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Hello! You’ve got one more day of just me before I take a well-deserved Friday off and Kyle fills in, so I have decided to make an extra-large version of Daily Crunch. We hope many of you are hanging out with the cryptocurrency gang down in Miami for TC Sessions: Crypto. As you can see, a few stories have come out of it already and I’m sure there is more to come.
Oh, and if you have 30 minutes of downtime, I think you’ll enjoy Alex’s interview with some corporate comms experts on the ins and outs of working with startups and public companies. Also, check out Haje’s Pitch Deck Teardown of Sateliot, which has a lot going for it, but needs last names for its team members.
Let’s dig into today’s news! — Christine
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Feature dump: For those of you who love to use Google Maps, Google Search and Google Shopping, boy, does the company have some new features for you. Aisha breaks them down.
- Putting money where your mouth is: Index Ventures is betting that the economic downturn will inspire the creation of more startups and is putting $300 million on that horse to win, Mike writes.
- “A goal without a plan is just a wish”: Mozilla released its “State of Mozilla” report today, and Frederic has a look at how the Firefox maker sees its next chapter.
Startups and VC
More cybersecurity M&A happening here as Ingrid reports that Palo Alto Networks is buying Cider Security in a deal said to be valued at up to $300 million. This is a move that she writes has been rumored for a bit, but now some pieces have fallen into place, including telling investors, that make it more apt to be happening.
Mary Ann spoke with some crypto-focused venture capitalists who told her that they were already proceeding with caution when it came to deploying their funds into cryptocurrency but are now worried that fallout from FTX’s collapse may make it harder to get limited partners on board for future funds.
And we have six more for you:
- Driving more than deliveries: General Motors’ e-delivery van subsidiary BrightDrop says it is on the road to reaching $1 billion in revenue next year. Jaclyn has more.
- Adventure is out there!: Gravitics raises $20 million and wants to be the go-to source for standard parts that will enable us to live and work in space, Aria reports.
- Learn from someone who’s also been in the trenches: Mike was covering the Slush conference this week and writes up comments from Atomico CEO Niklas Zennström, who says it’s time for founders and VCs to be okay with down rounds.
- Don’t read anything into this: Contracts are the way of the world, but also a good way to make your head spin. Enter Terzo, which Kyle reports raised $16 million to extract key data from contracts so you can save the aspirin for another day.
- Bringing some pizzazz back to corporate retreats: Remote work got us all over the place, but BoomPop designs high-end offsites so that even the most far-flung employee can feel connected, Connie reports.
- Making history: In case you missed it, Christine wrote about how Upside Foods was the first cultivated meat company to essentially receive a blessing from the FDA and that its cell-cultured chicken production method was safe.
SaaS startups that ignored VC advice to cut sales and marketing were better off this year
Many VCs advised founders to dial back their sales and marketing outlays to preserve runway this year. And, as it turns out, many VCs have been giving the wrong advice.
According to data from Capchase, a fintech that offers startups nondilutive capital, “companies that didn’t cut spending on sales and marketing were in a better financial and growth position now than those that did when the market started to dip in 2022,” reports Rebecca Szkutak.
Of the 500 companies surveyed, bootstrapped firms showed the strongest growth, said Miguel Fernandez, Capchase’s co-founder and CEO:
“What we have seen in this case, and what is most interesting, is the best companies have actually cut every other cost except sales and marketing.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Overindulging in all that glory might have been your undoing: When someone gives you the chance to work on something big, you don’t question it. However, in FTX’s case, Alex writes that maybe the beleaguered company “was the real poster child for 2021’s startup excess.”
- Slow adoption: Service 1st Financial grabbed $20 million to sell homeowners on better ways to upgrade their HVAC systems. Tim has more.
- The aftermath: Jacquelyn examines how FTX’s collapse affected market makers and funds.
Big Tech Inc.
Please enjoy Brian’s extra-large Actuator newsletter today, where he breaks down Boston’s tech scene, going all over the city, talking to Tye Brady, getting in some work with robotics, and taking “a field trip to some of Boston’s best startups.”
For those of you who like to tweet in threads, Twitter is working on a feature for you that will divide long text into a thread automatically, Ivan reports. This move will reduce the need to break up all of your carefully curated word vomit into 280-character segments.
Meanwhile, over in Binance land, co-founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, spoke with Anita this morning at TC Sessions: Crypto, and Romain grabbed some of the highlights, including CZ’s thoughts on FTX: “We were the last straw that broke the camel’s back.” Then Manish pulled out some of CZ’s comments as they relate to Binance’s business viability in India. Namely, there is none.
Today, there are six more we thought you should read:
- On cloud nine: Apple’s iCloud website is a little different now with apps that look like widget-styled tiles instead of icons, Ivan writes.
- More layoffs: Roku says it is also cutting jobs, citing economic conditions for why 200 U.S. employees will be let go, Lauren writes.
- Controlling misinformation: PR software giant Cision acquired Factmata, which, if you don’t know, is fighting fake news, Ingrid reports.
- Car porn: Toyota’s new all-electric SUV concept has a sleek look and plant-based seating, Jaclyn reports.
- Surprise, surprise, surprise: Blizzard Activision shocked us all by suspending most of its games in China, citing expiration of licensing agreements with NetEase. Rita has more.
- Hello, my name is…: We’ve been following the Meta India departures, but now have some news that Meta appointed a new India head, Manish reports.