Daily Crunch: Andreessen Horowitz backs Synonym’s development of ‘fermentation farms’

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Hot damn, it’s happening: A bunch of the TechCrunch team are on airplanes, aeroplanes and other spellings of flying vessels to come join us in San Francisco for Disrupt. To say that we are excited would be using altogether too few syllables. Lauren S made us a user’s guide to TechCrunch Disrupt along with a guide to all the receptions, parties and other cool extracurriculars. See you soon! — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • What’s another word for Synonym?: Ever heard of a “fermentation farm”? Well you have now. Christine covered Synonym Biotechnologies’ pre-seed round, with big backer Andreessen Horowitz, in which the company plans to build giant fermentation farms so nonpharmaceutical companies can mass-produce bioproducts like dairy proteins.
  • A rose by any other name: “Ad,” “Sponsored,” whatever you want to call it, Google is making it so when you perform a mobile search, you will definitely know if it is some sponsored content or an organic search result. Ivan has more.
  • Legless for a while longer: We were promised legs, but now Ivan writes that it could be another year for any Meta leg-equipped avatars to appear in Horizon Worlds.

Startups and VC

Even the largest landfills in Indonesia are at (or nearing) capacity, and the government has set an ambitious target of 30% waste reduction by 2025, reports Catherine.  Waste4Change is one of the companies that wants to help by increasing rates of recycling and enabling better waste management. The startup, which currently manages more than 8,000 tons of waste every year, announced today that it has raised $5 million in Series A funding, co-led by AC Ventures and PT Barito Mitra Investama.

And we have five more for you:

DIY: 5 ways disruptive component startups can win over OEMs


A skilled blacksmith works in his workshop hammering an iron at high temperature on his anvil to create a new piece by making many sparks fly in the dark; hardware startups

Image Credits: Alan Rubio (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Ori Mor writes that hardware startup founders have a uniquely hard time. Only a small fraction of tech investors will even take meetings with them, and building product pipelines is often an irregular, even chaotic process.

Instead of relying on sales and marketing teams to build a customer base for his hardware components startup, Mor’s company started building devices that used his company’s tech.

“There’s no point rushing when building a hardware startup,” says Mor. “Instead, start by making just a single prototype that you can use to show OEMs.”

Three more from the TC+ team:

TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can sign up here. Use code “DC” for a 15% discount on an annual subscription!

Big Tech Inc.

Rebecca got the scoop on Sono Motors’ new Sion solar electric vehicle and some face time with Whoopi Goldberg (pictures to prove it). Though the family-friendly vehicle comes in at $25,000, Rebecca points out that the interior is roomier than it looks from the outside, but also that no cup holders in the back might not go over with some American families.

And we have five more for you: