Daily Crunch: Spotify packs its 2021 year-end recap with new sharing, social features
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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for December 1, 2021! Yes, we’ve made it to the final inning of the year, which means that the news cycle will slow and we all get some time off? Right? Probably not, but in alternative good news, Brian Heater’s robotics newsletter launches tomorrow. It’s called Actuator and it is going to kick maximum backside. Snag it here! —Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- China may ban foreign IPOs: Big news from a leading startup market as reporting indicates that the Chinese government may block a method by which domestic tech companies are listed on foreign exchanges. Alibaba and others have used the technique, which opens the door for further economic and technological decoupling between China and the rest of the world.
- Match settles with Tinder co-founders: Allegations that “IAC and its then-subsidiary Match Group had manipulated financial data” to put a low valuation on Tinder when it was folded into the larger company have been settled for more than $400 million. That’s a right bucket of duckets.
- Taxpayer money to support Chinese surveillance? In a critical piece of reporting, TechCrunch’s Zack Whittaker writes that “at least three U.S. federal agencies, including the military, have purchased China-made video surveillance equipment banned from use in the federal government.” Not good!
Before we dive into a bevy of discrete pieces of startup news, another 3D printing company is going public! Via a SPAC! This time it’s Austin-based Essentium. Recall that Desktop Metal went public via a SPAC previously. Its stock traded as high as $34.94. It is worth $6.08 per share today.
- From coaching to SaaS: Providing coaching to corporate staff is big business, but it remains, at its core, a human game. That means modest margins. Sounding Board is moving from the coaching world into the coaching software industry, which helped it land a $30 million Series B. Jazz Venture Partners led the round, which is a firm I had not heard of before.
- Butter wants to cut the churn: To avoid making an extensive butter/churn joke that would surely get cut before this newsletter reaches you, let it suffice to say that Butter, a startup, is in the anti-churn game. Yes, Butter doesn’t want you to have to churn all by yourself. See? Impossible to avoid. Regardless, the company just added $7 million to its accounts to help companies avoid losing revenue to payments issues.
- What’s AI good for? A lot, it turns out. Our own Devin Coldewey has notes on how AI is showing promising signs as a solution for both protein generation and mathematics. Startups, take note!
- And speaking of AI, Sydney-based Harrison.ai has raised $129 million (AUD) for its work to build medical tech using artificial intelligence.
- Goalsetter is taking on youth financial literacy: Let’s be clear, most people are bad with money. This is for a number of reasons, including the simple fact that financial education in the U.S. is weak at best. Kid-focused financial platform Goalsetter wants to work on the matter by tying child access to allowances and the like to learning more about money.
- Republic buys Seedrs: Republic helps private-market shares trade in the United States. Seedrs helped U.K.-based companies crowdfund equity rounds. Now, thanks to a $100 million deal, the American company will own the European concern.
- Do you want a weed credit card? Buying legal cannabis is a pain in the neck in the United States, thanks to both historically racist laws and neo-Puritan forces. Regardless, SuperNet has built a credit card that will work for, and with, dispensaries. A small step, but a welcome one.
- Nuro + 7/11 = autonomous deliveries in California: Yes, another week, another news item of a small-scale self-driving service making its way to market. While I am not sure that Slurpee delivery is the real killer app for autonomous delivery, I would try this out for no other reason than to encourage more of the same.
- And if you need even more, the Equity crew recently dug into the matter of founders, CEO status and when a company might outgrow its progenitor as chief exec.
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“Marketers need a new plan of action that puts creativity before quantity, audience before engine, and sets connection as the top priority,” says Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO of audio and video content marketing platform Casted.
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Big Tech Inc.
Today is the day! Yes, it is Spotify Unwrapped 2021, which means that we’ve spent the afternoon posting to Twitter all about our excellent musical tastes. TechCrunch has more here on what’s new.
- Facebook talks kid safety after delaying E2E encryption: In theory, Facebook — Meta, but whatever — is moving to roll out end-to-end encryption to its messaging service in 2023. That’s thanks to a delay. And, in a move seemingly set up to head off criticism from the usual suspects, is talking up its child protective work in the meantime.
- Niantic buys Lowkey: The gaming company is snagging the team behind Lowkey, which helps users “capture and share gameplay moments,” TechCrunch reports.
- Social media updates! TikTok has added new creator monetization features, while Reddit has rolled out a number of platform updates. Perhaps, in time, Reddit will find a way to un-break its web experience.
And, yes, even more from Amazon:
- Amazon Lex brings automated call transcript review to chatbot building
- AWS launches new SageMaker features to make scaling machine learning easier
- AWS introduces DMS Fleet Advisor to simplify data migration to Amazon cloud
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