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Extra Crunch roundup: Guest posts wanted, ‘mango’ seed rounds, Expensify’s tech stack

June 5, 2021 No Comments

Prospective contributors regularly ask us about which topics Extra Crunch subscribers would like to hear more about, and the answer is always the same:

  • Actionable advice that is backed up by data and/or experience.
  • Strategic insights that go beyond best practices and offer specific recommendations readers can try out for themselves.
  • Industry analysis that paints a clear picture of the companies, products and services that characterize individual tech sectors.

Our submission guidelines haven’t changed, but Managing Editor Eric Eldon and I wrote a short post that identifies the topics we’re prioritizing at the moment:

  • How-to articles for early-stage founders.
  • Market analysis of different tech sectors.
  • Growth marketing strategies.
  • Alternative fundraising.
  • Quality of life (personal health, sustainability, proptech, transportation).

If you’re a skillful entrepreneur, founder or investor who’s interested in helping someone else build their business, please read our latest guidelines, then send your ideas to guestcolumns@techcrunch.com.

Thanks for reading; I hope you have a great weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
@yourprotagonist


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Opting for a debt round can take you from Series A startup to Series B unicorn

Image of a tree in a field, with half barren to represent debt and half flush with cash to represent success.

Image Credits: olegkalina (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Debt is a tool, and like any other — be it a hammer or handsaw — it’s extremely valuable when used skillfully but can cause a lot of pain when mismanaged. This is a story about how it can go right.

Mario Ciabarra, the founder and CEO of Quantum Metric, breaks down how his company was on a “tremendous growth curve” — and then the pandemic hit.

“As the weeks following the initial shelter-in-place orders ticked by, the rush toward digital grew exponentially, and opportunities to secure new customers started piling up,” Ciabarra writes. “A solution to our money problems, perhaps? Not so fast — it was a classic case of needing to spend in order to make.”

If companies want to preserve equity, debt can be an advantageous choice. Here’s how Quantum Metric did it.

4 proven approaches to CX strategy that make customers feel loved

CX is the hottest acronym in business

Image Credits: mucahiddin / Getty Images

People have been working to optimize customer experiences (CX) since we began selling things to each other.

A famous San Francisco bakery has an exhaust fan at street level; each morning, its neighbors awake to the scent of orange-cinnamon morning buns wafting down the block. Similarly, savvy hairstylists know to greet returning customers by asking if they want a repeat or something new.

Online, CX may encompass anything from recommending the right shoes to AI that knows when to send a frustrated traveler an upgrade for a delayed flight.

In light of Qualtrics’ spinout and IPO and Sprinklr’s recent S-1, Rebecca Liu-Doyle, principal at Insight Partners, describes four key attributes shared by “companies that have upped their CX game.”

Twitter’s acquisition strategy: Eat the public conversation

woman talking with megaphone

Image Credits: We Are (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

What is a microblogging service doing buying a social podcasting company and a newsletter tool while also building a live broadcasting sub-app? Is there even a strategy at all?

Yes. Twitter is trying to revitalize itself by adding more contexts for discourse to its repertoire. The result, if everything goes right, will be an influence superapp that hasn’t existed anywhere before. The alternative is nothing less than the destruction of Twitter into a link-forwarding service.

Let’s talk about how Twitter is trying to eat the public conversation.

Reading the IPO market’s tea leaves

Although it was a truncated holiday week here in the United States, there was a bushel of IPO news. We sorted through the updates and came up with a series of sentiment calls regarding these public offerings.

Earlier this week, we took a look at:

  • Marqeta‘s first IPO price range (fintech).
  • 1st Dibs‘ first IPO price range (e-commerce).
  • Zeta Global‘s IPO pricing (martech).
  • The start of SoFi trading post-SPAC (fintech).
  • The latest from BarkBox (e-commerce).

How Expensify hacked its way to a robust, scalable tech stack

Image Credits: Nigel Sussman

Part 4 of Expensify’s EC-1 digs into the company’s engineering and technology, with Anna Heim noting that the group of P2P pirates/hackers set out to build an expense management app by sticking to their gut and making their own rules.

They asked questions few considered, like: Why have lots of employees when you can find a way to get work done and reach impressive profitability with a few? Why work from an office in San Francisco when the internet lets you work from anywhere, even a sailboat in the Caribbean?

It makes sense in a way: If you’re a pirate, to hell with the rules, right?

With that in mind, one could assume Expensify decided to ask itself: Why not build our own totally custom tech stack?

Indeed, Expensify has made several tech decisions that were met with disbelief, but its belief in its own choices has paid off over the years, and the company is ready to IPO any day now.

How much of a tech advantage Expensify enjoys owing to such choices is an open question, but one thing is clear: These choices are key to understanding Expensify and its roadmap. Let’s take a look.

Etsy asks, ‘How do you do, fellow kids?’ with $ 1.6B Depop purchase

GettyImages 969952548

Image Credits: Getty Images

The news this week that e-commerce marketplace Etsy will buy Depop, a startup that provides a secondhand e-commerce marketplace, for more than $ 1.6 billion may not have made a large impact on the acquiring company’s share price thus far, but it provides a fascinating look into what brands may be willing to pay for access to the Gen Z market.

Etsy is buying Gen Z love. Think about it — Gen Z is probably not the first demographic that comes to mind when you consider Etsy, so you can see why the deal may pencil out in the larger company’s mind.

But it isn’t cheap. The lesson from the Etsy-Depop deal appears to be that large e-commerce players are willing to splash out for youth-approved marketplaces. That’s good news for yet-private companies that are popular with the budding generation.

Confluent’s IPO brings a high-growth, high-burn SaaS model to the public markets

Image Credits: Andriy Onufriyenko / Getty Images

Confluent became the latest company to announce its intent to take the IPO route, officially filing its S-1 paperwork this week.

The company, which has raised over $ 455 million since it launched in 2014, was most recently valued at just over $ 4.5 billion when it raised $ 250 million last April.

What does Confluent do? It built a streaming data platform on top of the open-source Apache Kafka project. In addition to its open-source roots, Confluent has a free tier of its commercial cloud offering to complement its paid products, helping generate top-of-funnel inflows that it converts to sales.

What we can see in Confluent is nearly an old-school, high-burn SaaS business. It has taken on oodles of capital and used it in an increasingly expensive sales model.

