Fintech and ecommerce


Europe’s battle against the rising media power of Silicon Valley

It’s a question as old as the tech industry itself: can Europe compete with Silicon Valley?

This reared up again in my mind for two main reasons. The first is the recent(-ish) shift of Big Tech into being media entities. And the second? That’s Spotify’s struggles as a European stalwart in this field.

Let’s consider the first point.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen Silicon Valley shift its strategy and start investing heavily in media. You only need to look at Apple’s launch of the Apple TV+ and Apple Music streaming services, or Amazon’s foray into movies and TV series. I mean, the latter was behind The Rings Of Power, the most expensive television show ever made.

There are, of course, a myriad of reasons why Big Tech is investing in media, but one of the biggest is using it as a tool to hook people into their ecosystems.

“In the case of Amazon, due to its various revenue channels and methods of connecting with customers, it has a greater understanding of its users and their preferences through data,” Stephen Hateley says. He’s the head of product and partner marketing at DigitalRoute, a business that helps streaming companies understand their customer data.

He tells me that because Amazon “is not primarily or solely a media company, it can combine its customer accounts and upsell to them via its ecommerce, TV, film and music streaming, consumer electronics, and grocery delivery channels.”

For example, the company is able to spend money on shows and encourage people to subscribe to Amazon Prime Video. This comes bundled with Amazon Prime itself, meaning users have an incentive to use the platform to shop on.

Apple takes a similar approach.

In recent years, the company has realised that it’s close to hitting the ceiling of how many devices it can sell. From this point, growth will be tougher. Knowing this, it has shifted focus to services, effectively aiming to upsell software to its existing customers — and it’s working.

Apple not only gives customers free trials of its streaming services with new hardware purchases, but also bundles them together in its Apple One package. And again, like Amazon, it spends big on shows in order to attract people to enter its services ecosystem — with Ted Lasso being a prime example of this working successfully.

“This provides it with more opportunities to monetise its customers as well as collect a great amount of data on their preferences,” Hateley says. 

Spotify’s struggles: An industry signpost

The thing is, all of the above isn’t particularly profitable — and especially not when it comes to the media side of things. In many ways, US tech companies are using streaming as a loss leader. They’re pumping billions into shows and movies with the aim of making money elsewhere, not through the media itself.

This is a huge problem to both media companies in general and European businesses in the same field. And guess who sits in both these categories? Yep, you guessed it: Spotify.

The Swedish company, which is broadly independent, is struggling to keep up with Big Tech. It pays its artists less than its biggest competitors, yet still hasn’t made a profit: 

Chart of Spotify's earnings
This graph from Carbon Finance shows that although Spotify has incredible growth, it’s consistently losing money.

This shows in its behaviour. For example, it made a huge bet on podcasts, investing over a billion dollars in an attempt to bring a wider range of users onto its platform. While this had the clear benefit of making it a podcast leader, the company struggled to turn it into profit, leading to layoffs and a paring back of the approach.

This pattern is being played out across the entire European media landscape. 

“US dominance can prove challenging for European companies attempting to claim their share of the market in any industry, and media is no different,” Hateley says, pointing towards how even organisations like the BBC are struggling in this environment.

This paints a picture of a sector being blasted away by Big Tech’s ability to spend and raises some important questions for the future of media.

Can European countries fight back? And do they need to?

“One way European media companies can compete with the big budgets of US firms is re-evaluating the type of content they’re putting out to audiences,” Marty Roberts tells me. He’s the SVP, Product Strategy & Marketing, at Brightcove, a streaming technology company.

Effectively, Roberts believes that US streaming giants create too many shows to market effectively. This is an opportunity for smaller entities to do “an amazing job at promoting a couple of new shows a month.”

Alongside this, he thinks that “[a] key strength for European media companies is hyper-localisation in niche markets.” He points towards either non-English language content, or getting particularly good at a specific genre, such as the success of Nordic detective dramas.

Jesse Shemen — the CEO of Papercup, a company that delivers AI dubbing for media companies — is similarly positive about prospects for European media.

“The current trend of bundling is opening up chances for unprecedented collaboration between European companies and US rivals,” he says. “We’re already seeing this in action, with Paramount Global’s partnerships with Sky and Canal+ just one recent example.”

