The week in tech

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

This week, we bring you the latest on Spotify’s unconventional IPO, Bill Gates’s comments about bitcoin and more.

Investments

First up and in investment news, we broke the news that Online property rental marketplace Vesta raised £2.1m in funding as part of its rolling Seed.

Elsewhere, Manchester-based ticket search engine TickX closed a £3m Series A led by BGF Ventures, which made headlines earlier in the week when it surfaced that three of its partners were departing the firm.

Norwegian EdTech startup Hold – a Founders Factory spinout – announced its UK launch following a £800,000 raise from a host of investors.

Balderton Capital led Peakon’s $22m raise, UCL spinout MediaGamma received a £2m cash injection and Cambridge-based GeoSpock scored an additional $6.6m from investors.

Concerning findings

A survey by Tech City UK highlighted that young women are being left behind when it comes to careers in technology.

The study, which looked at the career aspirations of young people and analysed 80,000 posts on Reddit, found that technology was top of men’s professional wishlist. Conversely, females are being left behind due to a perceived lack of skills or self-belief.

Read more about the findings, here.

Spotify’s IPO

Rumours about Spotify’s IPO have been swirling for a while, and just yesterday, reports emerged that the Swedish firm was heading towards an unconventional debut on the public market, as it seeks to livestream its pitch to investors, instead of embarking on a more traditional roadshow.

Spotify’s top execs, Daniel Ek, the chief executive and founder; and Barry McCarthy, its CFO who guided fellow streaming giant Netflix through its IPO, are set to host an online investor day in mid-March.

Earlier this week, Spotify secretly submitted papers to list directly on the New York Stock Exchange. The firm has appointed Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Allen & Co as financial advisers and is looking to start trading without a public share sale ahead of its floatation.

Valued at $19.7bn, Spotify’s IPO filing provide a clearer picture of its performance. The company has so far gained as many subscribers as its closest rival Apple Music, but is facing increasing loses and battling the challenges of prospectively becoming a public business.

Bill Gates and bitcoin

Things got slightly weird this week when Microsoft founder Bill Gates said cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin were killing people “in a fairly direct way”.

Gates made the comments during a Reddit AMA and was referring to the way in which digital currencies have been used to purchase illicit goods such as drugs. Like many before him, the tech billionaire said that the anonymity afforded by the underlying technology meant they could be used for terrorist funding and money laundering.

While I’m not a bitcoin advocate (nor am I against it), I would argue cash serves the same purpose and highlight the fact that blockchain technology is in fact pseudo anonymous and fiat is far more difficult (if at all possible) to trace.

Gates’ comments, by the way, come after MPs in the UK launched an inquiry into cryptocurrencies last week.

That’s all for today, keep safe, keep warm and see you next Friday!