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-ups which recently closed financing rounds, sealed partnerships, or dropped new innovations.
InRento: Lithuanian start-up merges with EvoEstate
Lithuanian start-up InRento has merged with EvoEstate, the largest real estate aggregator in Europe, to become the largest licensed buy-to-let crowdfunding platform in Europe.
According to Gustas Germanavičius, founder and CEO of InRento (pictured above), post-merger the company will be able to implement its vision faster – to offer more larger-scale rental projects in Europe and attract a bigger number of investors worldwide.
“Our growth strategy is based not only on expanding InRento as a platform but also on acquiring or merging with other companies,” he says. “This helps us move forward faster. The decision to merge with EvoEstate is one of the strategic steps taken in order to offer existing and potential investors larger projects, gain a foothold in the local market and ensure internationalisation. It was not difficult to make this decision, because we believe that it will help to better meet the interests and expectations of our investors.”
InRento is the first licensed buy-to-let crowdfunding platform in the EU, launched at the end of 2020. With InRento investors can get a return not only from the rental interest but also from the potential capital growth after selling the real estate project at a higher price.
Until March 2022 EvoEstate acted as a real estate crowdfunding aggregator, listing selected projects from other European platforms in one place. In 2020, at the Techchill Conference in Riga, EvoEstate was recognised as a leading fintech company in the Baltics. Audrius Višniauskas, CEO of EvoEstate, notes that the merger will accelerate the implementation of the company’s goals.
“Since the launch of EvoEstate, one of our main tasks has been to simplify the real estate investment processes using modern technology. I have no doubt that by joining forces with InRento, we will be able to promote Lithuania’s name in the field of proptech and develop measures that would make investing in real estate even more convenient,” says Višniauskas.
For some time after the merger, the EvoEstate platform will continue to serve existing investors, who will have the opportunity to invest in rental projects offered by InRento. In the long run, the aggregator platform will be integrated into InRento completely.
EvoEstate, together with InRento, has funded projects worth more than 13 million euros. Their investor base unites over 12 000 investors from various countries.
SanoPass: Health utility NFTs on the Elrond blockchain
SanoPass, a leading healthtech and medtech start-up on the Romanian market, has developed the sanopass.io platform, a digital portal where it explores Web3.0 and the Metaverse to provide access to health and wellness services in Romania and neighbouring Moldova. The first step is the launch of a collection of Non-Fungible Tokens, SanoCubs, on the blockchain of the Romanian platform Elrond.
Each of the 10,000 SanoCubs NFTs in the collection will be unique and, in addition to the digital art component, comes bundled with a full subscription to medical and fitness services, exclusive content and rewards for the users who lead a healthy lifestyle and prioritise prevention.
The collection announced by SanoPass will have a mint price of 2 EGLD (eGOLD). The SanoPass collection will be launched on April 1 with a pre-sale round exclusively for whitelisted community members.
SanoPass has disclosed that this will be the only collection of NFTs it will launch, and their owners will receive a series of rewards in several drops. In the second quarter of this year, SanoCubs NFT owners receive a full subscription to medical and fitness services, as well as exclusive access to a premium platform based on content developed directly by doctors, fitness coaches, nutritionists and other health experts. In the second half of 2023, NFT holders will receive health tokens, with staking capability. They will be able to pay for wellness services directly with this cryptocurrency.
“Implementing NFT-based technology will allow us to introduce the concept of smart contracting to the conservative medical market, provide a real-life utility for cryptocurrencies and create a community that prioritises wellbeing, whose members will get rewards for their healthy lifestyle and preventative medicine habits. Elrond’s technology now makes it possible for the wellbeing industry to move to the next level. The one in which people who choose to look after their health are rewarded with the same type of services – health and wellbeing,” says Andrei Vasile, managing partner of SanoPass.
