Aircall raises another $29 million

French startup Aircall has raised a fund round of $29 million for its cloud based call center solution. Draper Esprit led the round with NextWorld Capital, Balderton Capital and Newfund also participating.

The company has raised $40.5 million in total. Aircall participated in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt SF a few years ago. The company first started at eFounders.

Aircall is following the software-as-a-service playbook. First, you take a boring industry like phone systems for big subsistence and sales teams. Second, you bet everything on software. And third, you maintain adding new the characteristics and integrations, and chasing new customers.

The company currently has two offices in New York and Paris and handles millions of calls every day. With today’s funding round, the company plans to hire more people in both offices.

When you sign up to Aircall, you get virtual phone numbers in one or multiple countries. You can then configure a greeting message, add business hours and handle your call queue.

But the magical occurs when you have multiple people handling marketings or subsistence calls. When someone calls, it can ring multiple people at once or someone specific first, then a second person if the first person isn’t available, etc. You get an overview of all your bellows so you can assign them, tag them and more.

Aircall doesn’t work in a vacuum. So you can incorporate Aircall with CRMs and other solutions like Salesforce, Zendesk and Zoho. The startup also launched a deep integrating with Intercom that lets you switch from a text conversation to a phone call from the popup window.

It’s hard to list all the features right here. But opportunities are that if you’re operating a call centre, you’ll have everything you need for your team. Aircall currently costs $ 30 to $50 per user and per month to access all of this.

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Welcome to the Jungle raises another $8.4 million

French startup Welcome to the Jungle is raising a funding round of $8.4 million( EUR7 million) from XAnge, Bpifrance and Kima Ventures, as well as existing investors Jean-Paul Guisset and Michael Benabou.

Welcome to the Jungle is taking a different approach to undertaking recruitment. The startup isn’t going to find employees for you. Instead, Welcome to the Jungle wants to give you appropriate tools and exposure to get enough inbound applications.

The company started by profiling hundreds of tech companies in Paris. Instead of creating a giant Excel spreadsheet, Welcome to the Jungle works with a video crew, photographers and a write staff to produce high quality content about your company. Suppose about it as glossy newspaper articles with Conde Nast-like production budget.

All of this is pricy. Companies pay for these profiles and get their own page on Welcome to the Jungle’s website. In addition to that, Welcome to the Jungle also produces quarterly magazines for a hundred universities and a thick paper magazine once per year.

And it’s true that Welcome to the Jungle has encompassed a ton of companies in Paris. When you think about a company name, chances are you can find a profile on Welcome to the Jungle.

Overall, a thousand companies partnered with Welcome to the Jungle. The website now attracts 600,000 unique guests every month. For engineers, you can now filter depending on your skill set and your technical stack.

In addition to that, the startup has been slowly ramping up its software-as-a-service recruitment platform called Welcome Kit. Imagine somebody reads about your company in Welcome to the Jungle’s magazine and then aims up on a poorly designed chore page.

Welcome Kit replaces the “Jobs” link in your website’s footer. The platform lets you list postures, create application forms and way candidates. Basic features are free and you can pay for additional the characteristics and branding options.

With today’s funding round, it’s time to look further. The company now wants to expand to another country, which could be Spain. It’s about to become a slow expansion as Welcome to the Jungle needs to put together a local squad in each country to create content.

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GoBee Bike throws in the towel in France

Bike-sharing startup GoBee Bike is giving up and shutting down in all French cities where it operates. GoBee Bike operates just like Chinese giants Ofo and Mobike. You open the app, you find a bike on the map and you unlock it by scanning a QR code. Once you’re done, you lock it again and leave it there — there’s no dock.

And yet, the startup is blaming vandalism and says that the service would stop immediately. It’s worth noting that users will get a rebate on their remaining balances and EUR1 5 deposit. This is a nice gesture.

According to the announcement, GoBee Bike managed to attract 150,000 users in Europe who use the service hundreds of thousands of days. But the company’s motorcycles slowly became unusable. 3,200 motorcycles became dysfunctional, 1,000 motorcycles were illegally parked in someone’s home. Overall, GoBee Bike had to send person in 6,500 cases.

The startup couldn’t keep up and it became clear that the business model wasn’t scalable if you needed to fix the bikes all the time. As a user, it also felt like you couldn’t unlock most of the motorcycles because the lock battery was dead most of the time.

GoBee Bike first announced that it would stop operating in Brussels, Lille and Reims. The startup also exited the Italian market. And now, users in Paris and Lyon can’t access the service either. The company is still operating in its home city Hong Kong.

In Paris in particular, there were four different free-floating bike companies — Ofo, Mobike, Obike and GoBee Bike. GoBee Bike is clearly underfunded compared to those giants. According to CrunchBase, GoBee Bike has raised$ 9 million. Ofo and Mobike have raised over$ 2 billion combined.

