Welcome to The Week in Tech, your weekly roundup of some of the top technology stories to have emerged over the past seven days.
This week, we bring you the latest UK tech founding rounds, updates on Google’s walkouts, the latest on Samsung’s new handset and more.
First up, here are some of the investment rounds raised by UK technology companies this week.
- Staffing app ROTA raises £1.8m to match hospitality staff with jobs
- Software scaleup Paddle gets $8m in new funding round
- AI startup Aiden.ai nabs $1.6m in Seed money
- Online jewellery seller Fenton & Co. raises £850,000 Seed
- Connect Ventures leads training platform EduMe’s $1.8m round
- FinTech startup Portify lands £1.3m to help gig economy workers
- P2P lending company Zopa nabs an additional £16m
- InsurTech startup yulife founded by ex Vitality CEO closes round led by LocalGlobe
- EdTech startup Kukua gets $2.5m to solve child illiteracy
UK and Europe
We published two sets of research this week, which detailed the preeminence of the UK technology sector in the Continent.
Firstly, research prepared for Tech Nation found that approximately 21% of the $26bn invested in European startups in 2017 came from global investors operating out of the UK. The US topped the ranking.
A different report by Tech.eu, Stripe and Techstars found that European technology startups raised a staggering €19bn in 2017, representing a 36% increase from €14.3bn raised the previous year.
European venture investment reaches all-time high
The report states that early-stage funding in Europe increased four-fold in the period from H1 2015, going from €875m invested in the first six months of 2015 to more than €3.6bn in H1 of 2018.
Update on Google walkouts
Employees at Google made headlines last week after they walked out in protest over issues of sexual harassment at the company.
Thanks to the protest, staffers at the tech giant will now be able to speak more freely about allegations.
Google has said it will put an end to the practice of “forced arbitration”. In an all staff email, the company’s chief executive Sundar Pichai said arbitration would now be optional.
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Despite the seemingly positive news on this front, it must be noted that the company did not respond to workers’ other demands. Google did not comment on employees’ request to have a worker’s representative on its board.
Employees also wanted the firm’s chief diversity officer to report directly to the chief exec.
Samsung reveals folding phone
In other news, Samsung unveiled its folding phone at an event in San Francisco.
The company intends to begin production within months, after spending the past five years teasing the concept. It also comes amid increasing competition with fellow tech giant Huawei, as Samsung battled to show its device off first.
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Once folded, Samsung’s device looks like a 7.3in (18.5cm) tablet.
Tesla gets new chairman
Can a week really go by without Elon Musk or Tesla seeping into the news for one reason or another? It seems not.
The company named a new chairman to replace Musk after he was forced to resign from the role.
Robyn Denholm, the finance chief at Telstra (an Australian telecoms company) will take over from Musk, although he will continue to be the chief exec.
As a reminder, Musk agreed to give up his chairmanship last month in an attempt to resolve allegations of fraud put forward by US financial regulators.
China’s new AI presenter
China’s state news agency has unveiled an AI news presenter. Yes, you read that correctly.
Xinhua News showed off its virtual newsreader wearing with a rather robotic voice.
Xinhua AI anchor, launched on Wednesday, starts presenting news reports from Thursday. In this program, he takes you to have a look at what a Panama official and the Chinese businessman Jack Ma say about the ongoing #CIIE. pic.twitter.com/OZkRQtv1sQ
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) November 8, 2018
The agency said the presenter is able to read text as naturally as a professional news anchor. But, not everyone agrees.
Innovative or plain weird? You decide.