Deals of the week Feb 21 to Feb 25 – a GrowthBusiness roundup

This week’s deals include a developer of robotic e-skin closing £3.6m, life sciences diagnostics firm Automata closing £37m Series B, and WalkSafe, an app which helps women get home safely, raising £300,000 seed investment

Automata scales £37m Series B funding

Automata, an automation company helping life sciences innovate, diagnose and discover at scale, has raised $50m (£37.4m) in Series B in a round led by Octopus Ventures. Returning investors Hummingbird, Latitude Ventures, ABB Technology Ventures and Isomer Capital joined the round, as did In-Q-Tel.

Weavr weaves £29m Series A round

Weavr, a London-headquartered technology provider which enables businesses with plug-and-play financial solutions, has closed a $40m (£29m) Series A funding round led by Tiger Global. Mubadala Capital, LocalGlobe’s growth-stage Latitude fund and previous Weavr backers QED Investors, Anthemis and Seedcamp also participated. Weavr has raised $55m to date in just 18 months.

OCR Labs identifies £22m Series B funding

OCR Labs, a London-based technology provider for digital identification, has raised $30m (£22m) Series B from Equable Capital, a New York-based family office founded by Jonathan Smidt, a former partner at investment firm KKR. Clients include Virgin Money. To date, OCR Labs has raised $46m through its combined Series A and B. Previous investors include OYAK and Halkin Ventures.

Touchlab raises £3.6m to develop robot skin

Touchlab, an Edinburgh-based deep tech company which develops electronic skin (e-skin) for robots, has raised a further $4.8m (£3.6m) in seed funding. The investment was led by Octopus Ventures with participation from existing investors, including Creator Fund and Techstart Ventures.

Despite skin enabling people to make sense of the world around them, there has been little progress with respect to giving robots a sense of touch similar to that of human skin. Machines fitted with Touchlab’s e-skin can roll pens, grasp soft objects, and even detect slippage. It can also withstand extreme environments such as acid, high and low temperatures, and even radioactive environments, giving it unique “superhuman” capabilities.

Arete pumps £3.5m into eco heat installer Dynamis

North West-based multi-family office Arete has led a £3.5m funding round into Dynamis, which provides mass installation of solar and air-source heat pumps to businesses, homes and housing associations.

WalkSafe app gets £300,000 investment

WalkSafe, a free app designed to help women feel safer when they are walking home alone, has received a £300,000 investment from Fearless Ventures, a venture capital firm founded last year. WalkSafe helps its users to avoid crime hotspots by showing on a map where recent incidents such as knife crime, sexual assault and muggings have taken place, based on official crime data and updated each month.

Schwarzthal tracks £150,000 pre-seed funding

Financial crime intelligence start-up Schwarzthal Tech has raised £150,000 in a pre-seed funding round from SFC Capital. Schwarzthal Tech uses AI to help analyse an individual’s financial network to fight financial crime.

Financial institutions use Know Your Customer policies to onboard a new client and are aimed at assessing the level of financial risk the customer could pose. KYC helps prevent banks unwittingly storing money resulting from criminal activity, including mob activity, terrorism or drug trafficking. However, the globalisation of financial crime means that it rarely involves only one individual or company, which is why knowing not only your client but also their network has become increasingly important.

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Deals of the week February 14-18 – a GrowthBusiness roundup



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Deals of the week