VenturesOne Announces Investment In Children’s Smartwatch & Edutainment Company, Rebel Cactus

VenturesOne Announces Investment In Children’s Smartwatch & Edutainment Company, Rebel Cactus

The Hague, 4 September 2020. VenturesOne is delighted to announce an investment in Rebel Cactus, the Dutch leader in children’s smartwatches. Established in 2013, the edutainment company builds smartwatches and provides content that promotes fun learning and holistic development. It gives children the independence to go out into the world without their parents — while at the same time — provides parents the security of knowing their children are safe and connected to them.

With an increasing number of technologies at their disposal, the amount of time spent by children playing outside is decreasing, which has demonstrated negative consequences for their development. Rebel Cactus represents the proof that technology can be the creative solution to this challenge, providing an easy, yet controlled, introduction to smartphones for children. 

Helmed by Michael Greve and Annemarie Greve, the idea for Rebel Cactus sprung from their unmet need of staying connected with their own children. Armed with values of adventure, creativity and learning by doing, they created Rebel Cactus with the objective of increasing children’s confidence and self-support by giving them the freedom to discover the outside world in a secure way.

Rebel Cactus differentiate themselves from competitors with a unique content strategy. “As parents, we realized that fun is the key to learning for kids”, says Annemarie Greve, Rebel Cactus’ Head of Sales and Marketing. They plan on launching their proprietary Rebel Cactus Playstore in early 2021, wherein children (or parents) can adjust content to their age and interests – making Rebel Cactus relevant for every new and exciting phase of their development.

This investment announcement coincides with the launch of Rebel Cactus’ newest smartwatch — the Rebel Cactus Play — which includes GPS, Geofencing, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, camera, chat, video calling and ‘cool down’ (limiting usage during school hours or other pre-defined time periods) functionalities. Emphasizing usability and customizability, the Rebel Cactus Play watches are kidsproof, waterproof and come with stylish and easily-interchangeable straps. The smartwatches also support popular apps like Whatsapp, Spotify, Instagram, apart from containing a host of regularly updated smart and educational games.

On the topic of why they chose to invest in Rebel Cactus, Edward de Jager, VenturesOne CEO said: “Children are now the most tech savvy of all age groups. A smartwatch like Rebel Cactus gives them the best of technology on their wrist and encourages them to enjoy the outdoors while simultaneously giving their parents the confidence of always being connected – we’re delighted to be investing in a company that is creating such a positive edutainment impact!”

Annemarie Greve, Rebel Cactus’ Head of Marketing and Sales said “We are excited and very happy to be part of the Ventures One family. We share the same aspirations, business minds and a never-ending appetite for success. Backed up and supported by the VenturesOne network, their knowledge and skills, together we are equipped to further shape and execute Rebel Cactus’ content strategy and kids smartwatch over the coming years and become a leading player within Europe”.

Order a Rebel Cactus Play for your child now – early bird pre-sale for only 89,95 euro (normal price 119,95 euro), with delivery in October!

Relevant Links:

Rebel Cactus Webshop www.rebelcactus.com

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rebel_cactus/?hl=nl

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rebelcactus

Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/company/10210274

For all media enquiries:

Rayhaan Imam

Communications – VenturesOne

rayhaanimam@venturesone.com

(+31) 0 633 477 292

VenturesOne kondigt investering aan in LuxuryHotelCompany

VenturesOne kondigt investering aan in LuxuryHotelCompany

Om dit verhaal in het Engels te lezen, klik hier.

Den Haag, 17 Augustus 2020. VenturesOne is verheugd haar investering aan te kondigen in het in Amsterdam gevestigde short stay hotel en reisplatform LuxuryHotelCompany. LuxuryHotelCompany, een oplossing voor het boeken van overcapaciteit voor luxe hotels, maakt daarbij gebruik van intelligente datagestuurde marketingtechnieken om hotels te matchen met gastenprofielen. Hun aanpak zorgt ervoor dat hotels on-demand en het hele jaar door kunnen worden gereserveerd, terwijl ze tegelijkertijd klanten met sterk gereduceerde en op maat gemaakte luxe ervaringen bieden. Dit jaar hebben ze hotellidmaatschappen getest op basis van omzet en winst en maken ze zich op voor een update van hun platform in de komende maanden.

