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 DN Capital’s new £177m tech investment fund, PM Theresa May’s Davos speech and more.
KisanHub gets £1.75m
Cambridge-based agricultural technology firm KisanHub has raised £1.75m in pre-Series A funding.
The crop intelligence platform’s round was led by Notion Capital and IQ Capital.
Callibrate Management and other undisclosed angel investors also participated.
KisanHub will use the cash to continue developing its proprietary technology, which leverages big data and machine learning to help producers and suppliers within the agricultural industry make decisions.
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The money will also be used to hire across sales and customer success roles.
E Fundamentals closes £2.5m Series A
Ecommerce firm E Fundamentals closed a £2.5m Series A.
The company, which is headquartered in London but also has a presence in Edinburgh, raised from Downing-managed VCTs and Downing Ventures EIS.
E Fundamentals’ existing shareholders also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total raised to date to £5m.
Drover gets £5.5m for its online car marketplace
The firm says it’s already working with the likes of Nestle, General Mills, Kerry Foods and Birds Eye.
Downing investment director Richard Lewis said: “We are delighted to work with such a committed, professional and focussed management team and are excited to support E Fundamentals as they continue to tackle this real problem facing FMCG brand-owners.
“We believe the company is perfectly poised to help brands adapt and succeed in the growing and crucial e-commerce sector,” he added.
Anorak gets £4m
InsurTech startup Anorak received £4m in a bid to make life insurance more accessible to UK consumers.
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The London-based company raised from Kamet Ventures, a €100m incubator funded by French insurance giant AXA.
Anorak leverages data science and machine learning. The startup is able to collect data about a person’s family, home, income and finances before assessing the required type of cover.
Its technology then scans and rates policy documents from most major insurers before delivering, it claims, bespoke advice in minutes.
Co-founder and CEO David Vanek spoke about the need to disrupt the insurance industry.
TradeCore raises $3m
TradeCore, a London-based FinTech startup, raised $3m (£2.21m) in a Seed round led by South Central Ventures, a €40m fund targeting tech startups.
The firm describes itself as an “AWS for FinTech”, as it provides customers with the necessary developing tools.
This, the firm says, means customers can boost their infrastructure, manage costs and enter the market within weeks, as opposed to years.
Stefan Pajković, the CEO of TradeCore, said the funds would be used to support the company’s expansion into the Far East and to support the opening of new offices in Tel Aviv and beyond.
Freeformers lands £1.2m
Freeformers, a firm which seeks to digitally transform companies, raised £1.2m from Impact Ventures UK.
The investment will be used to support the company’s expansion across the UK and abroad.
Set up by Gi Fernando MBE, Freeformers sets out to equip companies and individuals in a bid to prepare them to the changing world of work.
As part of this, clients are given the necessary skills to manage workplace challenges generated by flexible work, automation and ever increasing digital transformation.
Freeformers says it is already working with clients including HSBC, Barclays, Tesco and the Ministry of Justice.
DN Capital raises new fund
The fund will specifically target companies operating in the FinTech and HealthTech spaces. It will also look to back SaaS businesses and consumer mobile apps.
Today’s news comes after DN Capital’s portfolio company Shazam was acquired by Apple; and Auto1 Group received investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund to the tune of €460m.
PM Theresa May’s Davos speech
Speaking at the World Economic Forum just yesterday, Theresa May said tech investors should exert greater pressure on technology companies to crack down on terrorists and criminals using their platforms for illicit activities.
As part of her speech, May said: “These companies simply cannot stand by while their platforms are used to facilitate child abuse, modern slavery or the spreading of terrorist and extremist content.
“Earlier this month a group of shareholders demanded that Facebook and Twitter disclose more information about sexual harassment, fake news, hate speech and other forms of abuse that take place on the companies’ platforms.
“Investors can make a big difference here by ensuring trust and safety issues are being properly considered. And I urge them to do so.”
It’s not the first time May has urged technology companies to increase their efforts to fight extremist content posted online.
George Soros criticises tech giants
Billionaire investor George Soros has spoken out against tech “monopolies” such as those seemingly created by Facebook and Google, saying he believes they constitute a threat to democracy.
Speaking at his annual dinner at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Soros said social media platforms constituted an obstacle to innovation, while raising concerns about their power to shape people’s attentions.
Additionally, Soros claimed their days were numbered because tax policy and regulation would inevitably catch up with them.
An investigation at Lyft
Often seen as Uber’s prime rival, ride-sharing firm Lyft is looking into an anonymous claim that employees were abusing customer’s private data.
Posted online, the allegations suggested employees had looked a trip data of former romantic partners or tracked public figures such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
The company told The Information is was investigating but that it had not received any specific complaints.