Daily Crunch: Citing regulatory restrictions, Microsoft shuts down LinkedIn in China

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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for October 14, 2021. It’s Thursday, which means that the news cycle spent the day trying to expend itself before Friday dwindles into the weekend. Let’s hope it succeeded; we have a lot to get to!

Before we start, our space event has discounts for the next day or so, and our SaaS confab is ticking closer! – Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Microsoft to pull LinkedIn from China: Microsoft made waves in technology, regulatory and international domains today by announcing the eventual end of its LinkedIn service in China. The company had previously made certain profiles unavailable in the country due to regulatory pressure. It was a crap sandwich for the U.S. tech company to handle — if it didn’t do what the CCP demanded in-country, it could harm its business in other ways, and folks in other markets didn’t like it bending to state censorship. Microsoft’s choice could wind up being a key moment in the longer saga of China’s digital decoupling from the rest of the world.
  • GitLab’s IPO prices strongly, soars: After raising its IPO price range, the DevOps unicorn priced above that interval at $77 per share. Then it shot to more than $90 in its first day’s trading. We have some takeaways, past the obvious holy heck response that you are having at the moment. No one knows what anything is worth!
  • The Indian startup market’s exceptional Q3: While venture capital results are proving strong around the world in the third quarter, India may have posted the single most impressive set of data of any country during the three-month period. TechCrunch dug into the data with the help of a few investors to figure out just how long the party may persist.


We have more startup news today than you could shake any sort of proverbial stick at.

To start, TechCrunch has data concerning the cannabis startup market. We might say that it is sparking up, taking flight or simply flaring brighter. Startups building weed-focused businesses are floating in a blissful wave of capital, likely providing more than a small dose of relaxation. It’s a good time to be selling emotional resets in plant format.

  • Outschool proves U.S. edtech isn’t dead: With more kids back in school than at the end of the last academic year, you’d be forgiven for expecting venture investment in edtech startups to dip. But a new $110 million round values educational-enrichment unicorn Outschool at $3 billion.
  • Take me to space, cool balloon company: It’s not only rockets that will offer trips into the lower regions of space, if Space Perspective gets its way. The balloon company just raised $40 million for its work. It may have flights — soars? — in 2024, where you will find me in line with all $74 that I have, hoping to get a ticket.
  • Regehr Solar wants to bring down the cost of space-ready solar panels: Sticking to the space theme for a moment, here’s a good one. Regher Solar thinks that we’re going to put a lot of satellites into space in the coming years, which is correct. And it thinks that lower costs of goods for that work would be popular. Again, correct. What we’ll have to see is if its solar tech fits neatly into both facts.
  • Zeus Living raises $55M, doubles down on medium-term stays: Pivoting from its original corporate focus, Zeus now wants to let all sorts of folks book longer stays in housing it has ready for guests. So now Zeus is akin to a long-form Airbnb? Perhaps. Let’s see how it competes with the domestic giant.
  • Copy.ai raises $11M against its $2.4M in ARR: Translating that for you, startup Copy.ai, which uses GPT-3 to help folks write, has raised an $11 million funding round on the back of its $2.4 million in annual recurring revenue, or ARR. The startup now has 13 employees.
  • Our parent company’s parent company just gave Bird access to its (our?) money: Scooter company Bird, which is approaching the public markets via a SPAC — something that this new capital is contingent upon — has raised a larger credit facility with Apollo. Its $40 million line will be worth $150 million after it goes public.

There’s more, much more: Tala just raised $145 million to bring its lending service to more markets. Evolution Equity Partners just raised $400 million to invest. An AI-focused shopping assistant called Karma just raised a $25 million Series A. And German Mayd just raised a sheaf of big bills to speed up drug delivery in Europe.

Smart growth tactics can put account-based marketing within reach for startups and SMBs

Account-based marketing makes it easier to engage with key customers at the right moment, but for many early-stage startups that are desperate to reach takeoff velocity, ABM isn’t viewed as a necessity.

“This couldn’t be further from the truth, and both startups and SMBs can, and should, invest in ABM strategies,” advises Jonas van de Poel, head of content marketing at Unmuted, an Amsterdam-based growth agency.

In a post that offers a detailed overview, van de Poel identifies “distinctive characteristics” for businesses that should consider ABM strategies, along with specific recommendations for implementing.

“With a handful of smart growth tactics and clever tools, ABM strategies don’t have to break the bank to be successful,” he writes.

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Big Tech Inc.

  • Tinder wants to help you avoid being dateless at that wedding: In what I can only view as a sign that vaccines are tamping down COVID to the point that weddings are back in force, Tinder has a new feature coming that will help you land a date. Because that won’t be awkward or fraught at all.
  • Roblox targets sophisticated avatars, NFTs: Any gaming company that allows for user avatar customization is going to offer NFTs at some point. There’s probably just too much potential money to be made in the market. Roblox is getting in on the game, it told TechCrunch, and is working on its overall graphics setup.
  • WhatsApp rolling out encrypted chat backups: On the privacy beat today, good news from WhatsApp, which is “beginning to roll out a new feature that will provide its two billion users the option to encrypt their chat history backup in iCloud or Google Drive.” This patches a key loophole ripe for government exploitation, TechCrunch writes.
  • And in less good news, Twitter can show us more ads now.

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