MaaS Global has raised over 10MEUR
When Dennis Mitzner covered MaaS launching in Helsinki for The Nordic Web at the end of last year, he noted that what might set MaaS apart from previous failed efforts in providing mobility-as-a-service to the city of Helsinki was the fact that not only was it a private initiative but it was one that set out to be global from day one, with Helsinki simply one of its first markets.
This global mindset has now attracted the attentions of Japanese car maker Toyota, as their Financial Services division led a funding round topping out just above 10MEUR. This investment carries the hallmarks of a couple of strong trends we are seeing right now, which is why we’ve highlighted this.
Firstly, its symptomatic of the online merging more with the offline, but more interesting is the space it occupies between now and the eventual (likely) mass adoption of self-driving cars. What’s clear is that we are still some time away from self-driving cars reaching any sort of mainstream breakthrough, however, even though the technology isn’t ready yet that doesn’t mean that the drivers (no pun intended) for this are muted.
Our desire to seek convenience and be more efficient and environmentally conscious is already contributing to a decline in car ownership, meaning that traditional players in the automobile space like Toyota need to think differently about how they remain a relevant player in the transport methods of the future. Investing in MaaS Global, provides them with a way of thinking about mobility as a service rather than purely selling one commodity in the area.
Opbeat was acquired by U.S.-based Elastic Search
Opbeat is almost a perfect example of what a Nordic startup often represents. Unassuming and focused, allergic to the hype and limelight, simply getting on with building a solid product that eventually captures the attention of a larger company and becomes acquired. They’ve reached this point too without raising too much outside capital, having last raised in 2013 which likely says something about the solid business they’ve built. In addition to local angels, Balderton Capital also invested at that seed round four years ago.
The acquisition will allow the purchasing company (Elastic) to enter the APM space. The Opbeat team will all remain in Denmark and will continue working and expanding their product but under the Elastic roof. Although the price remains undisclosed for now, it’s my understanding that although not a spectacular price-point, the early angels are likely to be more than happy.
Klarna obtains full banking licence from Swedish authorities
We’ve long debated when a startup should no longer be considered a startup and although I’ve always found this a tricky one to answer, becoming a bank should certainly be considered one such event.
Klarna didn’t just become a bank, overnight they became one of Europe’s biggest banks with 60 million existing companies and 70,000 merchants. They’ve also officially changed the name of the company to Klarna Bank and have their sights set on disrupting retail banking.
After fighting the banking industry as an outsider for so long, they are now set to take this battle on from the inside which appears to be the direct opposite from the saying “If you can’t beat them, join them”.
We often talk about the maturing of the ecosystem but this is more like a maturation of technology’s impact on traditional industries, with the eventual merging almost inevitable. As FinTech is one of the verticals that is one of the most mature and has a lot of capital behind it, it will be interesting to see if and when this will begin to happen in other industries as well.