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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for August 19, 2021. Today is a good day, with lots of interesting news, and even a hot, fresh newsletter from the TechCrunch team. More on that in a moment. Before we start, UiPath CEO Daniel Dines is coming to our October SaaS event. It’s going to be, as the kids say, lit. — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- OnlyFans to kick some adult content off its service: In a move that temporarily broke Twitter and melted TechCrunch servers, well-known subscription content service OnlyFans is moving away from its traditional content varietal. “OnlyFans did not respond to TechCrunch’s inquiries as to its definition of sexually explicit content or how it expected this would impact the company’s bottom line,” is a good summary of where this story is. Expect more as it evolves.
- Chicago puts points on the board for the Midwest: When COVID shook up the venture capital market last year, one city in particular saw its fortunes change — for the better. Since the second half of 2020, Chicago has seen huge sums of money pour into its local startups. We wanted to better understand what happened, and why.
- Feedback divided on Facebook’s meeting VR app: Our own Lucas Matney was modestly positive about Facebook’s new VR service that mimics a conference room. So that we can all enjoy that office vibe from home. Some folks noted that the tech could be great for folks who might have a harder time physically commuting. And lots of people thought it looked like a hot mess on stilts and more of a method for Facebook to change the narrative about its various regulatory issues than really move the VR ball forward.
Do you love robots and want more robotics in your life? Good news! We’ve shared Brian Heater’s robot roundups here on Daily Crunch for months now. But we won’t have to in the future, because he’s rolling out a newsletter just for the subject. Friends, meet Actuator.
- The Standard Oil of cannabis delivery: Eaze is buying Green Dragon, which is actually pretty big news in the cannabis delivery market. If you live in a part of the U.S., or the world, where you cannot get weed delivered to your house, weep. Civilization will reach you soon enough. Perhaps via an Eaze courier.
- Bird launches electric bike: Bird is busy going public via a SPAC — and it recently dropped its Q2 numbers, mind — but that’s not all the scooter company is up to. It also built an electric bike. Which is frankly cool, as we should rip out a bunch of streets in global cities and replace them with bike paths and green spaces.
- Global regulations as a service: That’s the gambit behind Regology, a startup that automates the process of understanding local laws the world ‘round. As companies increasingly go remote, and the internet has made global commerce the norm, Regology could be onto something. Also from this story, there actually is a venture capital firm called “Acme Capital.” Perhaps they invest in anvils, dynamite and other contra-Road-Runner products.
- Launch House raises $3M to scale venture community: This one is a little bit complicated, so read the story. But in essence: Launch House is building a class-based startup community in physical and digital spaces. And it just put together seven figures of capital to pursue its vision.
- Today’s Tiger Global round is Nacelle: What is Nacelle, and why did Tiger just lead a $50 million Series B into the company? Nacelle is a headless commerce solution. And Tiger just backed it because it’s a headless commerce solution. If that makes sense.
- Hitting the TechCrunch website just after we capped off the Daily Crunch draft yesterday, Ron Miller and I put together some notes on what Databricks might look like at a $38 billion valuation. Enjoy!
Let’s make a deal: A crash course on corporate development
Venrock Vice President Todd Graham has some frank advice for founders at venture-backed startups: “It would be wise to generate a return at some point.”
With that in mind, he authored a primer on corporate development that lays out the three most common categories of acquisitions, tips for dealing with bankers and explains why striking a partnership with a big company isn’t always the best way forward.
Regardless of the path you choose, “you need to take the meeting,” advises Graham.
“In the worst-case scenario, you’ll get a few new LinkedIn connections and you’re now a known quantity. The best-case scenario will be a second meeting.”
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Twitter’s newsletter push is just getting started: Twitter is building out better integrations between its Revue newsletter service and its main interface. This is not a surprise, but is welcome all the same. Whether Twitter can become a material anti-Substack is not yet clear.
- Facebook wants to eat TikTok’s lunch: Facebook is bringing its Reels product to the United States. So, if you prefer Facebook to own your data instead of a ByteDance subsidiary, here’s your chance.
- Congress wants to eat TikTok’s lunch: Speaking of ByteDance, TikTok’s plans to collect biometric data of its user base is not popular in the U.S. Congress. This is not a surprise. Especially because the Chinese Communist Party takes a board seat in ByteDance’s key China-based company.
- GM wants to put 5G in your ride: From an entirely orthogonal corner of the technology universe, GM is working with U.S. telco AT&T to put 5G into cars. I don’t know precisely why we need this, or if there is enough 5G juice really out there to even squeeze out a single glass of lemonade, but here it is all the same.
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