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 UK tech investment stories, Travis Kalanick’s plans to sell a stake in Uber and more.
Vaccitech gets £20m
Oxford University spinout Vaccitech announced the closure of a £20m funding round from investors including Alphabet’s venture arm GV.
Vaccitech also received investment from Oxford Sciences Innovation, an incubator tasked with taking research from the university to market.
Professors Adrian Hill and Sarah Gilbert, the scientists behind the startup’s proprietary technology, have created a vaccine to boost the body’s defences against a part of the virus common to most strains of flu.
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The startup will now use the cash raised to undertake a 2,000 person study in Oxford. If successful, Vaccitech’s universal flu vaccine could be available by 2023.
£25m for Redwood Technologies
Redwood Technologies Group received a £25m funding boost from Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) in exchange for a minority stake in the business.
Redwood, a provider of communications technology and cloud contact centre solutions, was founded in Berkshire in 1993 by siblings Sean and Martin Taylor.
This is the first time Redwood raises externally. The money will be used to expand across Asia Pacific, with the firm set to open a regional office in Tokyo in Q1.
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Yoti raises £8m
Digital identity platform Yoti raised £8m in equity funding.
The startup, now valued at £65m, drew support from existing angel investors and two of its three founders, Robin Tombs and Noel Hayden.
Yoti, based in London, will use the cash injection to grow its consumer network, aiming to reach 2 million users throughout this year.
Tombs, also the CEO, said: “We’re giving everyone a simpler and safer way to prove their identity and protect themselves from everyday issues which cost time, money and emotional distress. After three years of hard work by the team, we’re very excited that over 4,000 people a day are installing Yoti, and we hope millions of people will benefit from our approach to digital identity.”
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HubBox lands $1.6m
HubBox, a retail tech startup, raised $1.6m in pre-Series A funding.
Venture capital fund KM Capital (KMC), Angel Tech Investors (ATI), Nexus Investment Ventures (NIVL) and Alan Halsall, the ex CEO of Silver Cross Prams, are among the startup’s backers.
Founded in 2015, HubBox has created proprietary technology to enable retailers to implement a local Click and Collect option through a network of 3,500 collection points.
Built in London, the software already serves more than 100 retailers, including Jack Wills and Warehouse.
Travis Kalanick: a billionaire
Uber’s co-founder will officially become a billionaire after investors agree to take a large stake in the firm.
A consortium led by Softbank is buying a part of the company from existing shareholders. The consortium will also purchase new shares in Uber in a $9.3bn (£6.7bn) deal.
The controversial founder, who stepped down as CEO last Summer, will sell $1.4bn worth of stocks, according to reports.
Although Kalanick was already thought to be worth billions on paper, this deal will officially cement his wealth.
Kalanick remains a director at Uber and will only sell less than a third of his current holding. He will hold on to a stake worth approximately $3bn.
Softbank buys Boston Dynamics
In other Softbank-related news, the Japanese giant saw its share price rise to the highest value in almost two decades after it acquired Boston Dynamics from Google’s Alphabet.
The company, known for its production of robots such as BigDog and Atlas, has been struggling to commercialise its inventions and was listed for sale a little over a year ago.
The terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
YouTube gets tougher on ad payments
Google-owned YouTube is introducing stricter requirements for publishers who wish to make money on its platform.
Additionally, the firm said staff will manually review every clip before it is added to its premium service, which pairs up popular content with advertisers.
The decision comes after a series of boycotts ran by advertisers and follows on from the Logan Paul controversy, which saw the popular vlogger upload a video featuring an apparent suicide victim.