SCOUPY raises €2 million from current investors

SCOUPY, The Netherland’s biggest location based marketing platform raised an investment of 2 million euro from its current investors SanomaVentures, Gennie Freen Producties (GFP) and founders Bras, Slot and Karsten.

The new funding will be spend on further development of functionalities for local acquisition, activation and retention, as well as to secure Scoupy’s position in The Netherlands. Along with the new funding, SanomaVentures and GFP increased their stake in Scoupy by acquiring the existing shares of Netwerk VSP. With the transaction, Sanoma becomes Scoupy’s largest shareholder .

New CCO: Auke Boersma

Scoupy also attracted Auke Boersma as Chief Commercial Officer. Valentijd Bras, founder of Scoupy, comments: “We are really glad that we have been able to attract Auke. He is an established name in the world of Online- & Affiliate Marketing in The Netherlands. In his previous role, Boersma served as interim Managing Director of Videostrip, a participation of RTL, after having been involved as country manager in the start of Affilinet, rolled out the international performance based marketing activities for European Directories, and served as principal at Scoot Media. His knowledge, network and energy will help to further expand our path.”

full press release (in Dutch): http://sanomaventures.pr.co/85602-scoupy-haalt-2-miljoen-vervolgfinanciering-op-van-bestaande-investeerders

SanomaVentures invests in local commerce platform Locals United

Amsterdam, 8 September 2014 – SanomaVentures invests in the Dutch company Locals United. Locals United offers local brick & mortar stores a platform that enables easy online sales, by providing them their own webshop environment and accommodating for matters such as product photography, payments and logistics. Locals United also offers support for online promotion.

In return for a monlocalsunitedthly membership subscription, physical stores add three plug & play sales channels to their operations: a web shop under their own domain name, a shop on their Facebook page and their own shop-in-shop at LocalsUnited.nl. Starting and running an online sales channel has never been more convenient, as product photography, payments, online promotion, online inventory management and logistics are all handled by Locals United.

Taking care of everything
Locals United continuously adds new features to its platform. Among the platform’s latest features are local store recommendations and a feature known as “shop local”, which provides consumers a real-time view in the inventory of local shops. To help boost offline sales in the actual store space, Locals United also offers an innovative interactive touch screen kiosk with which customers can browse through the store’s entire collection of brands – and order products which are out of stock.

Neil Persoon, founder of Locals United, comments: “Sanoma is a strategic partner and the value of the partnership widely exceeds the financial investment. The combination of a major player’s online expertise and wide marketing scope ensures we can grow Locals United faster, in the Netherlands and abroad.”

Clicks & Bricks
Herman Kienhuis, investment director at SanomaVentures, adds: “Online and offline shopping converge. Locals United developed and marketed a successful model that bridges the gap between online and offline. We will be contributing our experience in e-commerce, which includes among others Kieskeurig.nl and in the fashion sector FashionChick.com, to help Locals United improve its services and accelerate its growth.”

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 10.10.21 AM

localsunited.com | facebook.com/localsunited | twitter.com/localsunited

 

FashionQlub acquires and restarts shopVIP.com

FashionQlub has reached an agreement to acquire the assets of shopVIP.com, which filed for bankruptcy in July 2014. FashionQlub is the company behind flash sales labels Goeiemode.nl, Vault79.com and 42HRSClub.com.

FashionQlub has relaunched shopVIP, which is available as of today at www.shopvip.com. shopVIP was started in 2009 and was the first closed online shopping community in The Netherlands. With over 1 million members shopVIP became one of the largest online flash sale sites in the Benelux.

Lennart Koopmans, founder of FashionQlub: “We see great opportunities in combining the activities of shopVIP with FashionQlub’s existing business. We are pleased that we have been able to acquire the assets, but we also realize that a number of shopVIP’s former customers might not have received their order or credit back due to shopVIP’s bankruptcy in July. Although we have no legal obligations towards disadvantaged shopVIP customers, we are doing our best to come to a solution for these customers as much as possible. We are working on that right now.”

