In a push into Europe, WeWork competitor Knotel acquires Ahoy!Berlin

Coworking and flexible office space has become a hot business in the last few years, as attested by the rise and rise of WeWork. Startups and entrepreneurs needed flexible working space that could flex up and down as their companies changed. The days of signing a 5-year lease were very, very over. But others have arrived in this office space arena. In the US, the company beginning to breathe down the neck of WeWork is Knotel, which last year raised a Series A round of $25 million, then another round of $70m, and then another $5m in debt (not previously announced). It now claims it has one million square feet in NYC versus WeWork’s four million, achieved in the last 2 years. It’s now pushing out internationally, with the acquisition today of Ahoy!Berlin, a workspace operator in Berlin, Germany. The deal follows Knotel’s expansion in Europe –
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UK’s first Space Camp Accelerator unveils its first 6 startups

Back in March we covered the launch of Seraphim Capital’s new “Space Camp Accelerator”. This is the UK’s first dedicated accelerator programme for startups in the spacetech industry. Ther’s now selected the six companies in this first cohort. They come from from the US, Denmark and the UK. The programme is underway and is 9 weeks in total, ending 9/10 July. The key partners are the new UK Space Agency, Dentons, Rolls-Royce, Cyient, European Space Agency, SA Catapult and Capital Enterprise as well as Airbus, SSTL and Telespazio. Here’s a run-down of which companies are in the programme, in their own words: QuadSAT
QuadSAT is a Danish company that has developed brand new tools and techniques for testing and calibrating satellite antennas being deployed in high-value Maritime and Aeronautical markets. Combining the latest drone technology with a simulated satellite payload and mathematical algorithms, QuadSAT simplifies the requirements for satellite antenna
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UK’s first Space Camp Accelerator unveils its first 6 startups

Back in March we covered the launch of Seraphim Capital’s new “Space Camp Accelerator”. This is the UK’s first dedicated accelerator programme for startups in the spacetech industry. Ther’s now selected the six companies in this first cohort. They come from from the US, Denmark and the UK. The programme is underway and is 9 weeks in total, ending 9/10 July. The key partners are the new UK Space Agency, Dentons, Rolls-Royce, Cyient, European Space Agency, SA Catapult and Capital Enterprise as well as Airbus, SSTL and Telespazio. Here’s a run-down of which companies are in the programme, in their own words: QuadSAT
QuadSAT is a Danish company that has developed brand new tools and techniques for testing and calibrating satellite antennas being deployed in high-value Maritime and Aeronautical markets. Combining the latest drone technology with a simulated satellite payload and mathematical algorithms, QuadSAT simplifies the requirements for satellite antenna
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Engineer.ai aims at build-an-app platforms by using AI for speed and cost

Engineer.ai has been up and running in private beta mode for two and a half years, totally boo-strapped by its founders. But today it launches with the claim to be the world’s first human-assisted AI for building custom digital products. It’s Builder platform claims to combine artificial intelligence with crowdsourced teams of designers and developers to build bespoke digital products at – they say – twice the speed and less than
a third of the cost of traditional software development. So were are talking the ability to build a smartphone app, say, very easily and quickly, choosing from recommended features or adding others. The AI then creates a “build card” which guarantees a maximum price and estimated delivery date. It then taps a library of existing components and manages crowdsourced global teams for aspects that might be unique. The platform can host the end product and carry on upgrading
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Oval Money app launches its investment products for millennials

Back in April Oval Money launched with the idea of combining expense tracking, saving, and investing into one app, while also adding a social element by enabling its community of users to share tips and suggestions to one another. The idea is to help users grow their savings in less time by teaching them to monitor spending habits and make saving virtually automatic. The company has raised €1.2M in funding, largely from Italian investors. The startup is launching a raft of investment products for socially-conscious savers. Beginning with three funds – supporting gender diversity in boardrooms, flexible working and the brands that millennials trust – the investments marketplace will be available to customers in the smartphone app this summer. The “Women at the Table” fund will allow investors to support companies that ensure that at least 20% of board members are women, while a “Belong but Work Remote” fund promotes
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WearableX’s ‘smart’ new Yoga pant is aimed at the guys