This paints a rosier picture than I was expecting. The doom-and-gloom of European companies not competing doesn’t seem to trouble many experts, with them generally believing the businesses can thrive by not fighting US Big Tech, but instead working alongside it.

Yet is this unified, global approach a good thing?

One element that was brought up during my conversations was that the interconnected and worldwide focus of media now makes borders broadly irrelevant, meaning this focus on the success of European media specifically isn’t helpful.

“When it comes to investment capital, we live in a global village, where giant investors from the US, EU, UK, APAC, and anywhere can pour substantial capital into companies they believe in,” Maor Sadra says. He’s CEO and co-founder of INCRMNTAL, a data science platform.

This blurring of geographic lines, Sadra contends, is true of Spotify too. He points out that the company’s largest institutional investors include the UK’s Baillie Gifford, US-based Morgan Stanley, and Tencent Holidays, a Chinese company.

“The location of key management and employees in a connected world seems almost an irrelevant point of consideration in today’s age,” he tells me.

There’s no doubt that what Sadra and other experts say is true: we live in a global media environment and, for companies to survive, they need to accept that. Looking for outside investment or partnering with bigger organisations like Apple or Amazon is part-and-parcel of existing in this modern world.

This though doesn’t mean it’s not vital for Europe to maintain powerful media bodies.

You only need to look at how Hollywood and TV has benefitted America. It has expanded its cultural influence worldwide, becoming a form of soft power. Just consider, as one micro example, the global footprint of Halloween and Thanksgiving. For Europe to remain an attractive place, for it to carve out its own identity, it requires strong media.

Yes, it’s important to work together with these huge American organisations, yet European businesses in the same sector have to make their own mark too — and one way of achieving that is with tech.

Staying ahead of the wave

There was one theme that came up across many of my conversations on this topic of using tech to remain relevant: artificial intelligence.

“Localisation is one area where technology’s influence, especially generative AI, is being felt,” Shemen from Papercup tells me.

This is being trialled in a number of places already, with Spotify planning on cloning podcast hosts’ voices and then translating them into different languages. This trend will be hugely important for European media creators, especially if they’re making content in non-English. It almost goes without saying how much this could benefit smaller creators and media companies that fall into this category, as their potential reach can skyrocket.

Artificial intelligence will also be a vital part of the puzzle for European businesses when it comes to analysing data. If they can get access to forms of insights currently only available to gargantuan tech companies, they can alter their content to appeal and reach the masses, levelling the playing field.

The European route to success

If European media is going to survive Big Tech’s thrust into the space one thing’s for certain: it can’t stay stationary. Instead, the European industry needs to take advantage of its positive attributes and use them as best it can.

This should involve embracing its ability to create niche content, clever content partnerships, and investing in technologies that can help European content hit a wider audience.

Ultimately, the future of media streaming in Europe is one of balance. While there’s a lucrative future available by partnering with bigger organisations, it can’t risk losing itself in the process. Currently, there’s no real way European media bodies can compete with the bottomless wallets of Silicon Valley. What they can do though is ensure they stay relevant.

The secret to achieving this isn’t all that secret — being nimble and open minded.

Don’t act so shocked: age-old questions often have age-old answers, after all.

Europe’s battle against the rising media power of Silicon Valley Read More »


Nokia sues Amazon, HP over video patent infringement

Nokia has taken legal action against Amazon and HP over their alleged “unauthorised use” of the company’s video streaming-related technologies.

In a blogpost, Nokia’s Chief Licencing Officer Arvin Patel alleged that Amazon Prime Video and Amazon’s streaming devices infringe a number of the company’s multimedia patents, including video compression, content recommendation and delivery, and aspects related to hardware.

For this reason, Nokia has filed lawsuits in the US, Germany, India, the UK, and the European Patent Office. A separate lawsuit was filed against HP in the US.

“We’ve been in discussions with each of Amazon and HP for a number of years, but sometimes litigation is the only way to respond to companies who choose not to play by the rules followed and respected by others,” said Patel.

He emphasised that, despite the lack of patent licence agreements, Amazon and HP are “significantly benefiting” from Nokia’s inventions. According to his statement, the Finnish company has invested over €140bn in R&D for advanced technologies since 2000, and is now holding one of the world’s most adept patent portfolios of connectivity and multimedia tech.

