Today Formulate, a SaaS company focusing on AI solutions for retail promotions, announces they have closed a late-seed round of 3.7m EUR, led by henQ, with the participation of Industrifonden and J12 Ventures. The funds raised will be invested in international expansion and growing the team.

It began in 2016 with a pile of research papers and a consultancy project focused on analysing a retailer’s sales data. The founders of Formulate soon recognised that the need to improve promotion analysis within retail was huge. Most analyses and forecasts were done on gut-feel alone, without proper tools to manage, analyse, and visualize quantitative results in order to make data-driven decisions. Since then, Formulate has designed, developed, and begun to sell Retail DecisionCloud, a cloud-based AI SaaS solution. Current customers include leading Swedish retailers, such as Coop and Apoteket.

The additional 3.7m EUR will be used to introduce Retail DecisionCloud to the European retail market. To accelerate growth by expanding into several European countries, Formulate was keen to find a European lead for the round.

“It all came together when we met henQ. Their fund is focused on B2B enterprise software, they are skilled in supporting companies like ours in international expansion, and they know what is required to eventually enter the US”, says Andreas Willgert, CEO of Formulate. “Right now, we are super focused on bringing Retail DecisionCloud to the European market. Retail as an industry is changing, and leveraging data is at the core of that change. Retail analytics is a 3bn EUR industry, and it is rapidly growing. Our promotion analytics solution is tackling a classic retail problem with state-of-the-art technology, and the potential to create value is significant.”

Together with henQ, two other firms have participated in the round; the well-established Swedish evergreen fund, Industrifonden, which already has equity in the company, and the newly created Stockholm-based fund, J12 Ventures.

”We believe that the market opportunity is huge and the problem that Formulate solves is really significant for the retail market. I think in a couple of years’ time we’ll look back and say that the team at Formulate has initiated a gigantic change in how retail is executed”, says Coen van Duiven, Founding Partner at henQ. Promotions are important to retailers, often 20-50% of turnover is discounted or in other ways activated. However, determining whether or not promotions are profitable, and whether they truly drive incremental sales after all side effects are accounted for, has, until now, proved very difficult. By using Retail DecisionCloud, users get a comprehensive analysis of all their past promotions, and reliable forecasts of all their planned promotions. They can also simulate the effect of promotions in the ideation phase. This enables retailers to continuously improve and to collaborate with suppliers in an innovative way. Formulate is based in Stockholm. The growing team of almost 20 is a mix of skilled tech and retail professionals. The three founders, Andreas Willgert (CEO), Arvid Stenback (CRO) and Robin Bartholdson (CTO), together with early hire Anna Blomdell (CPO), make up the company’s leadership team.

Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup Aito announced it’s latest funding round in which it raised €1.6M from B2B software investor henQ and launches the public version of its Predictive Database which combines machine learning and database into one single platform.

That AI is a hot market is not in question. Gartner says AI augmentation will create $2.9 trillion of business value in 2021. But before this can happen, one serious problem should be tackled: most AI projects flat out fail. And most failures in AI projects are because of a lack of skilled staff and unrealistic expectations according to recent IDC research. This is exactly what Aito is fixing.

Machine Learning made as easy as SQL 

The Predictive Database is fundamentally different than the current science-driven ML tools available in the market. Instead of data scientists or an AutoML tool creating numerous models predicting a single thing, Aito’s Predictive Database is a single platform that provides immediately both the known and unknown through simple queries. The Predictive Database uses existing relational datasets and a familiar query language to make ad-hoc predictions. It works without data wrangling, feature engineering, and understanding the intrinsics of ML models and their scaling. Imagine querying predictions for most probable next purchases of a user with the same simplicity as querying the purchase history. With that simplicity, Aito makes ML as easy as SQL and can be used by your existing development team: no need to hire expensive data scientists.

Business-minded software engineers need a nimble tool to be able to quickly explore where AI-driven predictive features create the biggest impact. Aito brings them the ability to validate ideas, build prototypes and launch scalable solutions in production.

