Category: Investments

Smedvig Capital lead £12m investment in Shipping Container Pricing Index Xeneta

Xeneta, the leading ocean freight benchmarking and market intelligence software platform, has raised $12 million in a Series B investment round led by London-based Smedvig Capital. Existing investors including Creandum and Alliance Venture also participated in the round. The financing will be used to fund Xeneta’s continued global expansion and to strengthen its product development and technology platform. Rob Toms, a Managing Director at Smedvig, will form a part of Xeneta’s board of directors. Smedvig will join Xeneta’s earlier investors Creandum, Point Nine Capital, Alliance Venture and Alden, bringing the total raised by Xeneta since 2012 to $20.5 million.

”We are excited to be backing and working with Patrik, Thomas and their team to continue their impressive growth. The business has already had a major impact in the $200bn+ container shipping market, and we are confident that Xeneta will continue to drive change in the ocean freight and related markets,” said Rob Toms, a Managing Director at Smedvig Capital.

“We were looking for a VC who shared our strategic long-term outlook. Shipping is not a fast-paced industry and Smedvig’s extended investment perspective plays very well with our strategy making them an ideal investment partner,” said Patrik Berglund, CEO & Co-founder at Xeneta.

“One thing that was particularly appealing about Smedvig was that their founding roots stem from the shipping industry. That coupled with their experience in scaling enterprise technology businesses in traditional industries globally made it a perfect fit for us,” said Thomas Sørbø, CBDO & Co-founder at Xeneta.

Xeneta has positioned itself as the leading container pricing platform and challenged the status quo of the traditional volatile shipping industry. By digitizing the crowdsourcing of ocean container prices it has created the most complete global container pricing index bringing pricing transparency to all stakeholders in international container trade.

“Xeneta is one of my favorite Creandum seed deals because from the very first meeting you could see such a massive potential in the team and in the opportunity to bring price transparency to global freight. Xeneta has developed phenomenally and we’re very happy to welcome Smedvig Capital as co-investors, as we share the founders’ long-term vision for the company,” said Fredrik Cassel, Partner at Creandum.

This was also echoed by Jan-Erik Hareid, Managing Partner at Alliance Venture noting that Xeneta has carved out a unique position in the container freight marketplace making it a one-to-watch company.

Founded in 2012 in Oslo, Norway, Xeneta is the largest ocean freight rate benchmarking and market intelligence platform. In just 2 years, Xeneta has grown in its database of contracted shipping rates from 2MN in 2015 to 23+MN in 2017, while increasing revenue by 200% in 12 months. Customers include global market leaders such as Kraft Heinz, Electrolux, Continental, Thyssenkrupp, Akzo Nobel, Brother International, in addition to the world’s leading suppliers in the automotive, chemical and retail industries.  The company has offices in Oslo, Hamburg and establishing a presence in the U.S. east coast, currently New York.

In 2016, Xeneta was named Nordic Startup of the Year – Norway and Patrik Berglund, CEO, received the prestigious Lloyd’s List Innovation in Shipping Award.

Smedvig Capital invest £10m in marketing technology business Infinity

Infinity, one of the fastest growing marketing technology businesses in the UK and a market leader in call tracking, today announced that it has secured £10 million of funding from Smedvig Capital.

Call tracking evolved from the need to identify which online marketing campaign investment delivers real sales. Infinity enables clients to track calls from their website and analyse exactly which marketing activity resulted in which sales and optimises the chance of those sales closing.

The strength of the market opportunity for Infinity is evidenced by rapidly increasing search and display advertising spend across the world, combined with ever increasing calls to businesses – US market growing 16% p.a. to 160 billion calls in 2019 – driven by smart phone usage according to BIA / Kelsey.

Infinity has already established itself as a pioneer in call tracking, supporting marketing, sales and operations across a strong client base in the UK and US. It has excellent agency partnerships, strong technology and broad third party integrations. This investment will facilitate further product innovation and allow the business to continue to build on its drive for customer success.

Paul Walsh, Infinity’s CEO, previously created one the UK’s fastest growing independent digital agencies and founded Infinity when they couldn’t find a call tracking solution for their own clients. Paul commented:

Infinity has been bootstrapped to date but we have still managed to grow extremely rapidly. This injection of funding will now enable us to invest heavily in our product offering and accelerate our US expansion plans.”

Warren Newbert recently joined the business as COO with considerable experience of working with high growth, venture backed, technology businesses. Warren commented:

“Infinity is already a successful business but the opportunity for growth is limitless and potentially we will look to acquire other technology or people as well as pursuing our ambitious organic plans.”

