Social & Web

Funds for London fintech firm

London-based online currency transfer outfit TransferWise has raised a $58 million Series C round that was led by Andreessen Horowitz. This follows a $25 million Series B round just seven months ago, which included Virgin chief Richard Branson and original backer Peter Thiel (who are also in the current round, along with Index Ventures, IA Ventures and Seedcamp.) Like CurrencyFair over in Ireland, TransferWise uses cash reserves in various countries to bypass the banks and offer conversion rates that are far cheaper than those offered by traditional banks and remittance services. According to the Financial Times, Andreessen Horowitz won a competitive bidding process to invest in TransferWise, which is now valued at “close to $1 billion”.

Goodbye fear of missing out

Twitter’s missed tweets product is now live on its iOS app. The feature will expand to Android and web browsers soon. When you’ve been gone from the service for awhile, you’ll be shown the top tweets that appeared during that time. From the most retweeted or most favorited, you’ll get a quick recap on the most important stuff. In the blog post announcing the news, Twitter was careful to say this isn’t the first step to algorithmic curation, “With a few improvements to the home timeline we think we can do a better job of delivering on that promise without compromising the real time nature of Twitter.”

Total funding is now $4 bn

Uber clearly does not subscribe to the ‘mo money ‘mo problems theory. The company has raised another $1.6 billion dollars, this time in a convertible debt round from Goldman Sachs according to Bloomberg sources. It’s a loan that will turn into a stake in the company when Uber goes public, at a 20 to 30 percent discount on Uber’s IPO valuation. It adds to the company’s warchest, bringing its total funding up to more than $4 billion, with the company still working to raise another $600 million in the near future from hedge funds.

Too much data

This month’s Paris shootings demonstrated that mass surveillance doesn’t stop terrorist attacks, Edward Snowden has claimed in an interview with Dutch broadcaster NOS. “France passed one of the most intrusive, expansive surveillance laws in all of Europe last year and it didn’t stop the attack, and this is consistent with what we’ve seen in every country,” the NSA whistleblower said. French authorities knew about the Paris attackers but didn’t predict what they ultimately did. Snowden pointed out that U.S. authorities knew about the Boston bombers, but that didn’t actually stop the attack. “The problem with mass surveillance is that you’re burying people under too much data,” he said, echoing arguments that others have made about the “base rate fallacy”.

18-hour outage

Bangladesh temporarily blocked the messaging apps Viber and Tango on Sunday after intelligence agencies asked the country’s telecoms regulator for help in quelling opposition protests. Reports suggested on Monday that the ban had been lifted early in the morning, allowing the apps’ traffic to move freely again after an outage of around 18 hours. The agencies had reportedly been concerned that they could not monitor communications between “terrorists and militants” that used the apps – anti-government protestors have been carrying out a transport blockade for a couple of weeks.

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