Brex - The first corporate card for startups

Pedro Franceschi (left) and Henrique Dubugras are the cofounders of Brex. 

Pedro Franceschi (left) and Henrique Dubugras are the cofounders of Brex. 

Brex is the new San Fransisco based startup providing corporate credit cards to startups. The startup has raised a total of $57 million in funding from Peter Thiel, Y Combinator and early Facebook investor Yuri Milner. 



Twitter is looking to remodel their business

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has finally decided he wants to revamp twitters service to fight hate, abuse, misinformation, harassment and, scams. In July 2018 Techcrunch reported 'Twitter posts record $100M profit but lose 1M users'. With the users declining the changes may become detrimental to the business. The change will also require a hefty investment. Dorsey says “We often turn to policy to fix a lot of these issues, but I think that is only treating surface-level symptoms that we are seeing". Changing the business model will change the engagement and rewards designed to keep users coming back. 

Nate Elliott, principal at marketing research firm Nineteen Insights said, Twitter doesn't have billions of users to absorb any hits on growth. Even if the changes work, “it's going to cost them so many users and so much money I can't imagine them sticking with these kinds of changes.”

Paul Verna, an analyst with research firm eMarketer, isn't optimistic that Twitter can make its service safer without hurting its business. “Because they rely on an advertising business model, they need to not only continue to reach audiences but try to get them to spend as much time on platforms as possible".


Apple will contribute over $350 billion into US economy over the next five years

Earlier this year Apple announced that it will be contributing $350 billion into the US economy over the next five years. 

The investments will concentrate on three areas: direct employment by Apple, spending and investment with Apple’s domestic suppliers and manufacturers, and the digital App Store economy.

Ony $75 billion of that total number will come from capital expenditures, new investments in manufacturing, and its repatriation tax payment. The rest of the number is due to normal growth and spending.

Apple CEO Tim Cook commented in the announcement that “We believe deeply in the power of American ingenuity, and we are focusing our investments in areas where we can have a direct impact on job creation and job preparedness. We have a deep sense of responsibility to give back to our country and the people who help make our success possible.”

Bill Gates has invested millions into these five Silicon Valley startups

Bill Gates is most famous for founding Microsoft; the world's largest software business with partner Paul Allen, but did you know the names of all the other companies he invests into behind the scenes. See our list of the top five below. 



A startup founded in 2016, aiming to detect cancer when it's still curable. The company believes a special type of blood screen could be the cure. Other investors include Jeff Bezoz and Google ventures. They have gathered $1.2 billion in investments to date.


A startup founded in 2010, develops highly-efficient power generators for companies, buildings and microgrids. Their engines use 25% less fuel than traditional powered generators. The company has raised $133 million to date.

A company with over 150 million users in 196 countries publishes online petitions. The company has raised $83 million to date.


A startup founded in 2002 creates products that help electric grid systems work efficiently. Varentec  claims that its devices can help utility operators reduce wasted voltage, manage peak power demands, and avoid overloading circuits. Gates has invested on multiple rounds and now the company has gathered a total of $41.9 million in venture capital.

Impossible Foods

A startup founded in 2011 which produces plant-based "meat." that aims to taste like the real thing. The similar meat flavour comes from an ingredient called heme. The ingredient also allows the meat to bleed like a regular beef burger. The burgers are now available at over 1,400 restaurants across New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. Impossible Foods has raised an estimated $387.5 million to date, with Bill Gates participating in three funding rounds that totalled $208 million from 2013 to 2017. 

If that wasn’t enough Gates has also invested in Memphis Meats, another meat-based company, growing "chicken," "duck," and "beef" from animal cells in a lab. To date the company has made lab-grown chicken strips, lab-grown meatballs, and lab-grown duck. The team expects to start offering its products to the public in 2021. In 2017, Gates was involved in a $17 million Series A funding round. He also invested in a third meat based start up called Beyond Meat in LA, in 2015. The Series E funding round totalled to $17 million.

‘Millionaire's Holiday Club’ Sold for £30m

Photo Credit:  NYC Tom

Photo Credit: NYC Tom

ITC travel, which arranges bespoke holiday packages for the super rich, was sold to equity firm NorthEdge in the multi-million pound deal. ITC was set up in 1974 to provide a luxury holiday service - It offers upmarket packages such as the Grand Prix and yachting in the Caribbean. It was previously featured on the BBC documentary ‘the Millionaires Holiday Club.’ 