How to win consulting, board and deal roles with PE and VC funds

Jumping to the highest level - goldfish jumping in a bigger bowl - aspiration and achievement concept. This is a 3d render illustration

Image Credits: Orla (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Would you like to work with private equity and venture capital funds?

There are relatively few jobs directly inside private equity and venture capital funds, and those jobs are highly competitive.

However, there are many other ways you can work and earn money within the industry — as a consultant, an interim executive, a board member, a deal executive partnering to buy a company, an executive in residence or as an entrepreneur in residence.

Let’s take a look at the different ways you can work with the investment community.

The existential cost of decelerated growth

Even among the most valuable tech shops, shareholder return is concentrated in share price appreciation, and buybacks, which is the same thing to a degree.

Slowly growing tech companies worth single-digit billions can’t play the buyback game to the same degree as the majors. And they are growing more slowly, so even a similar buyback program in relative scale would excite less.

Grow or die, in other words. Or at least grow or come under heavy fire from external investors who want to oust the founder-CEO and “reform” the company. But if you can grow quickly, welcome to the land of milk and honey.

Even among the most valuable tech shops, shareholder return is concentrated in share price appreciation, and buybacks, which is the same thing to a degree.

Slowly growing tech companies worth single-digit billions can’t play the buyback game to the same degree as the majors. And they are growing more slowly, so even a similar buyback program in relative scale would excite less.

Grow or die, in other words. Or at least grow or come under heavy fire from external investors who want to oust the founder-CEO and “reform” the company. But if you can grow quickly, welcome to the land of milk and honey.

Hormonal health is a massive opportunity: Where are the unicorns?

uterus un paper work.Pink backgroundArt concept of female reproductive health

Image Credits: Carol Yepes (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

There is a growing group of entrepreneurs who are betting that hormonal health is the key wedge into the digital health boom.

Hormones are fluctuating, ever-evolving, and diverse — but these founders say they’re also key to solving many health conditions that disproportionately impact women, from diabetes to infertility to mental health challenges.

Many believe it’s that complexity that underscores the opportunity. Hormonal health sits at the center of conversations around personalized medicine and women’s health: By 2025, women’s health could be a $ 50 billion industry, and by 2026, digital health more broadly is estimated to hit $ 221 billion.

Still, as funding for women’s health startups drops and stigma continues to impact where venture dollars go, it’s unclear whether the sector will remain in its infancy or hit a true inflection point.

3 lessons we learned after raising $ 6.3M from 50 investors

Image of businesspeople climbing ladders up an arrow toward three increasingly tall piles of cash.

Image Credits: sorbetto (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images

Two years ago, founders of calendar assistant platform Reclaim were looking for a “mango” seed round — a boodle of cash large enough to help them transition from the prototype phase to staffing up for a public launch.

Although the team received offers, co-founder Henry Shapiro says the few that materialized were poor options, partially because Reclaim was still pre-product.

“So one summer morning, my co-founder and I sat down in his garage — where we’d been prototyping, pitching and iterating for the past year — and realized that as hard as it was, we would have to walk away entirely and do a full reset on our fundraising strategy,” he writes.

Shapiro shares what he learned from embracing failure and offers three conclusions “every founder should consider before they decide to go out and pitch investors.”

For SaaS startups, differentiation is an iterative process

For SaaS success, differentiation is crucial

Image Credits: Kevin Schafer / Getty Images

Although software as a service has been thriving as a sector for years, it has gone into overdrive in the past year as businesses responded to the pandemic by speeding up the migration of important functions to the cloud, ActiveCampaign founder and CEO Jason VandeBoom writes in a guest column.

“We’ve all seen the news of SaaS startups raising large funding rounds, with deal sizes and valuations steadily climbing. But as tech industry watchers know only too well, large funding rounds and valuations are not foolproof indicators of sustainable growth and longevity.”

VandeBoom notes that to scale sustainably, SaaS startups need to “stand apart from the herd at every phase of development. Failure to do so means a poor outcome for founders and investors.”

“As a founder who pivoted from on-premise to SaaS back in 2016, I have focused on scaling my company (most recently crossing 145,000 customers) and in the process, learned quite a bit about making a mark,” VandeBoom writes. “Here is some advice on differentiation at the various stages in the life of a SaaS startup.”


Social – TechCrunch


Extra Crunch roundup: Fintech stays hot, Brex doubles, and startup IRR is up all over

May 1, 2021 No Comments

Tech companies in Silicon Valley, the geography, have had an incredible year. But one indicator points to longer-term changes. The internal rate of return (IRR) for companies in other startup hub cities has been even better. A big new analysis by AngelList showed aggregate IRR of 19.4% per year on syndicated deals elsewhere versus 17.5% locally. A separate measure, of total value of paid-in investment, revealed 1.67x returns for other hubs versus 1.60x in the main Silicon Valley and Bay Area tech cities.


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The data is based on a sample of 2,500 companies that have used AngelList to syndicate deals from 2013 through 2020. Which is just one snapshot, but a relevant one given how hard it can be to produce accurate early-stage startup market analysis at this scale. I believe we’ll see more and more data confirming the trends in the coming years, especially as more of the startup world acclimates to remote-first and distributed offices. You can increasingly do a startup from anywhere and make it a success. Not that Silicon Valley is lacking optimism, as you’ll see in a number of the other stories in the roundup below!

Eric Eldon
Managing Editor, Extra Crunch

(Subbing in for Walter today as he’s enjoying a well-deserved break and definitely not still checking the site.)

Optimism reigns at consumer trading services as fintech VC spikes and Robinhood IPO looms

With the Coinbase direct listing behind us and the Robinhood IPO ahead, it’s a heady time for consumer-focused trading apps.

Mix in the impending SPAC-led debut of eToro, general bullishness in the cryptocurrency space, record highs for some equities markets, and recent rounds from Public.com, M1 Finance and U.K.-based Freetrade, and you could be excused for expecting the boom in consumer asset trading to keep going up and to the right.

But will it? There are data in both directions.

After going public, once-hot startups are riding a valuation roller coaster

A short meditation on value, or, more precisely, how assets are valued in today’s markets.

Long story short: This is why I only buy index funds. No one knows what anything (interesting) is worth.

Should you give an anchor investor a stake in your fund’s management company?

Image of a red anchor resting on pile of money.