De overcapaciteitsoplossing van LuxuryHotelCompany is momenteel actief in Nederland, Duitsland en België en wordt gebruikt door gevestigde hotelketens zoals Marriott, DoubleTree Hilton, Bilderberg, Intercontinental en Crowne Plaza, maar ook door gevestigde stand-alone kwaliteitshotels zoals het iconische Kurhaus Hotel in Den Haag.

De investering van VenturesOne in de oplossing voor kort verblijf van LuxuryHotelCompany komt op een moment dat COVID-19 de vraag naar internationale langeafstandsreizen tot bijna nihil heeft teruggebracht. Het is de verwachting dat binnenlandse reizen in deze periode sterk zullen groeien en de unieke waardepropositie van LuxuryHotelCompany voor zowel klanten als hotels stelt hen in staat om van deze situatie te profiteren.

CEO Jan Wegenaar vertelt over het oorsprongsgedachte waaruit LuxuryHotelCompany in 2015 is ontstaan: “We begrepen dat lege kamers een zee van mogelijkheden betekende als je ze combineerde met sterke marketingkennis. Geld verdienen door leegstand was de belangrijkste gedachte bij het bouwen van onze oplossing. ” Hij vervolgt: “Met onze oplossing kunnen we in deze periode inspelen op de shortstay-trend. Aangezien het bedrijf eenvoudig schaalbaar is, staan ​​we klaar om ons aanbod uit te breiden en pakketten voor een langer verblijf te ontwikkelen wanneer het internationale reizen weer aantrekt. Als dynamische en wendbare organisatie zijn we in staat om snel te schakelen en aan te passen naargelang de vraag- en aanbodsituaties in de markten waarin we actief zijn ”.

In een branche die bekend is aan het ontbreken van loyale klanten, is LuxuryHotelCompany een uitzondering. Met een groot percentage terugkerende gasten belonen ze dagelijks klanten voor hun loyaliteit met unieke aanbiedingen. Bovendien benadrukt hun niet-gemanipuleerde ‘Uitstekend’ beoordeling op de site met consumentenrecensies, Trustpilot (5700+ recensies) hun aandacht voor detail en focus op het creëren van bijzondere reiservaringen.

Waarom gekozen is om samen te werken met VenturesOne, zegt Jan Wegenaar: “De mensen achter VenturesOne zijn vrije geesten en ondernemers met hetzelfde DNA als wij – ze denken anders. Waar anderen problemen zien, creëren ze groeikansen. Dat vind ik leuk!”.

Hans Peddemors, directeur van VenturesOne Group zei: “Met een innovatief bedrijfsmodel, sterke financiële resultaten en een visionair managementteam heeft LuxuryHotelCompany aan alle criteria voldaan voor VenturesOne om in te investeren. Doordat internationale langeafstandsreizen die te lijden hebben onder de mondiale situatie, we zijn ervan overtuigd dat binnenlandse luxe reisorganisaties zoals LuxuryHotelCompany een groter aandeel van de reizigersmarkt zullen veroveren ”.

In een reactie op wat hij verwach dat deze investering zal opleveren, zegt Hans: “Na het succes van LuxuryHotelCompany in Nederland sinds hun lancering, zal de investering van VenturesOne hen in staat stellen hun team uit te breiden met bekwame professionals en hun diensten in Europa verder op te schalen. Hierdoor kunnen meer reizigers genieten van hun unieke aanbod ”. Jan Wegenaar vult aan: “We hebben de afgelopen 2 jaar aan een nieuw platform gebouwd en. Zijn bijna klaar om te lanceren. Blijf kijken!”

Voor Media:

Rayhaan Imam

rayhaanimam@venturesone.com

(+31) 633 477 292

VenturesOne announces investment in LuxuryHotelCompany

VenturesOne announces investment in LuxuryHotelCompany

To read this story in Dutch, click here.

