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

This week, we bring you Monzo’s £71m raise, Facebook’s plans to tackle revenge porn, Uber’s flying cars and more.

Investments

Fat Lama raises from Greylock Partners

Earlier this week, we exclusively revealed that London-based startup Fat Lama raised $1.5m (£1.15m) from Greylock Partners; Paul Buchheit, creator of Gmail; and Justin Waldron, the co-founder of Zynga.

The news came after the startup, which launched a peer-to-peer rental site allowing people to borrow and loan their belongings, raised £1m in April from a collective of angel investors.

Prior to that, Fat Lama had raised £150,000 in pre-Seed money.

Monzo scores £71m

UK digital challenger bank Monzo raised an additional £71m from investors including Goodwater Capital and Stripe.

Welsh-born VC Michael Moritz also invested through his charitable investment vehicles, alongside existing backers Passion Capital, Thrive Capital and Orange Digital Ventures.

Monzo, now valued at £280m, says its user numbers have increased by almost 300% since its last fundraise in February, with approximately 500,000 people now using its cards.

Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield said: “This is an incredible endorsement of our strategy so far, and sets us up to continue the growth we’ve seen this year into 2018.

Mojiworks closes Series A led by Balderton Capital

Games development startup Mojiworks raised a £2.1m Series A led by Balderton Capital.

Co-founded in November last year by childhood friends Matthew Wiggins and Alan Harding – the entrepreneurs behind Wonderland Software which sold to Zynga in 2011 – Mojiworks self develops and publishes multiplayer HTML5 games.

The startup, which focuses on emerging messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, also drew investment from Lifeline Ventures and Sunstone Capital.

Autology’s £1.5m round

SaaS startup Autologyx landed over £1.5m in pre-Series A investment.

The round was supported by Beacon Capital alongside existing backers.

New investors included Angel CoFund and Richard Hargreaves, which will also join the intelligent robotic process automation business as a non-executive director.

Hostmaker lands $15m

Airbnb management firm Hostmaker raised a $15m (£11.4m) Series B round led by Sansiri, a Thai premium real estate developers.

Hong Kong-based real estate investor Gaw Capital also took part in the round alongside existing backers DN Capital, Ventech and DSGCP.

The London-based firm, founded in 2014 by Nakul Sharma, seeks to make it easier for homeowners to rent their properties by providing a wide range of services such as cleaning, guest relations and interior design.

No Agent raises $1.1m

PropTech startup No Agent raised $1.1m (£840,000) to scale its renting service as a platform for landlords.

The startup raised from private investors including Nick Hynes and Carl Uminski, co-founders of SOMO.

“As a landlord myself, I kept coming up against shoddy letting agents that weren’t transparent, underserviced and were overpriced,” said Calum Brannan, founder of No Agent. “This is a common problem for both landlords and tenants. We created No Agent as a new alternative that can do everything traditional agents do, and more, at a fraction of the cost.”

No Agent says it has been growing at approximately 35% month on month for the past six months. It recently obtained FCA approval and opened an office in Coventry, Brannan’s home town, last month.

Facebook’s plans to fight revenge porn

The US tech giant is trialling an idea to prevent revenge porn from spreading via its platform. Facebook is asking users in Australia to share nude photos with the network so that it can prevent them from being posted online.

The company clarified how the program would work via a blog post, adding that users would have to complete an online form on Australia’s eSafety Commissioner’s official website, establish which image is of concern and send the photo to themselves on Messenger.

The eSafety Commissioner’s office would then notify Facebook of the submission but would not be able to access the image. Once Facebok receives the notification, a specially trained representative would review and hash the image, creating a human-unreadable, numerical fingerprint of it. The photo hash would then be stored to prevent someone from uploading it in the future. Essentially, if someone tried to upload the image, it would be run through a database of these hashes and if matched, Facebook would prevent the upload from happening.

Uber’s flying cars

Ride-sharing giant Uber announced it struck an agreement with Nasa to develop systems for managing low-altitude flights – commonly referred to as traffic signals for flying cars.

A press release said the project was part of the company’s “vision to enable customers in the future to push a button and get a high-speed flight in and around cities”, adding it hoped to begin tests by 2020.

Snapchat’s re-design

Snapchat, as you know it, will change. The biggest redesign in the app’s history is due to take place on 4th December.  

Evan Spiegel, the firm’s billionaire CEO, publicly said the app would be redesigned to make it easier for people to use, but didn’t go into much detail about the changes or when these would take place. According to Business Insider, employees at the company were notified of the planned release date this week.

The new design is expected to show all friend-based communication, including Stories, appear to the left of the user’s camera. The right of the camera will house crowdsourced videos from users, alongside content produced by Snapchat’s publishing partners.

Download of the Week

Our ‘Download of the Week’ is SPCE. The app, which was shortlisted in the PropTech section of this year’s Elevator Pitch Awards, launched this week and seeks to address problems faced by university students and landlords in the rental market.

The student lettings app, which raised £280,000 on Seedrs earlier this year, sets out to make it quick and easy for students to find a room or entire property to rent, seeking to make the process more transparent and improve communication between renters and landlords.

The London-based startup has partnerships with some of the UK’s student accommodation providers as well as Experian and AIESEC.

And finally

Do microchip-implanted humans sound like something out of a sci-fi blockbuster?

Speaking at Web Summit in Lisbon, Bryan Johnson, an expert working a microchip that could be implanted into peoples’ brains to unlock their full potential, said it could become a real possibility within 15 years.

The chips would enable people to buy and delete memories, and Johnson argued, could end up being as popular as smartphones.

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