Daily Crunch: Smart home giants partner on new standard

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1. Amazon, Apple, Google and Zigbee join forces for an open smart home standard

The Connected Home over IP project seeks to create a connectivity standard designed to increase compatibility across companies and devices. The landscape is pretty scattered at the moment, with each player digging pretty heavily into their own standard and forcing many smaller third-party players to pick sides.

So the biggest names in the connected home category are reaching across the aisle to create an open-source standard. And while the names in the headline are leading the charge, Ikea, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (nee Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy and Wulian are also on the board.

2. SAP spinout Sapphire Ventures raises $1.4B for new investments

The firm, which focuses primarily on enterprise tech companies in the U.S., Europe and Israel, writes checks to Series B through pre-IPO businesses. Its portfolio includes 23andMe, Sumo Logic and TransferWise.

3. Europe’s space agency just launched a satellite to study planets outside our solar system

CHEOPS will specifically be looking to spot exoplanets as they pass in front of their stars — at which point they become observable because they block some of the light emitted from the distant suns.

4. ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ delivers a messy but satisfying finale to the new Star Wars trilogy

How could any single movie live up to 40 years of theories and daydreams from millions of Star Wars fans? (It’s still worth watching, though.)

5. Political ‘fixer’ Bradley Tusk closes second fund on $70M

Tusk, before launching Tusk Ventures, served as campaign manager for Mike Bloomberg, as deputy governor of Illinois and as communications director for Senator Chuck Schumer. He also penned the book “The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups from Death by Politics.”

6. All tulips must wilt

After recovering somewhat during the summer, the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are sharply down over the last several weeks.

7. 2019: the year podcasting broke

Brian Heater outlines how podcasting became an overnight success, more than 15 years in the making. (Extra Crunch membership required.)