Welcome to the Daily Crunch for Wednesday, April 13, 2022! Tomorrow, we are giddy with excitement to be attending Early Stage (if you’re coming, don’t forget to submit your pitch deck!). If you didn’t get your tix yet, it’s still possible to snag a last-minute ticket to join the fun in San Francisco.
On Equity today, the podcast crew argues that VC needs crypto a lot more than the other way around, so give that a listen as well!
¡Hasta mañana! – Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Duking it out over corporate spend management: The competition to help large enterprises be more efficient with their spending just gained another fighter. Brex, which initially focused on startups with its corporate card, is now getting into software. It’s already secured DoorDash as a customer, so the leap into the corporate spend pool was more of a cannonball than a dipping a toe. Ironically, on the same day, Mary Ann wrote about Emburse, a spend management company that started in enterprise that’s now going after Brex’s small business territory. Ding ding!
- Today’s TechCrunch+ action: Alex opined about whether the SaaS selloff is over now that the public markets are leveling out, saying, “Ironically, interest rates may be the best reason to expect that most of the selloff in software stocks is behind us.” Meanwhile, Anna dove into investment in Latin America, where numbers show a slowdown, but it might just be “a correction after some overheating,” Anna reported. Don’t get out the tissues yet — with all of the seed investment still flowing into the region and some new funds focusing their sights on LatAm, there’s “lots of dry powder still to be deployed” apparently.
- Former Xinjiang prisoner describes experience in Chinese detention camps: At this point, it is hard to not have heard about the Chinese detention camps that are accused of incarcerating people of certain ethnic backgrounds. Zack interviewed one individual who arrived in Washington, D.C., with his family after being granted temporary immigration status by the U.S. government. What’s the tech angle? In the camp and after his release to house arrest, Ovalbek Turdakun said Hikvision-branded cameras were “always on and watching.”
Startups and VC
There’s been a ton of EV companies that made their way to the public markets by being “aquired” by an already-listed company, rather than going the regular IPO route. Jaclyn argues that the EV companies should have pumped the brakes a little before jumping on the SPAC bandwagon.
Meanwhile, fresh from our keeping-an-eye-on-the-propaganda-machine department, TikTok was doing what it could to shed some Russian state media propaganda from its platform, but a study reveals that it’s not particularly successful: The platform continues to be dominated by pro-war content.
It’s simply the best; better than all the rest:
- Pound, shilling and cedi, oh my: Already active in Lagos and Nigeria, digital bank Umba just raised $15 million to expand to Egypt, Ghana and Kenya.
- A hire state of consciousness: Talent network Handshake is eyeing a European expansion, acquiring Talentspace to make that vision a reality.
- Just another brick in the wall(et): There are a bunch of reasons why a shared wallet might make sense, but there are few high-tech solutions for that sort of thing. Braid is here to challenge how we think about shared bank accounts.
- No more five-finger discount: Amazon’s “just grab what you need and wander off’ tech is coming to an MLB stadium near you. Well, near you if you live in Houston, Texas.
- Domo arigato, doctor roboto: Nurse-assisting robotics firm Diligent raised $30 million.
Dear Sophie: I didn’t win the H-1B lottery. What are my next steps?
I earned my master’s degree in business analytics last year, and have been working for a company while on OPT since then.
My employer entered me in the H-1B lottery last month, but I haven’t been selected. I heard that my degree now qualifies as a STEM field, making me eligible to continue working under OPT.
How can I stay in the States?
— Astute Analyst
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Pokémon Go creator thinks it has a gem on its hands with new Peridot game: I am not a gamer, but apparently a lot of my colleagues are, based on the amount of watercooler chatter that happens when new games come out. Peridot appeals to your love of taking care of animals, but with augmented reality, you can now go treasure hunting and explore new places together.
- WhatsApp approved to extend payments service to 100 million India users: That’s both a good thing and a bad thing, we report. While this does give the Meta-owned service a greenlight, regulators say it has to do a slow rollout. This is giving rival companies a chance to gain a bigger foothold in the region.
- Just when the European Commission thought its Digital Services Act was good to go: European consumer organization BEUC, a collection of consumer organizations, asked the EU not to weaken key provisions aimed at trader traceability, prohibiting deceptive design, and banning the use of children’s data and sensitive data for ad targeting. Not sure why they would not want to go full-force on those, but we report that these deals are often not done with transparency.
- Switch to Android app no longer just a rumor: If you are an iOS user wanting to leave your iPhone behind in favor of a smartphone on Google’s Android OS, you are in luck. Google quietly launched the Switch to Android app on the App Store so your transition is as smooth as possible.
- Read the latest in the Better.com saga: Spoiler alert: More layoffs are said to be on the horizon.