And you can feel it as a user. While Ofo has been operating in Paris since mid-December, all rides have been free for the past two and half months. Mobike has been around for a month and rides are free as well. Even Obike gave you 50 free rides when you signed up.

It’s hard to compete with free.

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Sqreen wants to become the IFTTT of web app security

French startup Sqreen lately launched a Security Hub with dozens of plugins to put you in control of the security of your web app. In many ways, it feels like enabling undertakings on popular automation service IFTTT.

Sqreen participated in TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield and Y Combinator’s current batch. The vision of the product hasn’t changed. Sqreen lets you protect your web service with little endeavor from your side.

Big companies have dedicated security teams that protect services, try to run attacks to find imperfections and more. Smaller companies don’t inevitably have enough time and money to build a dedicated squad. But your product is still vulnerable to SQL injections, XSS attacks and brute-force attacks.

Sqreen isn’t a firewall. You simply have to install a library package on your server and add got a couple of lines at the top your source code to require the Sqreen module in your application.

Once this is done, Sqreen monitors attacks in real period without a big performance hitting — the startup says there’s a 4 percent CPU overhead. Sqreen now works for web apps in Node.js, Ruby, PHP, Python or Java.

In addition to protecting you against common assaults, Sqreen constructs security recommendations so that you can regularly fix vulnerabilities. And with GDPR be forthcoming, tech companies have a greater responsibility when it comes to protecting customer data and disclosing hacks.

Customers wanted to know more about what Sqreen was doing. That’s why Sqreen launched a security hub with documented plugins.

“All security vendors are very secretive, ” Sqreen co-founder and CEO Pierre Betouin. “Usually, you can’t test the product and you have no information on what they do. We were like this at the beginning of Sqreen. Our positioning was genuinely’ install our library and we’ll covering a range of security features.’”

“We had a big push back. So we wondered how we could be more transparent, provide something more rational. We explain each plugin completely.”

Qarnot unveils a cryptocurrency heater for your home

French startup Qarnot unveiled a new computing heater specifically stimulated for cryptocurrency mining. You’ve read that right, the QC1 is a heater for your home that features a passive computer inside. And this computer is optimized for mining.

While most people use laptops, back in the golden days of computer towers, you could heat a room with a couple of desktop computer. And hot is still one of the biggest challenges when you’re building a data center. You have to cool thousands of computers that operate 24/7.

Qarnot started thinking about edge calculating for data centers back in 2010. The company has built three generations of computing heaters with multiple CPUs and sold them to construction companies looking for heaters for their new buildings.

At the other aim of the equation, companies such as BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Air Liquide and Blender rent those servers for their own wants. In other terms, Qarnot has built a decentralized data center.

“We provide computing capability with an extremely hard constraint, which is the heating needs of consumers, ” co-founder and COO Miroslav Sviezeny said in a press conference. That’s why Qarnot can offload some of the computing to traditional data centers. That could be particularly useful for the Summer.

From CPU to GPU

And now, the company is selling its first devices to end users directly. The company thinks it’s the perfect utilize example for cryptocurrency mining. The QC1 features two AMD GPUs( Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX580 with 8GB of VRAM) and is designed to mine Ethers by default.

You can define it up in a few minutes by plugging an Ethernet cable and putting your Ethereum wallet address in the mobile app. You’ll then gradually receive ethers on this address — Qarnot doesn’t receive any coin, you keep 100 percent of your cryptocurrencies.

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BlaBlaCar is optimizing its service for small cities and has a new visual identity

When you reach BlaBlaCar’s scale, you need to find customers who are hard to reach — literally. The French company announced an effort to optimize its ride-sharing for long-distance rides for people who don’t live in major hubs. BlaBlaCar now has 60 million users.

When you list a ride on BlaBlaCar, you tell the service where you’re coming from and where you’re going. Opportunities are there are other big cities on the way. That’s why many drivers also add a couple of cities on their route.

But the service is going to roll out some changes to its matching engine over the next 18 months. Inspired by its daily commuting app BlaBlaLines, BlaBlaCar now automatically figures out all the intermediate cities on your ride.

On the other side of the equation, riders who live near a big highway but far from a big city will now find a lot more potential rides. BlaBlaCar will connect the dots for them.

This is quite an important move as BlaBlaCar wants to differentiate itself as much as possible from buses and trains. Some cities don’t have a develop station or long-distance buses.

In addition to the upcoming changes to the search engine and matching algorithm, BlaBlaCar is refreshing its brand. The company has a new logo that looks like two Bs, or two upside down speech bubbles.

