The tech business week: Handy takes root in Europe, former CEOs invest in Climote


29 Sep 2014

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Oisin Hanrahan, CEO of Handy

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A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news home services app start-up Handy has stepped into the UK market after acquiring London-based Mopp.

Handy establishes beachhead in Europe – acquires UK’s Mopp

Irishman Oisin Hanrahan’s New York-headquartered home services app start-up Handy, previously known as Handybook, has stepped into the UK market after acquiring London-based Mopp.

In June, Handy – a kind of ‘Hailo for Handymen’ – raised US$30m (€22m) in new investment from Steve Case’s Revolution Growth fund, bringing the amount raised by Handybook to US$49m. 

The acquisition of Mopp, which also provides home-cleaning services in the UK, was a multimillion-dollar all-stock transaction, according to TechCrunch.

Mopp has only been in business for 18 months but has already notched up 10,000 bookings per month.

Ex-CEOs of Board Gáis and SSE invest in smart-home player Climote

The ex-CEOs of Bord Gáis and SSE, John Mullins and Ian Marchant respectively, have been named as the latest investors in home-energy company Climote, which competes with thermostat maker Nest.

Climote’s Hub product allows users to control and set their home heating no matter where in the world they are, via smartphone, SMS or online, increasing efficiency and reducing wastage. 

Both Mullins and Marchant are highly regarded in the energy business and their investment in Climote will boost the company’s efforts to win deals with energy suppliers. The duo were also responsible for providing energy to 11m out of the 29m homes in Ireland and the UK, and were responsible for a combined annual turnover exceeding €30bn.

More M&A activity for Irish tech sector – Donal Duffy, Bank of Ireland

Merger and acquisition activity in the indigenous Irish tech sector is likely to increase for the foreseeable future, said Donal Duffy, director of corporate banking at Bank of Ireland.

“Bank of Ireland has a very positive view of the tech sector at the moment and we are optimistic for the future of the sector,” Duffy said. “We’ve a long history in the tech sector in Ireland, investing in the sector and we’ve invested in a number of companies who have gone on to be successful businesses. They’ve scaled or been acquired, which is a positive aspect of the sector.

“We’d like to see more of our companies involved in more M&A activity and that is the next stage of the development of the sector,” Duffy added.

EU challenges Google search antitrust agreement following new evidence

The European Union’s (EU) antitrust commission has re-opened the investigation into claims by rival companies that Google’s search results push their results down following new evidence.

The news follows last February’s settlement between Google, the EU and the challenging companies, including Microsoft, which offered to display three of Google’s competitors’ adverts alongside Google’s own advertising, built into its search engine.

Now, vice-president of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy, Joaquin Almunia, said that after “fresh evidence” has been put forward by the affected companies, the previous settlement has been put into question and must make a new proposal to the affected parties.

According to The Verge, following Microsoft’s own tests of the new adverts proposal, the advertising was forwarding traffic through Google’s services rather than the websites advertised, seemingly breaking their agreement.

iPhone 6 sets new record with 10m sales in first weekend

The iPhone 6 has become the fastest-selling version of the device ever after consumer tech giant Apple moved more than 10m units in the first weekend since the product’s release.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus first went on sale in a number of countries on 19 September, including the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico and Singapore.

“Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. “We would like to thank all of our customers for making this our best launch ever, shattering all previous sell-through records by a large margin. While our team managed the manufacturing ramp better than ever before, we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible.”

Samsung makes quick exit from European PC market

South Korean electronics giant Samsung has decided that for the foreseeable future, it will no longer have a presence in the laptop PC market in Europe because of falling sales.

According to TechAdvisor, Samsung’s pull out from Europe will include its own brand of recent arrivals, including the Ativ Book 9 Plus and Ativ Book 9 Lite, as well as the Chromebook it produces on behalf of Google.

A Samsung spokesperson said the company quickly adapts to market needs and demands. “In Europe, we will be discontinuing sales of laptops, including Chromebooks, for now. This is specific to the region – and is not necessarily reflective of conditions in other markets.”

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