The Briefing on Technology
The latest news, trends and data on technology
Technology News in Numbers
The increase in revenue enjoyed by Zoom between 2019 and 2020, as a result in a surge in remote working. Zoom generated $328.2m in revenue during the first quarter of fiscal year 2021, marking a 169% year-over-year increase thanks to a global surge in remote working during the coronavirus pandemic. The firm now has 265,400 customers with more than 10 employees on its books, up 354%.
The amount of equity investment in UK tech SMEs in 2019, representing an increase of 27% from the previous year. The figures reflect a period of strong growth in UK tech before the coronavirus pandemic. Although market growth had been softening pre-pandemic, the fate of the UK’s private equity market is less certain in 2020 as a recession looms.
The percentage of Facebook employees who are concerned about organisations removing ads from the social media platform. The ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign, launched by several advocacy groups, has seen major brands, including Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Ford, Adidas, Honda, Verizon and Unilever, remove ad campaigns from the platform for the month of July.
Two in Five
The rate of UK businesses that are considering replacing email as the main platform for employee communications once the lockdown lifts. This is according to the results of a poll conducted by Censuswide on behalf of the think tank Parliament Street. Companies are instead considering replacing email with apps and instant messaging software such as Slack.
The distance travelled by the Large Space Test Chamber, a giant satellite test chamber installed in the UK that will expand the size and sophistication of satellites that can be made ready for launch. The installation of the satellite test chamber marks the end of a sprawling journey that started out in Massa Martana, Italy, where it was manufactured by Angelantoni Test Technologies.
The amount global IT spending is projected to slump in 2020, compared with the previous year, according to Gartner. For 2020, worldwide IT spend is forecasted to total $3.5tn. However, Gartner analysts believe spending on IT projects will recover at a faster rate than the rest of the economy.
The Key Moments in Technology in Recent Months
Facebook takes legal action against bots
Facebook has taken legal action by filing two lawsuits on the same day, one in Europe and one in the US, against companies using bots to abuse its services on Facebook and Instagram. The European lawsuit, filed in Spain, is being filed against MGP25 Cyberint Services, which provides a bot-based system that enables users to pay for fake likes and comments on Instagram.
Google returns to smart glasses with North acquisition
Google has announced that it has acquired smart glasses company North, in what appears to be a return to the space following the failed Google Glass project. The acquisition, which has been made for an undisclosed amount, strongly suggests that Google is ready to return to the consumer smart glasses space, five years after it stopped selling the consumer version of its Google Glass product.
Russian BEC gang Cosmic Lynx fakes M&As to steal millions
Security researchers have uncovered a Russian cybercrime gang that creates fake M&A scenarios over email to trick senior employees into transferring vast sums of cash. The criminal gang, dubbed ‘Cosmic Lynx’, is believed to be the first reported case of a BEC criminal ring operating out of Russia, and has targeted executives spanning 46 countries and six continents according to Agari.
California Consumer Privacy Act comes into force
The California Consumer Privacy Act came into force at the start of July. Although perhaps somewhat overshadowed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, this regulation is a significant moment in data privacy in the US. The regulation was officially brought in on 1 January, but was followed by a six-month period in order for businesses to become compliant. It has been compared to the EU’s GDPR.
Key Industry Announcements
Unicorn Canva hits $6bn valuation as collaboration demand grows
Canva, an Australian startup specialising in workplace collaboration tools, has announced that its valuation has almost doubled, from $3.2bn to $6bn, after it raised $60m in its latest funding round. The stellar growth in the startup’s valuation is being attributed to the rise in remote working, which has fuelled significant adoption of its platform. Key users include travel search engine Skyscanner, the World Health Organisation, American Airlines and Warner Music.
Fly Ventures announces €53m fund to invest in European tech startups
Fly Ventures has announced the creation of a €53m fund to invest in European startups within both the enterprise and deep tech spaces. Dubbed Fund II, it is the second fund created by Berlin-based VC firm, which has raised a total of €88m to invest in startups since 2017. Fly will be using the new fund to make investments in early stage startups of between €500,000 and €1.3m. It is focusing on startups that are seeking to “unlock the full potential of digitisation and automation”.
Nucleai raises $6.5m to advance predictive oncology platform
Computational biology startup Nucleai has raised $6.5m in funding to advance its AI platform, which analyses large datasets of tissue images to make predictions about how a patient will react to certain cancer treatments. Swiss biopharmaceutical company Debiopharm led the Series A funding round and the two firms will collaborate on biomarker discovery as part of the agreement. Previous backers Vertex Ventures and Grove Ventures also participated in the round.
Will-writing startup Farewill raises £20m to tackle funeral poverty
Farewill, a startup that provides a digital platform for will writing and probate services, has raised £20m in its latest funding round to expand the business. Launched in 2015, Farewill is aiming to disrupt an industry that has not changed much in 150 years. Its platform strips out legal jargon and aims to simplify the process for death-related services. Where traditional probate services take a cut of an estate’s value, Farewill offers a fixed cost fee starting at £595.