News October 16 2018

London-based fashion e-commerce startup Thread lands $22 million, announces an equity crowdfunding campaign

British menswear suggestion and matching startup Thread has raised $22 million in a Series B funding round from Balderton Capital, Beringea, Forward Partners, and H&M group’s investment arm H&M CO:LAB, with participation from Maurice Helfgott and Sebastian Picardo. The company plans to use the funding to hire more AI specialists and ramp up its brand marketing efforts. The startup’s idea is to become a one-stop-shop for menswear by combining human stylists with AI algorithms to help customers choose what clothes to buy. When registering in the service, the users are asked a series of question about their style and clothes they like. Thread has partnered with over 50 brands so far, including Barbour, Hugo Boss, and Levis. “More than ever, guys care about dressing well, which is why menswear is a growing market,” said Kieran O’Neill, CEO and co-founder of Thread. “But they face an overwhelming number of options on the High Street and online. We’re used to having digital services such as Uber, Netflix, and Spotify simplify other aspects of our lives, and men are now turning to Thread as their go-to solution for dressing well. As our stylists and algorithms learn more about our customers, we’ve brought on a huge number of new brands to help each of our customers find the perfect clothes for them.” The company, which employs around 100 people, now has over a million users. Thread also stated that a quarter of all its customers now do all their clothes shopping on the platform. The average customer of the startup is in their late twenties to early forties. The company has raised more than $40 million in funding so far. In addition to that, Thread has announced that it will launch an equity crowdfunding campaign on the Crowdcube platform before the end of 2018. In the photo (left to right): Thread co-founders Ben Phillips and Kieran O’Neill; Shaunie Brett, head of styling at Thread

News October 5 2018

MOO eyes £100m turnover landmark

Sales at Moo Print are on course to break through the £100m barrier after increasing by more than £1m a month last year. The London-headquartered online print specialist posted a £15.2m, or 20.2%, increase in sales to £90.25m in the year to 31 December 2017. The firm also posted its first operating profit in six years, reversing 2016's £2m operating loss to file an operating profit of £1.8m. Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) jumped by 54% to £4.7m. Moo also instigated a new employee share scheme during the period, which saw all full-time employees receive share options in the business. “Ownership is a powerful motivator. Giving everyone their own share in the business will help us attract and retain great people as we scale. It's something we had at Moo in the beginning and we've brought it back to engender a greater sense of empowerment and engagement as the business continues to grow,” explained chief executive Richard Moross. In what was an extremely busy year, the firm relocated its European production facilities in east London from Stratford to a 2,508sqm “state-of-the-art” facility in Dagenham, and also moved its web platform. Moo substantially increased its investment in tech personnel, with the number of employees overall growing from 392 to 479. “We completed our first full year of investment upgrading our software platform. We grew total Technology people costs by 66% year-on-year to £6.4m and completed several important projects, including migrating to Amazon Web Services,” Moross stated. He said the multi-year project would make the business “more agile and scalable” and would allow the company to “rapidly launch new physical products in the future”. “We are looking at a number of categories and products within them that would benefit from Moo’s unique approach to design, technology and manufacturing.” Additional products last year included hard and softcover notebooks. Moo also worked with Mohawk on a new cotton paper made from recycled T-shirts. New kit at Dagenham included three HP Indigo digital presses, an MGI JetVarnish inkjet spot UV coater, and upgraded quality control systems. The vast majority of Moo’s sales are now into the huge North American market, with £63.4m of sales there now accounting for 70% of total turnover, up from 64% in the prior year. UK sales were essentially flat, at £11.5m (2016: £11.4m), while sales to the rest of Europe were up 7.4% at £11.8m. On the subject of Brexit, Moross told PrintWeek: ”International revenues account for 87% of total, and the USA alone is 70% of revenues, so we’re fortunate that, as an international business, we have some protection over the ongoing uncertainty and any possible volatility.” He said that Moo Business Services, which is targeted at larger clients, had grown by 47% year-on-year to £18.8m and now accounts for 20% of sales. Large companies using the service include Airbnb and BuzzFeed. The firm shipped more than 2m customised products during the period, while its number of customers has exceeded 770,000. The firm beefed up its executive team with a number of senior hires last year including chairman Darren Shapland, COO Nick Ruotolo, and CFO Ed Goldfinger, leading to speculation that its longer-term ambitions could include a flotation.

News October 3 2018

BioLineRx increases stake in BL-8040, its lead oncology platform in late stage development for multiple oncology indicators

