These were the 10 biggest European tech stories this week

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This week, our research team tracked nearly 50 tech funding deals worth over €600 million, along with a handful of M&A transactions, rumours, and related news stories across Europe, including Russia, Israel, and Turkey.

Meanwhile, here’s an overview of the 10 biggest European tech news items for this week (subscribe to our free newsletter to get this roundup in your inbox every Monday morning):

1) HMD Global, the maker of Nokia-branded smartphones, has secured $230 million of investment from partners including Google, Qualcomm and Nokia Technologies to help accelerate its development of 5G devices.

2) Varjo, a Finnish producer of VR/XR hardware and software, has closed $54 million in Series C funding. The round brought on new investors Tesi, NordicNinja and Swisscanto Invest by Zürcher Kantonalbank. Previous investors including Lifeline Ventures, Atomico, EQT Ventures and Volvo Cars Tech Fund participated as well.

3) Facebook and Microsoft’s grievances over how their gaming apps appear on Apple’s App Store may feed into an EU investigation into the iPhone maker’s business as EU antitrust regulators said such concerns are on their radar.

4) Hotly tipped UK banking startup Revolut lost £100 million last year even as customer numbers and revenue surged. Accounts filed with Companies House this week show Revolut lost £106.5 million in 2019, up from a loss of £32.8 million in 2018. Revenue grew slower than losses, rising 180% to £162.7 million.

5) Russian competition watchdog FAS on Monday said that Apple has abused its dominant position in the mobile apps market through its App Store for iOS devices and will issue an order demanding that the company resolve regulations breaches.

6) Holvi, the BBVA-owned Finnish fintech startup that offers banking for sole traders and small businesses, is pulling out of the UK market less than six months after launch, citing increased uncertainty due to Covid and Brexit.

7) France’s privacy watchdog has opened a probe into TikTok, marking another examination of ByteDance’s social media app, which is facing broader scrutiny of its privacy policies. The French authority, CNIL, is looking at a number of issues, including how the company communicates with users and the protection of children, a spokesman said Tuesday. The questions are part of an investigation into TikTok’s plan to set up a European Union headquarters for data purposes.

8) Habito, the London startup that has spent the last few years moving the mortgage process online, including offering its own mortgages beyond acting as a broker, has completed £35 million in Series C funding. The newly disclosed round — comprising an earlier Series C equity raise and a more recent Series C extension in the form of a convertible loan note, was led by new investors Augmentum Fintech, SBI Group and mojo.capital.

9) The UK has long been an enthusiastic surveillance state – it has one CCTV camera for every 11 people. And like many other countries these days, its authorities are increasingly putting facial-recognition smarts behind those cameras. However, one of the country’s pioneering deployments of automated facial recognition has been ruled unlawful by an appeals court on three separate grounds: privacy, data protection, and equality.

10) Copenhagen-based digital healthcare platform Practio has secured €8.2 million in financing, a combination of equity funding, loan conversion and debt financing. Led by Swedish VC Spintop Ventures, the round was joined by Germany’s PHOENIX Group and Carl Westin, an investment firm that focuses on digital health.

Podcast(s):

tech.eu Podcast #181: We talk to TransferWise CFO Matt Briers, and about Zynga buying Rollic, Uber buying Autocab, Fitbit and more

Bonus link(s):

Chinese tech companies could face trouble in Europe (Politico)

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