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News

Online payments giant Klarna has scooped up another $460m in an equity funding round led by Dragoneer, which values the fintech firm at $5.5bn.

 

Other investors included Commonwealth Bank of Australia, HMI Capital, Starling Bank investor Merian Chrysalis, Forsta AP-Fonden, IPGL, Institutional Venture Partners and several funds managed by Blackrock.

 

Swedish-born Klarna said it will use the funding to continue expanding in the US, where it is growing by around 6m users per year.

 

It is already widely popular in the UK, offering interest-free “buy now, pay later” services to more than 1,000 integrated merchants including ASOS, Cult Beauty, Ray-Ban and Schuh.

 

Klarna added that it will soon have new partnerships available with H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch and Boohoo.

 

The firm is nearing $1bn in annual revenue this year, with more than 60m consumers and 130,000 merchants using its platform.

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Paysend, an international Fintech startup, has closed an £8.5m Series B fundraise from GVA Capital, alongside 933 investors on investment platform Seedrs.

 

GVA invested £3.95m into the international money transfer company, and Seedrs raised £4.6m. The Seedrs round was driven by leading investors Plug and Play and Digital Space Ventures, who have already backed the likes of PayPal, Revolut, N26 and Tandem.

 

Its products are designed for the needs of customers who are always on the move, so they can enjoy a life without borders. Paysend has already grown to over 900,000 users, facilitated over 2 million transactions every month and is processing over $55M per month.

 

During the campaign, Paysend also announced the launch of its global digital currency, Pays XDR. Pays XDR is a digital currency 100% backed by a basket of five fiat currencies; USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CNY. Reserves are matched in the exact proportion of the International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights (SDR). Pays XDR will be available via the Global Account and a Pays XDR wallet. The reserves supporting the currency will be independently audited and openly published.

 

Proceeds from the fundraise will be used to support the global roll-out for the business.

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Depop, the fashion resale app, is opening its first retail space in London in partnership with Selfridges.

 

Taking over the luxury department store’s Designer Studio on the third floor, the millennial-friendly marketplace is entering the London designer space for three months until October.



A selection of rare vintage pieces, upcycled treasures and unique accessories curated and designed by the app’s top sellers will be on display at the pop-up store. 



The space will also host a range of workshops and events led by key sellers, with the aim of creating an immersive experience where visitors can discover new pieces and learn how to turn their own Depop accounts into a business.

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Thriva, a London-based proactive health company, secured £6M in Series A funding. Backers included Pembroke VCT and Guinness Asset Management.

 

Founded by Hamish Grierson, Eliot Brooks and Tom Livesey, Thriva offers clinical-grade insights based on the latest research. To date, it has served over 100,000 people to understand how their lifestyle is impacting their health.

 

Its at-home testing kits allow customers to understand, keep track of and improve what’s happening inside their bodies. The kits are processed by UKAS accredited laboratories and analyse anything from vitamins and minerals to hormone function to indicators of heart disease and diabetes.

 

The company, which has raised £7.5m since its launch in 2016, intends to use the funds to continue to expand operation and its business reach.

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Amazon is launching a personal shopper service that acts as an at-home stylist.

 

The retail giant has unveiled ‘Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe', a styling service for Amazon Prime members that will see them offered a personalized selection of fashion pieces from across its womenswear selection of clothing, accessories and footwear. After completing a survey, up to eight pieces per month are chosen by stylists based on customers' size, budget and style, and shoppers can review them before having them sent to their home for a seven-day try-on period at no upfront cost. Clients can then purchase pieces, or return them using the retailer's resealable packaging.

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Robinhood, a California-based platform to invest in stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies, from a phone or desktop, has raised $323M in Series E funding.

 

The round, which valued the company at $7.6 billion, was led by DST Global, with participation from investors including Ribbit Capital, NEA, Sequoia, and Thrive Capital.

 

The company is using the funds to continue to expand operations and build the products.

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On Thursday, the Italian womenswear label introduced to the media in Milan a new clothes hire initiative called ‘Pleasedontbuy’.

 

“Like many others, our label is positioned in a market segment I define as ‘alternative luxury’. We were looking for a way of differentiating ourselves and standing out from the others, and not just in terms of style,” said Twinset boss Alessandro Varisco. “The idea came to me on December 19, watching a show on Netflix. Nowadays, you can rent anything, so why not offer the opportunity of renting high-quality, 100% made-in-Italy clothes directly from the producer?” he added.


