Starfunding: 10 European startups funded by stars

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In recent years, more and more celebs have gone from stars to angels, looking to invest and innovate in the tech space. Additional investment is always welcomed in the startup world, but having celebrity status adds well-needed publicity, so it’s a win-win.

Here are 10 European startups currently backed by a star-studded investor:

Worn Again – Worn Again Technologies is a UK-based startup set to transform the textile and fashion industries with its polymer recycling technology. After more than six years of intensive R&D, they managed to develop a chemical process to separate, decontaminate, and extract polyester polymers and cellulose from non-reusable textiles, as well as plastic bottles and packaging, and convert them into raw materials. The startup is backed by Miroslava Duma, a Russian digital entrepreneur and investor in fashion tech through her venture Future Tech Lab. With £5 million in funding from the H&M Clothing Company, they are accelerating a waste-free, circular resource world.

Sushi BikesJoko Winterscheidt is a well-known German actor and presenter, but he is no stranger to the startup world, having invested in various startups. His latest venture is Sushi Bikes, a developer of electric bikes tailored to the needs of the young generation and today’s demands on urban mobility. The e-bike of Joko Winterscheidt and his business partner Andreas Weinzierl will be sold for around half the average price of electric bicycles (€999). On top of that, you get good quality, a lot of range, a handy battery, and an appealing design. The bikes are not yet on the market, but will certainly contribute to shaping the mobility of tomorrow.

Tier – Scooters have started a global e-mobility movement and the trend is growing by the minute and Tier Mobility is one of the companies offering a sharing platform for electric scooters. The Berlin-based e-scooter rental startup has managed to reach 2 million rides, since its establishment in 2018, and is currently operating in over 20 cities across Europe, with around 10,000 Tier scooters on the streets. In 2019 Tier welcomed former F1 champion Nico Rosberg as a new investor, who was kind enough to present the company’s first customized e-scooter in this youtube video.

Deuce – When Andy Murray announced his retirement from the tennis world, he had more time to focus on his business portfolio, so he invested in what he knows best: tennis. Dubbed as the “AirBnB for tennis”, Deuce is a British startup, aiming to make tennis more accessible and affordable for everyone. Deuce matches players with coach-led sessions and courts at nearby clubs and parks and plans to add tennis insight, information and news to the app in the near future. Backed by the best British tennis player, Deuce can play a key role in growing the popularity of the sport in Great Britain and across the globe.

Elbi Digital is a London-based charitable giving digital platform, founded in 2014 by the Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova and digital guru Timon Afinsky. The idea behind Elbi is to add meaning to your online existence, by turning “likes” into fuel to help cure cancer, end world hunger, promote education, etc. One can donate as little as £1 with the Love Button, earn a LoveCoin and then spend it on products available in the LoveShop. So far over 80,000+ good deeds have been completed in more than 1900 campaigns. Elbi is pioneering a new model of micro-philanthropy and was named by Apple as one of their most innovative ways to give back in 2018.

KosmosDavis Cup, the crown jewel of International Tennis Federation, is undergoing format changes. As of 2019, it will feature 18 teams competing over a week-long,  season-ending tournament at a neutral site, replacing the current Davis Cup format that is played over four weekends throughout the year. The man behind this is Gerard Pique, and his venture, Kosmos Holding Group. Kosmos is a global sports and media investment group headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, currently building a global portfolio of sports, media and entertainment ventures. Kosmos is also backed by Lionel Messi and Larry Ellison.

Mindmaze – The road from Hollywood to Switzerland may be long, but not for Leonardo DiCaprio. In 2017 he invested in MindMaze and joined the company as a Director on its Board, believing that the company’s motion capture technology could one day be the driving force in media and entertainment. In the meantime, MindMaze, the brainchild of neuroscientist, engineer and entrepreneur, Tej Tadi, brings together a number of technologies – virtual reality, augmented reality, electroencephalographic (EEG) scans and motion capture – to create a medical-grade “neural virtual reality platform”. In 2019 the company partnered with McLaren Racing to deliver the next generation of safety and performance platforms tailored for motorsport.

Unity – Breaking the taboo that women are more into beauty products, two former Arsenal teammates have joined forces to launch environmentally-friendly male skincare brand Unity. Mesut Özil and Mathieu Flamini shared not only the team uniform but a passion for the environment as well. Consisting of 11 healthy and sustainable shampoos, gels, face wash, shower wash, eye cream, deodorants, moisturizers, hair gel, and beard oils, Unity makes sure everything is natural, that even its packaging is made from renewable bioplastic sugarcane. The world-known footballers are using their fame for a good cause, donating 1% of revenues to charitable projects around the world.

Challengermode is a Swedish tech startup and online competitive gaming platform that welcomed Zlatan Ibrahimović, one of the biggest names in world football, as an investor back in 2017. The startup has developed an esports platform where gamers meet to compete in high-quality matches and tournaments in the best competitive games for money and prizes. Founded in 2014, ChallengerMode is currently offering the most accessible competitive gaming experience online and is building the digital gaming arena for the 21st century.

Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies  is a UK-based medical marijuana company, established in 2017 to harness the prospective medical benefits of cannabinoids and develop treatments that improve the quality of life for millions of patients around the world. They are currently focusing on four major areas: pain, cancer, inflammation and neurological disease, but the potential is endless. The company attracted a number of investors including Snoop Dogg, who made a $10 million investment in 2018 (and also invested in Klarna earlier this year), and Sir Patrick Stewart, who serves on OCT’s Advisory Board.

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