Image Credits: Matthias Kulka (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Raising capital for a new fund is always hard.

But should you give preferential economics or other benefits to a seed anchor investor who makes a material commitment to the fund? Let’s break down the pros and cons.

2021 should be a banner year for biotech startups that make smart choices early

Image Credits: TEK IMAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

Last year was a record 12 months for venture-backed biotech and pharma companies, with deal activity rising to $ 28.5 billion from $ 17.8 billion in 2019.

As vaccines roll out, drug development pipelines return to normal, and next-generation therapies continue to hold investor interest, 2021 is on pace to be another blockbuster year.

But founder missteps early in the fundraising journey can result in severe consequences.

In this exciting moment, when younger founders will likely receive more attention, capital and control than ever, it’s crucial to avoid certain pitfalls.

Two investors weigh in: Is your SPAC just a PIPE dream?

A picture of a Dandelion in the wind, with a background of cool blue colours, blurred from the narrow pane of focus. Composition made in photoshop. (A picture of a Dandelion in the wind, with a background of cool blue colours, blurred from the narrow

Image Credits: Maxime Robeyns/EyeEm (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The fundamental thing to remember about the SPAC process is that the result is a publicly traded company open to the regulatory environment of the SEC and the scrutiny of public shareholders.

In today’s fast-paced IPO world, going public can seem like simply a marker of success, a box to check.

But are you ready to be a public company?

There is no cybersecurity skills gap, but CISOs must think creatively

Image of a question mark, gears, a lightbulb, and an exclamation point on chairs in a waiting room.

Image Credits: Westend61 (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Those of us who read a lot of tech and business publications have heard for years about the cybersecurity skills gap. Studies often claim that millions of jobs are going unfilled because there aren’t enough qualified candidates available for hire.

Don’t buy it.

The basic laws of supply and demand mean there will always be people in the workforce willing to move into well-paid security jobs. The problem is not that these folks don’t exist. It’s that CIOs or CISOs typically look right past them if their resumes don’t have a very specific list of qualifications.

In many cases, hiring managers expect applicants to be fully trained on all the technologies their organization currently uses. That not only makes it harder to find qualified candidates, but it also reduces the diversity of experience within security teams — which, ultimately, may weaken the company’s security capabilities and its talent pool.

To be frank, we do not know how to value Honest Company

We do not know how to value Honest Company.

It’s outside our normal remit, but that the company is getting out the door at what appears to be a workable price gain to its final private round implies that investors earlier in its cap table are set to do just fine in its debut. Snowflake it is not, but at its current IPO price interval, it is hard to not call Honest a success of sorts — though we also anticipate that its investors had higher hopes.

Returning to our question, do we expect the company to reprice higher? No, but if it did, The Exchange crew would not fall over in shock.

How Brex more than doubled its valuation in a year

Henrique Dubugras BrexDSC02452

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Brex, a fintech company that provides corporate cards and spend-management software to businesses, announced Monday that it closed a $ 425 million Series D round of capital at a valuation of around $ 7.4 billion.

The new capital came less than a year after Brex raised $ 150 million at a $ 2.9 billion pre-money valuation.

So, how did the company manage to so rapidly boost its valuation and raise its largest round to date?

TechCrunch spoke with Brex CEO Henrique Dubugras after his company’s news broke. We dug into the how and why of its new investment and riffed on what going remote-first has done for the company, as well as its ability to attract culture-aligned and more diverse talent.

Founders who don’t properly vet VCs set up both parties for failure

Portrait of two men in cardboard boxes

Image Credits: Flashpop (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

There’s a disconnect between reality and the added value investors are promising entrepreneurs. Three in five founders who were promised added value by their VCs felt duped by their negative experience.

While this feels like a letdown by investors, in reality, it shows fault on both sides. Due diligence isn’t a one-way street, and founders must do their homework to make sure they’re not jumping into deals with VCs who are only paying lip service to their value-add.

Looking into an investor’s past, reputation and connections isn’t about finding the perfect VC, it’s about knowing what shaking certain hands will entail — and either being ready for it or walking away.

Fifth Wall’s Brendan Wallace and Hippo’s Assaf Wand discuss proptech’s biggest opportunities

Image Credits: Jeff Newton / Hippo

What is the biggest opportunity for proptech founders? How should they think about competition, strategic investment versus top-tier VC firms and how to build their board? What about navigating regulation?

We sat down with Brendan Wallace, co-founder and general manager of Fifth Wall, and Hippo CEO Assaf Wand for an episode of Extra Crunch Live to discuss all of the above.

SaaS subscriptions may be short-serving your customers

Suggesting scarcity, a single green pea rests in the middle of a dinner plate surrounded by tableware.

Image Credits: emyerson (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Software as a service (SaaS) has perhaps become a bit too interchangeable with subscription models.

Every software company now looks to sell by subscription ASAP, but the model itself might not fit all industries or, more importantly, align with customer needs, especially early on.

What can the OKR software sector tell us about startup growth more generally?

In the never-ending stream of venture capital funding rounds, from time to time, a group of startups working on the same problem will raise money nearly in unison. So it was with OKR-focused startups toward the start of 2020.

How were so many OKR-focused tech upstarts able to raise capital at the same time? And was there really space in the market for so many different startups building software to help other companies manage their goal-setting? OKRs, or “objectives and key results,” a corporate planning method, are no longer a niche concept. But surely, over time, there would be M&A in the group, right?

Internal rates of return in emerging US tech hubs are starting to overtake Silicon Valley

Passenger Jet Plane Flying Above San Francisco for travel concept

Image Credits: petdcat (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Tech innovation is becoming more widely distributed across the United States.

Among the five startups launched in 2020 that raised the most financing, four were based outside the Bay Area. The number of syndicated deals on AngelList in emerging markets from Austin to Seattle to Pittsburgh has increased 144% over the last five years.

And the number of startups in these emerging markets is growing fast — and increasingly getting a bigger piece of the VC pie.

Fund managers can leverage ESG-related data to generate insights

Image of a hand holding green piggybank in a green field.

Image Credits: Guido Mieth (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images

Almost two centuries ago, gold prospectors in California set off one of the greatest rushes for wealth in history. Proponents of socially conscious investing claim fund managers will start a similar stampede when they discover that environmental, social and governance (ESG) insights can yield treasure in the form of alternative data that promise big payoffs — if only they knew how to mine it.

