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Money, money … who’s got the money? MindMaze, Qubit top the list of European startups

Money, money … who’s getting the money? For that matter, who has the money to invest?

There are so many sophisticated European startups emerging and new funds that not even the global tech mags/digital newsites can’t keep up with it all. We’re only a few weeks into the new year, and money is pouring into Europe’s startups. (English-speaking techpats who want to work in Europe make a note!)

Just today, TechCruch has a post about Swiss virtual reality startups, which don’t get a lot of publicity. Though MindMaze certainly did last week.

MindMaze-540x347Lausanne-based MindMaze just raised $100 million in Series A round, with a $1 billion valuation, joining the ranks of European unicorns. MindMaze is that rarest and most sophisticated of all Unicorns — a virtual reality/neuro-rehabilitation firm we posted about in our first medtech/fintech roundup. The 3-year-old startup uses technology combining virtual reality, brain imaging and 3D tech to “fool” the brains of those with neurological injuries, amputations and strokes into resetting processes, or working around injuries. Its executives now plan to apply multisensory computing to new ventures including robotics.

The round was led by the Hinduja Group based in London. Like other successful European Unicorns, MindMaze is getting a LOT of attention from the U.S., due in part to its research involving injured soldiers.  MindMaze is working with patients from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs through a study at the University of California, San Francisco with Dr. Gary Abram, a neurologist and the director of the Neurorehabilitation Clinic at UCSF Medical Center, according to Fortune magazine.

Speaking of U.S. interest, MindMaze’s board has representatives from Medtronic, Baxter, HBO, Stanford University, the University of California at San Francisco, The Brown Institute for Brain Science, The Wyss Biotech Center, and EPFL. The company hopes to test its platform in the U.S. in 2016. CEO Tej Tadi, who is a neuroscientist, started MindMaze at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

London-based Qubit, a company that supports eCommerce companies with big data analysis, just raised $40 million in a Series C round, mostly from Goldman Sachs, according to a Qubit news release. Sapphire Ventures, Accel and Salesforce Ventures also have invested. Qubit will use the capital to “more than double our engineering capability,” Global Communications Director Mark Choueke posted on his blog. Qubit uses big-data analytics to analyze interactions and identify buying patter behavior to help retailers personalize their product presentation to consumers. With this funding round, the company has received a total of $76 million funding to date, according to the Qubit.

Student.com closed a $60 million funding round earlier this month, according to CNBC. The round was led by VY Capital with Hong Kong-based Horizon Ventures. Spotify’s Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon also invested. Student.com helps international students find housing and accommodations. The start-up expects to have operations in 426 cities globally in close proximity to over 1,000 universities. Student.com posted $110 million in bookings for 2015.

Triptease, the London-based software as a service startup that helps enable hotels to increase direct sales, got $7 million in Series A funding, according to its website. Investors include VCs Notion Capital, and Episode 1.

Triptease tech helps hotels do a better job at direct selling … and competing with travel sites and hotel booking aggregators such as Hotwire. Triptease’ “Price Check” widget sits on hotel websites and displays prices from across the web in real-time. The idea is to reduce the uncertainty surrounding a hotel’s direct price, and ensure you don’t wander off to search elsewhere but instead book direct and with confidence. Triptease works with 8,000 hotels worldwide, including Loews, Barcelo, Corinthia Hotels, Rocco Forte Hotels, SLS Hotels, Steigenberger and LUX Resorts & Hotels‎, according to TechCrunch.

Take that, Hotwire!

As a bonus, here’s the dope on a few new funds, curated from around the Web:

• Luxembourg fund raises $40 million to invest in European start-ups (from Startups and a news release)

Karma Ventures, a Luxembourg-based fund, has closed $40m for a new fund targeted at Series A rounds in Europe’s “most promising” start-ups. The fund will be managed by seasoned investors Margus Uudam, Tommi Uhari and Kristjan Laanemaa. Margus Uudam and Kristjan Laanemaa previously worked together managing Ambient Sound Investments’ global portfolio, and are joined by Tommi Uhari to form the three founding partners of Karma Ventures. (If those names don’t sound very Luxembourgeoise. the fund is domiciled in Luxembourg, but the managers are  from Estonia via Skype.)

• Isomer Capital launches 150 million euro investment fund to boost Europe’s tech startups (Tech City)

London-based Isomer Capital has launched a 150 million euro investment fund to boost European tech startups.  Isomer Capital managers Joe Schorge and Chris Wade, want the institutional investors that have backed  Silicon Valley investment giants such as Sequoia and Andreessen Horowitz to start putting their billions into European venture capital firms, they told Business Insider last week.

A spokesperson told Tech City News: “We believe the next big idea can come from anywhere across Europe . We look across sectors, geographies, stages and business models but some of the most exciting and brilliant start-ups are happening right now in the UK.”

A new fintech-only VC fund just launched with over $150 million to play with (Business Insider)

Spanish bank BBVA is setting up a fintech-focused venture capital firm with more than $150 million. The bank said its BBVA Ventures fund, set up in 2013 with $100 million (£69 million), will be rolled into a new VC firm, Propel Venture Partners.

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