Email security startup Tessian raises $13M led by Balderton and Accel

Tessian (formerly called CheckRecipient), the London-based startup that is deploying machine learning to improve email security, has raised $13 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Balderton Capital, and existing backer Accel. A number of previous investors also followed on, including Amadeus Capital Partners, Crane, LocalGlobe, Winton Ventures, and Walking Ventures. Founded in 2013 by three engineering graduates from Imperial College — Tim Sadler, Tom Adams and Ed Bishopon — Tessian is built on the premise that humans are the weak link in company email and data security. This can either be through mistakes, such as a wrongly intended recipient, or through nefarious employee activity. By applying “machine intelligence” to monitoring company email, the startup has developed various tools to help prevent this. Once installed on a company’s email systems, Tessian’s machine learning tech analyses an enterprise’s email networks to understand normal and abnormal email sending patterns and
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UK report warns DeepMind Health could gain ‘excessive monopoly power’

DeepMind’s foray into digital health services continues to raise concerns. The latest worries are voiced by a panel of external reviewers appointed by the Google-owned AI company to report on its operations after its initial data-sharing arrangements with the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) ran into a major public controversy in 2016. The DeepMind Health Independent Reviewers’ 2018 report flags a series of risks and concerns, as they see it, including the potential for DeepMind Health to be able to “exert excessive monopoly power” as a result of the data access and streaming infrastructure that’s bundled with provision of the Streams app — and which, contractually, positions DeepMind as the access-controlling intermediary between the structured health data and any other third parties that might, in the future, want to offer their own digital assistance solutions to the Trust. While the underlying FHIR (aka, fast healthcare interoperability resource) deployed
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European and Indian regulators team up to defend net neutrality

Representatives of Europe’s BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) and India’s TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) met up yesterday to sign a joint statement to promote an open internet. This short document describes a set of rules to guarantee net neutrality. Those are some basic rules, such as equal treatment of internet traffic, a case-by-case assessment of zero-rating practices and more. Both the European Union and India have implemented regulation to ensure net neutrality already. But they now want to go further and work together on the same set of rules. Net neutrality is always evolving and rules need to be updated regularly. This collaboration should contribute to a unification of net neutrality. Even more important than the statement itself, the timing of this announcement is interesting. The FCC officially repealed net neutrality in the U.S. on Monday. While other regulators can’t do anything about what’s
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Union wins right to challenge Deliveroo on human rights grounds

The UK High Court has granted a union permission to challenge Deliveroo’s opposition to collective bargaining for its couriers on human rights grounds. The IWGB union argues that couriers for the restaurant food delivery company should be classed as workers — who would then have basic employment rights such as the minimum wage, holiday pay and collective bargaining rights. Rights that gig economy business models are typically structured to avoid being saddled with. Last year the union challenged Deliveroo’s employment classification of couriers. But a tribunal, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), ruled the couriers could not be considered workers — finding they were independent contractors on the grounds that they had a genuine right to find a substitute to do their job for them. Today the High Court partially lifted a legal block by granting permission for the union to seek a judicial review of the CAC ruling on human rights
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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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Pipedrive, a CRM and sales tool, raises $50M to take on Salesforce and Microsoft

While Salesforce and Microsoft have a dominant position in the world of sales software today, there are a number of startups nipping at their heels, and today one of the more promising of them has announced a growth round to help them in the effort. Pipedrive, a startup co-headquartered in Estonia and New York that offers tools to salespeople to help them close deals that are still in their pipeline, has picked up $50 million to expand its product, develop its business globally and potentially make acquisitions in the CRM space. The Series C round was co-led by new investor Insight Venture Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation also from Rembrandt Venture Partners and Atomico (which itself has Estonian roots: Atomico’s founder, Niklas Zennstrom, was the co-founder of Skype, which developed and built the core IP voice and messaging product in the country). It brings the total raised by
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Here are the experts who will help shape Europe’s AI policy

The European Commission has announced the names of 52 experts from across industry, business and civil society who it has appointed to a new High Level Group on AI which will feed its strategy and policymaking around artificial intelligence. In April the EU’s executive body outlined its approach to AI technology, setting out measures intended to increase public and private investment; prepare for socio-economic changes; and ensure an appropriate ethical and legal framework. The High Level Group is a key part of the Commission’s AI strategy as the experts will feed its policymaking here by making detailed recommendations on ethical, legal and societal issues. The EC put out a call for experts for this “broad multi-stakeholder forum” back in March. The group announced today is comprised of 30 men and 22 women, and includes industry representatives from AXA, Bayer, Bosch, BMW, Element AI, Google, IBM, Nokia Bell Labs, Orange, Santander, SAP, Sigfox, STMicroelectronics,
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Farmdrop picks up £10M Series B

