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Today, Haje is particularly psyched that he was able to talk the TechCrunch Plus team into letting him publish one of his Pitch Deck Teardowns without the paywall. If you’re not a TC+ subscriber, and you’re curious what a critique of a $65 million funding round at a $1.7 billion valuation looks like, it’s your lucky day. In addition to the freebie, it may be a particularly good time to subscribe, though, because we’re running a Labor Day sale on annual TC+ memberships.
We’re also going to Minneapolis soon, and we just published the agenda for the free TechCrunch virtual event that should totally have been called “All Eyez on Mi(nnesota).” With apologies to Tupac.
Happy rest-of-your-Thursday, and know that Friday is so close we can almost perceive the sweet stench of a long Labor Day weekend. Aaaaaah. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- When the doorbell beckons: Ring has a shiny new feature called Ring Intercom, designed to pair with existing apartment intercom systems. Brian has more.
- Valuation bump: Fintech fraud fighter Alloy is now worth $1.55 billion after banking $52 million in new funding, Mary Ann reports.
- Sharing is caring: Kyle spoke to Slack executive Steve Wood about the company’s new automation features that make workflows more shareable and discoverable by other Slack users, and where the company goes from here.
Startups and VC
Reddit’s acquisition spree is continuing this morning with news that the company is bringing the audience contextualization company Spiketrap’s technology in-house. Deal terms were not disclosed, but Reddit says Spiketrap’s AI-powered contextual analysis and tools will help Reddit to improve in areas like ad quality scoring and will boost prediction models for powering auto-bidding, Sarah reports.
A few more, now with Moar Emoji!
- 🐔 It’s clucking delicious: Christine reports that Simulate targets restaurants with its new simulated chicken products.
- 🍗 It’s a cutlet above and tastes most fowl: Apropos vegan chicken, Planted adds $72 million to its coop to put whole cuts of vegan chicken on Europe’s menu, Natasha L reports.
- 🎶 Text me on my cell phone: OneSignal sends a read receipt for $50 million worth of investment to automatically optimize SMS, in-app and email campaigns, Kyle reports.
- 🦠 Draughty by nature: The farming industry spends tons of money on artificial means of reinvigorating soil, but an all-natural solution may already exist. Puna Bio’s extremophile microbe may prove to be the key, and the company raised $3.7 million to figure out the rest, Devin reports.
- 🚫 We’re board already: As the end of COVID may be in sight, Connie reports that investors are losing their taste for board meetings in a big way.
9 strategies that will help you overcome your fear of fundraising
Pleasure cruises usually start with a ship-wide safety briefing where passengers put on life vests and learn what to do in an emergency.
Similarly, there’s no reason to be afraid to raise money to start a new venture, but founders should have a healthy respect for a process that’s not completely under their control.
“Any change is an opportunity to create leverage, and a downturn is no exception,” writes Masha Bucher, founder and general partner of early-stage VC firm Day One Ventures.
In this TC+ post, she discusses the current environment and shares “actionable tips for closing pre-seed to Series B rounds.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Yesterday, we reported on Snap laying off 20% of its workforce, which apparently included the entire Zenly team. Today we enjoyed Paul’s and Romain’s second-day look at what happened to the social mapping app, which was acquired by Snap in 2017, and perhaps to answer the bigger question of: “Zenly is still hugely popular, so why’s Snap shutting it down?”
- Yo ho, yo ho, it’s a commerce life for me: Ivan has the skinny on news that Disney+ is looking to have an in-app commerce feature that will enable users to scan a QR code and be taken to a site with branded goods.
- Taking a stand: A group of Googlers continues to speak out against their employer about the $1.2 billion Project Nimbus contract and the fear that Google’s technology will add to the digital surveillance in occupied Palestinian territories, Amanda reports.
- Edit yourself: Later this month, Twitter Blue subscribers will be among the first to get a chance to try out Twitter’s new feature that will enable them to edit their tweets, Ivan writes.
- Price tag: Instacart is acquiring Eversight, an AI-powered pricing and promotions company. Aisha writes that this pairing will “give retailers and CPG brands access to new individualized and customized pricing tools.”
- To the moon: Or really to the International Space Station. NASA is paying $1.4 billion to SpaceX in exchange for five more astronaut transportation flights, Aria writes.