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BlaBlaCar grows Octobus tentacle to reach beyond the carpool

French startup BlaBlaCar has something to be chatty about: a $115m (€97m) funding round for the carpool unicorn. The company also announced its acquisition of bus supply inventory manager Octobus alongside the funding news.

The BlaBlaCar funding round cements the travel disruptor’s existing pillars in carpooling and buses along with its plans for trains and aggregation. The startup’s expansion into trains will build further connections between cities and towns, especially ones with less-developed public transportation. This is part and parcel of the smart city revolution being seen world over; as GlobalData thematic research on smart cities reports, the creation of smart cities is a market that will be worth $833bn by 2030.

Coinbase almost achieves $100bn market cap on day one

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase almost reached a $100bn market cap on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq. For anyone keeping score, that’s above the $86.32bn market cap currently enjoyed by oil giant BP.

The direct listing in mid-April saw Coinbase open at $381 per share. The stock fell very slightly over the day and was trading at $330 at the close.

75F secures an almost apt $4.75m in additional Series A funding

75F, a US-based provider of vertically-integrated, IoT-based building management systems, has secured additional $4.75m in Series A funding. The company, which aims to make smart building automation affordable and easy to deploy, now has a total funding of $23m.

The additional funding came courtesy of a syndicate led by WIND Ventures. 75F intends to use the funds to further expand innovations in energy savings and market reach into growing smart city areas of opportunity.

Deliveroo IPO fiasco: The markets have spoken on the gig economy

Deliveroo’s highly anticipated debut on the London Stock Exchange turned out to be a major flop, with the listing slicing off over a quarter of the returns the company had hoped for. Several of the UK’s top investors had said that Deliveroo’s gig economy-based business model was of great concern to them, which meant that they wouldn’t invest in the business at the IPO. There were also those who were put off by the unusual share structure of the float, which retained greater control in the hands of founder Will Shu.

When the London-based tech unicorn went public in April, it was at an asking price of £3.90 per share for the 384,615,384 shares on offer. The price quickly tumbled, falling as low as £2.7 at one point. At the close of the trading day, it traded just north of £2.87 per share, representing a 26.4% drop from the initial asking price.

Mastercard muscles up on fraud, buys regtech firm Ekata for $850m

Mastercard has strengthened its fraud-fighting capabilities with the acquisition of regtech firm Ekata, in a deal valued at $850m. Ekata provides unique scores, data attributes and risk indicators to help enable businesses make more informed decisions by identifying good consumers and bad actors in real-time during online account opening, payments and other digital interactions.

Mastercard president of cyber and intelligence solutions Ajay Bhalla said the addition of Ekata will advance the company’s identity capabilities and create a safer, seamless way for consumers to prove their credentials in the new digital economy.

Starling fills coffers with another £50m in Goldman gold

Fintech unicorn Starling Bank has topped up its coffers with a £50m cash injection from Goldman Sachs Growth Equity. The investment is an extension of the digital bank’s Series D round, which was announced in March 2021.

The extra money brings the total value of the round from £272m to £322m. The UK neobank’s value remains at the £1.1bn mark achieved last month. Starling has been profitable since late last year.

Darktrace IPO tarnished by links to alleged fraudster Mike Lynch

Darktrace enjoyed a 44% surge in its first day of trading on the London Stock Exchange, but the cybersecurity company’s float remained tarnished by links to alleged fraudster Mike Lynch.

Founded in 2013, the Cambridge and San Francisco-headquartered firm provides artificial intelligence software intended to autonomously detect and respond to cyber threats against companies.

It priced its shares at 250p each for a £1.7bn valuation. However, within the first few hours the company’s shares rose to 360p before dropping to about 350p. Former Autonomy CEO Lynch was one of Darktrace’s earliest investors, backing it via his VC fund Invoke Capital. He is wanted for fraud in the US where he is accused of having cooked his books to inflate the value of Autonomy when it was sold to US tech giant HP in 2011.