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Author: Natasha Lomas

Hubtype raises $1.1M to help developers build richer chat support

Barcelona-based Hubtype has raised a €1 million (~$1.1M) seed round led by Madrid-based early stage VC firm, K Fund. The team last raised when the business was founded, back in February 2016, when they took in €235,000 in a mix of public and angel funding. Hubtype targets enterprises and developers with customer service focused tools to help build and scale what it describes as “conversation...

FutureLearn takes $65M from Seek Group for 50% stake in UK online degree platform

Edtech and recruitment continue to converge. London-based online degree platform, FutureLearn, is taking £50 million (~$64.6M) from Australian-based online job matching group, Seek, in exchange for a 50 per cent stake in the business — just days after the same group led a massive Series E in U.S. online learning giant Coursera. U.K. distance learning veteran, the Open University — whic...

How a blockchain startup with 1M users is working to break your Google habit

The antitrust argument that says big tech needs breaking up to stop platforms abusing competition and consumers in a two-faced role as seller and (manipulative) marketplace may only just be getting going on a mainstream political stage — but startups have been at the coal face of the fight against crushing platform power for years. Presearch, a 2017-founded, pro-privacy blockchain-based star...

Movo grabs $22.5M to get more cities in LatAm scooting

Madrid-based micromobility startup Movo has closed a €20 million (~$22.5M) Series A funding round to accelerate international expansion. The 2017 founded Spanish startup targets cities in its home market and in markets across LatAm, offering last mile mobility via rentable electric scooters (e-mopeds and e-scooters) plotted on an app map. It’s a subsidiary of local ride-hailing firm, Cabify,...

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 ...

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