Jon Lerner, Managing Director at Smedvig Capital, commented:

We are excited to be backing Paul, Warren and their team as the business starts to rapidly build on a very solid base in the UK and US. They have a great team, a strong market position and a clear vision of where the business is going. We are very much looking forward to working closely together to build a category leader.”

Smedvig Capital doubles investment into newly rebranded Veeve to $11m

Veeve Website

Smedvig Capital are delighted to announce our follow on investment into Veeve (previously Vive Unique). It is an exciting time for Veeve who are launching a new brand and website following the appointment of key hires (CTO, CMO, CFO and Operations Director) and trebling of their property portfolio in 12 months. 

Veeve, the home sharing service which helps London homeowners to earn effortless extra income while they’re away, have recently revealed their next phase of growth as a business and Smedvig Capital are thrilled to be playing a key role.

The investment coincides with the launch of the new brand and name: Veeve. Chosen for its simplicity and ability to be understood across many languages and cultures, it reflects the diverse international make-up of the company’s guests. Veeve is also rooted in its origins as Vive Unique.

With this new brand and name comes a new website; It is a responsive site that showcases the range of London homes Veeve has to offer whilst bringing the brand and experience up to date.

Launched in the run up to the Olympics, Veeve have since signed up over 1,000 London homes and now manage a portfolio worth over £1 billion. With more than 3,000 rooms available to guests, the company already rivals the city’s largest hotels in terms of inventory.

Unlike other home sharing models, Veeve manages all aspects of the rental on behalf of both guests and hosts. This allows homeowners to unwind on holiday while Veeve takes care of everything at home. Meanwhile, leisure and business travellers enjoy all the conveniences of a city home with Veeve’s added selection of home comforts (e.g. fridge fills, babysitting and a maid service to name a few).

Newly represented by a hummingbird logo, Veeve is dedicated to making stays effortless for hosts and guests. The additional funding consolidates Veeve’s position in London, as they continue with their goal of making home sharing as easy as possible. Now following the investment and subsequent relaunch of the brand and release of their new website, proceeds will be used to build out Veeve’s mobile logistics platform, develop the customer experience and drive further growth in home and guest acquisition.

Veeve Property

The extended investment follows four key hires within the senior management team this year: Chief Marketing Officer Matt Knight joined from ASOS (and previously Ocado); Joe Warren-Meeks joined as Chief Technology Officer from Encore Tickets; former McKinsey consultant Lex Kereng recently joined the company as Operations Director.  Andrew Parker joins as CFO from Badoo and previously PwC. Carl Michel, previously of Opodo, British Airways and Generator Hostels, has also joined the business as Chairman.

This is a great time to be working in the sharing economy and with our continued partnership with Veeve going from strength to strength, Smedvig Capital are delighted to be part of it.

Jonny Morris, Co-Founder and CEO of Veeve commented:
We are hugely excited to take the brand forward in a way that communicates our commitment to making home sharing an easy and seamless experience and one which is inspiring too. We are delighted to continue our partnership with Smedvig Capital with this latest round of funding, as we look to the next phase of rapid growth at Veeve.  

Jordan Mayo, Managing Director of Smedvig Capital added: 
We are delighted to be increasing our investment in Veeve. Founders Jonny and Claire have attracted a top tier management team whilst rapidly scaling the business. We look forward to supporting the team in their plans to become London’s leading managed home sharing service and to expand into other geographies.  

London advertising technology entrepreneurs secure investment to fuel international growth and bolster their global leadership position in search intelligence

Captify Raises £8 million Series B investment led by Smedvig Capital with existing investor Panoramic Growth Equity following on

Captify Media Limited (“Captify”), one of the fastest growing advertising technology businesses in Europe, and a market leader in search retargeting, today announced that it has secured £8 million of series B funding, led by Smedvig Capital with follow on commitments from all existing investors including Panoramic Growth Equity.

This injection of funding will enable Captify to invest in its search intelligence technology, expand its product suite and accelerate international expansion.

The company has developed the largest independent search data network in Europe, covering 550m unique users globally and billions of searches.  Captify works with over 88 media agencies in the UK and over 100 in Europe; and runs campaigns on behalf of the world’s largest brands including Microsoft, British Airways, Barclays, Warner Brothers, SKY, BMW, Hilton and American Express; all of whom use its proprietary technology to engage with consumers at the key point of intent.

Captify’s search intelligence powers its core search retargeting offer.  Search retargeting is the fastest growing segment in the digital media industry. Captify has played a pioneering role in this market, disrupting the industry with its search intelligence technology, empowering brands by leveraging its intent driven data asset.  As a result of achieving clear differentiation in the digital media landscape, it has secured long term trading deals with some of the world’s largest media agency groups.

