Graphcore founder Nigel Toon to talk about AI chips at Disrupt Berlin

It’s easy to forget that Silicon Valley starts with ‘silicon’, and that there would be no technology innovation without innovation at the silicon level. And Graphcore is well aware of that as the Bristol-based company is designing its own dedicated AI chipset. That’s why I’m glad to announce that Graphcore co-founder and CEO Nigel Toon is joining us at TechCrunch …

UK’s health data guardian sets a firm line for app development using patient data

The UK’s health data watchdog, the National Data Guardian (NDG), has published correspondence between her office and the national privacy watchdog which informed the ICO’s finding in 2017 that a data-sharing arrangement between an NHS Trust and Google-owned DeepMind broke the law. The exchange was published following a Freedom of Information request by TechCrunch. In fall 2015 the Royal Free …

N26 launches Shared Spaces and is now fully available in the US

Challenger bank N26 is announcing two things this week. First, the company lets you share sub-accounts with other N26 users in just a few taps. Second, after a limited beta test, the company is officially launching in the U.S. with open registration. Shared Spaces could be seen as an alternative to joint accounts. The feature could be particularly useful for …

Workspace provider Knotel secures $400M, putting it in WeWork’s rear-view mirror

While some analysts are calling WeWork’s IPO filing as a ‘masterpiece of obfuscation’ and the esteemed tech observer Professor Scott Galloway simply calls it “WeWTF” There is another company which is coming up fast in the “WeViewMirror” – if you will – and that’s Knotel. Also a ‘flexible workspace provider’ Knotel has reversed the WeWork model and instead of “We” …

Europe’s top data protection regulator, Giovanni Buttarelli, has died

Europe’s data protection supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, has died. His passing yesterday, aged 62, was announced by his office today — which writes: It is with the deepest regret that we announce the loss of Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor. Giovanni passed away surrounded by his family in Italy, last night, 20 August 2019. We are all profoundly saddened …

LA-based gaming company, Scopely, expands in Spain and Ireland

The Los Angeles-based gaming company Scopely is expanding its geographical footprint in Spain and Ireland. The company is building out its Barcelona offices, tripling its office space and planning to significantly expand its 100-person-strong team in the city. Meanwhile, Scopely is also planning to invest heavily in expanding its strategy-focused game studio, DIGIT, in Dublin. Scopely didn’t say how many …

SpotQA picks up $3.25M seed funding for its automated software testing

SpotQA, a new automated software testing platform that claims to be significantly faster than either manual testing or existing automated QA solutions, has raised $3.25 million in seed funding. Leading the round is Crane Venture Partners, the newly-outed London venture capital firm focusing on “intelligent” enterprise startups. Also participating is Forward Ventures, Downing Ventures and Acequia Capital. Founded in 2016 …

HPE Growth backs WeTransfer in €35M secondary funding round

WeTransfer, the Amsterdam-headquartered company that is best know for its file-sharing service, is disclosing a €35 million secondary funding round. The investment is led by European growth equity firm, HPE Growth, with “significant” participation from existing investor Highland Europe. Being secondary funding — meaning that a number of shareholders have sold all or a portion of their holding — no …

Privacy researchers devise a noise-exploitation attack that defeats dynamic anonymity

Privacy researchers in Europe believe they have the first proof that a long-theorised vulnerability in systems designed to protect privacy by aggregating and adding noise to data to mask individual identities is no longer just a theory. The research has implications for the immediate field of differential privacy and beyond — raising wide-ranging questions about how privacy is regulated if …

US legislator, David Cicilline, joins international push to interrogate platform power

US legislator David Cicilline will be joining the next meeting of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and ‘Fake News’, it has been announced. The meeting will be held in Dublin on November 7. Chair of the committee, the Irish Fine Gael politician Hildegarde Naughton, announced Cicilline’s inclusion today. The congressman — who is chairman of the US House Judiciary …

WebKit’s new anti-tracking policy puts privacy on a par with security

WebKit, the open source engine that underpins Internet browsers including Apple’s Safari browser, has announced a new tracking prevention policy that takes the strictest line yet on the background and cross-site tracking practices and technologies which are used to creep on Internet users as they go about their business online. Trackers are technologies that are invisible to the average web …

Flatfair, the ‘deposit-free’ renting platform, raises $11M led by Index Ventures

Flatfair, a London-based fintech that lets landlords offer “deposit-free” renting to tenants, has raised $11 million in funding. The Series A round is led by Index Ventures, with participation from Revolt Ventures, Adevinta, Greg Marsh (founder of Onefinestay), Jeremy Helbsy (former Savills CEO) and Taavet Hinrikus (TransferWise co-founder). With the new capital, Flatfair says it plans to hire a “significant” …

Oyo to invest $335M in vacation rental business in Europe push

Indian budget hotel booking startup Oyo will invest 300 million euros ($335 million) in its vacation home rental business, it said Wednesday, as it looks to expand its footprint in Europe and possibly closely compete with global giant Airbnb, one of its investors. The Gurgaon-based startup, which acquired Amsterdam-based holiday rental company Leisure in May this year and rebranded it …

