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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for September 1, 2021. It’s a big day in TechCrunch history in that we’ve been shuffled to a new parent company. More on that in a moment. First, Disrupt attendees, you can now hit up CrunchMatch to meet other cool folks. See you there! — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Hello, Apollo! TechCrunch is no longer part of Verizon Media Group, a somewhat forgotten subsidiary of the U.S. telco. Instead, we are now part of Yahoo, which is owned, in turn, by Apollo, a large investing company that is publicly traded. Cue the parade. Jokes aside, the long-announced deal has finally been completed. We’ll have more notes on our new overlords as soon as we meet them.
- Inside Amplitude’s IPO filing: TechCrunch’s coverage of the accelerating IPO market continued today with notes on Amplitude’s product-analytics-focused debut. For more on Toast and Freshworks’ filings, head here or here. Oh, and Warby Parker here, if D2C is your jam.
- Sticking to the big-dollar news today, Vista Equity is buying a majority stake in Drift. Based in Boston, Drift focuses on what it calls “conversational” sales tools. The two parties were being coy to a silly level by not disclosing the price paid for Drift, other than that the majority sale of the company values the former startup at more than $1 billion. Why Drift sold to Vista instead of going public is not clear, but we do feel cheated out of its S-1 filing.
As we write to you today, the TechCrunch team is busy writing thousands of words about the second day of startup pitches from Y Combinator’s Demo Day. You can read about every startup that pitched yesterday.
Now, to today’s news. First, Berlin Brands, which buys and hopes to scale brands that sell on Amazon, is now worth north of $1 billion after raising a $700 million equity-and-debt round. There is apparently infinite capital available to finance the purchase of smaller e-commerce brands.
So much so that Forum Brands also announced new capital for the activity today. Its $100 million in debt financing may sound small compared to what Berlin Brands just secured, but it’s still nine figures of dry powder.
- Blueprint raises $16M to scale its title insurance business: It turns out that the title insurance business in the United States is too valuable. Blueprint wants to reduce its size by offering lower-priced coverage to customers who buy multiple properties in several states.
- Insurify raises $100M as insurtech marketplaces stay hot: Sure, neoinsurance providers have taken a bath in the public markets lately, but the insurtech marketplace game still looks healthy. Insurify, which competes with Zebra and other players, is now $100 million richer. An indicator, we presume, that it is still finding plenty of market to attack.
- If you want more on the insurtech venture capital market, TechCrunch has your back.
- Call center automation is big business: At least for Skit, a startup that just closed a $23 million Series B. Per our own Kate Park, Skit’s tech helps its customers automate nearly all of their voice support calls.
- Company we know little about raises lots of money: Have you heard of Humane? Probably not. Born from some ex-Apple folks, the startup — “which has ambitions to build a new class of consumer devices and technologies,” TechCrunch reports — has no products in the market. And yet it has raised $100 million this week after raising $30 million last year. What will it build? I guess we’ll find out.
Our favorite startups from YC’s Summer 21 Demo Day, Part 1
Twice each year, we turn our attention to Y Combinator’s latest class of aspiring startups as they hold their public debuts.
For YC Summer 2021 Demo Day, the accelerator’s fourth virtual gathering, Natasha Mascarenhas, Alex Wilhelm, Devin Coldewey, Lucas Matney and Greg Kumparak selected 14 favorites from the first day of one of the world’s top pitch competitions.
Read their analysis, then come back later today for their rundown of Day Two.
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Today’s Big Tech news is mostly focused on feature upgrades. Enjoy!
- Twitter! The social microblogging-and-newsletter-and-subscription-and-live-audio service is out with new safety tools and the ability to sell Super Follows.
- Twitch! Twitch is dealing with a streamer boycott after many of its popular users were hit with so-called “hate raids.”
- And in stuff today that Big Tech companies are doing that we’re not entirely sold on: Apple is making digital driver’s licenses; Google thinks that France is being too harsh; and Facebook — which apparently wants to replicate the entire internet, in-house — is building fantasy sports tech.
- From the nightmare files, this headline: “A popular smart home security system can be remotely disarmed, researchers say.” Ah yes, the future of the smart home. Better known as smart folks tricking your smart home into letting them in.
TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing
- Have you already submitted a recommendation? That’s great — we’re counting all previous survey submissions as an entry for the Disrupt ticket.
- We’ll also enter the next 100 survey submissions into the giveaway.
- Do you want to submit 10 recommendations to increase your chance at winning? We love the enthusiasm, but we ask that you only submit one recommendation for each marketer that you’ve worked with.
- Don’t know what to say in your recommendation? Start with what traits they had, what they did to help your company, how their work affected your business and go from there!
- We manually go through all entries, so please don’t copy and paste the same response multiple times.
- Have a question about the giveaway? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Danny Crichton and Mary Ann Azevedo Tuesday, September 7, at 3 p.m. PDT/6 p.m. EDT on Twitter Spaces as they talk with Jonathan Metrick about fintech and growth marketing.