Spotify files EU anti-trust complaint against Apple
Swedish music streaming service Spotify, has filed a
complaint with the European Commission, alleging that Apple’s App Store,
unfairly limits rivals access to the Apple Music streaming service.
Spotify is particularly objecting to Apple’s 30 per cent fee for allowing content-based service providers to use Apple’s in-app purchase system (IAP).
The complaint centres on Apple’s dual role, both as a digital distribution channel – with its own iOS operating system and App Store marketplace – and as a music streaming provider via Apple Music.
The Commission confirmed receipt of the complaint and said that it would “assess” whether to open an investigation.
While the EC complaint is confidential and will therefore not be shared publicly, Spotify has created a public site, called ‘Time to Play Fair’, which outlines the ways in which Apple has stifled competition in the sector.
Spotify is calling for all apps – including Apple Music – to be subject to the same rules, and also for consumers to have ‘ a real choice’ of payment systems.
It also wants app stores to be banned from controlling the communications between services and users, including placing unfair restrictions on marketing and promotions that benefit consumers.
Euro eScooter sector continues to attract funding
After record breaking funding at the end of last year, the
European e-Scooter sector has delivered its first significant funding round of
2019, with Sweden’s Voi Technology closing a $30 million round.
This latest funding from Balderton Capital, Vostok New Ventures, LocalGlobe, Raine Ventures, Project A, and Creandum, brings Voi’s total raised to date date to $82.9 million, over 3 rounds.
Voi charges users a 1 Euro unlocking fee plus a riding charge of 0.15 Euro per minute and since its launch in August 2018, Voi has built a base of over 400,000 riders, taking more than 750,000 rides.
Having just launched in Olso and with a Helsinki launch imminent, the company says and it will use its new funding to expand in Italy, Germany, France and some other yet-to be-disclosed European cities.
The European scooter industry has expanded significantly over the last 12 months, with a host of start-ups initiating in quick succession.
For example, Berlin’s Tier and Wind Mobility both raised funding in Q4 while compatriot firm, Flash – created by Delivery Hero co-founder Lukasz Gadowski – has developed small-scale operations in Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, and is planning a wider European roll-out this year.
Last month, there were whispers of a potential merger between Tier Mobility and Voi, who are believed to have held early-stage discussions to combine their operations, in response to competitive threat from larger US rivals.
Uber Technologies Inc, Alphabet and several other high-profile investors are betting scooter-sharing will rise rapidly in Europe, thanks to large commuter populations and lower levels of car ownership than in the United States.
Euro Fintech market: funding round-up
Berlin-based, price comparison site for insurance brokers and consumers, has
raised $125 million in Series B funding.
The round was led by the Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala Ventures and it is Mubadala’s first investment from its newly created European Investment Fund. Existing investors include Target Global, Salesforce Ventures, Seedcamp, Idinvest and Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher’s investment vehicle Sound Ventures.
The company’s stated vision is for an all-in-one insurance platform, which through personalisation – delivered via advanced data analytics – will change how insurance products are sold and delivered.
In 2016, Wefox raised USD $28 million in a Series A round.
identity verification start-up, has closed a GBP 4 million (USD 5.2 million)
funding round from European Fintech Venture Capital firm, Augmentum Fintech.
Onfido makes technology used to verify customer identities, for companies like Revolut, Monzo and Zipcar. Including this latest investment, the company has raised in the region of GBP 48.7 million ($63 million) to date.
Euro tech platforms: funding round-up
Copenhagen: Trustpilot, the
consumer review platform has raised USD $55 million in a Series E equity
Founded in Denmark in 2007, Trustpilot enables consumers to post reviews of their purchasing experiences across a wide range of sectors.
The firm has grown rapidly since inception via its freemium SaaS business model and it currently has offices in Berlin, Copenhagen, Denver, London, Melbourne, New York and Vilnius.
