PROWLER.io completes £18.95 million Series B funding round at a $100m valuation

PROWLER.io completes funding round at $100m valuation
● British AI company successfully completes Series B funding round at a post-investment valuation of $100m. Backers, including Mandatum Life, Pearson, RB Capital, and Tencent, invested $24m.
● PROWLER.io’s generalised decision-making AI technology is being rolled out for deployment in financial services, logistics and education during 2019.
● This investment from a wide range of global and corporate strategic investors will accelerate the product development and application of VUKU, PROWLER.io’s decision-making platform built over the last three years.

Cambridge, UK, 20 May 2019 – PROWLER.io, the leading artificial intelligence platform for decision-making, has raised $24m from new and existing investors, valuing the company at $100m. The investors involved in the round include Amadeus Capital Partners, Atlantic Bridge, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Mandatum Life, Passion Capital, Pearson, RB Capital, SGInnovate, and Tencent.

These strategic partnerships and funds will be used to support PROWLER.io’s recent product expansion and growth, with the company continuing to expand into a wide range of industry verticals, including finance, logistics and education.

PROWLER.io continues to define the AI decision-making market, developing the world’s first technology that can help businesses and organisations make better decisions in processing dynamic, real-time data in complex and uncertain environments. PROWLER.io’s core platform, VUKU, is being applied to managing logistics decisions, allocating resources, and assisting financial decisions in asset management.

It is founded on a unique, integrated approach – combining branches of mathematics, engineering and economic theory. While traditional approaches to problem-solving often rely on machines learning from vast, historic data sets, PROWLER.io’s is data efficient, and learns in real-time. Based in Cambridge, one of the world’s leading centres of AI research, PROWLER.io has built a world-class team of mathematicians and engineers.

“This investment is a huge sign of confidence in our efforts to be at the forefront of how enterprises use machines,” commented Vishal Chatrath, CEO of PROWLER.io. “Having initially focused on developing our AI platform, we are excited to be expanding our product offering into new verticals, underscoring the flexibility and innovative nature of our core technology. We’re excited to be supporting global corporate and financial leaders like Mandatum Life, Pearson, RB Capital and Tencent with AI tools that enable people to make better decisions.”

Kishin RK, CEO of Singapore based RB Capital Group, said: “RB Capital has been making a number of strategic investments in cutting edge, transformational technologies that will revolutionise how we understand consumers in the business of real estate, hospitality and retail.

Implementation of the VUKU engine will ensure we lead efficiency, stay relevant and remain at the helm of emerging business and consumer trends.”

Dr Ling Ge, Chief European Representative at Tencent, said: “The UK is a global leader in AI and is increasingly becoming a focus for companies looking to invest in the sector. PROWLER.io’s data-efficient approach and focus on human-machine teaming really set it apart. We are looking forward to PROWLER.io applying its AI decision platform to a broadening range of customers, potentially including some of Tencent’s affiliate companies.”

Lauri Vaittinen, SVP at Mandatum Life added: “PROWLER.io is on its way to becoming a true enterprise AI platform — successfully expanding from its initial focus on financial services and logistics to apply its core AI technology to multiple adjacent market segments. We are confident that the strategic partners, alongside the existing funding support, will help the company accelerate practical implementations – including hiring more engineering talent, operational managers and reinforce the product development expertise.”

PROWLER.io was founded by mathematicians and engineers following years of research into machine intelligence, probability theory and multi-agent problems. Founded in 2016, it now has 110 employees from 29 countries.

Media Enquiries
PROWLER.io Brunswick Group
Tel: (+44) (0)20 7404 5959
E-mail: PROWLER@brunswickgroup.com
ENDS

About PROWLER.io
PROWLER.io’s mission is to help turn dynamic, real-time data into optimal decisions about business problems. Our AI-engine, VUKU, can process moving data in real time, adapt to uncertainty, act on sparse information and learn from experience. It is data efficient not data hungry, so does not need big data sets to be effective – and is designed to have broad application across multiple sectors. It has been built by a world-class team in Cambridge – combining mathematics, engineering and economic theory in
ways never undertaken before. We are committed to ensuring our AI is comprehensible and its outcomes can be trusted. Our goal is to ensure business is powered by people; empowered by AI.

Urban closes £8.45 million Series B investment led by ADV

On-demand wellness app Urban closes $10M Series B to double down on beauty and fitness.

Europe’s number one wellness services app, Urban, has raised a further $10M to double down on its mission of empowering city-dwellers to prioritise their wellbeing.

This latest round of investment comes at a time when the company is nearing profitability. Led by patient venture investor, Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV), it will enable Urban to accelerate towards its goal of becoming a one-stop shop for on-demand wellness services.

Existing investors Passion Capital and Felix Capital also participated. To support the expansion, Urban is in the process of recruiting a team of 30 engineers in Lithuania. “Our new Vilnius office will be instrumental in helping to evolve our service,” says Giles Williams, co-founder and CTO of Urban. “The Lithuania team will work on all aspects of our marketplace platform, including its award-winning client apps, practitioner business software, corporate offering and data science projects.”

