EU Digital Tax Pushed Back to 2020
Brussels, Belgium: The European Union’s plans to introduce a digital tax on global tech companies faced opposition from a number of member states this week.
At a meeting in Brussels, an Irish-led Nordic group of members, opposed the tax measure, arguing that it would have undue effect on European entrepreneurs and risk U.S retaliation.
Finance Ministers from Sweden, Denmark and Ireland said they could not sign up to a plan to impose a revenue-based tax on the biggest internet groups, as set out under the French-backed proposal targeting companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.
In an attempt to salvage the proposal, France has offered to delay an EU-wide tax on tech giants. However, the French President urged EU nations to agree plans for a 3 per cent tax on the revenues rather than the profits, of about 180 tech companies which would include Google and Facebook.
To be implemented, EU tax law requires the unanimous support of all 28-member states.
As well as Ireland and the Nordic countries, Germany, fearing a tax on revenues could harm its exports, expressed its reservations about any plan to apply such a levy.
Meanwhile the UK, Spain and Italy are working on their own national versions of a digital tax with the UK already leading the way, by announcing its plans for a 2 per cent levy on tech firms, proceeding in 2020, if there is no OECD alternative by then.
Credit Karma acquires UK based Noodle for Euro Springboard
San Francisco, California / Leeds, England: San Francisco basedCredit Karma, which provides services such as free credit reports, price comparisons and tax preparation, is buying UK based start-up, Noddle, for an undisclosed sum from TransUnion, another US group.
Noodle offers users free access to their credit report.
Credit Karma made the purchase from TransUnion, which received Noddle as a part of its purchase of CallCredit for $1.4 billion in April of this year.
The financial terms of the agreement are not disclosed but it appears to be purely cash-based. TransUnion is not taking any stake in Credit Karma. The deal is expected to close later this year or early next year.
EU & UK Venture Capital Update Q3 2018
London, England: Data from Pitchbook’s European Venture Q3 2018 Report shows that almost USD 15 billion was invested in EU & UK start-ups in the first 9 months of 2018.
This compares to U.S activity which was USD84 billion in the first 9 months of 2018 and USD 27.5 billion in Q3 2018.
Enterprises based in the UK & Ireland captured just under 40% of the deal activity.
EU VC deal activity in Q3 2018 was slightly below Q1 and Q2 activity, with USD 4.5 billion total deal value across 584 deals.
At current rate, it is expected that 2018 will match or exceed 2017 in terms of capital invested but will be fewer in terms of number of deals.
Bird Scooters Trial in London
London, England: The UK’s first electric scooter sharing scheme was launched in London this week.
US based Bird, is trialling 50 scooters in a 560-acre site in East London.
Scooter rental cost is GBP1.00 (USD 1.31) plus 20p per minute.
Using Bird’s smartphone app, user can hire and ride from the corner of Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre to the East campus – home to a host of UK tech start-ups including Birds UK office.
The scooters will automatically power-down if they deviate from that from the dedicated trial route and the units must be dismounted when crossing the main road running through the the park.
Bird is hoping that the trial will convince UK legislators to amend current UK regulation, which bans scooters on public thoroughfares.
This current legislation dates back to the 1800’s and prohibits “carriages” from riding pavements. However, arcane though it may be, there is little indication that repeal of this law is a priority for the UK government right now.
Uber Eats to triple Headcount in Europe
London, England: Uber Eats plans to triple its current European headcount, announcing this week that it intends to have 900 people working for it in the EMEA region next year.
Uber Eats entered the European market in London 2 years ago, where its current headcount is just under 300.
The news follows the company’s recent announcement of its plans to grow its presence in the food delivery market and the launch around 400 Uber Eats virtual restaurants.
The virtual concept identifies gaps in the market and then makes use of existing kitchen space and in doing so, expands a takeaway’s existing output.
The virtual restaurant only appears on the delivery app and often, exclusively to 1 one app only.
UK based Deliveroo launched its own chain of virtual restaurants earlier this year and competition between Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat has been intense and some form of consolidation can be expected in 2019.
Danish Document SaaS Platform Raises USD15 Million
Copenhagen, Denmark: Copenhagen based start-up Templafy, a SaaS platform that delivers brand governance and productivity across enterprise business communications, has raised an additional €14 million ($17 million) in a Series B round.
The additional funding comes from existing investors, including New York based, Insight Venture Partners and UK based, Dawn Capital, as well as existing Series A investors SEED Capital, Preben Damgaard.
The round brings the total amount raised by the firm since it its foundation in 2014 to USD 40.2 million.
In August, Templafy acquired German company SlideProof, adding a Berlin office to the group.
The expansion continued last month when Templafy opened its first U.S. office in New York to scale more quickly for its US-based customers and to meet its increasing demand from Fortune 500 companies.
UK AI Start-up raises USD 29.5 million
London, England / Los Angeles CA: Engineer.ai, which is dual headquartered in London and Los Angeles has raised USD29.5m from Singapore-based Jungle Ventures, German based Lakestar and Softbank’s Ai incubator Deepcore in a Series A round.
It is the first investment for Deepcore outside of Japan.
Engineer Ai’s technology breaks down apps and websites into constituent parts, allowing companies to select and combine the features they like, such as particular kinds of notifications, maps or messages.
Machine-learning technology then creates a workflow to set a price for stitching the software parts together, based on an assessment of how many others might also want the same work done.
The development is then outsourced to engineers, based mostly in India, the US and Eastern Europe.
Berlin-Based Fraugster raises USD14 million
Berlin, Germany: Fraugster, a German and Israeli company that has developed AI technology to help fraud detection in the e-commerce space, has raised USD14 million in a Series B round.
The funding was led by Germany’s CommerzVentures, together with Earlybird, Speedinvest, Seedcamp and Rancilio Cube.
Fraugster was founded in 2014 as a collaboration between Max Laemmle, a co-founder of a payment gateway, Better Payment, and Chen Zamir, who is backgrounded in both analytics and risk management.
Their mission to develop solutions and technologies for fighting payment fraud led to their creation of an AI-based solution that could make decisions as fast as a human analyst but still retain a machine’s inherent scalability.