The Hague, 17 August 2020. VenturesOne is delighted to announce its investment in Amsterdam-based short stay hotel and travel platform, LuxuryHotelCompany. An overcapacity booking solution for luxury hotels, LuxuryHotelCompany utilizes intelligent data-driven marketing techniques to match hotels with guest profiles. Their approach gives hotels reservations on-demand and year-round, while simultaneously providing customers with highly discounted and tailor made luxury experiences. This year, they have been testing hotel memberships based on revenue and profit and are gearing up for an update to their platform in the coming months.

Currently operating in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, LuxuryHotelCompany’s overcapacity solution is already being used by established hotel chains like Marriott, DoubleTree Hilton, Bilderberg, Intercontinental and Crowne Plaza, as well as established standalone quality hotels like the iconic Kurhaus Hotel in The Hague. 

VenturesOne’s investment in LuxuryHotelCompany’s short stay solution comes at a time when COVID-19 has seen the demand for long-haul international travel trickle down to almost zero. There is an industry-wide expectation that domestic, short-haul travel will flourish in this period and LuxuryHotelCompany’s unique value proposition to both customers and hotels put them in a healthy position to capitalize on this phenomenon. 

Speaking on the idea that gave birth to the concept of LuxuryHotelCompany in 2015, CEO Jan Wegenaar recalls: “We understood that empty rooms meant a sea of possibilities when you combined them with strong marketing knowledge. Making money out of ‘emptiness’ was the key thought when we were building our solution.” He continues, “Our solution allows us to capitalize on the short stay trend during this period. But as the business is easily scalable, when international travel picks up again, we will be ready to expand our offerings and design longer stay packages. As an active and agile organization, we’re able to switch and bend rapidly according to the supply and demand situations in the markets we operate in”.

In an industry that is notorious for its lack of loyal consumer bases, LuxuryHotelCompany is an anomaly. With a large percentage of recurring guests, they reward customers for their loyalty with unique offers and deals on a daily basis. Furthermore, their non-manipulated ‘Excellent’ rating on consumer review site,Trustpilot (5700+ reviews and counting) highlights their attention to detail and focus on creating memorable travel experiences.

On the topic of why they chose to partner with VenturesOne, Jan Wegenaar comments: “The people behind VenturesOne are free minds and businesspeople with the same DNA as us – they think differently. Where others see problems, they create growth opportunities. I like that!”.

Hans Peddemors, Director of VenturesOne Group said: “With an innovative business model, strong financials and a visionary management team, LuxuryHotelCompany checked all the right boxes for VenturesOne to invest in. With long haul international travel set to suffer due to the global situation, we’re convinced that domestic luxury travel companies like LuxuryHotelCompany will gain an even larger share of the traveler market”. 

Commenting on what he hopes this investment will accomplish, Hans says: “After LuxuryHotelCompany’s success in the Netherlands since their launch, VenturesOne’s investment will enable them to expand their team with highly skilled professionals and scale their services in Europe, allowing more travelers to enjoy their unique offerings”. Jan Wegenaar adds, “We have been building a new platform for the last 2 years. Somewhere in-between a busy commercial schedule, we’re almost ready to launch. Stay tuned!”

For Media Enquiries:

Rayhaan Imam

rayhaanimam@venturesone.com

(+31) 633 477 292

VenturesOne Announces Investment in On-demand Coffee Supplier, Wakuli

VenturesOne Announces Investment in On-demand Coffee Supplier, Wakuli

The Hague, April 29 2020. VenturesOne is delighted to announce its investment in Wakuli, alongside informal investors (including impact entrepreneur Arnoud Aalbersberg (Travel Health Group, known by brand ‘Care Plus’) in a seed round totaling €500,000. Wakuli is an on-demand supplier of freshly roasted specialty coffee from around the world that are reimagining the coffee supply chain by eliminating traditional retail middlemen.

Wakuli’s roots lie in Tanzania where Yorick Bruins was an agri-consultant for over three years working closely together with coffee farmers all over East Africa. Partnering with Lukas Grosfeld, he started Wakuli to right the wrongs he saw in the coffee value chain. The now-Amsterdam-based scale-up has an ambitious goal of reaching one million subscribers in the next five years as they create a positive social and environmental impact.

