Helion Energy will use $500M Series E to power up its fusion energy efforts

Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for November 5, 2021! We made it, everyone, happy Friday. Don’t forget to take off in the direction of our upcoming Space event before we reach exit velocity and leave you behind! And have a relaxed weekend. We’re all a little tired. — Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • How Cruise intends to make robotaxis a commercial reality: Curious why we are not yet zipping around in computer-driven cars, putting the days of wondering if right turns on a red light are allowed? Me too. The answer is that to get to that point is much more work than folks may have thought. Cruise is turning to simulators and custom silicon for its own efforts. Let’s hope they have cracked it. I hate driving.
  • HashiCorp’s IPO details an open source powerhouse: It’s always good fun to chat with companies building open source code. Once an oddity, many startups today are working on and with code that is open for all. HashiCorp has ridden the trend all the way to an IPO filing, which we were more than excited to read.
  • $500M+ for commercial fusion: While we are on the subject of tricky tech challenges like self-driving cars, let’s talk about fusion for a minute. Helion Energy just raised $500 million for its efforts to pull energy from fusion reactions, with another $1.7 billion in the offing if it can hit certain milestones. The question, TechCrunch notes, is whether the company can yank more power from its fusion tech than it takes to operate. Let’s see.


Before we get into specific news items, if it feels like today’s venture capitalists are putting more capital to work, more quickly, while getting smaller ownership stakes in global startups, you are right! The question is if they are growing more quickly.

  • Lime raises pre-IPO round: Now that Bird is a public company, it only seems fitting that its former archrival Lime is also prepping its own public offering. The green-branded scooter and e-bike company just locked in $523 million in new funding, including $418 million of convertible debt. Let’s see if Lime can scoot its way to an IPO in short order.
  • More money for self-driving tech: Speaking of nine-figure rounds for things that move, Momenta has just added $500 million to its own coffers. The autonomous driving tech company from China had previously raised $300 million in a round that it just extended. That’s a lot of duckets. At this point I am curious if we’ve seen north of $100 billion invested privately to tackle this particular technology challenge.
  • New DJI drone is good, expensive: Drone tech has taken leaps and bounds in recent years, improving across nearly all strata that we care about. Our own Matt Burns confirms as much in his review of the new DJI Mavic 3. Sadly it costs north of $2,000, so will fly far from the hands of most consumers.
  • Thirteen Lune raises $3M, partners with major American retailer: The beauty market is big business, and Thirteen Lune is taking its direct-to-consumer beauty platform to the masses with a partnership with Target. That deal made TechCrunch sit up and take note of the company’s funding and progress.
  • Today in good startup names, we present MilkRun: Regardless of if you buy milk by the gallon, or the dozens of gallons, we all eat and drink each day. MilkRun wants to feed you with its “subscription service delivering weekly grocery staples sourced from small, local farms,” TechCrunch reports. Now flush with a $6 million Series A, the startup is hoping to extend its growth that saw it bolster revenues by 15x in 2020.
  • And if you want the TechCrunch take on recent venture capital data regarding female founders, we have just the podcast for you.

The holiday shopping season is coming: How are growth marketers preparing?

With only three weeks left to the start of the holiday shopping season, Miranda Halpern checked in with several growth marketers to find out how they’re advising their clients to prepare for supply chain disruptions.

Cargo ships are stacked up outside ports, and empty shipping containers are in short supply, as are the truck drivers who would take them to market. This is not the time for doing business as usual.

To gather advice and insights, she interviewed:

  • Julio Lopez, director of client strategy, retail practice lead, Movable Ink
  • Chris Toy, CEO and co-founder, MarketerHire
  • Kristin Dick, head of operations and growth marketer, Tuff
  • Dipti Parmar, founder, Dipti Parmar Consulting

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

Big Tech Inc.

  • Don’t be surprised that Tencent is making its own chips: Thus argues our own Rita Liao, who does a killer job on the China beat. The Chinese tech giant got a stock market boost this week when it showed off new chips under its own imprint. With news from Cruise and Tencent this week on the silicon front, perhaps we should expect every company over a certain market cap to have its own chips coming in the future.
  • “A flagship framework used by Google and scores of other advertisers for gathering claimed consent from web users for creepy ad targeting looks set to be found in breach of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),” writes our own Natasha Lomas, our reporter on the EU privacy beat. It turns out that a method of collecting consent to comply with GDPR isn’t, well, in compliance.

TechCrunch Experts

dc experts

Image Credits: SEAN GLADWELL / Getty Images

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.

If you’re curious about how these surveys are shaping our coverage, check out this article on TechCrunch+ from Miranda Halpern, “The holiday shopping season is coming: How are growth marketers preparing?”