Hello and welcome to the Week in Tech, your weekly roundup of the top technology news stories from across the globe.
This week, we bring you the latest UK tech investment news, post-Brexit triumphs, international record breaking raises and more.
Ant Financial breaks records with $14bn fund raise
Chinese FinTech firm Ant Financial Services Group announced that it had closed a $14bn round – a deal that’s being referred to as the biggest-ever single global fundraise by a private company, according to data by Crunchbase.
The round was conducted by Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, GIC Pte and state investor Temasek Holdings, U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus and more. Reports indicate the company could now be valued at around $150bn, making it one of the world’s most valuable financial firms.
Ant was originally spun off from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. It now operates one of China’s biggest mobile payment apps.
This fresh funding will help to accelerate Ant’s IPO in Hong Kong and mainland China as early as next year, although this is unconfirmed. It will also help Ant to take it’s Alipay payment platform worldwide, and to invest in developing financial technology.
Thread lands $22m to grow its AI-powered styling service
Atomico leads a mega £9m round
UK-based AI startup CloudNC raised £9m in Series A funding.
Atomico, the European VC firm founded by Skype’s Niklas Zennström, is reported to have led the round.
CloudNC uses AI and cloud supercomputing to automate CNC machines; which carve metal blocks for the automotive industry, and beyond. AI is intended to simplify the calculations needed to do this and make the process more efficient.
Existing investors such as Episode 1 and Entrepreneur First also participated in this latest round, raising the company’s total to at least $15.41m according to unconfirmed valuations.
How to innovate and invent the next best thing in UK tech
“We’re applying breakthrough AI methods to control these machines automatically, which will revolutionise how the things around us are made,” CloudNC co-founder and CEO told TechCrunch. “Our mission is to make milling machines one click devices that can produce a part easily, efficiently and with minimal human intervention”.
Natural Cycles investor funds Swedish construction Startup
Over in Sweden, construction startup Fiedly closed a €1.3m round. Roland Zeller, an investor in Natural Cycles and founder of Switzerland’s largest online travel agency (Travel.ch), contributed to the raise.
The money will be used to support growth and to help the company expand into Europe.
The startup was founded in 2014 by Daniel Krusenstråhle (CEO) and Sven Paulin (CMO). One and a half years ago, the company signed Europe leading rental equipment corporation Ramirent.
Cyber-security firm Garrison scores record $30m backing
CEO Daniel Krusenstråhle said: “Fieldly’s 20 000 users indicate that our product is ready for bigger challenges and Europe is one of them.It’s time to scale the organisation to further realize the potential of digital project management for construction companies.”
TalentPool closed a $1m growth equity round
Rich McNally, chief research and investment officer, at Niche Invest, told UKTN: “We’ve been very interested in the automated recruitment space for a while now and our research revealed TalentPool’s platform as a clear segment leader. After several meetings with the founders and an in depth due diligence process, we’re confident that we’ve found one of tomorrow’s major disruptors to the traditional recruitment market.”
Simon Smith, the CEO at Niche Invest, said he had been impressed by TalentPool’s “robust, operationally effective platform and its strong team”.
TalentPool will use the money to develop its technology and to fuel expansion, so they can serve more experienced candidates rather than just graduates, the co-founder Tom Davenport told UKTN.
Other investment news:
Satya Nadella speaks out about Microsoft acquiring Github
Microsoft boss Satya Nadella spoke out about his company’s acquisition of software developer, Github.
“Developers will be at the center of solving the world’s most pressing challenges,” Nadella said in a statement. “However, the real power comes when every developer can create together, collaborate, share code and build on each other’s work… That is why we are so excited about today’s announcement.”
“More than 28 million developers already collaborate on GitHub,” Nadella went on to say, adding that Microsoft is one of its biggest customers – which is why this deal is ideal. The aim of partnership is, simply, the empower developers. “Going forward, GitHub will remain an open platform, which any developer can plug into and extend. Developers will continue to be able to use the programming languages, tools and operating systems of their choice for their projects – and will still be able to deploy their code on any cloud and any device,” Nadella said.
Microsoft are also going to use its power and reach to accelerate enterprise developers’ use of GitHub and to bring Microsoft’s developer tools and services to new audiences.
Nadella promises that the platform will remain open and independent.
The acquisition will close later this year, when GitHub will be led by CEO Nat Friedman, an open source veteran and founder of Xamarin.
UK tech scene thriving post-Brexit
Good news for UK startups – research from London & Partners found that Britain attracted more almost three times more venture capital investment than any other European country in the two years since the Brexit vote.
Since June 2016, UK tech companies received over £5bn in VC funding – whilst France raised £1.55bn, Germany hit £2.15bn and Sweden made £644m.
The United States were the biggest source of investment of those 18 months, injecting over £3.5bn into UK tech firms since June 2016 – that’s two times more than any other European country.
The money isn’t evenly distributed however, as over £4bn of investment went to the capital, which accounts for over 80% of all money invested.
FinTech, AI, Cybersecurity and E-commerce were the most popular sectors, with FinTech bringing £1.7bn of the London total.