As UK Gov reaches out to tech, investors threaten to ‘pull capital’ over M&A regulator over-reach

Rishi Sunak in a meeting

As the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer engaged with the tech industry at a ‘Chatham House’ style event today, the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) think-tank released a survey of over 50 key investors which found startup investors are prepared to pull capital over the prospect of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) new Digital Markets Unit (DMU) becoming a “whole-economy regulator by accident”. Investors are concerned after the CMA recommended the DMU be given ‘expanded powers’ regarding its investigations of M&A deals.

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Vector.ai’s productivity platform for freight forwarders raises $15M A round led by Bessemer

Vector AI

n November last year, digital freight forwarder Forto raises another $50M in a round led by Inven Capital. In April this year, Nuvocargo raised $12M to digitize the freight logistics industry. In May, Zencargo, with a freight forwarding platform, raised $42 million. In June, freight forwarder sennder raised $80M at a $1B+ valuation. In July Freightify landed $2.5M to make rate management easier for freight forwarders.

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AI-driven voice assistant PolyAI raises $14M round led by Khosla Ventures

PolyAI

“Conversational AI” startup PolyAI, based out of London, has raised $14 million in a funding round led by Silicon Valley’s Khosla Ventures, with participation from existing investors (Point72 Ventures, Amadeus Capital, Sands Capital Ventures, Passion Capital and Entrepreneur First). This follows their $12m Series A, and will provide resources for further US expansion beyond its existing US team. The startup has now raised $28m to date.

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xentral, an ERP platform for SMBs, raises $75M Series B from Tiger Global and Meritech

Xentral

Enterprise Resource Planning systems have traditionally been the preserve of larger companies, but in recent years the amount of data small medium sized businesses can generate has increased to the point where even SMEs/SMBs can get into the world of ERP. And that’s especially true for online-only businesses.

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Employee talent predictor retrain.ai raised another $7M, adds Splunk as strategic investor

Retrain AI

Automation will displace 85 million jobs while simultaneously creating 97 million new jobs by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum. Although that sounds like good news, the hard reality is that millions of people will have to retrain in the jobs of the future.

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Blossom Capital lures Alex Lim from Silicon Valley to join the European tech boom

Alex Lim

Alex Lim, a British-born VC based in the Bay Area who invested in Hopin, UiPath, Discord, and many other unicorns has decided to up sticks and leave Sand Hill Road behind for Blossom Capital in London. Blossom is fast making a name for itself both in Europe and internationally, having invested in breakout hits like Tines, Duffel, and Checkout.com.

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Untitled Ventures joins the scramble for Russian & Eastern European startups with a $118M warchest

Untitled Ventures

Sorry Mr. Putin, but there’s a race on for Russian and Eastern European founders. And right now, those awful capitalists in the corrupt West are starting to out-gun the opposition! But seriously… only the other day a $100 million fund aimed at Russian speaking entrepreneurs appeared, and others are proliferating.

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Frontier launches with $2.8M round by NFX, to let low-skilled job candidates book their own interview

Frontier

Frontier, which bills itself as a “new kind of vertically-integrated jobs marketplace” launches today with a $2.8M investment round led by NFX in the US, and backed by London’s firstminute Capital, FJ Labs, Cyan Banister, Ilkka Pannanen, Alex Bouaziz, Liquid 2 and several other funds and angels.

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German identity verifier IDnow acquires France’s ARIADNEXT for $59 million, hits M&A road

Ariad Next acquires IDnow

IDnow, a German-based identity verification startup is acquiring ARIADNEXT, a French equivalent, specializing in remote identity verification and digital identity creation. A price was not released by either party but TechCrunch understands from sources that the deal was approximately $59 million / €50 million. Sources say IDnow is looking to do similar acquisitions.

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8 UK founders, leaders highlight fintech and deep tech as Bristol’s top sectors

Bristol startup ecosystem

The U.K. is gaining in popularity as a great place to start a tech firm. The country is quickly catching up to China on the tech investment front, with VC investments reaching a record of $15 billion in 2020, according to TechNation. Bristol proved especially popular among tech investors last year — local businesses raked in an impressive $414 million in 2020, making it the third-largest U.K. city for tech investment. The city also has the most fintech startups per head in the U.K. outside London, according to Whitecap’s 2019-2020 Ecosystem Report.

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Australian ID verification startup OCR Labs raises $15M Series A to expand into UK/ Turkey/ Europe

OCR Labs

OCR Labs, which emerged from Australia, has announced a €12.5M / $15 million Series A funding round led by Turkish investors Oyak Group, to expand its services and team to the UK, Turkey and Europe. Halkin Ventures invested in its seed round. The startup specializes in digital ID verification, customer onboarding, identity fraud, and regulatory compliance.

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Flush with $42M, hot AI startup Faculty plans to hoover-up more PhDs… and steer clear of politics

Faculty

In the wake of the news that UK-based AI startup Faculty has raised $42.5 million in a growth funding round, I teased out more from CEO and co-founder Marc Warner on what his plans are for the company.

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Climate risk platform Cervest raises $30M Series A led by Draper Esprit

Cervest

Cervest – a startup with a platform that claims to quantify climate risk across multiple decades and threats down to the asset level – has raised a $30 million Series A round led by Draper Esprit. Previous investors Astanor Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital (Chris Sacca), and Future Positive Capital also participated in the round, and were joined by new investors UNTITLED, the venture fund of Magnus Rausing, and TIME Ventures, the venture fund of Marc Benioff. Cervest’s total funding now stands at $36.2 million. It previously raised $5.2M in 2019.

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Instreamatic, which inserts interactive voice ads into audio streams, raises $6.1M Series A round

Instreamatic

Interactive voice advertising startup Instreamatic, which can insert interactive voice ads into an audio stream, has raised $6.1 million in a Series A funding led by Progress Ventures led the round, joined by Accomplice, and Google Assistant Investments.

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Orca AI, which puts computer vision onto cargo ships, raises $13M Series A funding

Orca AI

Tel Aviv’s Orca AI, a computer vision startup that can be retrofitted to cargo ships and improve navigation and collision avoidance, has raised $13 million in a Series A funding, taking its total raised to over $15.5 million. While most cargo ships carry security cameras, computer vision cameras are rare. Orca AI hopes its solution could introduce autonomous guidance to vessels already at sea.

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Brandwatch is acquired by Cision for $450M, creating a PR, marketing and social listening giant

Online consumer intelligence and social media listening platform Brandwatch has been acquired by Cision, best known for its media monitoring and media contact database services, for $450 million, in a combined cash and shares deal. TechCrunch understands Brandwatch’s key executive team will be staying on. The move combines two large players to offer a broad […]

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