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Hello friends! Welcome to Daily Crunch for November 9, 2021. Today we have lots of good news and some bad news. The good? Another startup is taking on the incumbent web search provider, and we’re seeing more funds in more places raise bigger investing vehicles. The bad? Well, it depends on whether or not you are a Robinhood user. — Alex
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- Robinhood’s data breach steals from the user and gives to the hacker: A social-engineering hack led to Robinhood’s internal tools being accessed by an external party. Per TechCrunch reporting, “more than 5 million customer email addresses and 2 million customer names taken, as well as a much smaller set of more specific customer data.” For a company that recently posted somewhat lackluster earnings, it’s not a great look.
- You.com wants to take on Google: The list of startups taking on Google search is starting to get somewhat lengthy. Brave is at it. So is Neeva. DuckDuckGo has been working on the matter. And now You.com has $20 million to help with its search service, which, I found today while testing it, has a somewhat radical interface on display.
- Twitter gets the blues: But it’s pretty happy about it. Why? Because Twitter’s subscriber service, Blue, is now out in more markets. This led to a wave of folks signing up and playing around with the service, at least on my timeline. So far people seem to like it. It’s cheap, and given how much time so many of us spend on Twitter, something of a no-brainer at this stage.
- Health tech startup Color snags $100M: After raising $167 million earlier this year, Color is back to the funding well with yet another nine-figure round. The startup’s “software and infrastructure provide tools for preventative health and infectious disease management by making healthcare programs more accessible,” TechCrunch reports. Given that the company is now valued like a public company, it will be interesting to see how quickly Color files an S-1.
- Good news for Chicago: Sure, the Midwest is seeing its startup fundraising totals boom, but not all that capital is flowing from local sources. More of it might in the future with the city’s Origin Ventures securing its biggest fund yet.
- TechCrunch’s Brian Heater has some really neat notes on a startup building tiny robots here. Which I bring up so that you can read it, and so that you can sign up for his upcoming robotics newsletter called Actuator.
- $15M to track crypto shenanigans: Per TechCrunch, crypto risk monitoring is increasingly big business, leading to Solidus Labs raising eight figures for its work in the market. It can detect manipulation and other sorts of market distortions that folks likely care about, given just how much money is sloshing around the crypto markets these days.
- Medium buys Projector: In its current permutation, Medium is a publishing platform with a focus on external contributors. I think. It’s been a few cycles since I was last hype about the company. Regardless, the former publisher — plastisher? — bought a startup called Projector, and TechCrunch has the story.
- Emergence invests in Talent Hack: Focused on fitness creators, Talent Hack has raised a $17 million round for its service that provides “payment processing, website design and publishing, scheduling software, email automation and CRM” to its target niche. Given how big the creator economy is today, seeing targeted services crop up is not a surprise.
- Airbase goes free, challenges rivals: In the Great Corporate Spend Wars, the free-versus-paid discussion took on a new bent this morning with Airbase announcing a zero-cost tier of its previously paid service, and that it is going to return nearly all of its interchange revenues to users. Damn. Expect rival moves from Ramp and Brex in short order.
- Truveta raises $100M for its health-data platform: Working with north of a dozen healthcare providers, Truveta is now quite a lot richer than it was and is ready to start letting early adopters use its data service. The company’s tech can provide a daily snapshot of America’s health, including how different vaccines are performing in the market.
- If something safe is secure, is something that is very safe Socure? Look, we’re just trying to figure out this startup’s name. Regardless, the company just raised $450 million at a $4.5 billion valuation. The richly valued private company uses AI and ML to confirm online identities. It has now raised through a Series E, which stands for Enough already; go public.
- And to close us out, TechCrunch has notes concerning Sweetgreen’s early IPO price range.
15 sectors pi Ventures expects deep tech to disrupt in the next 5 years
Deep tech holds a lot of potential for changing how our world functions, but many applications are still years away from reaching the market.
Looking to the future, Anna Heim analyzed pi Ventures’ Deep Tech Shifts 2026 report, which explores 15 deep tech subsectors expected to reach an inflection point in the next five years.
“If you invest too early in an innovation, then you will have suboptimal returns,” said founding partner Manish Singhal. “If you invest too late, you may also end up getting suboptimal returns, because it is no longer a cutting-edge thing.
“If investment and the timing of innovation getting to a resonance point come together, then good things happen.”
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Big Tech Inc.
- People are surprised that a very rich person owns some crypto: That the person in question is Tim Cook does make the news a bit more well, newsy, but still not surprising. The Apple CEO did not make any news regarding his company, other than to indicate that it doesn’t appear to have near-term crypto hopes and or dreams. Still, is it possible to be surprised that any person with a wealth roughly the size of the moon or greater owns some crypto assets? No.
- Everyone wants to get into games: TikTok has gaming news today, as does Netflix. Basically, games are huge business and any platform media company probably has to have a gaming strategy in time.
- Microsoft takes on Chromebooks: With a new, cheap laptop running a Windows 11 variant, Microsoft wants to fight back against Google’s successful classroom push on the back of its Chromebook effort.
- Airbnb boosts host safety, consumer confidence: Look, there’s a lot of news in Jordan Crook’s latest piece on Airbnb, but what matters the most is that the home-rental company is bringing better WiFi speed reporting to its platform. Rejoice!
- Lyft to bring driverless taxis to Vegas in 2023: The steady drumbeat of actual commercial news from self-driving cars continues today, albeit with news from Lyft that is both market constrained and far off. Still, every bit of news indicating that self-driving cars are coming makes my heart sing.
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 Jamie Shostak and Michael MacRae, co-founders of Appetiser, “Appetiser’s co-founders discuss building client relationships and getting to MVP.”