Farmdrop, the farmer-friendly online grocery platform based in the U.K., has picked up £10 million in new funding. New investors in this Series B round include LGT Impact Ventures (described as a growth equity investor that invests in businesses making a positive contribution to society), and Belltown Ventures, a renewable energy investment specialist with an interest in agricultural technology. Previous backer Atomico also followed on. Founded by ex-city broker Ben Pugh in 2014, Farmdrop originally launched as a ‘click and collect’ service that let you order groceries online from farmer-producers to pick up at a local collection point. However, the company has since pivoted to door-to-door delivery but with the same basic idea of a marketplace that bypasses the mass supermarkets. It claims to give consumers much fresher produce, and farmer-producers a more generous share of the retail price. Large supermarkets are known for squeezing suppliers in
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N26 launches a revised metal card

Fintech startup N26 is updating its N26 Metal product and launching it tomorrow. You might remember that the company first announced its premium card at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin in December 2017. Shortly after the conference, the card was available in early access for existing N26 Black customers. But the company had to go back to the drawing board and update the card design. N26 Metal customers had some complaints about the design of the card in particular. While the original metal card was primarily made of a sheet of tungsten, the metallic part was still surrounded by plastic. Customers complained about scratches and the overall feel of the card. It didn’t really feel like a metal card. It was more or less a heavy plastic card with a metal core. You could easily get scratches and the MasterCard logo was just a sticker.

Back Market raises $48 million for its refurbished device marketplace

If you’ve tried selling your old smartphone on a refurbishment website, chances are you ended up with a dozen browser tabs comparing prices. French startup Back Market is taking advantage of this fragmented industry to create a marketplace and aggregate all refurbishers on a single online platform. The startup just raised $48 million (€41 million). Groupe Arnault, Eurazeo, Aglaé Ventures and Daphni participated in today’s funding round. Back in May, the company told me that it was working with over 270 factories. Back Market has generated over $110 million in gross merchandise volume over the past three years. The service is now live in France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Italy. The company just expanded to the U.S. “Before, refurbishment was just a thing for tech savvy people and tech bloggers,” co-founder and chief creative officer Vianney Vaute told me. “With Back Market, it becomes a mainstream alternative.” Working
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Audit of NHS Trust’s app project with DeepMind raises more questions than it answers

A third party audit of a controversial patient data-sharing arrangement between a London NHS Trust and Google DeepMind appears to have skirted over the core issues that generated the controversy in the first place. The audit (full report here) — conducted by law firm Linklaters — of the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust’s acute kidney injury detection app system, Streams, which was co-developed with Google-DeepMind (using an existing NHS algorithm for early detection of the condition), does not examine the problematic 2015 information-sharing agreement inked between the pair which allowed data to start flowing. “This Report contains an assessment of the data protection and confidentiality issues associated with the data protection arrangements between the Royal Free and DeepMind . It is limited to the current use of Streams, and any further development, functional testing or clinical testing, that is either planned or in progress. It is not a historical review,” writes Linklaters,
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Adblock Plus wants to use blockchain to call out fake news

eyeo, the company behind the popular browser-based ad block product Adblock Plus, is no stranger to controversy. Which is just as well given its new “passion project”: A browser add-on that labels news content as ‘trusted’ or, well, Breitbart. The beta browser extension, which is called Trusted News (initially it’s just available for Chrome), is intended to help Internet users spot sources of fake news when they’re exposed to content online. And thus to help people avoid falling for scams or down into political sinkholes — at least without being aware of their inherent bias. The system, which is currently only available for English language content, “democratically scores the integrity and trustworthiness of online news sources”, as eyeo puts it. After being added to Chrome, the browser extension displays a small green check mark against its icon if a news source is deemed to be trustworthy. Or you might see an orange colored ‘B’ — denoting ‘bias’ —
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Deliveroo fattens its market presence by opening to restaurants that do deliveries

Restaurant food delivery startup Deliveroo is taking the next logical step to expand its business by opening up to restaurants that have their own delivery fleets — thereby also expanding the food choices it can offer its couch-loving users. Next month the company will launch the new service, called Marketplace+, in seven of its markets — onboarding restaurants that do their own food deliveries to its platform, and offering them the ability to tap into Deliveroo’s network of riders to extend their delivery services and support faster delivery times if they choose (it says restaurants will be able to “choose for themselves how best to offer delivery” but the impact on, for example, existing delivery fleet staff employed by larger food chains remains to be seen). Commenting on the launch in a statement, Deliveroo CEO and co-founder Will Shu said: “Today we are unveiling the next big step in
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Dixons Carphone discloses data breach affecting 5.9M payment cards, 105k of which were compromised