ESG data is everywhere. Learning how to understand it promises big payoffs.

 

Dear Sophie: What’s the latest on DACA?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

My company is looking to hire a very talented data infrastructure engineer who is undocumented. She has never applied for DACA before.

What is the latest on DACA? What can we do to support her?

—Multicultural in Milpitas

Zomato juice: Indian unicorn’s proposed IPO could drive regional startup liquidity

The IPO parade continued this week as India-based food-delivery unicorn Zomato filed to go public. 

The Zomato IPO is incredibly important. As our own Manish Singh reported when the company’s numbers became public, a “successful listing [could be] poised to encourage nearly a dozen other unicorn Indian startups to accelerate their efforts to tap the public markets.”

So, Zomato’s debut is not only notable because its impending listing gives us a look into its economics, but because it could lead to a liquidity rush in the country if its flotation goes well.

Investment in construction automation is essential to rebuilding US infrastructure

Well bought construction workers building house

Image Credits: Donald Iain Smith (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

With the United States moving all-in on massive infrastructure investment, much of the discussion has focused on jobs and building new green industries for the 21st century.

While the Biden administration’s plan will certainly expand the workforce, it also provides a massive opportunity for the adoption of automation technologies within the construction industry.

Despite the common narrative of automating away human jobs, the two are not nearly as much in conflict, especially with new investments creating space for new roles and work.

In fact, one of the greatest problems facing the construction industry remains a lack of labor, making automation a necessity for moving forward with these ambitious projects.

How to fundraise over Zoom more effectively

Image showing person at computer and person presenting seeking funding.,

Image Credits: fourSage (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images

Even though in-person drinks and coffee walks are on the horizon, virtual fundraising isn’t going away.

Now, it’s imperative to ensure your virtual pitch is as effective as your IRL one.

Not only is it more efficient — no expensive trips to San Francisco or trouble fitting investor meetings into one day — virtual fundraising helps democratize access to venture capital.

Hacking my way into analytics: A creative’s journey to design with data

Abstract Particle connection network background

Image Credits: Xuanyu Han (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

There’s a growing need for basic data literacy in the tech industry, and it’s only getting more taxing by the year.

Words like “data-driven,” “data-informed” and “data-powered” increasingly litter every tech organization’s product briefs. But where does this data come from?

Who has access to it? How might I start digging into it myself? How might I leverage this data in my day-to-day design once I get my hands on it?

Fintech startups set VC records as the 2021 fundraising market continues to impress

The first three months of the year were the most valuable period for fintech investing, ever.

Where did the fintech venture capital market push the most money in Q1, and why? Let’s dig in.

Healthcare is the next wave of data liberation

Image of a balloon carrying away a brain.

Image Credits: PM Images (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images

Why can we see all our bank, credit card and brokerage data on our phones instantaneously in one app, yet walk into a doctor’s office blind to our healthcare records, diagnoses and prescriptions?

Our health status should be as accessible as our checking account balance.

The liberation of healthcare data is beginning to happen, and it will have a profound impact on society — it will save and extend lives.

What private tech companies should consider before going public via a SPAC

Image of intertwining arrows on a chalkboard to represent decision-making.

Image Credits: cnythzl (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The red-hot market for special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, has “screeched to a halt.”

As the SPAC market grew in the past six months, it seemed that everyone was getting into the game. But shareholder lawsuits, huge value fluctuations and warnings from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have all thrown the brakes on the SPAC market, at least temporarily.

So what do privately held tech companies that are considering going public need to know about the SPAC process and market?

The era of the European insurtech IPO will soon be upon us

Detail of Euro note showing European continent

Image Credits: Image Source (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Once the uncool sibling of a flourishing fintech sector, insurtech is now one of the hottest areas of a buoyant venture market. Zego’s $ 150 million round at unicorn valuation in March, a rumored giant incoming round for WeFox, and a slew of IPOs and SPACs in the U.S. are all testament to this.

It’s not difficult to see why. The insurance market is enormous, but the sector has suffered from notoriously poor customer experience, and major incumbents have been slow to adapt. Fintech has set a precedent for the explosive growth that can be achieved with superior customer experience underpinned by modern technology. And the pandemic has cast the spotlight on high-potential categories, including health, mobility and cybersecurity.

This has begun to brew a perfect storm of conditions for big European insurtech exits.

The health data transparency movement is birthing a new generation of startups

Medicine doctor hand working with modern computer interface as medical network concept

Image Credits: Busakorn Pongparnit (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The recent movement toward data transparency is bringing about a new era of innovation and startups.

Those who follow the space closely may have noticed that there are twin struggles taking place: a push for more transparency on provider and payer data, including anonymous patient data, and another for strict privacy protection for personal patient data.

What’s the main difference, and how can startups solve these problems?

 

 


Startups – TechCrunch


Daily Crunch: Facebook makes it easier to view a non-algorithmic News Feed

April 1, 2021 No Comments

Facebook has some thoughts and updates about its News Feed, Siri gets some new voices and Tonal becomes a unicorn. This is your Daily Crunch for March 31, 2021.

The big story: Facebook makes it easier to view a non-algorithmic News Feed

Facebook highlighted features today that should make it easier for users to see a version of the News Feed that isn’t shaped by the company’s algorithms. These include a Favorites view that displays posts from up to 30 of your favorite friends and Pages, as well as a Most Recent view, which just shows posts in chronological order. Some of these options existed previously, but they’ll now be easily accessible through a new Feed Filter Bar.

At the same time, the company’s VP of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, pushed back against criticism of the company’s algorithmic News Feed, saying that personalization is common and useful across the web, though he added, “It would clearly be better if these [content] decisions were made according to frameworks agreed by democratically accountable lawmakers.”

Speaking of content decisions, Facebook also cautioned Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump today for posting an interview with the former president, who has been banned from the social network.

The tech giants

Apple adds two brand new Siri voices and will no longer default to a female or male voice in iOS — This means that every person setting up Siri will choose a voice for themselves.

Instagram officially launches Remix on Reels, a TikTok Duets-like feature — Remix offers a way to record your Reels video alongside a video from another user.

Spotify adds three new types of personalized playlists with launch of ‘Spotify Mixes’ — Your Spotify Mixes will include artist mixes, genre mixes and decade mixes.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Strength-training startup Tonal crosses unicorn status after raising $ 250M — To date, the at-home fitness tech startup has raised $ 450 million.