The company received £1.2 million of Series A investment from Panoramic Growth Equity in 2013.  Within two years, it increased its gross revenue by almost 300% and its employee base from 11 to 65.  It has also opened offices in Hamburg and Kiev, with a third to open in Paris this summer; and is expected to achieve revenues of over £15m this year.

The latest investment will enable Captify to consolidate its market leading position in the UK; build on its already strong position in key European markets; and support further expansion into overseas geographies.  The strength of the market opportunity for Captify is evidenced by increasing search and display advertising spend across the world, which is expected to reach £145.5bn by 2016 (Zenith Optimedia).

Captify has already established itself as a pioneer in search intelligence and this investment will facilitate further product innovation.  Captify plans to add new channels to its product suite, launching the world’s first mobile search product (with the global market for mobile advertising and analytics currently valued at $18 billion, rising to $42 billon in 2017 according to Gartner); as well as video products this year, (capitalising on a market that is currently valued at $4 billion, and experiencing 43% year on year growth).

Captify is a multi-award winning business, named as UK’s number 1 Startup (Startups100), described by SMARTA as “the most original, exciting, resourceful and disruptive business in the UK”, and listed among the top 50 fast growth companies in the UK by Santander Breakthrough 50 (2014). The London based founders, Dominic Joseph (aged 30) and Adam Ludwin (aged 27) who set up the business in 2011, have also been named Young Entrepreneurs of the Year by the Great British Entrepreneur Award and the WCIT awards.  Both came from digital media backgrounds on both the buy and sell sides of the industry, before combining to form Captify.

Captify has also been able to attract some of the brightest minds in advertising technology, including recent senior hires from Google, Yahoo, WPP and AOL, among others.

Dominic Joseph, co founder and CEO of Captify commented:

“This £8 million investment is a significant milestone for Captify as it will enable us to consolidate our position as the European market leader in search data driven advertising and analytics and put us on course to claim true global leadership.  It is indicative of how the European ad tech space is flourishing and providing genuinely tough competition to established US rivals.”

Adam Ludwin, co-founder and CVO of Captify, added:

“In the last two years we have blazed a trail in technological innovation and can now confidently say that we are the only people to successfully bridge the gap between search and display in Europe.  This investment marks a coming of age for Captify as we prepare to bring search retargeting to new channels like mobile and video and to strengthen our claim on global leadership.”

Jon Lerner, Principal at Smedvig Capital, commented:

“Captify is the clear European leader in a very exciting, disruptive and fast growing segment of advertising technology.  The Captify team has built fantastic client relationships through proprietary technology, unique data, great performance and excellent customer service. There is a large global market opportunity here, and we are very much looking forward to working closely with Dom and Adam to further scale the business.”

Malcolm Kpedekpo, Partner at Panoramic Growth Equity, who has backed Captify since 2013, commented:

 “We have worked closely with the team since 2013 when Dom and Adam accepted institutional capital for the first time, and in that short period Captify has achieved exceptional growth, realised its ambition to move into overseas markets and significantly built its base of in house talent.    They have strongly held their dominant market leading position in Europe against competition from US competitors and are now well placed to make their mark on the global search intelligence market.   There is no question that this business has an exciting future ahead.  We are delighted to be investing further in the company and continuing to support them through the next stage of growth. We also look forward to working in collaboration with new investor Smedvig.”

Smedvig Capital leads £1.3M investment in Profile Financial Solutions

Funding round to accelerate growth of Profile’s technology-led mass-market independent financial advice service.

Smedvig Capital, today announced a £1.3M growth capital investment in Profile Financial Solutions, a high growth and tech-enabled financial services advisory firm.

The initial investment will enable Profile, which offers affordable independent financial advice to the mass market, to advance its technology-led service and consolidate its position as one of the UK’s leading pension advisors. The funding from London investment house, Smedvig Capital, will also support the expansion of Profile’s operations, including a move to a larger office to accommodate its growing team.

Founded in June 2013, Profile already manages over £125m of pension assets on behalf of its customers. Profile has developed a proprietary technology-based, process driven model, allowing its team of FCA regulated advisors to provide high quality, independent and personal financial advice at an affordable price. Unlike many financial advisory institutions, Profile has an exceptionally low minimum threshold for investment, making IFA advice available to lower and medium net worth individuals.

The market opportunity for independent financial advisory firms such as Profile was recently boosted by an announcement from Chancellor George Osborne that the government plans to introduce wholesale changes to the pensions market in April 2015. With millions of people nearing retirement age granted the freedom to spend their pension pot as they please, demand for pensions advice is set to increase as up to 18 million will be faced with new choices for managing their pension.

