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10 European tech start-ups pioneering in their sectors

Voice Of EU



These start-ups and early-stage companies from around Europe – including two in Ireland – are scaling new heights in their sectors.

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic over the last year, Europe’s tech sector has continued to grow and we have seen a surge in deals in 2021.

Awash with talent and innovation, the continent has also been leading the way in the tech unicorn boom this year, with 65 of the 170 cities globally to have at least one unicorn.

Here, we narrow in on 10 promising European tech start-ups that have the potential to drive change in their sectors, including two based in Ireland.


Polymateria is a British biotech start-up that aims to end the global plastic pollution problem. Using a process called biotransformation, the company’s scientists have created a proprietary additive that can break down conventional plastic packaging safely if they escape into the environment. Its formulation is time-controlled, which means that the biotransformation process starts only after the product’s life cycle has ended.

It was founded by Jonathan Sieff and Lee Davy-Martin in 2016 and is headquartered in London. Its CEO Niall Dunne, a former student of Dublin’s Belvedere College, was featured in the World Economic forum’s list of young global leaders in 2012.


This France-based chemical technology early-stage company takes a different approach to solving the plastic pollution pandemic. Using special enzymes developed by Carbios scientists, it is able to deconstruct any type of Polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, plastic waste into its most basic components. This can then be reused to produce new PET plastics of comparable quality.

The Euronext Paris-listed company was founded in 2011 and is headed by CEO Jean-Claude Lumaret. Headquartered in Saint-beauzire, France, Carbios raised €114m in a capital increase in May led by L’Oréal’s venture arm Bold, Michelin Ventures and Copernicus Wealth Management.


Enapter is a renewable energy company that aims to provide an affordable alternative to fossil fuels by decentralising the production of green hydrogen and speed up the process. The company says its patented anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyser makes water electrolysis cheaper and universal. The software-integrated AEM electrolysers can be produced at scale like computer chips and solar panels.

Based in Crespina, Italy, the start-up was founded in 2017 by Vaitea Cowan and Jan-Justus Schmidt. Cowan and Schmidt have both been featured in Forbes’ 30 under 30 Energy 2020 list. In June, Enapter received €9.3m in funding from the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy to develop its electrolyser mass-production system.


This green energy company aims to make the handling and distribution of hydrogen easy and efficient. Using its proprietary liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology with benzyl toluene as the carrier medium, Hydrogenious allows for the distribution process more flexible and reliable, reducing the overall carbon footprint.

Founded by Daniel Teichmann and his PhD colleagues at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany, the idea to start Hydrogenious sprung when they decided their research in LOHC was ready for the market. Since its inception in 2013, the early-stage company has won major investors such as AP-Ventures, Royal Vopak, Mitsubishi Corporation, Covestro, Winkelmann Group and Hyundai Motor Company. It has a presence in Europe and the US, and is now eyeing the Chinese market.

Powell Software

Powell is a cloud-based digital work platform that aims to capitalise on the ‘future of work’ by improving the employee experience of those working from home or remotely. Its software provides companies with services such as business communication, employee engagement and collaboration. Powell’s suite of tools is targeted towards a broad range of audiences including HR, sales teams, communications teams, IT and small businesses.

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Co-founded in 2015 by CEO Cyril de Queral and headquartered in Viroflay, France, the start-up says it has around 400 clients and more than 1.5m users worldwide. After its inception in Paris, Powell was taken to the US market in 2016 and had set up offices in London, Cologne and South Africa by 2019. Last year, it raised $16m in a Series A funding round led by US-based Level Equity and France-based Cap Horn.


Riaktr is a data analytics company that specialises in software for telecom companies to make better, data-driven decisions. Using the power of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics in its product Smart Capex, the early-stage company is able to help telecom operators determine the optimal network roll-out plan for its customers. Another product, Smart S&D, is a recommendation engine that helps telecom commercial teams to boost sales.

Founded in 2009 by CEO Sébastien Leempoel, the company started off using just Microsoft Excel files for its services. It soon shifted to customised software that eventually capitalised on the power of AI and big data. Its first office was set-up in Johannesburg when it was founded, but today it is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.


Ceretai is a software company that helps media companies analyse and monitor diversity in their content. Its Diversity Dashboard platform allows them to keep track of gender representation, age distribution and other measures of portrayal. With customised diversity reports and workshops for executives, Ceretai automates the process of diversity monitoring, making it time and cost-effective.