Apple invests $ 50M into music distributor UnitedMasters alongside a16z and Alphabet —  The focus of UnitedMasters is to provide artists with a direct pipeline to data around the way that fans are interacting with their content and community.

Diversity-focused Harlem Capital raises $ 134M — Apparently 61% of Harlem Capital’s Fund I portfolio companies are led by Black or Latinx executives, while 43% are led exclusively by women.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Five machine learning essentials nontechnical leaders need to understand — For engineering and team leaders without an ML background, the incredible pace of change can feel overwhelming and intimidating.

What to make of Deliveroo’s rough IPO debut — After a lackluster IPO pricing run, shares of Deliveroo are lower today, marking a disappointing debut for the hot delivery company.

Embedded procurement will make every company its own marketplace — Merritt Hummer of Bain Capital Ventures argues that with embedded procurement, businesses will buy things they need through vertical B2B apps.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Report finds going remote made workplaces more hostile for already marginalized groups — The Project Include report is based on a survey of about 2,800 people and interviews with tech workers and subject matter experts in numerous countries and industries.

The Weeknd will sell an unreleased song and visual art via NFT auction — Abel Tesfaye, the Super Bowl-headlining musician known as The Weeknd, is the latest artist to embrace the excitement around NFTs.

Here’s what you don’t want to miss tomorrow at TC Early Stage 2021 — The event will include a wide range of presentations that span the startup ecosystem.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.


Social – TechCrunch


Daily Crunch: OnePlus announces its first smartwatch

March 28, 2021 No Comments

OnePlus unveils new hardware, Apple updates its educational offerings and Facebook reveals plans for its next developer conference. This is your Daily Crunch for March 23, 2021.

The big story: OnePlus announces its first smartwatch

The Chinese smartphone maker announced the OnePlus Watch today, a $ 159 smartwatch with a minimalist design and a new operating system. It also comes with a number of different sensors to measure things like heart rate and blood oxygen level.

In addition, the company also announced its OnePlus 9 series of phones, its first phone built in partnership with legendary camera company Hasselblad, with a primary camera that includes a 48-megapixel Sony sensor. Pricing starts at $ 729, with pricing for the Pro starting at $ 969.

The tech giants

Apple launches the Apple Teacher Portfolio recognition, updates Schoolwork and Classroom apps — Teachers who complete a total of nine lessons will be able to submit their portfolio of lesson examples to earn the Apple Teacher Portfolio designation.

Facebook will bring back F8 on June 2 as a pared-back, single-day, virtual-only conference for developers — There will be no Mark Zuckerberg keynote this year.

New York’s Department of Financial Services says Apple Card program didn’t violate fair lending laws — This follows an investigation triggered by online complaints back in November 2019.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Robinhood files confidentially to go public — The company may be closer to a public debut than we anticipated.

‘Instant needs’ delivery startup goPuff raises $ 1.15B at an $ 8.9B valuation — Last fall, delivery startup goPuff made a big splash by raising $ 380 million in funding and acquiring West Coast beverage retailer BevMo shortly afterwards.

Roll still doesn’t know how its hot wallet was hacked — Move fast, break things, get hacked.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Discord’s reported $ 10B exit; Compass and Intermedia Cloud Communications set IPO price ranges — Discord is a well-financed unicorn that has raised significant capital and reportedly sports rapidly expanding revenues.

Pre-seed round funding is under scrutiny: Is VC pandemic posturing here to stay? — New data from the DocSend Startup Index show that for early-stage fundraising, particularly in the pre-seed round, founders need to approach VCs with much more than a great idea to secure funding.

Clubhouse UX teardown: A closer look at homepage curation, follow hooks and other features — Most startups would kill for hockey-stick growth, but it also means that UX problems can only be addressed while in “full flight.”

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Top tech CEOs will testify about social media’s role in the Capitol attack this week — Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Google’s Sundar Pichai will all appear virtually before a joint House committee Thursday at 12 p.m. Eastern Time.

‘Black Widow’ and ‘Cruella’ will get Premier Access releases on Disney+ — That means Disney+ subscribers will have the option to pay an additional, one-time $ 29.99 fee to watch the live action remake of “Cruella” at home on May 28, or to do the same for “Black Widow” on July 9.

Extra Crunch Live’s April slate features speakers from Forerunner, Accel, Fifth Wall and more — April showers bring May flowers, and by “flowers” I mean actionable insights and advice from some of the top minds in tech.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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Daily Crunch: YouTube’s TikTok rival launches in the US

March 23, 2021 No Comments

YouTube Shorts comes to the U.S., Amazon starts testing electric delivery vans in San Francisco and new data suggests the impact of Google Play’s recent changes. This is your Daily Crunch for March 18, 2021.

The big story: YouTube’s TikTok rival launches in the US

The YouTube Shorts product allows users to record, edit and share videos of 60 seconds or less, which can be accompanied by licensed music from a variety of industry partners. The company has been testing the feature in India while making Shorts viewable internationally — but until today, U.S. viewers couldn’t actually create short videos of their own.

Sarah Perez took an in-depth look at the Shorts experience, noting that it’s pretty similar to TikTok while lacking some key features, such as intelligent sound syncing.

The tech giants

Amazon begins testing its Rivian electric delivery vans in San Francisco — This makes SF the second of 16 total cities that Amazon expects to bring its Rivian-sourced EVs to in 2021.

Data shows how few Google Play developers will pay the higher 30% commission after policy change — As regular Daily Crunch readers will remember, Google recently announced that it’s cutting the commissions it charges developers on Google Play.

Twitter begins testing a way to watch YouTube videos from the home timeline on iOS — Shortly after Twitter announced it would begin testing a better way to display images on its app, it’s now doing the same for YouTube videos.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Substack faces backlash over the writers it supports with big advances — The startup has lured some of its most high-profile (and controversial) writers with sizable payments.

Homebrew backs Higo’s effort to become the ‘Venmo for B2B payments’ in LatAm — Rodolfo Corcuera, Juan José Fernández and Daniel Tamayo founded the company in January 2020, recognizing that the process of paying vendors for business owners is largely “manual and cumbersome.”

NFT marketplace OpenSea raises $ 23M from a16z — OpenSea has been one of a handful of NFT marketplaces to explode in popularity in recent weeks.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

MaaS transit: The business of mobility as a service — Amid declining ridership, transportation agencies find new software partners.

