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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for November 12, 2021! It is Friday, my friends, the end of yet another week. The TechCrunch team hopes that you are healthy and ready for a rest. If you still have energy in the tank, Equity has an episode that digs into how Tiger is putting capital to work, while the Found team has an interview with Megan O’Connor from Nth Cycle that is worth checking out. Now, the news! — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- The African startup market’s growing pains: With record capital flowing into African startups, you might imagine that all things are great in the continent’s venture capital scene. Things are good, yes, but not perfect. TechCrunch learned from a few investors that while many deals are getting done, ills like lackluster due diligence that are impacting other markets are also at play in Africa. And African startups may need more late-stage capital, which took us by surprise, given how active big checks have proven elsewhere this year.
- MoviePass may live again: Few startups truly earn the moniker Icarus. MoviePass is perhaps one, given how high it flew and how it burned through cash into the grave. But perhaps Lazarus is a better analogy, as the brand could be coming back to market.
- Neobanks keep on raising: While the world waits for Nubank’s IPO to price and start trading, investors are not pausing on making wagers into the challenger banking fintech segment. Oxygen, for example, a neobank that targets freelancers and SMBs, is in talks to raise at a half-billion valuation, TechCrunch reports.
- What are recipes worth? A startup called Foody is wagering that they have real value — and that consumers will pay for them. The startup has raised $1.5 million for its food creator marketplace. That people will pay for recipes is at once true and dated. Yes, people pay for them, but largely in book format. Precisely how that model will translate to the digital realm is less clear.
- Promoted.ai raises for better marketplace search: Perhaps Foody will become a customer of what Promoted.ai is building, namely technology to help consumers find what they really want to buy on digital marketplaces. It just raised $2 million. Given how much capital has been invested in marketplace startups, it isn’t hard to come up with a potential customer list for what Promoted is building.
- Weflow wants to make Salesforce less irksome to use: First, a note that Weflow is not Webflow. The latter is a business that helps folks build no-code websites that has raised oodles of cash. Weflow is a tool to help salespeople keep their CRM up to date with less pain. And it has not raised nine figures of capital, instead adding a more modest $2.7 million to its own coffers this week.
- Bellabeat’s new health wearable shows promise: From the hardware neck of the woods today, TechCrunch gave the Ivy wearable a try. Per our own Amanda Silberling, the wristband device wants to help users track “sleep patterns, heart rate, menstrual cycles, steps, hydration, activity, mindfulness and more.” But, she writes, its software left us wanting more.
- $3.4M for electric motorcycles in Africa: Proof that not all startup activity in Africa is fintech-related, Zembo just raised capital from Toyota and others for its EV business. Zembo is notably based in France but focused on Africa, we should note, and sells its vehicles on a lease-to-own program.
Whether to sell your company is always going to be a huge decision for founders
To better understand what goes through a founder’s mind when considering a sale, Ron Miller hosted a panel at TC Sessions: SaaS with:
- Jyoti Bansal, who sold his previous startup AppDynamics to Cisco for $3.7 billion.
- Monica Sarbu, who sold her startup Packetbeat to Elastic.
- Nick Mehta, who sold his email archiving startup LiveOffice to Symantec.
“It was four days of long board meetings and discussions and debates and fights and getting to the decision. So it wasn’t an easy decision,” said Bansal.
“Even though, at $3.7 billion, everyone thought it should probably be a no-brainer; it wasn’t.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- How Microsoft moved to the cloud: Based on an interview with Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, our own Ron Miller sketches out how the well-known software giant had to lead its customers into the cloud, despite having a simply huge legacy software business.
- Instagram updates its TikTok clone: The drumbeat of product news from major social networks working to slow TikTok’s roll — scroll? — continued today, with Instagram adding both text-to-speech and voice effects to Reels, its competing service.
- Facebook to become a live shopping hub: Elsewhere from Meta, Facebook is “rolling out new shopping features” today, including a group shopping experience and “a test of Live Shopping for Creators.” How well live shopping will fare in, say, the United States remains to be seen, but Meta is not the only company working on the product type. Startup Talkshoplive is in the business as well, and Pinterest has also shown interest.
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