May 19, 2020

European startup funds highlight continent’s tech scene

London
Balderton Capital
LocalGlobe
Northzone
Anna Evie
2 min
European startup funds highlight continent’s tech scene

Venture capital firm Northzone has announced the closing of its latest, $500mn fund, Northzone IX.

Early investments made by the fund have been in membership rewards, sustainability and video startups in London, Oslo and New York City. The stated aim of the fund is to invest in Series A and Series B rounds in Europe and the eastern United States.

Northzone, which has offices in London, New York, Stockholm and Oslo, has a record, particularly in the Scandinavian technology scene. Previous horses backed by the company include, most prominently, Swedish music streaming service Spotify, with currently active investments including the likes of compatriot fintech firm Klarna and Danish review website Trustpilot.

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Partner Paul Murphy said in the company’s press release: “The start-up ecosystems beyond Silicon Valley have seen a step change in recent years in quality, scale and an abundance of experienced founder and operator talent, along with deeper pockets of capital. There has never been a better time for tech entrepreneurs in Europe.”

It’s a sentiment that might raise eyebrows, considering political convulsions such as Brexit, which may affect London’s status as one of the jewels in the technology crown. At this month’s Web Summit, however, Saul Klein, Co-founder of LocalGlobe emphasised: “Tech in London, tech in the UK is actually going from strength to strength. There’s more capital being invested, more billion dollar companies being produced, 50,000 people who work at unicorns, 2.1mn people working in tech.”

That’s a perspective partly born out in the news last week that London-based Balderton Capital launched a $400mn fund dedicated to European companies’ Series A rounds. According to the firm, venture capital funding for startups in Europe rose from €11.5bn in 2014 to €24.6bn in 2018.

“We believe Europe has the potential to build the next generation of technology giants, and we are focused on helping brilliant founders fulfil that ambition,” said partner Bernard Liautaud. “We are seeing more and more exceptional founders raising Series A in Europe. With today’s new fund we want to build on that momentum.”

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

GfK
VMware
3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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