Daily Crunch: Sora selected as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s final DLC character

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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for October 5, 2021. We warned you that a bunch of tech startups were going to go public in Q4. That’s coming true. But we also have video game news, crypto news and all sorts of goodies below. Let’s do it! – Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Facebook down, Telegram up: During Facebook’s pretty embarrassing outage yesterday, rival messaging service Telegram said that it picked up some 70 million new users. Recall that all Facebook services were down, which meant that WhatsApp also went kaput for a while there. In other Facebook news, a whistleblower from the company’s former employee ranks testified today in front of the U.S. Senate.
  • IPO SZN: Get your boots on, everyone, we have some S-1 exploring to do. Yes, today TechCrunch dug into IPO filings from Udemy (an edtech unicorn) and Rent the Runway (a DTC fashion rental unicorn). Udemy should help set the tone for edtech debuts ahead of Byju’s own, while Rent the Runway will represent the direct-to-consumer market to a lesser degree.
  • The final fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is: Sora? Apparently? If you haven’t played the Kingdom Hearts franchise this will mean nothing to you. But according to TechCrunch analytics this was one hell of a big deal. So, here you go, by popular demand!

And from the TechCrunch Experts crew, “we’re looking to profile great software development shops that work with startups.” So if that is you, hit the link!


Kicking off our startup coverage today, two accelerator classes for your perusal. TechCrunch wrote up the 23 companies that are part of the latest Alchemist batch and the 14 companies that are launching from the Entrepreneurs Roundtable group. We love an accelerator class here at the blog, mostly because they often provide an interesting perspective on where founders are finding company-worthy problems to solve.

  • Launch outdated forms of government into space: That’s my takeaway from news that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wants to launch a probe to the asteroid belt. I am in favor of any and all space launches, except perhaps those from countries with official religions and, well, monarchs.
  • Appsmith raises $8M for its OSS-focused internal app service: The market for building software that helps companies create internal apps is big — and competitive. And a newer player made waves this morning by announcing that it has raised fresh capital for its open source approach. Appsmith has yet to commercialize its project, but with fresh funds and notable pickup from the open source community, it’s a company to watch.
  • Podcastle raises $7M for all-in podcast service: While it is very easy to create a bad podcast, it’s actually rather complicated and difficult to create a good podcast. Happily for all the folks out there who have yet to kick off their own episodic audiocast, Podcastle just raised lots of new capital for its all-in-one (“recording, production and publishing,” per TechCrunch) podcasting service. So, now you have no excuse to have poor audio and lackluster editing.
  • Contrary Capital raises $20M for second fund: Our own Natasha Mascarenhas wrote about a new venture capital fund today, the second from Contrary Capital. She writes that founder Eric Tarczynski “noticed there was an absence of venture capital firms focused on entrepreneurs within universities.” So, Tarczynski went fishing in that particular pond. It must have gone pretty well, as Contrary is now back with a second installment of LP cash to invest.
  • Duality raises $30M to help companies share data securely: Cybersecurity isn’t just a big deal these days because VCs are investing in the space. It’s a big deal because the digital world is still full of holes, and attack vectors are more myriad than stars in the sky. Duality — the startup, not the excellent song — wants to use homomorphic encryption to build tools that “make it easier for companies to share data and collaborate with each other without compromising sensitive information,” we reported.

Finding product-market fit, from the earliest stages through growth

There’s no magic moment when a startup reaches product-market fit: no flashing lights, no siren, no balloons falling from the ceiling.

“Especially for first-time founders, assessing product-market fit at a stage where it’s mostly anticipation can be as much art as science,” writes News Editor Darrell Etherington, who interviewed three VCs about the topic for TechCrunch Disrupt:

  • Heather Hartnett, Human Ventures
  • David Thacker, Greylock
  • Victoria Treyger, Felicis

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

Big Tech Inc.

  • Facebook rolls out co-streaming to all creators: While Facebook is largely in the news for, ahem, other reasons, the company is still building stuff. Including getting the groundwork in place to allow more streamers to cast in pairs.
  • TechCrunch likes the new Surface hardware: Story time! Back during my first stint at TechCrunch, I flew to Redmond to get an early look at some Surface hardware. I brought along a TechCrunch camera to snap some pics. And, in my infinite genius, took a million photos of which I swear only two or three were not entirely blurry. I nearly blacked out from panic when I got home and found out. The good news today is that my colleague Matthew Burns can actually take pictures. The better news is that he took many pictures of the new Surface Pro 8. And best news of all? He liked it, so there’s new competition out there for your computing needs.
  • Apple wants to teach kids to code: 1-800-kode-for-kids is what I would have titled this piece. Aisha Malik has actually good sense, so she went with something a bit more sober. Regardless, Apple’s “Everyone Can Code Early Learners” program means that even tots can get a jump on learning how to forget where they put semicolons.
  • In other news, please welcome Aisha to the TechCrunch crew by following her on Twitter!
  • And, to close us out, Robinhood has finally launched 24/7 phone support: Which is big news for the stocks-and-crypto trading company that captured the attention of both retail traders and regulators during its short, high-flying life.

Introducing TechCrunch Experts: Software Consulting

Image Credits: SEAN GLADWELL / Getty Images

TechCrunch Experts is expanding to another vertical! Just like with growth marketing, many startups are outsourcing their software development. You can read more about those reasons here. We want to know which software consultants you’ve worked with for anything from UI/UX to cloud architecture. Let us know here.

To start off our editorial coverage for this new topic, Miranda Halpern interviewed Joshua Davidson from Chop Dawg: “App agency Chop Dawg on helping startups build for the long term.”

As we expand into software consulting (and eventually other service verticals for startups), we’ll keep profiling growth marketers via the existing survey, which you can fill out here.

As always, as the recommendations come in, we’ll share them publicly so that startups can find the right expert for what they need.