AV Bill becomes law as government teases 2026 for self-driving cars on UK roads
UKTN
by Oscar Hornstein
59m ago
Self-driving cars could be on UK roads in just two years following the Automated Vehicles Act receiving Royal Assent today in what could be a significant boost for the country’s autonomous vehicle startups. The act, announced during last year’s King’s Speech, provides a legal framework for self-driving vehicles to be deployed on UK roads, with the Department for Transport estimating a rollout in 2026. The new law requires autonomous vehicles to meet a level of safety equal to that of a “careful and competent human driver”. The law also protects drivers from responsibility in the event of accid ..read more
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How to create a successful exit strategy for your tech business
UKTN
by UKTN
59m ago
Despite the challenges that rising interest rates and geopolitical uncertainty have imposed on M&A activity in the last year, the technology sector and IT services in particular are demonstrating resilience and still attracting investors and buyers in the UK. As Moore Kingston Smith Corporate Finance, leading corporate finance advisers in the IT sector, explains in its latest M&A report, a total of 620 UK deals were announced in 2023, marginally ahead of 2022, with over 60% of these transactions led by PE or PE-backed businesses. While the average value of these deals in 2023 could not ..read more
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UK tech funding roundup: This week’s deals from PolyAI to Alchemie Technology
UKTN
by Oscar Hornstein
3d ago
This week’s UK tech funding deals include AI customer support company PolyAI, remote and freelance worker management platform Native Teams, sustainable fintech Ekko and more. UKTN tracked £99.8m worth of UK tech investment this week (13 May to 17 May), a 95% week-on-week decrease across 12 funding rounds. Here’s your weekly roundup of UK tech startup funding deals. PolyAI – £39.4m Sector: AI HQ: London Round: Series C Funding type: Equity Investors: Hedosophia, NVentures, Khosla Ventures and Point72 Ventures Founded in 2017, PolyAI develops AI voice generation technology for use in custom ..read more
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Sainsbury’s enters generative AI partnership with Microsoft
UKTN
by Oscar Hornstein
3d ago
Sainsbury’s has agreed a partnership deal with Microsoft to incorporate generative AI into the supermarket chain’s operations. The five-year deal will see the British retail giant incorporate Microsoft generative AI to “improve customers’ search experience” for online shopping and AI customer support, Sainsbury’s said it will also use Microsoft AI to improve the efficiency of in-store staff, with AI guiding workers to shelves that need restocking. “Our collaboration with Microsoft will accelerate our ambition to become the UK’s leading AI-enabled grocer,” said Clodagh Moriarty, Sainsbury’s chi ..read more
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Innovation agency launches £4.6m fund for aquaculture projects
UKTN
by Oscar Hornstein
3d ago
A £4.6m fund has been launched by the UK’s innovation agency to back sustainable aquaculture ventures from academia and industry. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) – part of the government agency UK Research and Innovation – investment fund will support 10 projects addressing challenges to British aquaculture. The projects include using AI-powered imaging to address the health and welfare of plankton, deploying novel culturing strategies to cultivate seaweed – commonly used in bioplastics – and accelerating the genetic improvement of Atlantic salmon using speed ..read more
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Luscid founder: Focus funding on your startup’s tech engine
UKTN
by Robert Scammell
4d ago
Damien Gillman is the co-founder and chief strategy officer at Luscid, a startup that has developed a software platform for brands to find and track sponsorship opportunities. Gillman founded Luscid in 2022 with Harry Coe, son of Olympic champion distance runner and now World Athletics chief Lord Sebastian Coe. The pair launched Luscid with the goal of bringing a data-driven approach to sports and entertainment sponsorships. Gillman brings over 20 years of experience in the partnerships industry. Luscid has worked with brands including Accor, The Value Xchange and Bright Partnerships. Last yea ..read more
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Climate fintech startup Ekko raises £2m
UKTN
by Robert Scammell
4d ago
A climate-focused fintech startup that plants trees and supports conservation projects when customers use its debit card has raised $2.5m (£2m) in funding. Ekko, which was founded in 2019, said it plans to use the funding to hire “leading industry experts” who can support product development and international expansion. Investment firm Fuel Ventures led the funding round, with further capital provided by Sorven Partners, Mishcon de Reya and existing investors. The London-based startup previously secured £450,000 in pre-seed funding in 2021. Co-founded by Oli Cook, Manish Vara, Simon Toller and ..read more
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Businesses call on Rishi Sunak to protect graduate visas
UKTN
by Oscar Hornstein
4d ago
Multinational businesses including Siemens and Thales have called on the prime minister to protect graduate visas to prevent damage to UK research and innovation. In a letter from the National Centre for Universities and Businesses, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was warned that “financial pressures” from cutting off international graduates from coming to Britain could “undermine one of the UK’s greatest strategic strengths”. The warning comes as Conservative MPs, including the former immigration minister Robert Jenrick, have called for the graduate visa scheme, which allows international students ..read more
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PolyAI raises $50m for call centre voice assistants
UKTN
by Oscar Hornstein
4d ago
PolyAI, a London-based startup that creates AI voices for use in call centres, has closed a $50m (£39.4m) funding round valuing it close to $500m. Founded in 2017, PolyAI builds conversational virtual assistants for customer support. The company lists Volkswagen, Marriott and Caesar’s Entertainment among its clients. The company’s co-founder and CEO Nikola Mrkšić previously worked at Apple as a machine learning researcher in Cambridge working with the team behind the Siri virtual assistant. The funding round, first reported by the Financial Times, was led by Hedosophia and NVentures – the VC a ..read more
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Why Darktrace’s US private equity deal isn’t all bad for UK tech
UKTN
by Andrew Ross
4d ago
Darktrace is the UK’s largest homegrown success story for public tech stocks in recent years. The news that it will soon be an asset owned by US private equity firm Thoma Bravo has led to another round of despair in the UK public market and tech and investment communities. This take-private is, rightly, yet another example of the UK’s tech company exodus. The US markets are often seen as more appealing and more dynamic for attracting capital and supporting growth than the UK. This further feeds into the narrative that Britain is not the place for the long-term growth of tech companies and that ..read more
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