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".


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.

London Based Startup Gets $6m in Series A Funding

Dice, a music ticketing service that specifically targets millennials, received support from White Star Capital, Designer Fund and Kima Ventures in a series A funding round. The startup plans to use the funds to expand its service across Europe and North America. “Dice is a long­-term focused business and we’re solving hard problems around ticketing. We’re removing the barriers for real fans who are fed up of high ticket fees and limited access to primary tickets” said Phil Hutcheon, founder and CEO. Dice sources tickets directly from artists and is producing a specialised algorithm for personalised recommendations.



African Startups Head to Silicon Valley for Innovation Tour

The five companies were picked from 30 in the DEMO Africa Lions programme and will travel to California to see how US equivalents are organised. “These companies have a global appeal and have the highest potential to becoming global companies,” said Stephen Ozoigbo, CEO of African Technology Foundation. The 5 startups represent Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The finalists include solar energy firm, Strauss Energy, and Mediabox - a South African company that promises to turn any existing TV into a smart device. The tour lasts for two weeks and aims to build business relationships between the US and Africa.


Silicon Valley Startups Tighten Up to Avoid Crash

Photo Credit:  Patrick Nouhallier

Photo Credit: Patrick Nouhallier

Silicon valley startups appear to have avoided a predicted crash, by streamlining production and cutting unnecessary expenditure. Last year, many investors and tech specialists were convinced that the industry boom of recent times had seen huge gains for startups that could not possibly be maintained and that a crash was imminent. It was thought that startups would over expand and thus eventually crash. Companies responded by making staff cuts, simplifying their product lines and removing staff perks.  “The start-up world did heed the warnings,” said Max Levchin, a former employee and co founder of PayPal.


Microsoft Acquires AI startup Genee

Photo Credit:  Mike Mozart

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart

The IT giant announced this week that it has acquired the firm as part of a wider effort to imbed more artificial intelligence (AI) in its products. Genee is a virtual assistant app that competes with Apple’s Siri, using chat bots and a decision making algorithm to schedule meetings between users and groups. It can potentially be integrated with Microsoft’s own Cortana virtual assistant, which competes with Siri and Google Now, both of which already have enhanced scheduling capabilities. Vice president of Microsoft's Outlook and Office 365 business, Rajesh Jha, explained that Genee is a startup that provided a virtual assistant for scheduling appointments and the acquisition will help building new Office 365 productivity services and capabilities. Genee was founded in 2014 by Ben Cheung and Charles Lee, both of whom will now join Microsoft.


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.


Therapy Box Awarded Best Digital SME at Talent Unleashed Global Awards

Francesco Costarelli, Global Winner Best Digital SME with Woz.jpg

London based Therapy Box  was the only UK firm to receive an award at this year's Talent Unleashed Global Awards. The start-up provides mobile speech and communications solutions to assist people with learning difficulties, such as those with dyslexia. Apple co-founder and supporter of the awards, Steve Wozniak stated: “We often suffice with ‘adequate’ – any voice will do. But Therapy Box focuses on the person and their own voice. Technology should adapt to let humans be humans, not vice versa. What a beautiful concept." 

Talent Unleashed Global is an awards ceremony hosted by IT and recruitment firm, Talent International. The awards aim to celebrate start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs dedicated to transforming business through technological innovation. Therapy Box representatives now have the opportunity to travel to Silicon Valley for a tour of leading technology companies and a consultation with Wozniak himself.

“The Talent Unleashed awards represent people who have had ideas, started companies and created products that either do good for society, help people and give us more in our life.”  

- Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak



Irish Biometrics Startup Nominated for Fintech award

Photo Credit:  Osseous

Photo Credit: Osseous

B-Secur develops technology for cardiac based biometric authentication and has been nominated for an award in the category of ‘Best Innovation in Financial Services’ at the Dot IE Net Visionary Awards.  The technology developed by B-Secur will take heart signature readings through a user's finger tips. B-Secur has already secured strong investments, as cardiac authentication potentially offers a higher level of security due to the difficulty in emulating another person's unique heart patterns. Financial firms are excited by this prospect, as the industry moves closer to biometric technologies. The best Innovation category of the Dot IE Visionary awards “highlights the best technological innovations around financial services and institutions from Irish businesses, and we’re proud to be named among some great businesses.”





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.




London Startup to Produce Driverless Cars by 2019

Photo Credit:  Automobile Italia

Photo Credit: Automobile Italia

London based FiveAI raised over £2m in July and claims it will have driverless cars on the road in 2019 - two years earlier than predicted by Ford or BMW. The company believes its advanced machine learning system will give it an advantage over competitors. The vehicle would use an array of sensors to accurately assess it’s surroundings, without relying on high resolution 3d maps. This will however, mean that FiveAI’s car will require more on-board processing power than systems designed by competitors, such as Google. Company founder, Stan Bolan, is the former CEO of chip designer Element14 and founder of mobile technology firm Icera, which he sold to Nvidia for $367m in 2011. Bolan says that the first batch of vehicles will be limited to city perimeters, until consumers are ‘ready’ for fully free roaming vehicles.


Cookies P2P payments launches in Germany

Photo Credit:  Warren R.M. Stuart

Photo Credit: Warren R.M. Stuart

Cookies, a Berlin-based start-up, has released a beta version of its mobile payments app to selected users. The app allows users to send and request payments using only a contact email or mobile number. Security is maintained by requiring a PIN or fingerprint for each transaction. Founded by Lamine Cheloufi and Garry Krugljakow—both former employees of digital banking firm N26—Cookies’ USP is its communication feature, which allows users to chat via an instant messenger service associated with each transaction. The firm claims that the app is compatible with all German banks, but It is unclear if or when they plan to launch it worldwide.



Wileyfox has strong plans to outdo the big companies

The UK-based startup, Wileyfox, recently launched its third device, Spark, in its continued bid to compete within the ever-demanding smartphone market. Providing low-cost handsets that are built in China, the Wileyfox Spark uses Android technology with Cyanogen OS, sold for £89.99. CEO Nick Muir claims that “there are a number of tier-one manufacturers whose business model is not sustainable as it stands”. Muir claims that without the “glass offices, sporting contracts or legacy pensions,” Wileyfoxs’ lean business model will help it compete with the industry giants. 


Europe’s largest tech innovation centre to open in London

As part of the joint venture between DV4, Delancey’s evergreen investment fund and ENTIQ, Europe’s largest technology innovation centre will encompass the 1.2 million square feet Here East campus at the Olympic Park in London. With a soft launch in October and an expected official launch in January 2017, the Innovation Centre will support 500 on-site members from across sport, health, fashion, design and IoT startups. Services that it will provide include accelerator and incubation programmes, practical entrepreneurship education, prototyping facilities and a technology lab, as well as access to funding opportunities.


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.


10 fastest growing fintech startups in UK

Now valued at £20 billion, the fintech industry in Europe is said to be booming and many experts tend to state the UK as being at the epicentre of it all. As both a well-established financial centre and Europe’s leading tech city, London is vastly considered the largest producer of fintech startups. According to recent data compiled by recruitment finance provider, Sonovate, these are the UK’s 10 fastest growing fintech startups.

Tandem Bank, NoviCap, Atom Bank, Thought Machine, Onfido, Sonovate, Digital Shadows, TransferWise, DoPay, Receipt Bank.