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Hello, and welcome to Daily Crunch for June 1, 2021. We’re back from a long weekend here in the United States, which means that the blog has been humming all day. Today’s tech and startup news had a fun mix of the old going new (7-Eleven adding EV charging points), and new going old (check out this new diaper startup), but mostly we had funding rounds. Lots of them. So let’s get to work! — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- European tech is hot: EU-based insurtech startup Wefox announced a $650 million round today. The huge round will surely help burnish Europe’s Q2 venture capital results, while also underscoring how the neoinsurance provider boom that we’ve seen in America is hardly a domestic affair. Expect more investment and startup activity in this space during the rest of 2021.
- Hadoop is not: Cloudera and Hortonworks were once hot startups. They both went public. And then they struggled. So they teamed up in a $5.2 billion merger. And then they struggled. And now their combined entity is being taken off the public markets by a pair of private equity companies for $5.3 billion, a modest premium on their pre-deal value. Thus concludes Hadoop’s startup run.
- The IPO boom continues: But while The Artist Formerly Known As Hortonworks takes its leave, many companies are looking to join the public markets. Sprinklr, for example. The New York-based customer experience startup is looking to list on the back of modest revenue gains and possibly improving profitability.
Startups and VC
The last 24 hours have brought a steady deluge of startup rounds. We can’t fit them all in the newsletter. But here are some of our favorites all the same:
- Molecule.one raises $4.6M for computational chemistry: Former TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield participant Molecule.one wants to “bring theoretical drug molecules to reality,” we reported, creating workflows to help labs figure out how to make exotic molecules from known materials and methods.
- project44 raises $202M for supply chain APIs: project44 uses APIs to provide “connective tissue” between the myriad players in the supply chain world. The company is now worth $1.2 billion, a rapid-fire doubling of its prior valuation. That’s thanks to money from Goldman Sachs and rapid growth. TechCrunch reports that the company has “crossed $50 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR), which is up 100% year over year.”
- Redacted raises $60M for proactive cybersecurity: Most cybersecurity software feels defensive. Redacted, fresh out of stealth, wants to flip that narrative and, instead, “proactively [go] after the hackers to recover data loss and disrupt their activities.” There are probably fun legal questions at play here, but it’s a nice mental image at least.
- Truebill raises $45M for its personal finance app: Early in life Truebill was a neat way to cancel subscriptions. But like all consumer fintech products in 2021, it has become a broad service that offers a host of features and capabilities. Savings? Sure. Credit information? Why not. You get the idea.
- Belvo raises $43M for fintech APIs: Since Belvo first took part in Y Combinator, we’ve been pretty positive about the company’s chances. Building a sort of Plaid for the Latin American market, it seemed like a pretty darn good bet. And today’s news that the company has put together a fresh $43 million in funding somewhat backs up our early read.
4 proven approaches to CX strategy that make customers feel loved
People have been working to optimize customer experiences (CX) since we began selling things to each other.
A famous San Francisco bakery has an exhaust fan at street level; each morning, its neighbors awake to the scent of orange-cinnamon morning buns wafting down the block. Similarly, savvy hair stylists know to greet returning customers by asking if they want a repeat or something new.
Online, CX may encompass anything from recommending the right shoes to AI that knows when to send a frustrated traveler an upgrade for a delayed flight.
In light of Qualtrics’ spinout and IPO and Sprinklr’s recent S-1, Rebecca Liu-Doyle, principal at Insight Partners, describes four key attributes shared by “companies that have upped their CX game.”
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Big Tech news on the blog was somewhat light today thanks to the pace of startup happenings. But we still found time to discuss how Twitter is making room for more ads on its service. But don’t worry — unless you use its Fleets service, you probably won’t see them.
While Daily Crunch has been positive concerning Twitter’s general product work of late, this is one update that we’d be happy to skip.
Then from Line, news that the messaging app best known for its market share in certain Asian markets is now a bank. Basically. TechCrunch wrote that the well-known tech company “launched a digital banking platform in Indonesia today” that will include “deposit accounts, microcredit products, and remittance and payment services.”
It’s a joke in tech that every messaging app is really a dating service. That’s so old-fashioned. Now every app is simply a service that exists somewhere on the evolutionary continuum of becoming — slowly or quickly — a horizontal fintech offering.
You’ve probably heard about our upcoming field trip to Pittsburgh, which even the mayor is excited about. Have friends building companies in the Steel City? Ask them to sign up to pitch during the event.
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