The start-up was found by CEO Matilda Kong and chief product officer Lisa Hamberg in 2018. Along with head of insights Angnis Schmidt-May, the three form Ceretai’s all-female executive team. The company is headquartered in Stockholm and has an office in Hamburg, Germany. Partners and clients of Ceretai include the BBC, Forbes, and German TV show Tagesschau, among others.


This UK-based edtech company uses the power of artificial intelligence to create learning tools and content for school, colleges and other educational environments. With a team of teachers, neuroscientists and learning technologists, Century curates personalised learning paths for every student on the platform and delivers real-time data on the learners. The company aims to make high-quality education more accessible.

Founded by CEO Priya Lakhani in 2013, this early-stage company is headquartered in London. In November 2019, Century was named the overall winner of the Spectator Economic Disruptor of the Year Awards. Lakhani was also featured in Inclusive Boards UK list of 100 most influential BAME leaders in tech in the same year.


Evervault is an infosec start-up that was founded by 20-year-old Dubliner Shane Curran in 2018. The company has built a data-privacy interface that developers can use when creating software. Its tools for secure cloud hardware across both web and mobile applications aims to take privacy away from compliance and make it a product feature.

A former BT Young Scientist winner, Curran’s encryption-as-a-service start-up raised $16m in Series A funding in May last year, led by Index Ventures. Previous investors Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Frontline also joined the round, in addition to a number of angel investors. According to LinkedIn, Evervault has offices in Dublin and San Francisco.


This Dublin-based cybersecurity start-up creates software for automating mundane security-related tasks that normally eat up time and resources for analysts and engineers, allowing for greater focus on more critical tasks. Its platform is designed for non-technical employees with click-and-drag functions and is used by customers such as internet company Box and restaurant reservation company OpenTable.

Tines was founded in 2018 by Eoin Hinchy and Thomas Kinsella, who both previously worked in security roles at eBay and DocuSign. In April, the start-up raised $26m in fresh funds, valuing the company at $300m. The Series B round was led by Addition, with participation from CrowdStrike’s Falcon Fund, Silicon Valley CISO Investments, Accel and Blossom Capital.

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Fivetran nears five times its unicorn valuation as it plans further growth

Voice Of EU



The data integration business growing its EMEA HQ in Dublin is set for further expansion following a $5.6bn valuation and key acquisition.

Silicon Valley-headquartered Fivetran has announced $565m in Series D funding alongside a deal to acquire HVR.

This latest funding round sees the automated data integration provider’s value reach $5.6bn just over a year after it first reached unicorn status.

The funding round from new and existing investors included General Catalyst, CEAS Investments and Matrix Partners. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, which also brought in new investors Iconiq Capital, D1 Capital Partners and YC Continuity.

In total, Fivetran has raised $730m to date. And in tandem with its Series D funding round, the company also announced a $700m cash and stock deal to acquire data replication business HVR.

‘Without an always-on, accurate and reliable way to centralise data, global organisations aren’t maximising the use of data or data infrastructure’

For Fivetran’s mission to help businesses make use of the data they have, in a way that is quicker and requires fewer resources, HVR brings database replication performance along with enterprise-grade security.

“HVR is a recognised leader for enterprise database replication and shares our same vision – to make access to data as simple and reliable as electricity,” said Fivetran CEO George Fraser. “Their product is the perfect complement to our automated data integration technology and will be instrumental for us to help enterprise organisations that want to improve their analytics with a modern data stack.”

Fraser added that the latest injection of funding from investors will enable the company to expand its capabilities and accelerate its global growth.

Fivetran established its EMEA HQ in Dublin in 2018. The following year, fresh investment saw the company plan to double its Irish workforce. Last summer, a $100m funding round saw these expansion plans furthered.

In terms of market opportunity, Andreessen Horowitz general partner Martin Casado says Fivetran is a “critical component” of the modern data stack, which represents “a paradigm shift for global enterprises, with billions of dollars of revenue at stake”.

“Without an always-on, accurate and reliable way to centralise data, global organisations aren’t maximising the use of data or data infrastructure,” said Casado.

The acquisition deal has been approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close in early October, subject to regular approvals.

Customers from both companies are expected to benefit from each of the business offerings. On the side of Fivetran, this client list includes Autodesk, DocuSign, Forever 21, Lionsgate and Square, while HVR services dozens of Fortune 500 brands.

“Combining HVR and Fivetran will enable a next-generation solution that will better inform business decisions by providing the freshest data available,” said HVR CEO Anthony Brooks-Williams.

“We’re thrilled to be joining forces with Fivetran and look forward to what this incredible opportunity will provide for our growing team, partners and customers.”

