Privacy Concerns around DeepMinds Move to Google
London, England: UK based Ai lab DeepMind which was acquired by Google in 2014, plans to transfer control of its health subsidiary to Google.
DeepMind’s health operation, which includes a team of more than 100 people based in London and which has a five-year partnership with 10 UK hospitals to process the medical data of 1.6m patients will now become part of Google Health.
DeepMind promised never to share data with the technology giant and an ethics board has raised concerns over its independence.
A separate research team at DeepMind will continue to function independently of Google, but under the umbrella of its parent company Alphabet.
Google Health which is based in California and headed by David Feinberg, the former chief executive of Geisinger, one of the US’ largest private health groups.
Design Platform Framer Raises $24M in Series B
Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam-based interactive design platform, Framer, has raised $24 million in a series B funding round.
Founded in 2014 by Koen Bok and Jorn van Dijk, both of whom are ex-Facebook executives, from the sale of their company, Sofa, to Facebook in 2011.
As part of that deal, they relocated to their acquirer’s headquarters in the U.S., and worked on various products, reporting directly to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg but then left Facebook in 2014 to setup Framer.
The round was led by European VC firm Atomico, with participation from Accel, and AngelList.
The company says it will use the new capital to continue building out its platform for designers and product teams.
The round brings the total raised to date by Framer to $33 million.
Nested: UK PropTech company raises $156 m
London, England: London-based prop-tech enterprise Nested, has raised GBP120 million ($156m) in a funding round that includes equity and debt.
Nested was launched in 2016 by entrepreneurs Phil Cowan, an early SongKick executive, James Turford and Matt Robinson, co-founder of payment business GoCardless.
Nested gives sellers a guaranteed offer on their house from day one, and if the property has not sold within 90 days, Nested purchases the property itself, with the aim of selling it subsequently. If the property does then sell for over the Nested valuation estimate (which is based on market data and algorithm), the company takes 20 per cent of the upside, whilst the seller keeps the rest.
Northzone and Balderton Capital contributed £20m in equity funding while the remaining £100m of debt finance was provided by an institutional investor.
New York VC Leads $5m investment in London FinTech
London, England: Fluidly, a London based SaaS platform that combines machine learning and financial modelling, to provide automated cashflow forecasting and intelligent credit control has raised GBP 5 million (USD6.5 m) in a Series A round.
Fluidly was founded in 2016 by serial entrepreneur Caroline Plumb, who previously co-founded a recruitment and innovation consultancy, Freshminds.
New-York based Nyca Partners led the round with participation from other investors including Octopus Ventures, Anthemis and tech angels, Simon Murdoch and Charlie Songhurst.
The new funding will be used to expand the team of engineers and data scientists to further develop the product, and to build sales and marketing capacity.
French BlaBlaCar acquires Ouibus
Paris, France: BlaBlaCar, the French digital ride-sharing specialist, has agreed to acquire Ouibus, the loss-making, long-distance road-coach division of French rail and bus operator, SNCF.
As part of the deal, SNCF and a group of previous investors are backing BlaBlaCar with $114 million.
The deal expands BlaBlaCar beyond its carpooling platform and the company will now own and operate a fleet of buses that operate across 300 cities throughout Europe.
UK Retail Tech SaaS Platform gets Series A Funding
London, England: Mercaux, a retail tech SaaS platform has raised GBP3.5m ($4.5m) in a Series A funding round.
The London based start-up which was founded in 2013 by Russian entrepreneur Olga Kotsur, sells retail software that enables retailers to incorporate digital capabilities in their physical stores.
The funding round was led by Naut Capital, a EU VC firm and will be used to drive growth in existing and new markets, as well in R&D to further develop the platform.
The company has offices in London, Paris and Barcelona.
Online Fashion Start-up Lesara files for Bankruptcy
Berlin, Germany: German online fashion retailer Lesara filed for insolvency this week.
The company raised a total of €85.3m, the latest being in July this year, when it raised €30m in a Series D round, led by LA & New York based, 3L Capital.
Founded in 2013 in Berlin by Roman Kirsch, Matthias Wilrich and Robin Müller, Lesara was unlike other pure marketplace online fashion retailers, in that it aimed to be a full-role online retailer, with its own warehousing in Europe and China, as well as providing its own customer service and all other aspects of the business.
It would appear that it was its capital intensity that drove its continual requirement for funding.
German Workforce Platform Raises funding for US Expansion
Hamburg, Germany: Digital workforce platform, Workgenius which matches freelancers with companies looking to scale or complete a project, has raised additional funding on their Series A round, to €8.5 million.
Workgenius was founded in Hamburg, Germany in 2012 by Daniel Barke and Marlon Litz-Rosenzweig.
Originally called Mylittlejob, it focused on matching college students to companies in Europe.
In 2018 the company rebranded to WorkGenius after expanding its base to professional freelancers.
The platform is used by more than 5,000 companies seeking skilled freelancers to assist with digital tasks rapidly and at on a large scale.
The company plans to use the new funding to expand its presence in the US and further develop its platform.
Currently employing 55 people, the company plans to grow its staff to 100 by the end of 2019.