Patel underlined that litigation isn’t the company’s first choice. Instead, Nokia prefers reaching amicable agreements with the businesses relying on its technology, being open to “constructive, good-faith negotiations” about the compensation and royalties for use of key inventions.

Amazon and HP declined to comment on an ongoing litigation.

Meanwhile in October, Nokia announced a wider restructuring that will cut up to 14,000 employees. The move is expected to reduced its personnel expenses by 10%-15%, saving it at least €400mn in 2024.


Back to top

Nokia sues Amazon, HP over video patent infringement Read More »


Amazon to launch ‘sovereign’ European cloud amid data privacy concerns

Amazon to launch ‘sovereign’ European cloud amid data privacy concerns

Amazon has announced the launch of independent cloud services for Europe, in what seems to be an attempt to allay fears over EU data sovereignty.

The tech giant will be rolling out the Amazon Web Services (AWS) European Sovereign Cloud, which is especially designed for public sector customers and private companies operating in highly-regulated industries.

Starting with Germany, the cloud will be set up on servers located within Europe, while only EU-resident and bloc-based AWS employees will have control of its operation.

The new system will be separate from other existing cloud regions, and customer data “will not be used for any purpose” without prior agreement. Meanwhile, for customers with increased data residency needs, it will be possible to keep the metadata they create within the EU.

Alongside Google and Microsoft, AWS’s cloud services dominate the European market. As the number of critical businesses and governmental agencies relying on these platforms soars , there’s growing EU concern over how data is being handled and stored by non-European companies.

In response, the bloc has been pushing for “digital sovereignty,” aiming to regain control of both its data and technology. In July for example, the new Brussels-Washington deal on data flows sought to increase transfer safety, by adding safeguards such as a review court for data protection and restricted access to the bloc’s data by US intelligence services.

Meanwhile, Amazon is under pressure to comply with the EU’s new set of rules on content moderation and fair competition, the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Also tagged with

Amazon to launch ‘sovereign’ European cloud amid data privacy concerns Read More »


Google to pay €3.2M yearly fee to German news publishers

Google to pay €3.2M yearly fee to German news publishers

Google has agreed to pay German publishers €3.2mn per year for publishing their content on its News search engine.

The compensation is part of an interim agreement between the tech giant and Corint Media, pending a decision by the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA), which will determine the final (and potentially higher) amount.

Corint Media is a European corporation that represents the rights of over 500 German and international media companies, including Axel Springer, Al Jazzeera, France 24, and CNBC Europe. The corporation has long been disputing Google’s “unlawful” use of press content without paying any compensation.

Having initially sought a €420mn payment for the news content used in 2022, Corint Media said it now hopes that the DPMA’s decision will lead to a “significantly” higher amount than the preliminary agreement of €3.2mn.

Meanwhile, Google has previously accepted a one-off €5.8mn payment to cover the period between June 2021 (when the EU’s press ancillary copyright law came into force) and March 2023.

“The payments to Corint Media are in line with what we have already agreed with 470 regional and national publications in Germany,” Google said in a statement. Its existing licensing deals include German outlets Zeit and Spiegel.

“Where the quasi-monopoly Google otherwise dictates prices, the route through ordinary courts is the only way to get appropriate compensation for the use of content,” said Dr Christine Jury-Fischer, managing director of Corint Media.

She added that the agreement proves that “even a part of the press market can succeed in defending itself against Google’s dominant business practices if only there is a high level of unity. If successful, these efforts should — and will — also benefit other publishers.”

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Also tagged with

Google to pay €3.2M yearly fee to German news publishers Read More »


UK investigates Amazon, Microsoft cloud services over market dominance concerns

UK investigates Amazon, Microsoft cloud services over market dominance concerns

The UK’s competition watchdog (CMA) has opened an investigation into Amazon’s and Microsoft’s cloud services after concerns over their dominant position in the market.

The move follows a study by telecoms regulator Ofcom, which “identified features that make it more difficult for UK businesses to switch and use multiple cloud suppliers,” mainly concerning the two US tech giants.

“We welcome Ofcom’s referral of public cloud infrastructure services to us for in-depth scrutiny,” said Sarah Carell, CEO at CMA. “This is a £7.5bn market that underpins a whole host of online services — from social media to AI foundation models. Many businesses now completely rely on cloud services, making effective competition in this market essential.”

