Huawei 5G indecision is hitting UK’s relations abroad, warns committee


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The UK’s next prime minister must prioritize a decision on whether or not to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to be a 5G supplier, a parliamentary committee has urged — warning that the country’s international relations are being “seriously damaged” by ongoing delay.

In a statement on 5G suppliers, the Intelligence and Security committee (ISC) writes that the government must take a decision “as a matter of urgency”.

Earlier this week another parliamentary committee, which focuses on science and technology, concluded there is no technical reason to exclude Huawei as a 5G supplier, despite security concerns attached to the company’s ties to the Chinese state, though it did recommend it be excluded from core 5G supply.

The delay in the UK settling on a 5G supplier policy can be linked not only to the complexities of trying to weight and balance security considers with geopolitical pressures but also ongoing turmoil

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Tiny UK startup takes on Google’s Wing in the race to a drone traffic control system


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A future where drones can easily and cheaply do many useful things such as deliver packages, undertake search and rescue missions, deliver urgent medical supplies, not to mention unclogging our roads with flying taxis seems like a future worth shooting for. But before all this can happen, we need to make sure the thousands of drones in the sky are operating safely. A drone needs to be able to automatically detect when entering into the flight path of another drone, manned aircraft or restricted area and to alter its course accordingly to safely continue its journey. The alternative is the chaos and danger of the recent incidences of drones buzzing major airports, for instance.

There is a race on to produce just such a system. Wing LLC, an offshoot of the Alphabet / Google-owned X company, has announced a platform it calls OpenSky that it hopes will become the

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How Carl Pope helped drive a $500 million pledge to push the U.S. “Beyond Carbon” (Part 2)


This post is by Arman Tabatabai from TechCrunch


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Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg recently pledged to rapidly spend $500 million in a bid to push the U.S. “Beyond Carbon,” aiming to end this country’s use of coal and natural gas power in a generation or less.

In another recent piece, I featured an in-depth interview with Carl Pope, the veteran environmental leader who has essentially been the inspirational force behind Bloomberg’s evolution. The former New York City Mayor had never given a major gift to environmental causes as of a decade or so ago, until Pope “convinced” him to get involved.

Carl Mike Option 1

My previous piece was an attempt to understand the ethical vision influencing Bloomberg’s work, by looking at Pope’s personal story and the history of the environmental movement he has helped to shape. Below, Pope joins me again to look at the details of Bloomberg’s “Beyond Carbon” plan, including how he was able to persuade Bloomberg

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InCountry raises $15M for its cloud-based private data storage-as-a-service solution


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The rise of data breaches, along with an expanding raft of regulations (now numbering 80 different regional regimes, and growing) have thrust data protection — having legal and compliant ways of handling personal user information — to the top of the list of things that an organization needs to consider when building and operating their businesses. Now a startup called InCountry, which is building both the infrastructure for these companies to securely store that personal data in each jurisdiction, as well as a comprehensive policy framework for them to follow, has raised a Series A of $15 million. The funding is coming in just three months after closing its seed round — underscoring both the attention this area is getting and the opportunity ahead.

The funding is being led by three investors: Arbor Ventures of Singapore, Global Founders Capital of Berlin, and Mubadala of Abu Dhabi. Previous investors Caffeinated Capital,

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Facebook accused of contradicting itself on claims about platform policy violations


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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Prepare your best * unsurprised face *: Facebook is being accused of contradicting itself in separate testimonies made on both sides of the Atlantic.

The chair of a UK parliamentary committee which spent the lion’s share of last year investigating online disinformation, going on to grill multiple Facebook execs as part of an enquiry that coincided with a global spotlight being cast on Facebook as a result of the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal, has penned another letter to the company — this time asking which versions of claims it has made regarding policy-violating access to data by third party apps on its platform are actually true.

In the letter, which is addressed to Facebook global spin chief and former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, Damian Collins cites paragraph 43 of the Washington DC Attorney General’s complaint against the company — which asserts that the company “knew of other

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Inside Harley Davidson’s EV shift with a ride on its LiveWire


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Harley-Davidson will release its first production electric motorcycle in September, the LiveWire.

