Sifted - What Improbable did next 👀

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Hi Sifted Reader,

“We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters," Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist, famously lamented 10 years ago. But he might not have to wait much longer. Flying cars, along with solar-powered and morphing cars, look set to come to market as early as next year. 

We get the lowdown in today's newsletter, plus...
  • Only 16 Black female founders have raised VC funding in the UK: we meet them
  • Can Improbable get its metaverse back on track with a new project?
  • The Nordic startups to watch, according to top Nordic founders 

\Startup Life  

16 Black female founders in the UK who have raised VC funding

Just 0.02% of VC funding in the UK has gone to Black female founders in a decade; but 2021 has proved to be a more positive year.

This year, at least six Black women in the UK have secured investment, bringing the total to 16.

Meet the founders. 

\A message from our sponsor Tech Nation 

Which tech jobs are in the highest demand?

The number of the UK’s open tech jobs is 42% higher than pre-pandemic levels. Tech Nation’s Jobs and Skills report reveals the current state of employment in tech — including who is raking in the big bucks, and which cities have the most vacancies.

Read it here.


Can Improbable get its metaverse ambitions back on track with this stealth project?

SoftBank-backed games engine company Improbable is under pressure to show it can live up to its hype — and valuation. It's just unveiled a something that might help: Project Morpheus.

But what is it? Find out here.

\For Members Venture Capital

Nordic startups to watch, according to top Nordic founders

Startups in the Nordics have brought in €11.2bn in funding so far this year — more than double the €5bn invested in 2020. 

But with big names dominating the headlines, we wanted to spotlight the early-stage upstarts making moves, so we asked five top Nordic founders which startups they're watching.

See which startups they're following.
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\For Members Mobility

Flying, morphing and sun-powered — really futuristic cars are coming

Flying cars are coming — soon. And so, apparently, are morphing cars that can get skinnier to get around traffic and solar-powered cars that take away dependency on electric charging stations.

They'll all be available to buy from next year.

\Sponsored by Zendesk

4 founders on the biggest customer mistakes they’ve ever made

Startups need to interact with customers to be successful, but with funding and scaling top of mind, customer service can fall down founders’ priority lists. 

We asked four founders about the biggest mistakes they’ve made, so you can do better. 

Data mixups and the unique challenges of running a CBD store, what else could go wrong?

News that Matters

🍃 Climatiq, a German startup building a platform to track companies' carbon footprints, has raised $2m in new funding, led by Cherry Ventures. 

🛍️ Flink valued at $2.1bn? The on-demand grocery company's reported to be raising a new round of "several hundred million dollars" led by Doordash at a $2.1bn valuation, Bloomberg reported yesterday. 

🚴‍♂️ Jiffy, another on-demand grocery platform, has raised $28m to expand its service outside of London. Check out our run down of the state of play in the sector

🌟 Mirakl, a French marketplace platform, has raised $555m at a $3.5bn valuation. The round was led by Silver Lake. 

💸 Restaurant payment app Sunday, launched by the Big Mamma restaurant group founders, has raised $100m to fuel expansion. The startup launched just five months ago.

👚Vestiaire Collective is now worth $1.7bn. SoftBank has led a $209m round of investment into the French second-hand fashion site. (This must be a record-breaking week for French startup funding.)

🪑 Vinterior, a London-based marketplace for vintage home decor, has raised €9.3m in a Series A round led by Active Partners. 

Sifted Suggests

🛴 What's the latest on escooters in Europe? We've whipped up a handy guide to the latest developments in the European escooter market.

👋 Move over London, we want to work closer to home. Is the era of local coworking spaces about to begin? 

🤳 How should startups work with influencers? Bolt started working with influencers way back in 2017. Here, their global influencer marketing manager Liisa Ennuste chats through how startups should use influencer partnerships.

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Amy Lewin
Deputy Editor

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She loves a bit of reader feedback.
Freya Pratty
News Reporter

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Or find her (occasionally) tweeting @FPratty
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