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The Edit – 12.05.17

Welcome to the Nelson Bostock Unlimited EDIT, our Friday afternoon newsletter packed with all the weird and wonderful things we’ve discussed, admired and frequented this week.

WHAT’S CAUGHT OUR EYE…

The UK tech industry this morning cannot get over the incredible announcement that Improbable, a UK virtual reality firm, has raised $500m (£388m) from Japan’s Softbank – placing the company’s valuation at over $1billion. This is one of the biggest investments ever in an early stage European technology business. At just five-years old, Improbable is already one of the UK’s best success stories, and shows that the technology sector is on par with the best in the world in terms of innovative talent. The technology designed by Herman Narula and Rob Whitehead who met at Cambridge University, aims to build large-scale virtual worlds and simulations – mainly for games developers but also for other clients who could use them in applications such as modelling transport systems.

WHAT’S TRENDING…

This week saw BUILD, Microsoft’s annual developer conference descend on Seattle seeing the company update press and stakeholders on its brand strategy for the next 12 months. Whilst announcements surrounding the latest versions of the technology giant’s flagship hardware and software products have been dominating headlines, it’s interesting to note the business’s move towards embracing iOS in an effort to improve syncing across various devices and previously unsupported programmes. Whilst it’s too soon to tell whether or not Microsoft’s pending updates to Windows 10 will aid compatibility or tempt Apple’s audience to migrate towards the new Surface laptop, one thing’s for sure: no matter your usage habits, if you currently interact with Windows 10, get prepared to enjoy a slicker, smoother tech ecosystem.

ONE TO WATCH…

It’s almost time for the fifth annual 4GEE Grand Prix (#4GEEGP), EE’s hotly anticipated go karting shindig. Some of the most influential names in tech media will battle it out for a whole 12 months of bragging rights. However, this year we’re raising the stakes by introducing one of the most recognisable names in British motorsport… the original Stig. Not only did he help us hand deliver invites to some of this year’s main contenders, he’s also going to take on the overall winner in a head-to-head finale. Start your engines!

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO…

Tech London Advocates ran its annual investor showcase event this week, where big thinkers like Oli Barrett MBE, Alison Glover of Amadeus Capital and Saul Klein at LocalGlobe debated the UK’s future tech prospects. The subject of Brexit largely left panellists visibly bored and frustrated. Instead, the focus of discussion landed on the need to move UK funding focus from ‘startup’ to ‘scaleup’. Discussing unicorn valuations, Alison Glover said “We shouldn’t be starry eyed about what’s going on across the Atlantic,” describing Europe as sensible and ‘on track’ when it comes to valuations. However, she acknowledged the need for more later stage funding rounds.

Image for The Edit – 12.05.17
Image for The Edit – 12.05.17
Image for The Edit – 12.05.17