Yes, the American symbol for internal combustion, chrome and steel is going all in on two-wheeled EVs.

Founded in Milwaukee in 1903, Harley Davidson opened a Silicon Valley office in 2018 with plans to add a future line-up of electric vehicles—from motorcycles to bicycles to scooters.

With these moves HD joins a list of established transportation companies that are redefining themselves in the transformation of global mobility.

TechCrunch talked to the company’s senior management on the EV pivot and got a chance to test the  LiveWire on New York’s Formula E race track. 

The battery powered Harley will do 0-60 mph in 3 seconds, 110 mph, and charge to 100 percent in 60 minutes for a $29,799 MSRP.

The motorcycle’s 15.5kWh battery and magnet motor produce 105 horsepower and 86 ft-lbs of torque for a city

Harley Davidson Livewire static 1
LiveWire Charging Harley Davidson
Harley Davidson LiveWire Track

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Qualcomm hit with $271M EU fine over predatory pricing of baseband chips


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A long-running European antitrust investigation into whether Qualcomm used predatory pricing when selling UMTS baseband chips about a decade ago has landed the chipmaker with a fine of €242 million (~$271M) — aka, 1.27% of its global revenue for 2018.

The EU regulator concluded Qualcomm used abusive pricing to force its main rival at the time, UK-based company Icera, out of the market — by selling certain quantities of three of its UMTS chipsets below cost to two strategically important customers: Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE.

Commenting on the decision in a statement, competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, said:

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Watch an unfiltered interview of PicsArt founder at Disrupt Berlin


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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Smartphones have become a creative playground thanks to cameras and innovative apps, such as PicsArt. With PicsArt, anybody can add filters, stickers and tweak photos and videos in many different ways. It has been a massive hit with 130 million monthly active users. And that’s why I’m excited to announce that PicsArt founder and CEO Hovhannes Avoyan is joining us at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin.

PicsArt started with a simple app that lets you edit photos before sharing them. There are many companies in this space, including VSCO, Snapseed and Prisma. But PicsArt has managed to become a cultural phenomenon in many countries including China.

If you’re thinking about editing a photo or video in one way or another, chances are you can do it in PicsArt. In addition to traditional editing tools (cropping, rotating, curves, etc.), you can add filters, auto-beautify your face, change your hair color, add stickers

picsart

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On a growth tear, work trip SaaS TravelPerk adds $60M to its Series C


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Business travel SaaS startup, TravelPerk, has announced it’s more than doubled the $44M Series C round we wrote about just nine months ago — taking in a further $60M from its existing investors, which brings the round to $104M, and the business’ total raised to date to $134M.

Investors increasing the size of their Series C commitment are Kinnevik, partners of DST Global, Target Global, Felix Capital, Sunstone, and LocalGlobe.

A mere three years ago the 2015-founded, Barcelona-based startup had bagged a $7M Series A — with a pitch to take the pain out of business travel booking.

Since then it’s been on a major growth tear. Co-founder and CEO Avi Meir says this momentum is behind the Series C expansion.

“We grew faster than expected,” he tells TechCrunch. “Unit economics are fantastic. Investors have been pushing us to inject more funding, accelerate our growth, and expand faster. We

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Banking startup N26 raises another $170 million at $3.5 billion valuation


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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Fintech startup N26 is raising $170 million a few months after raising $300 million. While it’s technically structured as a new round, the company considers today’s new funding as an extension of the Series D round.

N26 has only reached out to existing investors. All the investors in the Series D round are investing again, as well as a few investors that have been around for a while. So that’s Insight Venture Partners, GIC (Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund), Tencent, Allianz X, Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Earlybird Venture Capital and Greyhound Capital.

“It’s a raise in valuation of about 30%. It’s only existing investors that participated. We didn’t go external as it is also quite quickly after the round that we did earlier this year,” co-founder and CEO Valentin Stalf told me. “But I think it’s a good testament of the development of the company over the last couple of months.

Continue reading “Banking startup N26 raises another $170 million at $3.5 billion valuation”

Altitude Angel launches an API for safer drone flights


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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Altitude Angel, a U.K. startup that provides safety, data and traffic management systems for drones, is launching a de-confliction service for drone flights — available via its developer API platform.

