2019 has been another good year for BACKED. From the many highlights, we’ve selected 12 stories to set the scene of what’s happened over in the Republic of Backedlandia.
Starting with a few examples from our portfolio – which is on 🔥.
LabGenius raised a further $10M for AI protein drug discovery, from Lux Capital and Obvious Ventures. LabGenius are creating the world’s most advanced protein engineering platform to discover and develop new protein therapeutics using state of the art deep-learning techniques and robotic automation.
Pollen (formerly known as Verve), secured a further €69.5M for it’s peer-to-peer marketing and events platform. The financing will allow Pollen to scale its influential membership base and expand more deeply into music, sports and travel. They’ve already sold almost one million experiences across travel, live events and festivals; working with 500+ world class brands including Live Nation, MGM Resorts, TAO, Hakkasan, AEG & C3; and secured partnerships with Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, Priceline, Stubhub, and SeeTickets.
Oh My Green raised a further $40M to roll out across 11 major cities in the US, blazing on with their goal of becoming the one-stop shop for corporate nutritional wellness.
Medal.tv raised $9M in a round led by Horizons Ventures. Their clipping and messaging service for gamers has already amassed 5 million users with hundreds of thousands of daily active users. They will become the definitive social platform of the gaming world.
Meatable secured a $10M investment to keep developing their game changing cruelty-free technologies for manufacturing cultured meat. This will allow them to focus on creating cultured pork alongside their existing incredible beef. Their method of meat production has a far smaller carbon emissions footprint and is better for the environment than traditional animal farming.
We made 10 new investments this year, including the recently announced one in Foundries. They provide turn-key services to develop, secure, deploy and maintain embedded IoT or Edge products.
And finally, across the portfolio we’ve seen 20 follow-on rounds and 2 exits: Gumbug (Voodoo) and Jukedeck (ByteDance)
And over at BACKED HQ:
This year welcomed Sonia Maciuszewicz, our Founder Experience Manager, and Vinay Chaudhri, our Head of Brand & Content. Sonia and Vinay are key additions to the BACKED clan, transforming how we support our portfolio and scale our brand in the future. Sonia’s repertoire of personal growth podcasts is truly a thing of beauty. We also said a heartfelt goodbye to Genevieve Wastie, our phenomenal Director of People as she embarked on a new adventure in Lisbon. We have some more exciting team news to announce in 2020 so watch this space!
We moved into our new home at Printing House Yard, a beautiful haven in the heartland of Shoreditch. The space is both our office and our studio for events, dinners, content shoots, workshops, and more. The coffee is great, so do drop by when you’re in the neighbourhood.
This year we also launched our Scout Programme, bringing 28 incredible new people into the Backed family. We think it’s already one of European VC’s strongest scout initiatives: it’s already averaging 4 meeting ups and 500+ Whatsapp messages a month (i.e. an extremely active and genuine community) – and it has also supercharged the volume and range of our deal flow.
We ran 10 workshops for over 150 people from our portfolio companies, covering everything from live people-related challenges to leadership skills like emotional intelligence and resilience. We now offer 20 features and tools as well as bespoke services in our Founder Support Offering. In developing the offering we sought to emulate the best customer-centric businesses and how they design products for their customers: that’s why our beta programme was designed through over 30 interviews with early stage founders. We’re aiming to build the best methodology in the world to support founders from Seed to Series A, and this is just the beginning.
We hosted events covering everything from movie screenings in London to a Web Summit house party and the unofficial SLUSH Day 1 afterparty . At our event in Lisbon over 100 people sent postcards from our house party post office, and in Helsinki we handed out countless sunflower seed packets for people to sow and grow optimism worldwide. These events brought together over 1500 people, giving them a place to hang out and let their hair down in the madness that is the tech conference circuit. In the process we met up with many old friends and made even more new ones.
That’s it. Hope you’ve had as much fun as us.
See you in 2020!