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Whazzaaaaaaa, we’re back with another round of newsy goodness on this fine Tuesday. It’s a pretty wild news day today, with a bunch of startup high-jinx. Check out the site for all of it, of course, but we’ve selected some of the stories that piqued our attention today. Let’s gooooo! — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Say it, forget it, post it, regret it: WhatsApp was at the top of the news food chain today with two stories. The first is something users seem very excited about — more time to delete a message. In fact, users now have 60 hours to delete a message they didn’t like or didn’t mean to send. This is an extension from 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 16 seconds, Ivan reports. Excuse us while we go look at something…
- New feature alert: Now that we got that pesky deleting thing out of the way, WhatsApp also unveiled new privacy options for users that includes screenshot blocking and stealth mode, Taylor writes. The screenshot blocking option, which is a once-viewed message, reads very much like Inspector Gadget’s self-destructing message, minus the explosion.
- Gone phishing: Armenian startup EasyDMARC took in $2.3 million to tackle the billion-dollar phishing industry that has reared its ugly head since strangers have been able to get people to click on links. Mike reports that the company has bundled up the DMARC protocol, or ‘Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance’ into something easier for businesses to use.
Startups and VC
Watching startups play extreme hardball is our kind of spectator sport. In this case, only a year after going public, app growth and monetization agency AppLovin submitted an unsolicited proposal today to buy the game engine Unity in a deal worth $20 billion. But there’s a catch: Unity would have to terminate its recent deal to merge with ironSource, an AppLovin competitor, Amanda reports.
While plenty of crypto investors have scaled back their breakneck pace of startup investing as they wait for more clarity on the macro environment, Lucas reports that there have never been more firms and more money dedicated to blockchain venture investing. Portal Ventures closes on $35 million debut fund to feed the beast.
RealOpen’s latest product, RealScore, is a crypto credit scoring system for buyers and sellers of luxury real estate, Anita reports. Headed up by ‘Selling Sunset’ star Christine Quinn, the brokerage primarily serves high-net-worth clients who want to purchase property using cryptocurrency.
More more more more more more more:
- Yeah, but what do you really do: Paul reports that Truework, which helps lenders verify borrowers’ income and employment, raises $50 million.
- Canoo is up a creek, paddling like mad: Pre-revenue EV startup Canoo shows it is burning cash like there’s no tomorrow, in a race to hit a $1 billion EV sales goal, Rebecca reports.
- I didn’t like that one: Returning items from whence they came can be a royal PITA. ReturnLogic bags new money to make that less nightmarish, Christine writes.
- First, India. Next, the world!: Accel led a $2.6 million investment into Produze on its mission to help agri-producers in India export globally, reports Jagmeet.
- Fifty dune buggies, coming up!: Abigail caused us to get real excited: It looks like the Meyers Manx dune buggy is coming back, this time as an EV.
- Well that’ll cause a hangover: VC-backed low-alcohol aperitif startup Haus is up for sale after Series A falls through, writes Natasha M.
To optimize for growth, study your down-funnel metrics
Early-stage startups put a lot of time and energy into marketing and acquisition: These levers direct new customers into the top of your sales funnel to drive growth. And investors love growth.
But in August 2022, they like revenue even better, which is why Jonathan Martinez says companies should turn their attention to down-funnel metrics.
“Varying messaging by user cohort is your largest lever for moving users through the funnel,” writes Martinez in his latest TC+ post. “It’s imperative to slice users into their respective buckets, because it opens the opportunity for unique targeting and messaging.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
India game firms are not accepting the “game over” vibe they are getting from the country’s prime minister if the ban on Battlegrounds Mobile India continues. Some firms are decrying the ban as an “unfortunate event” and said such “arbitrary decisions run counter to established principles and will deny opportunities to an entire generation of youth in India,” Manish reports.
We have a gaggle of Google news today, starting with a fun story from Ivan about the search engine giant launching a website to help children practice reading. That is followed by talk of the company’s new campaign aimed at pressuring Apple into adopting Rich Communication Service, or RCS, which is a protocol designed to improve messaging between Android and iOS users, Aisha writes.
Brian has been following the movement of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 as it moved through both houses of Congress and to President Biden for his signature. He explains what this new bill, focused on U.S. semiconductor protection, entails.
- You can’t dance here: We were shocked to find out that TikTok’s parent, ByteDance, bought a hospital group in China, Rita writes. The company was already getting into healthcare, but going from acquiring a company that provides healthcare to owning hospitals is a big leap, or tour jeté, if you will.
- But you can dance here: Spotify has a pair of new features, with Aisha writing about updates to the home screen that include personalized discovery feeds for both music and podcasts. Meanwhile, Ivan reports on the company’s Soundtrap app for musicians, unveiling live collaboration and autosave features.
- Streaming while dancing: Looks like Walmart is getting into streaming services again, Lauren writes.
- Don’t dance with that cookie: The European Union is going after some entities it says have largely ignored warnings to bring their cookie consent banners into compliance, Natasha L reports.
- ICYMI: Here are some of yesterday’s big stories that spilled over into today: Kyle and Natasha M write about Groupon cutting over 500 staff and Sarah’s report on Snapchat’s new “Family Center” feature.