July'17 : flying cars, summer, Tech in Eastern Europe  

"Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road." Damn straight Jack Kerouac. This month our focus is on the road. Hey, it's July.  But we couldn't get over how many interesting things are happening in the transportation space. The Slovaks are building flying cars. Germany's Daimler is snapping up ride hailing companies across Europe. And, yes, there is the empty seat at the top of Uber.... Transport is everything, especially in MENA. You can have the greatest tech startup in the world, but if you can't deliver a product or service to people - or if people can't get to you, you're finished. On that note, we dive into July thinking about transport and all things on the road.


"There was nowhere to go but everywhere. Keep rolling under the stars....."

When you’re at a Fortune 500 company….

But roll up your sleeves to join a startup, especially a Turkish one, you know that the future is on the side of the entrepreneur. Stephen Schueler, the former head of Procter & Gamble’s global retail operations and current chief commercial officer at Maersk, joined Solvoyo, the next generation supply chain planning and analytics platform. Schueler will focus on growth strategy. Yes, Solvoyo is a 212 portfolio company. And we’re pleased to see Solvoyo CEO Koray Dogan think big and push his vision to all corners of the globe.

M&A: FInTech Matryoshka 


Remember when Monitise bought Pozitron for $100 million in 2014? That acquirer has been acquired by Fiserv, a U.S. FinTech provider for $88.72 million.


U.S. financial technology provider Fiserv said on Tuesday it had agreed to buy British financial services technology firm Monitise Plc for about 70 million pounds ($88.72 million). If you’re thinking what we’re thinking, you’re right. That’s a low price. But whaddaya gonna do when you’re a mobile payment system competing with the likes of Apple and Alphabet? Look for the best opportunity. 

Yes, they can 


Every month we go on and on about Eastern Europe startups – Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland. They’re all bursting with tech talent. Skype, Transferwise.


The question that this Financial Times piece asks is: Can these countries shift their economies from manufacturing to innovation? The R&D numbers say it ain’t so. Venture capital is another problem. Of course, as Brexit and Trump have shown us – anything is possible. Even the impossible. We are bullish in Eastern Europe. Watch this space. 

Das Good 


Al Jazeera Al Hadina has put in €15 million in the Berlin-based Monoqi, a furniture platform. As part of the deal, Monoqi will branch out into Dubai and Riyadh. So what?


So plenty. Retail in the Middle East is expected to double to €20 billion between 2015 and 2020. Das good, ya know what I mean? 

That’s $52 million a slice


DP Eurasia, the folks who operate the Domino’s Pizza franchise in Russia and Turkey, are planning to IPO. They’ve set a valuation of $422 million. (That’s $52 million a slice – I know, we’re so clever). We’re watching this one because, as this piece reports, “a successful listing” would do a lot to boost Turkey’s economy. (We just said it better.) And doesn’t Turkey need a boost? 

My Clever Taxi 


That’s what we’d name the outfit that comes out of the Daimler MyTaxi and the Romanian based Clever Taxi merger. In February, MyTaxi acquired Taxibeat in Greece. We know Uber and Lyft are eyeing this deal, along with every car manufacturer in the world. While Toyota and others are experimenting with self-driving technology, Daimler is snapping up the market. Strategy over innovation people. You heard it here.  

Meet George Jetson


Self-driving cars. Psshhh. Slovakia’s AeroMobil thinks that’s so yesterday. They’re building a flying car. The first 500 people can pre-order one somewhere between €1.2 million and €1.5 million.


You’ll get it by 2020 but can check out a beta at the Paris Air Show later this month. Former Creandum investor, Martin Hauge has backed the company. We bet he liked The Jetsons. 

After Hours

Since our theme this month is “road trip” – we thought we’d share some of our favorite tunes, podcasts, books, and movies about the road – whatever road that might be. 


Add your favotires to 212 spotify play list.


Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

Little Red Corvette – Prince

Where the Streets Have No Name – U2

Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire

Born to be Wild - Steppenwolf

Route 66 – Chuck Berry

I’ve Been Everywhere – Jonny Cash



On the Road  by Jack Kerouac 

This has become an American classic. And while there is much about America you can learn here, it’s full of nuggets about life, friendship, and meaning. 



by Cheryl Strayed 

This isn’t just chick lit. It’s the story of a young woman who struggles to understand what to hold onto and what to let go. She loves life, perhaps too much, indulging in drugs and random hook-ups. It nearly destroys her. After a 1,000 mile trek on the Pacific Coast, she finds strength and healing. Dude, just read it. 

Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy

by Jonathan Taplin 

Okay, so this isn’t about the “road’ per say. But it is about moving fast. And a great read for all you fellow startup junkies who overlook how tech effects politics. Cause it does. 


Easy Rider


Thelma and Louise (Elmira picked that one)








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