Profile’s founding team is led by CEO Ian Floyed. Ian is an experienced entrepreneur and previously founded myhomemove, the technology enabled legal services provider that is now the UK’s largest conveyancing firm.

The initial Series A funding from Smedvig Capital is part of its long-term commitment to investing in high growth and innovative consumer-facing businesses. Smedvig has worked previously with Ian, injecting growth capital into myhomemove.

Ian Floyed, Managing Director at Profile Financial Solutions commented, “Consumers are currently under serviced by the traditional IFA market, meaning that millions are unable to receive independent advice. We hope that by combining accessible technology with great customer service we can fix this problem. The investment from Smedvig will enable us to improve our digital capability and fund our expansion to meet the increasing demand for our services. With major changes to pensions just around the corner, we’re looking forward to welcoming many more clients to Profile and helping make their money go further for them.”

Jordan Mayo, a Managing Director at Smedvig Capital commented, “We are delighted to be backing Ian and Steve for a second time. As with their previous business myhomemove, they are using technology to transform a poorly served industry. Profile is only 18 months old and is already growing rapidly with more than £125m assets under management. By applying a proprietary process-led approach, Profile is able to provide the mass-market with affordable and genuinely independent financial advice which they have not had access to up until now”

Smedvig Capital exits Tusker

by Jon Lerner

Tusker, the UK’s market leading salary sacrifice car scheme provider, today announced a new major shareholder, private equity group ECI Partners, to support their continued rapid growth. ECI Partners has invested in the business, with the previous investors, Smedvig Capital, exiting after a highly successful relationship with the company.

ECI is one of the UK’s most successful private equity groups and specialises in investing in mid-market, high-growth companies. Commenting on the new financial structure, Tusker’s CEO, David Hosking said: “This is a very exciting time for us. The team at Smedvig have provided real and valuable hands on support throughout our growth years, and we are grateful for all of their input. Tusker is now a substantial business generating revenues in excess of £100m and we are excited to have ECI as our new partner. Their depth of experience and extensive level of engagement with our team will provide a great platform from which we can continue our exceptional growth.”

The existing management team of David Hosking (Chief Executive Officer), David Brockwell (Chief Financial Officer), Mark Sinclair (Chief Operations Officer) and Iain Carmichael (Chief Commercial Officer) will remain in place to continue to execute the highly successful strategic plan. They will be joined by the newly appointed Chairman Richard Prosser, who replaces Sir Trevor Chinn who is stepping down.

“We are very excited to welcome Richard to the team. He joins Tusker with a wealth of business to business experience gained in the travel industry (most recently as Non-executive Chairman of former ECI investment, CarTrawler). We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to Sir Trevor Chinn who has supported the company through its recent growth and has been instrumental in getting Tusker to this point” comments David Hosking.

The senior management team is supported by a growing employee base that is structured to put the customer first, and the focus on exceptional customer service will remain a core value of the business. Since launching its market leading salary sacrifice for cars product in 2008, Tusker now manages in excess of 13,000 vehicles and this figure is expected to increase by 30% over the next twelve months.

Rob Toms, Managing Director at Smedvig Capital, said, “Smedvig only invest in a small number of exceptional businesses each year, where we firmly believe in the team, the model, and the market leadership potential. We are proud to have worked with Tusker to build the salary sacrifice product and develop a clear market leadership position.”

Paul McCreadie, a partner at ECI, concludes: “The team at Tusker provides an excellent fit with ECI and we were particularly attracted by the company’s innovative and market leading culture. Tusker has an exceptional management team and we are looking forward to working together to continue to grow and develop the business.”

Smedvig Capital leads $13.5M Series B investment in TrialReach

by Jordan Mayo

Smedvig Capital are delighted to announce our investment in TrialReach, the world’s largest provider of clinical trial information, as part of a $13.5M Series B financing round led by Smedvig Capital with participation from existing investors Amadeus Capital Partners and Octopus Investments.

With one of the biggest digital health rounds ever raised in the UK, TrialReach plans to use the funds to support the growth of its clinical trial platform and expansion into the U.S.

Founded in 2010, TrialReach is helping to solve one of the biggest challenges in medical research: connecting patients with clinical trials. One in five cancer trials in the U.S. fails to find a single participant, and only three percent of adult patients participate in cancer research, simply because most patients don’t know that clinical trials are an option for them. For pharmaceutical companies, trial delays can equate to over $8M of lost daily revenue per drug, while for patients, delays reduce the number of potentially life-saving drugs that are available to them.

