This Week in London Startups - Issue #34, 15th February 2021



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This Week in London Startups - Issue #34, 15th February 2021
By London Startup Club • Issue #34 • View online
Could the Metaverse be over before it’s even begun?
Not quite, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit against Meta over Facebook’s facial recognition practices seeking penalties in the hundreds of billions!
Things seem to be going from bad to worse for Meta.
Only last week in its annual report, Meta warned that if no new data privacy framework was adopted in the EU it may have to “walk away” from Europe altogether.
The current European data regulations prevent Meta from from transferring, storing and processing Europeans’ data on US-based servers. Perhaps we could be looking at a Meta Free Europe?
Meta is also famously known for running a largely on-premise solution (which doesn’t help, as they don’t have any European servers to host personal data) rather than operating in the cloud, perhaps this may be a sign of things to come. It was only late last year they announced deeper ties to AWS.
Despite all this, the number of Metaverse related roles continues to skyrocket in the UK going up 532% in the last 3 months.
In the short term however, Meta’s stock has recently been getting crushed, with more privacy focused legislation in Europe and controls by Apple - coupled with slower user growth with newer and more engaging social media apps like Tik Tok emerging.
Meta’s copycat and acquisition strategy might not work for too much longer.
Haris Qureshi, Editor & Founder @ London Startup Club

Top News
  • Texas attorney general files lawsuit against Meta over Facebook’s facial recognition technology, more here
  • What do the locals think of digital nomads? More here
  • GoCardless becomes UK’s latest fintech unicorn after $312m Permira-led raise, more here
  • Cryptocurrency is like ‘Ponzi scheme’ and banning it is ‘perhaps the most advisable choice’, says India’s Central Bank, more here
  • More than one-third of Europe’s top VC firms are yet to hire a female partner, more here
  • Cazoo sells £465m stake to accelerate European expansion, more here
  • Here are the best and worst 2022 Super Bowl tech ads, more here
  • UK startups are loving angels instead, more here
  • Fund backing Midlands startups hits £150m investment milestone, more here
  • Atomico hires inaugural ESG head, as VCs wake up to consumer push for impact, more here
UK Funding Rounds
  • Game studio Tripledot levels up to unicorn status with $116m raise, more here
  • Fertility startup Gaia raises $20m from Atomico to make IVF accessible to all, more here
  • Innovate UK backs startup using EV charging to stabilise UK power grid, more here 
  • IoT insurtech FloodFlash fetches £11m funding, more here
  • Adthena gets $13.5m shot of Espresso’s capital to fuel US expansion, more here
  • Scottish government invests £6m in public sector accelerator CivTech, more here
  • Vitesse PSP raises $26m for liquidity management platform, more here
  • Open banking consumer lender Fintern raises £8m for UK expansion, more here
  • M3ter raises $17.5m to bring usage-based SaaS pricing out of stealth mode, more here
  • Orthox closes $12.5m round for knee implant based on silk proteins, more here
International Highlights
  • Intel to acquire Tower Semiconductor for $5.4B to build on custom foundry strategy, more here
  • Alchemy, which aims to be the ‘de facto platform’ for developers to build on web3, is now valued at $10.2B, more here
  • Fitness app FitOn raises $40M, acquires corporate wellness platform Peerfit, more here
  • Polygon raises $450M from Sequoia Capital India, SoftBank and Tiger Global, more here
Once again, thank you all for taking the time to view this weeks newsletter.
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