Welcome to The Week in Tech, your roundup of the latest top tech news. This week, we have Landbay’s £2.4m raise, Tim Cook speaks out against white supremacy, Bill Gates makes a £3.6bn charity donation and much more.
The summer lull is well and truly upon us, with just two funding announcements gracing the pages of UKTN this week.
Daniel Murray, founder of shopping app Grabble also joined the round alongside other business angels from the media, data and publishing sectors.
Landbay, a buy-to-let mortgage lender that uses peer-to-peer technology to fund loans, closed a £2.4m crowdfunding round.
The London-based PropTech/FinTech firm raised the funds via crowdfunding platform Seedrs, securing a total amount of £2,440,266.
This far exceeds the firm’s target amount of £1.5m and brings the total amount raised to date to around £7m.
Mergers and acquisitions
The Hut Group acquired GLOSSYBOX for an undisclosed sum from majority shareholders Rocket Internet and Kinnevik Online.
Founded in 2011, GLOSSYBOX has offices in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden and the USA and its customers subscribe to a box of beauty products on either a rolling monthly or fixed-term basis.
Uber introduces tipping
In a seeming attempt to pacify disgruntled drivers, Uber introduced a feature that enables UK users to add tips onto their ride fares.
This move comes six weeks before the start of Uber’s appeal against last year’s tribunal ruling that granted its drivers employed worker status, entitling them to sick pay and the minimum wage.
Another change that’s in the pipeline is a 20p-per-minute waiting charge, which will be added to the fares of dawdling passengers from 22nd August.
Bill Gates gives away further £3.6bn to charity
Bill Gates has given away $4.6bn (£3.6bn) to charity in the Microsoft co-founder’s largest donation since 2000.
Since 1994, Gates and his wife Melinda have given away a total of $35bn in cash and stocks to various charitable causes.
It is not known who the recipient of the latest donation is, but the majority of previous donations were made to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Set up in 2000, the foundation focuses primarily on reducing world poverty, combating infectious diseases and providing universal access to computers.
Court gives green light for LinkedIn data scraping
A judge has ruled that LinkedIn must allow a third-party company to scrape data that is publicly posted by the professional networking site’s users.
Startup hiQ Labs was analysing LinkedIn data to estimate whether workers are likely to leave their jobs. LinkedIn was far from happy about this and ordered the firm to stop, but the startup fired back with a lawsuit.
The judge raised concerns that LinkedIn was “unfairly leveraging its power in the professional networking market for an anticompetitive purpose”.
LinkedIn said in a statement that it was “disappointed in the court’s ruling,” but that “this case is not over”.
Apple CEO Tim Cook denounces white supremacy
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, issued a note condemning white supremacy and President Donald Trump’s response to the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In the note, Cook urges employees to denounce hatred and bigotry and pledged to donate $1m each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.
His statement follows an impromptu press conference in which President Trump blamed “both sides” for violence that recently took place in Charlottesville.
Download of the week
Our download of the week is Mimicker Alarm. This free morning alarm clock app prevents you from continually hitting that snooze button.
To dismiss your alarm in the morning, you have to play a game called ‘Mimic’, in which you have to copy the action given. You may have to snap a selfie, speak a phrase, or actually get out of bed.
Researchers in Switzerland have developed a 4ft-long robotic water snake designed to seek out sources of pollution.
The “Envirobot” can swim on a pre-defined route or can make its own way through water to find the source of pollution.
I’m all for reducing pollution, but I wouldn’t be terribly pleased if one of those approached me while I was having a dip!