By directly sourcing coffee from farmers, Wakuli (‘wakulima’ means farmers in Swahili) is able to give farmers a fair price, paying them over 2–3 x more than typical supermarket brand coffee brands – Wakuli pays farmers an average of € 3.80 per kilo of coffee beans, close to double the worldwide market price of € 2.20.

By offering a lighter roast and shipping their coffee on demand through their innovative my.wakuli platform, Wakuli ensures their products are significantly fresher tasting than store bought competitors. Both grounded beans, whole beans as bio-compostable pods are now available. Wakuli’s credo is ‘creating shared value’: this means value for both coffee drinkers and farmers, rather than focusing on only one. 

Lukas Grosfeld, Co-Founder of Wakuli, commented: “In VenturesOne we found a partner that shares both our idealistic belief that entrepreneurship can change society for the better, as our ambitious belief that our model can scale nationally and internationally to become a new force to be reckoned with in the coffee sector”. On plans for the future, he added “2019 was a year of piloting and testing our model and from now on we are in full scaling mode. This means growing to at least 15,000 subscribers in 2020 and launching new coffee products every couple of months.”

Vanessa Onnes, Director at VenturesOne Europe said: “VenturesOne’s investment in Wakuli is consistent with our strategy of partnering with promising start and scale-ups that are challenging conventional status-quos in their industries and are building sustainable ventures. Lukas Grosfeld and Yorick Bruins are doing exactly that by bringing freshly roasted specialty coffee direct from the farmers through your letterbox. Each box lets you discover the origin and story behind your cup of coffee and shows a breakdown of the fair price they pay to farmers, thus creating ‘shared value’.”

She adds: “Wakuli also aim to reduce plastic waste in this sector and have recently introduced bio-compostable coffee pods which are compatible with Nespresso® machines. With remote working on the increase for the foreseeable future quality coffee at home is a must-have. We very much look forward to support Wakuli’s mission and scaling up efforts throughout the Netherlands and the EU.”

Relevant links:

Wakuli Business Insider Feature Article.

ASN Bank Sustainable Coffee Overview – Wakuli adjudged a Top 5 Most Sustainable Coffee.

More information on Wakuli can be found on their website.

Image: Wakuli

VenturesOne and LIOF Announce Funding For Paztir B.V.

 

VenturesOne and LIOF Announce Funding For Paztir B.V.

 

 

bert Ottevanger (World Startup Factory), Ralph Hunnekens (LIOF), Edward de Jager (Ventures One), Hans Peddemors (Ventures One), Andrej Sobotkiewicz (Paztir) singing the partnership contract

 

 

VenturesOne together with Limburg-based regional development company, LIOF, has announced the venture capital co-investment in Light Electric Vehicle intelligence provider, Paztir. Established in 2017, the Limburg-headquartered scale-up provides access management, lock automation and vehicle tracking for cargo-bikes in urban delivery. 

 

VenturesOne’s co-investment in Paztir will be done through VenturesOne Investments B.V. – a joint venture with VenturesOne and the European Angels Fund, part of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group. The Director of VenturesOne, Hans Peddemors commented: “Our co-funding of Paztir is in line with our strategy to support and invest in future technologies. Paztir provides logical and sensible solutions to fleet management of delivery E-bikes. Because of this, we believe that Paztir holds the keys to the future of delivery – not just in the Netherlands, but all over the world”. 

 

VenturesOne’s Founder and CEO, Edward de Jager believes that the investment “… was also motivated by Paztir’s excellent management team and the scalability of their products and solutions. We believe that Paztir can create a great impact and help make urban logistics more sustainable”, he adds.

 

Paztir is a portfolio startup of VenturesOne’s own portfolio investment, World Startup Factory. They graduated from World Startup Factory’s Impact Accelerator 2 Program in 2017. Gerrit Jan van ‘t Veen (CEO World Startup Factory): “Right from the start, Paztir stood out with their agile customer development and very practical technical innovations”. Soon after, LIOF raised a seed investment in Paztir in May 2017. This co-investment with VenturesOne is LIOF’s third investment into Paztir, in line with their mission to ensure the strengthening of the economic structure and small business scene in Limburg. 