European electronics and telecoms retailer Dixons Carphone has revealed a hack of its systems in which the intruder/s attempted to compromise 5.9 million payment cards. In a statement put out today it says a review of its systems and data unearthed the data breach. It also confirms it has informed the UK’s data watchdog the ICO, financial conduct regulator the FCA, and the police. According to the company, the vast majority of the cards (5.8M) were protected by chip-and-PIN technology — and it says the data accessed in respect of these cards contains “neither pin codes, card verification values (CVV) nor any authentication data enabling cardholder identification or a purchase to be made”. However around 105,000 of the accessed cards were non-EU issued, and lacked chip-and-PIN, and it says those cards have been compromised. “As a precaution we immediately notified the relevant card companies via our payment provider
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Exotec Solutions raises $17.7 million for its warehouse robots

French startup Exotec Solutions raised a $17.7 million funding round (€15 million) from Iris Capital with existing investors 360 Capital Partners and Breega also participating. The startup has built an automated robot called the Skypods to optimize e-commerce warehouses. It’s easy to forget about it when you click on “buy now”, but there are a ton of people walking through endless aisles of products every day to pick up your next order. Exotec is selling a complete solution to replace part of your warehouse with a robot-managed area. France’s second biggest e-commerce website Cdiscount has been experimenting with Exotec and now plans to buy more robots, racks and stations in the coming months. Skypods are low-profile robots that can carry a standardized box and bring it back to a human operator. But the Skypods don’t just move on flat grounds. They can move up and down a rack and
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Kry bags $66M to launch its video-call-a-doctor service in more European markets

Swedish telehealth startup Kry has closed a $66 million Series B funding round led by Index Ventures, with participation from existing investors Accel, Creandum, and Project A. It raised a $22.8M Series A round just over a year ago, bringing its total raised since being founded back in 2014 to around $92M. The new funding will be put towards market expansion, with the UK and French markets its initial targets. It also says it wants to deepen its penetration in existing markets: Sweden, Norway and Spain, and to expand its medical offering to be able to offer more services via the remote consultations. A spokesperson for Kry also tells us it’s exploring different business models. While the initial Kry offering requires patients to pay per video consultation this may not offer the best approach to scale the business in a market like the UK where healthcare is free at the point of use, as a result
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UK watchdog issues $330k fine for Yahoo’s 2014 data breach

Another fallout from the massive Yahoo data breach that dates back to 2014: The UK’s data watchdog has just issued a £250,000 (~$334k) penalty for violations of the Data Protection Act 1998. Yahoo, which has since been acquired by Verizon and merged with AOL to form a joint entity called Oath (which is also the parent of TechCrunch), is arguably getting off pretty lightly here for a breach that impacted a whopping ~500M users. Certainly given how large data protection fines can now scale under the European Union’s new privacy framework, GDPR, which also requires that most breaches be disclosed within 72 hours of discovery (rather than, ooooh, two years or so later in the Yahoo case… ). The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) focused its investigation on the more than 515,000 affected UK accounts which the London-based Yahoo UK Services Ltd had responsibility for as a data
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Pressure mounts on EU-US Privacy Shield after Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal

Yet more pressure on the precariously placed EU-US Privacy Shield: The European Union parliament’s civil liberties committee has called for the data transfer arrangement to be suspended by September 1 unless the US comes into full compliance. Though the committee has no power to suspend the arrangement itself. But has amped up the political pressure on the EU’s executive body, the European Commission . In a vote late yesterday the Libe committee agreed the mechanism as it is currently being applied does not provide adequate protection for EU citizens’ personal information — emphasizing the need for better monitoring in light of the recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, after the company admitted in April that data on as many as 87 million users had been improperly passed to third parties in 2014 (including 2.7M EU citizens) . Facebook is one of the now 3,000+ organizations that have signed up to Privacy
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Spanish soccer app caught using microphone and GPS to snoop

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why an app is requesting microphone access when there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason why it should need to snoop on the sounds from your surroundings, hold that thought — and take a closer look at the T&Cs. Because it might turn out that spying is exactly what the app makers have in mind. To wit: La Liga, an app for fans of Spanish soccer which has been discovered using microphone access combined with the precise GPS location of Android users to listen in on people’s surroundings during match times — in a bid to catch bars that might not have a license to broadcast the match being watched.  As surveillance capitalism goes, it’s a fiendishly creative repurposing of your users as, well, unwitting volunteer spies and snitches. It’s also of course terrible human behavior. Behavior that has now garnered La
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Metaboards raises $5M for ‘metamaterials’-based wireless charging tech

Metaboards, an Oxford-based startup that is developing new wireless charging technology, has secured $5 million in funding. The round is led by Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), with participation from RT Capital Management, and Woodford Investment Management. The burgeoning company will use the new funds to expand the team with the aim of bringing its patented ‘metamaterials’-based wireless charging tech to market. Founded in 2016 by professors and published researchers from Oxford University, Metaboards is applying the use of ‘metamaterials’ to potentially create a much-better wireless charging solution that would negate some of the shortcomings of today’s tech. This will include removing the need for alignment between the charger and device, and the ability to charge multiple devices without multiple charging points. More broadly, metamaterials are new types of materials made up of compounds such as plastics or metals that are arranged in ‘geometric structures’ that have properties not found
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