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Welcome to the Daily Crunch for Monday, April 18, 2022. There’s been a ton of fun and — dare we say it — surprising content on TechCrunch over the past few days. We were psyched to read Devin’s review of Playdate, the weirdest little hand-held gaming console that’s seen the light of day. We also loved the discussion of poison pills and how they work on the Equity podcast today, so be sure to give that a listen as well.
Have a delightful week, y’all. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Giving healthcare a booster shot: Hospitals and other healthcare facilities faced employee burnout and a smaller pool of talent to pull from even before the pandemic. Clipboard Health, an online marketplace that matches available nurses and other healthcare professionals with facilities that need them, is now announcing a large chunk of capital that it took in through two separate deals over the past two years to expand into more cities. We see it as a much needed shot in the arm so the health industry can retain good talent while also providing the kind of work flexibility other sectors are now embracing.
- Union54 aims to create a homegrown Visa, Mastercard alternative: A story that got a lot of eyes on it today was Tage’s coverage of Zambian card-issuing fintech Union54 raising $12 million in a round led by Tiger Global. If its early growth metrics are any indication, we think the startup is well on its way to achieving its goal. Since its participation in Y Combinator’s summer batch 2021 and official launch in October, Union54 has issued slightly over half a million virtual debit cards to customers and claims to have processed volumes now reaching double digits in millions of dollars.
- It was an electric vehicle news kind of day: Not only can we be your guide to all the EV SPAC investigations going on, we’ve also got an inside look at the EV and plug-in hybrid vehicles that stood out at the New York Auto Show. Next, Tesla decided not to continue making the brand’s Gen 2 mobile connector come standard on new vehicles. Instead, you’ll have to add the charging kit for the reduced price of $200. And finally, check out Kirsten’s latest newsletter (sign up for The Station here), chock full of Jeep EV goodness and other mobility news.
Startups and VC
Over on TC+, Alex observes that valuations in the world of startups have plummeted by 20%, and Natasha observes that we’re still in a founder-friendly market, overall. The two articles make for a really fascinating read side by side.
The amazingly named Ellis raised $5.6 million to help international students find a foothold in the U.S. and to deal with the messy logistics of settling in these United States. I truly wish this was around when I first landed on these shores; what a good idea.
In other words:
- Om nom: Nowadays puts its own spin on plant-based nuggs and raised $7 million to grow its presence in the market.
- Like trees, only more so: When it comes to carbon capture, trees have an excellent resume, but Living Carbon wants to give trees some on-the-job training to get even better at it.
- More fins than a shark: We love Mary Ann’s fintech roundup newsletter, which officially launches May 1st. Get your sub on to the Fintech Roundup or read the latest issue as a quick taster, where she covers how Brex, Emburse and Zact are spoiling for a fight in the world of expense management.
- Something rotten in the state of India: Sequoia capital in India publicly stated that it’s going to take action, as several of its startups were in the crosshairs for fraud allegations.
Cram downs are a character test for VCs and founders
Follow-on investors who take advantage of the closing IPO window to foist unfavorable terms on founders are “the bottom feeders of the venture capital business,” writes Steve Blank in TechCrunch+.
As the IPO window slams shut, it’s common for entrepreneurs who have invested years of their lives into a startup to accept “take-it-or-leave it” terms, says Blank, an adjunct professor at Stanford and senior fellow for Innovation at Columbia University.
Ultimately, “VCs will stop playing this game when founders stop negotiating.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Reverse engineers find evidence of Twitter’s Edit button in development: Just when you’ve started to forget the whole Twitter Edit button thing, we’re here to remind you of every … little … advancement. Today, we came across a few reverse engineers who tweeted how the Edit button might work and how it could be implemented. The implementation part is one that is hotly debated, with one of the arguments being it could “be heavily abused to mislead the public as to what was originally said.”
- Kittens will be exploding all over Netflix: If you have any children that adore the Exploding Kittens game, prepare for them to have their minds blown thanks to Netflix and its plans to create not only a mobile game, but also a new animated television series. We note Netflix is testing the market to see if this kind of move will drive new players to the game.