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A £40m acquisition, Apple’s impressive results, rogue Facebook chatbots and more in The Week in Tech

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Welcome to The Week in Tech, your roundup of the latest top tech news. This week, we have over £86m in UK tech funding, a £40m acquisition, impressive results from Apple, a potentially disturbing AI experiment at Facebook and much more.


Carwow’s £29.7m

UK tech startup Carwow, which connects new car buyers with authorised dealers, raised $39m (£29.7m) in a Series C round led by Vitruvian Partners.

Existing backers Accel Partners and Balderton Capital also took part in the round.

Neyber’s £21m

FinTech firm Neyber closed a £21m Series C led by Wadhawan Global Capital, an India-based financial services group.

Existing investors also took part in the round, which brings Neyber’s total to £34.5m, due to its previous rounds: a £6m Series A and a £7.5m Series B.

Simba Sleep’s £13.2m

Simba Sleep raised £13.2m from existing shareholders and one new investor.

According to Business Insider, the UK ‘SleepTech’ company’s records on Companies House show the firm raised £11.4m in June.

The firm then issued an additional £1.8m worth of shares in order to settle obligations.

Wonderbly’s £6.4m

London-based startup Lost My Name rebranded as Wonderbly and announced the closure of a $8.5m (£6.4m) Series B round.

The tech-driven children’s books publisher received funds from publisher Ravensburger, Google Ventures, Project A Ventures, Greycroft, The Cherning Group and Allen & Co.

As part of the round, the firm also received debt funding from Silicon Valley Bank.

A Cloud Guru’s £5.3m

A Cloud Guru, a cloud computing training provider co-founded by Australian brothers Ryan and Sam Kroonenburg, closed a $7m (£5.3m) Series A from Boston-based Elephant Venture Capital.

Headquartered in London, A Cloud Guru will use the funds to expand its content offering and boost its growth in the US.

Carspring’s £5m

Carspring, a London-based marketplace which enables consumers to purchase used cars online, raised £5m in Series B funding.

Existing backer Rocket Internet took part in the round alongside Channel 4’s Commercial Growth Fund, which offers TV advertising in exchange for equity.

Cloud IQ’s £4m

E-commerce software firm Cloud IQ received £4m in new investment from backers including PayPal.

Existing investors Nauta Capital and Finance Wales also participated.

HonestBrew’s £1.5m

Online craft beer supplier HonestBrew raised £1.5m from investors including Hargreave Hale VCTS.

The company, which has now raised £2.4m in total, also received additional support from a series of undisclosed high-net-worth individuals.

Govt proposes new tech investment fund

Philip Hammond, the chancellor of the exchequer, revealed proposals for a new National Investment Fund designed to help British technology startups become billion-dollar companies.

A consultation is to be launched, seeking to explore the ways in which startups can access the funding required to scale and compete in the global market.

The proposals come after research revealed a £4bn funding gap between American firms and their British counterparts.

Love Home Swap’s acquisition

London-based startup Love Home Swap was acquired by RCI, a division of the Wyndham Hotel Group, for a reported £40m.

The news comes after the sharing economy marketplace, which allows users to book other people’s’ homes for a holiday, raised funding from investors including MMC Ventures.

Apple’s quarterly earnings

Apple reported fiscal third-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ expectations, plus revenue that exceeded estimates, as the firm sold more iPhones than expected.

“With revenue up 7% year-over-year, we’re happy to report our third consecutive quarter of accelerating growth and an all-time quarterly record for Services revenue,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

Audi to invest in electric cars

Audi aims to cut costs by €10bn (£8.9bn) by 2022 so that it can help fund a shift to electric cars. The bulk of the cost savings would come from cutting research and development costs, sources claim.

Audi plans to bring five new all-electric models to market in coming years, starting with the e-tron sport-utility vehicle (SUV) in 2018.

Download of the week

Our download of the week is RISETODAY. With this app, you can find and book nearby quality fitness and wellbeing sessions, on-demand.

You enter your current or future location to search for convenient classes, 1-on-1 coaching or fitness facilities.

And finally

The mainstream media got in a bit of a frenzy following the release of information about a Facebook chatbot trial.

Researchers at Facebook’s AI division developed bots developed bots named Bob and Alice for an experiment and found they began communicating with each other in an unexpected way.

As Gizmodo’s Tom McKay wrote: “In their attempts to learn from each other, the bots thus began chatting back and forth in a derived shorthand – but while it might look creepy, that’s all it was.”

So no need to worry about robots taking over the planet just yet.

That’s all for this week’s roundup. For more tp tech news, make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook, plus subscribe to our newsletter.

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash