It was another busy week in the world of European startups. Here were the biggest stories you need to know about:
? Challenger bank N26 got into trouble with the German banking regulators. It has been asked to improve its anti-money laundering and financial crime processes. The company responded saying it is hiring more people for this, partly to help clear its backlog of flagged transactions and recheck the identity of some customers.
? Five-year-old fintech Loop went into administration. The startup, which offered a current account and pre-paid debit card aimed at young people, had secured an investment from Royal Bank of Scotland.
?London fintech Transferwise announced it had raised $292m at a valuation of $3.5bn, making it the most valuable fintech in Europe. In doing so, the company also minted 33 new (paper) millionaires, which promises to be good for the European ecosystem.
? Digital bank Monzo hit 2 million customers. More than 35,000 people are signing up every week.
Cash cash money
☁️ There’s a new $125m fund for European “trailblazers”, courtesy of Salesforce Ventures. It’s specifically focused on enterprise cloud startups — where Europe is reckoned to have an edge.
? London will soon have a new food tech fund. Norwegian impact accelerator Katapult and media veteran Eirik Svendsen say the fund, when it closes, will focus on the entire food value chain. (??)
? Al Gore’s sustainability-focused investment firm, Generation, closed a new $1bn fund. It will focus on the health of people and planet, and financial inclusion — and has so far backed Swiss data-driven medical company Sophia Genetics.
? A new deep tech seed fund is about to come out of hiding. The Dublin-based fund, currently in stealth mode, announced it will soon close its first deal.
? Tencent has gobbled up another game studio, Sharkmob. It was founded two years ago by five developers who left Malmö-based games company Massive to start their own.
? An Israeli court has decided that Bitcoin is not a currency. What does that mean?
Company and community
⚓ Barcelona’s biggest startup hub is expanding. Pier03 — the follow-on to Pier01, an old shipping warehouse filled with startups, incubators, VCs and corporate innovation teams — will focus on blockchain technology and also be home to impact hub Civic Tech House. What about Pier02? That’s being saved for something even bigger and better, CEO Miquel Martí told Sifted.
? Mapping startup Mapillary launched a marketplace. It will enable customers to request map data, and then pay the people who gather the street-level images required for the platform to do so. Still curious? Read our profile on the Swedish upstart taking on Google Maps.
✊ Wagestream, a UK startup which lets people access earned wages before payday, raised £15m. And it’s not the only fintech focusing on financial inclusion (rather than just middle-class millennials): we round up the startups providing services for gig workers here.
?? Beauty booking app Beautystack raised £4m from Index Ventures.
? French healthtech startup Sim&Cure raised €3m.
? Estonian-founded cybersecurity training startup RangeForce raised $1.5m.
? Israeli drone insurance startup VOOM raised $5m.
? UK-Israeli startup Ravin raised $4m to apply AI to vehicle inspections.