europe

Cleo, the ‘digital assistant’ that replaces your banking apps, picks up $10M Series A led by Balderton

When Cleo, the London-based ‘digital assistant’ that wants to replace your banking apps, quietly entered the U.S., the company couldn’t have expected to be an instant hit. Many better funded British startups have failed to ‘break America’. However, just four months later, the fintech upstart counts 350,000 users across the pond — claiming more than 600,000 active users in the U.K., U.S. and Canada in total — and says it is adding 30,000 new signups each week. All of which hasn’t gone unnoticed by investors. Already backed by some of the biggest VC names in the London tech scene — including Entrepreneur First, Moonfruit founder Wendy Tan White, Skype founder Niklas Zennström, Wonga founder Errol Damelin, TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus, and LocalGlobe — Cleo is adding Balderton Capital...

Facebook and Airbnb told to change their ToS to fix EU consumer rights issues by year’s end

Facebook has been singled out for censure by the European Commission’s head of consumer affairs who has warned she’s running out of patience and said the company needs to make additional changes to its terms of service before the end of the year to bring them into line with the bloc’s consumer rules. The Commission also said today that Airbnb has agreed to make additional changes to its ToS by December. The EU’s executive body has been sounding off about tech and social media platforms’ terms of service impinging on citizens’ consumer rights for almost two years. In February it warned a raft of companies they needed to do more to respect consumer rights. In July the Commission joined with EU consumer authorities to push Airbnb to make changes. At the same time the Commission is pushing for...

Divido, the consumer finance platform, scores $15M Series A

Divido, the consumer finance platform that lets you take out credit at the point of purchase to help spread the cost of buying new things, has raised $15 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Dawn Capital, and DN Capital, with participation from Mastercard, American Express Ventures and a number of previous investors. Renier Lemmens, who previously served as Chief Executive Officer of PayPal EMEA and was an executive at Barclays, has also been appointed as chairman. Launched in late 2015, London-based Divido currently works with over 1,000 partners to enable them to offer B2C and B2B finance to their customers at checkout. This includes being able to spread the cost of any product or service over a period of time by providing instant access to credit at the point of purchase, e...

Zortrax launches a new high-speed, high-resolution printer, the Inkspire

Zortrax has launched a new printer, the Inkspire, that prints using an LCD to create objects in high-quality resin in minutes. The printer – essentially an upgrade to traditional stereolithography (SLA) printers – uses a single frame of light to create layers of 25 microns. Most SLA printers use a laser or DLP to shine a pattern on the resin. The light hardens the resin instantly, creating a layer of material that the printer then pulls up and out as the object grows. The UV LCD in the $2,699 Inkspire throws an entire layer at a time and is nine times more precise than standard SLA systems. It can print 20 to 36 millimeters per hour and the system can print objects in serial, allowing you to to print hundreds of thousands of small objects per month. “The printer is also perfect for rapid p...

UK warns of satellite and space program problems in case of Brexit ‘no deal’

The U.K. government says that access to satellites and space surveillance programs will suffer in the event of a “no deal” departure from the European Union . Britain has less than six months to go before the country leaves the 28-member state bloc, after a little over half the country voted to withdraw membership from the European Union in a 2016 referendum. So far, the Brexit process has been a hot mess of political infighting and uncertainty, bureaucracy and backstabbing — amid threats of coups and leadership challenges. And the government isn’t even close to scoring a deal to keep trade ties open, immigration flowing and airplanes taking off. Now, the government has further said that services reliant on EU membership — like access to space programs — will be affected. The reassuring ne...

Confrere, the video calling service for professionals and clients, raises $1.5M seed

Confrere, a video calling service designed specifically for professionals who need to hold online consultations or meeting with clients, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Leading the round is Berlin’s Point Nine Capital, with participation from Nordic Makers, The Nordic Web Ventures, and Fathom Capital. A number of angel investors also took part in the round, including Albert Armengo (the founder of Doctoralia, sold to Docplanner), as well as a number of physicians who are users of the product. Notably, Confrere was co-founded by CEO Svein Yngvar Willassen, who previously founded and headed up appear.in, another video calling service but one designed for team collaboration. The startup’s other co-founders are CTO Dag-Inge Aas and CPO Ida Aalen. “I knew from my time with appear.in th...

