Skype billionaire Niklas Zennstrom's Atomico leads $12m round for London startup StreetBees

Alys Key
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Founder Tugce Bulut (Source: StreetBees)

London-based tech startup StreetBees has received backing from the co-founder of Skype among others in a $12m (£8.6m) fundraising round.

Niklas Zennstrom's Atomico led the round, with participation from existing investors including LocalGlobe, Octopus and BGF Ventures.

The company has a network of global users who are paid to share moments from their lives on a chat-style app. This real-time data is then converted into insights for brands by machine learning technology. Customers include Unilever and L'Oreal.

Read more: Skype billionaire's VC firm Atomico backs Bossa Studios with $10m

Founder Tugce Bulut told City A.M. that the money would help the company to double its workforce in the next year to 150, but said it was already becoming more difficult to hire engineers following the Brexit vote

"Your biggest challenge is always being able to hire engineers to the business," she said, on the challenges of starting a tech business. "We are obviously very pro EU and it was amazing to have access to the entire workforce of the EU when we started in London. It's a little bit harder now because you have to go through immigration."

However, StreetBees already has an office in Lisbon, which Bulut said will help the company to negotiate Brexit. It is also opening its first New York office with the new funds.

"With Streetbees, we have found the world’s first real-time technology-enabled customer insights platform – giving brands dynamic responses, from real customers, for a fraction of the cost and time taken by traditional incumbents," commented Carolina Brochado, the Atomico partner who led the investment. "Streetbees has fundamentally changed the way international companies can engage and understand their global consumer base.”

Read more: The CEO behind the firm tipped to be the UK's next unicorn

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