This latest funding round was led by US based Sunley House Capital Management, with participation from existing shareholders Vitruvian Partners, Draper Esprit, Index Ventures, Northzone and Seed Capital.
London:Tessian, a cybersecurity platform has raised USD $42 million (€37 million) in a Series B round.
Tessian’s technology uses machine-learning to eliminate the security vulnerabilities in enterprise email, including spear-phishing and misdirected content.
The platform analyses historical email data to understand the context of human relationships and communication.
Originally branded CheckRecipient, Tessian was founded in 2013 by 3 graduates from Imperial College, London.
Euro AI: funding round-up
Paris:Shift Technology which
uses AI to detect fraudulent insurance claims, has closed a USD $60
million funding round.
The technology is currently used by over 70 insurance companies globally, including; MACIF in France, AXA in Spain and CNA in the U.S.
Founded in Paris 2014, Shift Technology now has more than 200 employees and clients across Europe, Asia and the Americas managed via it Paris HQ as well as, from offices in Boston, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, Madrid, Singapore, Toronto and Zurich.
The round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Accel, General Catalyst, Iris Capital and Elaia Partners.
London: Cazana, a London based start-up Cazana, which uses artificial intelligence and big data to deliver detailed insight that assists the decision-making process of prospective car buyers, has raised GBP 1.5 million ( USD 1.95 million).
Founded in 2013, Cazana also offers free online car-checking and valuation for customers, enabling them to access real-time vehicle values, along with car history data.
London: PolyAi, a London start-up in “conversational AI” has raised USD $12 million in a Series A round.
PolyAi was founded in 2017 with a core team of scientists and engineers from Cambridge’s Dialog Systems Group.
CEO and co-founder, Nikola Mrkšić, was the first engineer at VocalIQ, a start-up that developed proprietary software to improve dialogue interactions in voice-activated systems, which was sold to Apple in 2015 and integrated with Siri.
The investment round was led by Point72 Ventures, with participation from Sands Capital Ventures, Amadeus Capital Partners, Passion Capital, and Entrepreneur First.
London: Adthena, a London and Austin TX based marketing intelligence start-up that applies artificial intelligence to marketing data, has raised USD $14 million in a Series A round.
Adthena was founded in London in 2012 and has offices in London, Austin and Sydney.
U.S firms expanding in Europe
New York / London: Digital
knowledge management company, Yext
Inc, is continuing its European expansion, with the opening of
its new 15,600 square foot premises which is 3 times the size of its current
In central London’s Oxford Circus district, Yext’s new offices will be neighbour to many of the world’s leading internet, fashion, media, and marketing companies including the BBC and Facebook.
Yext says it plans to hire more than 200 new employees in the UK over the next five years.
Raleigh / London: Raleigh based tech firm Pendo, has opened its first European office, in London.
Despite the uncertainties surrounding Brexit, and having explored other European options, Pendo has settled on London’s rich pool of technology talent and cultural diversity and it’s proximity to a growing European customer base.
Austin / Ireland: Forcepoint, an Austin based Cybersecurity firm, has moved to a permanent Centre of Excellence office, in County Cork, Ireland.
Forcepoint plans to recruit up to 100 new staff members, including software engineers and product managers, as it continues to develop products in cloud and endpoint cybersecurity technology.
The Cork based Centre of Excellence will join an international network of other
Forcepoint facilities, which endeavour to promote innovation and further develop cybersecurity capabilities
Atlanta / Poland: Evident ID, an identity credential verification platform, is opening its first international office in Kraków, Poland.
Founded in Atlanta in 2016, the company has chosen Kraków for its strong start-up culture and skilled talent pool.
New York / Ireland: Cognizant has announced it has acquired Meritsoft, a privately-held financial software company based in Dublin, Ireland.
Meritsoft is best known for its FINBOS platform for post-trade processing, an intelligent automation solution for managing taxes, fees, commissions and cash flow functions between financial institutions.
Meritsoft’s products are currently used by 5 of the world’s eight leading investment banks.