The NFTs announced by SanoPass represent a tiger, and all the unique elements draw inspiration from the medical and fitness universe. The subscription that comes bundled with each ‘health avatar’ will unlock a number of benefits that can be used in the largest network of wellbeing providers in Romania: 10 consultations of general and internal medicine, access to 100 fitness workouts, as well as telemedicine and AI-powered symptoms checker.
“I am delighted that blockchain technology is sought after by businesses from essential industries and that we can actively help our community, and also that we can lay the groundwork for a project that will eliminate the barriers between technology and the conservative medical market. The effervescence, utility and scalability of the SanoPass project make them a solid long-term partner for blockchain developers,” adds Felix Crișan, CTO Netopia and Consultant in the SanoPass Metaverse project.
The use of blockchain will transform the medical and fitness system through decentralisation, providing instant access to specialists and information. The concept of smart contracting will be implemented in well-being for the first time, and guaranteeing data security and confidentiality is one of the key strengths of the project. Community membership, neutrality and reward incentives are the pillars for SanoPass’s mission to promote a healthy lifestyle based on medical prevention, fitness and balanced nutrition.
SanoPass is a wellbeing platform that connects, integrates and digitises preventative medical and fitness services in over 1,000 clinics and over 150 gyms nationwide. Recognised for its innovative projects, it has grown rapidly in recent years, attracting more than 1.2 million euros in funding, doubling its turnover last year and announcing international development.
Traxlo: 378,000 euros pre-seed raise for socially responsible gig work platform
Lithuanian-Swedish start-up Traxlo has raised 378,000 euros for its socially responsible gig work platform, Tasku.
The mobile platform will enable residents of Lithuania and Sweden to earn money while completing small tasks inside local grocery stores. The investment round, led by Iron Wolf Capital, also involved Swedish investor Antler, Lithuania’s Marius Jakulis Jason Foundation, Red Pill VC, and business angels from both Sweden and Lithuania. To date, the company has secured a total of 500,000 euros pre-seed investments.
The capital will be used to expand the team, platform development and scaling within retail chains in Lithuania, Sweden and Poland.
“Europe’s gig economy sector is booming and we are in the midst of a social transformation in the labour market, started by the pandemic and now dramatically enlarged because of the war in Ukraine, with an unprecedented refugee wave in the EU,” says Paulius Vėželis, Traxlo’s CEO.
“The Tasku app allows retailers and product brand companies to tap into local neighbourhood communities to fill the gaps in their workforce and as a result will enable more sensitive social groups – the young generation, refugees and seniors – to earn important extra income. We see this as a win-win-win solution.”
According to Vėželis and fellow founder Almantas Zemblys (both pictured above), the majority of job positions on the Tasku platform will be available to the general public with no specific experience. People in real-time can search and book tasks. Shelf maintenance, goods unloading, expiry date checking and similar work will bring earnings for the community of up to 40 euros per task.
“We have struck several contracts with Lithuanian retail chains and FMCG product manufacturers, so the platforms kick-off locally,” says Vėželis.
“But we have large plans for the pan-European market and we are having talks with Scandinavian and Polish retailers. We already work with the Swedish HonestBox and EVERY Where Retail retail platforms, soon we will start cooperation with more Swedish retailers in the largest cities.”
The Tasku platform has been noticed in Poland, too. The company currently participates in the Żabka Future Lab, hosted by VC-backed accelerator Huge Thing and the leading Polish retailer Żabka. The goal of the program was to select the promising market innovations from young tech companies that could be validated in the Lab.
Żabka Group operates 8,000 grocery stores and the largest network of cashierless stores in Europe, surpassing even Amazon’s own Just Walk Out chain.
“The gig economy is transforming the retail market. New retail store concepts are emerging every day. In such a rapidly changing market, flexible gig work methods are the future of the job market, and solutions like Tasku are a real deal for merchants who are struggling to find new employees,” says Kasparas Jurgelionis, managing partner of Iron Wolf Capital.
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