“The dynamic system will continuously monitor the airspace around an aircraft for the ‘unexpected’ such as other aerial vehicles or changes to airspace (such as a Temporary Flight Restriction/Dynamic Geofence around a police incident),” it writes of the new service.

“After identifying a potential conflict, CRS will make the necessary routing adjustments, allowing the drone to maintain an appropriate separation standard between other airspace users or fly around restricted airspace so it can continue safely (and efficiently) to its destination.”

The global Conflict Resolution Service (CRS) has two components: Strategic de-confliction, which will launch first, on July 23, letting drone operators submit flight plans to the startup to determine whether there are any conflicts with other previously

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FaceApp responds to privacy concerns 


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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FaceApp, the AI-powered selfie-editing app that’s been having another viral moment of late, has now responded to a privacy controversy that we covered earlier here.

We’ve pasted the company’s full statement at the bottom of this post.

The tl;dr here is that concerns had been raised that FaceApp, a Russian startup, uploads users’ photos to the cloud — without making it clear to them that processing is not going on locally on their device.

Another issue raised by FaceApp users was that the iOS app appears to be overriding settings if a user had denied access to their camera roll, after people reported they could still select and upload a photo — i.e. despite the app not having permission to access their photos.

As we reported earlier, the latter is actually allowed behavior in iOS — which gives users the power to choose to block an app from full

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Amazon amends seller terms worldwide after German antitrust action


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Amazon has agreed to make a raft of changes to the business terms it offers sellers on its marketplaces following an intervention by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (FCO).

The regulator instigated an investigation in November last year after receiving a large number of complaints from sellers pertaining to Amazon’s German marketplace, amazon.de: The largest of the company’s five European marketplaces.

Among the changes the ecommerce giant has agreed to make are amendments to its liability provisions towards sellers to bring it into line with European standards for b2b relations, and changes to account termination and blocking to remove its unlimited right to do so without justification — meaning ordinary account terminations will in future require 30 days notice.

In a statement, Amazon said:

We are making several changes to the Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement to clarify selling partner rights and responsibilities. The changes will become effective August 16th.

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Atomico founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to start his own seed fund


This post is by Steve O'Hear from TechCrunch


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Changes are afoot at European VC Atomico, with news breaking that founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to raise his own seed fund.

TechCrunch understands that staff at the London-headquartered firm, which he co-founded in 2006 with Skype founder Niklas Zennström, were informed of his decision to part ways earlier today, although he won’t be leaving immediately. Instead, I’m told Ljungman will be transitioning out over the next six months to ensure as little disruption as possible.

Atomico is also thought to be on the verge of closing a new fund, so arguably the timing is well-aligned, too. ‘In between’ funds is the best time for a founding partner to leave a VC firm, if there ever is one.

In the meantime, Ljungman will be carrying on with existing portfolio responsibilities and gradually handing over his board seats to other Atomico team members. He currently sits on the boards

Continue reading “Atomico founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to start his own seed fund”

Atomico founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to start his own seed fund


This post is by Steve O'Hear from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Changes are afoot at European VC Atomico, with news breaking that founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to raise his own seed fund.

TechCrunch understands that staff at the London-headquartered firm, which he co-founded in 2006 with Skype founder Niklas Zennström, were informed of his decision to part ways earlier today, although he won’t be leaving immediately. Instead, I’m told Ljungman will be transitioning out over the next six months to ensure as little disruption as possible.

Atomico is also thought to be on the verge of closing a new fund, so arguably the timing is well-aligned, too. ‘In between’ funds is the best time for a founding partner to leave a VC firm, if there ever is one.

In the meantime, Ljungman will be carrying on with existing portfolio responsibilities and gradually handing over his board seats to other Atomico team members. He currently sits on the boards

Continue reading “Atomico founding partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to start his own seed fund”

Stonly lets you create interactive step-by-step guides to improve support


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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French startup Stonly wants to empower users so that they can solve their issues by themselves. Instead of relying on customer support agents, Stonly wants to surface relevant content so that you can understand and solve issues.

