The Bulletin
17H
UK will be the first European country to launch spacecrafts from home soil
The UK has announced a new regulatory framework that will allow the country to become the first European country to launch satellites and spacecraft from home soil. The first UK space flight is expected to launch next year, after the new rules come into force. The Department of Transport said the space industry has "a potential £4bn of market opportunities over the next decade".
19H
Biofourmis' heart failure digital therapy receives FDA breakthrough device designation
Digital therapeutics company Biofourmis's BiovitalsHF, a platform designed for heart failure medication monitoring, received an FDA breakthrough device designation. BiovitalsHF helps patients adjust the dosage of their medications accurately using a wearble device. Currently, less than 1% of heart failure patients receive the optimal dose of their medication on a regular basis.
1D
Exo raises $200m to build affordable ultrasound devices
California-based startup Exo has raised $220m in its latest Series C financing aimed at commercializing its affordable handheld ultrasound device and point-of-care workflow platform. The round was led by RA Capital Management. While the average cost of an ultrasound machine is between $40,000 and several million depending on the tech's precision, Exo’s device will be around the cost of a laptop.
1D
City of Vaughan, Canada, to implement smart street lighting programme
The Canadian City of Vaughan, Ontario, has announced a smart streetlight programme that aims to improve road safety reduce energy consumption and emissions. Vaughan will replace its 23,000 streetlights with energy-efficient LEDs combined with Telensa wireless controls. The project is backed by the City’s Corporate Energy Fund, and it is expected to achieve $1m in annual cost savings.
2D
France will pay citizens to swap cars for e-bikes
France is planning to become the world’s first country to offer drivers a chance to trade in their old cars for a 2,500 euro credit that can be used to purchase an electric bike. It is part of France's plan to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 2030. “The solution is not to make cars greener, but simply to reduce their number,” said a spokesperson from the French Federation of Bicycle Users.
2D
Patchwork Health raises £3.5m to improve hospital management
Patchwork Health, a digital platform that helps hospitals to fill vacant shifts and offer staff flexible working has raised £3.5m from Praetura Ventures and BMJ New Ventures, the investment arm of BMJ. Founded in 2016 by NHS doctors Anas Nader and Jing Ouyang, the platform is now used by over 70 NHS sites. Currently, the NHS has 90,000 vacancies and 1 in 5 staff are suffering from burnout.
3D
BioNTech to use mRNA tech to develop malaria vaccine
Germany's BioNTech has announced its plans to use the mRNA-based technology it developed to create the COVID-19 vaccine to prevent the spread of malaria. BioNTech aims to start clinical testing by the end of 2022. The WHO and the EU have been involved in the early planning phase of the new vaccine and offered to help identify and set up the necessary infrastructure.
3D
EV subscription service Onto raises $175m
The UK’s Onto, a subscription service for electric vehicles (EVs), has raised $175m in a Series B round. Founded in 2017, Onto allows drivers to rent EVs via a subscription model, taking away the need for deposits and long-term commitments. The company, which is partnered with Tesla Supercharger, Shell Recharge, InstaVolt and BP Pulse, says it will use the funding to expand further within the UK.
3D
Disinformation and online harm detection platform reaches $500m valuation
ActiveFence is a startup with a mission: to target online abuse, disinformation, fraud and other malicious content. The company has built a tech platform that can quickly identify these threats and help trust and safety teams combat them. The startup, co-headquartered in New York and Tel Aviv, has raised $100m in its latest funding round, reaching a valuation of over $500m.
4D
Jeff Bezos willing to cover $2bn NASA costs in exchange for lunar landing contract
Amazon and Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos has offered to cover billions of dollars of NASA costs in exchange for a contract to build a lunar lander to land astronauts on the moon in an open letter to the organisation. Blue Origin would also fund its own pathfinder mission to low-Earth orbit, according to the letter. In return, the company requested a fixed-priced contract from the government agency.
4D
Amazon opens investigation into gender bias accusations in its cloud division
Amazon has hired a law firm to investigate accusations of gender discrimination in its AWS cloud computing unit. The decision was taken after over 550 workers signed a petition that described AWS'"underlying culture of systemic discrimination, harassment, bullying, and bias against women and under-represented groups." Last May, five employees sued the company for racial and gender discrimination.
4D
Toronto to turn green bin waste into natural gas that will power vehicles
The city of Toronto has announced an innovative project in which they will transform green bin waste into renewable natural gas to help fuel the city. The energy will be used to heat city-owned buildings and power city vehicles in early 2022. Mayor John Tory said the project "will play an important role in helping us reach our TransformTO goal of becoming net-zero by 2050 or sooner."
