Hello and welcome to the Week in Tech – your weekly roundup of top technology news from across the UK and beyond.
In this week’s instalment, we bring you the latest UK tech investment news, Facebook’s decision to ban crypto ads and more.
Duco’s Series C
Data engineering tech company Duco has raised $28m in a Series C round.
The company drew investment from Insight Venture Partners, NEX Opportunities and Eight Road Ventures.
Cristobal Conde, the former CEO of SunGard and serial entrepreneur, also participated in the round.
Duco provides technology to enable financial services firms to normalise, validate and reconcile data in its cloud.
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HealthTech firm Medopad raises $28m
UK HealthTech startup Medopad secured $28m (£19.6m) at the first close of its Series A round featuring investment from China’s NWS Holdings.
The company, which leverages artificial intelligence as part of its data-capture platform offering, seeks to connect patients and healthcare professionals in real-time.
Medopad is planning to raise a total of $120m (£84m) in what would potentially become of the biggest early-stage raises for a UK firm.
The firm’s primary customers include hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, insurance providers and governments.
London ‘still a major draw for international tech workers’ despite Brexit
Medopad says it has already entered into strategic partnerships with leading healthcare, technology and academic institutions, including Royal Free NHS Hospital, Ping An Good Doctor, China Resources, Tencent, HP, Lenovo, Johns Hopkins University, Imperial College Health Partners and Peking University.
Mush gets £2m
Mush, a social app for UK mums, received a £2m cash injection in a round led by early-stage investor Octopus Ventures.
Launched in 2016 by Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor, Mush has allegedly been downloaded by 300,000 mums in the UK and Australia.
The co-founders met by chance in a playground with their four young children and came up with the idea to launch the app in an attempt to help other women easily find and connect with local mothers.
Forward Partners leads VR startup Gravity Sketch’s Seed
Today’s news comes after the firm’s research highlights how 80% of new mums struggle with loneliness. Additionally, recent figures also show that one in seven mothers suffer from post-natal depression (with 43% of those affected crediting peer support as a plausible solution).
Moixa lands £5m
UK smart battery firm Moixa landed £5m from ITOCHU Corporation, a Japanese trading house, which has also backed other UK firms including Paul Smith and Kwik Fit.
Moixa also received £500,000 from existing shareholders.
Today’s news comes after the firm announced a £2m cash boost last year, saying at the time that it would use the money to expand in the UK and abroad.
Moixa will also be partnering with ITOCHU in an attempt to launch its GridShare platform, which helps users to manage and optimise home energy storage systems.
The Japanese firm is to install GridShare as standard on its products by this Summer.
Moixa’s technology will seek to save customers money, using AI to optimise battery performance based on behavior patterns, weather conditions and market prices.
£400,000 for Welsh HealthTech
Welsh HealthTech startup Signum Health has scored £400,000 in an equity round led by the Development Bank of Wales.
The Caerphilly-based startup, which has now raised £600,000 in total, also obtained funding from undisclosed private investors.
Signum Health has also appointed the former CEO of Imperial College NHS Trust and founder of the first Academic Health Science Centre in the UK, Professor Stephen Smith FMedSci, as its chairman.
London-based startup Ahauz, a PropTech firm seeking to help first time buyers get on the property ladder, raised £300,000 from early-stage investor Forward Partners.
Additionally, the team at Ahauz raised an additional £2.6m from high-net worth property investors.
The money will be used to fund contributions towards the deposit of first time buyers in the UK.
The business was founded by Karthik Srivats and João Rocha after they became aware of the challenges faced by first time buyers in London.
After attempting to buy a house, the co-founders realised they couldn’t afford to pay the deposit required despite having relatively good incomes.
Srivats and Rocha then realised many of their friends had faced similar issues and those who had managed to buy property had received help from family.
Inzura nabs $1m
UK InsurTech Inzura has raised $1m to boost its international growth.
The startup, which is headquartered in the UK, will also use the funds to accelerate its new technology developments, including machine learning and AI.
Inzura will also implement distributed ledger technology in a bid to simplify customer acquisition and retention.
Commenting on the news, Richard Jelbert, CEO and co-founder of Inzura, said: “Our strategy is to help insurers engage with their customers via access to rich data from smartphones. The next step is to use this rich data to deliver enhanced, personalised insurance services.
Bodle Technologies raises £6m
Oxford University spinout firm Bodle Technologies has closed a £6m Series A.
The company, which is aiming to change how and where consumers interact with displays is developing reflective technology for applications that include wearables, IoT displays and eReaders.
According to the firm, its technology’s pixels reflect light, drastically claiming to reduce the power required to project an image and thus eliminating it altogether when it comes to static imagery.
The technology was invented by Professor Harish Bhaskaran and postdoctoral researcher Dr Peiman Hosseini at Oxford University’s Department of Materials.
One Utility Bill gets £650,000
Newcastle-based One Utility Bill, a PropTech company which seeks to facilitate the billing process for tenants, landlords and letting agents, has raised £650,000.
The funding was led by Middleton Enterprises with participation from Pi Labs and will be used to bolster the firm’s national growth and accelerate its tech stack.
Set up in 2014, One Utility Bill bundles gas, electricity, water, internet and media subscriptions and TV licenses into one monthly bill, allowing consumers to split these without having to contact a utility provider.
The startup was co-founded by Chris Dawson and Dale Knight, who met on a Newcastle University incubator programme.
Factmata raises $1m
Factmata, an anti-fake news startup, closed a $1m Seed round from investors including Twitter’s Biz Stone and Craiglist’s Craig Newmark.
The startup is also backed by Mark Cuban, Ross Mason, Mark Pincus and Sunil Paul.
“It’s inspiring that some of the leading internet pioneers have decided to back Factmata’s vision and technology,” said Factmata’s founder, Dhruv Ghulati.
“This round allows us to focus on building out the ambitious architecture that will solve some major upcoming problems on the internet – reducing online misinformation, screening questionable content and providing more context on what is already out there,” he added.
UK govt criticised by children’s charity
The UK government has been criticised by a children’s charity for failing to implement half of its recommendations to try and make young people safer online – a decade after they were first made.
The NSPCC has said 11 of its 38 proposals were ignored. The charity went on to note that only seven were partially implemented and that four were now out of date.
Additionally, the NSPCC said a mandatory code to regulate social media and tackle online grooming was now required.
Facebook bans bitcoin ads
Facebook is banning crypto ads involving bitcoin and initial coin offerings.
The social media giant unveiled the news in a blog post, where Rob Leathern, the firm’s product management director said the new policy would target “ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practises, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies”.