Erase All Kittens secures $1 million seed investment

Erase All Kittens is for young players, especially girls, to learn how to code

erase-all-kittensAfter reaching 160,000 players in more than 100 countries, the company has raised a $1 million round led by Twinkl Educational Publishing, with participation from first investor Christian Reyntjens of A Black Square family office, including one of the founders of Shazam.

The funding will be used to develop a more gamified version of Erase All Kittens (EAK) teaching HTML, CSS and Javascript – the languages of all websites and web apps – to kids aged 8-12. It will be launched in July and sold to parents and schools worldwide.

EAK’s research shows that 55% of its players are girls and 95% want to learn more about coding after playing. The existing game is currently free and is being used in over 3,000 schools, with traction having increased by 500% since March 2020.

“We’re designing a coding game that girls genuinely love – one that places a huge emphasis on creativity”, said Dee Saigal, co-founder, CEO and Creative Director.

The female-founded team believe that code education tools for children naturally appeal more to boys because the vast majority have been built by men – with many teaching coding in a similar and instructional way.

They carried out two years of R&D resulting in a game that teaches girls and boys as young as eight years olds transferable digital skills, allowing them to create on the web.

“Girls can see instant results as they code, there are different ways to progress through the game, and learning is seamlessly blended with storytelling,” concludes Saigal.

Hardware IT disposal underscores security fears

hardwareAnother day, another report and another scathing censure for the security of the IT hardware industry.

According to a survey  of IT Directors carried out by DSA connect, an IT asset disposal company reveals that 8% have taken a hammer to dispose of IT equipment containing electronic data.   

Moreover, some 12% admit to having submerged it in water to try and destroy the hardware and 18% have used drilling to do this.  The most popular method is shredding (90% of IT Directors have used this), followed by data sanitation software (74%).

DSA Connect’s research suggests that one of the reasons for IT Directors to sometimes take such drastic steps is that 82% said they are concerned about the security issues around the disposal of IT hardware.  

Alarmingly, 10% of IT Directors interviewed described their employer’s knowledge of data erasure and disposal or IT hardware as average or poor.  Some 12% who have carried out data erasure on equipment as part of their jobs, did not receive a certificate of proof for the work done.   

When it comes to their employers disposing of IT tech and hardware, 82% of IT Directors say there is a growing focus on CSR issues, and 24% expect the focus here to increase dramatically over the next three year.  Over half (56%) expect a slight increase in focus here. 

“Our findings shows a real concern amongst IT Directors about the disposal of IT hardware and data.  They are right to be worried because if they get this wrong they could face a huge fine and damage to their reputation,” said Harry Benham, Chairman of DSA Connect.

There are also a number of companies claiming to be professionals in erasing data and IT destruction, but they are not, and they can leave their clients exposed and liable for the mistakes they make.”

Many businesses often find themselves with redundant IT and telecoms equipment. This could be due to periodic equipment refreshes, downsizing or office relocations and closures.

Recovering redundant equipment from across the UK, DSA Connect provides a secure IT asset disposal service utilising a methodology created in partnership with the Ministry of Defence.

DSA Connect’s end of life service allows for the complete removal and data eradication of IT equipment and, depending on the quantity and type of equipment for disposal, DSA Connect offers a rebate of up to 60% on all re-saleable assets. 

DSA Connect commissioned the market research company Pure Profile to interview 50 IT Directors in October 2020.

Treepoints rewards users for lower carbon footprints

Think Airmiles — except Treepoints rewards users for offsetting their carbon footprint, not adding to it

Treepoints

When Anthony Collias and Jacob Wedderburn-Day looked ahead to 2021, one silver lining they could draw from the year was the favourable effect of the pandemic on the climate.

The duo, who met at Oxford University, were already co-founders of a successful startup, but like many businesses faced severe difficulty and uncertainty of what the future would bring.

“From talking to our friends and family, we realised most people are worried about climate change and want to do good for the planet. But it’s knowing where to start that can be daunting”, said Wedderburn-Day.

The solution to this became Treepoints; a subscription service that makes it easy for the individual to live more sustainably. Not only does the startup offset an individual’s footprint, but it’s the world’s first platform to reward users for doing so.

When a customer signs up they can visualise and track their carbon footprint, see the UN-certified projects they’ll be helping to support and join a team plus earn rewards. These rewards take the form of tangible credit that can be spent on the Treepoints green marketplace on eco-friendly brands such as Chillys, Lush, Patagonia and Toms.

Treepoints is not limited to just individual users – businesses can visualise how they are performing in leaderboards across the world, earning rewards together as a company, as well as keeping track of emissions they have offset together.

Treepoint’s aim is to help businesses around the world work towards a greener future, with the ambitious goal of reaching £1 billion by 2030 in support of carbon offsetting projects.

The company partners with certification programs such as Gold Standard to donate to a diverse range of UN certified projects around the world. From renewable energy initiatives to clean water projects and reforestation, every Treepoints member supports a broad portfolio of carbon reduction schemes.

They publish all donations on their Public Impact Ledger, and Treepoints members receive regular updates on the projects they’re supporting through newsletters, emails, gifs and social media.

The company’s mission is to put as much money as possible into fighting climate change – sending 85% of total revenue directly to Gold Standard projects and 10% back in rewards, which is on a par with the best charities worldwide and a higher % than competitors.

Just one month after launch, the company has already been certified as a social enterprise and offset 150 tonnes of carbon. They will track this metric, and others, as they chart the platform’s progress, to gather more data and feedback. With this, they hope to add more features to help users visualise and better understand how they are helping to make an impact in the fight against climate change.

