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This Week in London Startups - Issue #24, 12th October 2021

This Week in London Startups - Issue #24, 12th October 2021
By London Startup Club • Issue #24 • View online

In the last few weeks as I’ve commuted into central London for work I’ve noticed my trains have been getting busier and busier - gone are the days where I sat in the same spot. Most days I’m standing for the entire journey - back to the pre-covid days.
Return to work is still a big topic for many companies as we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, finding the balance between what is in the company’s best interest and employees.
In June, Amazon announced that it will require employees to come back to the office at least 50% of the time with the aim to return to an office-centric work culture once again.
But just yesterday new CEO Andy Jassy released this memo changing Amazon’s stance to be a team-based approach - where team directors will determine policies.
More and more companies seem to be taking this approach, ultimately leaving in the hands of team leaders to make the call and take responsibility for any changes (good or bad) in performance or results.
Haris Qureshi, Editor & Co-Founder @ London Startup Club
Top News
  • Aviva invests £10M in startups, partners with Founders Factory, more here
  • Google pulls ‘stalkerware’ ads that promoted phone spying apps, more here
  • Snoop Dogg’s VC makes first European investment, more here
  • Reddit hires former Google Cloud exec as its first chief product officer, more here
  • Facebook’s Oversight Board will meet with the Facebook whistleblower, more here
  • Earlybird launches €75m fund for university spinouts, more here
  • Ex-minister predicts ‘huge battleground’ over UK’s plan to set internet content rules, more here
  • Homa Games’ $50m round is latest sign of wild French early-stage funding market, more here
UK Funding Rounds
  • London-based Peckwater Brands secures £3M as it eyes expansion, more here
  • UK-based tea mixology startup Bird & Blend Tea Co. raises £1M funding to transform the Great British Brew, more here
  • UK-based online employee health record solution, MMS secures £2.25M funding from BOOST&Co, more here
  • LandTech picks up £42M funding to grow its international presence, more here
  • Ex-Facebook employees’ startup, Cord logs in $17.5M from Index Ventures to add social collaboration to any app or product, more here
  • London’s healthtech Habitual specialising in diabetes reversal closes £1.7M funding to take up clinical trials, more here
  • As travel restrictions ease, London-based homestay brand Plum Guide secures $9M funding, more here
  • MindLabs eyes to launch world’s first live mental health platform in Q1 2022, raises £2.5M funding, more here
  • London-based Smart ropes in DWS as part of £165M funding to transform retirement across the world, more here
  • Home décor online brand Plank Hardware raises £2M funding from Beringea, more here
  • London’s createch startup Octaive grabs £500K in angel funding round, more here
  • Cambridge-based AI startup techspert.io secures $12M funding to expand into new verticals, more here
International Highlights
  • BetterUp, the coaching startup that hired Prince Harry just raised $300M, more here
  • Hubilo picks up $125M to double down on building a more engaging platform for virtual and live events, more here
  • HR tech giant Personio raises $270m at a $6.3bn valuation, more here
  • SkyCell raises a $35 million series C round and enters COVID-19 vaccine distribution market, more here
  • Google and Temasek back Indian neobank Open in $100 million funding, more here
Events
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