NorthEdge have bought the majority share in the company, providing investment for improving its presence in the mainstream holiday market and upgrading its technology. “Our customers demand unique experiences in the world’s most exclusive destinations,” said ITC boss, Jen Atkinson. “We’ll also be looking to broaden our product offering beyond our current luxury and tailor-made proposition.” ITC was the first commercial travel firm to charter Concorde. 



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Drone Startup Raises $20million

Photo Credit: Peter Linehan

San Francisco based startup DroneDeploy secured $20 of investment to fund the expansion of their drone data management platform. The firm aims to help businesses get drones into the air. DroneDeploy’s technology is already used in 130 countries, across various sectors. The platform allows users to plan flights, pilot drones and create detailed 3-D maps.

Scale Venture Partners led the investments and founding partner Rory O’Driscoll will take a board seat with DroneDeploy. “DroneDeploy’s software can enable anyone from the smallest business to the largest corporation in the world to get commercial value out of drones” the investor said.


Octopus Investments launches Fintech Initiative for Startups

Photo Credit:  Davide D'Amico

Photo Credit: Davide D'Amico

The UK based fund management firm is looking to recruit start-ups for its new accelerator programme, with a promise to invest in those that prove successful. 

In an attempt to ‘rebuild the financial services sector’ the 12 week programme will provide mentoring and facilities as well as potential access to Octopus Investments’ distribution channels. The first product to emerge from the programme is a P2P lending platform called ‘Octopus Choice’. Richard Wazacz, head of Octopus Labs, says: “Octopus Labs takes the existing strengths of our business and adds a start-up dimension. The result is a powerful new force that will quickly develop new products and services to form part of the Octopus stable.”



Cambridge Startup Investment Firm Raises £75m before IPO

Photo Credit:  llee_wu

Photo Credit: llee_wu

The Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) was founded in 2013 and aims to commercialise science and technology from Cambridge university. The CIC has already invested £33m in university companies, as well as projects from the wider Cambridge technology cluster. Investments have been evenly divided between healthcare and technology sectors, included a company developing computer programs to decode genetic diseases and further artificial intelligence ventures. It aims to make individual investments of between £2-5m and predicts it will invest a total of £95m over the next 2-3 years. CEO Victor Christou, says that the business plans an initial public offering (IPO) the next 12-18 months, depending on market conditions.




Natural deodorant company succeeds after Shark Tank dismissal

Young entrepreneurs, Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank late last year, presenting their natural deodorant, PiperWai. The duo received scepticism from Mark Cuban and incredulity by Kevin O’Leary but weathered the storm to be awarded by Barbara Corcoran who offered $50,000 investment for a 25% share due to Edelstein and Ribner’s “enthusiasm, dedication and thoroughness”. Competing within a $4 billion industry where 60% of sales are dominated by Procter & Gamble and Unilever Home & Personal Care, PiperWai has a long battle ahead from its development in Edelstein’s Philadelphia kitchen. However, after the episode aired, PiperWais’ sales jumped to $1.8 million; much more than Corcoran’s predicted $20,000 jump. Today, PiperWai has revenue of approximately $3.5 million. Edelstein and Ribner have plans to cut costs by moving production to a large US manufacturer and developing a stick applicator product, as well as drafting up a full range of natural products.


Upcoming Event: World Alternative Investment Summit, Bermuda

The World Alternative Investment Summit conference will be hosted by Radius Financial Education, from September 28-30, 2016, at The Fairmont Southampton Hotel in Bermuda. Various senior asset managers, regulatory executives and investors from around the world with gather for the three-day summit hosted by former BNN anchor and media consultant Pat Bolland. Topics on the agenda include the impact of Brexit on the global economy, separating fact from fiction in a post-Panama Papers era, why Blockchain technology is ready to transform the internet, and important changes in finance litigation and more. Discussions and panels will provide insight for guests into some of the most pressing issues in today's global economy. Leisurely activities including a gold tournament and cocktail mixers will give guests the opportunity to network.


