French IoT Startup Actility Raises $25M From Foxconn, Orange And More

IoT Startup activity in France around Internet of Things continues to heat up. Following yesterday’s news that Samsung had taken an investment in Sigfox, today another IoT startup, Actility, announced that it has raised €22.5 million ($25 million), led by Ginko Ventures, the European investment arm of Foxconn. Others in the round include the carriers Orange (which has disclosed a €3… Read More

Jun
19
2014
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Algolia Raises Another $1.2 Million For Its Real-Time Search API

Algolia French startup Algolia raised $1.2 million as an extension of the company’s existing seed round to turbocharge your website’s search engine. It brings the total funding of the startup to $2.8 million. The round extension was led by Storm Ventures, with angels coming from Box, Eventbrite, Google, Microsoft and Stripe. Chrisoph Janz of Point Nine Capital is also joining the… Read More

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