Those two letters intersect and overlap. This isn’t a pushing to appeal to Venn diagram fans. BlaBlaCar says it represents human connects. And the company now has two people hugging one another front and center on its website and in the App Store and Play Store screenshots. The new colorings and logo are already live everywhere.

While BlaBlaCar is much cheaper than a last-minute develop ticket, the company doesn’t want to emphasize this aspect. Instead, you can think about BlaBlaCar as a good way to meet new people and have interesting conversations.

ProcessOut chooses the best online payment service for each transaction

Meet ProcessOut, a French startup that automatically routes transactions to the best pay provider. This style, big online services can start using multiple pay providers, pay fewer fees and reduce the number of declined transactions.

The startup has just raised$ 1 million from various business angels, such as BlaBlaCar CTO Francis Nappez, former PayPal Director of Global Business Development Benjamin Blasco, Logmatic CEO Amirhossein Malekzadeh and Amadeo Brenninkmeijer. ProcessOut is also backed by Techstars and 50 Partners.

“Look at how companies, such as Airbnb and Dropbox, handle pays. Those companies have squads of 10, 15 or 20 people who work full day on optimizing the technical and economical performance of payments.” co-founder and CEO Cyril Chemla told me. “ProcessOut acts like those payment teams for Datadog, BlaBlaCar or Vente-Privee.”

Behind the scene, ProcessOut has built a smart routing service that works with dozens of payment service providers. The startup’s biggest clients save a ton of money by employing ProcessOut.

These days, many small startups start accepting payments by signing up to a developer-friendly pay provider, such as Stripe or Braintree. But using Stripe doesn’t inevitably make sense when you’re processing millions of transactions a year. You want to optimize and generate some redundancy.

For instance, banks often have their own payment service providers. They are often hard to deal with and quite ugly, but they are also much cheaper than modern alternative service.

But that doesn’t mean you should switch altogether to a bank’s payment service provider. Many transactions fail because of a technical reason, or because the pay service provider or the customer’s bank have deemed the transaction too risky — it’s a non-negligible parameter.

ProcessOut has built two different services. First, Telescope lets you monitor all your transactions in a few minutes and give you recommendations. For instance, the service can tell you that you’re overpaying for transactions in the U.S ., that your decline rate has been going up lately and more. This service is free and a great way to attract new customers.

Second, ProcessOut has built its own checkout module to act as an intermediary between your client and your pay service providers. The startup can store credit card info, which induces it easier to switch to a new pay service provider.

ProcessOut clients can then hook the service with multiple payment service providers and let the startup manage payments. While it’s easy to figure out the cheapest provider, it’s much harder to understand if the bank that issued your customer’s charge card is going to accept or decline the transaction. That’s why ProcessOut is slowly learning how each bank works.

The startup takes 1c to 5c per transaction. ProcessOut says that it represents less than 10 percent of what you save on fees and failed transactions. It should be an easy sell.

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Ledger raises another $75 million to become the leader in cryptocurrency hardware wallets

Ledger only created an impressive Series B round of $75 million( EUR6 1 million ), led by Draper Esprit. The startup already created a$ 7 million round last year. But the cryptocurrency mania probably attained it easy to raise more money.

If you have more than a little bit of money in cryptocurrencies, chances are you’ve heard about Ledger wallets. The French startup has been designing some of the most secure hardware billfolds out there. If you don’t wishes to get hacked, get a Ledger wallet.

Draper Venture Network funds, including Draper Associate, Draper Dragon and Boost VC also participated in the funding. FirstMark Capital, Cathay Innovation, Korelya Capital and existing investors CapHorn Invest, GDTRE and Digital Currency Group also invested in today’s round. XAnge remained in the capital. Ledger says that the round was oversubscribed, and that it is the largest Series B round in a cryptocurrency startup when you exclude ICOs.

The company has sold a million hardware wallets in 2017. While this sounds impressive, it’s even more impressive when you compare it to 2016. Ledger only sold 30,000 wallets in 2016 — it represents a 33 x year-over-year increase.

And this is key to understanding Ledger’s wallet. Few people predicted the cryptocurrency boom of 2017. That’s why Ledger has been struggling with keeping up with orders. When you buy a Ledger Nano S today, you’re going to get delivered in March 2018.

So the company is going to use today’s funding round to ramp up production and solve those back-order issues. It’s important to note that Ledger is already profitable. Ledger currently has 82 employees in Paris, San Francisco and Vierzon.

The company also plans to launching the Ledger Vault, a security solution for banks, hedge funds and family offices that want to invest in cryptocurrencies.

“For the billfolds, we incorporated our operating system in a procure chip, and for the Vault, we are integrating it in a hardware security module, ” Ledger co-founder and CEO Eric Larcheveque told me. “The idea behind it is to provide additional the characteristics and services, such as multiaccounts, multisignature or timelocks.”