 

‘We’re happy to have found good partners for the investment, we believe that they can help us bring Paztir to the next level because that’s where we need to go” said Paztir CEO, Andrej Sobotkiewicz. He concluded, “Back to work now, the first step is done. On to the next one!”. 

 

 

 

How to approach a VC on LinkedIn

How to Approach a VC on LinkedIn

 

by Rafael Aldon and Yasanhalari

 

Approaching a VC can seem a little daunting at first, so here is our quick primer for entrepreneurs who are setting out to raise funds for a start-up business.

LinkedIn, Yes LinkedIn

Now owned by Microsoft, LinkedIn is a treasure-trove for business opportunities and a platform to find investors. It boasts over 467 million members worldwide according to the stats from Statistica. It is the number one preferred channel for business connections. Simply put- it is a reservoir of potential investor contacts.

Super-swamped!

VCs are typically inundated with daily requests from start-up founders on LinkedIn, so quickly establishing trust and credibility is crucial when approaching them. A good profile goes a long way towards bringing you closer to your goal so make sure you have all the hygiene factors in place. For example, a professional looking headshot as a profile picture rather than your company logo, it sounds obvious but many people fail at this first simple hurdle.

Avoid using boastful statements in your profile that you can’t back up with evidence as this will send alarm bells ringing.  You want to appear confident rather than arrogant. Ask for some feedback on your profile from trusted contacts first before you go crazy with the connect button. It will pay off!

Purpose of pitching

First things first, remember the purpose of pitching your business to a VC is not just to get some M-O-N-E-Y. VC’s are of course looking for great businesses that will deliver exceptional returns but the process isn’t transactional. Professional investors build long-term relationships with Founders so, enter with the mindset of creating a fruitful journey together and a mutually beneficial partnership. Marriage is not something that should be entered into lightly and you will be (effectively) married to your investor, so choose wisely!  

 

 

Look for connections

Before you contact any VC, check if you have any second- or third-degree connections who work at VC firms and request them if they can introduce you to the VC you want to approach as this will get you to the next level, a lot quicker. An introduction through a mutual contact can certainly launch you to a preferred position on the email mud pile.

And if you’re not connected at all, don’t fret. You can still initiate a contact.

Have your Investor Facing Deck ready…

Things can sometimes move quickly, so make sure you have the docs ready to go that an investor will expect to see in order to understand your business:

 

  • One page teaser pdf– a high-level overview of the business outlining market opportunity and how you are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this. Ensure you outline how much you are raising and what you need it for and think about how you can get a VC excited to know more. VC’s are often visual orientated so think about how you can avoid large amounts of text and use charts etc effectively.

 

  • Investor Slide Deck – Approx 10-20 slides that provide all the details on your team, value proposition, business model, product secret-sauce and projected returns etc. There are some great examples out there so do some research and ensure your deck is polished.

 

  • Financial Projections – This excel document will be how you arrived at the revenue and profit projections in the Investor Deck and should show past performance by year along with 3-5 years of the forecast. A VC will likely want to dive into these numbers to test your assumptions and in doing so understand how realistic your forecast is.

 

HOLD YOUR FIRE– Do not bombard a VC with all these docs at once. The focus is on getting face time to build rapport but having these documents ready to go will prevent you having to stall while you rush to make them.

Know Your Target

Study the VC firm you are trying to reach and try to find out who the ‘right’ person you need to be in touch with.

Most VCs are active on LinkedIn, sharing their stories and insights so, take the time to scour their profiles, posts and portfolio companies to understand their investment approach. Since most VCs will outline their areas of investment interest like Fintech, Telecom, Retail, Tech etc, and the stage they invest (Seed, Series A etc) this helps in sifting through the options.

