The Week in Tech

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

This week, we bring you the latest on Carphone Warehouse’s £400,000 fine, Amazon’s reported plans to open an HQ in Manchester, YouTube’s decision to punish popular vlogger Logan Paul and more.

Fist though, here are your top UK tech investments this week.

Investments

The Plum Guide gets £5.7m

The Plum Guide, a London-based travel tech startup, raised £5.7m in Series A funding in a round led by Octopus Ventures.

Investors in the round also included BGF Ventures and the founders of Secret Escapes, Zoopla and LoveFilm.

Today’s news comes after the business closed a Seed round led by LocalGlobe in 2016.

The Plum Guide lets customers book the top rated homes from more than 25 booking platforms.

Tussell lands £1m

Tussell, a London-based company founded in 2015, closed a £1m Seed round.

The startup, now valued at £5m, provides online data on government purchasing, allowing companies to discover trends and opportunities in public procurement.

Tussell received support from a range of angel investors, including Lord Young of Graffham, former cabinet minister and David Cameron’s enterprise advisor.

Other investors included Mike Soutar and Tim Ewington, the co-founders of Shortlist Media; Donal Smith, the co-founder of FinTech firm Credit Benchmark; and Duncan Calam, a partner at Bridgepoint.

Digital Fineprint nabs £2m

In other news, Digital Fineprint raised £2m ($2.7m) from investors.

The InsurTech startup will use the cash to expand its London-based team and to continue developing its social media-powered insurance distribution software.

UK-based software-focused venture capital investor Pentech, which has backed firms including Nutmeg and Fanduel, led the round.

New investors included Force Over Mass and Andy Homer, the former CEO of AXA UK.

Existing backers also participated in Digital Fineprint’s round.

Hometree’s £2.9m round

Hometree, which is seeking to change the way in which consumers buy a new boiler, received £2.9m in new funding as it looks to expand across the smart home space.

The London-based startup received funds from Literacy Capital, chaired by Paul Pindar, the former Capita CEO and chairman of Purplebricks and Eve Sleep.

Other new investors include the ex chief operating officer and board member of Capita, Dawn Marriott-Sims; and Anthony Gutman, head of UK at Goldman Sachs.

Hometree’s existing investors including DN Capital, LocalGlobe and Oxford Capital – which joined its £1.9m Seed  – also participated to the round.

Founded in 2016, Hometree says it leverages tech to offer boiler installation at prices typically 35%-50% cheaper than traditional firms.

CityStasher lands $1.1m

CityStasher, a sharing economy platform for luggage, landed $1.1m in a Seed round led by Venture Friends.

HOWZAT Partners, Charlotte Street Capital and angel investors including Big Yellow Storage CEO James Gibson also took part.

Launched in 2016, the startup provides a network of local shops, hotels and other venues where travelers are able to leave their bags securely.

Goji’s Series A

FinTech firm Goji raised a ‘seven figure’ Series A from investors including Anthemis’ Venture Fund 1 (AVF1) and AXA Strategic Ventures (ASV).

Goji will use the cash to continue developing its platform and product pipeline, including its diversified P2P lending bond.

Yann Ranchere, a partner at lead investor Anthemis, said he was looking forward to supporting Goji’s team.  

Previse gets £800,000

FinTech startup Previse received a £800,000 R&D grant from Scottish Entreprise.

The firm will use the money to open a new development centre in Glasgow, creating 37 data science jobs.

This will be the London-based company’s first office in Scotland, from where it will look to roll out its first instant-payments programme with a number of blue chip multinational buyers.

Scottish government minister for business, innovation and energy Paul Wheelhouse, welcomed the news: “Scotland is a world renowned centre for expertise in data science and digital technologies and I am delighted to welcome Previse to our thriving financial technology community.

Google buys Cambridge-based startup

UK tech startup Redux was acquired by technology giant Google.

The international tech firm quietly acquired the Cambridge-based startup, whose proprietary technology creates surfaces which transform phone displays into speakers.

It’s not yet known when Alphabet – through an Ireland-based subsidiary of Google – bought the startup, but UK regulatory filings show that the transfer of shares was completed in mid-December.

Crunchbase, on the other hand, lists the transaction as having taking place last Summer.

Details of the deal remain undisclosed, but it’s worth noting that Redux closed a $5m round in March last year from investors including Arie Capital.

Amazon eyes Manchester

According to Manchester Evening News, Amazon will soon reportedly agree to take on a 90,000 sq ft space at Hanover House (Corporation Street).

The reports come amid rife speculation about the tech giant’s intentions ever since reports first suggested that it was looking to set up an HQ in the Northern city last Summer.

Amazon has reportedly increased its space requirements, originally searching for a 75,000 sq ft space.

YouTube punishes vlogger

The video sharing platform, owned by Google, has cut business ties with popular vlogger Logan Paul after he published a video showing the body of an apparent suicide victim in Japan.

YouTube removed Paul’s videos from its Google Preferred programme, which offers brand advertisers access to popular YouTube channels among 18-to-34-year-olds in the US.

Additionally, the tech giant also said it was putting original projects with Paul on hold.

It comes after Paul’s video, which was published on 31st December, showed the vlogger and his friends at the notorious Aokigahara forest at the bottom of Mount Fuji seemingly shocked by the discovery of a corpse.

Kodak and cryptocurrency

US firm Kodak made headlines after it shared plans to launch a “photo-centric cryptocurrency” in a bid to empower photographers and agencies to exercise higher control over images’ rights management.

As a result, shares in the firm – which had remained mostly flat in the previous trimester and in decline for five years before that – more than doubled.

In other crypto-related news, bitcoin’s price declined by approximately $2,000 after South Korea said it was looking to ban trading the cryptocurrency.

Carphone Warehouse’s fine

Carphone Warehouse has been handed a £400,000 following a series of “systemic failures” uncovered following a data breach suffered in 2015.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said the “number of distinct and significant inadequacies in the security arrangements”, were “striking”. It also went on to note that it was “particularly concerning that a number of inadequacies related to basic, commonplace measures”.

Carphone Warehouse’s fine, one of the largest ever issued by the data protection watchdog and the same amount as the fine given to TalkTalk a couple of years ago, comes after a hacker was able to access the data of over three million customers.