Three steps to ease the transition to a no-code company — Despite the many benefits, adopting a no-code platform won’t suddenly turn you into a no-code company.

Snowflake gave up its dual-class shares. Should you? — The mechanism can enable founders to maintain control despite later dilution and may sometimes even grant ironclad control in perpetuity.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Tech companies should oppose the new wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation — TechNet’s David Edmondson puts the spotlight on a number of states that are currently considering anti-LGBT legislation.

Talking robots with Ford — We interview Ford’s Technical Expert Mario Santillo about its new robotics initiatives.

Startups, get your bug bounty crash course at Early Stage 2021 — Katie Moussouris, founder and chief executive at Luta Security, will give a crash course in bug bounty and vulnerability disclosure programs at TC Early Stage 2021.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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Daily Crunch: Facebook shows off a wrist-based interface

March 20, 2021 No Comments

Facebook develops a new way to interact with AR, Uber’s facial recognition policy faces scrutiny and SpaceX’s Starship rocket booster hits a major milestone. This is your Daily Crunch for March 19, 2021.

The big story: Facebook shows off wrist-based interface

This project comes out of Facebook Reality Labs and is supposed to present an alternative computer interface on your wrist, with electromyography sensors to interpret motor nerve signals.

In a blog post, Facebook said a wrist-based device “could reasonably fit into everyday life and social contexts,” while allowing the company to “bring the rich control capabilities of your hands into AR, enabling intuitive, powerful and satisfying interaction.”

Facebook identifies this as a research prototype, so don’t expect it to turn into a commercial product anytime soon. But it’s still suggestive, particularly given the company’s sometimes-surprising hardware strategy and rumors that it might be working on an Apple Watch competitor.

The tech giants

India asks court to block WhatsApp’s policy update, says new change violates laws — The Indian government alleged on Friday that WhatsApp’s planned privacy update violates local laws on several counts.

Uber under pressure over facial recognition checks for drivers — Uber’s use of facial recognition technology for a driver identity system is being challenged in the U.K.

Instagram and WhatsApp hit by outage — The outage began around 1:40 p.m. ET and lasted for more than half an hour.

Startups, funding and venture capital

SpaceX nears final assembly of its first massive testing rocket booster for Starship — SpaceX has completed what’s known as the “stacking” of its first Super Heavy prototype.

Brazilian startup Tractian gets the Y Combinator seal of approval for its equipment monitoring tech — Throughout their lives, the founders had heard their parents complain about the sorry state of maintenance and heavy equipment in their factories.

Superpedestrian positions itself as the go-to partner for cities with new e-scooter safety upgrades — Superpedestrian is considered an up-and-coming player in the micromobility world because of how it handles safety issues.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

It’s time to abandon business intelligence tools — Organizations spend ungodly amounts of money on business intelligence tools, but adoption rates are still below 30%.

The lightning-fast Series A (that was 3 years in the making) — Sounding Board’s Christine Tao discusses raising her Series A on the How I Raised It podcast.

Survey: Share feedback on Extra Crunch — Tell us what you think about Extra Crunch!

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Cloud infrastructure spending passed on-prem data centers in 2020 — That’s according to new research from Sydney Research Group.

Five trends in the boardrooms of high-growth private companies — Just as countless aspects of corporate life have been reshaped over the course of the last year, boards of directors are undergoing significant and lasting transformation.

Attend Disrupt 2021 for less than $ 100 — If three jam-packed days of TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 wasn’t enough to get your startup motor running, listen up.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.


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Daily Crunch: Google Play halves commission on developers’ first $1M

March 18, 2021 No Comments

Google is letting developers keep more of their Play revenue, Instagram adds teen safety features and we examine the global distribution of venture funding. This is your Daily Crunch for March 16, 2021.

The big story: Google Play halves commission on first $ 1M

Following a similar move by Apple last year, Google said that it will be reducing its fee from 30% to 15% for the first $ 1 million that developers earn through Google Play annually.

This is slightly different from Apple’s approach, in that it applies to all developers — although the fee goes back to 30% for any money earned beyond that first million dollars.

“We’ve heard from our partners making $ 2 million, $ 5 million and even $ 10 million a year that their services are still on a path to self-sustaining orbit,” wrote Google’s Sameer Samat. “This is why we are making this reduced fee on the first $ 1 million of total revenue earned each year available to every Play developer that uses the Play billing system, regardless of size.”

The tech giants

Instagram adds new teen safety tools as competition with TikTok heats up — Instagram says it’s rolling out new safety features that will restrict adult users from being able to contact teens who didn’t already follow them.

Google’s Soli radar returns to track sleep on the new Nest Hub — We haven’t heard a peep from Project Soli since the technology was introduced with the Pixel in late-2019.

China wants to dismantle Alibaba’s media empire: reports — Over the years, Jack Ma has accumulated a media portfolio in China that rivals that of Jeff Bezos in the United States.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Socure raises $ 100M at $ 1.3B valuation, proving identity verification is hotter than ever — Socure uses AI and machine learning to verify identities.

Overwolf raises $ 52.5M for its platform to build, distribute and monetize in-game, user-generated content — The company’s platform has some 30,000 creators, 90,000 mods and add-ons, and 18 million monthly users across thousands of games.

Aiming to become the definitive source for location data, SafeGraph raises $ 45M — While there are plenty of companies selling data about physical locations, SafeGraph CEO Auren Hoffman said his startup is “one of the few companies to sell this data to data science teams.”

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

The global inequity in venture financing is staggering — There’s been a boom in Latin American and European fintechs, as well as a general rise in VC activity in a host of Asian countries, but the landscape remains imbalanced.

The NFT market is just getting started, but where is it headed? — Part one in a three-part series.

Farmland could be the next big asset class modernized by marketplace startups — Startups like AcreTrader and others including Tillable, FarmTogether and Harvest Returns are bringing marketplace models to the farming world.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Ford expands robotics research into $ 75 million University of Michigan facility — Ford Motor Company will be embedding 100 of its researchers and engineers in a new robotics and mobility facility on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus.

Talking product-market fit with Sean Lane, whose company tore through 28 products to become a unicorn — Occasionally, it’s easy for startups to achieve so-called product-market fit, but more often, it’s a struggle.

