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Welcome to the Daily Crunch on Tuesday April 12, 2022!
This week the team at Found released one of our favorite episodes of the podcast. In this one, Jordan and Darrell spent an hour with Dylan Field, the founder of Figma. They looked at how a 20-year-old founder who had the idea of turning design into a multiplayer game built the de facto standard tool for collaborative design.
Meanwhile, we watched the total train wreck that is the “WeCrashed” dramatization of the underground ups and downs of the rise and fall of WeWork on Apple TV+. Yes, it’s fiction, but we couldn’t put away our popcorn. Plus, “The Dropout” on Hulu is worth watching, as Amanda suggested last month: “Just because you know how the story ends doesn’t mean it’s not fun how it all went so wrong.”
TechCrunch’s top 3
- NFT Holders Look To Use Bored Apes: Our cryptocurrency reporter, Jacquelyn Melinek, had two crypto-related stories today that dig into some of the nuances of the industry. While NFT sales are down, she notes that top-notch NFT projects like the Bored Ape Yacht Club and others are doing quite well, so holders of these NFTs are looking for new ways to use them, treating them as collateral. His other story finds investors like BlackRock and Fidelity pumping $400 million into Circle, a stablecoin issuer.
- Bosch beats other bidders to acquire Five.ai: It was a match made in self-driving car heaven: Five was looking for a buyer and Bosch is a big player in the space. We report that this deal follows other news on autonomous vehicle mergers and acquisitions and hints at further consolidation in the avenues to come.
- A pylon recharges Egyptian public services: This story of a small trick for an Egyptian startup caught our attention because of the scale of the market potential. We report that “the company calculates hundreds of billions of losses (in dollars) in emerging markets each year. This is a huge opportunity to increase the overall revenue and turnover of these utilities by 50%. The company estimates the market to be $20 billion and is currently only targeting a quarter of that. Pylon has already deployed 2 million meters on two continents and plans to do 3 million more by next year.
Startups and VCs
Some super fun hardware stories today – Brian explored how PitchCom is changing the fabric of baseball, a sport that was time-locked before technology in many ways. Meanwhile, Miso has launched a coffee monitoring system – the caffeine internet gives you wings, if you will.
In tech’s softer, darker underbelly, there’s a flurry of updates from the world of cybersecurity. Russian hackers attempted to take down a Ukrainian energy supplier, showing a new frontier of cyber warfare. A somewhat frightening set of vulnerabilities in Atheon hospital robots means someone can take control of them – in some cases remotely. Trying to counter all that is HacWare, which just raised a round of $2.3 million to expand cybersecurity threat training. In addition to the training angle that HacWare is doing, Prelude just raised a hefty $24 million funding round to perform ongoing, automated penetration testing against companies to bolster their defenses against cyberattacks.
No more news ? Want moor news? OK fine. We have buckets of stuff:
- Top and right: Product analytics firm Kubit has raised $18 million to gain deeper insight into product performance by analyzing user behavior patterns through the data trail they leave behind.
- Work from anywhere: Figures from Deel and Firstbase show that remote working is here to stay, with extreme user and revenue growth.
- Sheesh-o: India’s darling startup, social commerce platform Meesho, which recently raised a $4.9 billion valuation, is in a bit of a tailspin, likely postponing its fundraising and laying off 150 employees, with 150 others on the block.
- Hush, I hunt wabbits: The DuckDuckGo browser and search engine, which prioritizes privacy and blocks tracking cookies, has launched a Mac application. It is in beta at the moment and is gradually inviting people.
- If it’s broken, fix it: Skilled labor startup Jobox, which facilitates locksmith, garage door and sidewalk repairs and carpet cleaning, has been sneaked out following a $42 million Series B led by General Catalyst.
- This lamp post jumped in front of me: Insurance claims are a massive, expensive and often inconsistent business. EvolutionIQ has raised $21 million to add a layer of AI to improve processing.
- I’m totally in my zone: We’ve all had moments of flow – or “deep work” – which is especially tricky in a world of working from home in a world of distractions. FLOWN has raised $2.5 million to help you participate in a facilitated “deep work” session. Speaking of zones, here’s your silly moment for the day..
- Blah blah blah: Turns out chatbots aren’t dead after all, as AI-powered conversational platform Quiq raised a $25 million round.
Mayfield’s Arvind Gupta discusses seed fundraising during a downturn
Arvind Gupta, investor at the Mayfield Fund and founder of the IndieBio accelerator, reviews several hundred pitch decks each year.
“In 10 days, I can do the primary research and work with the founders to come to a conclusion there. For a larger Series A check, it might take a little longer than that, but not that much. »
In a TechCrunch+ Twitter space last week with Editor-in-Chief Walter Thompson, Gupta discussed how the downturn is affecting start-up and seed funding, what he’s looking for, and candid advice for new founders trying to scale up. during a fix.
“You can still fund hopes and dreams, but just with smaller dollars, and you’re usually going to give up your business a bit more in terms of dilution during an economic downturn,” Gupta said.
“I expect that to start happening next year as well.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can join here.)
Big Tech inc.
- In case you haven’t had enough streaming news, we have more for you today. First, Amanda Silberling sat down with an ambitious 17-year-old from Seattle who wants to see YouTube fight to ensure children’s rights aren’t exploited for money in family vlogs — and is helping lawmakers draft bills to this effect. Meanwhile, FIFA is adding a “plus” – a new streaming network – Spotify is rebranding its live component and TikTok is launching its own AR platform.
- The former head of M&A integration at Meta has found a new home at proptech startup Pacaso as its new COO. Lara Cumberland joins a number of other high-level Meta employees who have departed over the past year. Cumberland told journalist Mary Ann Azevedo that “I saw a rare opportunity to bring my varied background and passions to the table.”
- Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about Twitter: Not only did it acquire mobile engagement company OpenBack to improve its push notifications, but it also reversed course from its recent change to removed embedded tweets.