UK Moves On Digital Services Tax
London, England: The UK government has announced plans for a 2% digital services tax on the revenues of global tech giants.
The tax will be introduced from 2020 with the aim of collecting £400 million a year in tax revenues.
The levy, which is expected to hit the media giants like Facebook, Apple and Google, has been widely anticipated since the UK Treasury floated the idea of an ‘Amazon Tax’ to target the UK profits of the US e-commerce giant.
The companies targeted are those who generate GBP500 million + (USD650 m) in worldwide revenues annually or in the words of UK Chancellor Philip Hammond, “the revenues of specific business models, designed for established technology giants rather than start-ups.”
The 2% tax will target revenues earned in the UK, regardless of whether or not those companies have a taxable presence there. However, Chancellor Hammond emphasized that the new tax would not be applied to online sales of goods and services, as he believes this would be unfairly passed on to the consumer. As such, it is the UK turnover made on these sales that will be taxed instead.
The decision is no co-incidence on the back of the criticism Facebook received in UK media and political circles last month, for paying £15.7 million of UK corporation tax on revenues of £1.2 billion whilst Amazon’s UK division paid £1.7 million in taxes last year, despite trebling its profits to £72.3 million.
The chancellor added that the government has been working with the OECD and the European Commission to reach an international agreement on a digital tax for large tech companies. But he explained that progress towards consensus had been “painfully slow” and that he “cannot talk forever therefore, we will introduce a UK digital services tax ourselves”.
Seattle’s Rover.com Acquires UK Dog-Sitting Platform
Seattle, WA: Seattle based dog-sitting firm, Rover.com has acquired UK’s DogBuddy – a dog boarding, day care and walking offering similar to its own.
London based DogBuddy was founded in 2013 and it has raised about USD10 million since its then, including a USD5 million series A round last year. Following its acquisition, founder Richard Setterwall will head up Rover’s European division, from London, under the DogBuddy brand.
The acquisition gives Rover access to pet owners in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
UK Fintech Monzo Raises USD110 million
London, England: UK Fintech company, Monzo has raised £85 million (USD 110 million) in a Series E funding round, giving it a valuation of GBP1 billion and making it the third British Fintech to reach Unicorn status this year, following Revolut and OakNorth.
The funding round was led by US investors General Catalysts and Accel with existing backers Passion Capital, Goodwater, Thrive Capital, Orange Digital Ventures and Stripe also participating.
Monzo launched in 2015 and announced last month that it had reached a customer base of 1 million.
The company says it will use the new funding to further expand its reach and develop new features for its mobile banking platform.
Dutch Travel Booking Platform Suspends Operations
Amsterdam, Netherlands: TravelBird, the Dutch website that sells low cost holidays online, has suspended operations and applied for court protection from its creditors.
The company raise more than USD $20 million in funding over the past decade and says it turned its first profit in H1 2018 but that it had been in discussions with investors to raise additional funding, before it ceased trading.
The company has a workforce of 310 and 7 million consumers booked a holiday via TravelBird over the past 8 years.
Electric Scooter Startup Raises $12 million
Berlin, Germany: Unu, a Berlin based electric scooter startup, has raised $12 million in a Series B funding, led by Ponooc, with participation from Capnamic Ventures, IRIS Capital, Michael Baum, and NRW.BANK.
Unu currently promotes its scooters as environmentally friendly, travel and traffic time-savers.
However, company says it is potentially looking to use some of the new funding to tap into the rapidly growing market for e-scooter rentals and scooter sharing services, both in its domestic market and beyond.
Ipsos Buys US Social Media Firm Synthesio
Paris, France: French market research firm Ipsos has acquired, the U.S social listening and audience insight company, Synthesio.
Synthesio’s platform, featured as a leader in the most recent Forrester Wave report on that sector, allows brands to monitor what is being posted about them and their competitors on social media and to discern trends accordingly.
Founded in 1975, Ipsos is a market research and opinion leader, headquartered in Paris, with over 16,000 employees and a presence in 89 countries.
German Smart Home Startup raises $50 million
Munich, Germany: German smart home startup Tado, has secured $50 million in funding from Amazon, E.ON, Total Energy Ventures, Energy Innovation Capital, Inven Capital, the European Investment Bank, and others.
The company – known for its wall-mounted and radiator thermostats – has raised a total of $102 million to date.
Its main smart thermostat products allow consumers to manage their heating and air conditioning via the internet and the company claims its machine learning algorithms, enable its thermostats to save up to 31 percent on heating costs.
The AI engine developed by Tado takes into account when residents are leaving or approaching their home and also incorporate weather forecasts.
The company currently has presence in Austria, Benelux, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the UK, where it has partnered with some 30 European utility providers, including E.ON in the UK, Germany, and Italy and SSE in the UK.
Mobileum Acquires UK Fraud Software Firm
Bristol, UK / Cupertino, CA: Californian firm Mobileum, a provider of analytics-based roaming and risk management, has acquired UK based Evolved Intelligence.
The acquisition serves to enrich Mobileum’s portfolio and strengthen its presence in Europe.
Following the close of the deal, the existing EI platform and architecture will be maintained and developed for further integration with the Mobileum Active Intelligence platform.
Evolved Intelligence, founded in 2017, is a UK based provider of roaming, fraud and security solutions to wireless operators and signalling providers worldwide and has 35 UK based employees.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.