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If you want to catch up on why the internet broke today, we have the story that you need. I suppose it’s nice to read that story without it being Amazon’s fault for once. Or Cloudflare. Now that we think about it, there are a lot of failure points for the internet. Today’s culprit, Fastly, went down, taking lots of the internet with it. But Fastly’s stock? Up more than 9% as I write to you. Figure that one out — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- How bottom-up sales helped Expensify blaze the path for SaaS: The final entry of TechCrunch’s deep dive into Expensify’s business ahead of its IPO is live today. Anna focused her final installment of the five-part series on how the well-known expense software company managed the growth that is helping take it public.
- Personal computers are not dead: Remember when the iPad came out and PCs were supposedly kaput? Well, they are not dead yet, not by a long shot. In fact, here in the U.S., PC sales shot up 73% in the first quarter compared to Q1 2020 numbers. And Apple lost its top slot to HP, in America at least.
- Investors still love software more than life: The market for high-growth technology companies is super hot at the moment, recent evidence for which was provided by Monday.com’s IPO pricing and expected investments from both Zoom and Salesforce. The Israeli company should debut on the U.S. markets later this week.
Startups and VC
We have three main blocks of startup news this morning. The first deals with consumer social applications, a category that goes through booms and busts in investor interest. The second is fintech-focused. And the third is a mix of funding rounds large and small to keep you up to date on the latest.
2 Turntables and a camera phone:
- Dispo’s camera app confirms its Series A round: After a hyped launch and the fallout regarding a member of co-founder David Dobrik’s “Vlog Squad,” the social camera application confirmed what we had heard earlier this year: that it raised a $20 million round. It will be interesting to see when the company accesses the private markets again, if it is able to.
- Turntable spins up beta apps for Android and iOS: Turntable, similar to Turntable.fm but not the same application, is launching early-release applications for iOS and Android. Don’t forget that Turntable raised half a million dollars earlier this year. Or that Turntable.fm, a competitor, is back from the dead. It’s very 2021 to have two startups in the market with effectively the same name.
From the world of fintech:
- Nubank raises $750M: Brazilian neobank Nubank is now worth $30 billion and has an extra three-quarters of a billion dollars in the bank. Its new capital is a sort of extension to its known Series G, though at a higher valuation. Which means it’s a new round. But, hey, it’s 2021 and rules are over.
- Corporate spend startup Airbase raises $60M: On the heels of competing startups Ramp and Brex raising huge new rounds, Airbase followed suit. The company is betting that its focus on midmarket companies and software will set it apart from competitors.
Our regular funding round digest:
- What happens when you cross easy consumer credit and subprime lending scores? Kafene is going to find out. The company raised $14 million to build what one of its founders called “Affirm for the subprime.” So, buy-now-pay-later tooling, but for folks with poor, traditional credit scores. Expect the “Affirm but for rich people” to come out next.
- Compose.ai raises $2.1M to help you write super, really, very, amazingly fast: The rise of GPT-3 has helped TechCrunch get hip to all sorts of neat language-focused startups. Compose.ai is similar, even if it uses its own AI. It wants to help everyone write faster, and, in time, offer companies the ability to have their own in-house language model to help keep everyone to the same tone [ed note:😬].
- If you cross 3D-printing and rockets, you get to raise $650M: That’s the lesson that Relatively Space taught us this week. It’s now worth $4.2 billion after its latest fundraise, and the company thinks that it can print its new heavy rocket in 60 days. That would shake things up.
- And the world of warehouse robotics is far from complete: So says Gideon Brothers, a Croatian robotics startup that just raised a $31 million round. Per Mike, the “investment will be used to accelerate the development and commercialization of GB’s AI and 3D vision-based ‘autonomous mobile robots’ or ‘AMRs.’”
Network security startup ExtraHop skips and jumps to $900M exit
News broke this morning that Bain Capital Private Equity and Crosspoint Capital Partners are purchasing Seattle-based network security startup ExtraHop.
Part of the Network Detection and Response (NDR) market, ExtraHop’s security solutions are for companies that manage assets in the cloud and on-site, “something that could be useful as more companies find themselves in that in-between state.”
A year ago, ExtraHop was closing in on $100 million in ARR and considering an IPO, so we spoke to ExtraHop CTO and co-founder Jesse Rothstein to learn more about how (and why) the deal came together.
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Big Tech Inc.
Our Apple coverage is not yet complete: The company’s Realty Kit 2 is going to help developers build 3D models from iPhone photos. That’s neat-sounding tech, but I have to admit that I’m curious how it will be used in the market.