EMEA Daily: Google, Big Tech Firms Face New EU Regulations, UK Meal Kit Service Gousto Grabs $150M in Funding

EU regulations

In today’s top Europe, Middle East and Africa news, Telkom, the South African wireless provider, has launched an app for its mobile money product, and London FinTech Starling Bank said it was boycotting advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Plus, Google and Apple’s search alliance reveals the complexity of digital regulation. 

Smartly.io Acquires London-based Ad-Lib

Smartly.io, an advertising SaaS platform for creative and performance marketers, announced the acquisition of Ad-Lib.io, the next-generation optimization platform. The company said the acquisition will advance Smartly’s reach beyond social media.

UK Meal-Kit Subscription Service Gousto Grabs $150M in Funding

Gousto, a London-based meal-kit subscription service, has secured 110 million pounds ($150 million) in funding with a valuation of 1.25 billion pounds ($1.7 billion).

The funding was the result of 73.8 million pounds ($100 million) in equity financing from SoftBank’s Vision Fund II and 37 million pounds ($50 million) in debt financing from Barclays and HSBC.

Google, Big Tech Firms Face New EU Regulations This Year 

The U.S. Department of Justice is not the only agency seeking to put an end to Google’s alleged monopoly. Bundeskartellamt, the German antitrust regulator, has ruled that Google has “paramount significance across markets.” The decision puts the tech company one step closer to more regulation or even an outright ban.

Additionally, France’s data regulator fined Google and Facebook for failing to make refusing cookies as easy as it is to accept them, a violation of the French Data Protection Act. 

South African Wireless Firm Telkom Launches Mobile Money App

The South African wireless provider Telkom said its Kenyan operation has launched an app for its mobile money product, T-Kash.  The company said in a news release Tuesday (Jan. 4) that its app is available from the Google, Huawei and Apple app stores, and offers customers wider access to its digital financial services. The company says the app will let customers send money to a mobile wallet within the Telkom network, as well to MPESA wallets. 

Google-Apple Search Alliance Shows Complexity of Regulating the Digital Economy 

European Union regulators have launched enforcement actions and imposed more than $10 billion in fines on Google alone and opened four antitrust probes against Apple. Despite efforts to change Google’s practices in the EU, the share of search they drive there remains relatively unchanged. The EU is also passing legislation that will determine what the internet companies can or can’t do. 

London FinTech Starling Bank Boycotts Advertising on Meta Over Scammers

London FinTech Starling Bank has put Meta on notice and said it was boycotting advertising on Facebook and Instagram due to the number of scammers infiltrating its social media platforms, Starling CEO Anne Boden said in her annual letter. The unicorn challenger bank that counts Goldman Sachs, Fidelity Management & Research, Qatar Investment Authority, and others among its backers, stopped advertising with the social media giant last month.  

European Parliament Agenda for 2022 Includes Regulating Online Platforms, Artificial Intelligence and Crypto Assets 

Among the major issues facing the European Parliament (EP) in the new year is the region’s digital conversion. The EP is expected to pick up where it left off last year on the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, the EP announced Monday (Jan. 3).

In addition, Parliament has called for a comprehensive legal framework for artificial intelligence technologies and cryptocurrencies. The goal is to boost the European economy, while protecting the fundamental rights of consumers and investors.