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Welcome to the Daily Crunch for Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Today was one of those days reporters love — frenzied writing, source-gathering — all the trappings of a good newsletter! Join us as our fingers dance joyous Lindy Hop routines across our keyboards.
While we have you here: Do you love robots? We sure do! Join us in Boston on July 22 to nerd out about arms, assembly, articulation, actuators and Asimovian legal discourse. Come to think of it, we are 12% sure we’ll cover the rest of the robotics alphabet, too. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Fast slows to a halt: Despite raising quite a bit of cash last year, it seems one-click checkout company Fast found itself having to slow down. It all happened very quickly, though. Last Friday came reports that Fast was looking for a buyer, and then the company surprised us all today by announcing it will close its doors, with us reporting “that its 2021 revenue growth was modest, its cash burn high and its fundraising options limited.”
- Venture capital market still in motion: When funding deals in 2021 were that good, it was always going to be difficult to match. So it’s not much of a surprise that when The Exchange examined Crunchbase data on venture capital deals in the first quarter, it saw some slowdown. Given the current macroeconomic conditions, that is to be expected: inflation, higher interest rates, bigger check sizes, higher valuations. The Exchange’s recommendation? Be proactive in this environment.
- Peloton lowers price point for Guide: Peloton’s set-top system Guide is now available for sale at the sliced-and-diced lower price of $295 after earlier announcing it would be $495. This is not the first product where the fitness giant reduced the price — in the name of affordability perhaps?
Startups and VC
Hellooooo startup nerds. We’re back with another round of news from the world of startups, starting with an op-ed from Marc Schröder, managing partner at MGV, about how VCs don’t need to worry about a financial slowdown. A propos of VC — the biggest VC firms have a lot more assets under management than you might be aware of, as Connie explores in her article.
News I choose for you to peruse:
- In Walmart’s wake, Cake makes a break to partake in sexual health, with Target’s uptake: Sexual wellness company Cake was already in Walmart — now it’s gracing the shelves at Target, too.
- Lightning is heightening its cash reserves to help stablecoin brightening: It raised $70 million to move stablecoins through the Bitcoin network.
- Boba Networks circ’s the perks of ethernet scaling fireworks: Raising at a $1.5 billion valuation, the company added $45 million to its coffers to help Ethereum in its next stage of growth.
- Sit tight, Airbyte aims to delight by going off-site: The open source data integration platform launched a cloud service to serve a broader customer base.
- Warp corp raises to make terminal superb: The humble command line rarely sees much innovation, but Warp convinced investors to pony up $23 million to innovate.
- ReadySet takes a bet, building the best enterprise data set yet: Enterprise-scale data can be a royal PITA to extract. ReadySet positions itself to be the go-between between legacy systems and current-gen data needs.
- Allseated addresses the heated corporate metaverse, so far uncompleted: Moving from event virtualizations, Allseated wants to help corporates build its own metaverses, raising $15 million in the process.
- Workrise must revise with surprise downsize: Despite its $2.9 billion valuation last year, Workrise is experiencing a correction, laying off part of its 600-strong workforce.
- Ghost rules the roast, engrossed ghost kitchens; financial goalpost: Ghost kitchens only exist in the delivery apps. Ghost Financial is helping them with financial tools to help grow and run their business
- Spurred by data, unheard, TinyBird herds nerds toward metrics less blurred: TinyBird collects $37 million to help turn data into real-time analytics.
- Wholesum beats the consolidation drum: The company raised a $50 million series A to consolidate a bunch of third-party sellers.
- Remote goes for the throat with a $3 billion valuation gloat: Remote work continues to be hot, and Remote raised $300 million to continue evolving its toolset to help manage it all.
- Gotrade jumps to the aid, splitting stocks, tailor-made: Not everyone can afford a $700 stock. Gotrade helps by offering fractional stock sales aimed at international markets, and just raised $15 million to accelerate its growth.
- Corsha: … goes at the bottom of the newsletter for having a name that’s impossible to rhyme with. Sorry, folks; I don’t make the rules. It did raise $12 million to add multi-factor security to API traffic, though, so that’s neat.
Q1 crypto losses spike 695% on year following massive hacks
The total value of cryptocurrencies reached nearly $2.3 trillion last year, but as that number soared, so did interest from malign actors looking to exploit bugs, poor code and social engineering hacks.
The web3 ecosystem “lost” $1.23 billion to exploits in just the first quarter of 2022, a nearly eight-fold increase compared to a year earlier, and that number is likely to continue increasing as the space expands, reports Jacquelyn Melinek.
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Big Tech Inc.
- Instacart makes it harder to remove tips: Tipping has been a constant Instacart issue for years, so it’s good to see the grocery delivery giant doing something about it. Users will now have to report an issue in order to zero out the tip, and Instacart will cover up to $10. It’s a good start, and we’ll reserve our comments about users who do this with no cause.
- Twitter’s edit button debacle: We have triple the Elon Musk/Twitter news for you today. First, Amanda Silberling opines about why an edit button would not solve much, then she joins Alex Wilhelm and Kyle Wiggers to discuss what Musk’s motives might be in buying all that Twitter stock, and finally, Wilhelm discusses Musk joining the Twitter board.
- Flutterwave CEO in the hot seat: A former employee is accusing Flutterwave CEO Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola of alleged bullying after the two parties could not come to a settlement as part of a lawsuit. TechCrunch reached out for comment addressing these claims, and among the responses, the company stated, “We confirm that at the point of resignation, all monies due to our former employee at the time were promptly disbursed and we have records to confirm this. We however sincerely regret the circumstances that led to the dispute and wish it had been addressed in a more timely manner.” Stay tuned.
- Gogoro drives into the public market: Taiwan’s two-wheeler battery-swapping company closed its SPAC and expects to be $335 million in cash proceeds richer. That’s a lot of batteries it can swap. We report that “backed by more favorable market conditions and much better timing, Gogoro has been able to unlock the recipe needed for scaling its battery swapping system.” It just now needs to catch on over on this side of the pond.