Week in Tech

Hello and welcome to The Week in Tech, your roundup of the latest top tech news from across the UK.

This week, we bring you the latest on Episode 1’s new fund, Google’s snooping and more.


Shepherd gets $870,000

We exclusively revealed that Shepherd, an IOT startup based in London, closed a $870,000 Seed.

Part of Founders Factory’s FinTech accelerator supported by Aviva, Shepherd leverages artificial intelligence to predict machine failures and sends out instant alerts identifying what the issue is.

In doing so, Shepherd enables its customers to save money on pre-emptive engineer checks.

LabGenius raises $3.6m

LabGenius, a London-based startup which combines AI, DNA synthesis and robotics to discover high-value biological molecules, raised $3.6m (£2.6m).

The Seed round was led by Kindred Capital and Acequia Capital, and drew support from Berggruen Holdings Ltd, Backed VC, Beast Ventures and System.One.

Charlie Songhurst, the former head of corporate strategy at Microsoft and Tom McInerney, an angel investor, also participated.

StrideUp’s Seed round

StrideUp, which wants to make it easier for people to buy a home, received £1.6m in Seed funding from lead investor Picus Capital.

The startup’s round, which consisted of equity and debt financing, also drew participation from a group of angel investors.

StrideUp enables users to start buying a portion of their home and gradually increase their ownership.

APEXX gets $4m

APEXX, a marketplace for global payments, closed a $4m (£3.2m) Seed.

Forward Partners led the round, which also drew support from MMC Ventures and Oslo-based Alliance Venture.

APEXX, which received a grant from Innovate UK, allows firms to integrate all their required payment suppliers by presenting them in a single API.

This, the company says, enables customers to reduce the cost of cross-border payments, boost sales and manage multiple providers through a single integration point.

MindTrace lands £1.3m

Manchester-based MindTrace raised £1.3m to create self-learning machines.

The investment came from Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV) and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

MindTrace is working to develop novel software algorithms to mimic how the human brain works.

The firm is being run by Professor Michael Denham, Dr Kameliya Dimova and Professor Steve Furber, the University of Manchester academic who created the BBC Microcomputer and the processors for ARM Holdings.

They are also joined by Sir Hossein Yassaie, the ex CEO of Imagination Technologies, who has come on board as the firm’s new chair.

Episode 1’s raise

Episode 1, an investor in Carwow, Triptease and AimBrain, raised £60m to invest in early-stage technology startups.

The British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme backed the fund.

Episode 1 will seek to invest is between £500,000 and £2m “into teams with real insight into markets that are emerging or evolving”.

Google’s snooping

US tech giant Google is being taken to court for allegedly collecting the personal data of millions of users.

The case, which is being credited as being the first mass legal action of its kind in the UK, focuses on accusations that Google harvested the information of 5.4 million people in the UK after bypassing iPhone user’s privacy settings.

Google You Owe Us, the group taking action and led by former Which director Richard Lloyd, estimates users could end up receiving “several hundred pounds each”.

The case focuses on how Google used cookies to collect information to inform its ad placing for several months in 2011 and 2012.

Download of the Week

Bring some festive cheer into your life with Christmas Booth!

Our ‘Download of the Week’ allows you to take a photo, or use an existing one and add seasonal stickers.

You’ll then be able to save your Christmas creations and share them over email, Twitter or Facebook.

And finally

You may not remember life without them, but text messages are turning 25 on Sunday.

To mark the celebration, Neil Papworth, the British programmer behind the pioneering form of communication has recreated it with a modern twist.

Papworth sent his first ever SMS from a computer to a colleague on 3rd December 1992. The message, which read “Merry Christmas”, has been recreated with an emoji by Papworth himself – all in homage to his original message.