FILE PHOTO: The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
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There has been a lot of discussion about the impact Brexit has had on Europe’s venture capital groups. Although start-ups from the continent raised record levels of funding last year, new data shows the firms struggled to raise money for new funds in the aftermath of the vote.

Foreign investors were responsible for the biggest investments into European startups. SoftBank, the Japanese technology group, led a €458m financing of UK virtual simulation start-up Improbable and US fund giants T Rowe Price and Fidelity invested $385m into Deliveroo, the London-based takeaway food app. Chinese ecommerce group JD.com also boosted figures with its $397m investment in Farfetch, the luxury website.

However the total capital raised by Europe’s venture groups fell by a quarter last year to €7.4bn amid growing uncertainty about the outcome of Brexit negotiations. New research from Pitchbook, the data provider, shows that the total number of new funds dropped to a ten-year low in 2017 despite a number of high profile launches.

The tougher fundraising environment follows two years in which money poured into Europe’s venture capital groups. Enthusiasm for the continent’s tech sector — especially in areas such as artificial intelligence and financial technology — dovetailed with low interest rates to attract pension funds, insurance companies and family offices on the hunt for returns.

More about the slowdown here.

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Softbank telecoms. It's been much anticipated. SoftBank has finally said it will aim for an initial public offering of its Japanese telecoms business in the next 12 months. The move will allow the acquisitive group to focus more on investing its $93bn tech-focused war chest. (FT)

Didi deals. Chinese ride-hailing group Didi Chuxing has signed partnership agreements with 12 car companies to help them market auto-sharing services and electric vehicles. The group has a near-monopoly in ride-hailing in China and sees areas of overlap with the car industry. (FT)

Snap! It's been a good day for the company behind Snapchat, which saw its shares rise by more than 38 per cent after at least five analysts upgraded the stock on hopes that it will be able to compete in a digital advertising market dominated by Google and Facebook. On Tuesday the company eat Wall Street’s forecasts for the first time since its initial public offering almost a year ago.

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Crypto crazies. The people at Forbes have utilised their rich list expertise to analyse the cryptocurrency world where fortunes can be made and lost overnight. Here are the high net-worth individuals that have benefited from the extraordinary rollercoaster. (Forbes)

Tumblr fake news. BuzzFeed has an intriguing story about Russian trolls posing as black activists on Tumblr, the blog site. Apparently they generated hundreds of thousands of interactions for content that ranged from calling Hillary Clinton a “monster” to supporting Bernie Sanders. (BuzzFeed)

Cyber fraud. The US department of justice has announced one of its largest-ever takedowns of a global cyber crime ring. It has indicted 36 people accused of trafficking in stolen identities and causing more than $530 million in losses to consumers. (Reuters)

Tech tools you can use - Bird Rides

Santa Monica has been taken over by an electric scooter rental system. Bird Rides has become the latest startup to try and transform urban mobility with the new system. According to the FT's Tim Bradshaw, the Birds have handlebars but no seat, "like a hot-rod version of the Razor or Micro scooters beloved by toddlers." They go at speeds of up to 15mph — faster than many cars can move in Los Angeles’ congested streets. He has more here. 

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