Every VC will have their own approach and investment thesis. Make sure you decide whether your pitch is data driven or concept focused. If it’s a data pitch (which means you have traction, customers, revenue etc) you’ll need to highlight the ‘good data’ and if it’s a concept one, be sure to highlight your ‘vision’ and how you plan to achieve it.

This wealth of information gives you the privileged access to knowledge that will enable you to engage with the right VC. Use this info wisely because we only get one chance to make a first impression.

Don’t be afraid to say HELLO

ALWAYS send a personalised connection request. A VC is likely to reject you if you don’t.  

Put in that extra effort to frame a personalised message, because when someone is swamped with requests every day, it is very easy to bypass messages that aren’t focused.  

 

 

Short and sweet

Never think for one second that longer is better. Remember that you’re not going to collect your venture-capital funding from your first message but it may land you a meeting or call. Hence, your first introductory message should be short but compelling enough to make way for the second stage. Once your connection is accepted a quick thank you and a well-worded intro with your one-page teaser doc should be enough.

Don’t be shy to follow-up

If your messages are met with radio silence, be sure that we’ve had our nose to the grindstone.

Follow-up if you haven’t received any response but do not send a follow-up email every day.  According to HubSpot, here are some suggested time frames for follow up emails based on various use cases:

1-2 Weeks

Follow up on a meeting request or after no response regarding a job offer.

Every 3 Months

To catch up with a connection.

Cultivate relationships

Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, so are partnerships. Build relationships with VCs even if they didn’t invest. Don’t be disheartened instead, learn from every interaction.

Nurture the relationship and stay on their radar as it can potentially lead to something else like a referral to other potential investors because, remember, VCs have significant networks of influential industry leaders.

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We, at VenturesOne, are always keen to hear from you and if there are specific topics you would like us to cover, please feel free to connect with us. If you find this useful, please share!

 

Geospatial Insight announces investment from VenturesOne Investments and Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund

Geospatial Insight Announces Investment from VenturesOne Investments and Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund

 

Geospatial Insight, a leader in visual intelligence derived from geospatial big-data, today announced a £3.5m growth equity investment from Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund and VenturesOne Investments. The financing will be used to expand Geospatial Insight’s machine learning capabilities as well as fast-tracking additional product streams and visual intelligence customer solutions.

 


 

“We are delighted to receive investment through the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund and VenturesOne.”

 

David Fox, CEO of Geospatial Insight


 

The capital injection follows a Series A investment by VenturesOne, growth equity investors, completed in July 2017 and seed funding by Midven, the Birmingham based venture capital company, through the Exceed Partnership Fund in December 2014.

 


“The fund’s core mandate is to support high-quality, disruptive businesses with excellent management teams and Geospatial Insight represents a premier example.”

 

Bernard Fairman, Chairman, Foresight Group


 

Using a combination of machine learning, big data analytics and remote sensing techniques, Geospatial Insight provides evidence-based insights for improved decision making in a range of sectors including financial, trading markets and insurance.  This specialist skillset puts Geospatial Insight at the forefront of the explosion of geospatial data and machine learning development helping to deliver radically new insights into key events and trends around the world.

 


“Visual intelligence can provide a competitive edge and Geospatial Insight are positioned at the forefront to deliver on that promise.”

 

Rafael Aldon, director at VenturesOne and Non-Executive Director of Geospatial Insight


 

David Fox, CEO of Geospatial Insight, commented: “We are delighted to receive investment through the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund and VenturesOne. During the next 12 months, we will be strengthening our machine learning expertise and developing new customer propositions that better inform enterprise decision making.  By doing so we will also further extend our leading position in delivering business intelligence and analysis derived from satellite, aerial and drone imagery.”

Bernard Fairman, Chairman, Foresight Group, commented: “Geospatial Insight addresses global challenges and is a highly scalable business.  The fund’s core mandate is to support high-quality, disruptive businesses with excellent management teams and Geospatial Insight represents a premier example.”

Rafael Aldon, director at VenturesOne and Non-Executive Director of Geospatial Insight said:  “The addition of Foresight Williams EIS Fund is of strategic significance and signals to corporates that visual intelligence can provide a competitive edge and Geospatial Insight are positioned at the forefront to deliver on that promise.”