The public version of Aito is available today, anyone can register at, upload a dataset to Aito’s predictive database and start experimenting. The only skill needed: a basic understanding of SQL to get predictions, projections, and recommendations out of your data. No special tooling or knowledge needed.

“It is about time that we start looking differently at how we approach AI projects,” says Vesa-Pekka Grönfors, CEO of Aito, “AI in most projects is either a buzzword or only available for enterprises with a large budget that can hire a completely new data science team. That is what we want to change at Aito. We believe that the power of machine learning belongs to everyone. Building machine learning solutions should be inspirational, not frustrating. Every company should be able to start experimenting with real data and real users without high barriers – to learn and concretely see how machine learning can bring value. Without the need to learn a new skill set or to hire new people. And above all: without the need to be heads down for months and release something that is not working. We believe in lean and agile: experiment, test, improve. That is the development cycle that works and that we now bring to your AI project.”

Aito’s customers are a mix of startups and small and medium-sized businesses for whom the power of AI was never available or too expensive. And for larger enterprises that saw too many of their AI projects fail and are now realizing their approach to AI needs to change. Aito is being used by the innovation departments of two Fortune 500 companies for exactly this purpose: rapid prototyping of AI.

henQ invests €1.6M in Aito’s seed round

After raising €1M from angels and local VC’s before, Aito now announced that is raised a €1.6M seed round from Amsterdam based B2B software venture capitalist henQ ( with the participation of its existing investors.

“The world of AI and ML  is full of hype. What really spoke for Aito is how they ensured that ML is actually easy to apply, and fit for purpose. Truly bringing a benefit, at a low cost,” says Jelmer de Jong, Partner at henQ, “We’ve seen a lot of failing AI startups and projects, and the biggest reason for failure is lack of skilled people, and month – if not year-long research projects instead of rapid validation. The market was missing the tools that enable you to quickly experiment and prototype your hypothesis: enter Aito. With Aito’s Predictive Database existing software engineers can use their existing skillsets to work on the ML items on their backlog, saving a lot of time and effort in data wrangling and feature engineering. Aito has the potential to make AI available to all, not just for the big corporates with a big budget and fix the AI failure problem.”

Aito has opted for henQ as their first international VC on their cap table for henQ’s dedicated focus on B2B software companies, and proven track record of helping developer platforms become a success. henQ and Aito work together on establishing the right go-to-market strategy, international expansion, and scaling their team.

For henQ, Aito is the first investment in Finland, which is fully in line with its further expansion to the Nordic market.

We are proud to announce that we have invested in Orderchamp, the new venture from the former SEOshop team. Orderchamp has just launched its wholesale marketplace for retailers and suppliers. The marketplace will allow retailers to find unique and exciting products from thousands of creators all in one platform. Both parties benefit from a seamless process and can easily complete a transaction with limited efforts and administration. This will allow both of them to work with more parties. The funding will be used to further develop the platform and to launch Orderchamp in the Netherlands and later on across Europe.

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We are happy to announce that Mews Systems, the software startup developing property management solutions for hotels and hostels, today announced its $33 million Series B. This round is led by Battery Ventures and is done together with henQ and the other existing investors. The funds will support Mews’ it’s further international growth, amongst others opening up the US market and a new office in NYC.

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We’re proud to let you know that henQ, from its third fund and together with existing investors Inventure and Creades, will invest up to 5.6 million euro in market intelligence platform Stravito. This late seed round will be used to further expand the company’s mission to improve the use of market intelligence in consumer goods companies.

Yearly more than 58 billion dollar is spent on market research and insights, but using insights and knowledge efficiently is something most global giants struggle with. This is now more relevant than ever with the ever-increasing amounts of data gathered and available to make better decisions in any corporate. In just 18 months, Stravito onboarded seven global consumer goods companies, including French dairy giant Danone.


Delays, reworks and disputes are not new phenomena in the construction landscape. Airsquire offers an intelligent as-built survey platform to automate construction verifications. With the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), errors in 3D construction projects can now be detected faster with 100% coverage, which increases productivity and reduces construction costs. With a six-figure capital injection from Dutch venture capitalist henQ, Airsquire continues to grow and optimize its software. (more…)