Emerging Europe’s start-up scene is thriving: new money and new ideas are coming onto the market all the time. To keep you up to date with the latest investments, innovations, movers and shakers, each Monday Emerging Europe brings you a round-up of the region’s start-up news.
4Trans: Czech supply chain fintech raises 18 million euros
Prague-based 4Trans, a fintech specialising in financial products for supply chain and logistics companies, has secured 18 million euros in investment from backers including Atmos, Tera Ventures, and Lighthouse. Advance Global Capital has also extended a revolving credit facility to the firm.
4Trans will use the equity funding to strengthen domestic operations, expand to Poland, develop its platform and grow its international team. With the debt funding provided, it will be supporting the working capital needs of small and medium sized businesses in the region.
The announcement follows a period of rapid growth in 2022 which has seen the 4Trans customer base grow to 500 and monthly revenue increased 10-fold on the back of the supply chain crisis. To date, 4Trans has provided more than 30 million euros in financing, protecting revenue from more than 50,000 invoices.
4Trans provides financial products for small and medium sized companies operating in supply and logistics – an industry that is currently poorly served by financial services. Businesses are able to protect their finances by securing payment for their invoices up front via 4Trans AI driven factoring service. By using data analysis and automation, 4Trans is able to do instant risk modelling and, as the service is fully digitalised, customers can receive payment of invoices of any size in five minutes. This is in contrast to the three month average for invoice payments.
“The supply chain crisis alongside political and economic uncertainty has led to a huge increase in delays to invoices being paid,” says Jaroslav Ton, CEO of 4Trans. “This has put considerable financial pressure on Europe’s small and medium sized hauliers. Unfortunately, most traditional financial institutions simply do not cater to this group and those that do take too long to provide financing or require very large invoices. We’ve created a range of solutions that give the small and independent entrepreneurs within the European supply chain the protection they need and deserve.”
Lithuania’s SME Bank has partnered with the country’s next-generation payment infrastructure provider kevin. to create an easy-access one-stop-shop for e-commerce business owners seeking a range of online payment capabilities for customers, with payments into a single business account, combined with collateral-free growth financing.
The combined offering from SME Bank and kevin. simplifies life for SME owners. It creates a single point of entry for payment infrastructure enabling account-to-account payments all across the Baltics, as well as revenue-based financing based on e-retailers’ expenses and profit.
The payment collection options on offer include an open banking-based Payment Initiation Service (PIS) enabling instant, cost-effective and end-user-friendly collections from majority of consumer with an account at a bank in the European Economic Area (EEA). Free open banking plugins from major ecommerce providers, including WooCommerce, Prestashop, Opencart, and Magento, make integration simple and extremely fast — all with zero customised IT development.
In addition, AI-driven revenue-based financing decisions are available in under 24 hours and include collateral-free loans without personal guarantees. To help promote growth, the amount of financing available grows proportionally to the applicant’s business demand.
“SME Bank exists to make life easier for SME owners and we use technology, where it makes sense, to achieve that,” says Mantvydas Štareika, CEO at SME Bank. “By partnering with fintech kevin. and its open banking integrations we are combining many things that SME owners need into a single platform: fast payments, significantly reduced transaction costs and ultra-fast, AI-guided finance decisions. Our partnership will save owners time, help them grow faster, and reduce costs.”
Tadas Tamošiūnas, co-founder and CEO at kevin., adds: “We are delighted that SME Bank opted for our innovative and robust payment infrastructure to enable their clients to make the most out of Open Banking. Here at kevin., we are committed to driving the future of payments and are always thrilled when partners such as SME Bank join us on this mission.”
Humans.ai: Romanian start-up releases Humans Scale, an equity free AI launchpad
Deep-tech start-up Humans.ai is releasing Humans Scale, a complex launchpad focused on connecting innovative AI start-ups with real world use cases by enabling AI researchers and developers to expand their projects beyond the initial PoC stage, from web2 to web3, by helping them to bring their technology to the market.
With its complex ecosystem that paves the road to the AI-driven world of tomorrow, controlled entirely by the community, Humans.ai aims to develop an AI-driven economy that supports the next generation of AI companies.
“With this mindset, of building solutions and innovations with the community first in mind, which is deeply engraved in our DNA as a company, we have designed the Humans AI launchpad to be automated and decentralised,” says Bart Veenman, Chief Commercial Officer at Humans.ai. “It acts as an accelerator programme and venture, based on open-source code and without a typical management structure or board of directors. Compared to many accelerator programs, we don’t ask for equity in the AI startup and purely focus on supporting the development of the AI and connecting the start-ups with the right partners.”
“We aim to provide access to a proven network of leaders, investors, partners, builders and web3 mentors that founders need to accelerate their growth and to develop their legal structure, tokenomics, community and all other essentials to develop a successful web3 business. We have also gathered a large group of VC and marketing partners on our ecosystem list to support these AI start-ups, like, among others, Morningstar, Next Chymia Consulting, BlockChange Ventures, Finch Capital, MACH4 Studios and Skynet Trading,” adds Veenman.
With Humans Scale, Humans.ai says it is creating a complex ecosystem, empowering the economy of AIs, by placing humans at the forefront of the AI revolution. Talkens.ai is the first project to be listed on the Humans Scale, aiming to empower the NFT community to bring their NFTs to life by giving them a voice.
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