Ofcom’s study found that Amazon and Microsoft are the two leading cloud providers in the UK, with a combined market share of 70% to 80% in 2022. Google came third at 5%-10%.

table showing the market share of cloud services in the UK in 2022
Credit: Ofcom

The regulator is mostly worried about three features of their services:

  • Egress fees: charges that customers pay to move their data out of a cloud.
  • Discounts: that may incentivise customers to use only one cloud provider, even if better quality alternatives are available.
  • Technical barriers to interoperability: which can prevent customers from switching between different clouds, or use more than one provider.

“Some UK businesses have told us they’re concerned about it being too difficult to switch or mix and match cloud providers, and it’s not clear that competition is working well,” said Fergal Farragher, the Ofcom director responsible for the study.

The CMA will conclude its investigation by April 2025. It has the power to make recommendations to the government or even impose its own remedies, including requiring companies to sell off parts of their business to improve competition.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and Amazon are facing tough competition measures enforced by the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). Amazon Marketplace and Amazon Ads alongside Microsoft’s LinkedIn and Windows PC OS have five months to comply with a list of rules, such as allowing consumers to uninstall pre-installed apps, or enabling business users to promote and sell their products on their own websites.

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Also tagged with

UK investigates Amazon, Microsoft cloud services over market dominance concerns Read More »


JPMorgan’s Chase UK bans crypto transactions amid surge in scams

JPMorgan’s digital bank Chase will restrict all cryptocurrency-related transactions for its customers in the UK, as lenders step up measures to tackle fraud on their networks.

Starting 16 October, customers of Chase Bank in the UK will no longer be able to make crypto transactions using their debit cards or through outgoing bank transfers. 

Chase, which offers fee-free banking via its mobile app, has reportedly amassed more than 50 million active users worldwide. The latest restrictions will only impact its UK customer base, representing some 1.6 million people.  

“If we think you’re making a payment related to crypto assets, we’ll decline it,” read an email statement from Chase to its customers seen by AP News. “If you’d still like to invest in crypto assets, you can try using a different bank or provider instead.”

Data from Britain’s fraud reporting agency Action Fraud shows that the value of crypto fraud in the UK increased 41% last year — reaching a record high of £306mn (€352mn). 

The <3 of EU tech

The latest rumblings from the EU tech scene, a story from our wise ol’ founder Boris, and some questionable AI art. It’s free, every week, in your inbox. Sign up now!

Crypto scams are part of a growing fraud “epidemic”, an offence which accounted for 40% of all reported crimes in England and Wales last year, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

Chase UK is the latest bank in the country to take steps to limit the ability of their customers to purchase cryptocurrencies. 

Earlier this year, British bank NatWest implemented new daily and monthly limits on cryptocurrency exchanges to protect customers from losing large sums of money, while HSBC announced customers would no longer be able to buy cryptocurrencies with their credit cards. 

Other financial institutions like British neobank Starling and Santander UK have taken a harder line by outright banning the buying and selling of crypto on their networks.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ether are largely unregulated in the UK and Europe, although officials are actively trying to figure out how to better control their sale and distribution. 

From 1 September 2023, crypto businesses in the UK are required to collect, verify, and share information about crypto transfers much in the same way as normal bank transfers.

Across the channel, the EU Parliament agreed in May on the world’s first comprehensive set of rules to regulate the transfer of cryptocurrencies, as it looks to crack down on money laundering and illegal transfers in the bloc. 


Back to top

JPMorgan’s Chase UK bans crypto transactions amid surge in scams Read More »


EU blocks Booking’s €1.6B takeover of online travel agency Etraveli

The EU Commission has blocked Booking’s €1.6bn takeover of Swedish online travel agency Etraveli, citing competition concerns.

“Booking’s acquisition of Etraveli would strengthen Booking’s dominant position in the online travel agencies market and likely lead to higher costs for hotels and, possibly, consumers,” said Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice.

According to the Commission, Booking is already the leading online hotel agency in the EEA, accounting for a 60% share of the total market. Meanwhile, Etraveli is the number two provider of flight services.

