Mosaic Smart Data secures £6.87 million Series A investment co-led by Octopus Ventures and Commerz Ventures

29 April 2019: J.P. Morgan joins CommerzVentures and Octopus Ventures in USD 9 million fundraising round for the real-time capital markets data analytics firm.

Mosaic Smart Data, the real-time capital markets data analytics company, has completed an USD 9 million investment round to support its rapid product development and global expansion.

The round is co-led by CommerzVentures and Octopus Ventures and includes J.P. Morgan – an existing investor and client.

Daily trading activity in the capital markets generates vast quantities of raw transaction and pricing data. Institutions are increasingly looking to extract the value from this, largely untapped, data asset. Annual spending on data analytics and market data has now grown to over USD 30.5 billion a year.Being able to refine this raw data and distil it into meaningful ‘Smart Data’, where value can be extracted in the form of actionable insights, is a significant challenge that all market participants face, but success offers a proven and compelling competitive advantage for both buy-side and sell-side.

Mosaic Smart Data’s solution cleanses, normalizes and enriches this raw data and provides a consolidated real-time view and analysis across the flows of market activity. Mosaic’s advanced suite of machine learning models identify and alert the user to opportunities and threats, generating actionable insights specific to user job functions from sales and trading to management and compliance.

The firm provides analytics technology suitable for investment banks, buy-side firms, custodians, ECN’s, exchanges and regulators.

Heiko Schwender, Principal at CommerzVentures, said: “Data analytics is becoming an integral part of every industry and the capital markets are no different. We will soon be at a position where it is a prerequisite for performance in the markets. This presents a huge opportunity for Mosaic Smart Data, which has built a platform which sets the gold standard for capital markets analytics. We are thrilled to be part of Mosaic Smart Data’s journey.”

Warren Rabin, Co-Head of Global Macro Sales and Marketing at J.P. Morgan, said: “Today’s financial markets are awash in data at a scale never seen before, but what really drives performance is being able to extract truly actionable insights from that data in real-time. Tools like this that quickly make sense of vast data sets are changing the way our teams respond and operate and are going to become a differentiating factor for banks as they look to add value in their client discussions.”

Zihao Xu, Future of Money lead & early stage investor at Octopus Ventures, said: “One of the most exciting applications of artificial intelligence is combining it with human intelligence to create something which is more than the sum of its parts. Mosaic Smart Data’s machine learning models surface data insights that even the best human quant may not spot, delivering them to staff in a way which lets them act immediately. That is a powerful combination to drive productivity and performance across FICC markets globally.”

Matthew Hodgson, CEO and Founder of Mosaic Smart Data, said: “Mosaic Smart Data’s mission is to empower financial market professionals with usable, data-driven tools to ask the questions they need answered and to receive those results in a language they can understand. We want them to feel as though they have the firm’s best quant sitting at their desk 24/7, able to answer any question they have almost instantly. That is the power of smart data analytics.

“This is a mission which is driving incredible interest among the world’s leading financial institutions. With the support of these investors, we’ll be able to take full advantage of the opportunity, accelerating deployment of the Mosaic Smart Data platform for clients and ensuring we keep the platform at the cutting edge of data analytics R&D and smart data technology.”

The Plum Guide raises £14 million led by Talis Capital

London, 21 March 2019 – The Plum Guide has raised £14m from some of Europe’s leading early-stage investors to support its ambitious rollout to 12 new cities this year. Known as the “Michelin Guide for Homes”, The Plum Guide differs from mass market booking platforms by selecting only the top 1% of properties in any city to feature on its site. By the end of 2019 it expects to offer almost 12,000 verified homes in the most sought-after cities for holiday rentals, with 100 new hires being made to support its growth ambitions.

The latest funding round is led by Talis Capital, with participation from Latitude and Hearst Ventures, as well as Octopus Ventures – who led the Series A funding round.

The Plum Guide uses hospitality industry experts to vet every property in person and applies a scientific Plum Guide test – which covers 150 points from proximity to cafes and transport, to speed of WiFi – when selecting which homes to feature. Since launching in London in 2015, The Plum Guide has achieved year-on-year growth of three times revenues, for three years’ running. In 2018, it added homes in five new cities to the platform and saw repeat bookings jump 27% after it opened in Paris, its second location after London. The key to its success has been customer referrals, which drive a quarter of all bookings.

“We are on a mission to build a marketplace of the world’s most beautiful holiday homes. This isn’t some vague qualitative ambition. We mean it. We are taking a systematic and obsessive approach to vetting every single home on the planet and accepting only the top 1%,” Doron Meyassed, Founder and CEO of The Plum Guide, said.

