Europe

Personably, software that helps on-board new hires at fast-growing companies, gets backing from GFC

As fast-growing companies — or, dare I say, ‘scale-ups’ — add new headcount, the pace at which they are able to on-board new hires doesn’t always keep up. In fact, I’m told it is not unheard of for new employees to turn up on day one apparently unexpected, and to be passed from pillar to post as they attempt to get set up and be shown all of the things you need to be shown to actually start a new role. Enter Personably, the London startup founded in late 2016 by Katerina Pascoulis and Lewis Blackwood, after the former Crowdcube and GoCardless employees spotted an opportunity to use software to streamline and in some instances automate aspects of the on-boarding process. Bootstrapped until now, the company is disclosing that it recently raised £500,000 in seed funding. The round was led by ...

Russia’s Telegram ban that knocked out 15M Google, Amazon IP addresses had a precedent in Zello

Russia blocking access to Telegram after the messaging app refused to give it access to encrypted messages has picked up an unintended casualty: we’re now up to over 15 million IP addresses from Amazon and Google getting shut down by the regulators in the process, taking various other (non-Telegram) services down with it. Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov earlier today said that its reach in the country has yet to see an impact from the ban 24 hours on, with VPNs, proxies and third-party cloud services stepping in to pick up the slack for its roughly 14 million users in the country, and third parties refusing to buckle under requests from Roskomnadzor, the regulator, to remove the app from its stores and servers. “Thank you for your support and loyalty, Russian users of Telegram. Thank you, Apple...

LawGeex raises $12M for its AI-powered contract review technology

Can Artificial Intelligence replace lawyers? Perhaps sometime in the distant future, but in the meantime AI is already augmenting the work done by legal professionals as startups race to reach that ultimate goal. One burgeoning player in the AI-powered legal tech space is Tel Aviv-based LawGeex, which has developed automated contract review technology to help companies sift through things like NDAs, supply agreements, purchase orders, and SaaS licenses, to ensure they’re aren’t any unsanctioned legal gotchas buried deep in legalise. Today, the company is announcing that it has closed $12 million in new investment. Led by VC fund Aleph, with participation from previous backers, including Lool Ventures, the new round of funding will be used by LawGeex to further develop its product, and buil...

Russia starts blocking Telegram for failing to turn over encryption keys

The Russian state telecommunication regulator has began blocking Telegram as expected. This comes after the messaging company refused to give Russian security services encryption keys. The service is expected to be blocked within the coming hours. According to several reports Telegram is still operational in the country though several service providers have started blocking the company’s website. Ran by its Russian founder Pavel Durov, Telegram has over 200 million users and is a top-ten messaging service made popular by its strong stance on privacy. Telegram is recognized as an operator of information dissemination in Russia and therefore the company is required by Russian to provide keys to its encryption service to the Federal Security Service. This is so the FSS can reportedly read the...

UK report urges action to combat AI bias

The need for diverse development teams and truly representational data-sets to avoid biases being baked into AI algorithms is one of the core recommendations in a lengthy Lords committee report looking into the economic, ethical and social implications of artificial intelligence, and published today by the upper House of the UK parliament. “The main ways to address these kinds of biases are to ensure that developers are drawn from diverse gender, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and are aware of, and adhere to, ethical codes of conduct,” the committee writes, chiming with plenty of extant commentary around algorithmic accountability. “It is essential that ethics take centre stage in AI’s development and use,” adds committee chairman, Lord Clement-Jones, in a statement. “The UK has a ...

Sword Health raises $4.6M for its digital physiotherapy solution

Sword Health, a startup operating out of Portugal that has developed a digital physiotherapy solution to enable patients to be treated remotely in their own homes, has raised $4.6 million in seed funding. Backing the round is Green Innovations, Vesalius Biocapital III, and other unnamed investors in the U.S. and Europe. The company says it will use the new capital, which adds to an earlier ~$1.2 million grant from the European Commission, to accelerate the development of new digital therapies and drive global growth. Using what it describes as a combination of “high-precision motion tracking sensors” and the latest advances in AI, the Sword Health solution aims to make the delivery of physiotherapy infinitely more scalable, in recognition that there is a worldwide shortage of physiotherapi...

