Startups Weekly: ups, downs and silver linings

Welcome to Startups Weekly — Hey's weekly roundup of everything you can't miss in the world of startups. Anna will fill in for him this week. Sign up here and receive it in your inbox every Friday.

Most interesting startup stories of the week

As the end of 0% interest rates continues to take its toll, SoftBank-backed Norwegian online supermarket delivery startup Oda has confirmed 150 layoffs and a refocus on Norway and Sweden, where it hopes to reach profitability next year.

It's never good news that people are being let go, but Oda co-founder Jon Kåre Stene, now a partner at venture capital firm Skyfall Ventures, hopes this could “spark the birth of several new startups in the Norwegian tech scene or companies strengthen those already established. traveling.” Europe already has several start-up factories – think of Skype – and now it could be Norway's turn.

Let's hope that now that 150 people from Oda are being laid off, they are on their way to better things.
Image credits: Oda

Hardware is hard, episode 234: We already knew that the launch of Humane's Ai Pin was anything but smooth. Now the startup is urging customers to stop using the charging case due to battery fire concerns. According to Humane, this is “out of an abundance of caution” and based on a single complaint, but is unlikely to help matters.

Reinventing the walkie-talkie: The two co-founders of French startup ten ten are getting little sleep these days as their original social app went viral, with 1 million downloads in their home country and 6 million worldwide.

Charged, fined and deported: AI mortgage startup LoanSnap isn't doing well. With backers like Reid Hoffman, Richard Branson and the Chainsmokers, workers are deeply concerned about the future as concerns continue to mount.

Falling from height: The inside story of Fisker's collapse is fascinating, and JS has it. Sean O'Kane spent weeks working on this, and the result is a story of hubris, infighting and repeated failures to build basic processes that are fundamental to any automaker.

We're going to dance again: Firefly co-founder and CTO Joseph “Sefi” Genis was among hundreds killed by Hamas on October 7. Now the Israeli startup is moving on.

Most interesting fundraising this week

Solutions by Text (SBT), a company that gives people a way to pay their bills and apply for loans via text messaging, has raised $110 million in funding. But as JS's Mary Ann Azevedo noted, “This isn't your typical startup raising capital.” The company was started from its founding in 2008 to 2021.

Another difference between SBT and the average startup is that it is EBITDA positive and is working toward full profitability this year, according to its CEO, David Baxter, who took over in 2021.

Founded by brothers Danny and Mike Cantrell, the company took a turn under Baxter's helm.

“We've really transformed the company from a founder-led, family and lifestyle type of business, sending about 20 million messages per month to about 150 to 200 million messages per month,” Baxter told JS.

Sword Health
Sword Health is an AI-powered virtual physiotherapy startup.
Image credits: Sword health/business
  • Live by the swordSword Health, an AI-powered virtual physiotherapy startup, raised a primary funding round of $30 million and a secondary funding round of $130 million, bringing its valuation to $3 billion. That's a 50% increase from the November 2021 Series D valuation.
  • EV design in 18 monthsSwiss startup Neural Concept has raised $27 million to reduce the design time of electric vehicles to 18 months, a strong selling point as Europe and America look to reduce the production costs of electric vehicles to compete with China.
  • We can understand why: GetWhy, a consumer research technology company that uses AI to help companies conduct market studies and gain insights from video-based interviews, has raised $34.5 million from California-based VC firm PeakSpan Capital and others.
  • Where is your head?: Austrian startup Storyblok has raised $80 million to add more AI to its 'headless' content management system (CMS) for non-technical people.

Other can't-miss JS stories…

When some of us heard about the antitrust lawsuit against Ticketmaster, some wondered if it could give hope to ticketing startups.

And now Ticketmaster owner Live Nation confirms that Ticketmaster has been hacked. If your personal information ends up in the breach, that's not great. But if that's another step toward getting alternatives, maybe there's a silver lining.

More top stories:

  • Walk the walk: SAP is spending as much as $1.5 billion in cash to acquire WalkMe, a “digital adoption” platform provider.
  • Big nest egg: Private equity firm Bridgepoint struck a $650 million deal to buy a majority stake in LumApps, a French “intranet super app” – and this could spur more acquisitions.
  • Spotted in files: We knew that Salesforce bought Spiff in February. Now we know how much it paid for the sales commission management company: $419 million, including $374 million in cash.
  • 11 digits: Spanish startups reached a total value of €100 billion last year, as the tech scene continues to mature. Yet with a combined value of $191 billionCambridge's ecosystem alone is worth almost double that of Spain.

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