In the loop: UK tech tops Europe in VC investments, employers increasingly hunt for office gyms and AR unicorn Blippar enters administration

Before all-important family obligations begin this Christmas, read how Britain bested Europe for the fifth year running, one shareholder ended a startup valued $1bn and exactly how much workers spend on festive shopping

In the loop: UK tech tops Europe in VC investments

Employers eager to have offices decked out with gyms

Employers are better poised than most to aid their workers’ wellbeing and getting fit brings clear benefits. So it’s great to see offices with gym spaces are more and more sought after by bosses.

According to Hubble, the digital office agent, 8% more organisations hunted for office-gym combos month-on-month throughout 2018. The idea particularly shined during the first half of the year, with February to March recording 31% more searches and May to June seeing a 27% rise. 

One in seven Brits – nearly ten million people – subscribe to gyms but fitting workouts in around office hours isn’t always easy. And with memberships averaging £20 a month, being able to make the most of it during work can make for happy employees.

Britain bested Europe in VC investments for the fifth year running

There’s much doomsday talk with regards to Brexit and its impact on Britain’s economy. But considering the UK just trumped the rest of Europe in VC funding, investors clearly aren’t too worried.

According to data analytics company Dealroom and digital startup support network Tech Nation, British business pulled £6.3bn from investors over 2018, topping the rest of the continent. Moreover, UK company exits – including sales, IPOs and mergers – also totalled $40bn, once more besting every other European nation.

In fact, over the past five years, Britain’s produced more successful company exits than the rest of the continent, with sales and IPOs generating $119bn since 2013. Heavy hitters include the likes of luxury retailer Farfetch, gene therapy company Orchard Therapeutics and lending marketplace Funding circle.

However, whether such success will persist post-Brexit remains to be seen.

Tech unicorn Blippar enters insolvency after one shareholder voted against funding

If you can boast being valued as a unicorn you’ve presumably got a great future ahead of you. At least that’s what many thought of Blippar, the AR company, which just collapsed into administration.

Despite claiming a $1bn valuation in 2015, the mobile tech startup admitted its “services are likely to come to a halt” after failing to reap a “small amount of funding” to reach profitability. 

Specifically, Blippar stated the funding was secured but just one shareholder voted against it, forcing the startup to enter administration.

After administrators take control, Blippar said “all employees will be let go,” adding it’s “an incredibly sad, disappointing and unfortunate outcome.”

Once hailed as a product of Britain’s thriving tech startup community, Blippar’s fate proves even unicorns aren’t safe from failure.

91.7% of workers splash out for families, friends and colleagues over Christmas

People rarely deny Christmas is a money sink and according to CV-Library, the job site, 50.3% of British workers even budget for the season early. However, it turns out such attempts may be futile.

That’s because in a survey of 1,100 UK employees, CV-Library found 47.8% spend between £200 and £500 over Christmas, with 21.6% stretching to between £500 and £900. Moreover, 9.8% fork out more than £1,000 – that’s 46% of the average monthly wage.

Friends, family and colleagues are particularly to blame, with a staggering 91.6% of respondents spending salaries on their gifts and 39.8% putting it towards travel to visit loved ones.

You may think wallets can get a breather once the festive season’s over. However, 36.8% admitted their funds go to New Year’s Eve celebrations. Apparently, holiday spending never truly ends.

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Angus Shaw
Angus Shaw

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