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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for December 22, 2021! Greg here again. I’ll be handling the newsletter for Alex for this final stretch of the year while he takes a very much deserved break.
Tech news tends to get a little quieter during these last weeks of the year because … well, holidays. But if anything big happens, we’ll make sure you know about it! —Greg
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Essential’s spiritual successor: Over the years, the smartphone arena has sort of boiled down to iPhone versus whatever Android phone is cool right now. Is there room for another contender? A bunch of former employees of Essential — a company that shipped one phone before shutting down and selling the brand to OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei — think so and are working on a privacy-centric Android phone under the brand OSOM (pronounced “awesome” because why not.)
- Bluetooth COVID-19 test has bugs: An at-home COVID-19 test that uses a Bluetooth-enabled analyzer to provide certified results? Sounds handy. Unfortunately, researcher Ken Gannon found that this one can seemingly be manipulated.
- Fisher-Price’s Chatter phone has bugs, too: Speaking of Bluetooth bugs, it looks like this nostalgia-tastic novelty speaker might have some issues of its own. If you have one, it sounds like you might want to make sure it’s properly hung up when not in use.
- Veho gets valued at $1B: Veho, a New York-based startup trying to simplify next-day package delivery, just raised $125 million in a round valuing the company at $1 billion. Its thing, writes Christine Hall, is “providing transparency into deliveries that starts with the option of when, where and how customers want their packages delivered.”
- Dealroom raises €6 million: A European competitor to products like PitchBook/CB Insights/Crunchbase has raised €6 million in a Series A. Alex Wilhelm has the breakdown of what the company is focusing on, what it’s doing differently and where it goes from here.
- Triller to go public via merger: It might not have the same name recognition, but TikTok rival Triller is still making moves. Triller announced this week that it’ll go public by way of a reverse merger with Massachusetts-based video tech company SeaChange, with the new combo company calling itself “TrillerVerz Corp.”
Start building your brand book with a visioning workshop
Before spending six figures to develop a brand ethos, early-stage startup teams must first create a solid foundation that reflects their collective vision.
In the first of a series of articles on startup branding, Fuel Capital CMO Jamie Viggiano walks readers through the process of setting up a workshop where your founding team can “dig deep into your collective motivations, inspirations and ambition.”
This exercise is a critical investment: If you hire a branding agency or a consultant, they will do this work without you and the result will be inevitably less authentic.
“Skipping ethos work is a costly mistake that produces a disjointed and rudderless brand, directly and negatively impacting the growth potential of the company,” writes Viggiano.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Zillow makes house hunting a co-op game: The pandemic got people used to doing more stuff together remotely — working, watching movies, playing games, etc. It also spiked the popularity of poking around Zillow as a pastime. Zillow is mashing those two trends together, tapping Apple’s SharePlay to allow users to hunt for homes together from afar.
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