 
From next September, Twinset will therefore install special sections dedicated to the Pleasedontbuy project at eight of its Italian monobrand stores, where the label will regularly feature capsule collections of clothes for special occasions such as ceremonies, birthday parties or job interviews. The clothes will cater especially to young, generation Z customers, who currently account for only 5% of Twinset’s clientèle.

 

According to Varisco, Pleasedontbuy has several advantages over traditional online clothes rental formulas: the clothes can be tried in-store, they come directly from the manufacturer and they are always laundered and in mint condition. Indeed, Twinset has set up, besides an ad hoc logistics organisation, also an internal laundry service and a seamstress studio for minor repairs.

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The prospect of a multibillion-pound bidding war for Just Eat sent shares in the FTSE 100 online food delivery company surging by 30%.

 

Just Eat agreed terms with its Dutch rival Takeaway.com in a deal that would create one of the world’s biggest online food delivery companies.

 

When announced, the £9bn all-share deal valued Just Eat shares at 731p but a subsequent 4.5% rise in the Dutch company’s price to €87.30 (£79.20) on the Amsterdam stock exchange lifted the value to 764p a share.

 

Speculation of a rival bidder pushed Just Eat shares comfortably above the offer terms, however, sending them surging to 828p.

 

Under the terms of the agreement, Just Eat shareholders would receive 0.09744 Takeaway.com shares for each Just Eat share and would own 52.2% of the combined group. It would be headquartered in Amsterdam and listed on the London Stock Exchange, with a “significant part of its operations” in the UK.

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One of the most exciting trends in consumer technology relates to “wearables” – clothing items or accessories that can be integrated with technology to provide a particular service. Such products have already made significant inroads into our daily lives, with the most obvious examples being American products – the FitBit and the Apple Watch (the Chinese wearable market is dominated by Xiaomi). However, a cohort of young British companies have also sprung up in this sector to create new commercial niches with undeniably fascinating products.

 

The UK’s wearables startup sector was turbocharged in April by its largest raise yet – $42m by femtech leader Elvie. Capital for this round was supplied by Octopus Ventures, impact investor Impact Ventures UK (managed by an arm of the Princely House of Lichtenstein’s family office), and IPGL, the investment vehicle of British billionaire and “city grandee” Michael Spencer. 

 

The next largest raise in this sector goes to WaveOptics, based in the high-tech hotspot of Milton Park in Oxfordshire (alongside Immunocore and Tokamak Energy). In somewhat of a sci-fi vein this company has developed augmented reality technology to overlay normal glasses. Their most recent raise, €23m in December last year, was backed by the IP Group, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, and Octopus Ventures. 

 

Other startups, whilst raising less capital over the years, offer exciting products nonetheless. DNAnudge, a personalised genomics company and spinout from Imperial College London, provides a service whereby they map their customer’s genomes. They then offer tailored health advice according to the particular person’s DNA. As part of this, they have designed a wearable called the DnaBand. This wristband can scan a particular food item whilst someone is shopping. It then lights up in either a red or green, indicating whether the product is a good match for their DNA. 

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In May, Checkout.com became the UK’s latest unicorn startup, and the first to reach such a valuation through a Series A funding round. They’d kept very quiet up until this point, having bootstrapped their way to a turnover of £35m in 2017 after just five years of operations. 

 

Also raising in May, WorldRemit also became a unicorn through their Series D funding round, reaching a valuation of over $900m. A close competitor to leading international transfer startup Transferwise and the industry incumbent Western Union, WorldRemit allows users to transfer money to international accounts. This service is mainly used by expat workers looking to return earnings to family and friends abroad. 

 

Monzo needs little introduction, but is without a doubt one of the UK’s two leading consumer challenger banks, alongside Revolut. This large funding round will help the company roll out its app in the US, as it seeks to enter new markets and outcompete its myriad of rivals. This round was led by America’s most successful startup accelerator Y Combinator, via their “Continuity” growth fund.

 

One of the biggest raises ever by a British Insurtech startup, Zego’s funding will be used to enhance their online platform, which provides insurance products to workers in the rapidly growing gig economy. The company’s main partners include Deliveroo, Uber, Uber Eats, and Stuart, illustrating where their market lies: freelancers providing mobility services to new tech companies operating in the food delivery, courier, and ride hailing sectors. The round was led by Target Global, a Berlin-headquartered VC fund that opened a London office in April. 

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