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Friday! Dear friends, we made it to the end of the week. It was a big, busy few days, so give yourself a round of applause. Looking ahead, not only do we have earnings from Facebook and Alphabet and Microsoft and Robinhood next week, but our super-great SaaS event is taking place on Wednesday. I’m hosting and doing a panel or two, so see you there for all the fun! – Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Public markets welcome Trump SPAC: Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s new media company announced yesterday that it would go public via a SPAC-led transaction. Today, investors spent quite a lot of money bidding up shares in the blank-check company that will take Trump Media and Technology Group public. In retrospect, however, of course the SPAC became a memestock given its lack of fundamentals or, well, product.
- Snap suffers from supply-chain, Apple woes: U.S. social networking company Snap saw around a fifth of its value disappear today after it reported earnings following the end of trading yesterday. In short, despite a pretty good quarter, Snap’s growth expectations for Q4 were way under expectations. Why? Changes to iOS from Apple and supply-chain issues leading to reduced advertiser demand. TechCrunch also discussed how Snap’s issues help make the argument for Facebook’s metaverse push.
- Brex raises again (again): The corporate spend and expense reporting market can apparently absorb an infinite amount of capital, a fact that we learned again recently after TechCrunch broke the news that Brex once again raised more money at a higher price. This may kick off fundraising for Brex’s various competitors.
We have our usual run of startup news below, but before we get into that, TechCrunch spent a few words today thinking through Rent the Runway’s expected IPO price range and how it stacks up against related companies. We have questions.
- Startup hopes to help you grow backbone: We really shouldn’t make spine-based jokes given that someone will find them in poor taste, but Haje Jan Kamps started with his headline, so please direct all complaints in that direction. Regardless, Intelligent Implants has raised $8.7 million for its health-focused hardware that could help with back health.
- How Lunchclub landed a preemptive term sheet from Lightspeed: One of TechCrunch’s best — if also best-hidden — talents, Neesha Tambe wrote up a recent talk we had with a startup concerning how it managed to raise preemptive cash from a major investor. Founders, this is for you.
- More money for cloud kitchens: The global effort to build and fund shared kitchens for meal prep tuned for delivery continues to attract capital; this time with a16z and Base Partners dicing up $15 million for Bogotá-based Foodology. Here’s hoping that the startup uses the funds to help make meals and doesn’t make a meal out of it.
- Transport companies can now “Pledge” to offset their carbon footprint: A startup called Pledge wants to help “freight forwarding, ride-hailing, travel and last-mile delivery” companies dispense with the implicit carbon costs of their businesses. The startup just raised $4.5 million from “Visionaries Club with participation from Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon Capital and Zinal Growth,” TechCrunch reports.
- OfBusiness in talks to raise again (again!): Er, OfBusiness is back in our pages. The company raised money this April. And last month. And now it is doing so again. This time at a valuation of more than $4.5 billion, TechCrunch reports. That’s a 50% bump from its last round.
Hiring is just the first step when building an early-stage comms team
There are a few places where founders can cut corners, but your first comms hire is not one of them. Companies that choose not to invest in finding the best person for this role will inevitably regret it later.
Since these are the people tasked with bringing your message to the outside world, “look for a strategic partner rather than a manager,” advises Yousuf Khan, partner at Ridge Ventures.
“They should be able to discuss your product and industry as well as anyone on your sales team. If that sounds like a tall order, it is — yet another reason to properly invest in the role.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Tech watchdog isn’t big on Big Tech’s leverage of small biz for PR: Facebook and other tech giants love to tell you stories about how their products and services help one small business or another. It’s a way of both humanizing megacorps and creating a smokescreen to avoid more lucid scrutiny. Main Street Against Big Tech is spending money to push back on the matter.
- SpaceX’s Starship rocket could fly as soon as next month: But it will need regulatory approval, TechCrunch reports. Regardless, the news is good for you spaceheads out there — the sooner SpaceX can move the commercial space industry forward by another peg, the sooner its competitors will have to catch up, benefiting us all.
- Twitter now allows users to subscribe to Revue newsletters in their timelines: Twitter is probably going to get away with favoring its own product given its modest scale when set next to companies like Facebook, but its product work on Revue — a newsletter product it previously bought — is turning heads all the same. Twitter is currently taking on two well-known a16z bets, namely Substack (with Revue) and Clubhouse (with Spaces).
TechCrunch wants to know which software consultants you’ve worked with for anything from UI/UX to cloud architecture. Let us know here.
If you’re curious about how these surveys are shaping our coverage, check out this interview Anna Heim did with Yasser Bashir, co- founder of Arbisoft, “Arbisoft co-founder Yasser Bashir on building trust with early-stage startups.”