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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Wednesday, March 30, 2022! It’s day two of Y Combinator’s Demo Day, which means that the TechCrunch team has been looking at more than 400 startups over two days.
If you’ll forgive us, our brains are dripping out of our ears as we stare vacantly in the middle distance after some information overwhelms – but one thing’s for sure: It’s hella exciting times in startup land and across the ecosystem.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- ‘From tiny to mighty’: Fintech reporter Mary Ann Azevedo hit it out of the park today with some financial news. First, she wrote about Cross River Bank, which secured a giant round of $620 million that put its valuation at over $3 billion. This is not shocking due to the amount of venture capital being pumped into the sector. However, Cross River was not only an early recipient of fintech funding, getting $30 million back in 2016, but has been profitable since 2010.
- Helping CFOs manage high growth: Mary Ann’s other story was about a couple of Palantir alums out to provide tools for CFOs of high-growth companies. Mosaic raised $25 million in Series B funding from Founders Fund to continue developing what the company calls a “strategic finance” category to get all departments within a company talking about finance. When you are growing, knowing your financial status is certainly important.
- Dyson wants you to mask up: Reporter Brian Heater wins “headline of the day” for his story about, you guessed it, Dyson’s new wearable air purifier.
Startups and VC
It’s day two of Y Combinator Demo Day, and the TechCrunch team is back on the case, sifting the sparkly from the meh for your reading pleasure. Lucas examined the crypto startups plotting out their plans for world domination, and we took a separate look at the fintech companies and AI companies that stuck their heads over the parapet as well.
If you have wild dreams of raising funding from Y Combinator yourself, pop along to our Early Stage conference in a couple of weeks, where Y Combinator’s Dalton Caldwell is doing a “how to get into YC” presentation. If you really want to submerge yourself in demo days, check out today’s excellent episode of our “Equity” podcast as well. I mean, with a title like “Demo days definitely amplify a brand, but not the one you think,” how could you not?
In exciting hardware news, Boston Dynamics is starting sales of Stretch. It’s not as cute as the dog-shaped robot, but probably more helpful for maneuvering around a warehouse.
🎵 Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure imagination:
- Good news for lovers of ShhTech – Minut raised a chunk of cash for privacy-forward noise monitors so your neighbor’s Airbnb guests can dial it down a bit.
- Bored of range anxiety as you whoosh around in your EV? Coreshell is rethinking batteries with a small change to the manufacturing process that increases existing battery capacity by a third.
- A propos EVs: Flux Marine just raised $15 million to help you stick to the rivers and the lakes you are used to with its electric outboard engines.
- I can only assume that Brian was channeling his inner John Lennon, gently humming “all we are saying is give bees a chance” as he takes a closer look at Beewise.
- Skiff is working on end-to-end encrypted workspaces for the security-forward among us.
- A good day for the cybersecurity nerds: In addition to Skiff’s round, we have Cyberpion collecting $27 million to help protect businesses from external attacks.
- And finally, all good things come in threes: Wing Security raised $26 million to help companies monitor and bolster their SaaS security across the myriad solutions that go into building a modern business.
How to make a teaser trailer for your startup pitch
When you have an opportunity to sell an investor on your idea, it will likely be via a video call, not across a table or desk.
Considering how many pitch calls investors take on a daily basis, “this new pitching model presents a new problem for founders,” says Flint Capital partner Andrew Gershfeld, whose firm reviews approximately “1,500 online pitches per year.”
To cut through the noise, he recommends that founders create a “teaser trailer” to share with their network before they begin approaching angels and VCs.
According to Gershfeld, “since we’re not getting the same in-person meeting opportunities, this is how founders can hook investors’ attention.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Get your groove on with friends: Spotify’s latest update for its Blend playlist creation tool lets you see where your music tastes overlap with a friend and then provides you with a common playlist.
- Google’s been busy: If you haven’t checked in with Google in, oh, about a day, we have some news for you. The first is that Google Workspace customers who are also Markdown fans got some good news in an update that Google Docs can now automatically convert Markdown formatting to rich text. Next, we go over to Chrome OS, which is launching a new version of its operating system — the 100th, to be exact. One of the changes you will notice is the launcher, which we report now leaves space for other windows. Lastly, Google rolled out improvements on its search safety and how it will handle “personal crisis” queries.
- EU wants products to last longer so they don’t end up in landfills: As the shift to a circular economy gains speed, the European Union is laying out some plans for ecodesign with a goal of products lasting longer so that they can be either reused or recycled.
- WhatsApp gives a voice to 7B messages: Reporter Manish Singh admits to never having used WhatsApp to send a voice message — and found that he is in the minority. The communications giant said an average of 7 billion voice messages are transmitted through its app every day, and to celebrate, it’s adding some new features, like pausing during a message and being able to listen to it before hitting “send.”
- Visa joins the NFT movement: The trend of NFTs has certainly hit the world of e-commerce, and credit card giant Visa wants in on the action. Its new NFT creator program aims to help small businesses get into the digital economy through a one-year immersion program.