“We have had significant success in the U.S. market to date, and we are confident that now it’s the right time to scale up our team and operations domestically, in order to solidify our leadership position,” said Pablo Graiver, CEO, TrialReach.

“Smedvig has significant experience working with early stage tech-enabled businesses. Their hands-on support will accelerate our plans to become the industry standard for pharmaceutical companies seeking patients for clinical trials. We eagerly anticipate the opening of our New York office to jumpstart our business and sales efforts across the U.S.”

Unlike other clinical search sites, the TrialReach platform is designed to aggregate and structure all clinical trial listings worldwide, so that patients can be smart matched with the specific trials for which they may be eligible. In addition, the platform gives trial sponsors the opportunity to describe trials and patient criteria in a non-clinical manner that’s much easier for patients to understand.

“TrialReach’s bold online marketplace approach offers a solution to one of the biggest problems in the pharmaceutical industry – matching patients with clinical trials”, said Jordan Mayo, a Managing Director at Smedvig Capital.

TrialReach’s platform can reach and help millions of patients with chronic and life-threatening diseases, and address a huge and underserved market opportunity. We believe they are well placed to expand rapidly to the significant benefit of pharmaceutical companies, clinical trial practitioners and patients.”

TrialReach is already working with many of the world’s leading health organizations, including the WHO, and more than half of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies are using TrialReach’s platform to support their clinical trial efforts. In addition, TrialReach reaches millions of patients online through partnerships with major health portals including Healthline, Everyday Health and CenterWatch as well as some patient networks such as WEGO Health and CureClick.

Liberty Global Ventures Leads Series B Financing in Mediamorph to Accelerate Growth

By Jon Lerner

Funding will support next generation data management platform and expansion of the sales organization.

Mediamorph, the leading cross-platform Media and Entertainment (M&E) data management and analytics firm, has raised $10 million in Series B financing led by new strategic investor Liberty Global Ventures. Liberty Global Ventures is a global investment fund owned by Liberty Global, the largest international cable company with market-leading operations in 14 countries. Included in the round is a significant investment from Smedvig Capital, a current investor in Mediamorph. The company expects to close the Series B round with the participation of one to two additional investors in the near future.

“Mediamorph is a high-growth company that provides software solutions that are vital for managing digital distribution within the M&E industry,” said Ankur Prakash, Vice President of Liberty Global Ventures. “As digital viewing continues to boom globally and management of content rights becomes increasingly complex, Mediamorph has rapidly become a critical component for leading M&E companies. Liberty Global Ventures invests in companies which provide high strategic value to the cable industry and we are looking forward to working closely with Mediamorph”.

“This round will help us invest in our data management platform and bring on key hires to further scale our business,” said Rob Gardos, CEO of Mediamorph. “Liberty Global Ventures is the perfect partner given its expertise in our space and track record of success.” Gardos, who joined Mediamorph in July, is one of two recent significant hires. Joining as Mediamorph’s CFO is Kent Jarvi. His 30 year career includes CFO stints at a variety of technology companies including, Knoa Software, Liazon Corporation, Ejasent, Driveway and GridApp Systems.

Smedvig Capital announces sale of Exchange Group to Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG)

By Rob Toms

We are pleased to announce the sale of Exchange Group to Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG). Pertemps People Development Group is an active player in skills and employability training. PPDG delivers an extensive portfolio of employment and skills programmes that help individuals to realise their potential, together with a tailored recruitment service that supports businesses in their growth and development.

Smedvig Capital initially invested in the business in 2003. During the 11 years of our investment, we have supported the team with their targets for growth across the UK and will realise an IRR of over 20% on the sale.

Rob Toms, a Managing Director at Smedvig Capital commented “PPDG is well placed to continue the excellent work done by the team at Exchange Group over recent years, making a real difference to individuals’ career prospects and a valuable contribution to the UK economy.”

Smedvig Capital invests in Seedcamp

Smedvig Capital are delighted to announce our investment in Seedcamp, Europe’s leading seed investment and acceleration fund. With a portfolio of over 120 start-up companies, it provides seed money ($25K-$250K), mentorship, office space and support over the life of an early stage start-up.

We are delighted to join the existing group of Venture Capital firms and angel investors who have also invested in the accelerator, and to be involved in such a core area of the start-up community.

Seedcamp co-founder Reshma Sohoni commented, “We are really excited to have Smedvig Capital as investors in Seedcamp. We fundamentally believe more billion dollar businesses from Europe will emerge the more we work together and pull the best investors together. Smedvig’s focus across UK and Nordics around fast growing businesses and their track record means our Seedcamp companies have a proven investor they can learn and raise money from, along with other world class capital.”

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