Is America’s national security Facebook and Google’s problem?

Jamie Metzl Contributor Jamie Metzl is a Senior Fellow for Technology and National Security at the Atlantic Council. More posts by this contributor Homo Sapiens 2.0? We need a species-wide conversation about the future of human genetic enhancement Eleonore Pauwels Contributor Eleonore Pauwels is Director of the Anticipatory Intelligence Lab at the Wilson Center, an international science policy expert specializing in the governance and democratization of converging technologies, and a former official of the European Commission’s Directorate on Science, Economy and Society. Outrage that Facebook made the private data of over 87 million of its U.S. users available to the Trump campaign has stoked fears of big US-based technology companies are tracking our every move and misusing our personal ...

How to save your privacy from the Internet’s clutches

Another week, another massive privacy scandal. When it’s not Facebook admitting it allowed data on as many as 87 million users to be sucked out by a developer on its platform who sold it to a political consultancy working for the Trump campaign, or dating app Grindr ‘fessing up to sharing its users’ HIV status with third party A/B testers, some other ugly facet of the tech industry’s love affair with tracking everything its users do slides into view. Suddenly, Android users discover to their horror that Google’s mobile platform tells the company where they are all the time — thanks to baked-in location tracking bundled with Google services like Maps and Photos. Or Amazon Echo users realize Jeff Bezos’ ecommerce empire has amassed audio recordings of every single interaction they’ve had wit...

Cluno, the Munich-based ‘car subscription’ service, raises €7M Series A

Cluno, a startup operating out of Munich that offers what it calls a “car subscription” service, has raised €7 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Acton Capital Partners, with participation from previous investor Atlantic Labs. Founded in 2017 by the same team behind easyautosale, which exited to Autoscout24 in 2015, Cluno lets you subscribe to a car for a fixed and all-inclusive monthly fee as an alternative to car ownership or a more restrictive lease. It’s a similar proposition to Drover, the London startup that raised £5.5 million ‘seed’ funding last month. “Our vision is to give people smarter access to unrestricted, personalised mobility,” says Cluno co-founder Nico Polleti. “We still see a lot of people who want to have their car in front of their home every day. But i...

Conserve the Sound is an archive of noises from old tape players, projectors and other dying tech

All of us grew up around tech different from what we have today, and many of us look back on those devices with fondness. But can you recall the exact sound your first Casio keyboard made, or the cadence of a rotary phone’s clicks? Conserve the Sound aims to, well, conserve the sound of gadgets like these so that future generations will know what it sounded like to put a cartridge in the NES. It’s actually quite an old project at this point, having been funded first in 2013, but its collection has grown to a considerable size. The money came from German art institution Film & Medienstiftung NRW; the site was created (and is maintained) by creative house Chunderksen. The whole thing is suitably minimal, much like an actual museum: You find objects either by browsing randomly or by findi...

A well-fed workforce is a happy workforce — City Pantry raises £4M for its catering marketplace

City Pantry, the office catering marketplace to make it easy to order in food for staff, company events and meetings, has restocked its funding. The London-based startup has raised a new £4 million round led by Octopus Investments with participation from existing investors and Newable Private Investing — capital it plans to use to expand into more cities across the U.K. over the next 18 months. Founded by Stuart Sunderland in 2013, City Pantry set out to improve the catering options open to companies in London. Its marketplace connects local caterers to businesses who need quality food delivered to their offices or to cover events, meeting and regular team meals. When the startup first launched, Sunderland viewed its main competitors as traditional corporate caterers, sandwich retailers, p...

Bitmovin scores $30M Series B for ‘next-gen’ online video software

Bitmovin, the online video software and infrastructure company founded by two of the creators of the MPEG-DASH video streaming standard, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. The round is led by Highland Europe, with participation from existing investors Atomico, Constantia New Business, Dawn Capital, and Y Combinator. The company says the new round of funding will be used to scale its product R&D, field engineering and sales teams worldwide — with the aim being to expand its global customer base of TV streaming providers, internet companies and social media companies. The Series B brings total funding for the 2013-founded company and Y Combinator alumnus to $43 million. “Bitmovin came about as a spin-off from research we did together at the the University of Klagenfurt, in Austr...