INSTANDA, Aveni, Sqwad and Bolt Insight Grab Tech Funding

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London and Edinburgh are full of energy with INSTANDA, Aveni, Sqwad and Bolt Insight securing tech funding.

INSTANDA, a no-code core insurance platform provider, has announced the close of its $45 million (£36.5 million) fundraising led by Toscafund, with the participation of existing investor Dale Ventures.

Scottish AI company Aveni has secured an investment of £2.75 million as it seeks out more action for its Aveni Detect platform across the financial services and utility markets.

Sqwad, a platform for online brand partnerships, has revealed a fundraising of €3 million (£2.5 million) from Samaipata, an investment fund specialised in tech.

Bolt Insight, which helps brands collect market research in 120+ countries, has received £1.275 million investment from VC company 212.

INSTANDA-ing Ovation

INSTANDA has something to shout about – and the spelling of its company name reinforces that impression.

The London-based fintech firm will use the funds to target expansion in Europe, US, Japan and the UAE, as well as to augment its platform capabilities, including developing the existing ecosystem into a marketplace.

INSTANDA offers a core digital PAS and an interface that allows business users to manage and distribute insurance products within P&C, and life and health. The company works with carriers, MGAs and brokers in Europe, North America, UK, Japan, LATAM, Africa, Middle East and Australia.

Following a $19.5 million (£16 million) raise at the beginning of 2020, INSTANDA says it added 21 new clients across the US, UK, Europe, and Japan, reaching over 70 clients globally by Q1 2022.

Clients in the UK and EMEA include Atlanta (part of Ardonagh Group), Hamilton Fraser (part of GRP Group), HDI Global SE and Standard Bank.

Aveni’s Machine Line

We gonna rock down to electric Aveni-ue, and then we’ll take it higher.

Song lyrics from Eddy Grant aside, Edinburgh-based Aveni says the funding round was led by The TRICAPITAL Syndicate and Par Equity supported by Scottish Enterprise. Anderson Strathern advised Aveni on the legal aspects of the investment.

According to the tech entity, Aveni Detect uses AI and natural language processing (NLP) to draw intelligence and automate processes directly from the customer voice and other communications channels.

Joseph Twigg, CEO of Aveni, explains: “Our ‘Machine Line of Defence’ allows companies to monitor 100% of customer interactions, triaging high risk cases for human review and transforming the management of regulatory and reputational risk.”

The company senses potential profits as it points out that the Financial Conduct Authority wants to “considerably increase its regulatory control over companies’ actions as it relates to consumer duty of care”.

Aveni seems to be doing well and featured in our ‘Eight Fintech Companies in Edinburgh to Watch’ here.

In January, Aveni started the year brightly thanks to a deal with equity release company Key.

Sqwad Goals

Sqwad is based in Paris, but tells eWeek UK that it is planning to launch its solution in the UK in the next few months.

The French startup was founded last year by Anis Chagar, former Kearney consultant with a focus in e-commerce; Mohcine Heddi, former software engineer at the Paris Brain Institute; and Mehdi Rifai, ex data scientist and product manager at Criteo.

Sqwad is seeking activity in the world of e-commerce and wants to reduce brands’ dependence on “walled gardens” like Google, Facebook and Instagram.

The startup says it develops tools that “enables like-minded digital brands to thrive from each other’s audiences”. A happy squad is the ambition. This means its proprietary algorithm allows brands to convert customers through cross-advertising and cross-selling.

Sqwad explains that it has developed a Shopify app. Users can plug the app into their existing store.

The fundraising will be used to recruit mainly in its tech and marketing teams. It has four employees listed on LinkedIn at present.

Bolt and the Grateful Eight(fold)

London-based Bolt Insight says the investment will be used to develop new products for new and existing customers, and employ new staff in its research and commercial teams.

The data-loving startup was launched in January 2020 and has grown eightfold since then. Its UK-based clients include Vodafone, Capco and Brand Finance. While its international clients include Sodexo, Premier Foods, L’Oreal, Samsung, Diageo and Zeiss.

Bolt provides a consumer insight platform which it says can get the opinions of four billion people in 100+ countries from social media or apps.

Ester Marchetti, Co-Founder of Bolt Insight, explains “Our behavioural targeting-based methodology and unparalleled access to consumers fuels our vision to give brand marketeers a virtual seat next to their customers, so that they can co-create with them, and reflect what audiences want in their strategy, innovation and communications.”

The startup cites PWC, which notes that data transformation is popular – evidenced by the rise in the position of CDO (chief data officer) and in Europe 26% of organisations now have one, especially in sectors like insurance, banking and media & entertainment.

Bolt works with brands in consumer goods, retail, fashion, beauty, health & lifestyle, e-commerce, financial services, pharmaceuticals and telecoms.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK. He has 18 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.

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