FashionQlub co-founder Alexander van Wassenaar adds: “Luckily we also get great responses from shopVIP customers who are glad to see shopVIP return. And we were able to attract some of the staff of shopVIP which will help us in continuing the business.”

The best deals
The acquisition of shopVIP and bundling of the activities with FashionQlub creates one of the biggest players in the Dutch market for online flash sales. With its labels Goeiemode.nl, Goeiemode.be, 42HRSclub, Vault79.com and now also shopVIP.com, FashionQlub aims to further develop and expand its services offered to its shopping communities.

About FashionQlub
FashionQlub is one of the biggest online flash sales companies in the Benelux, offering premium brands at exclusive discounts via various websites and media, such as private labels Goeiemode.nl, Goeiemode.be, 42HRSclub.com and Vault79.com as well as for De Telegraaf, Veronica Magazine, VIVA, Shedeals.be and Fashionchick. FashionQlub focus is on fashion for both women and men, but it is expanding into other product categories as well. FashionQlub runs its own fulfillment center where all orders and shipments are processed every day.

FashionQlub.com  |  goeiemode.nl | goeiemode.be | 42hrsclub.com | vault79.comshopvip.com

Nosto Closes $5.5 Million Series A Funding Led by Wellington

Helsinki – 15 July 2014 – Nosto Solutions, the market leader in e-commerce personalization, has secured a $5.5 million round of financing led by Pan-European venture capital firm Wellington Partners with participation from existing investors Open Ocean Capital and SanomaVentures, along with Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

Nosto is the first company to launch a self-service marketing automation solution for the global e-commerce industry. Since launch in October 2013, Nosto has added over 1200 online retailers to its international client list and revenues have grown by more than 500%. Nosto has identified the growing need for online stores to differentiate themselves within the expanding international e-commerce market and this new round of funding allows Nosto to continue its strategy of global expansion.

Founded in Helsinki in 2011, Nosto has developed a cloud-based big data SaaS solution (patent pending) that enables online retailers to deliver a personalized shopping experience to individual customers based on their unique user behavior. Through implementing a simple plug and play solution, Nosto offers retailers full personalization of their online store. Nosto’s marketing automation tools help any online merchant to increase conversion, customer retention and online store revenues. Nosto’s bespoke features include e.g. on-site recommendations and personalized triggered emails.

“Our mission is to make online shopping more enjoyable by delivering customers personalized shopping experiences. After successfully releasing our self service solution last autumn, and seen the huge interest, we continue fulfilling our mission by building new tools to help people connect with the products they want across their entire shopping journey.” says Juha Valvanne, CEO and Founder of Nosto. To get the backing of an organization like Wellington Partners is a strong validation of our business and our technology. This funding enables us to continue investing substantially in innovation, technology and people.”

Eric Archambeau, Wellington Partners’ Managing Partner commented:

“Wellington is dedicated to its strategy of investing early in very promising European digital media and software companies to help them to roll-out their product globally. We have extensive experience of investing in e-commerce analytics and marketing automation tools and are delighted to be supporting Nosto at this exciting time in the company’s growth. We see a huge opportunity for a new generation of such tools to help small and medium-sized online stores level the playing field in terms of performance against e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Rakuten. These big companies have developed a data-driven advantage over smaller web shops that could not afford the same level of R&D in data mining and predictive modeling. The combination of deep technology and simplicity offered by Nosto made us very excited about joining forces with Nosto’s founders and existing investors.”

Since its seed funding round in April 2013, launching its self service solution, and following the hire of Matti Rönkkö, former Global Venture Development Director at Rocket Internet to lead the global expansion, Nosto has tripled the size of its team with new recruits from Google, Amazon and other global e-commerce players.

SanomaVentures invests in ‘social commerce’ start up Social Shop

Amsterdam,  April 30, 2014 – SanomaVentures invests in Social Shop, a social commerce platform for consumers to promote their favourite products and offer special discounts to friends. A new way for companies and brands to activate their customers as their ambassadors and generate sales.