BioLineRX, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology and immunology, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Biokine Therapeutics to increase BioLineRx's stake in its lead oncology platform, BL-8040, a CXCR4 antagonist currently in late stage clinical development in both solid tumor and hematological indications, including stem cell mobilization (SCM), acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and immunotherapy for multiple types of solid tumors. As a result of the transaction, BioLineRx will increase its economic stake in the program to 80% from the previous level of 60%. BioLineRx licensed the exclusive worldwide rights to BL-8040 from Biokine Therapeutics in 2012. "We are very pleased to execute this transaction with Biokine Therapeutics, which provides us with a significantly greater share of the economics in our lead program, BL-8040, as we continue to advance this promising candidate through late-stage clinical development," stated Philip Serlin, Chief Executive Officer of BioLineRx. "In multiple clinical studies to date in a number of indications, BL-8040's unique mechanism of action has demonstrated robust mobilization of target cells, a direct apoptotic effect, as well as the ability to induce infiltration of T cells into the core and periphery of solid tumors, while maintaining a favorable safety profile. Looking forward, we are approaching multiple important milestones over the next 6-9 months, most notably topline results from our ongoing Phase 2a pancreatic cancer study in combination with KEYTRUDA under our collaboration with Merck, which we expect later this quarter. As we work to bring novel cancer treatments to patients in need, we believe this transaction reflects our strong commitment to this program and better positions us to create significant long-term value for our shareholders." Under the terms of the agreement, upon closing of the transaction, BioLineRx will pay Biokine Therapeutics an upfront payment of $10 million in cash plus $5 million in restricted BioLineRx shares. Biokine is also eligible to receive up to a total of $5 million in future milestone payments. The $10 million upfront payment is being financed in full via the receipt of $10 million in debt financing from Kreos Capital. See the Company's Form 6-K filed this morning for additional details about the transaction. The transaction is expected to close within the next 10 days.

News October 2 2018

Cab-hailing app Gett launches new initiative to slash CO2 emissions

A black cab hailing app is embarking on a new initiative to provide carbon neutral taxi journeys and reduce CO2 emissions. Gett’s yearly emissions from consumer and business rides, amounting to around 7,500 tonnes of CO2 annually, will be offset by sustainability consultancy Carbon Clear. The partnership will see Gett investing in a wind-power project in India to displace fossil fuels and the Madre de Dios Project in the Peruvian Amazon, set up to reduce deforestation. Gett will also give London customers the opportunity to ride ‘carbon positive’ in the city’s black cabs by paying an extra 20p per ride. Additional funds will be donated to the 12 schools in central London identified in the Mayor’s school air quality audit programme. Elsewhere, Gett will continue working to reduce emissions by supporting the adoption of LEVC TX Electric Taxis, the UK’s first fully-certified electric cabs, across London, Coventry, Edinburgh and Glasgow. This will include through reduced commission schemes for cab drivers on the Gett app. Gett’s UK CEO, Matteo de Renzi, said: “Air quality is increasingly becoming more of an issue, not just in London, but across the UK. “By becoming Carbon Neutral, we’re incredibly proud to be helping cities achieve cleaner air and reduce pollution levels. By offsetting the CO2 our UK rides produce, we will positively impact multiple climate projects across the globe.” He continued: “At Gett, we strive to offer the best quality of service and part of this is to ensure our customers that their ride is carbon neutral. With Gett Green, we are also providing our customers with the option to be ‘carbon positive’, to further support the cleaning of London’s air.” Carbon Clear chief exec Mark Chadwick commented: “We are proud to partner with Gett to help them provide their customers with carbon neutral journeys. “The science tells us that carbon neutrality is necessary to protect the planet and sustain our livelihoods. Companies making bold commitments to carbon neutrality are taking the lead in climate action.” He added: “The offsetting projects that Gett are supporting are subject to rigorous international standards to ensure they deliver the promised emissions reductions. As well as this, these projects support sustainable development in international communities and have a tangible impact on people’s lives.”

News October 2 2018

New version of Neocase Software’s HR Power brings greater automation to shared service centers

ocase Software, the leading cloud supplier of integrated HR and Finance Service Delivery Solutions, announces the release of Version 15. A study by the USC Center for Effective Organizations concluded HR organizations spend only 27% of their time doing strategic work.  That's because 73% of the time is spent on manual administrative work.  A successful HR transformation requires reducing time on manual work to gain time for strategic work.  And Version 15 builds on this Neocase tradition. Since 2008, Neocase has developed software that enables HR service centers to automate administrative work, so they can dedicate more resources to strategic initiatives.  Neocase Version 15 takes these capabilities to an unprecedented level through Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and design improvements. New dashboards and HR user interfaces enable service center reps and teams to work more efficiently with industrial-strength case management tools. Employee Document Management now includes a new connector for Adobe eSign, so companies using Adobe can incorporate electronic signatures into their automated processes.  DocuSign enhancements give HR service reps new visibility into e-signature status when DocuSign is used. Document Templates can now be generated with dynamic inserts, based on employee roles and case data.  For example, different contractual parameters can be automatically inserted into a document, based on the Union membership data in the employee record. These Document Management enhancements automate one of the more time-consuming transactional areas of HR. Version 15 improves the employee experience by adding a convenient Instant Messaging (IM) channel, integrating Neocase with popular IM apps such as Skype and Slack. An employee can chat with an HR representative, and get answers from the Neocase Knowledge base from within Skype on any device.  This convenience lets employees access HR service from the supported application of their choice. The Neocase REST API now enables 3rd party chatbots to communicate more deeply with the Case Management module, so the chatbot can execute more of the case management process. This frees HR agents to focus their efforts on higher-value tasks. According to Jerome Menard, Neocase Chief Technology Officer, "The enhancements in Neocase 15 are part of the Neocase mission to continually improve the productivity of our clients' HR Service Centers, and the experience of their employee customers.  As a result, many more of our clients are making significant progress along their HR transformation journeys."