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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for November 11, 2021. Below we have the first news item I have seen in which a company not diving into crypto was met by cheers, so read on for some narrative violations. In TechCrunch news, Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck is coming to TC Sessions: Space 2021, which has me hype! — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Discord backtracks on crypto push: After tweeting out a screenshot of NFTs inside of Discord, the social chat company said that it has “no current plans to ship this internal concept.” Given that every brand with a pulse is trying to smear crypto magic all over itself, the Discord community backlash to crypto integration feels notable.
- The public is now at risk: Today’s tech boom is different from the dot-com era’s own period of outlandish exuberance. But after a long run of rich valuations and revenue-light companies being mostly constrained to the private market, we’re seeing more risk spill into the pockets of the investing public. It’s something to worry about.
- GoTo raises $1.3 billion in pre-IPO deal: The hybrid of Indonesian ride-hailing giant Gojek and e-commerce player Tokopedia is not shy about adding funds to its accounts ahead of its public debut. And it could be worth around $30 billion after this latest infusion of cash. When GoTo does in fact go to the public markets, its IPO will make waves around the world.
Before we dive into a whole mess of startup news, let’s talk about SoftBank. After its first Vision Fund wound down — though results are still trickling in from that particular capital vehicle — it seemed that Tiger and other groups took SoftBank’s leading-investor mantle. But the Japanese telco and investing powerhouse has put $3 billion into India this year alone and could do more next year. That says quite a lot about Indian startups and about SoftBank itself.
- Stripe for debt: That’s what Sivo is building it appears, by offering access to debt via an API. Stripe, of course, has generated oceans of revenue by offering payments as a service via an API along with a growing stable of fintech products. In essence, Sivo should be able to help startups offer debt products without having to use their own balance sheet as their funding source.
- Why is everyone obsessed with collectibles? I don’t know, but alternative asset investing is still putting up impressive growth. We can tell that thanks to Alt raising a $75 million round today. It’s currently a platform for buying and selling rare sports cards, or what you might prefer to refer to as IRL NFTs.
- Instacart wants to bring you groceries tomorrow: Grocery delivery unicorn Instacart is rolling out lower-fee, next-day delivery and partnering with dollar stores for more goods. DoorDash, another delivery company, is also expanding its product remit. Uber Eats as well. It appears that every delivery company wants to deliver pretty much everything, in time.
- Ro wants to freeze your swimmers: Troubled health unicorn Ro — parent company of well-known ED pill slinger Roman – is in talks to buy sperm storage company Dadi, TechCrunch reports. The expansion into sperm management makes sense given that the company has already done the work to ensure that folks are able to produce said material.
- More money to help folks buy, sell houses more quickly: It seems that every market will have a few startups that want to make the process of buying and selling homes easier. Because it’s an awful experience everywhere, I suppose. Today’s example is Chilean proptech startup Houm, which has just raised a $35 million Series A.
- Helium Health buys Meddy: In a notable bit of M&A, Nigeria-based Helium Health is buying UAE-based doctor-booking platform Meddy. Terms were not disclosed, but the transaction underscores how quickly the African and Middle Eastern startup markets are maturing.
- Today’s Tiger deal is Hive: Berlin-based Hive provides software to help DTC brands manage fulfillment. The company just raised a $34 million round, which might sound small but the company had raised $10 million prior to the new investment.
- And in case you forgot about SPACs, smart building tech concern Brivo intends to ride one to the public markets, giving itself an $800 million valuation.
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Big Tech Inc.
- Google’s other bet that isn’t Other Bets? If we’re reading this item correctly, Google is reincarnating Google Labs, a now-internal group that will “contain Google’s existing AR and VR efforts.” Which, cool, every major company wants to have a metaverse play, but doesn’t Alphabet already have a skunkworks team called Other Bets?
- Like YouTube, Instagram would really like you to use its TikTok clone: TechCrunch has notes today on Instagram’s bonus program that the social network has in place to drive more usage of its Reels product. YouTube is also cutting checks and steering users to its own short-form video service.
- Good news: “Twitter no longer crops image previews on the web.”
- And from the Troubled EV Company Beat today, Foxconn is buying Lordstown Motor’s factory for nearly a quarter billion dollars and intends to help build the latter company’s EVs. We will believe the latter when we see it.
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If you’re curious about how these surveys are shaping our coverage, check out this article on TechCrunch+ from Ben Parr, “Collect and leverage zero-party data to personalize marketing and drive growth.” If you have any questions, join a live chat with the author on Wednesday, November 17 at 3 p.m. PST/6 p.m. EST when he joins Walter Thompson for a Twitter Spaces event hosted by the TechCrunch account.