The Social Shop platform (www.socialshop.nl) enables enthusiastic customers to set up their own online shop, in which they can select and promote their favourite products and offer special deals to their friends. This way, these so called ‘Shopkeepers’ are activated as brand advocates and as a new sales channel. For every sale to a friend, they can earn a transparent commission. This commission is for them to keep or to give away to their friends who are buying their favourites.

30.000 shopkeepers
Social Shop was founded in 2012 by Sander Dullaart and won an Accenture Innovation Award a year later in 2013. Dullaart previously co-founded social business consultancy Favela Fabric, which was sold recently. More than 30.000 people have opened their own shop and the number keeps on growing. Not only the number of shops, but likewise the number of partners is growing rapidly: A-brands such as KPN and ANWB have recently joined and offer special deals to Social Shop shopkeepers and their friends.

Smart Money
Sander Dullaart: ”Not only were we looking for additional growth capital, we also wanted expertise in the field of online marketing, lead generation and e-commerce. With Sanoma we found that, plus, the portfolio of Sanoma and SanomaVentures offers many opportunities for cooperation which can further accelerate our growth”.

Social Commerce
Herman Kienhuis, Investment Director SanomaVentures: “Sanoma sees ample growth opportunities in ‘social commerce’, meaning mouth-to-mouth marketing via digital channels, effectively generating sales. Social Shop has developed a unique platform which rewards enthusiastic customers and attracts new customers for its partners and can complement Sanoma’s offering in this space”.

International ambition
The investment by Sanoma, will be used by Social Shop to further develop the platform and roll out the concept within the Netherlands. In a later stage, an international roll out will be prepared. Social Shop has great ambitions; it foresees a future where the majority of online commerce will be driven by social recommendations.

 

Labster wins the Sanoma Startup Challenge at The Next Web Conference 2014

Amsterdam, April 25, 2014. Laboratory simulation training company Labster has won the first edition of the Sanoma Startup Challenge, out of 5 selected educational startups, pitching at the EDU track of the The Next Web Conference 2014.

With over 100 startups that applied for the Sanoma Startup Challenge event, five EdTech champions had been selected and today each of the companies took to the stage to pitch to the audience and the judging committee, consisting of John Martin, CEO Sanoma Learning, Herman Kienhuis from SanomaVentures, Johan Merlevede and Jyri Ahti from Sanoma Learning and Dutch serial entrepreneur Rutger Peters.

Labster, founded in 2011 by Mads Bonde and Michael Bodekaer from Denmark, has developer revolutionary 3D laboratory simulation software that enhances education for students of bio-sciences, and is being sold to high schools and universities around the world. By using Labster, students can effectively learn how to operate laboratory equipment, normally worth more than 5 million dollar and also get educated on the processes that take place during the various analysis.

Leading up to the final event at The Next Web Conference, the five finalists participated in two days of workshops, receiving pitch training and in-depth mentoring from Sanoma experts and executives. As the final winner of the Sanoma Startup Challenge, Labster received a cash prize of 25,000 euro.

Herman Kienhuis, from SanomaVentures handed over the 25,000 euro cheque to Mads Bonde, co-founder of Labster.

The other four finalist were:

  • WeWantToKnow (Norway) creates learning solutions based on games, teaching difficult subjects in an easy, quick, fun and effective way.
  • EduKey (Wales) improves student behavior in schools seating by offering seating charts & behavior management software.
  • Eduvee (England) is an intuitive learning and tutoring platform that integrates and delivers personalized curriculum mapped multi-media content to learners on any device.
  • Jumpido (Bulgaria) re-imagines education through games combining physical exercise with engaging math problems.