7D
New US bill would hold tech platforms accountable for sharing COVID-19 misinformation
US Senator Amy Klobuchar has introduced a new bill that would hold social media platforms responsible for the spread. of misinformation related to public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would revoke the protections internet companies have under Section 230. “For far too long, online platforms have not done enough to protect the health of Americans,” Klobuchar said.
7D
DeepMind publishes AI software predict shape of all human proteins
DeepMind researchers have published the AI software they have developed to understand and predict the shapes of all human proteins. Researchers used a program called AlphaFold to predict the structures of 350,000 proteins. "This work represents the most significant contribution AI has made to advancing the state of scientific knowledge to date," said Dr Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind.
8D
Mercedes-Benz to invest more than €40bn into EVs
Mercedes-Benz says it will plough €40bn into electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 as it plans to sell only EVs by 2030. The German carmaker says it will build eight new battery plants, and that from 2025 all new vehicle platforms will make only EVs. "We really want to go for it...and be dominantly, if not all electric, by the end of the decade," Chief Executive Ola Källenius told Reuters.
8D
Yoobic builds communications app to support frontline workers
Yoobic has raised $50m to develop an app for frontline and service workers to manage tasks, communicate with each other and management, and also go through training, development and other e-learning tasks. The Series C funding round was led by Highland Europe. Currently, there are 2.7 billion frontline and service workers globally, accounting for no less than 80% of the world’s workforce.
8D
Aruna raises $35m to help small fisheries in Indonesia
Aruna, a platform that connects small fisheries and promotes sustainable fishing in Indonesia, has raised $35m in Series A funding. Aruna’s mission is to create a sustainable and fair fisheries ecosystem, and helps small suppliers adhere to the UN’s sustainability targets. Aruna’s platform helps to shorten the supply chain to prevent overfishing and predict demand.
8D
IBM and Amadeus integrate health platforms to ensure safe travelling
IBM and Spain's Amadeus are collaborating to help travel companies check COVID-19 health documentation. Amadeus will integrate IBM's digital health pass into its Traveler ID platform. The aim is to simplify the verification of passengers' health credentials and to "help airlines feel confident the health credentials added are valid," said Greg Land, head of IBM's travel and transportation sector.
9D
Tesla to make EV chargers available to other cars
Tesla will allow other electric vehicles (EVs) to use its superchargers, it has revealed. “We’re making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year,” Elon Musk said in a tweet. Tesla has over 25,000 superchargers across the globe but they have only been available to Tesla owners which has seen a rise in EV charging manufacturers.
9D
Phononic gets $50m from Goldman Sachs
A company which uses semiconductors to efficiently run cooling appliances like air conditioning units and fridges has raised $50m in funding from Goldman Sachs. Phononic's technology could replace the damaging chemicals that are widely used. The company, which is now said to be worth in excess of $500m, will use the cash to increase manufacturing and to explore new markets.
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10D
ChargePoint to acquire has.to.be for $295m
Leading electric vehicle charging network operator ChargePoint has acquired Volkswagen-backed has.to.be, which has built a software platform for managing EV charging. Once completed, the transaction will be worth $295m and will see ChargePoint integrate has.to.be's technology into its operations. ChargePoint says it has delivered more than 92 million charging sessions since launching in 2007.
10D
Quit Genius lands $64m to scale its addiction therapy platform
Quit Genius is aiming to scale its addiction therapy platform after raising $64m in new funding. The platform combines virtual behavioural therapy with approved medication for those fighting different types of addiction. Revenues grew ten-fold last year, and Quit Genius now partners with 55 employer and health plan clients. The Series B funding round was co-led by Kinnevik and Atomico.
11D
Doktor.se secures $34.8m in Tencent funding
Swedish healthtech startup Doktor.se has been backed by Tencent. It has raised $34.8m from the Chinese technology giant, just a matter of weeks after completing a funding round of $59m. Doktor.se wants to expand by buying physical healthcare services to integrate into its digital platforms. It is the second-most downloaded app of its kind in Europe, and completed over 1.2m consultations in 2020.
11D
Indoor farming startup Rise Gardens nets $9m
Rise Gardens, a Chicago-based indoor hydroponic company, has raised $9m in Series A funding. Rise Gardens uses IoT to allow costumers to grow vegetables, microgreens and herbs indoors. Since launching in 2019, Rise has sold almost 100,000 plants, and its says it has saved 250,000 gallons of water and 2,000 pounds of food. The funding round was left by TELUS Ventures.
11D
Blackstone pays $250m for majority stake in edtech startup Simplilearn
Private equity firm Blackstone is investing $250m in edtech startup Simplilearn. The cash injection will give Blackstone a majority stake in the company. Simplilearn offers online bootcamps for users to learn data science, cloud, AI and machine learning skills. "This is the most opportune time to take the next big leap in our journey," said its CEO. Blackstone also recently invested in Byju's.
