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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for June 3, 2021. If you are a startup founder or early employee or investor, there’s good news on the TechCrunch front today: The start of the Disrupt agenda is live! It’s going to be one hell of a show for anyone interested in startups and how they grow. See you there! — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- United goes Boom: News broke today that United Airlines has agreed to purchase 15 supersonic jets from Boom, a startup focused on building them. For Boom, the deal is a big happening, evidence of material market demand for its products. And, given how much planes cost in general, a huge set of bookings for the company to show to its investors that have plowed nearly a quarter billion dollars into the company, according to Crunchbase.
- Twitter is Blue: No, the social media company isn’t sad. Quite the opposite. Instead, Twitter’s subscription service Blue is going live in two markets for a few dollars per month. It’s something of a very public test of what Twitter hopes — we presume — will be a globally available subscription option for those of us who can’t stop tweeting.
- Women’s health remains an underinvested startup niche: TechCrunch’s Natasha Mascarenhas dug into the world of hormonal health for the blog today, asking why there aren’t unicorns in the huge market. It’s a great read.
Startups and VC
We’re dividing up today’s startup and venture capital news into two buckets. The first comprises early-stage rounds, and the latter investments in upstarts that are a bit more mature.
- India’s early-stage market accelerates: Manish Singh reports for TechCrunch that a host of Indian startups are in the process of raising money. He broke an ocean of news in his piece on the matter, not only underscoring how active the global venture market is, but just how hard it can be to keep track of all the activity.
- Simplified raises $2.2M to support marketing creative: Marketers are expected to generate lots of content. Simplified is taking on Canva and that huge market need in a single go. And now it’s backed by Craft Ventures.
- Ganaz raises $7M to help agricultural workers get paid: Not every tech company has to cater to the tech elite or the wealthy. Ganaz is betting that its business — focused on what we described as changing “how people with little documentation and no bank account get paid and send money with a modern workforce stack” — is going to be a hit. Given how huge the agricultural sector is, its wager makes some sense.
And then, on the late-stage front:
- Gong raises $250M for sales automation: Gong’s rapid growth and latest funding was part of my column this morning because of how interesting they proved to be. In short, the sales automation company has roughly tripled its valuation to more than $7 billion since last August. How? By growing by more than 2x in the last year.
- Realtime Robotics raises $31M for real-time robotics: Boston’s startup scene is more than biotech, it should be clear by now. Realtime Robotics is one such Beantown startup that isn’t building new drugs. Instead, Brian Heater reports, it’s building robot software to “help companies deploy systems with limited programming, offering adaptable controls that work for multiple systems at once.”
- LeoLabs raises $65M to keep satellites from hitting each other: As SpaceX sends bushels of internet satellites into space, the issue of crowding in near-Earth orbit will only get stickier. LeoLabs is betting that keeping expensive space tech from hitting other space tech, or even space trash, is going to be a growth industry.
3 lessons we learned after raising $6.3M from 50 investors
Two years ago, founders of calendar-assistant platform Reclaim were looking for a “mango” seed round — a boodle of cash large enough to help them transition from the prototype phase to staffing up for a public launch.
Although the team received offers, co-founder Henry Shapiro says the few that materialized were poor options, partially because Reclaim was still pre-product.
So one summer morning, my co-founder and I sat down in his garage — where we’d been prototyping, pitching and iterating for the past year — and realized that as hard as it was, we would have to walk away entirely and do a full reset on our fundraising strategy.
In a guest post for Extra Crunch, Shapiro shares what he learned from embracing failure and offers three conclusions “every founder should consider before they decide to go out and pitch investors.”
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Big Tech was busy yet again today, with news from Waymo, Twitter and Blackstone. We also have to talk about the law.
- You can now hail Waymo taxis in Google Maps: Vertical integration, baby! It’s a jam if you are a platform company that makes self-driving cars, operates a taxi service, and also publishes what I presume is the most popular mapping software in the world.
- In related news: Waymo, bring self-driving taxis to Providence, Rhode Island, you cowards!
- In related apologies: Waymo is not made up of cowards, but merely businesspeople who should invest more of their testing budget in Providence, Rhode Island.
- Twitter wants to hear you talk: Twitter is bringing its Spaces product more front-and-center in its mobile experience. Sure, all you use Twitter for today is tweets, but Big Tweet will soon want to send your newsletters, host your chats, and, well, distribute your Fleets as well.
- A court case draws limits around a controversial American hacking law: Per TechCrunch, the U.S. Supreme Court “ruled that a police officer who searched a license plate database for an acquaintance in exchange for cash did not violate U.S. hacking laws” in a “landmark ruling [that] concludes a long-running case that clarifies the controversial Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA.”
- In terms of legal news and tech, it’s nice to have some good news.
- And, finally, Blackstone is buying IDG: While your humble TechCrunchers are somewhat sensitive to the idea of private equity buying media properties, the Blackstone-IDG deal is yet another example of the trend.
- The deal means that titles like “CIO, Computerworld, InfoWorld, Macworld, Network World, PCWorld, and Tech Hive” are changing hands, along with IDC itself.