Berlin-based digital banking startup Penta raises additional €4 million, closes Series B at €22.5 million

Penta, a Berlin-based digital platform for business banking, has raised an additional €4 million from new investors S7V, Presight Capital and two family offices. The round finalises the German startup’s Series B, adding to the first closing of €18.5 million raised in March this year. 

“With the new capital, we plan to accelerate our growth path in Germany and continue developing our product offering for SMEs,” says CEO Marko Wenthin.

With Penta, companies can apply for a business account and receive a German IBAN, debit cards for expense management and other financial services. Founded in 2016, the startup is headquartered in Berlin with offices in Milan and Belgrade. The fintech company also raised over €8 million in August 2019.


July 8, 2020

Stem Cell Reprogramming Company Bit Bio Rakes in $41.5 Million in Series A

U.K.-based Bit Bio, a spinout of Cambridge University and previously known as Elpis Biotechnology, secured $41.5 million in a Series A funding round that will be used to support the company’s goal to transition biology into engineering.

Founded by stem cell biologist and neurosurgeon Mark Kotter, Bit Bio aims to commercialize Opti-OX, a proprietary technology platform for the efficient and consistent reprogramming of human cells for use in research, drug discovery, and cell therapy. Bit Bio’s aim is to decode “cellular identity” in order to generate every cell type of the human body. Through the Opti-Ox platform, stem cells are reprogrammed in order to take on a new identity. The cells then become specialized cells, such as those in the liver, brain or immune system. With its platform, Bit Bio said it is already able to produce human cells at unmatched scale, speed and consistency.

Recent successes in cell therapy sparked new ...

July 3, 2020

BP sells petrochemicals business to Ineos for $5 billion

BP is selling its petrochemicals arm to Ineos for $5 billion as part of the fossil fuel giant’s efforts to reposition itself as a more sustainable energy company.

The deal announced Monday achieved BP’s goal of dumping $15 billion in assets a year ahead of schedule. BP decided to sell the business — which makes chemicals used in plastics, paints and pharmaceuticals — because it would have been expensive to grow and had limited overlap with the rest of the company, according to chief executive Bernard Looney.

“As we work to build a more focused, more integrated BP, we have other opportunities that are more aligned with our future direction,” Looney said in a statement. “Today’s agreement is another deliberate step in building a BP that can compete and succeed through the energy transition.”

The businesses being sold have more than 1,700 employees who are expected to transfer to Ineos once the deal ...

June 29, 2020

Amazon Unveils Plan for $2 Billion Green Tech Venture-Capital Fund unveiled the Climate Pledge fund, a pool of $2 billion targeted at investing in companies working on “sustainable technologies and services” that will help the e-commerce giant and others to become carbon neutral by 2040.

Amazon said the fund will invest in companies in multiple industries, with an initial focus on “transportation and logistics; energy generation, storage, and utilization; manufacturing and materials; circular economy; and food and agriculture.”

The company said the fund will consider companies “of all sizes and stages…from pre-product startups to well-established enterprises looking to scale.” Amazon (ticker: AMZN) said the global fund will look at investing in companies developing goods or services that reduce carbon emissions and help preserve nature.

Amazon didn’t give a time frame for the planned $2 billion investment. The company said that over time, it will “look for opportunities to involve other Climate Pledge signatories” in the fund. Other signatories so far include Verizon, ...

June 24, 2020

Germany plans to promote ‘green’ hydrogen with €7 billion

The German government adopted its national hydrogen strategy on 10 June, with plans to ramp up production capacity to 5 GW by 2030 and 10 GW by 2040. To achieve this, €7 billion will be invested in new businesses and research. EURACTIV Germany reports.

When he presented Germany’s hydrogen strategy in Berlin, economy minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) called the 28-page document the “greatest innovation since the EEG”, a reference to the landmark German renewable energy sources act which came into force in 2000.

With this “quantum leap,” Germany wants to become the world leader in hydrogen technologies, added Altmaier, who was speaking alongside three other ministers.

This is the first time that Germany has set itself quantitative targets for the production of hydrogen.

By 2030, Germany aims to have generators with a total capacity of up to 5 GW, which corresponds to hydrogen generation of about 14TWh. By 2040, capacity should be increased to ...