Get feedback on your pitch deck from tech leaders on Extra Crunch Live — The importance of the pitch deck can’t be underestimated.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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Extra Crunch roundup: Coupang and Roblox debut, driving GPT-3 adoption, startup how-tos, more

March 13, 2021 No Comments

Extra Crunch publishes a variety of article types, but how-tos are my favorite category.

For many entrepreneurs, the startup they are trying to get off the ground might be only the second entry on their resume. As a result, they don’t have much experience to draw from when it comes to basics like hiring, fundraising and growth marketing.

Last week, Natasha Mascarenhas interviewed experts who had some strategic advice for finding the right time to bring a product manager on board. This afternoon, we published a guest post by growth marketer Jessica Li with tips for “how nontechnical talent can build relationships with deep tech companies.”

We’ve also received great feedback on a recent guest post about bootstrapping options for SaaS founders written by a founder who’s actually done it.


Full Extra Crunch articles are only available to members.
Use discount code ECFriday to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription.


If you have some startup-related “how” and “why” questions, please browse our Extra Crunch How To stories. They’re aimed squarely at early-stage founders and workers trying to solve long-term problems.

Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch this week! I hope you have a relaxing weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
@yourprotagonist

Welcome to Bloxburg, public investors

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 05: Roblox Corporation Founder and CEO David Baszucki speaks onstage during Day 1 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at Moscone Center on September 5, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

Image Credits: Steve Jennings / Getty Images

As Roblox began to trade Wednesday, the company’s shares shot above its reference price of $ 45 per share. Roblox, a gaming company aimed at children, has had a tumultuous if exciting path to the public markets.

Seeing Roblox trade so very far above its direct listing reference price and final private valuation appears to undercut the argument that this sort of debut can sort out pricing issues inherent in more traditional IPOs.

4 ways startups will drive GPT-3 adoption in 2021

Robot paper holding pen, space for text

Image Credits: Zastrozhnov (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Trained on trillions of words, GPT-3 is a 175-billion parameter transformer model — the third of such models released by OpenAI.

GPT-3 is remarkable in its ability to generate human-like text and responses, able to return coherent and topical emails, tweets, trivia and much more. In 2021, this technology will power the launch of a thousand new startups and applications.

There have never been more $ 100M+ fintech rounds than right now

We are in a period of all-time record investment for so-called mega-rounds, or investments of $ 100 million or more inside the fintech realm.

To date, Q1 2021 is ahead and is thus guaranteed to set a new record, having already bested the preceding all-time high. What’s going on?

Global-e files to go public as e-commerce startups enjoy a renaissance

Global-e, an e-commerce platform that helps online sellers reach global consumers, filed to go public on Tuesday. Global-e’s business exploded amid the pandemic in 2020, and the company expects that the COVID-fueled shift to e-commerce will only lead to future growth.

 

Passive collaboration is essential to remote work’s long-term success

Afro-caribbean woman working from home during the Covid lockdown

Image Credits: Alistair Berg (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Have you ever popped into a meeting because you overheard a snippet of a conversation and wanted to share your perspective?

That’s passive collaboration — low-friction ways to invite new ideas. But it’s only when we’re able to fully realize passive collaboration virtually that we’ll have unlocked the full potential of remote and hybrid work situations.

 

Dear Sophie: What are the pros and cons of the H-1B, O-1A and EB-1A?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie:

I’m an entrepreneur who wants to expand my startup to the U.S. What are the benefits and drawbacks of various types of visas and green cards?

The ones I’ve heard the most about are the H-1B, O-1 and EB-1A.

— Intelligent in India

 

Proactive CEOs should prioritize European expansion

Map of Europe in blue with light shining through

Image Credits: Sean Gladwell (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Many investors will encourage CEOs to remain U.S.-centric this year and perhaps expand their product offering or move into new market segments. But 95% of the world’s population lives outside the U.S., making an expansion into Europe your best growth lever.

 

Coupang follows Roblox to a strong first day of trading

A Coupang Corp. delivery truck drives past a company's fulfillment center in Bucheon, South Korea, on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang filed for an initial public offering in the U.S. and that could raise billions of dollars to battle rivals and kick off a record year for IPOs in the Asian country. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Image Credits: Bloomberg (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images

After Roblox debuted on Wednesday, Coupang followed, with shares shooting above the South Korean e-commerce giant’s IPO price range. Quick math shows Coupang is worth around $ 92 billion at the moment, a huge number that nearly zero companies will ever reach.

 

How and when to hire your first product manager

Because product managers and founders often have overlapping skill sets, it can be tricky to find the right candidate.

While it’s different for every company, hiring a PM ensures companies aren’t “chasing the shiny object” but rather building the things that create enduring value for customers.

 

Deep Science: AI adventures in arts and letters

Robotic arm carrying a mechanical part

Image Credits: Alashi / Getty Images (Image has been modified)

AI isn’t confined to the tech sphere; machine learning is applicable across disciplines, from music and the “computational unfolding” of ancient letters to figuring out where EV charging stations need to be built.

 

A first look at Coursera’s S-1 filing

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

The SEC filing offers a glimpse into the finances of how an edtech company, accelerated by the pandemic, performed over the past year.

It paints a picture of growth, albeit one that came at steep expense.

 

Olo’s IPO could value the company north of $ 3B as Toast waits in the wings

Olo has a history of growth and profitability, making its impending pricing all the more interesting.

But are investors willing to pay more for profits? And, if so, how much?

 

From electric charging to supply chain management, InMotion Ventures preps Jaguar for a sustainable future

Image Credits: Andrew Ferraro — Handout/Jaguar Racing / Getty Images

InMotion’s investment in Circulor, a company that monitors supply chains from raw material inputs to finished outputs with an eye toward sustainable sourcing, shows the firm’s dedication to backing companies across the mobility space broadly.

 

White-label voice assistants will win the battle for podcast discovery

3D headphones with sound waves on dark background. Concept of electronic music listening and digital audio. Abstract visualization of digital sound waves and modern art. Vector illustration. (3D headphones with sound waves on dark background. Concept

Image Credits: maxkabakov (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Americans are bored, housebound and screened out, driving roughly 128 million Americans to use a voice assistant at least once a month.

This has created a golden opportunity for audio as consumers turn to podcasts, voice assistants and smart speakers.

