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Week in Tech: Apple valued at $1trn, Barclays partners with MarketInvoice and more

Apple Tim Cook

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

In this week’s roundup we bring you the latest UK tech investment news, Apple’s staggering valuation and more.

UK Investments

MarketInvoice partners with Barclays

Over in the UK, FinTech firm MarketInvoice has partnered with Barclays in a deal that is set to, they claim, transform the way small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK manage cash flow and boost growth.

As a result of the partnership, Barclays has committed to “a significant minority stake in teh firm to give Barclays’ SME clients seamless access to innovative forms of finance”.

Founded in 2011, MarketInvoice claims to have funded invoices worth more than £2.7bn.

The proposition will be introduced to Barclays’ SME clients over the coming months in areas across the UK, including the East Midlands, West Midlands, Herts and North West London, with a full roll-out set to commence nationwide in 2019.  

Barclays also plans to fund invoices via the platform in the future, growing its asset base further.

Anil Stocker, MarketInvoice CEO, said: “It’s exciting to be combining the knowledge and footprint of a 325-year old British banking institution with MarketInvoice’s tech-led online finance solutions. Bringing this together in a strategic partnership can only mean good news for UK businesses, with the segment we’re targeting responsible for upwards of 60% of UK employment.

“Barclays has a long history of innovation being the first bank to introduce the credit card and the ATM. It makes total sense to partner and introduce our online business finance solutions for their large customer base.

“It’s easy to forget that the companies you see on the FTSE 100 all started as small businesses with founders following a passion. In focusing on the needs of these entrepreneurs through this collaboration, Barclays and MarketInvoice will truly transform the experience of UK companies in sourcing finance.”

Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Bank, said: “Invoice finance is a product that has come of age in the digital era, it’s efficient, effective and controllable for small businesses.

“A number of our clients told us that they feel pressured into offering longer payment terms in order to stay competitive. This ties up their cash flow, preventing them from seizing growth opportunities.

“Invoice financing gives small businesses the power to obtain funding in a fast and innovative way, and capitalise on those moments. Our corporate bank already offers invoice financing to large businesses, so it’s great news that we’re able to extend the proposition to work for our SME clients as well.”

Apple’s valuation

US tech giant Apple made headlines across the globe after it became the first public company to be worth $1trn (£767bn).

The company’s market value reached the staggering figure in New York on Thursday, with its shares closing at a record high of  $207.39.

Apple’s stock had been going up in value since earlier in the week when it published better results for the quarter than expected, beating fellow Silicon Valley giants Amazons and Microsoft to become the first public company to hit the $1trn mark.

Shares have increased by 1,100% since the first iPhone went on sale more than a decade ago, and jumped by approximately a third over the past year.

Facebook loses chief security officer

In other news, Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos has left the company.

Stamos will become a fellow at Stanford University. His departure was expected, following news a few months ago that the tech giant was restructuring its security division.

The company’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said Stamos, who joined the business in 2015, had played “an important role” at the company.

His departure comes at a time of heightened scrutiny for Facebook, which continues to be scrutinised over the propagation of misinformation on its platform and the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Women angered by Fitbit’s period tracker

Female users who have signed up to Fitbit’s period tracker have complained that the service only allows them to log periods of 10 days or less.

Many of the women have pointed out that these can last a lot longer, consequently rendering the tracker on the wearable fitness bracelet useless.

Speaking to the BBC, Fitbit said “currently a period must be less than 11 days”.

Taking into account the customer feedback, Fitbit then asked users to submit comments and votes on its suggestion board.