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Confirmed: Passion Capital Invests £2M In “Full-Stack” Bank Startup Mondo


A few months ago we reported that U.K. banking startup Mondo — whose founders include GoCardless co-founder Tom Blomfield — had raised its first funding round, which our sources pegged to be in the “millions”. And just last month we called out London-based VC Passion Capital as the investor, which today Mondo is confirming.

“Passion Capital have invested £2 million, and we’ll be looking to raise around £15-20 million before our full launch — this will be dictated by the Bank of England’s regulatory capital requirements,” Blomfield tells TechCrunch.

The reference to the Bank of England’s regulatory requirements reflects Mondo’s ambitions to secure a full U.K. banking license. This, amongst other things, will enable it to lend out customers’ deposits (in the form of “transparent” overdrafts, for example), forming the basis of its business model.

The startup is to launch a limited beta, utilising Mastercard, in the next 3-4 weeks, says Blomfield, but doesn’t…

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Distil Networks Raises $21M To Block Malicious Bots


Distil Networks, a company that analyzes website traffic and blocks malicious bots, announced a $21 million Series B round today.

Bessemer Venture Partners led the round and David Cowan from BVP will join the Distil Networks board of directors. Investors Foundry, TechStars, ff Venture Capital, Idea Fund and Correlation Ventures also participated.

Today’s investment brings the total raised to $38 million, according to Crunchbase.

Checking The Bots At The Door

The company analyzes information as it comes into the website to determine if it’s a person or a bot by looking at a range of information.

It looks at how the visitor got to the site, the navigation path and how it moved, the intervals at which it moved from page to page and if it moved a mouse or typed on a keyboard, Rami Essaid, CEO and co-founder of Distil Networks explained.

By looking at these kinds of signals the…

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SimplyInsured, A Health Insurance Platform For Small Companies, Scores $5.9M Series A


SimplyInsured, which helps small businesses compare and purchase employee health insurance plans, has closed a Series A of $5.9 million led by Polaris Partners, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, Altair.VC, Corazon Capital, and individual investors.

The startup not only lets small companies compare rates on health insurance, but also allows them to administer plans on its platform, avoiding an onslaught of paperwork and online forms. It launched out of Y Combinator in 2013 and got seed funding of $1.75 million just two months ago. The latest round brings SimplyInsured’s total raised so far to $7.7 million.

SimplyInsured’s Series A will be used to increase the size of its sales and marketing team, which currently has five people, to about 20 to 30 employees.

The platform’s algorithm considers the monthly premium paid by each user and the estimated cost of an average year of medical care, before ranking plans…

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One Month, The Platform That Teaches You To Code (And More) In 30 Days, Picks Up $1.9M In Funding


One Month, the learning platform that promises a solid, enterprise-based education in one month or less, has today announced the close of an additional $1.9 million in seed funding, co-led by existing investor Idea Bulb Ventures and new investor Arena Ventures. Cornerstone On-Demand also participated in the round as a strategic investor.

One Month launched back in August 2013 out of the Y Combinator accelerator with a single course, One Month Rails. The course was different from products from Codecademy and other computer science education platforms in that it had a webbed structure, allowing folks to learn exactly what they needed to build a specific type of web page instead of learning every little thing about Ruby on Rails.

One Month went on to raise $770K in seed funding in June of last year, and has since expanded course offerings far beyond coding languages. For example, One Month…

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Square Launches Payroll Product For Small Businesses, Pricing Starts At $25/Month


Mobile payment startup Square has been gradually building out the products it offers to small businesses to position itself as a one-stop shop for their various front-of-house and back-office needs. Today sees the latest development on that theme: the company has launched Square Payroll, software for businesses to pay and track taxes and other costs for both hourly and salaried employees. The product, initially available only in California, is priced at $20 per month, with $5 per employee on top of that.

Square Payroll is out officially today, but it’s been in testing for a while: it was spotted as far back as last September, being tested at a price point of $10/month among select businesses in California.

The live product will also be available only in California at launch, but the plan is to expand it to more states soon.

In terms of payroll software, Square is positioning itself — at least for now…

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Making Diversity Your Strategic Weapon


[tc_contributor_byline slug=”gary-lin”]

Technology has made it possible to build global companies in half the time and with half the effort than a mere five years ago. Brands of all sizes have an unprecedented opportunity to reach a staggeringly large audience. But to be taken seriously on a global scale, companies need to embrace a different way of doing business.

In almost any industry, international reach is the hallmark of a high-performing business. But going global means moving beyond a one-size-fits-all approach. The key to global expansion isn’t establishing offices in every corner of the world, nor is it the use of any single collaboration or cloud tool — it’s a culture of diversity.

When Yes Means No (Or Maybe, Or Yes)

International business deals not only cross borders, they cross cultures, too. Countries can differ drastically when it comes to work ethic, willingness to take risks, preferred organizational structures, choice working…

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New Startup Construct Tackles One Of Brazil’s Most Inefficient Industries


[tc_contributor_byline cb_profile=”http://crunchbase.com/person/julie-ruvolo” slug=”julie-ruvolo”]

Brazilian startup Construct is announcing a R$1 million angel round to bring real-time project management to Brazil’s famously inefficient construction industry.

Construct co-founders Drew Beaurline and Patrick Albert are taking on one of the nation’s most corrupt and bureaucratic industries – possibly a job only twenty-something foreigners with no particular background in construction would be naïve enough to attempt.

Take Exhibit A: Petrobras, the state-run oil company and crown jewel of the Brazilian economy until a scandal of unprecedented proportions revealed Petrobras executives had been awarding Brazil’s biggest construction firms contracts in exchange for kickbacks. The damage stands at $16 billion so far — $2 billion which went directly into the hands of corrupt firms and executives — and this week heads of two of the top construction firms in Latin America, including one that built the Sao Paulo stadium for World Cup, were arrested

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