Paysend announces global account to compete with Revolut

Meet Paysend’s global account, a new way to hold, spend and send money in multiple currencies using a mobile app and a card. It looks a lot like Revolut’s basic features. But the company is trying to provide a more focused and robust experience from day one. “We are quite different from both a technical infrastructure and consumer offering viewpoint. We own and control our own processing and this gives tremendous ability and flexibility to deliver a wide variety of services whilst controlling the entire consumer journey,” Head of Product Alex Murashko told me. “But for me an important distinction is that we have a different approach to designing the product. We believe in simplifying the consumer experience so that instead of feeling like they are bombarded with a long list of features the...

Ravelin raises £8M Series B to use machine learning to fight e-commerce fraud

Ravelin, the London-based company using machine learning to help e-commerce companies fight and predict the risk of fraud, has raised £8 million in Series B funding. The round is led by BlackFin Capital Partners, while existing investors Amadeus Capital Partners, Passion Capital, and Playfair Capital followed on. In a call with co-founder and CEO Martin Sweeney, he told me the new funding will in part be used for Ravelin’s expansion plans. This will include opening an office in the East Coast of the U.S., where the company is seeing increasing in-bound inquiries. This, he says, won’t merely be one or two sales people, but will be staffed properly, including posting one of Ravelin’s other co-founders there. The company has also recently developed a product for Payment Service Providers, and...

Unmortgage scores £10M seed round to offer ‘part-own, part-rental’ housing

“Unmortgage enables everyone to live in the home they want to, that’s our mission,” Unmortgage co-founder and CEO Ray Rafiq-Omar tells me. “We do that by allowing people to buy as little as five percent of a home and rent the rest. So there’s no mortgage involved, hence the name Unmortgage”. The burgeoning London startup, which aims to launch next year having just closed a hefty £10 million seed round, calls its model “part-own, part-rent”. However, unlike traditional shared ownership schemes, Unmortgage doesn’t want you to have to take out a mortgage to buy the first portion of your own, and it isn’t targeting new-builds. Like a number of other fintech/proptech companies, such as Strideup and Proportunity, it is the latest attempt to solve the increasing difficulty first time buyers face ...

What you need to know ahead of the EU copyright vote

European Union lawmakers are facing a major vote on digital copyright reform proposals on Wednesday — a process that has set the Internet’s hair fully on fire. Here’s a run down of the issues and what’s at stake… Article 13 The most controversial component of the proposals concerns user-generated content platforms such as YouTube, and the idea they should be made liable for copyright infringements committed by their users — instead of the current regime of takedowns after the fact (which locks rights holders into having to constantly monitor and report violations — y’know, at the same time as Alphabet’s ad business continues to roll around in dollars and eyeballs). Critics of the proposal argue that shifting the burden of rights liability onto platforms will flip them from champions to chi...

Kry expands its telehealth service to France — under new brand, Livi

Swedish telehealth startup Kry, which bagged a $66M Series B in June for market expansion, is executing on that plan — announcing today it will launch into the French market on September 15. This will be the fourth market for the 2014 founded European startup, after its home market of Sweden, along with Norway and Spain. When we spoke to Kry in June it also said it was eyeing a UK launch, and it says now the country is “coming up next” on its launch map. Kry’s boast for its service is it lets patients ‘see’ a healthcare professional within 15 minutes — i.e. via a remote video consultation on their smartphone or tablet. It recruits doctors locally, in each market where it operates. The French launch introduces a new brand name for the service, which will be called Livi in the market. Livi w...

Location marketing platform Uberall raises further $25M and acquires competitor Navads

Berlin-based location marketing startup Uberall has raised a further $25 million in funding — adding to a $25 million Series B raised earlier this year — and acquired competitor Nevads. Terms of the acquisition remain undisclosed, with Uberall claiming that the deal makes it the second biggest location marketing platform behind U.S. rival Yext. Navads is described as an industry leader in listings and location data management, specializing in mobile navigation, autonomous vehicles and voice search. Its technology is used by more than 800 brands across four continents, including global companies such as Shell, BP, and McDonald’s, which Uberall now has access to. Overall, post-acquisition, Uberall covers nearly 700,000 locations for over 1,500 customers globally. Founded in 2013 by David Fed...