week in tech

Welcome to The Week in Tech, your roundup of the latest top tech news.

This week we have a £154m investment round raised by UK challenger bank OakNorth, the return of the Tamagotchi and much more.

OakNorth scores £154m

As mentioned, UK challenger bank OakNorth has raised £154m in equity, reaching a valuation of $1.3bn.

The firm, which seeks to provide fast debt finance (£500,000 to £20m) to UK businesses, drew investment from The Clermont Group, Toscafund and Coltrane.

Each investor received a 16% stake in the business.

OakNorth will use the funds to launch ACORN – its AI powered data platform – worldwide.

Verve gets $18.5m

UK tech startup Verve has raised $18.5m (£14m) in a Series B round led by Draper Esprit.

The startup’s existing investors Kindred, Backed and Frontline Ventures also participated.

Previously known as StreetTeam, the company allows brands to run advocacy schemes on its sales platform.

$14m for Kobalt Music

Kobalt, a MusicTech startup, has topped up its Series D with an additional $14m (£10.6m) from Bill Marris’ investment firm Section 32.

Marris, who founded Google Ventures, will also be joining the company’s board of directors.

Founded in London in 2000, but now headquartered in New York, Kobalt has raised $89m (£68m) in capital to date. It first announced its $75m Series D led by Hearst Entertainment in May.

The Drop raises £250,000

The Drop, a London-based startup which makes menswear on demand, has raised £250,000 from early-stage VC Forward Partners.

Founded in 2016 by Jonathan Kruger, a manufacturing executive who oversaw Chinese production for some of the world’s biggest retailers, The Drop claims to make clothing in under three weeks.

Kruger has been joined by technical co-founder Stephen Stroud, who has worked as a senior software developer in various VC backed startups and financial institutions.

Ometria lands $6m

MarTech firm Ometria has raised a $6m (£4.5m) Series A led by US-based investment firm Summit Action.

According to TechCrunch, the company also drew investment from Sonae IM, the investment branch of Portuguese telco and retail group Sonae; and Samos Investments.

UK investment syndicate Adjuvo also participated in the round, with notable contributions coming from Lance Batchelor, CEO of Saga and former MD of Amazon; Mothercare’s chairman Alan Parker; and Matt Cooper, chairman at Octopus Investments.

Huckletree gets £4.5m

Co-working space provider Huckletree has raised £4.5m from privately held real estate investment management firm Meyer Bergman.

The news comes after Huckletree closed a £2.4m Series A in 2015.

According to the company, the new funding will be used to accelerate growth.

Commenting on the news, Gabriela Hersham, chief executive and founder of Huckletree, said the strategic deal with Meyer Bergman left the business “well positioned for 2018 and beyond”.

Huckletree currently runs spaces in London’s Shoreditch, Clerkenwell and White City – where it opened last month.

Laundryheap valued at £17m

On-demand laundry firm Laundryheap has raised £2m in Angel funding in a round led by Simon Smith and QVentures.

Founded three years ago, Laundryheap is now valued at £17m and is seeking to raise additional funds via a crowdfunding campaign later this year.

Bootstrapped to date, the company says it has seen 300% year-on-year growth and is currently live in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Dublin and Dubai.

Supersolid lands $4m Series A

Supersolid, a London-based mobile games developer, has closed a $4m (£3m) Series A led by Index Ventures.

The company says the money will be used to expand its team in London and to enhance the experience of Home Street, its new home decoration and life simulation game.

Supersolid CEO Ed Chin commented on the news: “We are incredibly proud of this deep, engaging and interactive world we have created. To achieve success, we know how important it is to listen to our global community of players, and take their feedback on board. We hope they love what we’ve come up with in Home Street.”

Best of British

Tech giants such as Google and Facebook may have to pay for measures to tackle cyber bullying, according to a UK government internet safety strategy published this week.

The new proposals, part of a wider strategy to help the UK become the safest place in the world to be online, also include measures to crack down on trolling and underage access to pornography.

Download of the week

Dafydd Jones, a 17-year old entrepreneur from Tonyrefail in South Wales, debuted his mobile app this week.

Called ‘Doze’, the app is designed to help prevent London Underground users miss their designated stop.

Unveiled at the London Transport Museum, Doze works by notifying users that they need to get off, just before they need to do so, by tapping into the Tube station’s WiFi hotspots in order to pin-point its location underground.

The free app is available for download on the iOS App store now. An Android version is planned for next year.

And finally

If you are suffering from a bad case of 90s tech nostalgia, fear not, the Tamagotchi is back, albeit in a mini version.

The iconic toy, which first launched 20 years ago, went on sale in the UK on 11th October and retails for £9.99.