A lot has been said about the coming future of wearables, but, it turned out, not a heck of a lot took off. It seemed most of us were happy with ‘wearing’ a smartwatch and leaving it at that. In fact, Apple’s recent announcements around the iWatch show that ‘wearables’ are not really about just wearing something with electronics embedded, but really about health. Now, we know that the home fitness market and wellness market is not going anywhere. And yet we still have an obesity issue in the world. What if what we wore could help us with that, while we exercise? That’s the idea behind Wearable X, the New York-based startup which launched last year with the “Nadi X”. This is a collection of smart yoga apparel with woven-in technology. They claim this can identify the various yoga poses and provide users with real-time feedback via gentle
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Blockchain startups woo Enterprises with a private chain audit trail

By placing all the information about services or complex manufacturing and assembly processes on a private, permissioned blockchain, the idea is that a company can create an “immutable” audit trail of data. When you think about it, currently this involves a labor-intensive combination of paper and networks. But initial trials with private blockchains in the last couple of years have shown there is potential to reduce the identification process of a data trail from several days to minutes. Indications that this is becoming a hot issue amongst startups arrives today in two pieces of news. Firstly, London-based “Gospel”(yes, that really is their name…) has raised £1.4m in seed funding from investors led by European-focused LocalGlobe. The blockchain startup says it has been working with an unnamed “aerospace and defence manufacturer” to develop a proof of concept to improve record keeping for its supply chain. What’s the betting
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Tray.io raises a $14.3M funding round led by GGV Capital

Companies spend a lot of time and money manually transferring data between services, while developer resources are constantly in demand. Firms like Mulesoft, Informatica, Boomi, Tibco, Workato, Zapier and others via for business against the likes of Informatica, Boomi and Mulesoft. UK/US startup tray.io, a next-generation cloud integration provider, raised a $5m in a Series A two years ago. The startup has now raised a $14.3 million round investment led by GGV Capital, bringing the company’s total financing to $21 million. Additional investors include True Ventures, Mosaic Ventures, and AngelPad. Glenn Solomon, Managing Partner, GGV Capital will join the company’s board of directors. The company’s “General Automation Platform” claims to put complex integrations and enterprise-scale automation into the hands of businesses. This is, supposedly, “drag-and-drop ease-of-use.” The solution is built in a severless environment and is entirely API driven, affording the ability to scale faster. It
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Here are the finalists for The Europas Awards 2018, July 3, London

The Europas Awards and Unconference for tech and crypto startups will be held on July 3, in London. Tickets are selling fast, so grab yours here to mingle with the cream of Europe’s startups, VCs and entrepreneurs. The event is run in association with TechCrunch, and all attendees get first access to offers for TechCrunch events later this year. We have some amazing speakers coming, panels and breakout sessions, and even a way to get your ticket for free. The public online voting, running for the last month, and the Europas Advisory Board of judges have submitted their results. The two have been merged and we now have our finalists. The winners will be revealed on the night. A huge thanks to our awesome sponsors so far:
Bayer
Fieldhouse Associates
JAG Shaw Baker
Orrick
IoT Tribe
Outlier Ventures
Coinweb
Malta Blockchain Summit
Burlington PR
Barclays
CEW
ihorizon
Bizzabo
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Pan-European seed fund firstminute hits a final fund close of $100M

New UK early stage VC firstminute Capital launched in June last year to the tune of $60m, with Atomico Ventures as it’s first cornerstone investor. They were joined by 30 unicorns founders from Europe. Last September they brought in the huge China-based company, Tencent, reaching a fund size of $85m. Today firstminute capital, the London-based pan-European seed fund announced a final close of $100m, and detailed its first batch of early-stage investments made since September. Two institutional investors have now joined. Henkel, the €60bn publicly-listed FMCG giant, is making its first investment into a European seed fund, and Lombard Odier, one of Europe’s largest private banks, also joins. The fund has three partners: Brent Hoberman CBE, Spencer Crawley and Henry Lane-Fox. Hoberman is chairman and co-founder of Founders Factory, a corporate-backed incubator/accelerator based in London, and also of Founders Forum, a series of invitation-only, but influential annual global events for
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Over 100 UK tech leaders back new call for a people’s vote on Brexit

