Author: Mike Butcher

Prisma adds to its armoury, integrating GagBot’s AI meme-generator

TECHCRUNCH Ever get stuck for that perfect gag-line on a photo of your friends? You want to turn even an ordinary photo into an internet meme, but maybe you just can’t think of that hilarious caption. Well, now you too can outsource your creative brain to the coming Artificial Intelligence overlords. Yes, indeed there is an app for that. Now Prisma — the photo-editing application that utilizes a neural network and AI to give artistic effect to an image — has integrated a startup’s AI to complement it’s growing list of tools. It’s clearly part of their ongoing strategy....

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Asset management startups using blockchain get their own trade body: MAMA

TECHCRUNCH An international consortium of leading asset management companies, investors, technology and service providers in the Blockchain ecosystem have formed a new industry organisation (if you consider blockchain tech to be an industry…) to “work towards a new vision for asset management using blockchain and other supporting decentralized technologies.” In other words, the asset management industry — which reached $84.9 trillion in value in 2016 and is predicted to almost double to hit $145.4 trillion in 2025 — is about to be massively disrupted by blockchain technologies, and pioneers in this space are clubbing together to promote the tech...

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Episode 1 rolls out new $81m seed-to-Series A fund, despite Brexit headwinds

TECHCRUNCH Episode 1 has been a stalwart of the early stage funding scene in London for the last few years, investing in successful startups like Carwow, Triptease and AimBrain. It’s now closed its second UK “seed-to-Series A” fund which generally aims to lead rounds of £500k to £2m. The fund is a £60m ($81m) Enterprise Capital Fund (ECF), raised with the support of the British Business Bank, the UK government’s economic development bank. Many UK funds are turning to the BBB in the wake of Brexit, which has effectively switched off the EU funding taps. Several new institutions including...

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Episode 1 rolls out new $81m seed-to-Series A fund, despite Brexit headwinds

Episode 1 has been a stalwart of the early stage funding scene in London for the last few years, investing in successful startups like Carwow, Triptease and AimBrain. It’s now closed its second UK “seed-to-Series A” fund which generally aims to lead rounds of £500k to £2m. The fund is a £60m ($81m) Enterprise Capital Fund (ECF), raised with the support of the British Business Bank, the UK government’s economic development bank. Many UK funds are turning to the BBB in the wake of Brexit, which has effectively switched off the EU funding taps. Several new institutions including Draper Esprit and ADV joined the ranks of the fund’s existing LPs. Draper Esprit, the publicly-listed VC firm based in London, announced its investment in Episode 1 back in October. Episode 1 said the new fund is 60% bigger than its first fund, and was oversubscribed, despite the uncertainty caused by things like Brexit. Founding Partner Simon Murdoch (pictured left) emphasizes that the “enormous amount of experience at Episode 1” — which includes his early stewardship of Amazon UK — is what attracts early stage founders to the fund. In June the fund invested in AimBrain, a London startup that offers “biometric identity” as a service to help fintech companies and other financial institutions fight fraud. Murdoch told me: “The macro environment is moving around a lot. I’m not a fan...

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Cambrian is the new kid on the block-chain investment scene

TECHCRUNCH Blockchain investment firms are the ‘new new thing’ in the investment world, not least European companies like kryptonite1 and neufund which are both appearing at TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin next week. If the internet came along in the 90s to move information assets around, blockchain technologies present potential for a variety of assets, with the potential to disrupt the financial services industry. Now there’s a new kid on the block-chain (badum-tish!). Cambrian Asset Management claims to have a new take on the space, employing a research-driven, rules-based system to manage a portfolio of digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum...

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Two giant European VCs want founders to give more equity to employees

TECHCRUNCH European VCs are getting tired, and who can blame them. Europe’s startup industry has boomed in the last ten years, and no-one can say it isn’t a world away from what it was in previous decades. However, European founders are consistently getting it wrong in how they allocate options and equity to staff. This is have a few major effects. It’s stopping startups from attractin the talent they need out of bog corprpates and the tech giants. It’s also constraining how the wealth is shared around on exit, and thus how many people go on to become entrepreneurs...

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The Nordic Web launches an Angel fund to find the region’s under-the-radar startups

TECHCRUNCH The Nordic Web, a research and analysis company which specialises in covering data on tech companies emerging out of the Nordic region, has started a new Angel fund. The fund will invest across Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Founder Neil Murray says ‘The Nordic Web Angel Fund’ plans to invest in 10-15 Nordic startups over the next 12 months. He claims this would make it one of the most active funds in the region. LPs backing the venture include some high profile names from the region such as Thomas Madsen-Mygdal (TwentyThree), Linda Liakus (Hello Ruby) and Johan...

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Here’s the schedule of our incredible breakout sessions at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin

TECHCRUNCH At Disrupt Berlin, we have a special treat for attendees who want to engage with our main stage speakers and other experts on the big topics in the tech and startup world. We call these Off the Record sessions (OTRs). Although technically not ‘off the record,’ they are a great opportunity to ask our speakers questions, as well as listen to the experts and a moderator talk in more depth about the topics they discussed with TechCrunch editors on the main stage. The format is a 45-minute, roundtable discussion that includes questions from the audience. Any regular Disrupt...

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