Ledger is the equivalent of a gold picking manufacturer. When there’s a gold rush, the one selling the gold picks end up with more fund than people looking for gold.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Ledger raised $70 million. The company ended up creating $75 million .

Disclosure: I own small amounts of various cryptocurrencies .

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Shadow launches its cloud computer forgamers in California

French startup Blade, the company behind Shadow, is about to expand its cloud gaming service to the U.S. Customers who lives in California can pre-order starting today, and they’ll be able to access the service on February 15 th. The rest of the U.S. will be able to subscribe later this summer.

Shadow is currently live in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg. For a flat monthly fee, you can rent a gaming PC in a data center near you. You can then access this beefy computer using desktop and mobile apps as well as the company’s own little box. It’s a full-fledged Windows 10 instance — you can install Steam, or whatever you want.

Behind the scene, each user gets a high-end dedicated Nvidia GPU. The company is currently utilizing a mix of GeForce GTX 1080 and Quadro P5 000. Shadow also gives you 8 threads on an Intel Xeon 2620 processor, 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. Overall, it represents 8.2 teraflops of calculating power — as a comparison, Microsoft promises 6 teraflops with the Xbox One X.

In Europe, the service currently costs $54 per month, or $42 per month with a three-month commitment, or $36 if you’re willing to pay for a year( EUR4 4.95/ EUR3 4.95/ EUR2 9.95 ). American customers will pay more or less the same thing for the cheapest tier — $34.95 per month for a one-year commitment.

The two other tiers are a bit cheaper in the U.S. — $39.95/ month for a three-month commitment and $49.95/ month with no commitment. It’s also worth noting that the company bills you every month even if you choose a yearly subscription.

While pre-orders are open to everyone in California, there’s only a limited sum of Shadow instances available in the company’s Californian data center.

And this is key to understanding Shadow’s rollout. You need at least 15 Mbps of bandwidth and you need to be near the data center. It would take too long to register an action if you lived thousands of miles away from the data center.

Blade recently signed a partnership with Equinix to roll out its servers in more data centers around the world. But it takes time to build and install servers. It’s not as easy as releasing an app in the App Store. But you can expect more expansion news in the coming months.

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Doctolib raises another $42 million for its medical carescheduling service

French startup Doctolib is raising money for the second time in the past twelve months. The company is building a sort of Salesforce for the healthcare industry with a big emphasis on bookings. Doctolib simply created $42 million( EUR3 5 million) from Eurazeo and existing investor Bpifrance.

The startup announced another round of funding back in January 2017. If you blend those two rounds, Doctolib has raised $72.7 million( EUR6 1 million) in 2017, which makes it one of the best-funded health startups in Europe.

Doctolib has developed an online booking platform for all medical practitioners. It is already quite big in France as the startup manages around 7 million bookings every month. The company has recently expanded to Germany, and there are some encouraging signs in Germany as well.

So far, get new physicians is much faster in Germany than during the beginnings of the service in France. The company currently has five offices in Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Hamburg.

“We have already managed 1.5 million bookings in Germany, ” co-founder and CEO Stanislas Niox-Chateau told me. “Pretty soon, we’re about to become a big in Germany as in France.”

In total, there are 30,000 health professionals employing the platform with 12 million monthly guests in France and Germany. But this isn’t your median marketplace. You can’t take a cut on medical transactions or use medical data because of privacy reasons.

That’s why the startup has decided to sell its service to practitioners directly. Each doctor pays EUR1 09 per month in France and EUR1 29 per month in Germany to replace their booking system with Doctolib. With a little back-of-the-envelope calculation, you can see that the company is already earning quite a lot of cash.

With today’s funding round, the company wants to be the undisputed leader in both Germany and France. Docotlib will hire 100 new employees in Germany and open an engineering office in Germany. Doctolib has 380 employees in total and also plans to hire 100 people in France.

There’s still a lot of room to grow as only a small percentage of doctors already use a solution like Doctolib. Doctolib’s main competitor isn’t another online booking platform. The startup needs to convince physicians who still rely heavily on phone calls and outdated systems.

When you switch to Doctolib, your patients can see directly when you’re available. The startup also sends reminders, which reduces no shows. Eventually, Doctolib can also tell you about earlier appointments if a patient cancels an appointment. Overall, Doctolib wants to help doctor spends less time doing administrative chores, which should greatly improve their revenue.

But the company doesn’t plan to stop at bookings. Doctolib has been working hard on new products to create a suite of services for healthcare professionals. In addition to managing everything from appointments to your waiting room, the company is working on improving communication channels between doctors and patients, and between multiple practitioners. It’s still a bit vague, but I’m sure we’ll hear more about those new features in the coming months.

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