About Sanoma Corporation
Get the world. Sanoma helps people access and understand the world. Sanoma is a front runner in consumer media and learning in Europe. We employ around 10,000 professionals in more than 10 countries. In 2013, the Group’s net sales totalled EUR 2.2 billion. Sanoma’s share is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.
sanoma.com | twitter.com/sanoma

About Sanoma Learning
Sanoma Learning is one of Europe’s leading learning providers for the K12 education sector. Our 1,600 employees are connected by a passion for learning and a mission to improve the impact of education. We offer learning solutions, either in print, hybrid or digital formats, to take personalized learning to a higher level and improve learning outcomes while increasing efficiency.  We are a respected partner in education, working at the forefront of educational reform and innovation. We reach more than 40 countries globally and in Europe where we have strong local roots in Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.
learning.sanoma.com | twitter.com/sanoma_learning

 

European EdTech Finalists Selected for the Sanoma Startup Challenge.

sanoma-SSC-apple-greenAmsterdam, April 9, 2014. Sanoma has announced the five finalists for the Sanoma Startup Challenge 2014, selected out of more than 100 applications from 24 different European countries. The finalists are invited to present their company on stage at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam on the 25th of April, where a jury will determine the winner of the challenge, receiving a cash prize of 25,000 euro. 

John Martin, CEO at Sanoma Learning: “This startup challenge fits our strategy of developing innovations to improve learning outcomes. We are delighted to be engaging with new entrepreneurial talent in building the future of learning”.

Quality
Herman Kienhuis, investment director SanomaVentures: “We were pleasantly surprised by the diversity and the high quality of the startups that applied for this first edition of the Sanoma Startup Challenge. So far, the challenge has already given us interesting new connections for both SanomaVentures, for potential investments, as for Sanoma Learning for future cooperation and partnerships.

Finalists
After a careful screening process, including Skype interview sessions, the following five finalists have been chosen and invited to come to Amsterdam:

Mentoring and pitching
All the finalists are invited to two days of workshops, where they will receive active mentoring sessions by Sanoma Learning and SanomaVentures experts and explore opportunities to develop their business in cooperation with Sanoma.

Furthermore they will get the chance to present their company and product on stage before an audience and a professional jury at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam, during a special ‘Education track’, co-hosted by Sanoma, on Friday April 25. The winner will be selected by the jury immediately following the pitches and will receive a cash prize of 25,000 euro.

sanoma school header

About Sanoma Corporation
Get the world. Sanoma helps people access and understand the world. Sanoma is a front runner in consumer media and learning in Europe. We employ around 10,000 professionals in more than 10 countries. In 2013, the Group’s net sales totalled EUR 2.2 billion. Sanoma’s share is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.
sanoma.com | twitter.com/sanoma

About Sanoma Learning
Sanoma Learning is one of Europe’s leading learning providers for the K12 education sector. Our 1,600 employees are connected by a passion for learning and a mission to improve the impact of education. We offer learning solutions, either in print, hybrid or digital formats, to take personalized learning to a higher level and improve learning outcomes while increasing efficiency.  We are a respected partner in education, working at the forefront of educational reform and innovation. We reach more than 40 countries globally and in Europe where we have strong local roots in Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.
learning.sanoma.com | twitter.com/sanoma_learning

 

SanomaVentures invests in Roomlr, the search engine for holiday homes

Amsterdam, 26 February 2014, SanomaVentures is investing in Roomlr.com, the international search engine for holiday rentals. With its database of 1.4 million locations, Roomlr offers a new and fast, easy alternative for finding a holiday home or apartment anywhere in the world.

Roomlr Screen Shot

Booking vacation rentals online is becoming increasingly popular, but is not as well developed as booking hotels or flights. Founded in 2013 by entrepreneur Bas Lemmens, who was previously involved in successful platforms like Booking.com, Easytobook and Isango, RoomIr aims to change that.

The journey starts at Roomlr

Whether for business or a holiday, Roomlr offers the widest range of square metres for every budget. From practical short-stay studios in the City of London and cosy houseboats in the canals of Amsterdam to exclusive 5 star villas in the hills of Ibiza and spacious chalets in the Alps. Whatever and wherever you wish to rent, your journey starts at Roomlr.

