Disruption feed 2021 #49 – Europe’s growing tech scene, EU gig workers rights, Amazon’s continue to test the UK market & can SpaceX sue Russia?
Amazon continues its bet on groceries, in the UK
As mentioned on the feed before Amazon has been experimenting with the grocery business model, buying Whole Foods, automated checkout etc. The next move, allegedly, is to test the UK market. For the next three years Amazon is to setup 260 stores in the UK, all of them completely cashier-less. Very interesting to follow how this develops!
Europe’s tech scene is growing stronger
Atomico’s recently published its annual State of European Tech 2021 report and it shows that both the number of startups and invested capital continue to increase within Europe. The number of European unicorns increased to 321, up from 223 in 2020 and $3.8 billion in early stage investment puts Europe in second place, only beaten by the US with $4.1 billion. In total, more than $100 billion has been invested in European tech companies during the year. However, investments are heavily concentrated to a few dominant city’s with London, Berlin, Stockholm, Munich and Paris accounting for 54% of total investments.
Can SpaceX sue Russia?
Russia recently performed a real life anti-satellite weapons test, shattering an old inactive satellite. This has sparked an outrage in the Space community, astronauts aboard the ISS space station were told to take shelter, several nations have made official statements condemning Russia’s recklessness. However, holding them accountable may prove much harder than one might think, what laws apply in space?
Ram Jakhu, an expert in international space law and a lecturer at McGill University in Montreal, says that the Liability Convention is mostly understood to cover actual physical damage to a satellite. If a piece of debris generated by the Russian ASAT test destroyed a Starlink satellite, for example, SpaceX could ask the U.S. government to request the government of Russia to pay for the damage on the company’s behalf.
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EU votes for increased rights for gig workers
This week the European Commission took one step closer to increased rights for gig workers, proposing a rule requiring companies like Uber to consider their drivers and couriers as employees entitled to a minimum wage and legal protections. Gig economy companies are expected to lobby against the decision, which is logical as it would in all probability have a significant impact on the profitability of the gig economy.
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