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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for August 30, 2021. The startup world is gearing up for Y Combinator Demo Day this week, but the rest of tech isn’t taking a pause. So we have Apple news, Telegram news, antitrust news, video game news, you name it.
But we have some TechCrunch news to start: Ryan Reynolds is coming to Disrupt to talk about his company, Maximum Effort. That’s pretty hype. And we’re going to be talking about software. A lot. — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- China restricts youth gaming: To three hours per week! Which isn’t much! For a country with a large games market like China, this is big darn news. But it’s just one part of a larger regulatory push in China (including things as far afield as taking on online fan culture!) to bring its private companies more in line with the government’s plans.
- Toast’s IPO looks tasty: TechCrunch took a longer look at Boston-based Toast’s IPO filing today. Our takeaways? That the company has posted admirable growth since its COVID lows and has a very sturdy multipart business model. The company is doing the very active Boston startup scene proud.
- Spotify buys Joe Rogan, Apple buys classical music? The campaign to build differentiated music streaming services in an era when music is available everywhere hotted up this week with Apple buying Primephonic. The smaller company, based in Amsterdam, will be absorbed into Apple Music.
Ready for a broadside of startup news? Good. We have what you need. But first, as a sign of the times, Telegram just crossed the 1 billion download mark. That’s an achievement, sure, but also goes to show that maybe consumers do care about privacy after all.
- Casper’s unfriendly ghost fails to haunt Eight Sleep: Remember when D2C mattress company Casper went public, and it went poorly? That misstep has not stopped investors from putting new capital into Eight Sleep, which makes smart mattresses. The startup just raised $86 million in a Series C round of funding that values it at nearly a half-billion dollars.
- Prive raises $1.7M for better e-commerce subscriptions: Two ex-Uber folks are building something new to make e-commerce subscriptions, helping both retailers sell more goods and consumers get better recommendations. Win/win.
- At long last, a personal CRM? I don’t want to get your hopes up, as building a personal CRM has been a white whale in startupland for some time. But Clay, a startup that just raised $8 million, has put together what TechCrunch calls “a system designed to help you be more thoughtful with the people in your life.” Please let it be good. I need help.
- Alpaca proves that embedded fintech is still hot: TechCrunch has covered Alpaca a few times in recent years, both when it raised capital and when we were delving more deeply into the world of API-delivered startups. Today the company announced a $50 million Series B, a partnership with Plaid and support for crypto trading. Alpaca’s work to provide other fintechs with embedded equities trading appears to be going well.
- How does one become a travel influencer? I don’t know. But if you become one, Thatch wants you to be able to better monetize your recommendations. If you are currently a travel influencer, this is good news. If you were hoping that influencers would lose influence in the coming years, this is not.
- To cap us off today, Ola Electric is looking to raise between $250 million and $500 million. That’s a huge chunk of change. The deal has yet to close, but our early reporting indicates that Ola’s electric vehicle business is about to be more than flush. “Falcon Edge Capital is in advanced talks to lead the round, which values Ola Electric between $2.75 billion to $3.5 billion,” TechCrunch reports.
- Plus, over the weekend I wrote about why startups are going to win the battle to set the tone regarding remote work, in case you wanted to give that a read.
How Amazon EC2 grew from a notion into a foundational element of cloud computing
In August 2006, AWS activated its EC2 cloud-based virtual computer, a milestone in the cloud infrastructure giant’s development.
“You really can’t overstate what Amazon was able to accomplish,” writes enterprise reporter Ron Miller.
In the 15 years since, EC2 has enabled clients of any size to test and run their own applications on AWS’ virtual machines.
To learn more about a fundamental technological shift that “would help fuel a whole generation of startups,” Ron interviewed EC2 VP Dave Brown, who built and led the Amazon EC2 front-end team.
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- ByteDance buys VR hardware startup: Sure, Facebook is a leader in the VR hardware game, but it’s hardly the only player. TikTok parent company ByteDance is looking to take Facebook on by buying Pico, which had raised a $37 million round earlier this year. It’s not clear how this news intersects with gaming restrictions in China, but now we should have national champions duking it out in the VR market.
- Instagram wants to know your birthday: If you aren’t into giving Facebook products more of your data, bad news today from Instagram. It will prompt users to share their birthday and only allow so many deferrals. Why? TechCrunch reports that the change is to help “personalize your experience” on the service. Which means ads.
- Ideanomics buys Via Motors: Ideanomics, a public mobility company, is spending $450 million in stock to buy Via Motors, an EV company. Shares of Ideanomics are up just over 5% today on the news.
- It turns out that most Big Tech employees aren’t opposed to antitrust enforcement, even though the ideas being bandied about the halls of Congress could make life harder for the megacorps that currently constitute the top end of the technology industry.
TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing
Are you all caught up on last week’s coverage of growth marketing? If not, read it here.
TechCrunch wants you to recommend growth marketers who have expertise in SEO, social, content writing and more! If you’re a growth marketer, pass this survey along to your clients; we’d like to hear about why they loved working with you.
Join Danny Crichton on Twitter Spaces tomorrow, Tuesday, August 31st at 1 p.m. PDT/4 p.m. EDT as he talks with Azeem Azhar about his upcoming book, “The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society,” which will be released on September 7, 2021.