Wide range, easy to search

Roomlr has partnered with a large number of vacation rental providers in the travel industry like Belvilla, HomeAway, Housetrip, 9flats and Interhome. The wide range of rental options that Roomlr has thus been able to assemble and the simple search and filter method – also on smartphone and tablet – makes it much easier to find a holiday home or apartment.

Herman Kienhuis, investment director SanomaVentures: “Travel is the biggest e-commerce market in the world and it’s still growing fast, particularly online booking of holiday rentals. Backed by the valuable experience of Bas and his team, Roomlr has developed a platform which helps the international public find a suitable holiday location.”

Available cross platforms and languages

Roomlr is available in English, Dutch, German, Italian, French, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese. The website has been optimised for desktops, tablets and smartphones and there are native apps for iPhone, iPad and Android mobiles and tablets too. Bas Lemmens, director and founder of Roomlr.com: “Our aim is to make it as easy to find and book a holiday home or apartment as booking a hotel. With SanomaVentures as an investment partner, we have even more resources at our disposal.”

roomlr desktop

About Roomlr

Roomlr is a global search engine for any type of holiday home or apartment. Mission: present the most extensive range worldwide, combined with a powerful search engine. Having found a location, clients can book via the partner’s website. Roomlr offers a complete overview for every house: location, most competitive price, availability, quality photos, descriptions, ratings, detailed maps and every possible amenity. Roomlr is easy to use and optimised for desktop, smartphone and tablet.

Roomlr works together with a growing number of partners, including: 9flats, Ardennes Relais, BedyCasa, Belvilla, Booking, Bookings Made Easy, Casa4all, ClickWorldWide, Dancenter, e-Domizil, Flipkey, Gran Alacant, HappyHome, Hogenboom, HomeAway, HouseTrip, InterChalet, Interholiday, Interhome, Novasol, Roomorama, Roompot, Topic Travel, Bungalow.net, TUI Ferienhaus, Uphill, WaytoStay and Wimdu.

Roomlr.com | Facebook.com/roomlr

 

Digital startups find their way to growth capital

SanomaVentures expands portfolio of internet companies

Amsterdam, 27 January 2014 – The European startup scene is developing fast and startups are finding their way to growth capital. The introduction of various incubator and accelerator programmes has also improved the quality of the startups. SanomaVentures, the external venturing arm of Sanoma Corporation, expanded its portfolio significantly and summarises the year in the SanomaVentures 2013 infographic.

Startups are an important factor in the development of the European economy and their number is increasing, particularly in the Internet sector. One of the reasons is the greater readiness of young people to start their own business and the emergence of incubator and accelerator programmes. Programmes like Startup Bootcamp, Startup Sauna, and the recently announced Startup Europe Partnership, supported by the European Commission, help accelerate new startups in the early stages by offering seed funding, facilities and active coaching and support. This results in more and better quality startups.

sanomaventures infographic 2013 jobs

15 startups, 161 jobs
Dutch startups seem to know how to find their way to growth capital. In 2013, SanomaVentures’ Amsterdam office received over 400 investment requests, talked to 150 companies and negotiated with 33 entrepreneurs, which ultimately resulted in 9 investments. The 15 startups in which SanomaVentures has so far invested, currently offer employment to over 161 people, and 20 more are being recruited.

Smart money in new businesses
The strategy of SanomaVentures focuses on investing in early-stage startups which have launched a product but whose turnover is still low and which are particularly focused on attracting new customers. Sanoma looks at long-term partnerships with these businesses and therefore seeks Internet companies which have a strategic connection with Sanoma. Sanoma can boost the success rate of these startups significantly by contributing its media reach, industry and target group knowledge and access to its business network, as well as providing working capital.

Developments 2014
For 2014, SanomaVentures is focusing even more strongly on three strategic domains: digital consumer services, e-commerce and education.

