Belgium’s Cowboy raises $3M led by Index to launch a smarter e-bike

Cowboy, the startup that’s building a new, smarter electronic bicycle, quietly launched in its home country of Belgium this past week, whilst simultaneously disclosing it has raised $3 million in seed funding. Notably, the round is led by Index Ventures. The London and San Francisco-based VC appears to be particularly bullish on electric-powered mobility, recently backing electric scooter startup Bird. France’s Hardware Club, and Kima Ventures also participated in Cowboy’s seed round, along with individual investors Thibaud Elziere (eFounders), Bertrand Jelensperger (LaFourchette), Harold Mechelynck (Ogone), Frederic Potter (Netatmo) and Francis…

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Facebook starts its facial recognition push to Europeans

Facebook users in Europe are reporting that the company has started giving them the option to turn on its controversial facial recognition technology. Jimmy Nsubuga, a journalist at Metro, is among several European Facebook users who have reporting getting notifications asking if they want to turn on face recognition technology. Facebook has previously said an opt-in option would be pushed out to all European users, and also globally, as part of changes to its T&Cs and consent flow. In Europe the company is hoping to convince users to voluntarily allow it…

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Russia’s game of Telegram whack-a-mole grows to 19M blocked IPs, hitting Twitch, Spotify and more

As the messaging app Telegram continues to try to evade Russian authorities by switching up its IP addresses, Russia’s regulator Roskomnadzor (RKN) has continued its game of whack-a-mole to try to lock it down by knocking out complete swathes of IP address. The resulting chase how now ballooned to nearly 19 million IP addresses at the time of writing, as tracked by unofficial RKN observer RKNSHOWTIME (updated on a Telegram channel with stats accessible on the web via Phil Kulin’s site). As a result, there have been a number of…

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Eventbrite acquires Spanish ticketing platform Ticketea

Eventbrite has been shopping again in Europe — announcing today that it’s picked up Spanish ticketing firm, Ticketea. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The Madrid-based events discovery and ticketing platform lets people find and book tickets for a variety of live experiences — including festivals, concerts and performing arts shows. It focuses on Spanish speaking countries and small and mid-sized event organizers. Eventbrite said the acquisition will help expand its global footprint in music events, including via the Arenal Sound, Viña Rock, Low Festival, and Dreambeach festivals. It…

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Open Mineral plans to disrupt commodities trading with blockchain

Commodity trading is a very old industry that focuses on raw materials, like lead or copper, that are worth hundreds of billions. These materials are constantly moving from producers to consumers in a global market worth about $80 billion, but it often lacks efficiency and transparency. Meanwhile, intermediaries make a lot of money just by acting as the middlemen. That’s where blockchain could, in theory, be applied, but introducing great transparency. Open Mineral, a physical commodities trading platform, has now closed an investment round ($2.25 million) to do just that.…

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Uber denies its CTO met with Cambridge Analytica

Uber has denied that its sitting CTO, Thuan Pham, met with Cambridge Analytica — the controversial political consultancy at the center of a Facebook user data misuse scandal. But it has not been able to confirm that no meetings between anyone else on its payroll and Cambridge Analytica took place. “I’m not sure who they think they met with, but I can confirm our CTO never met with them and we don’t have a relationship with them,” an Uber spokeswoman told us. Giving evidence to the UK parliament earlier this…

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iZettle expands from mobile payments into e-commerce and online sales for SMBs

iZettle, the startup out of Sweden that has been referred to as the Square of Europe, is today making a move that underscores its bigger strategy to build on its traction with small businesses in mobile payments, to expand into an ever-wider range of financial services to fill out its $950 million valuation. The company is launching a new e-commerce platform, where customers can build online inventory and check-out experiences either to complement the physical sales they are already making with iZettle itself, or as a standalone service as new…

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Personably, software that helps on-board new hires at fast-growing companies, gets backing from GFC

As fast-growing companies — or, dare I say, “scale-ups” — add new headcount, the pace at which they are able to on-board new hires doesn’t always keep up. In fact, I’m told it is not unheard of for new employees to turn up on day one apparently unexpected, and to be passed from pillar to post as they attempt to get set up and be shown all of the things one needs to be shown to actually start a new role. Enter Personably, the London startup founded in late 2016…

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Supreme Court dismisses warrant case against Microsoft after CLOUD Act renders it moot

A long-running legal battle between the U.S. government and Microsoft has been dismissed by the Supreme Court (PDF) after the crux of the conflict was mooted by recent legislation. The company will now be forced to provide data stored on servers in Ireland that it had previously said should be obtained through that country’s authorities. The case dates to 2013 and has become a sort of landmark on the frontier between global politics and tech. American law enforcement sought data on a user of Microsoft services in relation to a…

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