“I’m trying to take the opposite stance of chatbots," founder and CEO Alexis Fogel told me. “The issue [with chatbots] is that technology is not good enough and you often end up searching through the help center.”

If you’re in charge of support for a big enough service, chances are your customers often face the same issues. Many companies have built help centers with lengthy articles. But most customers won’t scroll through those pages when they face an issue.

That’s why Stonly thinks you need to make this experience more interactive. The service lets you create scripted guides with multiple questions to make this process less intimidating. Some big companies have built

Editor 01

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Europe is now formally investigating Amazon’s use of merchant data


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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European regulators have announced a formal antitrust investigation of Amazon’s use of data from third parties selling on its ecommerce platform.

Commenting in a statement, competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said: European consumers are increasingly shopping online. Ecommerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices. We need to ensure that large online platforms don’t eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behaviour. I have therefore decided to take a very close look at Amazon’s business practices and its dual role as marketplace and retailer, to assess its compliance with EU competition rules.

The move is not a surprise as Amazon was already on the radar of Vestager’s department.

Last fall it emerged the regulator was making preliminary enquiries about Amazon’s use of third party sellers’ data — to try to determine whether or not merchants selling on its platform are being placed at a competitive disadvantage vs

Screenshot 2019 07 17 at 12.25.32

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ContractPodAi scores $55M for its ‘AI-powered’ contract management software


This post is by Steve O'Hear from TechCrunch


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ContractPodAi, a London-based startup that has developed what it describes as AI-powered contract lifecycle management software, is disclosing $55 million in Series B funding. The round is led by U.S.-based Insight Partners, with participation from earlier backer Eagle Investment.

Founded in 2012, ContractPodAi offers an “end-to-end” solution spanning the three main aspects of contract management: contract generation, contract repository, and third-party review. Its AI offering, which uses IBM’s Watson, claims to streamline the contract management process and reduce the burden on corporate in-house legal teams.

“The legal profession has been historically behind the curve in technology adoption and our objective here is to support to digital transformation of legal departments via our contract management platform,” ContractPodAi co-founder and CEO Sarvarth Misra tells TechCrunch.

“Our business focusses on providing in-house counsel of corporations across the world with an easy to use, out of the box and scalable end

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Billie raises €30M for its B2B invoicing and payments platform


This post is by Steve O'Hear from TechCrunch


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Billie, the Berlin-based fintech startup that offers a B2B invoicing and payments platform, has raised €30 million in Series B funding. Leading the round is Creandum, alongside SpeedInvest, Rocket Internet’s GFC and Picus.

Founded in 2017 by the same team behind SME online lending platform Zencap, which exited to Funding Circle in 2015, Billie wants to bring the same level of convenience seen in B2C payments and e-commerce to B2B invoicing and payments.

Claiming to be Germany’s leading “one-stop shop” for handling all outgoing invoices of B2B sellers, including sending invoices, collecting payments and invoice financing, Billie’s customers range from SMEs, large e-commerce players, and transnational marketplaces.

“As B2B transactions are more than twice the volume of B2C transactions, the potential to help our customers is enormous. And, up to now, this market is unserved,” Billie co-founder Dr. Matthias Knecht tells me.

“We’re able to place ourselves in the

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UK DeepTech VC IQ Capital launches new $125M growth fund, closes third VC fund at $175M


This post is by Mike Butcher from TechCrunch


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IQ Capital, a UK-based deep tech fund which has invested in startups such as Paragraf, Senseye and Funderbeam, has launched a new $125 million ‘Growth Opportunities Fund’ and closed its third venture fund, IQ Capital Fund III, at $175 million. This brings the total new capital to be invested to over $300 million. National Grid Partners have joined British Patient Capital and a number of other global institutions, as an investor in IQ Capital Fund III.

The move is part of a wider shift in VC investing across Europe towards so-called deep tech (AI, BioTech, Blockchain etc).For instance, Adara Ventures, a spanish VC firm recently closed its third fund with commitments in excess of €65 million to back European early-stage deep tech startups.

IQ says the $125 million fund will provide later-stage capital to the best-performing companies in their existing portfolio. The first to benefit from this is

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