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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for December 10, 2021! Yes, it is Friday at last, which means we’re about one week away from news grinding to a halt so that we can all enter nerd hibernation for two weeks. Not that your humble servant is counting down. Still, we have a really solid mix of tech news today, featuring companies big and small. To work! —Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Better.com CEO gets the (partial) boot: It’s rare that a tech exec goes viral. Mark Zuckerberg has managed thanks to some of his more stilted attempts at engaging with regulars. But most tech denizens just aren’t pop culture figures. Until they are, of course. Such is the case with Better.com’s CEO, who went viral — everywhere, including TikTok — for callously firing a bunch of his staff via Zoom. Anyway, it turns out that he’s not a lovely person the rest of the time either and is now stepping back from his company.
- Europe’s tech boom set to continue: The Exchange crew spent a good chunk of this Friday parsing the latest Atomic-Dealroom report on the European startup scene. Our takeaway was that while 2021 was a wildly good year for EU startups, the best could be just ahead, in calendar terms.
- Hungry? Just Flink it: OK so it turns out that turning startup name “Flink” into a verb is a bit awkward, but with the German instant grocery delivery service raising three-quarters of a billion dollars in a single go — pushing its valuation to $2.85 billion — it seems fair to expect that the Berlin-based company wants to reach verb status at least in its home market.
The 2021 IPO cycle is coming to a close, with just Samsara’s debut yet to come by our reckoning. So what should we make of HashiCorp’s and Nubank’s pair of public offerings that touched down this week? That the market for both OSS and fintech remains more than attractive enough to defend unicorn valuations.
- HURR wants to iterate on the Rent the Runway model: Rent the Runway’s IPO showed that the innovative business was struggling to cover its own operating costs. It has since stumbled as a public business. But that’s not stopping HURR, a British comp to the U.S. fashion rental giant. However, as TechCrunch noted in a bulletin regarding the company’s recent $5.4 million seed round, it has a few business model tweaks and additions that could prove material.
- Wisdom sounds pretty neat: Wisdom is a startup that, per TechCrunch reporting, has built a “social audio app that’s focused on surfacing ‘life advice’ and broadening access to mentorship.” It sounds a bit like the Equity podcast, and by like we mean the complete opposite. Jokes aside, Wisdom just raised $2 million more. It declined to share user numbers, instead offering up the community-adjusted EBITDA of audio startup metrics, namely that “mentors on its platform have shared some 600,000 minutes” of audio. Cool?
- Startup raises from Tiger, doubles valuation, didn’t even need the cash: I think that we could recycle that teaser line daily in this newsletter and not really ever miss. Still, today’s Tiger round is Nuvocargo, a Latin American logistics startup that is focused on facilitating cross-border trade. Its new $20.5 million round more than doubled its valuation to $180 million, up from $70 million earlier this year. “The company says it still had most of that cash in the bank when Tiger approached it,” TechCrunch notes.
- Everyone is building dark stores: The dark-store model for building rapid-delivery businesses is more than just a European project. Tiggy, a Canadian startup, just raised a $6.35 million round for its work.
- Breakout Ventures makes it to fund two: That’s the word from our own Connie Loizos. Fund II from Breakout is a $112.5 million vehicle, including money from the Thiel Foundation, oddly enough. Thiel money recycling in tech has struck us as odd ever since we realized he was funding a political candidate busy attacking tech companies.
- And in case you need to have a little fun, here’s a fast-paced Equity episode with Natasha and Mary Ann.
3 disruptive trends that will shape marketing in 2022
Since the pandemic began, the rules of the game for growth marketing have changed considerably.
Consumers are embracing Apple’s iOS 14.5’s privacy changes, regulators are taking a greater interest in browser cookies, and The Great Resignation are just a few X factors, but there are many others.
“What worked yesterday may not work today and likely won’t work tomorrow,” writes Jonathan Metrick, chief growth officer at Sagard & Portage Ventures, and Simon Lejeune, user acquisition lead at Wealthsimple.
Here’s what they’re preparing for:
- Less data, more privacy and the return of growth hacking.
- TikTok, influencers and the dominance of native creative.
- The Great Resignation and the Gettysburg for growth talent.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Jumia reports solid Black Friday data: While Jumia’s earnings have left quite a lot to be desired, the company did share that its Black Friday cycle saw a 30% jump in GMV. That’s good. Enough to truly shake up its economic performance? We’ll see in its Q4 2021 numbers. Still, it’s a nice little data point about the growth of e-commerce in Africa.
- Coinbase Ventures backs Router Protocol: There are layer one chains in crypto, like Ethereum. And there are layer two chains, like Polygon, which sit atop the Ethereum layer one chain. Router Protocol, in contrast, is a “cross-chain infrastructure [built] to facilitate communication across layer 1 and layer 2 blockchain solutions.” Why not just build better layer one chains? Not sure, frankly.
- There’s a new zero-day vuln out there: Here’s some bad news for your Friday, namely that many popular web services are “reportedly vulnerable to a zero-day exploit affecting a popular Java logging library.” Great!
- Spain wants more tech entrepreneurs: TechCrunch reports that a draft law relating to startups is making progress in the country, hoping to “cut red tape and remove bureaucratic obstacles for founding and investing in startups” in the country.
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