US venture capital heavyweight Sequoia has announced the 17 European seed-stage companies in the inaugural cohort of its Arc boot accelerator programfrom Monday.
The eight-week program will run through July 15 and will provide participants with time with some of Europe’s top founders and operators to strengthen business-building skills. Additionally, Sequoia will invest $1 million up front in each selected startup.
The accelerator is part of a broader trend of venture capitalists seeking to establish relationships with companies at an earlier stage through angel and scout programs (Sequoia also has a scout program in Europe). Sequoia invests from seed to last stage.
For Sequoia, it is especially important to establish relationships with companies from its earliest days. “Our business is built on this idea of trying to find people as soon as possible and being in business with them for as long as possible,” explains George Robson, partner at Sequoia.
One question that often comes up when venture capitalists invest in companies through programs like this is whether they will invest more money in subsequent rounds. Some founders say it can send a negative signal if a VC doesn’t follow through..
Robson says Sequoia thinks about the acceleration program “in that context of trying to build a lasting relationship,” citing the fact that Sequoia often participates in multiple rounds for companies on their way to a public listing. “We think there is a signage advantage for companies participating in Arc,” he says.
Despite the various sources of instability plaguing the market, Robson says Sequoia’s advice is to “encourage [the startups] focus on the factors they can control within the building, investing in the R&D behind their products, [and] thinking very carefully about the channels that work for them.”
The cohort comes from 13 countries and includes 33 founders across Europe, including six female founders. Members of this cohort come from “all walks of life,” including founders with immigrant and refugee backgrounds. The selected companies span a wide range of fields, from AI to edtech.
So which companies made up the first cohort? Two stealth companies are not included in this list.
- Synativ – Synative uses the latest AI research to support companies building machine vision solutions to train models and generate high-quality images.
- Telescope – Using advanced machine learning, Telescope acts as a B2B sales assistant that can monitor, create outreach emails, and close deals using machine learning.
- Two – Twain is a free Google Chrome extension, which acts as a virtual sales coach. By using natural language generation, Twain hopes to help salespeople communicate more effectively.
new B2B companies
- akeero – Cybersecurity is becoming more and more urgent and important, and that is where Akeero steps in. The security design platform seeks to enable teams to collaboratively create secure applications for cloud products.
- base lime – Serverless architecture offers greater scalability and resiliency for software engineers, but this bold new world is also extraordinarily complex. Baselime hopes to help software developers better understand and utilize serverless architecture through its automated dashboards and alerts system.
- gripper – Startups want to make the most of their data, but in reality the data is stored and processed in a fragmented way. Calliper seeks to change this by providing a plug-and-play mission control center that aggregates all operational data in one place and highlights the most important insights.
- creator space – Finding the right collaborators can be difficult, and it’s easy to end up turning to old university networks and local groups. CreatorSpace wants to change this by helping engineers, designers, and content creators find collaborators with the right skills and interests to work with.
- faithful – Munich-based Fides seeks to digitize corporate compliance by creating an all-in-one management governance platform, which also provides a secure audit trail for companies.
- sink – Based in Munich and Paris, Popsink aims to create innovative data tools to create real-time data jobs for continuous operations, without the hassle of scripting.
- RevMap – RevMap is on a mission to fix the product sales feedback loop and help companies find the right product for the market faster. Through the gamification of teamwork, the platform seeks to foster greater collaboration between product and sales teams.
- sure – The Berlin-based platform enables small businesses to choose the right level of insurance, providing personalized recommendations through its automated advisor.
New consumer companies
- Choice Options (no website): Whether it’s choosing which Netflix movies to watch or deciding which AirBnB to book, consumers today are faced with a “paradox of choice.” Choice Options wants to help consumers discover the movies, music and destinations they would enjoy, using responsible algorithms.
Educational technology startups
- Study – The London-based educational technology company wants to make quality education more accessible to students. Its app includes short videos from tutors, practice tests, flashcards, and a community forum, and aims to encourage more efficient learning.
- xelda – The payment app takes the hassle out of paying through a card machine. The app allows people to send and receive money simply by scanning QR codes on their phones.
- oto finance – The London-based platform wants to make financial support services accessible to both employers and employees. Through his suite of educational and training resources, Otto strives to give employees greater control of their financial health.
Sophie Zhang is Sifted’s editorial assistant. She helps write Sifted’s main newsletter. May sign up here.