These were the 10 biggest European tech stories this week

These were the 10 biggest European tech stories this week


Happy Friday!

This week, we tracked 56 tech funding deals worth more than €286 million, as well as 8 M&A transactions across Europe, Israel, and Turkey.

We listed every single deal in our weekly newsletter (note: the full newsletter is now available to paying subscribers only). Here’s an extra overview of the 10 biggest European tech news items for this week:

1) Encrypted messaging startup Telegram reportedly plans to launch its own blockchain platform and native cryptocurrency, powering payments on its chat app and beyond.

2) Apple is forced to pay a £136 million tax bill in the UK following an ‘extensive audit’.

3) Google has quietly acquired a UK startup focused on technology that turns surfaces such as phone displays into speakers. Redux developed technology that eliminates the need for small speakers in mobile phones, freeing up space for batteries or other components, the Cambridge-based startup said on its now defunct website.

4) Berlin-based smava, a marketplace for consumer loans, has secured a $65 million investment led by private equity firm Vitruvian Partners. Russian fund Runa Capital also contributed to the round. The platform allows consumers to take out loans online from banks with the company taking a small percentage as its revenue model.

5) Swedish mobile operator Tele2 and broadband provider Com Hem have announced they plan to merge and create a new joint venture.

6) The EU will spend €1 billion to try to catch up to China, the US and Japan in supercomputing, the European Commission said Thursday. But as the initiative launches, uncertainty over Brexit is creating anxiety among British computer scientists that the UK may miss out on opportunities from the plan.

7) The wild west of initial coin offerings may soon be facing the wrath of regulators, but the crypto community itself is making efforts to cut down on fraudulent and unethical behaviour in the space. Crypto Valley Association (CVA) in Switzerland, a hub for bitcoin and blockchain activity, has announced its first code of conduct for initial coin offerings, or ICOs. The code places a legal and moral set of standards on token launches to operate responsibly.

8) Equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd has launched a $100 million fund called Cognitiv to invest in AI, deep learning, IoT, robotics, and digital manufacturing startups. The Israeli fund is led by partners Avi Reichental (former CEO of 3D Systems), Eduardo Shoval, and Yori Nelken. Shoval and Nelken previously led the OurCrowd First fund.

9) Translation tool Unbabel has raised $23 million from several investors including Scale Venture Partners, Microsoft Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Samsung NEXT, Notion Capital, Caixa Capital, and Funders Club. Unbabel was founded in Portugal and is now based in San Francisco after it graduated from Y Combinator.

10) Chronext, a London, UK-based online platform for luxury watch trading, has raised $34 million in funding. Backers in the round, which brings total funding to $50 million, included Endeit Capital and Tengelmann Ventures.

Bonus link: Uber’s rivals are stepping up the battle for ride-sharing dominance in Europe, with local startups raising funds and global adversaries increasing contact with local regulators as they seek to gain a toehold in the region.

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