In November 2018, the London-headquartered company expanded its on-demand services beyond massage to include osteopathy, facial, and nail services. These services have been widely embraced, with 80% of new service revenue driven by existing customers.

In a world where wellness means something different to everyone, Urban cuts through the noise. They make it easy for city-dwellers to take time for treatments that help them feel at their best, be it a rejuvenating facial or a deep tissue massage.

But rather than thinking of these things of one-off rewards, Urban conceives of them as an integral part of wellbeing, unlocking individual potential. That’s why, with more services in the pipeline, their goal is to be the go-to destination for the wellness needs of anyone who lives in a city.

Their philosophy aligns perfectly with major investor ADV, which prioritises longevity over short-term gains.

Lee Strafford, ADV’s CEO says: “Urban is building an ecosystem of wellness offerings for a modern society with a highly varied set of needs. We really like Urban’s vision of delivering on consumer needs while making wellness a better business for therapists on the platform. So we’re delighted to partner with the team as they execute on their ambition.”

Urban founder Jack Tang says: “We’re excited to partner with ADV in the next stage of our growth and ambition. ADV’s long-term investment philosophy aligns with our plans to grow sustainably and organically, improving our already robust unit economics.”

We have a super exciting roadmap ahead. Our newly expanded engineering team means we can empower even more wellness practitioners to build thriving, independent businesses with Urban.

Our goal is to become the one-stop shop for on-demand wellness services, and with the services we offer today, we’re just getting started.”

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Notes for editors
Key business highlights

  • Aug 2016 £3.5m Series A led by Felix Capital – unannounced as we focused on delivering the best experiences for our customers (therapists and end-users)
  • Sep 2016 Paris launch – third largest city market globally for wellness spend after NYC and London
  • Nov 2017 introduced £49 off-peak massage in a bid to reduce the barrier to wellness services
  • Feb 2018 Milk Beauty (at-home B2C) and Freauty (B2B) acquired to bolster our corporate wellness offering
  • May 2018 therapist ambassador scheme for UK and FR launched to ensure the community’s voice is well considered for any policy planning to deliver best-in-class experience for the professionals
  • Aug 2018 Seedrs crowdfunding raised £3.5m convertible note / advance subscription with 800+ new investors to help us shape the future and roadmap (majority of the investment was from current customers, therapists, staff and current VC backers)
  • Nov 2018 Urban massage rebrands as Urban, introducing osteopathy, nails and facial services, delivered in partnership with brands such as Dermalogica and Aveda
  • May 2019 Urban closes $10M Series B to double down on its mission of empowering city-dwellers to prioritise their wellbeing.

For more information, a quote or photography please contact press@urban.co

About Urban
Founded in 2014, Urban is an on-demand wellness app on a mission to empower people through wellbeing. At Urban, we believe that when you’re well, you’re better equipped to go after everything else in your life. It’s the easy way to book the treatments you need – massage, nails, skincare and osteopathy – in the comfort of your home, office or hotel. Urban is currently available in four cities across Europe – London, Manchester, Birmingham and Paris and is backed by some of London’s leading VC firms.

About Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV)

ADV is a patient venture investment engine. Its team are entrepreneurs and operators who have learnt the hard lessons and want to pay them forward. Currently investing £150M, ADV takes the long view of business building, investing across the funding lifecycle of startups, scaleups and ‘scalebigs’. ADV champions the innovators – the people who build complex, technical, generation-defining businesses. ADV’s investors are British Business Bank, Legal & General and Woodford Investment Management.

This investment was from ADV’s British Business Bank ECF fund.

Say hello at www.accelerated.ventures | @AcceleratedDV

Dog food company Butternut Box raises £15 million led by Five Seasons Ventures

Fast-growing fresh dog food company Butternut Box raises £15 million of new investment to fuel European and product expansion

●  Investment round is led by Five Seasons Ventures and White Star Capital with existing backers Passion Capital and Literacy Capital also participating

●  Money will be used to launch into Europe and fund the development of new dishes, snacks and toys

●  New investment will see former SkyBet chief executive Richard Flint join the board

London, April 26 2019 – ​Butternut Box, the London-based fresh dog food business, has raised £15 million of new investment in a round led by European venture capital firms Five Seasons Ventures and White Star Capital. Existing backers Passion Capital and Literacy Capital have also participated alongside debt financier Kreos Capital. The investment marks the fast-growing company’s intention to launch into Europe and build a leading pet wellness business.

Since launching in 2016, Butternut Box has produced more than 8 million meals for dogs across the UK and last year saw revenues grow by 700 per cent. Dishes are cooked with fresh ingredients and portioned according to a dog’s breed, weight, sex and exercise regime before they are delivered to customers.

Founded by best friends Kevin Glynn and David Nolan, the company has continued to stress the importance of transparency in the pet food sector and believes strongly in quality ingredients with easy-to-read labels on packaging. The new investment aims to bring healthy, balanced diets to more pets across the UK and Europe. Alongside the funding, former SkyBet chief executive Richard Flint will join the Butternut board.

