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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for August 11, 2021. If you are a Twitter user, today has proven to be a divisive day, thanks to some design changes. We also have hardware news, mobility news, a few very neat funding rounds and even some startup media news. It’s a great day for a roundup. Also, if you are in the United States, you may have noticed a missive from FEMA today. FEMA is the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, and it just ran a test of its emergency alert system, or EAS. Given that the world appears to be constantly on fire, sick or underwater, it’s a good time for such an endeavor.
Before we go on, Disrupt is hosting some of the most interesting founders in health tech, and we’ll have some pretty darn cool breakout sessions to boot. Disrupt is going to rock. — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Twitter’s redesign turns heads: That Twitter is in the midst of something akin to a product renaissance is well known, with the social media provider working on a host of projects at once. Hell, Twitter is even working on TweetDeck. Today, however, Twitter stirred the pot with a web and mobile redesign that included a new font. Quelle horreur ! No, but really, people are mad.
- Here’s everything that Samsung announced today: As expected, Samsung held a hardware event today. What did the hardware giant show off? The Galaxy Watch 4, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (the folding smartphone affair), the Galaxy Z Flip 2 (a smaller folding smartphone) and new headphones. If you are not into the iOS ecosystem, this is for you.
- China’s regulatory shakeup not harming venture investment. Yet. After the Chinese government started a wide-ranging crackdown on a host of domestic industries that it either found too powerful, too unregulated or too monopolistic, what impact the changes would have on startups and venture capital have been open questions. Early Q3 data indicates that things haven’t changed too much, yet. But with SoftBank potentially pausing Chinese deals, larger startup investment could suffer.
Before we get into our usual digest of the latest and greatest funding rounds from the worlds of venture capital and high-growth startups, two product-related notes.
First, Airtable just bought something! Yes, Airtable, the roughly $5.8 billion spreadsheet of the future is making deals. Well, one. The company bought Bayes, what TechCrunch called an “early-stage visualization startup” that also features a no-code focus. If you love Airtable, this could be good news.
Second, Medium is shaking up its business model yet again. Again. Yes, one more time. This time, the company is changing its partner program. Now writers on Medium can drive their own subscriptions, snagging half the long-term revenue net of fees. This feels a little Substack-y, but not in a bad way. Despite Medium’s inability to decide what it is, I remain modestly hopeful for the company thanks to my profession of getting paid to make words appear on the internet.
Now, some funding rounds for your enjoyment!
- $40M for construction-focused computer vision: That’s the headline from Doxel’s latest round, led by Insight Partners. The Series B brings the company’s total raised capital to just over $56 million. Doxel uses computer vision to track the progress of construction sites. It’s a neat model, and, per the company, it still has its full Series A in the bank thanks to “growth and bookings traction” of sufficient size that it has been “cash flow neutral” since its last raise. Why would Doxel raise if it didn’t need money? Because it could pad its accounts at a new, higher price implying minimal dilution. And you always want to raise when you don’t need to. It’s far cheaper than waiting for a cash crunch.
- Cart.com raises $98 million: Does the name Cart.com sound familiar? It might. Why? Because the Houston-based e-commerce tooling company has now raised three times this year. So you may recall it from the other two times it put capital onto its balance sheet in 2021. The company has now raised $143 million in total.
- Everstage raises $1.7M for sales commissions software: The old startup adage of build software to replace manual spreadsheet processes is alive and well, it turns out. Everstage wants to take sales commissions, today “calculated on spreadsheets by finance teams” that provide limited visibility to salespeople, and turn them into highly limpid software. Salespeople will dig this, given how complex commissions can be and how critical they are to sales comp totals.
- Finally, Pave raises $16M to help companies “benchmark, plan and communicate compensation to their employees.” Akin to how sales commissions can be Gordian in their heft, employee comp is a knotty issue. Pave wants to provide more data to companies so that they can make better — and, we hope, more equitable — compensation decisions and generally improve employee lives. We dig this.
The gray revolution: Fundraising within the older adult space
Although older adults are one of the fastest-growing demographics, they’re quite underserved when it comes to consumer tech.
The global population of people older than 65 will reach 1.5 billion by 2050, and members of this cohort — who are leading longer, active lives — have money to spend.
Still, most startups persist in releasing products aimed at serving younger users, says Lawrence Kosick, co-founder of GetSetUp, an edtech company that targets 50+ learners.
“If you can provide a valuable, scalable service for the older adult market, there’s a lot of opportunity to drive growth through partnerships.”
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Big Tech Inc.
All right, listen, public tech companies were more than busy today. So, we’re going to be brief so that we can cram as much news in here as we can:
- NortonLifeLock is combining with Avast in an $8.1B deal: This is big news for the cybersecurity space. TechCrunch called this the third-largest cybersecurity acquisition of all time.
- Android 12 reaches “platform stability” in its fourth beta: That means developers can build for the new Android without worrying about changing code. My real question: When was the last time that you or I got excited about a new mobile OS iteration? Frankly, Windows 11 is more exciting than anything Android or iOS has dropped lately.
- And then there was a whole mess of transport news. TechCrunch has a review of the new hybrid F-150 truck, if you are into moving things. We also have news that Hyzon Motors has started shipping hydrogen fuel cell trucks, which is pretty cool. Amazon’s $1.5 billion cargo hub is now up and running, which means faster package deliveries so that you don’t have to walk to buy razors. And Joby Aviation has completed its SPAC combination, meaning that the VTOL taxi company is now public.
- One more: I am excited to read this dive into Singapore’s startup scene!
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