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Breakfast Briefing: Clean Meat & Macron’s Africa Fund

 4 min read / 

Balderton Backs an Email Startup

Tessian, which uses AI to boost email security, has raised $13m during its Series A round.

Editor’s Remarks: The startup was founded back in 2013 by Imperial College graduates who believed that human error in corporate email exchanges (such as sending sensitive information to the wrong party) needed to be eliminated. Together, they built Tessian, which leverages machine learning algorithms to determine both usual and unusual sending patterns. The software then warns users about potential errors or rogue employees before an email is sent. Tessian can also operate retrospectively and produce reports on erroneous emails that were sent in the past. Leading VCs Balderton Capital and Accel Partners backed the funding round.

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The FDA Looks into “Clean Meat”

The US Food & Drug Administration is beginning the process of regulating lab-grown meat.

Editor’s Remarks: Clean meat is meat that was never born or alive but instead grown from a few cells of animal tissue and nurtured with a nutrition-rich serum. The space had gathered huge amounts of interest and investment in recent years with meat producer Tyson Foods investing in Israel’s Future Meat Technologies and Draper Fisher Jurvetson backing Memphis Meats. However, regulators have stepped in to defend incumbent food producers; Missouri has banned clean meat and vegan alternative meat producers from using words such as steak, meat or burger on their packaging.

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May Angers Tory MPs with NHS Spending

Prime Minister Theresa May has angered her party with her £20bn NHS commitment.

Editor’s Remarks: Over the weekend, May argued that the majority of the increased funding would come from the financial benefits the UK will soon no longer pay to the EU. However, the size of the so-called Brexit dividend is doubted by many within her party, who feel that the spending increase will ultimately be funded by higher taxes. The UK is typically viewed as a lower income tax nation with an upper income tax rate of 45%, which is lower than many in Europe. However, this figure does not account for the 12.5% national insurance (NI) that most employees pay or the 13.8% NI employer contribution, which when added together substantially raises an individual’s tax bill.

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Google Buys a $550m Stake in JD.com

Google has taken a stake in the Chinese e-commerce firm ahead of their planned collaboration.

Editor’s Remarks: The move is Google’s latest venture into the Chinese market, which famously banned its search engine in 2010. It also marks Google’s increasing focus on retail and follows a number of recent partnerships with the likes of Walmart and Carrefour. The tie-up will see the pair leverage Google’s enormous user base and JD.com’s logistics network to build new retail opportunities throughout the world. Richard Liu, JD.com’s founder, said earlier this year that he hopes his company will raise 50% of its profits from outside its home market within 10 years.

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Macron Unveils an Africa Startup Fund

The French president said that the fund will be run by the French Development Agency (AFD).

Editor’s Remarks: The €65m fund will be divided into three tranches: €10m for technical assistance, €5m available as interest-free loans, and €50m for Series A to C equity investments. The money pegged for technical assistance will be apportioned to accelerators and startup hubs as well as coding schools to boost the profile of technology in the African market, and will be available in 2019. The fund is part of Digital Africa – France’s broader programme of fostering African technology – which itself is launching a new resource platform this November.

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