Ivan Farneti, partner at Five Seasons Ventures, said: ​“Last year we were actively searching for a pet food investment opportunity around two key trends: the humanisation of pets and the increasing shift towards natural food, with the connected premiumisation of the overall experience. The team at Butternut Box was spot on in terms of their product positioning, their direct-to-consumer model and strong commercial traction. This is one of the strongest teams we have seen in foodtech in Europe over the last few years: we had to back them”.

Eric Martineau-Fortin, co-founder and managing partner at White Star Capital, said: ​“We’ve been working closely with the team since our investment in early 2018. David and Kevin have created a product centric brand built on the foundations of an exceptionally strong community and a very special team culture. We’ve worked closely with companies such as Freshly and Dollar Shave Club to scale and Butternut Box is growing on a similar trajectory”.

David Nolan, co-founder at Butternut Box, said: ​“We’re so excited to have the backing of amazing investors to take Butternut Box to the next level and grow a leading pet wellness company in Europe. Even more exciting is that we will reach more pets and could help them to live healthier, happier lives. The transformation stories we hear from pet parents each day spur us on to make Butternut Box even better”.

Richard Flint, former chief executive of SkyBet, said: ​“A​lthough it might not seem that home-cooked dog food and online betting have much in common, I am learning that there are many parallels. Most importantly my passion is helping great teams to succeed and that’s why I am so excited to be joining the Butternut Box Board”.

About Butternut Box

Butternut Box was founded to bring fresh, nutritious and perfectly portioned meals to pets everywhere. Visit us at www.butternutbox.com to learn more.

Contact

Jodie Guildharry:​ ​Jodie@butternutbox.com

PolyAI raises £9.2 million Series A investment to deploy conversational AI agents in contact centres led by Point72 Ventures

8th March 2019

Company plans to use its technology to disrupt traditional customer service models

 LONDON, 8 March, 2019 — PolyAI, a platform for conversational artificial intelligence, today announced $12 million in Series A funding. The investment round was led by Point72 Ventures and included investments from Sands Capital Ventures, Amadeus Capital Partners, Passion Capital, and Entrepreneur First. This follows an earlier $2.4 million seed round, led by Amadeus Capital Partners and Passion Capital.

PolyAI’s platform powers conversational AI agents that guide users through complex customer support scenarios. The agents are based on PolyAI’s proprietary machine learning and natural language processing technology, which allows them to scale seamlessly across different use cases and world languages.

“Developing sophisticated AI technology while formulating a compelling SaaS proposition is a significant challenge, and it has delayed the real-world deployment of conversational AI for far too long,” said Nikola Mrkšić, PolyAI co-founder and CEO. “Attempts to bring modern AI to customer support have been largely unsuccessful – due to a lack of data and insufficient understanding of contact center operations. To make rapid progress, we plan to pursue very close integration with existing contact centres.”

“Our machine learning platform works to empower human agents, not replace them,” Shawn Wen, PolyAI co-founder and CTO said. “Our AI agents learn by listening to humans – then, they provide suggestions and improve through feedback. They can do many things that we as humans struggle with. They have instant access to all relevant information and can speak any world language. At peak times, they can handle calls autonomously if human agents are not available.” Mrkšić added: “Ultimately, AI agents are not a replacement for the human touch, which is essential for great customer experience. However, automation is key for changing the economics of a contact centre – if the AI agents can deal with the most routine use cases, this leaves the more complex cases to humans, where they can bring the most value.”

The London startup was founded in 2017 with a core team of scientists and engineers from Cambridge’s Dialog Systems Group. The CEO and co-founder, Nikola Mrkšić, was the first engineer at VocalIQ, a start-up that developed proprietary software to improve dialogue interactions in voice-activated systems, sold to Apple in 2015 to be integrated with Siri.

“We believe strongly in the potential for AI to transform existing industries by improving both customer satisfaction and workforce efficiency, and we’re thrilled to support PolyAI’s mission to build the world’s most advanced call centres,” said Sri Chandrasekar, Partner at Point72 Ventures.  “Nikola, Shawn, and Eddy have put together an impressive team of builders and engineers at PolyAI who are poised to modernize this important aspect of customer service.”

Hermann Hauser, Co-Founder and Venture Partner, Amadeus Capital Partners, said: “PolyAI has identified, in customer experience, a major market in need of intelligent automation. They have a deep knowledge of how conversational AI can enhance human interaction and communication in order to transform the customer service experience. Amadeus is pleased to support this exceptionally smart and proven team as they build out the business.”

Press Contacts:
Nikola Mrksic
+447869767467
nikola@poly-ai.com

Tiffany Galvin-Cohen
(203) 890-2052
Tiffany.galvin-cohen@point72.com

About PolyAI 
PolyAI is a London-based technology company with a state-of-the-art machine learning platform for creating conversational agents. The PolyAI platform empowers contact centres, allowing them to deliver the next-generation of customer experience at a fraction of the cost paid by their competitors. PolyAI’s conversational AI agents understand users and can hold conversations without getting confused. They are available 24/7 and can easily scale to support new use cases or to speak almost any world language.