Top tech startup news stories you need to know this Thursday, October 25
Good morning! Here are some of the top tech startup news stories for today, Thursday, October 25.
Tesla plans to roll out a ride-hailing service that will be in direct competition with Uber and Lyft. Tesla is taking on Uber and Lyft with a plan to roll out its own ride-hailing service. Tesla CEO Elon Musk made the announcement during a third-quarter earnings update. Tesla ‘obviously’ plans to take on Uber and Lyft with the launch of “Tesla Network,” says CEO Elon Musk. Musk said the ‘Tesla Network’ will be the Airbnb of ride-sharing. “Tesla will operate its own ride-hailing services and compete directly with Uber and Lyft, obviously.” Musk said. Tesla’s platform, while not yet operational, will give customers the ability to “offer their car, add or subtract to the fleet at will,” Musk said.
Fintech and social investment startup Tickr raises £860k in seed funding. Tickr, a UK-based fintech startup behind a new social impact investing platform that that lets users back portfolios of globally-listed companies from just £5, has raised £860,000 in seed funding round ahead of its launch. The Tickr app, is scheduled to launch its beta app in the App Store this week. Tickr focuses on firms involved in areas such as climate change, social impact and disruptive technology. The minimum investment is £5 and funds can be held in an ISA. There is also a 0.7 per cent management fee.
Google’s former head of search products has just joined insurer Anthem to be its Chief AI Officer. Anthem has hired Udi Manber, a former search head at Google, to lead its AI group. Before joing Anthem, Manber ran engineering for Google’s core search products and previously held senior roles at Yahoo and Amazon. The hire signals Anthem’s interest and investment in bolstering its core technology and customer experience. Back in June, Anthem expanded its $500 million services agreement deal with technology leader IBM with a focus on using artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to improve operational efficiency and modernize technology platforms.
Hospitality recruitment startup Rota raises £1.8m in new funding. Rota, a London, England-based recruitment app and platform that matches hospitality staff with hotels, restaurants and venues, has raised £1.8 million in new funding to enable the startup to expand its UK footprint and extend its existing service offering, whilst advancing current technologies. The investment round included participation from existing backers and new funding from several high net worth individuals. Launched in 2015, ROTA has quickly become one of the UK’s leading staffing apps, with over 5,000 active members in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Rota’s include hotels, caterers, restaurants, venues, events and stadia.
UK watchdog fines Facebook $644,000 for failing to protect its users’ data. Social giant Facebook has been fined $644,000 by a The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for failing to safeguard people’ information. This is not the first time Facebook was fined. In September, Wall Street Journal reported that a European Union privacy watchdog could fine Facebook as much as $1.63 billion for a data breach after hackers compromised the accounts of more than 50 million users. The EU could fine Facebook if it finds the company violated the bloc’s strict new privacy law.
Nearly 90% of free apps on the Google Play store share data with Google parent company Alphabet. A research paper from a team at the University of Oxford has revealed the extent to which apps share data with developers, ad firms, and ultimately the parent companies of these data-reliant companies. In a related report by Financial Times, about 90% of free apps on the Google Play store share data with Google parent company Alphabet. Google responded by saying that it had clear policies for how developers could handle data, and that the research had mischaracterized some “ordinary functions” of apps. “If an app violates our policies, we take action,” Google said in a statement. Many free apps track behavior across many different digital services, which lets companies build up a detailed profile of people using the app.