14D
AWS launches service for health data
AWS has announced the general availability of Amazon HealthLake, a new service dedicated to the healthcare sector. Healthcare and life sciences organisations will now be able to ingest, store and analyse their data at scale through the AWS cloud. HealthLake offers the capability to pool healthcare data from different systems. A spokesperson said AWS wants to remove the "heavy lifting".
14D
Gourmey raises $10m for lab-grown ethical foie gras
Gourmey, a French slaughter-free foie gras maker, has received $10m in seed funding. The startup, which is planning to launch at the end of 2022 or early 2023, uses real animal cells to grow poultry products in its lab. It makes cell-based foie gras from duck egg cells. Foie Gras is banned in several countries due to ethical concerns, but Gourmey's slaughter-free process will change that.
14D
Instagram apologises for not removing racist content
Instagram has admitted its technology failed to remove some racist comments and emojis. Following the public outcry over the racist abuse aimed at England footballers Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford following the final of Euro 2020, Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri admitted that the tech used to prioritise reports “mistakenly” labelled some of the abuse as within guidelines.
14D
UK researchers measure 'Earth's pulse' to improve earthquake prediction
A team of UK researchers will deploying 50 highly sensitive seismometres on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean to measure the 'Earth's pulse' and improve scientific understandings of seismic activity. The tools will be placed across a region encompassing the Canary Islands, the Azores and Madeira and will detect vibrations caused by seismic waves to shed light on the causes of volcanic eruptions.
14D
GM reveals charging service for commercial EVs
General Motors has announced a new fleet charging service to accelerate the adoption of commercial electric vehicles. Ultium Charge 360 has been developed by BrightDrop, the GM division dedicated to the EV revolution. It is an ecosystem of tools designed to optimise the management of an electric fleet. Schneider Electric are involved in the project. GM aims to reach one million EV sales by 2025.
15D
Researchers develop AI to support a better night's sleep
The University of Sheffield has developed artificial intelligence which it says can support people getting a better night's sleep. Researchers say the tech can monitor snoring levels and identify sleep disorders. It is being made commercially available via an iOS app called SoundSleep. Approximately 2.5 million people in the UK suffer from sleep disorder conditions.
15D
Dubai-based healthtech firm Selfologi raises $17.5m
A healthtech firm focussed on delivering cosmetic treatments has raised $17.5 in new investment. Selfologi's platform is designed as a one-stop shop for patients to learn about treatments and book appointments. The company is based in Dubai, and its round was led by angel investor Tamer A Wali in participation with Xenel International group. Selfologi now wants to scale its services.
15D
Divergent Investment launches $10m neurodiversity health and education tech initiative
Former VC and startup CEO Amol Deshpande has launched Divergent Investments, a $10m ufnd of his own capital to invest in neurodiversity-focused startups. The fund will invest in early-stage technology companies focused on helping people across the neurodiversity sector, not exclusively autism, including treatments for disorders, and related areas like family-oriented healthcare and education.
15D
Qwake uses AR to help first-responders see through fire
San Francisco-based startup Qwake Technologies is working on developing a hardware augmented reality headset named C-THRU to help firefighters and first-responders see through fire. The device scans its surroundings and uploads key environmental data to the cloud. The company has recently secured a $1.4m contract from the Department of Homeland Security and raised $5.5m in financing.
16D
Apple commits more than $1bn to fight California housing crisis
Apple says it has deployed more than $1bn to fight the housing crisis in California. According to the Silicon Valley giant, it has helped "thousands" of locals onto the housing ladder. Apple created the fund in 2019 and aims to spend $2.5bn in total. "We’re proud our work has made a tangible impact," said Kristina Raspe, Apple’s vice president for Global Real Estate and Facilities.
16D
WHO releases new gene editing tech guidance
The World Health Organization has released new guidelines regarding human genome editing. The recommendations aim to ensure the ethical and equitable use of the technology. “Human genome editing has the potential to advance our ability to treat and cure disease. But the full impact will only be realised if we deploy it for the benefit of all people,” says WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
16D
Peru's indigenous communities use technology to reduce tree loss in Amazon
A new study has shown how indigenous communities can leverage technology to curb deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. The participants of the study were given smartphones and satellite data to monitor illegal deforestation. They were able to reduce tree losses by half in the first year of the project. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
16D
Discord buys Sentropy to detect online harassment
Discord has acquired Sentropy, the company behind a tool which fights harassment on Twitter. Sentropy uses AI to monitor networks and offer users a method to block individuals and filter messages. Its products will be integrated into Discord's current toolkit. The Discord online chat platform has 150 million monthly users but currently relies on an in-house moderation team.
