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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Thursday, February 17, 2022! Heading into a long weekend here in the United States, you might think that the news is slowing down but, nope. It’s not. So we have major crypto-football news, European startup analysis, and even some notes on platform dynamics. It’s a busy day, so let’s dive in! – Alex
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- Free money is popular: Alternatively, advertising works. TechCrunch reports that data indicates that the crypto trading ad push during the big American football game led to a spike in downloads for the pertinent companies. Surprised? We’re not, as some of the ads had giveaways attached. Still, a bunch of new folks just got into the crypto game – we’ll be able to see more in Q1 earnings.
- Europe’s deep tech boom: Diving more deeply into the 2021 startup boom is proving to be good fun, especially as we dial in our focus on key cohorts. Today TechCrunch dug into Europe and the deep tech market, a particular segment of the tech landscape that is often pitched as a U.S.-versus-China battle but could have a third hub, or series of hubs, in the mix.
- See, not all SPACs are falling apart: The deal to take crypto-focused startup Circle public via a SPAC has dissolved. But wait! It has also been reforged at a far higher price. It’s rare these days to hear positive SPAC news, so the Circle update caught our attention. Read on for more, but stablecoins are proving to be a lucrative way to accrete reserves, it appears.
Before we dive into the day’s startup news digest, a bunch of academics wrote an op-ed for TechCrunch about Spotify, platform dynamics and clarity. It’s worth your time if you are building something that will depend on third-party content, and doubly so if you plan on blending first- and third-party material.
Now, the news:
- TechCrunch Live is back! Our own Matt Burns chatted with Emmalyn Shaw of Flourish Ventures and Itai Damti, a co-founder at Unit. TechCrunch covered Unit in the middle of last year when it raised more than $50 million in a single round.
- Today in good headlines: Haje Jan Kamps is back with his usual wordplay today, this time during a look at Metriport, which “aggregates all of your quantified-self data in one place, and adds clever features like mood tracking, medicine tracking and journaling,” he writes. The headline? Metriport helps you take your quantified self to the next increment. Even more, the URL of the story ended with the following string: metriport merrily measures your me verse. All right, Haje, we get it, you’re clever!
- $110M to commercialize Apache Arrow: That’s the news from Voltron Data, which just raised one of the largest Series A rounds that we can recall. How was Voltron able to raise so much money, so quickly? It was founded by “employees from NVidia, Ursa Computing, BlazingSQL and the co-founder of Apache Arrow,” which we are sure helped. And the company is working to commercialize an open source tool. Which, as we know, can really scale well.
- Deel wants to pay you in crypto: The story of Deel, a young startup that got started on the issue of paying far-flung employees just before the pandemic, has been one of rapid growth and huge fundraises. And, lately, a little crypto as well. The startup is now offering a way for employees to get paid in stablecoins, which could cut down on currency-related fees, we reckon?
- Beam me up, Beem: We are all very tired of Zoom calls and other flat-video services because we’ve been chained to them for years now. Beem, however, reckons that we’re not done with all video products, so it built a way to “livestream yourself in AR,” as TechCrunch puts it. It just raised $4 million; let’s see if it catches on.
- Havenly buys The Inside: Here’s an acquisition for you, with Havenly, an “online interior design startup” buying “direct-to-consumer home furnishing brand The Inside,” as we put it. The price wasn’t disclosed, but Havenly last raised a $32 million Series C, so we reckon it had the cash on hand for the transaction.
- Telemedicine for pets: The boom in remote-doctoring services continues, with Dutch bringing the model to the world of pets. And it just scored $20 million for its efforts. Anyone who has had to drag a pet to the vet IRL knows just how helpful this might be.
Still want more? How about Dealshare’s $45 million round led by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, or the fact that Thrive Capital just closed an eighth fund worth $3 billion?
3 keys that unlock data-driven fundraising
It’s an opportune moment to launch a new company, but rising interest rates, inflation and any other number of unknown factors could lead investors to become more judicious when it comes to placing bets.
Data-driven founders who can tell a sweet story with the right metrics are much more likely to get an investor’s attention, according to Blair Silverberg, co-founder and CEO of Hum Capital.
“Unfortunately, many companies lack an efficient way to gather, synthesize and interpret data into real-time insights, resulting in the default reliance on static, Excel-based samplings that may not capture the full picture of your company’s potential,” he says.
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- This will save Peloton: The at-home exercise company is getting into games. No, you can’t play Doom on your bike – not officially, though we suspect that someone, somewhere has done this already – but the bike shop has built an interactive title to spice up your cycling. I am already in tears in anticipation of it kicking my butt.
- Ford and Volvo sign up for Redwood’s battery recycling tech: Electric cars are very cool and mostly good but not entirely. Making them requires mining all sorts of yucky stuff from the planet, and when that material is used, it needs to be disposed of safely. That’s what Redwood wants to work on, and it just landed some key partners.
- And to close, you can now change your name on Snapchat.
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