Business management startup vCita acquires email marketing tool WiseStamp

Just a couple of months after disclosing a $15 million round of funding, vCita, the business management SaaS for SMEs, has made an acquisition: It’s acquiring WiseStamp, a veteran of the Israeli startup scene that launched its email marketing tool a decade ago. Unsurprisingly, terms of the deal remain undisclosed. However, I understand that vCita has acquired WiseStamp as a …

Dostavista, the ‘crowdsourced’ same-day delivery service, raises $15M Series B

Dostavista, the “crowdsourced” same-day delivery service founded in Russia but operating in several countries, has raised a $15 million Series B. Leading the round is Vostok New Ventures, with participation from existing investors Flashpoint, and Addventure. Founded in 2012 by Mike Alexandrovski, after he initially considered creating a game where players would be asked to deliver virtual items before pivoting …

London edtech startup pi-top sees layoffs after major contract loss

London-based edtech startup Pi-Top has cut a number of staff, TechCrunch has learned. According to our sources the company has reduced its headcount in recent weeks, with staff being told cuts are a result of restructuring as it seeks to implement a new strategy. One source told us Pi-Top recently lost out on a large education contract. Another source said …

Deliveroo is exiting the German market

UK on-demand food delivery startup Deliveroo is pulling the plug on its service in Germany. The startup expanded into the market more than four years ago. But in an email sent to users it writes that — “regrettably” — it will be exiting Germany on August 16. “This was not an easy decision and one we have not taken lightly,” …

Most EU cookie ‘consent’ notices are meaningless or manipulative, study finds

New research into how European consumers interact with the cookie consent mechanisms which have proliferated since a major update to the bloc’s online privacy rules last year casts an unflattering light on widespread manipulation of a system that’s supposed to protect consumer rights. As Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018, bringing in a tough …

Amazon’s lead EU data regulator is asking questions about Alexa privacy

Amazon’s lead data regulator in Europe, Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection, has raised privacy concerns about its use of manual human reviews of Alexa AI voice assistant recordings. A spokesman for the regulator confirmed in an email to TechCrunch it is discussing the matter with Amazon, adding: “At this stage, we cannot comment further about this case as we …

Apple is under formal antitrust probe in Russia

Make way for another antitrust investigation into big tech. Step forward Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), which has opened an official probe of Apple — following a complaint lodged in March by security company Kaspersky Labs. Kaspersky’s complaint to FAS followed a change in Apple’s policy towards a parental control app it offers, called Kaspersky Safe Kids. Discussing the complaint …

The UK’s National Health Service is launching an AI lab

The UK government has announced it’s rerouting £250M (~$300M) in public funds for the country’s National Health Service (NHS) to set up an artificial intelligence lab that will work to expand the use of AI technologies within the service. The Lab, which will sit within a new NHS unit tasked with overseeing the digitisation of the health and care system …

MUBI founder Efe Cakarel is coming to Disrupt Berlin

Most entrepreneurs who have tried to compete with Netflix have failed. But Efe Cakarel isn’t one of them. As the founder and CEO of Mubi, he has created a beloved movie streaming service. That’s why I’m excited to announce that Mubi founder Efe Cakarel is joining us at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin. Mubi has been around for more than a decade. …

Stock trading app Robinhood gets UK broker license

Robinhood, the Silicon Valley-based stock trading app that was recently valued by investors at $7.6 billion, has received regulatory approval in the U.K., breaking cover on its plans to set up shop in London (as reported exclusively by TechCrunch 7 months ago). Specifically, Robinhood International Ltd., a Robinhood subsidiary, has been authorised to operate as a broker (with some restrictions) …

Twitter ‘fesses up to more adtech leaks

Twitter has disclosed more bugs related to how it uses personal data for ad targeting that means it may have shared users data with advertising partners even when a user had expressly told it not to. Back in May the social network disclosed a bug that in certain conditions resulted in an account’s location data being shared with a Twitter …

DeepCode gets $4M to feed its AI-powered code review tool

DeepCode, a Swiss startup that’s using machine learning to automate code reviews, has closed a $4M seed round, led by European VC firm Earlybird, with participation from 3VC and existing investor btov Partners. The founders described the platform as a sort of ‘Grammarly for coders’ when we chatted to them early last year. At the they were bootstapping. Now they’ve …

Facebook still full of groups trading fake reviews, says consumer group

Facebook has failed to clean up the brisk trade in fake product reviews taking place on its platform, an investigation by the consumer association Which? has found. In June both Facebook and eBay were warned by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) they needed to do more to tackle the sale of fake product reviews. On eBay sellers were …

Penta, the German business banking startup, raises €8M additional funding

Penta, the business banking provider for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that was recently acquired by fintech company builder Finleap, has raised “over” €8 million in new funding. The round is led by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures. Also participating is Finleap, alongside Fabrick, the Italian platform for open banking and fintech services, which is another of Penta’s existing shareholders. The …