Daily Crunch: Tech notables react to Kobe Bryant’s death

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1. LA tech industry mourns Kobe Bryant

The Los Angeles startup community is joining the rest of the world in mourning the death of NBA superstar, entrepreneur and investor Kobe Bryant who was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. on Sunday.

Bryant launched his venture career with partner and serial entrepreneur Jeff Stibel back in 2013, making investments in Los Angeles-based companies like LegalZoom, Scopely, Art of Sport, The Honest Company, RingDNA, FocusMotion, DyshApp and Represent.

2. N26 reaches 5 million customers, including 250,000 in the US

N26 expanded to the United States during the summer of 2019. It represents a huge market opportunity, even though N26 faces competition from local players, such as Chime.

3. AI-powered voice transcription app Otter raises $10M, including from new strategic investor NTT DOCOMO

The two companies are teaming up to support Otter’s expansion into the Japanese market, where DOCOMO will be integrating Otter with its own AI-based translation service subsidiary, Mirai Translation.

4. Samasource CEO Leila Janah passes away at 37

Janah, a serial entrepreneur who was the CEO and founder of machine learning training data company Samasource, passed away at the age of 37 due to complications from epithelioid sarcoma, a form of cancer, according to a statement from the company. She focused her career on social and ethical entrepreneurship with the goal of ending global poverty.

5. As the venture market tightens, a debt lender sees big opportunities

David Spreng spent more than 20 years in venture capital before dipping his toe into the world of revenue-based financing and realizing there was a growing appetite for alternatives to venture capital. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Clayton Christensen, author of ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma,’ has passed away at age 67

Christensen’s most famous book put forth a theory about why people buy products that are often cheaper and easier to use than their more sophisticated and more expensive predecessors, a theory resonated widely as one incumbent after another — Xerox, U.S. Steel, Digital Equipment Corp. — stumbled while other companies began rising in their dust: Think Amazon, Google and Apple.

7. This week’s TechCrunch podcasts

The Equity team looks at a big funding round for email collaboration startup Front, while the shorter Monday episode discusses coronavirus-spurred equity selloffs in Asia and Europe. And on Original Content, we review “Little America,” which has been described as the best show on Apple TV+.