The Plum Guide was founded to solve the problem of inconsistent quality, encountered by anyone booking a vacation rental online. Most open marketplaces rely on peer-to-peer review systems to judge quality, but standards vary hugely in reality. The Plum Guide instead uses a rigorous testing approach that aims to guarantee consistent quality every time.

It uses a proprietary algorithm to find the highest rated and best located homes in a city. Expert hospitality critics from The Plum Guide then visit each home to interview the host and meticulously test the property. Ultimately, only 1 out of every 100 properties in each city is invited to join the collection.

The approach has resonated with a lucrative customer segment of mature affluent individuals, who make up the majority of Plum’s 1.3 million global user base. “Most rental platforms are trying to get as many people as possible to use their site. We are clearly targeting a highly discerning group of affluent professionals that live in global megacities, love to travel and value great design, quality and locations,” says Meyassed. “Previously they have stayed away from the open marketplace booking platforms, which they consider too risky compared with the reassurance that a hotel provides.”

The Plum Guide has innovated relentlessly on meeting the needs of this customer, through a unique mix of expert property curation, impartial and trustworthy vetting processes and outstanding customer service through its team of MatchMakers. It has achieved customer satisfaction scores that outperform industry peers in a sector notorious for over-promising but under-delivering.

Matus Maar, Managing Partner and Co Founder at Talis Capital, said: “The consumer market has entered into an age of curation where data, ratings and reviews need to be carved into useful information to support buying decisions. We see huge value in businesses and teams that create a competitive advantage by being strategically data driven. The Plum Guide has something very special and customers are already showing amazing loyalty for its hand-picked and meticulously-vetted holiday rentals. In Doron, we have also found a determined, highly ambitious and creative entrepreneur with a track record of building a successful business that competes at the very highest levels.”

Megumi Ikeda, managing director Hearst Ventures, said: “The Plum Guide appeals strongly to the affluent, discriminating traveller as we have seen in its impressive growth in the last three years. Endorsement from professional critics and experts has always been worth having and holiday accommodation is no exception to this rule. As The Plum Guide adds more cities, it will become even more useful to the customer base who are already convinced by its rigorous approach to vetting properties.”

George Henry, partner at LocalGlobe, said: ““Travel and accommodation continues to be a fast-growing market but the supply has become incredibly fragmented, especially in the p2p market. As consumer travel has always suffered from a very low NPS, we believe that a differentiated brand offering a more hands-on service powered by expert curation and data is going to continue to deliver a very unique experience. We are excited to be able to follow on our seed investment in The Plum Guide, which has a keen understanding and eye for detail of what is possible as it rolls out its highly-selective, highly targeted product across new cities and countries.”

Zihao Xu, Early Stage Investor at Octopus Ventures, commented: “The more cities The Plum Guide is in the better it will be for all its customers. We’re excited to continue supporting Doron and the team in taking the company truly global, and building out their vision of what an iconic hospitality brand in the 21st century should be.”

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Contact: sayula@burlington.cc

About The Plum Guide: The Plum Guide is a curated collection of the best holiday rentals available in leading international cities. Listing in London, Los Angeles, Paris, Milan, Rome and New York. The Plum Guide rigorously tests and handpicks only the cream of the crop of rental properties so that customers need never worry about their travel accommodation. For beautiful holiday homes, see: www.plumguide.com

About Talis Capital: Talis Capital is a venture capital investment firm that takes smart money from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and business people and invests it strategically in early stage technology companies with global potential. Talis has invested over $500m worth of transactions since 2009 and the portfolio includes Darktrace, Onfido, iwoca, Pirate Studios, Luminance, Ynsect and Oh My Green. Focused on building long-term partnerships, Talis leverages its network to give some of the world’s most innovative startups opportunity to thrive. For more see www.taliscapital.com.

About Hearst Ventures: Hearst Ventures is a global investment group that makes strategic investments in fast-growing companies in the media and technology sectors. Since its initial investment in Netscape in 1995, the group has grown to become one of the most active and successful corporate venture funds, with more than $1 billion in strategic investments in companies including BuzzFeed, E Ink, Hootsuite, Pandora, Roku, Via and XM Satellite Radio. Visit http://www.hearst.com/ventures.

About LocalGlobe: LocalGlobe is a UK-based venture capital firm that focuses on seed investments. Seeding ambitious UK founders since 1999 including Transferwise, Zoopla, Improbable, Citymapper, Algolia and Robinhood. Visit https://localglobe.vc/.

