Tech News: 17th Jan

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SoSafe the Cologne-based cybersecurity awareness and testing platform has now raised a $73 million Series B funding round led by growth-capital fund Highland Europe. Existing investors Acton Capital and Global Founders Capital were joined by SAP Hybris founder and Celonis Advisory Board member Carsten Thoma, together with La Famiglia as well as Adjust founder Christian Henschel as participants. SoSafe competes with platforms like Knowbe4 (that went public in 2021) and Cofense, which has raised $58 million to date. SoSafe says it takes a user-centered approach to cybersecurity, using insights from behavioral science to nudge users in the right, and safer, direction, using gamified methods to teach end-users what to look out for in a cyber attack.  

Oxford Biomedica, which helped AstraZeneca with its Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing, has raised £39.4m in a share placing. The placing represents 5.6 per cent of the company’s issued share capital to date. The London-listed gene and cell therapy group launched a placing to raise £80m last week, as it looks to widen its viral vector manufacturing capabilities with US-based Homology Medicines. Oxford Biomedica announced it would be snapping up an 80 per cent stake in the firm, which is valued at £175m. The group added that it would partly fund the deal through a £62m loan. Oxford Biomedica also confirmed last Friday that it was in talks with AstraZeneca to extend its current vaccine supply agreement. 

UK fintech Railsbank is in the process of raising $100m (£74m) in new funding that is likely to put its valuation over $1bn, according to reports. Railsbank, which provides embedded finance and open banking services, is working with investment bank FT Partners on the funding round. If the funding round pushes its valuation over the $1bn mark then Railsbank will follow the likes of Starling Bank, Monzo and Wise in joining the UK fintech unicorn club. It would also represent a strong start for the UK’s fintech sector following a bumper 2021, in which companies attracted a record $11.6bn in capital. Railsbank was founded in 2016  its services are used by other fintechs, supermarkets, telcos and consumer brands all over the world. 

Fintechs can’t afford “inflation busting” salary hikes but the Bank of England governor should not decide whether workers ask for wage rises, fintech leaders say. Fintech bosses have reacted to comments by Andrew Bailey relating to wage rises as well as the impact the 0.25 per cent hike in interest rates will have on their businesses. Bailey's comments have been blasted by unions. On the day that interest rates were upped by 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent, Bailey, who was paid £575,538 including pension, in the year from 1 March 2020, gave various interviews. Wage increases would pose the risk that employers would pass on higher wage costs to consumers by rising prices, creating further inflation. Sharon Miles, chief operating officer, Chip, said an individual’s salary should be not be decided by Bailey.

London-based startup called Veed that’s built an online-only, web-based platform for all those video creators to edit and publish their work, is announcing $35 million in funding to double down on strong demand. The funding is coming from a single investor, Sequoia, and this is Veed’s first outside money since starting as a bootstrapped business in 2018.Sequoia has picked a promising horse in the startup race. Veed currently has 1 million users and annual recurring revenues of $7 million, a figure that is growing quickly: ARR was $6 million just two months ago. Veed is sold as a freemium product — “tens of thousands” pay for the service, CEO Sabba Keynejad. 

Orbex had applied for licence as UK heads for landmark launches this year. The countdown has begun for the UK’s first-ever launches from British soil this year, which has prompted rocket firm Orbex to hand in its own launching application to the country’s spaceflight regulator. Having already completed its pre-application meetings with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which was appointed the UK’s spaceflight watchdog last summer, Orbex has become one of the first launch operators in the country to progress to the next phase. The rocket firm hopes to launch its so-called Prime rocket from Space Hub Sutherland, which has been hailed as the world’s first carbon neutral spaceport, in the north of Scotland. Prime, unveiled in October, will also emit up to 96 per cent less emissions than comparable space launch programmes, according to a study by Exeter University.

The US-based subscription payment processor ChargeBee has just completed a $250m fundraise—and its co-lead investor believes subscriptions will come to dominate businesses. "We believe every company will be a subscription company in the future. The predictability of a subscription business model is extremely attractive," said Tejeshwi Sharma, MD, Sequoia India. The investment round was co-led by Sequoia Capital and Tiger Capital, along with existing investors Insight Partners, Sapphire and Steadview Capital.  ChargeBee says its latest funding round means its valuation has more than doubled to $3.5bn in nine months since it raised $125m in April, which then valued Chargebee at $1.4bn. In total, ChargeBee has raised $470m to date.