 

Why I’m hitting pause on ARR-focused coverage

One of the first recurring features Alex Wilhelm established at Extra Crunch was the “$ 100M ARR Club,” ongoing coverage of startups that have reached scale.

“Forget a $ 1 billion valuation — $ 100 million in annual recurring revenue is the cool kids’ club,” he wrote in December 2019. Since then, he expanded it to cover companies that attained $ 50M ARR.

The concept is a useful lens for studying the market. I can say this with confidence because it’s been widely copied by other tech news outlets. But this morning, Alex surprised me — he’s shelving the ARR Club, at least for now.

“In the end it became a pre-IPO list that was fun but not entirely educational, by my reckoning,” he told me. “The $ 50M ARR club evolution was supposed to help shake loose more interesting operational details, but just didn’t.”

Before putting the format on hiatus, Alex’s last ARR Club roundup looks at in-office display and kiosk startup AppSpace, data backup unicorn Druva, and Synack, which makes security software.


TC Early Stage: The premier how-to event for startup entrepreneurs and investors

From April 1-2, some of the most successful founders and VCs will explain how they build their businesses, raise money and manage their portfolios.

At TC Early Stage, we’ll cover topics like recruiting, sales, legal, PR, marketing and brand building. Each session includes ample time for audience questions and discussion.

Use discount code ECNEWSLETTER to take 20% off the cost of your TC Early Stage ticket!


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Daily Crunch: Facebook launches rap app

February 27, 2021 No Comments

Facebook unveils another experimental app, Atlassian acquires a data visualization startup and Newsela becomes a unicorn. This is your Daily Crunch for February 26, 2021.

The big story: Facebook launches rap app

The new BARS app was created by NPE Team (Facebook’s internal R&D group), allowing rappers to select from professionally created beats, and then create and share their own raps and videos. It includes autotune and will even suggest rhymes as you’re writing the lyrics.

This marks NPE Team’s second musical effort — the first was the music video app Collab. (It could also be seen as another attempt by Facebook to launch a TikTok competitor.) BARS is available in the iOS App Store in the U.S., with Facebook gradually admitting users off a waitlist.

The tech giants

Atlassian is acquiring Chartio to bring data visualization to the platform — Atlassian sees Chartio as a way to really take advantage of the data locked inside its products.

Yelp puts trust and safety in the spotlight — Yelp released its very first trust and safety report this week, with the goal of explaining the work that it does to crack down on fraudulent and otherwise inaccurate or unhelpful content.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Newsela, the replacement for textbooks, raises $ 100M and becomes a unicorn —  If Newsela is doing its job right, its third-party content can replace textbooks within a classroom altogether, while helping teachers provide fresh, personalized material.

Tim Hortons marks two years in China with Tencent investment — The Canadian coffee and doughnut giant has raised a new round of funding for its Chinese venture.

Sources: Lightspeed is close to hiring a new London-based partner to put down further roots in Europe — According to multiple sources, Paul Murphy is being hired away from Northzone.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

In freemium marketing, product analytics are the difference between conversion and confusion — Considering that most freemium providers see fewer than 5% of free users move to paid plans, even a slight improvement in conversion can translate to significant revenue gains.

As BNPL startups raise, a look at Klarna, Affirm and Afterpay earnings — With buy-now-pay-later options, consumers turn a one-time purchase into a limited string of regular payments.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Jamaica’s JamCOVID pulled offline after third security lapse exposed travelers’ data — JamCOVID was set up last year to help the government process travelers arriving on the island.

AT&T is turning DirecTV into a standalone company — AT&T says it will own 70% of the new company, while private equity firm TPG will own 30%.

How to ace the 1-hour, and ever-elusive, pitch presentation at TC Early Stage — Norwest’s Lisa Wu has a message for founders: Think like a VC during your pitch presentation.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.


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Daily Crunch: Facebook brings news sharing back to Australia

February 24, 2021 No Comments

The Facebook-Australia news battle seems to have reached an end, Android gets an update and Lucid Motors is going public via SPAC. This is your Daily Crunch for February 23, 2021.

The big story: Facebook brings news sharing back to Australia

Last week, Facebook responded to the Australian government’s proposed law requiring internet platforms to strike revenue-sharing agreements with news publishers by blocking news sharing and viewing for users in the country. But with the government amending the law, Facebook said it will restore news sharing in the “coming days.”

Among other things, the amendments call for a two-month mediation period before Facebook is forced into arbitration with publishers, and it also says the government will consider commercial agreements that the platforms have made with local publishers before deciding whether the law applies to them.

William Easton, Facebook’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement that the amendments address “core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them.”

The tech giants

Android’s latest update will let you schedule texts, secure your passwords and more — This update will integrate a feature called Password Checkup to alert you to passwords you’re using that have been previously exposed.

Twitter relaunches test that asks users to revise harmful replies — Twitter is running a new test that will ask users to pause and think before they tweet.

Area 120 is beginning to use Google’s massive reach to scale HTML5 GameSnacks platform — GameSnacks is an HTML5 gaming platform where titles are bite-sized and load much faster.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Lucid Motors strikes SPAC deal to go public with $ 24B valuation — This will be the largest deal yet between a blank-check company and an electric vehicle startup.

Shippo raises $ 45M more at $ 495M valuation as e-commerce booms — The startup provides shipping-related services to e-commerce companies.

Reddit ups Series E round by another $ 116M — Reddit had already announced a $ 250 million Series E earlier this month.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

How to overcome the challenges of switching to usage-based pricing — The usage-based pricing model almost feels like a cheat code, according to OpenView’s Kyle Poyar.

Oscar Health’s initial IPO price is so high, it makes me want to swear — Alex Wilhelm doesn’t mince words: “Public investors have lost their damn minds.”

RIBS: The messaging framework for every company and product — The test is designed to tell you if your story is memorable, so you can turn it into a compelling message.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Announcing the complete agenda for TC Sessions: Justice — Our second-ever dedicated event to diversity, equity, inclusion and labor in tech is coming up on March 3.

Six Miami-based investors share their views on the region’s startup scene — Investors see a huge opportunity for the region to become a major startup hub by utilizing its diverse workforce and wonderful quality of life.

SolarWinds hackers targeted NASA, Federal Aviation Administration networks — Hackers are said to have broken into the networks of U.S. space agency NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration as part of a wider espionage campaign.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.


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