Theranos

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

A few days ago, I found myself telling a colleague how things had seemingly quietened down in terms of tech funding, and wow, was I wrong.

We’ve certainly been kept on our feet in terms of covering the many UK tech investment rounds announced this week.

Here’s our roundup.

Investments

We started the week off with a bang, covering Gousto’s latest raise from a series of investors including Hargreave Hale, Angel CoFund, MMC Ventures, and BGF Ventures.

In other news, AR startup Blue Vision Labs made headlines after it secured $14.5m in a round led by GV, formerly Google Ventures.

Streetbees, an online intelligence platform, raised $12m in Series A funding led by Atomico; Drover landed £5.5m; Wefarm topped up its Seed; and Tech Will Save Us raised more than $4m.

Other investment round this week included those completed by StepLadder, ResponseiQ and Knowledge Officer.

You should probably also know that LocalGlobe has appointed a new female investment partner, who will mostly focus on HealthTech and media.

Some interesting mergers and acquisitions were also announced over the past seven days. Challenger bank Tandem announced its intention to buy Pariti, a finance management app.

We also broke the news about EdTech startup Subsy snapping up Airsupply in a bid to connect more supply teachers with schools in cost effective way.

And finally, Experian dropped the bombshell that it was looking to acquire three year old startup ClearScore for £275m.

The #SpringStatement

High on the political agenda was the Spring Statement, delivered by UK chancellor Philip Hammond on Tuesday.

As expected, the chancellor outlined a series of measures which are set to impact UK tech entrepreneurs, many of whom were largely unimpressed with the government’s lack of detail.

Theranos’s founder charged with fraud

In other news, Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of controversial startup Theranos, which falsely promised to revolutionise blood testing, has agreed to settle the charges that she raised more than $700m fraudulently from investors in the Valley.

Theranos, which at its peak was valued at $9bn and operated at a high level of secrecy, was first exposed by Wall Street Journal investigative reporter John Carreyrou.

Since then, the tech company has faced legal challenges from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, state attorneys general, former business partners, and others. And this week, the SEC said Holmes and Theranos had deceived investors about the company’s technology.

The regulator also said Theranos had made false claims about its products being used by the US army in Afghanistan.

As a result, Holmes is to lose control of the business and will be fined $500,000. An SEC official said the fallout was an “important lesson for Silicon Valley”.

Facebook bans Britain First

Last but not least, Facebook has removed the pages operated by anti-Islamic group Britain First and its leaders.

Facebook said in a statement that the decision to take down the pages was made after Britain First had ignored a final warning about the posting of material that violated the firm’s community standards.

As a result, the group will not be allowed to set up a replacement page in the future.

That’s all for this week, see you next Friday!

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