Wolverine Worldwide, the Michigan-based company that operates a portfolio of footwear and lifestyle brands including Sperry, Hush Puppies, Saucony, Wolverine and Keds, has acquired Sweaty Betty  from private equity group L Catterton for around $410m (£295m).

Sweaty Betty will continue to be led by CEO Julia Straus, who will report to Brendan Hoffman, president of Wolverine Worldwide.

Hoffman said: “Sweaty Betty aligns perfectly with our strategic growth plan for Wolverine Worldwide, as we focus on growing digital channels, expanding our international footprint, and building our brand portfolio beyond footwear.”

Straus said Wolverine’s “portfolio of purpose-driven heritage brands, knowledge and expertise in building performance brands, robust international distribution, and supply chain expertise provides a strong platform to expand Sweaty Betty and further our mission to ‘empower more women through fitness all over the world'. ”

The completed on Monday, and was funded by cash and a revolving line of credit.

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The pandemic has led e-commerce to alter customer shopping behaviours and transformed the global retail landscape from brick and mortar to omnichannel. 

The UK is considered to have one of the world’s most developed internet grocery industries. Companies are springing up all over the UK, promising to deliver whatever you want in as little as 10 minutes

The latest one to hit the headlines is Zapp, a London-based startup backed by Atomico that delivers everyday items to customers’ doorsteps within 20 minutes, 24/7. 

Recently, the online delivery company that’s battling it out in London has now launched its services in Manchester, as the company continues to expand outside of London. Already GetirGorillas and Weezy are operating in Central Manchester.  

Founded by Joe Falter and Navid Hadzaad in 2020, Zapp operates dozens of ‘Zappstores’, with each store stocking 1,000s of products ready to be picked, packed, and delivered. 

Unlike other startups, the online grocery service caters to the ‘need it now’ occasions, such as entertaining last-minute, an impromptu BBQ, and others. 

“Zapp is for when life can’t wait,” says Steve O’Hear, Zapp’s Vice President of Strategy. “Our sweet spot is spontaneity and urgent-need”.

It’s worth mentioning that Joe Falter is a part of the founding team at Jumia where he led the on-demand services business through to the group’s IPO.

On the other hand, Navid Hadzaad was a product leader at Amazon’s Seattle HQ, after founding GoButler and scaling several ventures at Rocket Internet. 

The leadership team also spans former employees of Deliveroo, Just Eat, Domino’s, and Tesco.

A few days back, the company hired Bank of America Corp, managing director Ngoc Chu as CFO, to help the company navigate an increasingly crowded and competitive industry.

Chu worked as an investment banker for 15 years, most recently at Bank of America in London advising on media and internet deals including Auto Trader Group Plc’s public stock offering. She previously worked at HSBC Holdings Plc.

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Just last week, UKTN covered the £50m funding round of UK’s online florist Bloom & Wild and now another online subscription-based florist from London is in news for their latest investments. 

Freddie’s Flowers, the quite-famous flower subscription service that delivers bouquets anywhere in the UK, offering customers floral arrangements for £25 a pop has now got an investment of $60m from  The Craftory

Based in London and San Francisco, The Craftory is a $375M global investment house focused on cause-driven CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) brands that positively impact the categories they serve, society, and the planet. 

“At Freddie’s Flowers, sustainability is a core focus of what we do” explains William Gee, Head of Sustainability at Freddie’s Flowers. “As a business, we strive to actively demonstrate climate leadership and account for our environmental impact. This has been shown both through our commitment to carbon neutrality, third-party verified by the Carbon Trust, and through our greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets via the Science-Based Targets initiative. 

As per the company press release, having seen a huge spike in sales during lockdown, Freddie’s Flowers has quickly grown to become the largest flower box subscription business in the UK. Launched in 2014, Freddie’s Flowers delivers beautiful selections of flowers each week to homes across the whole of mainland UK and Germany. The startups already has around 130,000 customers in the UK and nearly 25,000 in Germany.

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In today’s world where privacy is demanded by customers and mandated by regulators, encryption has become the norm now. But it also poses a big threat as it has become a major target for cybercriminals. In 2020, Cisco estimated that as much as 70% of all malware campaigns would use some type of encryption to conceal malware delivery, enabling malicious communications to sneak past network defences and extract data through encrypted channels.

Unlike traditional solutions that require communications to be decrypted to accurately identify abnormal activity, London-based encrypted analysis platform Venari Security uses a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence and behavioural analytics to accurately detect threats on the network in near real-time, without the need for decryption.

