Online mortgage advisor Burrow pivots to B2B, cites unit economics issue

 Burrow, the U.K. startup founded by ex-VC Pradeep Raman and backed by Passion Capital, is shutting down its online mortgage brokerage service, TechCrunch has learned. The move is the result of a change in strategy as the nascent company pivots to a B2B model, offering software tools to lenders, mortgage networks and brokers. Read More

Penta, the German digital-only bank account for startups and SMEs, raises €2.2M seed

 Penta, the German ‘challenger’ bank that offers a digital bank account targeting SMEs, has raised €2.2 million in funding. The seed round is led by Inception Venture Capital, a new London-based VC firm with a heavy fintech focus, and will be used for further hiring, product development and to fuel growth. Read More

Anorak scores £4M funding to make life insurance more accessible

 VCs continue to pump money into startups attempting to inject life into the legacy and lucrative insurance industry. The latest ‘insurtech’ company to pick up funding in the U.K. is Anorak Technologies, which is on a self-described mission to “build the world’s smartest independent insurance adviser,” starting with life insurance. Read More

Irish startup SoapBox Labs is building speech recognition tech for kids

 Irish startup SoapBox Labs is on a mission to create what it calls “the world’s most accurate and accessible speech technology for children”, tech it plans to offer to third-party hardware and app developers. These span educational apps that support reading and language development, children’s voice-control for IoT devices in the home, smart toys, and AR/VR experiences. Read More

Sodexo acquires majority stake in French online restaurant FoodChéri

 Sodexo, a French publicly-listed food services and facilities management company, has acquired a majority stake in Paris-based online restaurant and food delivery startup FoodChéri. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, though François Paulus of Breega Capital, which backed the company’s €6 million Series A, tells me he is “happy with the return”. Read More

Lab-made meat startup SuperMeat raises $3M seed to develop ‘clean’ chicken

 SuperMeat, an Israeli biotech and food-tech startup that is developing lab-made chicken meat, has raised $3 million in seed funding, as it becomes the latest of a crop of so-called ‘clean meat’ companies to get off the ground. Others in the space include Bill Gates, Atomico and DFJ-backed Memphis Meats, and Hampton Creek, which is also exploring lab-grown meat. Read More