The merger would, therefore, enable the travel giant to broaden its travel services ecosystem, increase traffic on its platforms, and enhance its network effect. As a result, Booking could further boost its dominant position in the hotel industry and, ultimately, make market entry or expansion more challenging for competitors.

The EU regulator found Booking’s proposed remedy “not sufficiently comprehensive and effective,” failing to fully address the identified competition concerns. Specifically, the company suggested a choice screen on the flight check-out page, displaying hotel options from competing providers. The Commission claims that the solution would still favour Booking.

“Our decision to block the merger means that European hotels and travellers will not be further limited in the options available to offer their services and book their trips. This also means that the drive for competitive prices and innovation will be preserved in this important part of the travel industry,” Reynders added.

In response, the travel giant announced its intention to appeal. “The European Commission’s decision not only departs from settled law and precedent, but it deprives consumers of travel options that they are entitled to have,” said Glenn Fogel, Booking Holdings’ CEO.

The company noted that it will continue working together with Etraveli, extending their partnership through 2028.

The takeover’s veto comes less than a month after the EU announced the six tech giants that will face the strictest set of its new digital market rules, known as the DMA. While Booking was absent from the list, the Commission’s latest antitrust decision indicates that the bloc’s aim to ensure a fair digital economy will go beyond traditional big tech. 


Back to top

EU blocks Booking’s €1.6B takeover of online travel agency Etraveli Read More »


European fintech funding drops 70% in first half of 2023

Fintech funding in Europe has been greatly affected by the challenging economic environment, the latest report by Finch Capital has found. Specifically, startups in the sector raised a total of €4.6bn in the first half of 2023 — down 70% from €15.3bn in H1 2022.

“Since mid-2022 we have seen an increase in investment discipline in public and private markets, resulting in less funding, lay-offs, less IPOs, flight to quality, and focus on capital efficiency,” said Radboud Vlaar, Managing Partner at Finch Capital.

Amid this increased funding discipline, this year’s first half has seen a 48% decline in the number of deals (434 in total) alongside an 84% decrease in M&A transaction sizes, compared to the equivalent 2022 levels. On the bright side, overall M&A activity fell only by 5% with volumes to match those of the past year.

Meanwhile, although the top 20 funding rounds are back to pre-2020 levels, investment dropped the most for the rest, which accounted for less than 40% of the total deal volume. Startups in the Series A to C stages have felt the heaviest impact. In contrast, seed rounds continued to attract funding.

Slide from the State of European Fintech Report 2023
Credit: Finch Capital

The <3 of EU tech

The latest rumblings from the EU tech scene, a story from our wise ol’ founder Boris, and some questionable AI art. It’s free, every week, in your inbox. Sign up now!

From a valuation perspective, public markets have withdrawn to 2019 levels, after record growth in 2020-2021, but are showing signs of stabilisation. Private markets are also transitioning to 2019 valuation levels at a comparable but slower pace.

“We should also start to see a slow recovery of the IPO market in the next semester as valuations have started to slowly pick up and inflation is declining,” noted Vlaar.

Crypto on the rise

Crypto and Lending have attracted most of the investments, displacing Payments and Banking — a traditionally resilient category that saw record capital deployed in 2022. Notably, one in three fintech startups are now labelled as crypto/blockchain.

From B2C to B2B

The report has also found that the trend of the past years towards B2B fintech is here to stay. One reason why is the growing interest in regulation technology as payments and open banking are increasingly consolidating. Another is generative AI’s potential applications in retail banking and the insurance sector.

The UK leads in funding

A well-established fintech hotspot, the UK has shown more resilience and accounted for over 50% of the funding in Europe.

Nevertheless, the UK, Germany, and France also saw a 70% decline in funding value, but optimistically, exits continued consistently. Poland recorded the biggest drop at 89.9%. Overall, countries with an active Series A-B investor base, have seen valuations hold up with small increases in post-money valuations.

The “new normal”

“Consolidation and more competitive investment flows, combined with still significant levels of undeployed capital, will bring maturity to the fintech sector. This new normal level of activity demonstrates the refocus of the fintech ecosystem on long term sustainability versus short term gains,” said Vlaar.

And although the overall environment will continue to be challenging in the next 12 months, he added that this will result in “a more healthy and sustainable startup, hiring, and investor ecosystem.”