This significantly reduces the response time of security teams and enables them to proactive respond to threats rather than react to events, while delivering internal and regulatory compliance for organisations. The defender of encrypted networks has now raised a Series A funding of £4.2 million with a post money valuation of £14.2 million.

With some of the best known and most influential figures in the cybersecurity industry onboard including Paddy McGuinness, the UK’s former Deputy National Security Adviser for Intelligence, Security and Resilience; Lane Bess, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Palo Alto Networks; and Cris Conde, former Chief Executive Officer of SunGard, the company is primed for success by fundamentally transforming organisations’ ability to accurately and quickly spot threats concealed in encrypted traffic.

The business will be led by CEO Tom Millar, former Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ITC Secure; Chief Revenue Officer Hiten Mistry, former banking lead architect and senior figure at several cyber security start-ups, and Chief Technology Officer Simon Mullis, former Technical Director EMEA at Tanium.

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Based in London, Noetic Cyber is a new entrant to cyber asset and controls management markets. The company uses a cloud-based platform to provide teams with unified visibility of all assets to make faster, more accurate decisions to detect coverage gaps and reduce cyber risk.

Recently, the cybersecurity startup has raised $20 million (approx £14.4 million) funding in a Series A round led by Energy Impact Partners, with participation from existing seed investors TenEleven Ventures and Glasswing Ventures.

In addition, Noetic is adding depth to its board of directors, with the appointment of Alan Kessler as an independent board member. Alan was previously the CEO of Thales e-Security and serves on the boards of BlackSky, Thales, and Sotero.

Founded by Paul Ayers, Allen Rogers, and Allen Hadden, Noetic Cyber helps security teams better understand cyber risks by building a map of the relationship between their assets and entities, along with context and insights to make faster, more accurate decisions.

“Good cyber asset management is foundational to addressing the inherent friction between the IT and security teams, as it provides both parties with an accurate view of assets to defend, potential security gaps and priorities to address,” said Chris Steffen, research director, information security, Enterprise Management Associates. “Noetic is able to help to bridge the gap between the CISO and the IT organisation, with an innovative approach to cyber asset management that provides immediate value.”

The platform has a rich automation workflow engine as a core part of the solution, enabling security teams to anticipate and react to changing IT and security requirements.

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Currently, many NHS Trusts use spreadsheets or outdated systems to manage their complex rota systems. This leaves individuals with little to no control over the hours or days they work. If a staff member is unwell or a ward is understaffed, NHS teams have to manually contact temporary staff or resort to expensive recruitment agencies to fill the gaps.

London-based Patchwork Health founded by NHS doctors replaces this rigid, analogue staffing infrastructure with modern, intuitive workforce systems. Its technology and services transform NHS workers’ service, be it full-time or temporary staff.

In a recent development, the healthcare staffing platform has bagged £3.5 million to accelerate their mission to solve the NHS burnout crisis. The funding round was led by Praetura Ventures and BMJ New Ventures. Both have backed the business for several years and are committed to continuing their support as Patchwork grows.

Dr Anas Nader, who co-founded Patchwork Health with Dr Jing Ouyang after they both witnessed the impact of staffing inefficiencies first-hand as NHS doctors, said: “The NHS is facing a workforce crisis. “We’re already partnering with over 70 NHS sites to tackle the root causes of burnout, offer full-time and temporary staff more choices, and create stronger staffing foundations for hospitals. Through our technology and services, flexible work and safely staffed wards can go hand in hand. We’re so grateful to our NHS partners, and to the teams at Praetura Ventures and BMJ New Ventures, for making this possible and enabling us to scale up our services at a time of critical need.”

David Foreman, Managing Director at Praetura Ventures and Non-Executive Director of Patchwork, added: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Patchwork team. From the moment we met Anas and Jing, we could see the passion for their business. Patchwork is helping to solve a staffing crisis in the NHS. They’ve made real strides over the last 18 months and have the potential to make seismic changes in the way we organise staff in one of the world’s largest healthcare systems. At a time when there’s so much pressure on the frontline, innovative platforms like Patchwork will help us shape a better future for this critical industry whilst continuing to maintain high levels of patient care. Everyone at Praetura Ventures is excited to help Patchwork build something that’s going to benefit so many people.”

Anca Babor, BMJ’s Strategy Director, said: “We are excited to continue to support Patchwork Health in their next stage of growth – it’s a testament to the great progress the team is making and the strong partnership we have built together. A recent editorial in The BMJ argued that improving staff health and wellbeing is far from being a “nice to have,” it is a moral, social, and economic priority. Patchwork plays an important role in achieving this goal, and we are proud to be part of their journey towards a transparent, fair, and efficient workforce planning system that will ultimately improve patient care and create a healthier world.”

