Tech Finance

Tim Bradshaw

It is three months since Apple announced a whopping $100bn return of cash to investors, topping up its existing $45bn dividend plans with what it billed as the biggest share buyback scheme in American corporate history.

In the weeks that followed that announcement, Apple’s shares soared, finally emerging from the months-long funk that saw them dip below $400. But that rally went into reverse as soon as Apple paid its next dividend on May 9.  

Example of a space selfie, from Planetary Resources' kickstarter page

More than 17,600 people have raised $1.5m for a space telescope Kickstarter campaign, with the majority to receive a picture of themselves from outside the Earth’s atmosphere, writes Connor Radnovich

Yes, a selfie from space.

Planetary Resources – the ambitious space mining company backed by Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Google alongside other investors such as Ross Perot Jr, raised the money over a 33-day campaign. 

Chris Nuttall

Two Silicon Valley companies delivering thousands of entertainment channels over the internet have announced significant funding rounds and milestones for their services.

Roku, whose set-top box delivers more than 700 channels of movies, TV, music, radio and web content, has received $60m in a Series F round, while TuneIn, which gives access to more than 70,000 radio stations, has bagged $25m in Series C funding. 

Splashpath founder Dan Morgan (left) with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps

London startup Active in Time has taken the path less traveled to financing by licensing its Splashpath swim tracking app to Speedo. 

Tim Bradshaw

Ouya, the open-source games console, has become the first Kickstarter tech project to graduate to a more traditional funding scheme – venture capital.

After getting $8m from 63,000 crowdfunders last August, Ouya on Thursday announced it has raised $15m from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Mayfield Fund and Nvidia, to accelerate its plan to attack the mass market

In a rare event, a crowdfunded start-up has gone on to raise mainstream venture capital.

Digital Spin, which raised £60,000 in August from platform Seedrs, has now received several times that amount from Passion Capital and Balderton, two of London’s most active venture funds. Could this be the start of growing links between amateur and professional early-stage investors? 

Robert Cookson

Duedil, a start-up that provides information on every private company in the UK, has raised $5m in funding ahead of an expansion into more than a dozen countries across Europe.

The London-based company takes data from public and private databases and links it together to provide users with insights that would otherwise have been impossible to obtain. 

Roy and Eldar Tuvey, the British brothers who sold their startup ScanSafe to Cisco for up to $183m in 2010, have announced a new venture, this time in mobile services.

Wandera helps companies save money on data roaming by compressing data in the cloud before it is sent to an employee’s phone or tablet. On Wednesday it received $7m in backing from Bessemer Venture Partners, whose past investments include Skype, Box and Linkedin. 

Richard Waters

The Tesla Model S was Motor Trend car of the year last year and starts at a base price of $62,400. So how could you get one for an all-in cost of $500 a month?

Simple: start by valuing your own time at $100 an hour. That, at least, is according to the creative accounting that Tesla has just come up with for a new lease deal for the vehicle. 

A $500bn game of chicken. That’s what it feels like as a handful of the biggest US technology companies posture over what they plan to do with their “trapped” overseas cash holdings. But like all games of chicken, the end must come eventually – and it’s hard to see that this is one the tech companies will win.

John Chambers, chief executive of Cisco Systems, struck the most provocative pose in an interview with the FT last week. After four fruitless years of arguing in Washington for a tax holiday for repatriating his foreign cash to be invested in the US, he says he’s had enough and is going to spend it somewhere else instead.