London

Can the French civilize Twitter? Should they try?

A string of offensive hashtag memes in France has spurred the government to announce a consultation on hate speech with Twitter. It could mark a watershed for the country’s approach to social media — but it’s not just Paris that has a problem. We all do.

Stop crowing, London: it’s time to step it up

The British government’s constant adulation of the London startup scene reached its culmination this week with the news of a huge new redevelopment project. But the reality is that many of Britain’s smartest innovators are locked inside government and the rest look increasingly like poseurs.

Hardware is hard — but accelerators can make it easier

SpringboardIoT, a new accelerator program focused on startups working on hardware and the Internet of Things, has launched in the UK. The scheme’s founder joins forces with an experienced insider to explain why it’s a necessary and useful development.

Facebook’s Joanna Shields is London Tech City’s new CEO

Facebook Vice President Joanna Shields, who in the past has worked for Google, Bebo, AOL and most recently with Facebook is now taking over as the chief executive of Tech City Investment Organization, a group that wants to make London a center of tech innovation.

What can anybody do to make London better for tech IPOs?

European technology companies looking to go public usually desert their home turf and head to the U.S. — creating an echo chamber that has made some local investors angry. Now reports suggest that the British government may be trying to reverse that trend. Can it work?

Why is £1m startup contest keeping its terms secret?

A new competition is trying to tempt more startups to London with a £1m booty. But it turns out the “prize” is actually a cash-for-equity investment on terms that are yet to be decided — and from an individual whose identity is being kept secret.

Transferwise adds more currencies: dollar on the way?

London currency exchange startup Transferwise has teamed up with a neighbor, The Currency Cloud, to let people transfer money between a range of European currencies. But is the next stop for the disruptive finance company going to be the US dollar?

First London, now Paris: Metro gets free WiFi

Paris is following London by starting to provide free wireless access to subway travelers, thanks to a new initiative from WiFi service company GOWEX. With similar moves in New York as well, is this boost in transport connectivity a trend?

If Uber wants London, it faces the fight of its life

Private car hire service Uber is preparing to hit the British capital just in time for the Olympics, and the reality is that London, with its iconic black cab service, has the potential to make — or break — Silicon Valley’s latest transportation darling.

Netflix shut out again as Lovefilm signs with Fox

Bad news for Netflix’s international aspirations, as Amazon-owned rival Lovefilm announced a U.K. rights deal to show 20th Century Fox movies on its streaming service. But with antitrust authorities hovering over the movies-on-demand market, things are still up for grabs.

Hotel Tonight begins Euro invasion, goes live in London

Starting Wednesday, Hotel Tonight users can use the app for the first time to book a last-minute hotel room in London. The company is staffing up its London office and has hired a respected travel industry veteran as it prepares for further expansion into Europe.

More Olympic madness as O2 loses venue name for Games

With the London Olympics just around the corner, the event’s addiction to crass sponsorship and commercial exploitation just gets worse and worse. The latest victim? Mobile network O2, which has effectively been stripped of its sponsorship of The Millennium Dome for the duration of the event.

Songkick’s Tourbox is a one-stop shop for live bands

Gig listings startup Songkick has started its expansion into broader music services, with a new feature called Tourbox that lets bands manage and promote their live dates across the web, through integrations with the likes of YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud and Bandcamp.

Over The Air prepares for a Very British hack weekend

70 years ago Bletchley Park in England was home to a team of computer pioneers who were breaking Nazi ciphers to try and win the war. This weekend, it’s playing host to a different generation of geeks as Europe’s largest mobile hack day prepares to land.

So who got hosed when Facebook bought Lightbox?

The team behind London-based photo app developer Lightbox are joining Facebook. But it’s a long way from Instagram’s billion-dollar deal: in fact, while the company’s employees are rejoicing, users and investors appear to have been left out in the cold.

UbiCabs drives headlong into London taxi battle

London’s increasingly competitive taxi app space has a new player launching officially on Thursday: Ubicabs, which wants to grab a slice of the British capital’s lucrative transport market. Investor Sean Phelan explains why he thinks it can succeed.

Five lessons from London’s hardest working VCs

A year into its life, Passion Capital has established itself as one of London’s premier seed investors. Here’s what the trio behind the business have learned since making the change from entrepreneurs into serious investors.

Why do Russian companies go public in London?

Another Russian company looks set to list on the London exchange — this time the country’s second-largest mobile operator, MegaFon. It follows Mail.ru, which used London to become a real force in the technology industry. What makes the British capital so alluring?

What the web’s saying about UK internet snooping laws

Plans by the British government to give intelligence agencies access to details of every phone call, email, text and website visit made in the country have drawn plenty of anger from across the spectrum. Here’s what people are saying about the controversy.

Jolicloud evolves again with ‘personal cloud’ search

French startup Jolicloud has spent the last few years trying to do ambitious things with cloud-based computers, operating systems and portable desktops — but it’s failed to get much mainstream traction. Can its new service for centralizing your data change all that?

Songkick’s $10m Sequoia deal opens Atlantic floodgates

London concert site Songkick has just become Sequoia Capital’s first British investment, with a $10 million funding round that underscores the level of interest that venture capital’s most prestigious firms now have in Europe’s burgeoning startup scene.

A plea to startups: kill your nonsensical stats

In the never-ending quest to provide easy sound bites and press-friendly stats, startups often flirt with numbers that just don’t make sense. Case in point: London-based kids’ website Moshi Monsters, which has a very strange piece of numerical wizardry.

Britain unleashes gov.uk, its Google for government

A new portal that lets British citizens access government services online has just launched in beta. It’s fast, easy, accessible — and should save the tax payer bundles of cash. Is this a model for the future of connected government?

Huddle tries to reel in big fish with unlimited deal

Cloud collaboration service Huddle is targeting huge corporate customers, bringing them a new tier of service that allows an unlimited number of users for no extra charge. Can it help win new business and take on the industry’s biggest beasts?

Is London Tech City’s ‘phenomenal’ growth just spin?

British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday hailed the 200% growth in East London’s technology cluster over the past year — but closer examination of the official figures by GigaOM shows that the statistics include nightclubs, fashion retailers and other non-tech businesses.

Why Index believes Israel is about to have its moment

Index Ventures partner Saul Klein is a champion of Europe’s tech scene, from London to Ljublana. Now he’s in to bat for Israel — a country he says is ready to set aside its history of security, pornography and gambling to become the next great innovation hub.

Do we have a right to use Twitter and Facebook?

A Wall Street Journal columnist says that blocking access to social media during emergencies isn’t a big deal, and that “techno-utopians” are over-reacting. But are they? Or are these kinds of moves a step on a slippery slope that leads to Chinese-style control over information networks?

Trademark tiff is burning Twitter’s bridges

The surprise death of London’s much-loved Tower Bridge Twitter account over a trademark claim has upset its fans. But with the service facing increasing demands from litigious trademark owners and well-funded businesses, should we really expect Twitter to hold a higher standard?

London’s BERG Reinvents the Concept of a Product

London design consultancy BERG has spent the last couple of years carving out a strong reputation with its futuristic films and approach to innovative-but-tasteful technology. But it doesn’t just want to build ideas: now it’s moving into making products.