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LBS Ventures Spotlight
Update #4, April-May 2022
LBS Booster Startup Competition Winners
On April 26, 10 stellar startups at MVP stage pitched in front of a jury of venture capitalists from Notion, Octopus, Molten, and Techstars. The bar was very high, and it took over 30 minutes for the jury to decide on the winner.
And the winner was… KripTonic, is a fintech startup aiming to protect LATAM savers from inflation and currency depreciation.
Sounds familiar? Before making it to the top of the Booster podium, KripTonic was featured in the March edition of the LBS Ventures Spotlight!
Maybe another gem is hiding in this edition…💎👀
Huge congratulation to CX - a process automation platform for sourcing commodity chemicals - and Mate - a next-gen dating app sparking romantic relationships with AI - for securing second and third place, and to Remigos - a platform to streamline the administrative burden of studying abroad - for winning the people’s choice award.
LBS Ventures Funding Recap | April-May 2022
From drones to real estate and satellites, no sector is off-limits for LBS founders.
Surprised? Have a look at this list of selected startups who raised in the past 2 months:
Exyn, a US developer of aerial drones for 3D mapping of dangerous or hard to reach areas, raised $9.15M of venture funding
Aerologix, an Australian cloud-based marketplace for drone piloting services intended to optimize drone technology for specific engagements, raised $4.2M seed round led by Ellerston Capital
Xona, a US developer of next-generation Global Navigation Satellite Systems to power autonomous/ smart machines, raised $10M seed round led by MaC Venture Capital and Seraphim Capital
Immo, a UK technology-led residential real estate platform creating and managing a portfolio in Single Family Rentals on behalf of professional investors, raised a $75M Series B led by Oak HC/FT
Our April/May edition spotlights two great ventures and founders:
Unify - Mattia Pastore, MBAs'21
Unify is an end-to-end solution to connect prospective students to universities, from discovery all the way to applying to multiple programs with a single application.
Unify was born in 2021, but its foundations date back to 2013 when its founder Mattia Pastore launched UNI Student Advisors, an educational consulting business providing personalized advice to help students land their dream degree programs in foreign universities. Founded in the US, UNI Student Advisors is now a market leader in Italy and has grown its revenues 8x in the past 2 years alone.
Through this experience, Mattia discovered that the university admission process is broken: students spend 1 year on average choosing a university program, but over half have some regret over their choice; universities spend an average of €1.1m on marketing, but 40% of admission officers struggle to hit targets.
Realizing that it would have been more difficult to achieve impact at scale with a professional service company, in 2021 Mattia began transitioning to an advisory role at UNI Student Advisors, pouring all his learning into its next challenge: a SaaS solution to guide students throughout the entire university admission process.
Enter Unify. Unify allows students to discover and compare programs, and streamline their applications through a “common application” feature, which allows students to easily send their applications to multiple schools. It also features two smart-matching algorithms to link students with universities based on their academic background and goals.
These services are completely free for students, as Unify generates revenues through an agent model in which universities pay a fee for each student enrolled through the platform. Moreover, Unify plans to implement advanced concierge services (e.g., sessions with third-party education consultants) and a data-driven lead-generation tool for universities and concierge partners, which will provide additional monetization opportunities.
Unify is initially focusing on prospective students at graduate programs for Business Schools in the UK, EU, US, and Canada to build network density.
After testing the market with an initial MVP - during which it placed 2 students in Master’s programs - Unify is currently working towards its official launch in September. Leveraging its sector expertise, Mattia has already closed partnerships with 22 Business Schools, including several in the Top 30 of the FT ranking, but plans to reach 50 ahead of launch.
Unify entered the 2021 cohort of the LBS incubator and closed a pre-seed round from 1648 Factory (Venture Builder) and angel investors at a £2.5M valuation, and is now preparing for launch and its next fundraising round.
In preparation for the official launch, Unify is hiring three key positions – Head of Software Engineering, Head of Product Growth and Head of Strategy & Operations.
Arc Street Capital – Bo Zhang, MBA'23
Arc Street Capital is creating an on-chain exchange pool that allows for diversified treasury management, founded by Bo Zhang, Carlos Saavedra, and Behrin Naidoo - all current students at LBS.
Crypto companies have raised tremendous amounts of capital with AUM of DAO Treasuries is expected to reach $100B by end of 2022 and 5% of all VC deployed capital going to Crypto in 2021. However, but, at the moment, have poor treasury management - a survey of the top 50 DAOs by size shows 70% have their treasury allocated in 1-3 tokens.
Arc Street Captial is solving the DAO treasury management issue by addressing what we call "the four pillars of DAO treasury management": Diversification, Liquidity, Cash Flow (Yield), and Governance. They combine old-school portfolio management strategies with blockchain technology to solve each of these pillars in one harmonious solution. The feedback that they have got from all the people they have spoken with (VCs, industry, developers, etc.) ranges from "there's nothing quite like it" to "what you're building is essential".
With 27 Years of Traditional Finance Combined with 20 Years of Crypto Experience, the team stands strong to deliver on its promise. Bo Zhang (Trad: 8 yrs | Crypto: 8 yrs), Carlos Saavedra, CFA (Trad: 8 yrs | Crypto: 8 yrs), Behrin Naidoo, CA (Trad: 11 yrs | Crypto: 6 yrs) and partnering with PhDs and astrophysicists with a background at NASA / Stanford.
Thus far, they have 8 medium-sized DAOs on the waitlist, partnerships with 4 DeFi protocols and platforms, and 2 DAO tooling platforms and are seeking a $2m seed round to cover 12-18 month runway.
Interested? Get in touch with the team by email.
Thank you Nina and best of luck!
We want to end this edition of the newsletter by thanking Nina, our co-author and co-president of the eClub, for coming up with the idea for a VC newsletter and for her work and continuous support in getting it off the ground.
As she graduate from the MBA, Nina is leaving the newsletter team to focus her efforts on her full-time job as a growth investor at Lightrock, backing exceptional ventures creating a positive impact on People, Planet and/or Productivity at Series B and beyond. If you know of a founder in the space, please connect with her!
Best of luck on your new role, Nina 🚀
Thanks for reading, see you next month! 👀 Do you have any comments or feedback? Get in Touch!