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Knife Capital’s first foreign deal is startup backed by Candy Crush developers


A Swedish Internet of Things (IoT) startup that is backed by the developers of the famed Candy Crush game, is SA venture capital (VC) company Knife Capital‘s first overseas VC deal.

The R22-million deal by Knife Capital, Candy Crush creators King Digital Entertainment and other investors in Mobile and Sensory Technology (MOST) was concluded in September, the startup’s CEO Jon Hjertenstein (pictured above — bottom row, right — with fellow investors and founders) told Ventureburn today.

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The investment is the SA VC company’s first deal concluded via its London office and the startup has developed realtime sensors and is already selling its product to SA fresh fruit exporters.

Read more: SA VC firm Knife Capital expands to UK in deal with former rugby star Bob Skinstad

MOST was founded in 2014 by Nils Tunebje and South African Erich Hugo who lives in Sweden.

Knife Capital’s commitment (which was not disclosed by the VC company or Hjertenstein) was secured by Knife Capital director and former SA rugby player Bob Skinstad, who now lives in London, the VC company’s co-founder Keet van Zyl said in a press release issued today.

Van Zyl said the former rugby player will join MOST’s board alongside King Digital co-founder Lars Markgren.

Swedish startup Knife Capital invested in was founded in 2014 by Nils Tunebje and South African Erich Hugo

Skinstad told Ventureburn via phone that Knife Capital’s involvement in the deal emanated from his connection with Hugo, a former Nokia engineer, who he had known for some years and with whom the two shared friends from the same circle.

Though he would not divulge the value of the investment that Knife Capital had contributed, he said the VC company had taken a significant minority stake.

He added that while Knife Capital had take part in the funding round, the VC company also added to its stake in the startup by buying out another shareholder, who he would not disclose the name of.

Sensors used in SA since last year

Hjertenstein said in a phone interview with Ventureburn that King Digital Entertainment increased its stake in MOST (over an initial investment it made in 2015) while a number of external investors also took place in the funding round, he said.

He said the startup’s sensors have been used by SA fresh fruit exporters since the product’s launch in June last year.

As container shipments can run into thousands of dollars in value, he said the sensor, which is powered by a SIM card with 2G network capability, has helped to reduce food wastage by providing users with realtime data on things such as the temperature in a container, light, humidity and shock levels. This, he said, helped customers to take immediate action if any issues came up.

Hjertenstein pointed out a recent case where a customer’s containers were held up in a Malaysian port for five days — in which time the temperature of the container increased from 2 degrees Celsius to 9 degrees Celsius.

MOST is also enabled for implementation of blockchain technology, which gives all stakeholders in the supply chain full transparency.

*This story was updated on 2 November 2017 at 1pm SA time, following additional comment from Knife Capital’s Bob Skinstad. 

Featured image: MOST and King Founders. Back row from left: Patrik Stymne, Erich Hugo, Sebastian Knutsson. Front row from left: Lars Markgren, Nils Tunebjer, Jon Hjertenstein.

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