17D
Carbon-tracking software company Vaayu raises $1.6m
Vaayu, a carbon-tracking platform aimed specifically at retailers has recently raised $1.57 million in pre-seed funding. The round was led by CapitalT, with participation from Atomico’s Angel Program and Planet Positive LP. The fashion industry is currently responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions. Vaayu wants to help them measure, monitor, and reduce their carbon footprint at scale.
17D
Quantexa lands $153m to fight fraud and money laundering
Quantexa, which uses AI to fight fraud and money laundering, has raised $153m from a Series D funding round. The round values Quantexa at $900m. "We’ve diversified outside of financial services and working with government, healthcare, telcos and insurance," said the company's founder. Quantexa's platform provides an organisation with a contextual view of internal and external data.
18D
Kaikeba closes $93m Series B1
Vocational education platform Kaikeba has raised $93m from a Series B1 funding round. Previously focused on IT-related courses, Chinese firm Kaikeba wants to expand into disciplines such as design, data intelligence and engineering. Its platform offers live video classes, pre-recorded sessions and an online community. Kaikeba didn't disclose the identity of any of the investors.
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18D
Volvo increases shares in EV maker Polestar
Volvo has upped its holdings in electric vehicle maker Polestar to 49.5%. Both Volvo and Polestar are controlled by Chinese carmaker Geely. It follows an April funding round that raised $550m for Polestar. "The move reflects Volvo Cars' strong conviction in Polestar's positioning and exciting potential in the high growth segment for premium electric vehicles," said Volvo in a statement.
18D
London launches 'bootcamp' to improve public sector data science skills
London's local government has launched a digital skills bootcamp to upskill public sector workers. It specifically wants to increase officers’ data science capabilities. Increasingly, London's decision-makers are looking to take a data-driven approach to policy-making. Fifteen individuals have been selected for an initial pilot. The programme will combine technical training with mentoring.
18D
UK designer presents pollution-eating car
Thomas Heatherwick, an award-winning English designer and architect, has created a new electric car that he claims can clear the air of pollution as it drives. The car, named Airo, was shown off at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The vehicle is hoped to go into production in China by 2023. Heatherwick said the car will "collect a tennis ball worth of particulate matter per year".
18D
Taiwanese tech giants to buy and donate 10m COVID vaccines
Taiwanese major technology manufacturers Foxconn and TSMC have signed a deal to buy 10 million doses of a COVID vaccine that they plan to donate to the country's health authority. The deal sidesteps months of complicated geopolitical negotiations between Beijing and Taipei. The companies will pay $35 million to German manufacturer BioNTech for the vaccines to slow down COVID infection rates.
21D
Otsuka and Holmusk to leverage data and AI for behavioural health
Otsuka and Holmusk have agreed a three-year partnership to enhance behavioural health programmes with data analytics and AI. They aim to develop a "deeper understanding" of patient needs based on real-world data sources. The collaboration could be worth up to $4m every year. "Otsuka remains committed to supporting mental health," said a spokesperson from the pharma company.
21D
EU fines Volkswagen and BMW $1bn over emissions technology
The European Commission has fined several German automakers $1bn for their involvement in an emissions carter. According to the EU, Volkswagen Group and BMW between 2009 and 2014 colluded with Daimler to hold back the development of technology that could have reduced harmful emissions from their vehicles. Daimler has evaded fines by being the one that revealed the existence of the cartel.
21D
Nio aims for 4,000 battery swapping stations by 2025
EV maker Nio has pledged to build 4,000 battery swapping stations worldwide by 2025. The Chinese firm says 700 will be constructed by the end of this year. Swapping stations allows drivers to swap batteries and extend journey times. President Qin Lihong made the commitment at an event on Friday. Nio was founded in 2014 and later this year will begin building EVs in Europe for the first time.
22D
German environment ministry to fine Tesla
The environment ministry for Brandenburg is preparing to fine Tesla for illegal building at its planned car factory near Berlin. The ministry claims that Tesla had built tanks on unauthorised land, next to the construction site of Tesla’s Gigafactory. Tesla has not responded to the reports. Construction at the site began in early 2020, and will initially produce Model Y vehicles.
22D
Stellantis to pump $35bn into electric vehicle shift
Stellantis, the car company formed from last year's merger between Fiat Chrysler and PSA, has laid out its electric vehicle investment plans. It will spend $35bn over the next four years to electrify its fleet. "The group is at full speed on its electrification journey," said CEO Carlos Tavares. The cash will also be spent on software development and equity investments in joint ventures.