London remains top EU city for VC tech funds in 2018
London, England: London tech firms raised raised more VC capital than any other EU city last year and attracted almost double the amounts raised by the counterpart European cities.
Despite seeing a YoY drop of 29%, London tech still firms attracted £1.8 billion ($2.3 billion) in 2018 which was almost 90% more than the £936.5 million ($1.2 billion) received by Berlin tech firms while Paris drew-in £797 million ($1,017 billion), Stockholm £224 million ($286 million) and Barcelona £183 million ($232 million) in the year.
Though still Europe’s leading tech investment hub in the year, London tech firms did raise significantly less in 2018 compared to the £2.45 billion ($3.13 billion) they raised in 2017, However, London based companies raised almost the same amount as all of the second, third, and fourth cities combined.
That said, 2017 was somewhat of a bumper year for U.K. tech investment, boosted by a number of particularly large funding rounds that year, including Deliveroo who raised $385 and $98 million, Improbable who raised $502 million and Truphone’s $338 million.
On a country-by-country basis, the U.K. overall secured nearly $2.5 billion in VC investment in 2018 which was about 80% more than its counterparts in Germany.
In the year just past, 17 U.K. companies went public, compared to 10 in Sweden, 8 in France, and 6 in Germany.
Some of the U.K’s notable fund raisings of 2018 included, London-based digital banking startup Revolut with £177 million ($225 million) and Bristol-based AI chip company Graphcore with £153 million ($195 million).
Berlin tech firms in 2018, nearly doubled the £456 million ($581 million) they raised in 2017, while the sector in Paris, attracted over 40% more funding than in their previous year.
In terms of global perspective and comparison, in Q4 2018 alone, US VC-backed companies raised $25 billion, $5.27 billon of which went to Silicon Valley start-ups, $2.16 billion to those in the New York Metro region and $2.2 billion early growth techs in the South Eastern region of the U.S.
Employee comms platform secures USD $34.5m
Cork, Ireland: Irish technology communications software firm, Poppulo has raised €30 million (USD 34.5 million) in funding.
Founded in Ireland in 2002 and marketed under the brand name Newsweaver until 2017, Poppulo is an employee communications platform utilised by more than 800 companies globally, including Unilever, Bank of America, Nestlé, Johnson Controls, Rolls-Royce, Boston Scientific and Telefonica.
The company currently employs 163 people in Cork, Ireland and 37 in Boston, MA.
US venture capital firm Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE) lead the funding.
In 2018, SGE invested €20 million (USD 23 million) in another Irish entity, Phorest, a company that provides office management software for hair and beauty salons. SGE has has invested over $1 billion (€870 million) in early stage ventures to date, in portfolios including Credit Karma and Outbrain.
Online home meal kit company delivers USD $23 million in new funding
London, England: U.K. cook-at-home meal kit company, Gousto has raised UK £18 million (USD 23 million) in new funding.
The round is backed by “health influencer” and “body coach” celebrity, Joe Wicks, along with existing investors including Unilever Ventures, Hargreave Hale, BGF Ventures, MMC Ventures, and Angel CoFund.
The company plans to use the bulk of the cash raised to expand its IT capability and hire an extra 125 staff, primarily adding to its data and tech science team in London.
Following a £28.5 million investment round in March 2018, Gousto has already doubled the capacity of its East of England hub and has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) recipe recommendation tool, through which half of customer orders are now placed.
Founded in 2012, UK based Gousto has over 200 employees and had 2017 revenues of USD 29.6 million, with an operating loss of USD 16 million.
Tech sector again increases office space in Ireland
Dublin, Ireland: Dublin’s office rental market expanded in 2018, setting new records, as the tech sector expanded in Ireland’s premier city.
The figures from property consultants CBRE show the volume of lettings in Dublin were more than 364,000sq m (3,918,000sq ft) last year and reached almost 144,000sq m (1,550,000sq ft) during Q4 alone.
The Dublin market has been boosted by expansion in the technology sector, with several strategic transactions signed during the year.
It was the second record year in a row for Dublin’s office rental market.
UK data analytics firm raises USD $12.6 million
Cambridge, England: GeoSpock, a UK data integration company that provides analytics, builds insight, and enables predictions across space and time, has has raised £10 million in additional funding, bringing its total raised to date to £19.25 million.
The Investment was led by existing backers Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) jointly with Parkwalk Advisors and Japanese firms Global Brain and 31Ventures. KDDI Supership joined as a Strategic Investor and investment was also secured from Jonathan Milner.
The additional funding will support GeoSpock’s international expansion strategy to help develop key client accounts, particularly in the strategic markets of Singapore and Japan. The investment will also allow the data visualisation company to continue to invest in research and development, particularly in the areas of machine learning and data science.
GeoSpock is positioning itself as the de facto processing engine at the heart of next-generation smart infrastructure – including smart cities and the Internet of Everything. The company powers future mobility applications, including the management of autonomous vehicle fleets, working with businesses across the automotive, telecoms, mobility, marine, media, and retail sectors.
AI drug discovery company raises USD $26 million
Oxford, England: Exscientia, an Oxford, based AI-driven drug discovery company, has raised US$ 26 million in Series B funding.
The company will use the proceeds to grow its “full stack” AI drug discovery capability to dramatically expand its pipeline, with a target of establishing an expansive portfolio of projects, both in-house and with partners by the end of 2019.
Exscientia has made considerable progress during 2018 and anticipates its first programmes driven by AI to be IND-ready within the next 12 months, as the company continues on its goal to revolutionise the economics of small molecule discovery.
The round included participation from new investors Celgene Corporation and specialist healthcare investor GT Healthcare Capital Partners, as well as existing investor Evotec AG.
Exscientia is collaborating with several leading pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, including GSK, Sanofi, Roche and Evotec.