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The femtech industry is expected to become a $50 billion market by 2025. To capitalise on this growth, London-based Elvie, a leading femtech startup that develops iconic and smart products for women has bagged £58 million in a Series C funding round.

The investment round was led by BGF along with further investment from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock Private Equity Partners (“BlackRock”) and a consortium including Hiro Capital and Westerly Winds. Also, existing investors Octopus Ventures and IPGL took part in the round.

The Series C funds will be used to invest in three key areas including innovation and the development of new best-in-class products and services for women, continued expansion into new and existing markets, and strengthening Elvie’s operations and infrastructure ready for the next phase of high-speed growth.

Furthermore, the company will bolster the existing senior team by roping in Daina Spedding, BGF, and Persefoni Noulika, BlackRock to its board. This follows the recent hire of Sarah Highfield, who joined as COO and CFO in September 2020.

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Selfridges’ owner the Weston family has reportedly begun a formal auction of the department store business, with bids expected to start at £4 billion.

Advisor Credit Suisse is expected to distribute information memoranda to potential buyers and a deal, which may be completed by the end of the year.

The sale process follows an unsolicited approach to buy Selfridges, which emerged last month.

Sovereign wealth funds, such as Adia, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, and the Qatar Investment Authority, have been named as interested bidders.

The Westons are likely to consider the extent to which any interested parties value sustainability as Selfridges has put sustainability at the heart of its strategy.

Selfridges’ property assets alone are worth £2 billion.

It is understood the sale process is being run from North America by Robin Rankin, Credit Suisse’s co-head of mergers and acquisitions, who is advising Pavi Binning, now special adviser to the Weston family.

Selfridges’ profits have doubled in the past decade thanks to investments such as an in-store skating bowl and cinema.

In its most recently reported financial year, Selfridges Group’s holding company SHEL Holdings said the pandemic “had a significant short-term impact on the group’s profitability” but it has “committed support from its ultimate parent company”.

Clearly a lot is happening in the global online grocery market right now and the UK is no behind. Online grocery shopping has skyrocketed up 230% compared to pre-pandemic levels. A host of European and UK startups have launched with the promise of delivering grocery online within 10-15 minutes and they all are battling each other fiercely in this race of fastest first. 

The current generation of online grocery startups is flawlessly trying to address issues like fighting for slots, damaged goods, disappointing substitutions, and poor time management by building their own fulfillment centres. In industry terms, it is dubbed as Dark Stores or Cloud Stores — basically, they are only for delivering internet orders. Once the order is placed via an app, items will be picked, packed, and delivered to customers. 

As per industry experts, this full-stack or vertical approach and the visibility it provides are supposed to produce enough supply chain and logistics efficiency to make the unit economics work.

While £9.8 billion has been invested into the super-fast delivery market globally and with the UK having a plethora of speedy online grocery delivery apps ready to bring fresh and branded groceries to consumer’s doorsteps competing with the likes of Ocado, Waitrose, Tesco and Whole Foods, we at UKTN take a look at how they compete with each other in terms of price, delivery time and products they offer and more.

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B2B software is a trillion-dollar industry and Europe has become the centre of this industry-defining tech. London-based Dawn Capital is one of the leading specialist B2B software investors in Europe. Now, it has closed Dawn Opportunities Fund II and raised $120 million (nearly £86 million) to continue investing growth funds to its best-performing portfolio companies.

With this later stage capital, Dawn can provide founders with a source of European investment. As a specialist, hands-on investor, it also ensures Dawn’s portfolio company founders benefit from Dawn’s team’s long-term support and expertise as they help guide them from Series A to successful IPOs and large M&A transactions.

The Dawn Opportunities Fund II follows the footsteps of its predecessor Dawn Opportunities I, which made its first investment, in a Series D round for Collibra, the world’s leading data intelligence platform, in January 2019.

The new fund will invest up to $30 million in the Series C+ growth rounds of the best-performing companies within its flagship portfolio. It will make investments into the companies that continue to prove their value and category dominance, in turn enabling its investors to capture the inherent value in these companies to exit.

The fund received strong support from Dawn’s existing LP base as well as attracting new investors from the US and Europe. The investors committing to the fund comprise global blue-chip institutions investors, including endowment funds, fund of funds, asset managers and family offices, and illustrious group of HNWs including Dawn’s portfolio founders.

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