Q&A: 7BC Venture Capital Founders

Andrew Romans and Hazem Danny Al Nakib are the co-founders of 7BC, a venture capital fund using he power of capital, network and technology to back teams disrupting industries and solving global problems toward a more connected, digitized and automated global economy.

7BC

7BC Co-Founder Hazem Danny Al Nakib is based in London.

Welcome to Mob76 Outlook, please tell our readers about 7BC

We were founded for a number of reasons. The first is that although digital transformation and the sharing economy has taken the world by storm over the past 20 years, it has been incredible at sharing, transferring and transmitting data and information, but not at transmitting and transferring value.

The second reason is that without targeted capital investments into innovations at a protocol level, standard, and infrastructure level that really aims at connecting systems, their resiliency, privacy, security, and capabilities and focusing far too much on applications, the entire objective of the model of what economies and industries will look like is ultimately lost.

The third is that we wanted to take a holistic approach across a broad and yet still focused mandate at a technological layer across AI, FinTech and software infrastructure – particularly within the financial sector where it has welcomed, in parts digital transformation, but is nascent when it comes to actual digitalisation where value itself has become digital.

Across all of this, it becomes clear that we are thinking about what global and local economies will turn into and our focus is on what underpins those futures that prioritise security, resilience and optimise efficiencies. We are interested in broader waves effective the use of data, implementations of digital identity, the creation of new asset classes, and the future models of connectivity.

7BC

7BC Co-Founder Andrew Romans is based in Silicon Valley.

Why is the fund called 7BC Venture Capital?

Our name 7BC Venture Capital signals our ability to assist and support our portfolio companies on all 7 continents of the world and experience a journey together with our network where after receiving our capital support they will travel the 7 seas and develop their business with our support on a global basis through expansion and growth.

The number seven suggests our international LP base and other business support networks and is also a lucky number which is important at early stage investing and entrepreneurship. BC stands for borderless continents and borderless capital while spanning many different technologies. We believe that AI, FinTech and software infrastructure will collectively usher in a new era for humankind. Our mission is to fund, develop and support the startups that create the foundation of this new era. The right teams, the right technology, the right capital, and the right business model.

Why are you focusing on AI, software infrastructure and FinTech?

There are disparate alternatives of what the future can look like. However, from a trend standpoint, we know that barriers to entry into the financial sector continue to lower as technology innovations come to the market. As such, the financial sector is becoming more integrated with other sectors and industries within the sharing economy, particularly around healthcare, travel, identity, hospitality and much more.

The second is that we view software infrastructure, and other forms of possibly decentralised technologies as the digital underpinning for applications that are built and that use other technologies such as AI, IoT and others to deliver products, services, and value.

There have been barriers to the successful deployment of many of these technologies and often it comes down to where the data is, how is it being collected, and is it being used well in a connected and secure environment, particularly when it is now more valuable than gold. And secondly, whether the digital representations of physical objects are easily stored, transferred, and transacted in a more transparent, disintermediated, and automatic way.

We find that changing the narrative and focusing on building blocks positions us well from a narrative standpoint to build a robust, disruptive and transformational portfolio of companies with both a unique advantage and a unique selling point and differentiator – Where our portfolio companies work together and are complimentary with each other as well. The future is one that will be even more connected, even more automated, and even more digital, that is all we can be certain of.

At what stage of startup investment do you invest?

The majority of our fund is dedicated to series A and growth stage rounds of early stage businesses at the post-product and post-revenue stage where rapid revenue growth, traction, and expansion are the key performance indicators of the business.

However, we do leave some room for a large number of small ticket capital investments at the seed or pre-series A rounds enabling us to double down in future rounds. Our global network of venture partners and ties to universities, incubators and local ambassadors allow us to support the rights teams early on.

Why is 7BC different to the other funds out there?

Every fund can say why they’re different. Most will say it’s their past performance and current network. We can ‘say’ that, but we can also ‘show’ you. We will continue to show you our network and continue to develop it.

In many cases the network is at our 7BC LP investor, team, VC co-investment / syndication and service provider layers, but our favourite is our own current and former portfolio CEOs and founders supporting our evolving global community, and that brings past performance to current and future financial performance. 

Any advice to startups when the pitch to you?

Really it always comes down to the basics. If the four biggest factors for success in real estate are location, location, location, the biggest factors for success in our lenses are team, team, team, market, technology, traction and who else is supporting this startup? 

Innovations come from having a new technology, at the right time, in the right place with a the right business model. That is what we’re looking for. Where is value not being captured, and where can value be better captured and best delivered?

But with all things, it is a story and depends on the facts of the case at hand – keep it simple, tell your story, have your reason and purpose that drives you and your team, and implement it then demonstrate in your pitch how you’ve been implementing it and what you plan on doing. 

Stick to facts and what is there specifically, what you have accomplished and what you will. As long as that can be shown tangibly and clearly, then you’ll attract the right capital, partners, and team members. Sometimes it is a numbers game, sometimes it’s a bit of your gut and vision, but above all it’s a mixture of demonstrating delivery, having laser sharp focus, being consistent, and being surrounded by the best team in an area of the market that you’ve identified is missing or lacking something. 

We know that our cash cheque is important, but if we can’t see how we can add value in other ways we don’t invest. This often comes down to our experience, advice and network. We believe that is how all early stage investing should be. Good startups will always attract plenty of funders in any boom or bust economy. The best funders need to demonstrate how they will add value and then deliver that value whilst constantly growing their reputation. It’s that simple. Add value or don’t invest.