This week, our research team tracked more than 40 tech funding deals worth more than €400 million, as well as some 10 M&A transactions 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:
1) Mister Spex, Europe’s online optician, has closed a €65 million financing round led by The Büll Family Office with the participation of existing investors (including Grazia Equity, Stephan Schambach, and Ehssan Dariani). The company plans on using the fresh capital for further store expansion and internationalisation.
2) European Union antitrust regulators are already probing Facebook’s two-month-old Libra digital currency project, according to a document seen by Bloomberg. The EC is “currently investigating potential anti-competitive behavior” related to the Libra Association amid concerns the proposed payment system would unfairly shut out rivals.
3) Zurich-based fintech firm Numbrs has raised $40 million to bring the total capital invested to almost $200 million. The round values the startup at more than $1 billion as it prepares to expand outside its main market of Germany.
4) Estonia’s Starship Technologies’ autonomous sidewalk delivery robots have made more than 100,000 commercial deliveries on behalf of customers to date. The milestone comes as Starship adds $40 million in Series A funding, bringing its total funding to $85 million.
5) Russian internet group Mail.ru has teamed up with investment firm Proxima Capital to buy a controlling stake in car-sharing operator YouDrive, which it may fold into its planned food and taxi joint venture with state-run Sberbank.
6) WeTransfer, the Amsterdam-headquartered company that is best known for its file-sharing service, disclosed a €35 million secondary funding round led by European growth equity firm HPE Growth.
7) Israel’s TriEye, whose Short-Wave-Infra-Red (SWIR) sensing technology enables vision in adverse weather and night-time conditions, has expanded its Series A round, led by Intel Capital, to $19 million with an investment from the German car manufacturer Porsche.
8) Lunar Way, the Denmark-based banking app, has received €26 million in a new funding round led by SEED Capital, and has obtained a European banking license in the process.
9) The co-founder of UK-based DeepMind, the high-profile artificial intelligence lab owned by Google, has been placed on leave after controversy over some of the projects he led.
10) Uber has appointed a new boss for Britain and Ireland – Melinda Roylett, former head of Europe at digital payment company Square – just over a month before its licence expires in London, one of its most important global markets where the regulator has previously stripped it of its right to operate.
Podcast: Tech.eu Podcast #131: Google’s antitrust trouble is far from over, the takeaway wars, WeWTF, the future of gig economy, interview with Zebras Unite’s Daisy Ford-Downes
Bonus link: The Skype Mafia: Who Are They And Where Are They Now? (Forbes)