The briefing on technology
The latest news, trends and data on technology
Technology news in numbers
Deliveroo’s valuation following a $180m series H funding round led by Durable Capital Partners and Fidelity Management & Research Company ahead of a “potential” initial public offering (IPO).
The number of .eu domains that have been suspended by EURid following the end of the Brexit transition period. It has suspended websites and related email addresses belonging to some 50,000 UK-based users following the European Commission’s decision that .eu domains must be registered in the EU or by an EU citizen.
The percentage by which personal data loss incidents at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have increased in a year, according to official figures. There were 546 reported incidents where data was lost, disclosed without authorisation or disposed of insecurely in the 2019-20 period.
The amount of venture capital and growth private equity that was invested in UK fintech across 408 deals in 2020.
The percentage of British adults that have opened an account with a digital-only bank, a percentage increase of 16% on last year’s figures according to research by Finder.
The amount Ticketmaster was fined after “repeatedly” accessing the computer system of a rival company using stolen login credentials.
Boohoo snaps up Debenhams as ecommerce feasts on high street
In 1778 Debenhams opened its first shop in London and over the centuries its department stores grew to become a staple of the high street. Fast forward 242 years and the British multinational retailer has been snapped up by Boohoo, an online fashion retailer founded in 2006.
To be more precise, Boohoo has acquired the Debenhams brand and its website, jettisoning the firm’s remaining 118 physical stores and up to 12,000 jobs. It comes after years of financial struggle for Debenhams in what has become a familiar story for bricks-and-mortar retailers. The rise of ecommerce giants such as Amazon have increasingly eaten into high street revenues, but the pandemic has provided the knockout blow to those that have struggled through previous turmoil.
Debenhams administrator FRP Advisory said the £55m secured from Boohoo is “the best outcome for Debenhams’ stakeholders”.
For Boohoo, it’s an opportunity to acquire a 242-year-old brand for a fraction of its prior valuation; in 2011 it was valued at £1.6bn.
“This is a transformational deal for the group, which allows us to capture the fantastic opportunity as ecommerce continues to grow. Our ambition is to create the UK’s largest marketplace,” said Boohoo executive chairman Mahmud Kamani.
Feeding on the remains of the high street is familiar territory for Boohoo and other ecommerce players.
It has previously gobbled up struggling high street brands Oasis, Coast and Karen Millen, but again leaving the bricks and mortar stores on the scrap heap. Many have been left wondering what the high street will look like once pandemic restrictions are lifted.
Image credit: Jasty / Shutterstock.com
From the news
Parler goes offline as AWS withdraws support
Social network Parler is currently offline after Amazon Web Service (AWS) withdrew its support on public safety grounds. The AWS Trust and Safety team said it had suspended Parler’s account due to “a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms”. Parler has attracted a significant number of far-right users, Donald Trump supporters and conspiracy theorists due to its relaxed content moderation policies.
Rainforest Connection and Hitachi use AI to predict illegal logging
Hitachi Vantara, the IT arm of Hitachi, has developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) technology with non-profit Rainforest Connection. The non-profit installs sensors that analyses eco-acoustic data in the rainforest. Hitachi Vantara has built an algorithm using its Lumada data analytics technology to predict when illegal logging might start by listening out for sound anomalies.
Mobility startup Bolt raises €150m in biggest funding round to date
Estonia-headquartered mobility startup Bolt has raised €150m (£135m) in its biggest funding round to date. The company, which runs a ride-hailing network and provides rental e-scooters, said it will use the funds to expand micromobility and food delivery services in Europe and Africa.
Microsoft confirms it found “malicious” SolarWinds code on its systems
Microsoft has confirmed that it detected “malicious” code on its systems stemming from the SolarWinds hack that has compromised multiple US government departments and up to 18,000 SolarWinds customers. As early as March, suspected Russian nation-state hackers injected malicious code into updates for SolarWinds’ popular Orion software. Orion is used by organisations to monitor their computer networks for outages and problems.
Over 45 million medical images exposed by healthcare organisations
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered more than 45 million medical images, including X-rays and CT scans, exposed online without encryption or password protection. Each freely accessible medical image file is linked to up to 200 lines of metadata, which include personally identifiable information such as name, address and birth date.
Facebook posts “blowout” Q4 results, 2020 profits grow 58%
Facebook has reported “blowout” Q4 results that surpassed analyst expectations in almost every area. The social media giant reported Q4 revenue of $28.07bn, up 33% on the year-ago period. Earnings per share came in at $3.88 for the three months ended 31 December, exceeding the $3.22 per share forecast by financial intelligence firm Refinitiv.
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