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Steve's ITK: You're in good company


Steve's ITK

February 25 · Issue #15 · View online
Steve's In The Know: Everything I published recently, commentary you won't find elsewhere, write-ups of events I attended or spoke at, and industry rumours.

When you get the bit between your teeth
Opening thought: Scoops are stressful
Scoops are stressful. There, I said it. This week was no exception. On Monday I broke Monzo’s new funding round, and two days later I reported that MakieLab’s tech and assets had been acquired by Disney.
Regards Monzo, I’d been sitting on the news for a couple of weeks because – even though I had very credible sources – I couldn’t be sure at the time if the round had actually closed.
Until the money hits a startup’s bank, a funding round can still fall through and I didn’t want anything I published to place the deal in jeopardy or turn out not to be true.
Instead, I played the waiting game until I could be sure, which, ultimately, ran the risk of being scooped by a rival publication. Luckily, that didn’t happen.
In the case of MakieLab, I’d first heard that the startup may have been acquired more than six months ago, but then I hit a wall. Unable to second source the story or get hold of the name of the acquirer, and faced with a flat out denial from the company itself, I had no choice but to sit it out.
Then last week, I was tipped off that MakieLab had updated its Facebook page to say it was shutting down and had been acquired by a “fantastic U.S. media behemoth,” which my source pegged as Disney.
However, due to a strict non-disclosure agreement, I knew MakieLab wouldn’t be able to offer confirmation, so I set about finding a second source, which, thankfully, I was able to do. Journalism requires nothing if not tenacity.
Bonus: Buried in my Monzo story this week, I reported that British singer-songwriter Tom Odell is rumoured to be investing in the UK startup, a rumour that the FT subsequently published.
However, eagle-eyed readers of this newsletter will have noticed that I hinted at the deal last week when I asked: Which British pop star is rumoured to have recently backed a well-known UK startup?
In case you’re wondering if it’s still happening, my well-placed source says to expect the news to be officially announced soon.
Things I wrote this week
SocialWall aims to be a smarter way for brands to display social media mentions
Confirmed: UK challenger bank Monzo raises £19.5M with another £2.5M in crowdfunding planned
Disney has quietly acquired tech and assets of MakieLab, a startup that 3D printed dolls
Project A, a Berlin-based VC firm, closes €140M second fund to invest in European startups
Monzo, a UK digital-only bank, is closing in on new funding led by US-based Thrive Capital
Meltwater acquires Oxford Uni spin-out Wrapidity to add AI to media monitoring capabilities
Closing thought: You're in good company
I’ll be honest, when I decided to start this newsletter I had no idea how long I’d keep it up or if anyone would bother reading it. However, as I publish the 15th edition, the results are in. You seem to like it.
Subscriber numbers will soon hit 300 and open rates are running above industry average at more than 50 per cent. Better still, many of you have emailed feedback, which has encouraged me to stick at it on days when the last thing I’ve wanted to do is write more content. 
And whether you subscribed recently or have been ITK from the very beginning, you’re in good company.
Partners and employees from over 20 VC firms have subscribed including Atomico, Balderton, MMC Ventures, Episode1, Passion Capital, Hoxton Ventures, Acton Capital, and E.Ventures.
Startups are also represented, such as Tado, Starling Bank, Rentify, Nestpick, Gousto, MusixMatch, Babbel,  Adzuna, Habito, Weave.AI, Cleo, Hailo, Cognitive Logic, and more.
Staff from various accelerators and company builders are also ITK, including Sketch, Ignite, Just Eat’s foodtech accelerator, and Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion.
Unsurprisingly, a number of journalists – some of whom are rivals – read the newsletter too, so I’m minded not to publish too much intel. They include hacks from Business Insider, Financial Times, and, of course, a few of my colleagues at TechCrunch.
Here’s to the next 15 editions.
Get in touch
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Till next time,
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