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Author: Natasha Lomas

Passbase is building a full stack identity engine with privacy baked in

Digital identity startup Passbase has bagged $600k in pre-seed funding led by a group of business angel investors from Alphabet, Stanford, Kleiner Perkins, EY; as well as seed fund investment from Chicago-based Upheaval Investments and Seedcamp. The 2018-founded Silicon Valley-based startup — whose co-founder we chatted to briefly on camera at Disrupt Berlin — is building what it dubs ...

Competition policy must change to help startups fight ‘winner takes all’ platforms, says UK report

A independent report commissioned by the UK government to examine how competition policy needs to adapt itself for the digital age has concluded that tech giants don’t face adequate competition and the law needs updating to address what it dubs the “novel” challenges of ‘winner takes all’ platforms. The panel also recommends more policy interventions to actively suppo...

The other smartphone business

With the smartphone operating system market sewn up by Google’s Android platform, which has a close to 90% share globally, leaving Apple’s iOS a slender (but lucrative) premium top-slice, a little company called Jolla and its Linux-based Sailfish OS is a rare sight indeed: A self-styled ‘independent alternative’ that’s still somehow in business. The Finnish startup...

Biotech AI startup Sight Diagnostics gets $27.8M to speed up blood tests

Sight Diagnostics, an Israeli medical devices startup that’s using AI technology to speed up blood testing, has closed a  $27.8 million Series C funding round. The company has built a desktop machine, called OLO, that analyzes cartridges manually loaded with drops of the patient’s blood — performing blood counts in situ. The new funding is led by VC firm Longliv Ventures, also based in...

Fabula AI is using social spread to spot ‘fake news’

UK startup Fabula AI reckons it’s devised a way for artificial intelligence to help user generated content platforms get on top of the disinformation crisis that keeps rocking the world of social media with antisocial scandals. Even Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has sounded a cautious note about AI technology’s capability to meet the complex, contextual, messy and inherently human c...

Thriva expands its range of test-at-home kits to add female hormone and cortisol stress tests

UK home health analysis kit startup Thriva is adding three more products to its range later this month: A saliva-based cortisol stress test and two female hormone kits. The Seedcamp-backed UK startup has been offering blood-prick-based health monitoring kits since 2016, and says it’s had more than 50,000 customers sign up to stab their own finger with its spring-loaded plastic lancet and mas...

pi-top’s latest edtech tool doubles down on maker culture

London-based edtech startup, pi-top, has unboxed a new flagship learn-to-code product, demoing the “go anywhere” Pi-powered computer at the Bett Show education fare in London today. Discussing the product with TechCrunch ahead of launch, co-founder and CEO Jesse Lozano talked up the skills the company hopes students in the target 12-to-17 age range will develop and learn to apply by us...

Testing times for second wave scooter startups

Investors are still pouring millions into scooter startups, albeit sometimes at flat valuations. At the same time a little cash is flowing the other way, in cases where cities have realized the importance of prioritizing the needs of the local environment and its citizens, over and above the ambitions of VCs for a swift and lucrative exit. Scooter startups affected by such regulatory bumps in the ...

Mr Jeff bags $12M Series A to replace trips to the laundromat

If you thought the on-demand laundry space had run out of startup steam here’s a bit of a conditioner: Madrid-based startup, Mr Jeff, has bagged a $12M Series A, led by All Iron Ventures. The 2016-founded firm currently offers home laundry and dry cleaning services, including on-demand and monthly subscription options, in seven countries, with a focus on LatAm. Last August it acquired Brazil...

Badi gets $30M for AI-aided room rentals

Should you let AI help you pick your roommates? Barcelona-based urban room rental startup Badi thinks so, and it’s just closed a $30M Series B funding round less than a year after a $10M Series A — suggesting algorithm-aided matchmaking is resonating with its target Millennial(ish) ‘Generation Rent’ demographic, as they hunt for their next flatmate. The 2015 founded startup...

Lime tries to back-peddle on VP’s line on why it hired Definers

Scooter startup Lime has sought to back peddle on an explanation given by its VP of global expansion late last week when asked why it had hired the controversial PR firm, Definers Public Affairs. The opposition research firm, which has ties to the Republican Party, has been at the center of a reputation storm for Facebook, after a New York Times report last month suggested the controversial PR fir...

Agtech startup Imago AI is using computer vision to boost crop yields

Presenting onstage today in the 2018 TC Disrupt Berlin Battlefield is Indian agtech startup Imago AI, which is applying AI to help feed the world’s growing population by increasing crop yields and reducing food waste. As startup missions go, it’s an impressively ambitious one. The team, which is based out of Gurgaon near New Delhi, is using computer vision and machine learning technology to fully ...

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