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Balderton Capital gearing up to invest in Swedish e-scooter startup VOI – TechCrunch



We already knew that the electronic scooter space in Europe was heating up, with Berlin’s Tier announcing today it has raised €25 million in a round led by Northzone, and rumours circulating that Delivery Hero founder Lukasz Gadowski has ventured into the space — all within the context of U.S. companies Bird and Lime recently expanding to Europe. However, now it seems that Balderton Capital could be about to make its move by investing in Sweden’s VOI Technology, another e-scooter rental play with pan-European ambitions.

According to multiple sources, the London-based venture capital firm is gearing up to lead a round in Stockholm-based VOI. Two sources say the amount being invested is $15 million at a pre-money valuation of between $35-40 million, while another source said it could be as much as $25 million. Separately, I’m hearing that with multiple term sheets on the table and the pace at which the company is growing, VOI is actually considering increasing the round to $50 million.

Other VC firms thought to be participating are Berlin’s Project A, and Netherland-based Prime Ventures.

To date, VOI has raised around just shy of $3 million in seed funding from Vostok New Ventures.

I contacted Balderton Capital earlier today, but haven’t heard back. A spokesperson for Project also declined to comment. Neither Prime Ventures or VOI could be reached at the time of publication.

What is particularly noteworthy about Balderton’s entrance into the e-scooter market is that three of the other “big four” London VC firms have already made U.S. investments in the space. Index and Accel have backed Bird, and Atomico has backed Lime.

As I noted in my earlier Tier funding story — which marked the biggest financial backing for a European company in the space to date — this isn’t stopping a number of European investors getting busy trying to create the “Bird or Lime of Europe,” even if it is far from clear that Bird or Lime won’t take that title for themselves (which is obviously the bet being made by Index, Accel and Atomico). The general sentiment of European VCs steadfastly trying to nurture a European born competitor is that they don’t want to see the e-scooter rental market be rolled over by the U.S. in the same way that Uber rode in and knocked out many local players.

With that said, the worse case scenario in the eyes of many of those same VCs (and those VCs standing on the sidelines not participating) is that Bird or Lime will eventually acquire the most promising European e-scooter company or companies. In other words, the downside is mitigated somewhat, failing an outright home run.

Meanwhile, Tier, VOI and Gadowski’s Go Flash aren’t the only European born e-scooter startups with pan-European ambitions. There’s also Coup, an e-scooter subsidiary owned by Bosch and backed by BCG Digital Ventures that operates in Berlin, Paris and Madrid. And just two month’s ago Taxify announced its intention to do e-scooter rentals under the brand Bolt, first launched in Paris but also planning to be pan-European, including Germany.

Not that everyone is convinced. Two early-stage European VCs I spoke to today said they hated the space. “I just don’t understand, isn’t it going to be a massive bloodbath?” said one of the VCs, before questioning the total number of rides we could see in Europe annually. “I just don’t see how Europe is going to produce multiple multibillion dollar businesses in this space. I think the market size caps it”.

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How To Make Sure Yours Have The Latest Firmware Installed



Before checking your AirPods’ firmware version, first make sure you have the latest version of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS installed. To do this, open Settings (or System Settings on Mac), go to General, and then Software Update. If an update is available, download and install it before proceeding to check your AirPods firmware.

Provided your iPhone or iPad is running the latest software, here’s how to check firmware version of your AirPods:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Tap Bluetooth.

  3. Tap the info button next to your AirPods.

  4. Look for the firmware version under the “About” section.

If you use your AirPods with a Mac, follow these steps to check the firmware version:

  1. Press and hold the Option key, then select the Apple menu and System Information.

  2. Click on Bluetooth.

  3. Look for the “Firmware Version” under your AirPods.

Once you’ve made a note of the AirPods’ firmware version, you’ll need to make sure they’re running the latest update by going to Apple’s website, and scrolling down to the “Latest firmware versions” section. Locate your AirPods in the list, and verify they’re running the firmware mentioned next to the product name.

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This Electric BMW Existed Long Before The I3 And Looked Way Better



BMW’s first electric car, the 1602e, was based on the 02 Series, the entry-level BMW, which were essentially smaller-wheelbase versions of the New Class sedans. The 02 Series spawned a variety of models like 2002, 1802, and 1502 (characterized by the displacement of their four-cylinder motors), but BMW’s 1602 came first. Designed by then-design director Wilhelm Hofmeister (the man behind the “Hofmeister Kink”), BMW unveiled the first batch of 1602e electric prototypes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games as support vehicles for marathon events.

It has a 32 kW electric motor developed by Bosch, producing a paltry 43 horsepower. The motor draws juice from a dozen 12-volt Varta lead-acid batteries neatly tucked in the engine bay, weighing 350 kg or more than 770 pounds. Despite this, the BMW 1602e had a 62 mph top speed and could accelerate from zero to 31 mph in about eight seconds. However, it only musters 19 miles of range before needing to recharge despite having regenerative braking.

On the plus side, the 1602e looks way better than the i3, and it’s a prime candidate for an electric restomod with new-age motors and energy-dense batteries. If BMW can do it with classic Minis, the 1602 deserves an electric comeback, too.

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5 Of The Best PS2 Games Still Worth Playing If You Haven’t



There are enough games in the “Final Fantasy” lineup to spark contentious debate about which is best, but “Final Fantasy X” deserves recognition as a turning point for the series. It’s also one of the PS2’s best games and is widely regarded as one of the best RPGs ever. The game took the series to new cinematic heights by offering convincing voice acting for an endearing cast of characters featured in a tear-jerking narrative.

You play primarily as Tidus, a standout athlete in the game’s enjoyable side activity, blitzball. While competing, he experiences a world-ending reality after witnessing his home’s destruction by a malevolent force called Sin. You’ll embark on a quest to learn how to defeat it, meeting helpful new comrades along the way.

“Final Fantasy X” is the PlayStation 2 game that JRPG fans recommend en masse to series and genre newcomers. It faithfully upholds tradition with a turn-based combat system that checks all the boxes for the usual gameplay tropes, such as multi-member battle parties, creature summoning, attack-type bonuses, and character-specific special moves.

In addition, the Sphere system was a unique take on character progression that brought a non-linear upgrade path which opened up new ability possibilities for characters that wouldn’t traditionally have them. The unique progression system, a memorable world, and an engaging narrative helped make “Final Fantasy X” a standout title in the franchise and a landmark PS2 game.

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