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The Week in Tech: FreeAgent acquired by RBS, Facebook UK’s gender pay gap and more

The Week in Tech

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

Investments

Earlier this week, we broke the news that Airportr, an app-enabled service that enables airline passengers to check-in bags from home and travel to and through the airport without their baggage, had raised £5.3m in Series A funding.

The London-based startup, which has so far raised £12m, drew support from Stobart Group, Hargreave Hale, VCT’s and Force Over Mass Capital.

The news comes after a “significant period of growth” the company, which says will use the newly secured funds to increase investment and development across the business.

In other news, Leeds-based online pharmacy Pharmacy2U obtained £40m from investors including G Square Capital and the BGF. The firm said the money would be used to grow its online repeat prescription service. G Square partner and former Boots manager Ted Smith will also join the company’s board as non-executive chairmen.

FreeAgent snapped up by RBS

FreeAgent, an Edinburgh-based accounting firm, was acquired by RBS for £53m this week.

Freeagent, which listed on AIM, offers accounting software for small business and sole traders with fewer than 10 employees, to try and make it easier for them to manage company finances.

Founded in 2007 by former RAF fighter pilot Ed Molyneux, the software lets users file expenses or invoices, check their cash flow and stay on top of taxes.

Starling bank launches business accounts

Starling Bank announced the launch of business accounts for SMEs and entrepreneurs in the UK.

The company says businesses will be able to set up an account in 10 minutes using the bank’s mobile app. There are no fees for having an account, making a payment to another bank account, or withdrawing cash.

Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank, commented on the news: “In a market with almost no meaningful competition, entrepreneurs and small business owners have for too long been marginalised and taken advantage of by big banks. Having spent the past year building an award winning bank and personal current account, today we’re happy to announce that we’re launching a business account which offers all of the same great features and more to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Gender pay gap at Facebook UK

Females working at Facebook’s UK division are being paid bonuses worth less than 60% than those handed out to their male colleagues.

Figures submitted to the government reveal that the media gender bonus at the tech giant’s division in the UK is 41.5%.

Despite this, the equivalent gap when it comes to hourly pay was far smaller, coming in at 9.9%. To put this in context, women at Facebook earn 90p for every £1m earned by men at the company.

Facebook revamps privacy tools

Facebook announced the overhaul of its privacy tools this week, in a bid to make it easier for users to find and edit the personal information held by the company.

The company announced the changes in a blog post, following criticism in the wake of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica fiasco.

Despite the timing of the announcement, Facebook has said the changes were already planned ahead of the scandal in a bid to comply with new EU rules.

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