June 19, 2020

Poland's PGNiG plans USD-1bn investment in new renewables division

Polish state-run oil and gas major Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA (WSE:PGN), better known as PGNiG, plans to spend as much as PLN 4 billion (USD 1bn/EUR 894m) on the creation of a dedicated renewable energy division.

The move is planned as part of an updated strategy for the entire group that should be presented by the end of 2020. PGNiG hopes to invest the above-mentioned sum over the next few years, beyond 2022, to achieve a renewable energy production capacity of up to 900 MW.

According to Arkadiusz Sekscinski, Vice President of the PGNiG Management Board, Development, the group is mostly keen on investing in wind power and solar photovoltaic (PV) projects.

PGNiG pointed out that the first decisions regarding renewable energy investments could be made even before the release of the updated group strategy.

/Source: Renewables Now/

June 15, 2020

France Creates Fund to Protect Tech Startups from Takeovers

France is creating a fund to protect home-grown technology companies that may become “prey” for foreign buyers, adding the vehicle to its bailout package for startups.

The Finance Ministry has created an initial 150 million euro ($170 million) fund through state-backed lender Bpifrance Financement SA to invest in local companies if they’re approached by an unsolicited foreign investor, it said in a statement on Friday. The government may increase the fund to 500 million euros from early next year.

Read more: France to Boost Tech Bailout Package as Investors Pull Out

The new funding vehicle is part of an upgraded bailout package for the technology industry as France attempts to counteract an investor retreat. A series of financial measures were set up in late March to keep innovative companies afloat, part of a bigger 300 billion-euro package of state-guaranteed loans from the Finance Ministry, Bpifrance and the French Banking Federation.

France is also adding ...

June 5, 2020

How Covid-19 is attracting investors to US health ventures

Healthcare is already familiar territory to many. The sector has been a popular trade in the past decade, outpacing even the strong bull market for US stocks. Healthcare companies in the S&P 500 index rose 240 per cent in the decade to mid-May 2020, compared with 140 per cent for the index as a whole.

Ageing populations in the developed world, advances in medical technology and expensive blockbuster drugs targeting cancer and other diseases have all drawn investor attention, both to listed companies and risky start-ups.

In the first quarter of this year alone, healthcare start-ups raised more than $14.6bn globally — the highest levels since 2018, according to the data provider CB Insights. Total healthcare funding reached almost $54.7bn last year.

The healthcare sector has held up even as the pandemic triggered shocks in financial markets. By late May, healthcare stocks in the S&P 500 were up almost 6 per cent on ...

May 27, 2020

Nasdaq Set to Tighten Listing Rules, Impacting Chinese IPOs

Nasdaq Inc. is planning new rules that would make initial public offerings more difficult for some Chinese companies, thrusting the U.S. exchange into the middle of an increasingly contentious debate over financial linkages between the world’s largest economies.

The proposed regulations include minimum fundraising thresholds and stricter requirements for auditors, according to Nasdaq filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission seen by Bloomberg News. While the rules wouldn’t only apply to China, companies from there would be among the most affected.

Nasdaq’s proposal follows a string of accounting scandals at Chinese firms that have burned some of the biggest names on Wall Street and drawn the attention of Donald Trump. The U.S. president said last week he’s “looking at” Chinese companies that don’t follow American accounting rules, while his administration moved to stop a federal retirement savings fund from investing in the Asian nation’s stocks. Relations between the superpowers have deteriorated in ...

May 22, 2020

Radicle Growth and Syngenta Launch the The Radicle Protein Challenge by Syngenta to Invest $1.25m in Technologies to Support the Future of Protein

Radicle Growth, an acceleration fund, and Syngenta, a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security, today announced the launch of The Radicle Protein Challenge by Syngenta. Together, Radicle and Syngenta will identify two companies with novel solutions to support the future of protein (which could include new or experimental protein sources, or protein conversion technologies) that are solving challenges spanning from plant-based ag to the regenerative side of agriculture, to invest $1.25m in.

Radicle and Syngenta are seeking entrepreneurs representing companies of all stages from around the world to apply for the $1.25 million in investment—$1 million for the Challenge winner and the $250k for the second-place winner—to accelerate the growth of their technologies. Applications are open through May 29, 2020. The winners will not only receive a significant investment and custom accelerator program from Radicle Growth but will have access to Radicle and Syngenta’s broad agriculture expertise and ...

May 13, 2020