Daily Crunch: European Union demands $1B penalty from VW, BMW for hiding emissions

To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here.

Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for July 9, 2021. We’ve made it to Friday, y’all, be proud. But we can’t relax just yet — there’s quite a lot to get through today. From deceitful auto companies now posing as tech companies to the current venture capital frenzy, we have it all. Let’s go! — Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Startups have never had it so good: That’s our read of the Q2 2021 venture capital market. Records were smashed around the world, a record number of unicorns were born and valuations ticked up. If you are a founder considering raising capital, now is probably a good time to do so.
  • Biden takes on megacorps: We jokingly call the public-company section of this newsletter Big Tech because, well, the most famous technology companies are freakin’ massive. And that has a lot of folks worried that some firms have become so large that they should be broken up to engender more competition. Tech companies disagree, naturally. Regardless, the noise from the U.S. government regarding goliath companies is starting to result in action.
  • What’s ahead for European startups? We usually reserve these three slots for the biggest news of the day, but I wanted to share an essay written by a German venture capitalist about his country. The investor is bullish, but has two ideas regarding where the country could do better: employee stock options and regulations regarding spinoffs. It’s worth reading if you want to consider why some countries wind up with more active startup communities than others.


First, key startup news:

  • Korean grocery startup Kurly raises $200M: The online grocer is now worth more than $2 billion. Even more, its plans for an IPO in the United States are kaput. Instead, the company will look to list locally in the future. Chop from the Didi mess or something else? Whatever the case, the company is one to keep an eye on.
  • Today’s Tiger round? Brazilian HR startup Flash: The company just put together a $22 million Series B that the hyper-caffeinated venture capital group led. The São Paulo-based startup provides a new way to offer benefits in the country.
  • $500M more for Ola: The ride-hailing market’s insatiable appetite for capital was fed another half-billion today with news that India’s Ola has raised new funds from “Temasek and an affiliate of Warburg Pincus,” per TechCrunch. Maybe the Didi fiasco is being viewed by investors as a one-off, at least when it comes to the world of on-demand rides.

Second, from the venture capital side of the market:

  • TechCrunch’s Ron Miller wrote a profile of The Artemis Fund, which is worth reading. The investing group, which was founded by women and often invests in women, has “ invested in 11 companies with plans to invest in 4-5 more [before raising its] the next fund.”
  • DN Capital has raised a $350 million fund after several of the startups that it backed went public. The firm invests mostly in Europe as opposed to the U.K., a market where its partners say more U.S.-based venture capitalists show up.
  • Three venture capitalists banded together to write up some tips for robotics-focused startups. So, if you are building hardware that moves, this is for you.

3 analysts weigh in: What are Andy Jassy’s top priorities as Amazon’s new CEO?

Now that he’s stepping away from AWS and taking over for Jeff Bezos, what are the biggest challenges facing incoming Amazon CEO Andy Jassy?

Enterprise reporter Ron Miller reached out to three analysts to get their take:

  • Robin Ody, Canalys
  • Sucharita Kodali, Forrester
  • Ed Anderson, Gartner

Amazon is listed second in the Fortune 500, but it’s not all sunshine and roses — maintaining growth, unionization, and the potential for antitrust regulation at home and abroad are just a few of his responsibilities.

“I think the biggest to-do is to just continue that momentum that the company has had for the last several years.,” said Kodali. “He has to make sure that they don’t lose that. If he does that, I mean, he will win.”

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

Wrapping up the newsy portion of today’s missive, two final entries. First, a dig into why the EU just fined a number of automakers. Rebecca reports:

As environmental issues really came of age in the 1990s, certain German automakers were meeting in secret groups to make sure their cars would continue to industriously contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the European Union, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler have been illegally colluding to restrict competition in emission cleaning for new diesel passenger cars, essentially slowing the deployment of cleaner emissions tech.

Yes, you can be very mad about that.

Finally, from the world of Facebook, good news for all you WhatsApp users out there. You will be able to select an option to send higher-quality images and videos, getting around what TechCrunch called the service’s “iffy image compression.” See, not all news is bad news!

TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing

Illustration montage based on education and knowledge in blue

Image Credits: SEAN GLADWELL (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

We’re reaching out to startup founders to tell us who they turn to when they want the most up-to-date growth marketing practices. Fill out the survey here.

Read one of the recommendations we’ve received below!

Name of marketer: Nikita Vorobyev

Name of recommender: Ruby Club

Recommendation: “Nikita and his company, Buildrbrand, have worked tirelessly to bring my idea to life and did everything in his power to get it to the level it is today. He and his team created a world-class conditional quiz visual experience that I think would be really cool for him to share with the industry. He doesn’t know I nominated him, but I definitely wanted to give back to him in any way I can since I believe his agency creates some of the best brands going viral online right now.”