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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for January 13, 2022! Somehow it is already the close of Thursday, which is odd, as it was minutes ago Monday morning. Such is the pace of 2022! There is some hope in the market that things will slow down (and get cheaper), but that doesn’t seem super likely at the moment. More on that shortly, along with news that Facebook’s dating app is kaput? To which we can heartily reply: Facebook is still building dating apps? – Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- How Y Combinator’s new terms are changing startup investing: News that Y Combinator is boosting the capital it invests into its accelerator batch companies is driving a little bit of commentary. While Y Combinator investing more money is generally good news for startup founders, other investors have concerns.
- Instacart goes Blue Apron, because why not: Instacart is rolling out pre-made meals to its platform, expanding its product remit as the grocery delivery game becomes increasingly competitive. Recall that Instacart had a simply insanely good 2020, but that growth at the well-funded former startup slowed in 2021.
- Databricks does something other than file an S-1: Databricks, a massive private data analytics firm, has released a verticalized version of its “Lakehouse” product. What’s a lakehouse? The thing that sits atop a data lake, get it? Anyways, flagging this moment for you as the point in which we really, really knew that Databricks was a Big Kid company and that it should go public. C’mon Databricks, we want the damn numbers.
We have lots and lots to talk about today, so let’s dive right in:
- Turnip wants to power gaming communities: I joke about startup names from time to time, but I really do adore the moniker “Turnip.” It’s memorable, fun to say, and the company even has a .gg domain name. Why the weird TLD? Because Turnip is in the gaming community space, and a .gg is to gamers as a .eth is to a person with a Middlingly Messy Minx as their profile picture on Twitter.
- Arc shows there is more room in the market for alt-financing plays: Fresh out of stealth, Arc is building a product to both provide capital access to software companies and perhaps help them manage other elements of their financial lives. Our own Mary Ann Azevedo dug into the company’s plans.
- Gr4vy raises $15M for payments orchestration: While I try to avoid buzzwords in this newsletter when possible, I took a moment today to better learn what “payments orchestration” is, as that’s what Gr4vy just raised a Series A extension to work on. In practice, it appears to be a meta software layer that bundles all sorts of payments options and work into a single product. So it’s more like a bundle than a conductor, but I have to admit that “orchestration” sounds better than, say, coordination.
- Also shoutout to Gr4vy for flat-out using leetspeak in its name. Very retro.
- GoFundMe buys Classy: GoFundMe is perhaps best known as the U.S. healthcare and disaster safety net. Classy is a similar product, but aimed at helping nonprofits fundraise. The former has bought the latter in an equity deal, according to our own Amanda Silberling.
- What happens if you combine no-code, metaverse, games, user-generated content, $50 million, and Espoo? You get Yahaha Studios, which is based in Espoo, Finland. It just announced that it has raised $50 million over three rounds and is building a no-code service that it calls a “metaverse for games.” Not only am I curious thanks to Roblox’s huge success, but I like games, so find this to be perfectly neat.
- PUBG publisher sues around $5T in market cap over game clones: The publisher of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds mobile version, Krafton, is suing Apple (worth $3 trillion), Alphabet (worth a little less than $2 trillion), and Garena Online (valuation unknown) over what TechCrunch describes as copying its title’s “opening, its game structure and play, the combination and selection of weapons, armor and unique objects, locations, and the overall color schemes, materials and textures.”
- UBITS raises $25M to upskill workers in LatAm: The great edtech explosion of 2020 moderated somewhat in 2021, but now in 2022 we’re still seeing rounds get done in the space. UBITS is building tech to help “upskill” workers in Latin America, or essentially to train them for new, more complex work.
And so, so much more. This startup thinks it can offer a 4% savings rate, which is wild. This startup is building super cute sidewalk robots. Shield raised $15 million for communications compliance software, while Fintech Farm wants to build neobanks for different emerging markets.
Setting up high-conversion lead magnets that deliver value
It’s one thing to get a prospective customer to visit your site, but convincing them to reach for their wallet or share their phone number is a stretch.
As consumers gain greater control over their privacy, Aleksandra Korczynska, CMO of GetResponse, says marketers who align lead generation with the goals of prospective customers will gain a significant advantage.
“The key is building a foot-in-the-door technique for continuous engagement — lead magnets,” she says.
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Big Tech Inc.
- Meta shutters speed-dating service: At some point, Meta tries every digital product idea out there. I would not be shocked if deep inside the company’s headquarters there were a few developers frantically building an alpha version of a FriendFeed clone, even if Bret Taylor already quit the company to become a pseudo-CEO at Salesforce. On that theme, Facebook is shuttering a speed-dating service it apparently had cooked up. Will you miss it?
- Venmo introduces e-gift wrap? Now if you hate gift wrapping, and hate giving away money, you can be doubly annoyed thanks to Venmo’s new feature that will let users ‘wrap’ their money transfers. Now your parents cannot claim that giving money instead of a present isn’t festive!
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