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Steve's ITK: Clap for the VCs 👋


Steve's ITK

September 26 · Issue #64 · View online

Steve's In The Know: Thoughts from a European tech insider.

Opening thought: Still shielding
Despite VCs penning memos emotionally pressurising founders to “get back to the office” - in a verse straight out of Conservative Party HQ and with the R rate rising and just before test and trace imploded - I’m still shielding in a self imposed lockdown. As ITK readers will be aware of, if I catch COVID-19 I’m fairly likely to have an exit of my own. I know what you’re thinking, who then will cover the latest European venture capital firm fund launch or investment? To which I say, please remember to clap for the VCs. 
Talking of VCs, I’ve reported on four new venture fund launches in the past month as Europe continues to recharge its deployable capital. They include Point Nine, Kindred Capital, Crista Galli Ventures, and Santander’s new “independent” fund Mouro Capital (see ‘Things I wrote recently’ below).
I also conducted several VC interviews that are worth reading, including an as live video interview with Hussein Kanji of Hoxton Ventures as part of TechCrunch’s first all virtual Disrupt conference. 
I’ve always thought Kanji was slightly misunderstood, sometimes coming across via his Twitter account as a free market zealot when in actual fact his views on a range of issues are far more nuanced. We delved into some of the things he’s learned by backing three unicorns - Deliveroo, Babylon and Darktrace - and I got his take on how founders and VCs should approach ethical scaling and if real disruption always brings about unintended consequences. 
Things I wrote recently
‘AI-powered’ fitness app Freeletics scores $25M Series B
Uncapped picks up another $26M to offer revenue-based finance to European entrepreneurs
Caura, an app to take the hassle out of car ownership, launches from Echo co-founder Sai Lakshmi
Europe’s Point Nine outs new ~€100M fund to back early-stage SaaS and digital marketplaces
Kindred Capital closes £81M second fund to back early-stage European startups
VCs have to train themselves to ‘ask the stupid questions,’ says Hoxton Ventures’ Hussein Kanji
Does early-stage health tech need more ‘patient’ capital?
Infarm raises $170M in equity and debt to continue building its ‘vertical farming’ network
Kbox picks up £12M additional funding to let underused commercial kitchens do takeout for delivery
Outfunnel picks up €1.1M pre-seed to bridge the gap between marketing and sales
Gravity Sketch scores $3.7M seed for its VR-based product design and collaboration platform
Crista Galli Ventures outs ‘evergreen’ fund to back European health tech startups at seed and Series A
Spotawheel raises €10M debt and equity for its ‘end-to-end’ used car buying platform
Virtual healthcare provider Medefer raises £10M to digitise the outpatient journey
Santander spins out its $400M fintech venture capital arm, now called Mouro Capital
Coinbase UX teardown: 5 fails and how to fix them
Curio, the curated audio platform for journalism, has closed $9M Series A funding
Swyg raises $1.2M pre-seed to use peer-interviewers and AI to reduce bias in recruitment
Skin Analytics raises £4M Series A to use AI for skin cancer screening
Revolut loses its head of regulatory compliance, hires two former Amazon execs
Closing thought: shortlisted AGAIN!
It’s nearly that time of the year again for the UK tech awards, and I was pleased to learn this week that I’ve been shortlisted for “tech journalist of the year” award again. In what I’ve dubbed the group of death, the competition is especially tough, including Dan McCrum, the journalist responsible for breaking the Wirecard scandal. In other words, I’m not expecting to win, even though I’ve had a particularly strong year of scoops and ecosystem coverage. On the other hand, presuming I do lose, at least I won’t need to change my Twitter bio :-)
Wish me luck and be kind to each other,
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