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Berlin, Germany - 15th February 2024

Round led by 42CAP alongside Antler and Begin Capital

Simplyblock, the Berlin-based high performance cloud storage startup, has today announced a $2.75M seed funding round. 


The round was led by 42CAP, the pan-European seed stage VC firm alongside Antler, the most active early-stage investor in Europe and Begin Capital, an international VC firm based in London. High profile angel investors include Johan Svensson, the founder of Neo4j, the leading graph database company. 


Simplyblock builds low-latency, high performance cloud storage. In this deep-tech industry traditionally dominated by cloud providers in the US and Israeli startups, Simplyblock is the only startup from Europe building in this space. The company is initially targeting database users of any kind (SQL, NoSQL, Vector or Graph) as first customers. With the first release simplyblock will be available for AWS users worldwide.


The German startup rides on the latest technology advancements in SSD drives (NVMe technology) to provide predictable, ultra-low latency software thereby realizing the full potential of the underlying hardware for users. Its tech, written mostly in C/C++ to leverage the capabilities of low-level Linux features, provides the ability to perform millions of operations per second (IOPS) with sub-millisecond latency. This means that software is up to 10x faster with a 50x better cost-to-performance ratio than legacy solutions in the enterprise as well as existing cloud storage. 


Simplyblock’s technology is so important because data volumes on an annual basis are expected to rise 1,000% by 2030. As a result, the data storage market is expected to be worth $250BN, with more and more companies looking for fast, affordable and safe storage solutions. 


There is also an important environmental impact to this technology. Data centres are responsible for more carbon emissions than the aviation industry and the International Energy Agency has called on data centres to halve their emissions by 2030. The low-latency, high performance solution built by Simplyblock will significantly reduce the energy consumption required for cloud storage. 


Whilst Simplyblock is already open for early-access customers running databases on AWS, the funding round will allow Simplyblock to expand its engineering team and take the product to general availability later in the year.


Michael Schmidt, co-founder & CTO of Simplyblock, comments, “As a CIO, I started to question the cost/performance ratio of Enterprise Storage Systems in the light of the latest generation of storage hardware such as ultra-fast NVMe SSDs. It turned out that Enterprise Data Storage is quite an inert industry. And later on it became evident that fast cloud storage has at least the same potential for innovation and optimization. That is how we came up with an alternative, which is more flexible and better scalable, has better performance at much lower cost and reduced carbon emissions than today’s systems and services.”


Moritz Zimmermann, General Partner at 42CAP, comments, “We were surprised how much room for optimisation there still is in data storage - something that at first glance might seem like a commodity and highly optimised thing. The deep-tech nature of such technology makes it relatively sticky and innovation must be radical for the users to make the switch. The technology change in storage usually happens in 10-20 years cycles. Simplyblock is tackling the problem from a really innovative angle, breaking many of the existing paradigms in terms of how storage is accessed and consumed, and we believe that they can be a leader of the next technology wave in cloud storage.”


The founders of Simplyblock first met during an Antler residency in Berlin in 2022. The team brings considerable technical experience following careers working for global tech businesses and unicorns. 


Rob Pankow, co-founder and CEO, previously held senior roles at Rocket Internet startups and Delivery Hero. His background is scaling up businesses at different stages of growth. He leads sales and business development at Simplyblock. 


Michael Schmidt, co-founder and CTO, has spent 20 years working in IT, holding CTO positions at large businesses as well as founding a number of businesses in the enterprise software space. 


The founders have already built a small but very experienced team of ten, which includes engineers that have worked for companies such as NVIDIA, Mellanox, NetApp, Dell EMC, Instana and Timescale. 


Joël van Dijk, Partner at Begin Capital, comments, “The Simplyblock team is one of the strongest tech teams out there in the European cloud storage sector. There is momentum and a necessity created for optimizing data storage. Data usage and storage will be growing exponentially and therefore there will be an expected price increase from the supply side. I am looking forward to working together with the team and to supporting them in this entrepreneurial journey”.


Alan Poensgen, Partner at Antler, comments, “Rob and Michael really excited us as a founding team. They make a very compelling combination - one deeply technical founder with decades of experience who built this technology to solve real problems that he faced, and one operating founder with a proven track record scaling some of Europe’s most successful tech companies. They are uniquely placed to build this type of cloud storage solution - a first in Europe - and we are delighted to have supported them from day zero.”

About Simplyblock

Simplyblock is a German deep-tech startup developing low-latency high-performance storage software that helps businesses maximise the efficiency of their cloud storage for critical workloads, databases & applications. The software can be deployed on public clouds such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure and in private clouds. Simplyblock’s technology offers up to 50x improved cost-to-performance ratio compared to legacy storage solutions. The company operates remote-first and is hiring across engineering roles.


About 42CAP

42CAP is a pan-European VC firm investing in seed-stage technology-driven companies across Europe with global ambition. Seasoned entrepreneurs turned investors. With Hybris and eCircle they previously built two of Europe’s largest B2B software companies culminating in $1.6b cash exits to SAP and Teradata respectively. The 42CAP credo “Peers amongst Entrepreneurs” is reflected in their investment approach, with which they support data- and technology-driven business models, product-focused founders and sustainable venture development. 


About Begin Capital

Begin Capital is a venture capital firm based in London, UK, focusing on global pre-seed - Series A investments. Begin has a sector agnostic approach but specialised in infrastructure SaaS, vertical SaaS and deeptech. The firm has invested in companies like FundraiseUp, Convious, Middleware and Bulbshare.


About Antler

Antler is the world’s day zero investor that inspires, enables, and invests in visionary founders everywhere. Founded on the belief that talent is everywhere but opportunity is not, we remove the barriers to entrepreneurship so more people can launch sustainable businesses that solve meaningful problems, drive innovation, and improve lives. We partner with the most early-stage entrepreneurs around the world through our residencies in 27 cities across six continents—Austin, Berlin, Bangalore, Jakarta, London, New York, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, and beyond. As an extension of our founders’ team, our global community backs them from the beginning and keeps backing them with team formation, deep business model validation, initial capital, global scaling, and follow-on funding, with a personal passion that goes beyond traditional investing. To date, we have brought more than 1,000 startups into existence that are delivering paradigm-shifting solutions across all industries, with the goal of backing more than 6,000 by 2030.

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