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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch on Wednesday March 9, 2022! A few notes before we dive into the news: first, our Austin City Spotlight and pitch-off come together, so startups, this link is for you. And we just announced that Aydin Senkut and Viviana Faga from Felicis Ventures are coming to Early Stage to talk about TAM, which is going to be a treat. – alexander
TechCrunch’s top 3
- Amazon suspends Prime Video in Russia: In addition to our ever-growing list of companies suspending or ending operations in Russia after the country’s government launched an invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Amazon is suspending Prime Video in the country. Amazon has also “suspended shipping of retail products to customers based in Russia and Belarus,” writes TechCrunch.
- Developer tools are not worth infinite money: Startups that built for developers had an amazing 2021. They have raised huge sums of capital and have had a number of high profile and highly regarded IPOs. And then the market went well, maybe not, and reduce their valuations. For startups still building for developers, that’s bad news.
- Swiggy is gearing up for a huge IPO: The IPO market is not entirely dead. We recently learned that Intel was taking Mobileye public, and Indian food delivery giant Swiggy “has hired bankers as it prepares for an initial public offering next year,” TechCrunch reports. It’s a long way off, but we’re still glad someone, somewhere wants to release a unicorn.
Startups and VCs
Kicking off our startup coverage today, some notes from our corporate reporter Ron Miller. First, Miller wrote up new data on the future of the robotic process automation, or RPA, market. The bottom line is that the growth of the hot segment is expected to slow down over the next few years as more AI-driven solutions gain more foothold in the market. For companies like the former unicorn UIPath, there is change ahead. And Miller also wrote the last round of Blink. The startup is focused on simplifying cloud operations.
News regarding Public’s latest deal also emerged today, this time bringing Otis aboard his consumer trading service. The company was once widely seen as a competitor to Robinhood, but with the Otis deal, Public is bidding to become a more diversified asset investment platform for consumers.
Oh, and if you’re building a so-called “web3” startup, well, there’s plenty of capital out there for your work. Now on to the rest of the news!
- Strong Compute wants faster ML model training: From the current batch of Y Combinator startups – Winter 2022, to be precise – Strong Compute is tackling a pretty big market. Namely the work that goes into training the neural networks. The company argues that the tools on the market today for the job are often easy to use but ineffective.
- Follow-up guide to improve the candidate experience: Many HR technologies covered by TechCrunch are focused on businesses and how they work. Guide, which just raised $8 million, is being built for job applicants. His service provides job seekers with a hub for their interview process, which will hopefully increase candidate conversion rates.
- Zaya Care focuses on maternal care: Maternal care in the United States is not only a national embarrassment, it is also a stain on our nation’s moral stature. We don’t take good care of pregnant women before or after they give birth. Zaya Care wants to bring more European-style care to expectant parents, and he has a great idea of how to make it happen.
- Today in the right headlines: Nothing is a startup working in the hardware space that might have a product to show off at an upcoming event. Click on the link to read more, and a very good title.
- Acorns raises a post-SPAC round: What happens after you cancel your SPAC agreement? Well, if you’re acorns, you collect a huge round of funding at the same valuation. Now rich with nine figures of new cash, the consumer fintech intends to go public in the traditional way in the future.
- Atlantic Money wants to take on Wise: TransferWise, now known as Wise, is a public company that has done well over the years. So, naturally, it attracts competition. FX startup Atlantic Money wants to challenge it with a flat-rate model. Let’s see if the startup can take on the public incumbent, itself a former startup.
- And speaking of mainstream fintech: Yep!, a digital bank for Nigeria, has just raised a $1.5 million funding round. The company wants to create a kind of super-app, bringing together a multitude of financial tools in a single application. It’s a model we’ve seen work in other markets.
And there was more, of course: Ardoq just raised $125 million. Branch added $75 million to his coffers. And the Equity team discussed how to buy – and how not to – buy community.
Dear Sophie: How long does it take to get international parole for entrepreneurs?
My co-founder and I have E-2 status. We need to find a visa option fast because a venture capital investment will dilute our equity and we will no longer be eligible for the E-2.
We are considering international parole for entrepreneurs as an option as we would easily qualify depending on the investment we expect, but are concerned about the timing.
I know IEP is a new option; how long will that take ? Can it be accelerated? Should we consider alternatives?
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Big Tech inc.
All right, it’s time for Big Tech news. Upstairs, this electric bus is freaking out the rules, and I could buy one. And why has TechCrunch made so much headlines about the new iPhone SE? Well, because we love fingerprint readers. And we don’t like facial recognition.
- TikTok launches music marketing, distribution platform: It’s no secret that TikTok is hugely influential in the music industry. Songs that go viral on the social platform can rack up hundreds of millions of streams, or even more. So it’s no shock that the company wants to put more than one foot in the waters of the music industry.
- Facebook launches new Groups tools to fight misinformation: I haven’t used Facebook in years, but even I know the company’s Groups feature is a great online meeting place. That Facebook is building tools for better group management is welcome given, well, the internet today.
- The UK adds fraudulent advertisements to its online safety bill: Brexit or not, the UK isn’t precisely charting a course that seems so distinct from what the EU is doing when it comes to tech regulation. TechCrunch covered an extension of a digital invoice coming today, for example.
- And Italy fined by Clearview AIthe controversial facial recognition startup.