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Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch, Twitter’s profit news, a £4m Series A and more in the Week in Tech

Hello and welcome to the Week in Tech – your weekly roundup of the top technology news from across the UK and the rest of the world.

In this week’s roundup, we bring you the latest UK tech investment news, Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket launch, Twitter’s profit updates and much more.


Lightful’s Series A

Lightful, a social media and campaign management tool for charities and social enterprises, secured £4m in Series A funding.

The company drew investment from backers including Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and British racing driver Dario Franchitti.

Lightful works by integrating with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to create a single platform for charities to manage their social media content, supporter relationships and campaigns.

Vinay Nair, CEO and co-founder of Lightful, commented: “Charities and social enterprises have some of the best stories to tell, and we are excited that Lightful can help grow the potential of using social media for social good – we certainly need that to happen now more than ever.”

LocalGlobe invests in EnergyTech

Zebra Fuel, an on-demand energy startup which delivers fuel directly to vehicles, raised $2.5m (£1.8m) in a Seed round led by LocalGlobe.

The startup also drew investment from Brent Hoberman’s Firstminute Capital and ‘super angel’ Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman.

Zebra Fuel has raised $3m in funding to date.

The startup was set up by entrepreneurs Reda Bennis and Romain Saint Guilhem on the conviction that it no longer made sense for drivers to be dependent on a static location – whether a petrol station or charging dock – to refuel their vehicles.

Zebra Fuel works around this by enabling users to order a refill in the same way they would book a ride or order a takeaway.

Spirable lands £1.25m

Spirable, a contextual video platform, raised £1.25m in a round led by Frontline Ventures.

The startup, formerly known as Photospire, also raised from Downing Ventures and existing backers 24 Haymarket and True.

Launched almost four years ago, and part of True’s Startup Innovator portfolio, Spirable produces video campaigns for brands including Diageo, Domino’s and Unilever.

The startup’s proprietary technology allows clients to generate personalised videos, using data based on geography, gender, climatic influences and the personal tastes and traits of individual customers.

Open Energy Market lands £3m

Energy tech company Open Energy Market raised £3m from Calculus Capital to continue developing its online trading platform.

The business sets out to facilitate the complicated and old fashioned procurement process and to help medium to large businesses with the management of their energy contracts.

The Open Energy Market seeks to automate energy trading while helping customers capture and store the data that makes reporting, forecasting and portfolio management easier.

Open Energy Market was launched in 2013 by Chris Maclean, an energy industry expert; and Charles Lass, a technology entrepreneur.

A £2m FilmTech round

FilmTech startup We Got POP (POP) raised £2m in a round led by Octopus Ventures.

The startup also drew support from Debbie Wosskow’s AllBright, Booking.com’s co-founder Andy Phillipps, former KKR partner Henrik Schäfer, Richard Fearn and Richard Northcott.

Today’s news comes after POP closed a Seed round from Pinewood Studios in early 2016.

Zoe Chambers, early-stage investor, went on to comment : “Octopus Ventures is thrilled to support We Got POP, as they continue to revolutionise an industry that is aching for innovation.

SpaceX launch

It’s been an interesting week for space travel and technology.

Elon Musk’s private aerospace company SpaceX launched the most powerful rocket into space from the east coast of Floriday on Tuesday.

The Falcon Heavy, as the rocket is known, made a remarkably flawless ascent through the skies, with two of its three reusable boosters making a safe return back down two earth.

SpaceX’s launch was watched by a reported half a million people worldwide. The rocket was also carrying a red Tesla Roadster sports car, a dummy in the driver’s seat known as Starman and a looped rendition of David Bowie’s Life on Mars in the car stereo.

Images of the vehicle traveling into space with the Earth at its wheels added to the launch’s surreal quality.

Musk hopes the launch will aid interplanetary exploration and help Nasa’s mission as it seeks to return to the moon for the first time ever in over three decades – eventually landing humans on the red planet.

Twitter’s good news

Microblogging site Twitter has reported its first quarterly net profit ever, seemingly boosted by an increase in video ad sales.

Twitter’s shares closed 12% up on the day despite a the total number of people using the platform coming in well below expectations.

The company previous failure to break a profit has typically confounded investors and users alike, given the fact that it’s widely used by politicians and celebrities.

Recent reports say its net profit was $91.1m (£65m) in Q4 2017, compared with a loss of $167.1m for the same period in 2016.

New Emoji list

The emoji list for this year has been published and it finally features red heads.

Emojipedia, the emoji website, have released some sample images from the list, which also include some superheroes, and a wide range of options for hair colour, type and baldness.