As London Tech Week launches today to talk-up the capital’s prospects, over 100 UK tech founders, directors and investors are calling on the Government to back a meaningful vote “by the people” on the actual terms of Brexit. The tech leaders are signatories to the aims of new tech business group Tech For UK which is backing anti-Brexit campaign group Best For Britain in its fundraising campaign for a meaningful vote on the terms of Brexit and the option to “Remain and lead in the EU”. Over 50 other tech industry players have also signed up. Tech For UK represents the founders of many of the most innovative businesses in the UK including Martha Lane Fox (co-founder of Lastminute.com and Doteveryone), Gareth Edwards (Founder, travel player Deckchair.com), Ben Whitaker (Founder of Masabi, the smart cities ticketing startup), Bernhard Niesner (Founder of the language learning giant Busuu),
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Saul Klein and Eileen Burbidge join @TheEuropas, July 3, London

The Europas Unconference & Awards is back on 3 July in London and we’re excited to announce major European investor Saul Klein, founder and partner of LocalGlobe, is joining as a main speaker. He’ll be talking about his ideas for startups in this new era, as well as bringing Zinc.vc, his new initiative to back ‘startups for good’. Saul is a Founding Partner at Localglobe, a seed fund focussed on helping London’s great most ambitious founders build game-changing businesses. Previously, Saul was a Partner at Index Ventures from 2007 until May 2015. In 2012 David Cameron appointed Saul to be the UK’s first tech envoy to Israel and a Technology Business Ambassador. Saul is a serial entrepreneur with two decades of experience building and exiting companies in the US, Israel and Europe. He has a passion for working with seed and early-stage businesses. Most recently Saul co-founded Kano
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What does leaving the EU’s Digital Single Market mean for UK startups?

What does leaving the EU’s Digital Single Market (DMS) mean for UK startups? No-one actually knows. That’s why three UK VCs are backing an initiative to assess the impact of what leaving the DSM could mean for UK tech startups, if, as is predicted, the UK does leave the EU next year. The initiative is being led by LocalGlobe but also backed by Index Ventures and Atomico. You can fill out the short survey here. UK Prime Minister Theresa May previously announced the UK will be leaving the DSM when it formally leaves the EU next year, but, according to sources who spoke to TechCrunch, no industry consultation took place on this decision. The idea behind the DSM, launched in May 2015 and heavily backed by the UK Government at the time, was to tear down regulatory walls and move from 28 national ‘digital’ markets to a single one. The
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Portugal’s OutSystems raises $360M from KKR and Goldman Sachs

It’s not often you get the words “Lisbon”, and “$360 million” in the same sentence when it comes to startups, but that’s exactly what’s happening today with the news that OutSystems — a player in low-code rapid application development which is based between Atlanta, London and Lisbon — has raised $360 million in an investment round from KKR and Goldman Sachs. KKR’s investment was made through its Next Generation Technology Growth Fund. That puts it into the Unicorn realm and will be a nice win for previous investors Portugal Ventures and Armilar Venture Partners, both Portugal-based VC funds. Outsystems was originally founded in Lisbon and maintains a large team there but is now HQ’d in Atlanta, USA and has 52 operations around the world. Now, that’s a scale-up. The news will be a shot in the arm for the Lisbon startup-scene which has been growing at a clip. OutSystems provides
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Hotel management platform Mews closes €6m Series A

Before we automate hotels with AI and robots (which will almost certainly happen) the first wave of this revolution will be brought by the software that runs hotels with humans. Thus it is that
Mews, the hotel property management platform, has closed a €6m Series A funding round. The round was led by Notion.vc Capital, with participation from HenQ and Thayer Ventures. The funding will be used to accelerate the business and open new offices around the world to support its global customer base. Mews’ platform automates check-ins and payments as also covering booking management and staff training. It’s designed to be an open platform allowing other tools and apps to connect through its API. So, think ‘Slack for hotels’, perhaps. Mews was founded in 2012 by entrepreneur and ex-hotelier Richard Valtr. Customers include Different Hotels, Machefert, Clink and Wombats, or 43,000 beds in 350 properties. Valtr said:
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More speakers, panels at The Europas, and how to get your ticket free