Herman Kienhuis, investment director at SanomaVentures: “In television, healthcare, retail and education, mobile internet technology will be bringing massive changes in the coming years, which will offer new opportunities to startups. People will be watching more on-demand and online TV; they will use sensors to constantly monitor and make adjustments to their health; consumers will get inspiration in physical stores but will buy through screens; and teachers will use digital teaching methods which can adapt to any child or student.”

SanomaVentures expects the growth in entrepreneurship in Europe to continue and aims to keep pace with these developments and is planning further international expansion. Besides its office in Amsterdam, SanomaVentures is also strengthening its presence in Helsinki, Finland and is exploring the possibility of opening an office in Berlin.

sanomaventures infographic 2013

SanomaVentures invests in local shopping review site Wugly.nl

Amsterdam, 9 January 2014 – SanomaVentures is investing in Wugly.nl. Wugly.nl helps consumers find information on local shops based on the experiences of others. The platform has the largest database of independent consumer store reviews in the Netherlands.

wugly logo

Wugly.nl was launched in 2010 by Q&A Research & Consultancy, a market research agency that specialises in retail and organizes the ‘Best retailer’ competition. The site caters to the demand among consumers for a platform where they can read and write independent reviews on local shops all year round. Research shows that 45% of consumers decide where to shop partly based on the experiences of others*. Over the past three years, Wugly has collected close to a half a million reviews, of which more than 175,000 in 2013 alone.

Growth of Wugly
Frank Quix, Director and Founder of Wugly.nl: “Joining forces with Sanoma has given us a strategic partner who can help Wugly.nl quickly gain more brand recognition and help us take our platform to the next level. Together with Sanoma’s leading product comparison site Kieskeurig.nl and others, we can now offer consumers even better information in their search for the right local shop, i.e. improve the customer journey. We can also provide our business customers with greater added value in terms of gaining insight and reaching consumers. Moreover, this collaboration with Sanoma also allows us to step up our investments in new markets.”

Clicks & bricks
Online and offline shopping – clicks & bricks – are becoming more and more intertwined. A growing number of webshops are also opening offline locations, while ‘brick’ shops are increasingly using electronic marketing solutions and offering online ordering options. Sanoma sees attractive opportunities in bridging online and offline shopping. Herman Kienhuis, Investment Director at SanomaVentures: “Combining offline and online shopping offers new opportunities. Wugly has built up a valuable platform with shop reviews that can play an important role in this.”

Updated platform
The partnership includes the launch of a comprehensively updated and mobile optimized website and apps. The beta version of the updated desktop and tablet site is already available and the mobile site and app will follow shortly.

The expansion of services for our customers increases the added value of Wugly as a research and marketing tool. “Examples of this include the white label option, the integration of reviews on the retailer website, and the link to Business Intelligence tools,” explains Erwin de Haan, Commercial Manager at Wugly.nl.

About Wugly
The recommendations of others enables consumers to find shops that best meet their needs. Wugly collects the experiences of consumers with shops, shopping centres and webshops, and will soon start doing so for the hospitality industry as well. Over the past year, more than 175,000 unique and genuine shopping experiences have been added to the site. This brings the total number of reviews to half a million since the start in 2010. Besides its reviews, Wugly.nl provides consumers with extensive information on stores, webshops and shopping centres, such as locations, opening hours, brands, special offers and much more. What makes Wugly so unique is that it is comprehensive and objective.

Wugly offers retailers tools for the best form of online word-of-mouth advertising. This enables retailers, realtors and city marketeers to easily gather and share the experiences of customers who have visited their stores, shopping areas/centres and webshops. Active customer contact is encouraged through various tools and consumers and competitors can be analysed through real-time insights.

wugly.nl | twitter.com/wugly | facebook.com/wugly

 

*About the study: The consumer study was carried out by Q&A Research & Consultancy. More than 1,150 Dutch consumers took part in the study, conducted in the fall of 2013. All results were weighted for age and gender.