About Octopus Ventures: Octopus Ventures, part of Octopus Group, is a leading European venture capital firm that helps pioneering entrepreneurs change the world by taking ideas from inception to international scale-up. Where there is change there is huge entrepreneurial opportunity, particularly in three key areas; industry, money and health. We’ve refined our focus towards these specialisms to discover the next generation of innovators. Octopus Ventures is headquartered in London and New York, with Venture Partners in San Francisco, Shanghai and Singapore who offer exclusive insight and advice to our portfolio companies looking to expand into new markets. Octopus Ventures has supported over 70 outstanding entrepreneurs that are leading the way in disrupting their industries. Companies backed in recent years include allplants, Elvie, Depop, Big Health, graze.com, Eve, Magic Pony, Secret Escapes, Sofar Sounds, Swiftkey, Swoon Editions, tails.com and Zoopla Property Group. Octopus is a group of companies that are experts in start-ups, renewable energy and healthcare infrastructure. Octopus Group currently manage more than £8.5 billion on behalf of our customers. Octopus Energy, Octopus Healthcare, Octopus Investments, Octopus Labs, Octopus Property and Octopus Ventures are all part of Octopus Group. Visit octopusgroup.com.

Retail automation platform Veeqo raises £3.3 million Series A investment led by Octopus Investments

London, UK: Veeqo, the retail automation platform that helps retailers sync their inventory across multiple sales channels and fulfil customer orders, has raised a £3.3m growth investment from the Development Capital team at Octopus Investments. They join existing investors, Daniel McPherson and New Look founder Tom Singh, along with equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs, in supporting the company through this next stage of rapid growth.

This latest round of fundraising will be used to further Veeqo’s dominant position in the UK market, and to expand into the USA. Veeqo’s growth strategy will be driven by a mix of inbound marketing, outbound sales and strategic channel partnerships to cement its position as the leading, all-in-one inventory and fulfillment software for the retail market.

Every year, the Veeqo platform powers over 31 million shipments by its user base. Hundreds of retail brands such as Brompton Bikes, Maidenhead Aquatics and Dove already use Veeqo to fulfil ecommerce orders to customers all over the world, with one Veeqo retailer shipping up to 10,000 orders a day during their peak season.

With its head office based in Swansea, South Wales, and additional offices in London & Bishkek, Veeqo will be expanding with a US team based in North America later in 2019 – becoming one of the only companies founded in Wales to boast a truly global footprint.

Matt Warren, CEO and Founder of Veeqo said:
“I’m passionate about building a global tech company from our home here in Wales. We’re the first Welsh company to raise a growth investment of this size, and it’s fantastic to be working with Octopus – one of the most well-regarded investment firms in London. With the High Street facing increasing challenges day-by-day, retailers selling omnichannel have an opportunity to grow at an astonishing rate and Veeqo can help them achieve that goal.”

Richard Court, Head of Development Capital at Octopus Investments said:
“Veeqo has a very exciting proposition and we’re delighted to be able to support this next phase of growth. The platform Matt and his team have created is market leading, providing SME ecommerce retailers with a strong back-end platform to manage their orders. As a result, Veeqo is positioned well to dominate the UK market and expand further into the USA. We look forward to working with the team and helping them deliver on their ambitious growth plans.”

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About Veeqo

At Veeqo, we are on a mission to help retail brands provide the best experience to their customers everywhere. Our software helps retailers pick, pack and ship a high volume of orders to customers all over the world, and our omnichannel inventory and order management functionality keeps stock levels across multiple warehouses accurate & reliable.

Veeqo’s barcode scanning hardware provides digital picking and packing capabilities that result in a paperless warehouse where every order is shipped quickly and accurately. This, along with advanced software and smartphone apps are providing enterprise-level inventory and shipping functionality to retailers of any size.

About Octopus

Octopus Investments, part of the Octopus Group, is an award-winning, fast-growing investment business dedicated to delivering quality services and products to financial advisers and investors across the UK. We offer a broad portfolio ranging from tax-efficient investments to multi-manager funds, UK smaller company investing, cash management solutions and peer to peer lending. At Octopus we champion the value of financial advice and passionately believe that more people and their families could benefit from financial planning. We want to change the world of investments by offering a straight-talking approach, exceptional customer service and a range of products that aim to do what they say they will.

Octopus is a group of companies that invests in the people, ideas and industries that will help to change the world. We are experts in smaller companies, renewable energy and healthcare infrastructure. We currently manage more than £8.5 billion on behalf of our customers. Octopus Energy, Octopus Healthcare, Octopus Investments, Octopus Wealth, Octopus Property and Octopus Ventures are all part of Octopus Group. Visit www.octopusgroup.com.