The Week in Tech: Ticketmaster data breach, Uber’s licence renewal and more

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

This week, we bring you the latest UK and international tech news, the Ticketmaster security breach, big acquisition news and more.

£92m boost for UK’s DeepTech

First up, Cambridge-based IQ Capital raised a £92m fund known as IQCF III. The cash came off the back of IQ’s existing funds, which included a ‘double dragon’ exit in May to Oracle (a deal that returned an entire fund twice over), enabling the first fund, IQCF1, to deliver 3.5x net return to its limited partners.

The multi-million boost will be used to invest into UK deep tech companies or businesses with transformational AI or disruptive algorithms at Seed and Series A stages. IQCF III has the ability to invest up to £10m per portfolio company.

Max Bautin, a partner at IQ Capital, said: “Over the past few years, this DeepTech sector has grown tremendously and produced a number of world-leading companies. We are seeing brilliant entrepreneurs bringing ever more experience and ambition to scale up their deeptech companies, so our latest fund will see even bigger successes.”

Fighting information overload

The sheer about of media content online can sometimes feel overwhelming. With so many different ways and places to get your news, the information overload can cause you to feel unable to keep up. AI firm Signal Media raised $16m (£12m) in a Series B round this week to curate your personalised news feed, containing snippets of the stuff you most want to hear.

London-based Signal Media uses machine learning to shift through media content and provide summaries to executives. The tech extracts insight from over 2.8m global online, print, television, radio and regulatory sources, and can translate it into over 100 languages from across 200 markets.

This latest round was led by VC fund GMG Ventures and MMC Ventures, with contribution from four other investors.

The £12m will be used to help the company to expand further into the US and grow its team. The firm’s headcount has already doubled to almost 100 people in a year.

$25m to expand to the US

SaaS company Yoobic has its eyes set on international expansion, and it is edging closer to its goal after raising $25m (£18.8m) this week.

The company helps retailers and brands track merchandising and marketing operations.

The investment came from Insight Venture Partners and existing investor Felix Capital. It will be used to hire an additional 100 people across London, New York and Tel Aviv over the coming 12 months.

Additionally, the startup says the money will help it develop new products.

Other investments:

Uber triumphs

This week, it was success for Uber as it won its fight to keep its business booming in the capital.

The rides-haring giant had to prove it was “fit and proper” in front of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in order to continue operating in London.

The hearing began on Monday and was expected to last a few days, but a decision was made on Tuesday, the following day.

The court granted Uber a probationary 15-month licence as opposed to the five year licence it had previously tried for. It has also agreed to pay TfL’s costs of £425,500.

TFL revoked Uber’s licence in September 2017, on grounds of  “public security and safety implications”.

Uber began appealing the decision almost immediately, and has since claimed it made changes in the company since having its licence threatened. This includes appointing a new global CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, taking “steps to improve corporate culture”, and improving procedures for reporting criminal actions which take place on rides.

During the hearing, an Uber representative told the court that it “fully accepts that [TfL’s] decision was justified” and said the company has “since acknowledged and apologised for their past mistakes and made far-reaching changes to address them”.

FinTech giants join forces

It was announced this week that challenger bank Monzo is partnering with Transferwise to offer international payments.

TransferWise’s API has been integrated into Monzo’s app so that customers can send money in 16 different currencies.

The service is gradually being rolled out over the next five weeks, and more currencies will be added in the near future. The transfers will cost an upfront fee and take up to a few hours.

The CEO of Monzo, Tom Blomfield, commented on the news: “We’ve been eager to bring international payments to Monzo customers for a while. Thousands of our customers have friends and family living abroad, and they shouldn’t have to pay over the odds to send them money.

“Both TransferWise and Monzo are committed to building fair, transparent and easy to use products. TransferWise has disrupted international payments,and we’re so pleased our customers will now have access to fast, low cost and convenient international transfers, straight from the Monzo app.”  

BP to buy Chargemaster

In acquisition news, BP is to buy Chargemaster, a UK-based electric vehicle charging company, with 6,500 charging points across the country. As part of the deal, the company will rebrand to BP Chargemaster.

Tufan Erginbilgic, chief executive of  BP downstream, commented on the news: “Bringing together the UK’s leading fuel retailer and its largest charging company, BP Chargemaster will deliver a truly differentiated offer for the country’s growing number of electric vehicle owners.

Ticketmaster data breach

Also this week, Ticketmaster suffered a major security breach that exposed tens and thousands of customer’s bank details.

The company admitted that it had been the target of a malware attack which affected around 40,000 UK customers.

The hack means that those who used the site to buy, or even try to buy, tickets could have had their credit or debit card data stolen.

The firm said that “personal or payment information may have been accessed” by unknown figures over a period of months. The malicious software was found inside third-party software created by Inbenta Technologies.

As the news unfolded, Monzo said it had known about the breach as early as April.

The bank published an article stating that it had replaced the bank cards of about 50 of its customers who had, on 6 April, reported fraudulent transactions with Ticketmaster.

Following this, Monzo’s financial crime and security team had noticed about 35 of them had used their cards with Ticketmaster in the previous five months.

Ticketmaster had previously claimed to not know about the breach until June and had then acted quickly to inform “all relevant authorities”.