Berlin’s startup scene is probably the most gossipy in Europe. And over the last year, one startup, removals platform Movinga, has generated more gossip than most.
The company reportedly burned through much of its $25 million Series B funding in a matter of months, saw its two founders leave amid an unsubstantiated allegation of impropriety at the startup, and laid off a quarter of its staff. However, now under new management, Movinga has raised €17 million in Series C funding and is undoubtedly moving in the right direction again.
Participating in the round include previous backers: Rocket Internet’s Global Founders Capital, Earlybird Venture Capital and STS Ventures, as well as new investors such as Carlo Kölzer, founder of 360t, and Gert Purkert, founder and CEO of Aurelius.
I also understand that €6 million of today’s Series C was previously communicated, and was effectively bridge-financing while Movinga geared up for a full Series C and convinced investors it could get back on the road to building a scalable online removals venture.
Notably missing in action for the Series C, however, are Index Ventures, who led Movinga’s Series B but I’m told haven’t chosen to follow on since then.
In multiple calls over the last few months, Finn Age Hänsel, one of Monvinga’s three MDs, wouldn’t be drawn too much on what had gone wrong at the much-hyped Berlin startup except to characterise it as a case of trying to scale too quickly and before sufficient tech was in place.
The original Movinga vision was to build a marketplace for home removals that would use technology to make the process more efficient both for the consumer — through instant algorithmically-generated quotes — and for removal companies who, via the startup’s tech, could aggregate jobs so as to make use of spare capacity, such as on a return journey from one city to another.
To that end, Hänsel says Movinga has spent the last few months bolstering its development team and building out the platform properly this time, relying infinitely less on human labour to both quote for a job and organise jobs for its partner removal companies.
This includes a partner portal where removals companies can apply for either single or aggregated/pooled removal jobs in the system and are given priority based on their quality score as rated by previous Movinga customers. Quality control was previously a problem at Movinga as sales got well ahead of its capacity to deliver a consistent service.
In a sense — and these are definitely my words not Hänsel’s — much of what I wrote about Movinga’s tech in the past, based on what its founders told me at the time, was more promise than reality, with much of the company’s processes carried out manually.
If Hänsel is to be believed — and I have no reason not to believe him — it appears that Movinga’s tech has now actually caught up and potentially surpassed its original narrative, hence today’s vote of confidence by most of the startup’s previous investors that the company is finally in a position to scale effectively.
Meanwhile, if the before and after reviews on Glassdoor are anything to go by, the Berlin-based startup is also a much nicer place to work now too.