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Ring Video Doorbell 4 review: pre-roll is a battery bell gamechanger | Amazon

Voice Of EU



The latest iteration of Amazon’s battery-powered Ring doorbell adds a new feature to capture the early details of events most competitors would miss without needing to be plugged in.

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 costs £179 ($199.99/$A329) and can be installed in any home with wifi. It tops Ring’s battery-powered range, which starts at £89.

The look and basic function of the Doorbell 4 is very similar to Ring’s older models. It has a camera with night vision, motion sensors and a large doorbell button.

When someone pushes the button Ring’s signature chime plays and an alert is sent to your phone. You can view a live feed and speak through the doorbell using the app from anywhere with internet. If you don’t answer, the new “quick replies” feature is like an answering machine for your door, recording caller’s messages. And it works as a motion-activated security camera too.

Four seconds of pre-roll

Ring Video Doorbell 4 review
A ring of blue LEDs lights up when the doorbell is pressed showing that it is active and something is happening, such as you answering the door through the camera. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Most battery-powered doorbells sleep until motion is detected to save power, which means they typically only capture the second half of an event as it takes time for the camera to wake up and start recording.

Ring’s “pre-roll” system fills in the gap before the motion sensor is tripped. It takes a clip from a looping four-second lower-resolution colour recording that can be operated all the time without draining the battery too much.

It is a gamechanger for battery doorbells, giving you a much better idea of what has happened before the main camera fires up.

Video, motion and replay

Ring Video Doorbell 4 review
The camera has a wide 160-degree horizontal field of view, but only a 84-degree vertical field of view, which means you can’t see packages left on your doorstep. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The main 1080p HD video is clear and sharp enough to discern faces and name tags, and recorded HDR (high dynamic range) to better handle the sun shining straight at your door. The infrared night vision is bright and clear, too.

You can adjust the motion sensitivity and define areas you want monitored so that you only get notifications when something happens in the chosen zone, which is particularly useful for avoiding notification overload if your doorbell faces the street.

Ring Protect

Ring Video Doorbell 4 review
All the settings, power modes and alerts are accessed through the app, which has an easy-to-use video recording timeline if you pay for the Ring Protect cloud storage. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

While standard motion and doorbell notifications, live view and pre-roll are free, you need to subscribe to Ring Protect to get the most out of the doorbell. A free 30-day trial is included so you can see what it does, and plans start at £2.50 a month, but it is essentially cloud recording for your videos as they are not stored locally.

You get up to 30-day event history, messages recorded by visitors from the quick replies feature and still snapshots taken every 14 minutes to fill in the gaps between events.

Ring Protect also enables smart motion alerts, to differentiate between people and other things such as cars, and rich notifications, which show an image of the motion or person within the alert on your phone.

Set up and battery life

Ring Video Doorbell 4 review
The quick-release battery can be swapped out in seconds for charging without having to remove the doorbell from the door. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Setting up the doorbell is very easy. It comes with screws and wall plugs, plus a bracket for angling the camera towards your door if needed and cables for attaching it to an existing doorbell wire and chime if you have one.

The doorbell can be held in place by sticky strips if you can’t damage the mounting surface, such as if you’re renting. I used a set of Command-brand foam strips, but Ring sells a £17 “no-drill mount” that achieves something similar.

Once it is mounted you just slot the battery in the bottom, open up the Ring app on your smartphone and scan the QR code on the side of the bell. The app will run through the rest of the setup in about five minutes.

Ring Video Doorbell 4 review
Depending on how close your wifi router is to the door you may need a wifi extender or the £49 Chime Pro (pictured), which as well as acting as a ringer also creates a wifi network specifically for Ring devices. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

If you don’t have a traditional chime you can buy the wireless £29 Ring Chime or use any existing Amazon Alexa devices in your home to ring instead.

Battery life varies depending on how many features such as snapshot and pre-roll you have on and the number of motion events and live views. With everything active and capturing roughly 45 events a day, the battery lasts about a month. I would buy a second £20 battery as it takes at least five hours to fully charge the battery via microUSB.


Ring Video Doorbell 4 review
Ring has had a few privacy concerns over the years, particularly in the US with regard its activities with law enforcement. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

You can block the recording of certain parts of the camera’s view such as your neighbour’s drive using privacy zones. Ring has recently added options to limit how long recorded videos are stored on a camera-by-camera basis, strengthened account security with two-factor authentication and, in addition to standard encryption, has enabled the activation of end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for videos.

E2EE offers the strongest protection and means only the mobile devices you select can decrypt and watch captured videos. No one else can see the video, not even Ring. But with E2EE turned on some more advanced features such as pre-roll, snapshots, the event timeline, rich notifications and Alexa integration for watching a live feed from an Echo Show cannot be used.


