Amazon eyeing 20% stake in self-driving startup Plus
Amazon is reportedly in talks to acquire a proportion of AI self-driving startup Plus. A report from Bloomberg says that the tech conglomerate is considering buying as much as a 20% stake in Plus, citing a source "familiar with the matter". The deal would give Amazon the right to buy preferred shares of Plus via a warrant at a price of about 47 cents per share, said the source.
Cryptocurrency finance startup Amber Group raises $100m, valued at $1bn
Cryptocurrency finance startup Amber Group has raised $100m in funding, making it part of the unicorn club. Investment bank China Renaissance led the round with participation from other high-profile investors including New York-based Tiger Global Management, according to a report from CNBC. In addition, existing investors, which includes Coinbase’s venture arm, were involved.
DataRails raises $25m for financial reporting tool
DataRails, the startup which supports small businesses with a sophisticated financial reporting tool, has secured $25m from an extension of its Series A funding round. The cash takes DataRails' total funding to $55m at a time when it has quickly doubled its customer base. Its platform plugs into Excel and offers SMEs financial planning and analytics. DataRails wants to expand into other areas.
Google's London campus for startups closes permanently
Google has announced it is closing its dedicated startup space in London known as Campus. The tech giant first opened the space in 2012, and closed it in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Google has now decided not to reopen it once restrictions ease. Its founder, Eze Vidra, called it "the end of an era" but said that Google doesn't need a physical space to continue supporting startups.
Axiata and Telenor merge telco operations in Malaysia in $15.8bn deal
Axiata and Telenor are to merge their mobile operations in Malaysia in a deal worth $15.8bn. They are currently the second and third biggest operators in the country, with the new combined company set to generate annual revenues of close to $3bn. They are also set to invest $60m in an innovation centre in Kuala Lumpur, aimed to keep Malaysia at the forefront of tech innovation in the sector.
Nvidia to invest £100m in its UK supercomputer
Jensen Huang, Nvidia's CEO has revealed the company's plans to invest over $100 million in Britain’s most powerful supercomputer. The company had previously pledged to spend £40 million on the project. Huang said the $100 million will be a "starting point" for the supercomputer which will be located at the Kao Data campus in Essex. Nvidia is in the process of acquiring Arm for $40 billion.
Microsoft to add four data centres in China - report
Microsoft is forging ahead with plans to significantly increase its presence in Asia, including adding four new data centres in China in 2022, according to a Bloomberg report. The growth would add to six Microsoft data centres in the country, which are operated by by local partner 21Vianet. The report notes that the global pandemic has increased demand for cloud services in Asia.
Graph database platform Neo4j raises $325m, valued at $2bn
Graph-centric database platform Neo4j has completed a bumper funding round, bringing in $325m. The series F round was led by Eurazeo, with additional investment from GV. The capital, which brings the company’s total raised to date to over $500m, will be put used to expand Neo4j’s platform, workforce, and customer base. The latest funding brings the company's value to more than $2bn.
AWS lands Ferrari cloud deal
Ferrari has chosen AWS to deliver the next stage of its technology transformation. It will tap the tech giant for cloud, AI and machine learning capabilities. The partnership will touch Ferrari's road cars department, as well as its Formula 1 team. It will also leverage AWS tools to build a new digital fan engagement platform. "Ferrari and AWS both represent excellence," said Ferrari's Principal.
Issue 29
The rapid digital transformation of Denmark's largest retailer Salling Group is our lead story this month. We also look at how AWS is working with multiple stakeholders to improve sport with data.
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Wise to go public via direct listing
Online money transfer service Wise will go public on the London Stock Exchange through a direct listing. Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is not going the initial public offering route, as it doesn’t need to raise any fresh capital. It is estimated that the company could reach a valuation of up to $7 billion. Its stock market debut will be the first direct listing of a tech company in London.
U.S. House panel set to vote on big tech antitrust bills
A U.S. House panel will convene next week to vote on six proposed antitrust bills aimed at reigning in the power of big tech. The purpose is to decide whether whether the full House of Representatives should vote on the measures. Wednesday's vote is mainly around the likes of Amazon and Google creating a platform for other businesses and then competing against those same businesses.
Industrial cybersecurity company Claroty raises $140m
Industrial cybersecurity company Claroty has completed a funding round worth $140m. The new funding will be used to accelerate the company's expansion into new verticals and regions. The round was co-led by Bessemer Venture Partners' Century II fund and 40North with additional involvement from LG, I Squared Capital's ISQ Global InfraTech Fund, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, and Schneider Electric.

Dell Technologies appoints Chuck Whitten as co-COO
Dell Technologies has announced Chuck Whitten as co-COO, effective August 16, 2021. Whitten joins Vice Chairman and co-COO Jeff Clarke and Chairman and CEO Michael Dell to lead the business. Whitten joins from Bain & Company, where he spent the last 22 years with the last decade focused on the technology sector. Whitten worked alongside Dell to help shape its strategy and growth initiatives.
Baidu's Apollo pledges to offer robotaxi service to three million people by 2023
Chinese tech giant Baidu said its smart driving unit Apollo plans to have 3,000 robotaxis by 2023, with the goal of servicing over three million users. Baidu has also partnered with BAIC Group’s electric vehicle brand ARCFOX to develop 1,000 Apollo Moon, EV robotaxis by 2023. These cars will be manufactured under BAIC’s ARCFOX electric vehicle brand, while Baidu will provide the software.
Akur8 raises $30m to automate insurance pricing
Akur8, the company which uses artificial intelligence to automate insurance pricing, has landed $30m in fresh funding. Insurers to have adopted the software include AXA, Generali, and Munich Re. Akur8 commercialised its platform less than two years ago but it already works with more than 30 customers in 10 countries. Executives say the cash will help with its global expansion.