European fintech funding drops 70% in first half of 2023 Read More »


EU’s new digital market rules target Meta, Google, 4 more tech giants

The European Commission has named today six tech giants whose market power it aims to control through its Digital Markets Act (DMA) — a landmark pro-competition regulation, designed to ensure a fair and open digital market for both companies and consumers.

The six companies are designated as “gatekeepers” of the EU’s digital market. This means that their core platform services: are active in at least three member states; gather over 45 million end users per month and more than 10,000 business users per year; and have an annual turnover of at least €7.5bn or a market capitalisation of at least €75mn.

Here are the usual culprits:

  • Alphabet
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Meta
  • Microsoft
  • ByteDance

Specifically, the EU has designated 22 core platform services of the gatekeepers as subject to its new strict rules. These are:

  • Alphabet: Chrome, Android, YouTube, Google Search, Chrome, Google Maps, Google Play, Google Shopping, and Google Ads.
  • Amazon: Amazon Marketplace and Amazon Ads.
  • Apple: Safari, iOS, and App Store.
  • ByteDance: TikTok.
  • Meta: Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Meta Marketplace, and Meta Ads.
  • Microsoft: LinkedIn and Windows PC OS.

The <3 of EU tech

The latest rumblings from the EU tech scene, a story from our wise ol’ founder Boris, and some questionable AI art. It’s free, every week, in your inbox. Sign up now!

The above services will have to comply with several do’s and don’ts. For example, they’ll need to allow consumers to uninstall pre-installed apps and replace them with third-party ones.

Another key provision is enabling business users to promote and sell their products on their own site. The selected 22 are also banned from tracking users outside of their platforms for targeted ad purposes, unless previous consent has been given.

“More choice for consumers, fewer obstacles for smaller competitors.

The gatekeepers will have six months to meet the DMA’s requirements. Failure to do so can result in fines of up to 10% of the companies’ total worldwide turnover. In case of repeated breaches, the fines can reach 20% of the above amount, while the Commission holds the right to adopt extra measures, such as forcing a gatekeeper to sell part of its business.

Note that the gatekeeper list is open and companies can be added or removed.

“More choice for consumers, fewer obstacles for smaller competitors: the DMA will open the gates to the Internet,” said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market. “With today’s designation we are finally reining in the economic power of six gatekeepers, giving more choice to consumers and creating new opportunities for smaller innovative tech companies, thanks for instance to interoperability, sideloading, real-time data portability and fairness.” 


Back to top

EU’s new digital market rules target Meta, Google, 4 more tech giants Read More »


Crypto giant Binance sidesteps Belgium ban by redirecting users to Poland

After being banned from Belgium in June, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform, Binance, has resumed operations in the country by redirecting customers through its entity in Poland. 

Binance said its Polish division would comply with the “regulatory obligations” for residents of Belgium, who can now expect an uninterrupted experience on the crypto exchange platform. 

However, in keeping with the regulatory requirements, Belgian customers will need to comply with the terms defined by Binance Poland. This may include submitting specific KYC (Know Your Customer) documents to meet the stipulations of Polish regulators. 

The move comes roughly two months after Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) ordered Binance to cease all services in the country, citing violations of anti-money laundering requirements. The main issue was that it was serving Belgian users from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). 

“Despite several requests for information made to Binance, the latter has not been able to demonstrate to the requisite legal standard that the legal entities that carry out the services of the above-mentioned type in Belgium are in fact based in the European Economic Area,” said FSMA.

Nevertheless, the watchdog gave Binance a way out by suggesting it could operate in Belgium via a “legal entity governed by the law of another member state of the European Economic Area [EEA] that is duly authorised by its home member state.” That includes Poland.  

Binance was founded in Shanghai but later moved to Tokyo and then Malta, and now has a holding company based in the Cayman Islands. While the global crypto exchange has sidestepped this latest hurdle, it has faced a number of regulatory entanglements since its launch.  

Binance halted its services for Dutch users in July, citing a failure to obtain a virtual asset service provider license. In the same month, it dropped its license application in Germany as the country’s financial watchdog was reportedly unwilling to grant the request. In addition, Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao are facing a lawsuit from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

Until the EU implements the recently passed Markets in Crypto-Asset (MiCA) Act, the crypto industry remains largely unregulated in the bloc. MiCA will be the world’s first comprehensive set of rules governing cryptocurrencies and aims to regulate virtual currencies much like regular money.


