Author: Mike Butcher

Startup hub builder Factory plans gargantuan new campus in Lisbon

TECHCRUNCH This year Lisbon is roaring along with noted startups like Uniplaces, Aptoide, Farfetch, Seedrs and Unbabel putting the Portuguese capital on the map. Vast annual startup conference Web Summit arrived last year with 53,000 people, and entrepreneurs and investors have been increasingly eyeing-up the city as a viable alternative to equally cheap Berlin, especially since the government allowed existing businesses re-locating there to enjoy a 10 years tax-free welcome. But so what, right? Every city has its startups and champions. However, this time there’s a difference. Cities aren’t just competing on startups now, they are competing on startup...

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SF-based Grabr grabs $2.6M to scale its traveller-driven shopping community

TECHCRUNCH Grabr, an SF-based platform with a convenient way for people to buy international goods, has secured a $2.6M funding round led by SignalFire. FF Angel (Founders Fund’s early stage investment vehicle), Global Founders Capital and multiple angel investors including Diana Moldavsky and Charles Songhurst also participated. Grabr plans to use the cash to scale up its operations and attracting more travellers to its platform. Chris Farmer, founder and CEO of SignalFire says he was attracted to investing in the startup because: “Having grown up around the world, Grabr’s service resonated with me immediately as a way to effectively...

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Australia’s Expert360 raises $10M for its freelance consultant marketplace

TECHCRUNCH Freelance workers and consultants make up a third of the US workforce, but that figure is expected to approach 40 per cent according to some studies. And we know how big the overall gig economy is going to become. Thus, marketplaces which meet that need are going to continue to grow. Hence, this is probably why Expert360, an online marketplace to access and manage freelance consultant talent for enterprises, has now raised US$10 million. The company is based in Australia, and show’s the market there is booming, which is good timing for our new Battlefield event. AirTree Ventures,...

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Accountants, get worried — Rimilia raises $25m growth funding

TECHCRUNCH Currently large enterprises require large accounting teams to do what’s known as cash matching and credit collection. This is very manual stuff. Some of the ERP vendors (most notably SAP) have their own modules to do this, but in this world the big players are firms like Hanse Orga which is focused on Germany and the SAP ecosystem, and US players HighRadius and Billtrust. However, much of this work could be done with machine learning. So, look out accountants, because there’s a new kid on the block out to get you. Rimilia claims to improve the quality and...

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Amid a tough field, Vyking.io wins the TechCrunch London Pitch-Off

TECHCRUNCH Well the TechCrunch London Meetup + Pitch-Off in London is over for another year, and this one was arguably the best vintage ever in terms of quality of startups and the sheer enthusiasm from the attendees! Hundreds of startups entered the competition, creating a very competitive field. We packed out the Old Truman Brewery in East London with over 500 people, to hear the pitches of the companies selected, with the top three winners getting tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin. As with all TC meetups, the startups had just one minute to pitch their product (with no...

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Leading VC Tim Draper invests in Gravity’s ‘Iron Man’ flight suit, on a $100 bill

TECHCRUNCH You’re a bored former finance guy who decides one day to strap on some micro-jet engines and see if you can become Iron Man. Hey it happens all the time. Or maybe not. But that’s what British entrepreneur Richard Browning decided to do and just this year found himself demoing his ‘flight suit’ to venture capitalist Tim Draper in the parking lot of Boost VC. Moments later Draper — who invested in Baidu, Tesla and Skype — pulled out a $100 bill and wrote out a ‘term sheet’ for $650,000 with the words “Just make it better”. Adam...

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Zego raises £1M to give gig-economy drivers a pay-as-you-go insurance platform

TECHCRUNCH The gig economy, as we know, is big and just getting bigger. But companies like Uber and Deliveroo have a huge problem and it’s called insurance. How do you insure all these workers and how to the workers cover themselves in the gig economy? Step in Zego. This London startup has just raised just over £1 million in seed funding from investors, including LocalGlobe, with FTSE 100 company Aviva, for a product aimed at delivery drivers who use their cars, . Zego is an “insurtech” company – an insurance product distributed by a tech platform/app. The app manages...

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Mangrove raises $170M for its new fund to invest in Europe and Israeli startups

TECHCRUNCH Luxembourg-based Mangrove Capital Partners, one of Europe’s leading early stage venture capital firms, has raised $170M for its latest “Mangrove V Fund” to invest across Europe and Israel. The fund matches its previous funds, and, says the firm, was completed inside two months with 90 per cent coming from returning investors. Mangrove has been one of Europe’s most successful VCs, backing unicorns such as Skype and Wix.com. So far the firm has invested in over 130 companies since 2000. Mark Tluszcz, co-founder and CEO said in a statement: “We like to take big bets very early and support...

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