Ring Video Doorbell 4 review
The faceplate and battery can be easily swapped if damaged, while various screws, brackets, parts and add-ons are available direct from Ring.

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 is generally repairable and a range of spare parts, including the rechargeable battery, are available at reasonable cost. Most parts are also interchangeable with older models. The company will support its devices with software updates for least four years from the point it stops selling the device on its site, and continues to support all of the devices it has sold so far.

Ring offers trade-in and recycling schemes through Amazon for its devices, but it did not comment on the use of recycled materials in the Doorbell 4. Ring falls under Amazon’s climate and sustainability pledges.


Ring Video Doorbell 4 review
The removable faceplate, which is available in several colours to best suit your door, is held in place with a small security screw in the bottom of the battery. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
  • The response time to live view requests through the app is shorter than previous Ring models, but it can still take a few seconds to answer the door, so Ring has a separate stripped-down Rapid Ring app that is faster to load, which can be used for answering rings alongside the main Ring app.

  • Alexa smart displays can show a live feed on demand or automatically when the doorbell rings.


The Ring Video Doorbell 4 costs £179 ($199.99/$A329) and Ring Protect costs from £2.50 a month.

For comparison, the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd gen) costs £89, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 costs £219, the Google Nest Doorbell costs £179.99 and the Arlo Video Doorbell Wire-Free costs £179.


The Ring Video Doorbell 4 is yet another great battery-powered smart doorbell from Amazon.

It intentionally doesn’t look any different from previous versions, so that parts are interchangeable and the older models don’t look dated. But it wakes up faster, the colour pre-roll captures much more of each event and its night vision is really good.

It can be installed almost anywhere but it needs good wifi so you might need a booster. You’ll probably need the extra £29 Chime too, which brings the real cost to £189 as a bundle, plus the £2.50 a month subscription to really make the most out of it as it doesn’t have local video storage.

Note the Ring Android app has an extremely annoying hard-coded pattern of four strong and long vibrations for every motion alert. It cannot be changed, which forced me to disable motion alerts entirely and lost the Doorbell 4 a star. Ring said it is working to fix the problem by the end of the year. This issue does not exist for the Ring iPhone app, however.

Pros: easy to install, clear video, great colour pre-roll, lots of accessories, solid iPhone app, faster, quick replies, snapshots, Alexa device integration, great as a regular doorbell replacement, end-to-end encryption available.

Cons: no local storage means you need Protect subscription for event review, no constant video recording, fairly wide for some door frames, battery needs charging once a month, Chime likely needed.

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-Werror pain persists as Linus Torvalds issues Linux 5.15rc2 • The Register

Voice Of EU



Linus Torvalds has revealed that winding back the decision to default to -Werror – and therefore make all warnings into errors – has made for another messy week of work on the Linux kernel.

“So I’ve spent a fair amount of this week trying to sort out all the odd warnings, and I want to particularly thank Guenter Roeck for his work on tracking where the build failures due to -Werror come from,” Torvalds wrote in his weekly missive about the state of kernel development.

“Is it done?” he asked rhetorically. “No. But on the whole I’m feeling fairly good about this all, even if it has meant that I’ve been looking at some really odd and grotty code. Who knew I’d still worry about some odd EISA driver on alpha, after all these years? A slight change of pace ;)”

Torvalds expressed his annoyance that his efforts have seen him enter “fix one odd corner case, three others rear their ugly heads” territory.

But he’s willing to wear the pain. “I remain convinced that it’s all for a good cause, and that we really do want to have a clean build even for the crazy odd cases,” he wrote.

And if he must handle this sort of thing in any week of the kernel production cycle, it might as well be the week of rc2.

“I hope this release will turn more normal soon – but the rc2 week tends to be fairly quiet for me, so the fact that I then ended up looking at reports of odd warnings-turned-errors this week wasn’t too bad,” he wrote.

Late last week, Torvalds also took some time to share what he described as “the true 30th anniversary date” of Linux.

On September 17th he wrote “a random note to let people know that today is actually one of the core 30-year anniversary dates: 0.01 was uploaded Sept 17, 1991.

“Now, that 0.01 release was never publicly announced, and I only emailed a handful of people in private about the upload (and I don’t have old emails from those days), so there’s no real record of that,” he wrote. “The only record of the date is in the Linux-0.01 tar-file itself, I suspect.

“Just thought I’d mention it, since while unannounced, in many ways this is the true 30th anniversary date of the actual code.”

So The Register though it worthy of mention, too. ®

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