Verizon buys Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Photo Credit:  Mike Mozart

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart

Giant telecoms company, Verizon has officially acquired Yahoo’s core business, including advertising, content, search and mobile activities, for $4.83 billion. After acquiring AOL last year, Verizon’s plans are to merge AOL and Yahoo to form a bigger advertising and media subsidiary, enabling it to reach billions of internet and mobile users. 

Verizon aims to be more than just a telecoms company and is gearing up to compete with online advertising gods; Google and Facebook.


Technavio announces top 5 leading vendors

Photo Credit:  TechCrunch

Photo Credit: TechCrunch

In their most recent report, Technavio has announced the top five leading vendors of the global venture capitalist market for the period 2016-2020. Companies listed include Benchmark Capital, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Sequoia Capital and Union Square Ventures. The report states that venture capitalists have started investing more in healthcare robotics and defence drone manufacturing companies, revealing that more than $108 US million dollars was invested in nascent drone industries across startups and companies in 2015.


Self-driving startup secures $2.7m in funding

After reporting that experts were predicting self-driving startups would benefit from the Tesla incident, UK self-driving startup, FiveAI has secured $2.7 million in a funding round led by Amadeus Capital Partners with participation from Spring Partners and Notion Capital. FiveAI’s software, coupled with an array of sensors/cameras, aims to enable autonomous vehicles to safely and accurately navigate complex urban environments with much simpler maps than current, highly detailed, 3D mapping. FiveAI plans to use the funding to get to the simulator stage where supervised road testing can take place, after which, Co-founder and CEO Stand Boland will begin working with vehicle OEMs to develop production-ready software.


YCombinator recruits new batch of startups

Photo Credit:  Paul Miller

Photo Credit: Paul Miller

Dubbed one of the most successful accelerator programs in the world, being accepted in the YCombinator program in Silicon Valley is many startups’ dream. In its most recent recruitment process, YCombinator selected three Indian startups, the largest Indian representation in the program to date. The selected companies included co-working space, Innov8; car rental startup, JustRide; and an app for sellers on Facebook and Whatsapp, Meesho. Operating two programs every year, YCombinator hosts the startups for three months and invests a share of $120,000 for a 7% equity stake. At the end of the program, the startups get to pitch their concept to an audience of investors. The most popular companies to come out of YCombinator include Airbnb, Dropbox and Reddit.


VC for European startups has fallen

Research firm, Pitchbook has released figures that reveal venture capital funding for European technology startups has fallen by £1.1 billion. In the second quarter of 2015, total funding stood at £3.2 billion, in comparison the quarter that ended last week, where total funding equalled £2.1 billion. Although experts believe that the UK’s decision to leave the EU has had an impact, it is believed that VC’s are being more mindful and particular in 2016 of where they invest their money. Christian Miele, vice president of venture capital firm, said to Business Insider UK: "Clearly VCs (in the last quarter) were keen to only back the startups they perceived as being the most robust and filled with the most potential, an about-turn from the free-flowing investment seen in 2015."


Latest investment values Darktrace at £250m

Photo Credit:  Cyber-Andi

Photo Credit: Cyber-Andi

Darktrace, a company developing enterprise-level security that can detect previously unrecognised threats in real time, has just secured £49.3 million in a Series C round of funding led by private equity firm, KKRDarktraces’ Enterprise Immune System is what the investors are after. Able to detect and block threats without prior knowledge of what it’s looking for, Darktrace technology proactively helps companies defend themselves against increasing cyberattacks. Founded in 2013 by Nicole Eagan, Darktrace is one of the UK’s fastest growing startups and is now valued at £250 million.


Online GP service secures £2.5m investment

Photo Credit:  Perspecsys Photos

Photo Credit: Perspecsys Photos

Suleman Sacranie is an Entrepreneur in Residence at De Montfort University Leicester and CEO of The GP Service, an online tool which allows patients to order prescriptions and consult their GP online. Maven Capital Partners, a private equity fund, invested £2.5 million into the online platform. As GP appointment times get longer and people have less time to spend waiting for surgeries to open, The GP Service is capitalising on this niche industry with GP consultations being delivered live via video link direct, and prescriptions issued to the pharmacy of the registered user’s choice. The service operates daily from 7am to 8pm, providing UK residents with a convenient method of seeking reliable medical advice and treatment amid a demanding, modern lifestyle.