The Europas Unconference & Awards is back on 3 July in London and we’re excited to announce more speakers and panel sessions as the event takes shape. Crypto and Blockchain will be a major theme this year, and we’re bringing together many of the key players. TechCrunch is once again the key media partner, and if you attend The Europas you’ll be first in the queue to get offers for TC events and Disrupt Europe later in the year. You can also potentially get your ticket for free just by sharing your own ticket link with friends and followers. See below for the details and instructions. To recap, we’re jumping straight into our popular breakout sessions where you’ll get up close and personal with some of Europe’s leading investors, founders and thought leaders. The Unconference is focused into zones including AI, Fintech, Mobility, Startups, Society, and Enterprise and Crypto /
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Tradeshift Raises $250M Series E, Goldman Sachs joins the round

Tradeshift, a supply chain payments and marketplaces late-stage startup which recently added blockchain to its armoury, has today raised $250 million in a Series E funding round led by Goldman Sachs and Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments). Additional participation comes from HSBC, H14, GP Bullhound, and Gray Swan, a new venture company established by Tradeshift’s founders. The new round of financing brings Tradeshift’s total funding to more than $400 million. The company claims it’s valuation has now passed $1.1 billion. The new investors join existing backers, including HSBC, American Express Ventures, the CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, Notion Capital, Santander InnoVentures, and others. Mikkel Hippe Brun, Tradeshift’s GM of China and Co-Founder, will join Tradeshift’s board of directors. Tradeshift CEO and Co-Founder Christian Lanng said in a statement: “We have always believed that the future of supply chains is 100 percent digital and that connecting trade is
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Saul Klein joins TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin, tickets on sale now

TechCrunch Disrupt is coming back to Berlin this winter, and you can already buy tickets. It will feature technologists, investors, entrepreneurs and media outlets; Startup Alley, where over 400 pre-Series A companies exhibit; Startup Battlefield, our premier startup pitch competition where a curated group of tech’s top early-stage startups will compete for the $50,000 grand prize, the coveted Disrupt Cup and intense media and investor interest. Disrupt Berlin will feature workshops, world-class networking and after-parties. It’s time to place buying Disrupt Berlin tickets at the top of your priority list. Our two-for-one Innovator pass promotion goes live in just 48 hours with a limited number of passes, and it won’t last long. Sign up today. We’re also beginning to announce our first speakers, and we’re delighted that Saul Klein, Founding Partner at Localglobe, will be joining us. Localglobe is a new-ish seed fund focussed on helping London’s great most
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Meet the speakers at The Europas, and get your ticket free (July 3, London)

Excited to announce that this year’s The Europas Unconference & Awards is shaping up! Our half day Unconference kicks off on 3 July, 2018 at The Brewery in the heart of London’s “Tech City” area, followed by our startup awards dinner and fantastic party and celebration of European startups! The event is run in partnership with TechCrunch, the official media partner. Attendees, nominees and winners will get deep discounts to TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin, later this year.
The Europas Awards are based on voting by expert judges and the industry itself. But key to the daytime is all the speakers and invited guests. There’s no “off-limits speaker room” at The Europas, so attendees can mingle easily with VIPs and speakers. What exactly is an Unconference? We’re dispensing with the lectures and going straight to the deep-dives, where you’ll get a front row seat with Europe’s leading investors, founders and
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Uizard raises funds for its AI that turns design mockups into source code

When you’re trying to build apps, there is a very tedious point where you have to stare at a wireframe and then laboriously turn it into code. Actually, the process itself is highly repetitive and ought to be much easier. The traditional software development from front-end design to front-end html/css development to working code is expensive, time-consuming, tedious and repetitive. But most approaches to solving this problem have been more complex than they need to be. What if you could just turn wireframes straight into code and then devote your time to the more complex aspects of a build? That’s the idea behind a Copenhagen-based startup called Uizard. Uizard’s computer vision and AI platform claims to be able to automatically turn design mockups — and this could be on the back of napkin — into source code that developers can plug into their backend code. It’s now raised an $800,000 pre-seed
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