Made in emerging Europe: Vinted, UP Catalyst, ProperGate

The emerging European start-up scene is booming and has reached the 2021 milestone: new money is constantly flowing into the market. To keep you up to date with the latest investments, innovations, news and shakers, every Monday Emerging europe offers you a practical overview of the start-ups in the region that have closed funding rounds in the previous seven days.


Vilnius-based second-hand fashion start-up Vinted raises 250 million euros

The second-hand consumer-to-consumer fashion platform Vinté raised € 250 million as part of its Series F funding round led by EQT Growth.

Founded 13 years ago, Vinted became Lithuania’s first unicorn in 2019 after an increase of 128 million euros. In 2020, the start-up acquired its Dutch competitor United Wardrobe.

“Vinted is transforming the used fashion market across Europe with its customer-centric approach and extraordinary execution,” says Carolina Brochado of EQT Growth, who has now joined the board of directors of Vinted .

With this new funding, the company will expand into new markets, both in Europe and beyond. It will also invest in the overall buyer’s experience in the areas of “trust and security, payments, shipping, infrastructure and other new product tools and features”.

“We want to replicate the success we have built in our existing European markets in new geographies and will continue to invest not only to improve our product, but also to ensure we continue to have a positive impact,” says Thomas Plantenga, CEO of Vinted. “We believe today’s milestone is a vote of confidence in our commitment to the circular economy and our relentless efforts to build a business that encourages more people to buy and sell second-hand products. “


In 2019, UP Catalyst won the EIT Raw Materials Jumpstarter award
Supported by ESA, Estonian UP Catalyst will produce oxygen on Mars

Human exploration of Mars may still be a long way into the future, but that doesn’t mean that various companies and organizations aren’t working hard to make it happen.

Estonian team UP catalyst will now join the scientific effort to create technology that will one day enable human life on the Red Planet with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Its technology works similarly to NASA’s Mars In-Situ Oxygen Resource Use Experiment (MOXIE, for short), but it is different in that it transforms carbon dioxide back into nanomaterials. of precious carbon. These materials can then be used in various fields of the space industry, such as battery and ultracapacitor technologies, conductive and reinforcing coatings, polymer formulations, water filters, etc.

MOXIE works by separating oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide molecules, which are made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms.

“We still have a lot of work to do as we move towards our goal of someday seeing humans on Mars,” says Dr Gary Urb, CEO of UP Catalyst. “The early stages of our production development have shown promising signs to become a serious competitor in both the space industry and the nanotechnology sector.”

“UP Catalyst has a solid scientific and technical background which translates into a high potential to support human missions to Mars,” says Sven Lilla, project manager of ESA’s Business Incubation Centers (BIC). “ESA BIC funding is just a small indication of ESA’s support for UP Catalyst to connect them with the right mentors and domain-specific experts to start scaling up their production method.”

The UP Catalyst team is eager to be part of such a large project.

NASA hopes to be able to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, while Elon Musk’s SpaceX hopes to arrive first in 2026.


The ProperGate team
Polish ProperGate raises one million euros to digitize construction site logistics

Based in Warsaw ProperGate has just closed a round of funding of one million euros.

“The acquired funding will allow ProperGate to expand its team and support faster development resulting from the growing needs of customers and partners,” says Rafał Grudzień, CEO of ProperGate.

“We are facing new challenges related to international expansion, product development and integration with suppliers of complementary materials and technological solutions. Our new investors bring us not only fi nancial capital, but also access to a global network of construction companies, as well as valuable experience of cooperation on all continents.

Since 2018, when it was founded, the start-up has been offering cloud-based software that optimizes logistics on complex construction projects. By using its technology, the company is able to iron out the many inefficiencies in the flow of materials along the supply chain and on job sites.

Its solution can be applied to everything from skyscrapers and residential buildings to logistics centers. ProperGate has already partnered with major players in the construction and real estate industry such as Skanska, Kajima Poland, BESIX Group, CFE and 7R.

By digitizing logistics, which on many construction sites is still manual or semi-manual, the company is able to reduce costly delays, minimize risks and maximize the chances of the project being profitable. This is especially important, as the construction industry operates on very thin margins (1.5-2% being common), so it doesn’t take much to make a project lose money.

“ProperGate’s growing pipeline of real estate development in existing and key expansion markets, combined with the need for a smarter and more technological solution tailored to the current needs of construction companies, gives us great comfort in this next stage of development. expansion and growth for ProperGate, ”says Wiktor Karol Waligora, partner and co-founder of Realty Corporation, a major investor in the seed cycle.


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