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Start-up that detects fake news raises £2.5m to prepare for US elections


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Logically – a tech start-up using AI to detect misinformation and to provide a factchecking service to combat fake news – has raised £2.5m to further develop its products in time for the US election.

The company has secured funding from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, and XTX Ventures – the venture capital affiliate of XTX Markets, a leading global algorithmic trading firm.

Logically, which is based in Brighouse, uses a team of dedicated fact-checkers alongside artificial intelligence (AI) and digital forensics to analyse media stories and conspiracy theories to help the public separate facts from falsehoods.

It can also track sources of disinformation, as it did recently when it identified false information purporting to link COVID 19 to 5G phone masts. Logically has a free app for consumers and also works with governments, news organisations and social media platforms to help prevent misinformation. It has already been used successfully in the Indian general and regional elections last year, in which it detected over 130,000 pieces of problematic content. It has secured contracts in the USA with public sector and social media platforms in the country to report on the forthcoming elections.

Logically was founded in 2017 by Lyric Jain, a graduate of both Cambridge and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), after witnessing the public debate about Brexit and the 2016 US elections. The company now employs 15 staff in Yorkshire and a
similar number in London.

Lyric Jain, CEO, said: “With the rise of the internet and social media, falsehoods travel faster than the truth. Misinformation can polarise societies and has become a serious threat to democracy. Logically aims to stop the spread of disinformation, ensure people see both sides of the story and keep elections free and fair. Following on from our early successes in India and Europe, we are looking to establish Logically as a partner for governments, businesses and consumers around the world.”

Ashwin Kumaraswarmy, Investment Manager at Mercia, added: “Logically has developed an AI technology and an impressive client list. It is well placed to work alongside social media platforms like Facebook, as well as Government bodies and businesses, to tackle a growing issue of fake news.

Ekaterina Holt, Head of XTX Ventures, said: ‘’We were impressed with Logically’s technology and team from day one. We invest in emerging companies utilising AI/ machine learning, and in Logically we are proud to support another company that will be a future leader in the world of information and data.’’

Grant Peggie, Director at British Business Bank, said: “We are pleased that NPIF has continued to support high-growth businesses in the North, providing vital funding to enable businesses to create new jobs and expand into new markets. This investment demonstrates how this funding can make a real and measurable difference to innovative businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region, creating a more prosperous regional economy.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

For more information, please contact:
Alison Dwyer Head of Marketing and Communication
Mercia Asset Management PLC
+44 (0) 330 223 1430
Alison.dwyer@mercia.co.uk

Pauline Rawsterne
PR Agent Turquoise PR
+44 (0) 161 860 6063
+44 (0) 780 163 9816
pauline@turquoisepr.co.uk

About Mercia Asset Management PLC
Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet,

venture, private equity and debt capital; the Group’s ‘Complete Capital Solution’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet. The Group has a strong UK regional footprint through its eight offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia has over £500million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over £84million across its direct investment portfolio.

Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC” and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries –

• Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856

• Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363

• EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560 www.mercia.co.uk

About The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

• The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will invest in Microfinance, Business Loans and Equity Finance sub-funds which will offer financing ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development

. • The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.

• The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.

• The NPIF covers the following LEP areas: Tees Valley Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Humber, Leeds City Region, Sheffield City Region, York, North Yorkshire and East Riding

• The project is receiving up to £140,359,192 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit :https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

• The funds in which Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and Tees Valley

. • The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at: www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bb

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Lockdown esports boom sees Luckbox prepare to go public on TSXV


Booming business during the COVID-19 lockdown has accelerated one company’s plans to go public.

Luckbox – an esports betting platform – has reported a “huge uptick in KPIs” during the first half of 2020.

The company is now preparing to go public on the TSX Venture Exchange after signing a letter of intent with capital pool company Elephant Hill (TSX-V: EH.P).

With much of the world’s population in lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the esports industry is among the few sectors to thrive.

While almost all traditional sport has been interrupted by the pandemic, esports – pro video game matches – are able to continue online.

This has been welcome news for Luckbox, with total bets up 500% since lockdown started.

Luckbox CEO Quentin Martin said: “All of our key performance indicators have been through the roof in the past three months. We’ve seen a huge uptick in KPIs across the board.

“Clearly, these are challenging times for many people across the world but, for many, esports and gaming is a welcome distraction.

“As well as an increase in customers and betting activity, we’ve seen a huge level of interest from potential investors, who are realising that esports is resilient to many of the forces that affect traditional sports, not least COVD-19 and a potential recession.”

Esports is regarded as the sport with highest growth potential and the industry as a whole has been one of the few sectors to succeed during lockdown. Amazon-owned streaming service Twitch reported an 80% increase of concurrent viewership since January, while gaming platform Steam reported record concurrent users.

Ahead of the potential public listing, Luckbox is engaging investors during a short funding round led by Gravitas Securities and Beacon Securities.

Luckbox, which is based in the Isle of Man, has been accepting bets from customers in more than 100 territories for just over a year.

The company holds a full gambling licence and offers real-money wagering on popular games such as League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota 2, Overwatch, FIFA and NBA2K.

Martin said: “The potential of esports betting is well documented and these past few months have brought that into sharper focus, accelerating the numbers.

“Many fans of traditional sports have been exposed to the excitement of esports for the first time and, hopefully, they like what they see and will be sticking around.”

About Luckbox

Luckbox offers legal, real-money betting, live streams and stats on 13 esports. Luckbox was built by a team combining vast experience in the igaming industry and a passion for esports to offer players a unique and legal CS:GO betting, Dota 2 and League of Legends betting. Real Time Games Holding Limited – the company behind the Luckbox brand – holds a full licence under the Online Gambling Regulation Act (OGRA), issued by the Gaming Supervision Commission. Luckbox is committed to supporting responsible gambling.

Pictures: CEO Quentin Martin, the Luckbox website

Contact: For more information or interview requests, email: james.mcmath@luckbox.com

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