Back to top

Crypto giant Binance sidesteps Belgium ban by redirecting users to Poland Read More »


Getir shuts down Amsterdam dark stores, withdraws from 6 Dutch cities

There seems to be no end in sight for Getir’s woes in Europe. Following exits from multiple markets, the rapid grocery delivery platform is now reducing operations in the Netherlands as well.

The Turkish startup is set to close four dark stores in Amsterdam, the company told local paper Het Parool. This is a result of the city council’s new zoning plan which no longer allows the establishment of such stores in exclusively residential areas, following complaints about noise, waste, and traffic nuisance.

The five locations are on Karperstraat, Baarsjesweg, Overtoom, Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat, and on Jan Rebelstraat.

While Getir expressed optimism about its future in Amsterdam (where about 15 dark stores will remain), it’s disappearing completely from six other Dutch cities. These are Leiden, Breda, Delft, Eindhoven, Tilburg, and Groningen.

The <3 of EU tech

The latest rumblings from the EU tech scene, a story from our wise ol’ founder Boris, and some questionable AI art. It’s free, every week, in your inbox. Sign up now!

The closures are part of a global restructuring aimed to increase the startup’s operational efficiency. To this end, the firm announced Wednesday that it’s laying off nearly 11% of its staff, which amounts to about 2,500 employees.

A series of tough months

Amid inflation, investor wariness, and a declining appetite for rapid grocery delivery after the pandemic, Getir has been struggling to keep its business afloat.

Since June, the startup has announced its exit from France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. This reduces Getir’s presence in Europe to the Netherlands, Germany, and the UK.

But staying alive in these markets has been no bed of roses either. Besides pulling out of six Dutch cities, the startup is reportedly ceasing its service in 17 of the 23 cities in which it operates across Germany. Most notably, July saw Getir’s UK branch auctioning off equipment and aiming for a fresh round of funding.


Back to top

Getir shuts down Amsterdam dark stores, withdraws from 6 Dutch cities Read More »


New £1B fintech fund aims to plug UK’s £2B funding gap

The UK has devised a novel solution for a funding gap: more funding.

In a bid to strengthen the country’s financial sector, up to £1bn (€1.2bn) has been allocated to a new investment vehicle for fintech firms.

Named the FinTech Growth Fund, the scheme will invest predominantly in companies between Series B and pre-IPO, with the aim of scaling them into global leaders. The first capital deployment is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.

The fund plans to make an average of four to eight investments every year, each between £10mn (£11.7mn) and £100mn (€117.1mn). All of them will be minority investments for equity and equity-linked securities.

The <3 of EU tech

The latest rumblings from the EU tech scene, a story from our wise ol’ founder Boris, and some questionable AI art. It’s free, every week, in your inbox. Sign up now!

As well as capital, the fund will provide strategic support for the portfolio companies. Barclays, NatWest, Mastercard, the London Stock Exchange Group, and Peel Hunt are backing the scheme, while former chancellor Phillip Hammond is heading the advisory board.

“I championed our vibrant fintech sector throughout my term as chancellor and have long believed its success is vital to maintaining the UK’s role as a global financial services centre through the early adoption of new technologies, products and services,” Hammond said in a statement.

The new fund was launched in response to the Kalifa Review, which the British government commissioned to report on the country’s fintech sector.

The review identified an annual funding gap for growth-stage fintech of around £2bn. It recommended creating a £1bn growth fund to fill the gap and sustain the ecosystem.

“This fund also helps address a key challenge facing our fintech scale-ups,” Nicholas Lyons, the Lord Mayor of London, said. “They frequently rely on financing from international investors which leads to domestic fintech listing in other countries, with IP and jobs leaving our shores.”

The venture launches at a tough time for UK fintech. Amid rising interest rates and inflation, total investment in the sector dropped from $39.1bn (€35.8bn) in 2021 to $17.4bn (€16bn) in 2022, according to KPMG. The new fund will hope to stimulate a rally for the industry — and the entire financial services ecosystem.


Back to top

New £1B fintech fund aims to plug UK’s £2B funding gap Read More »