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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for August 12, 2021. A few points to get us started: First, the worlds of politics and technology are increasingly colliding in the head. We’re not talking about China or India (more here on the latter), although the two countries have struggled in recent months with foreign and domestic tech companies. This time it is Zambia, which restricts WhatsApp and other services within its borders. A trend to watch.
Plus, Seth Rogen is coming to Disrupt! – Alexis
The Top 3 TechCrunch
- Governments challenge app stores: The United States Senate, the upper house of our bicameral Congress, is chewing up a new bill that “would require companies that control operating systems to authorize third-party apps and app stores,” according to TechCrunch. The chances that this bill will pass as is is low, but the fact that it exists details the regulatory climate in which the technology finds itself today.
- Box v. Investors: The saga of the former Box startup darling taking on a group of activist shareholders took a new turn today with the enterprise productivity company reporting its earnings earlier. Why? Box has had some good news to report, and a vote is underway. He wanted his results to help control the narrative. We have the numbers for you.
- Reddit raises $ 700 million: Social giant Reddit has raised $ 410 million from a bigger round to help fuel its long-term ambitions. The company reported sales of around $ 100 million in the second quarter and will be worth $ 6 billion after the close of its most recent cycle. That’s a lot of capital for an internet property that has already been sold to Conde Nast for a sum that we are 99.99% sure was only a fraction of its current value.
Startups / VC
Kicking off our startup news, a note for the students out there. You can get a cheap ticket to our next SaaS event in case you want to cool off before starting your first business. In fact, I went to my first TechCrunch event with a student pass 1,000 years ago.
- Aalto wants you to sell your house directly: Sure, Opendoor just reported spectacular profits, but startups continue to wonder what the future of home buying and selling might be. Aalto just landed $ 13 million from Sequoia to help people sell their properties directly to buyers. It is one way to reduce costs.
- Crypto-tax startup raises $ 130 million: How to intelligently tax cryptocurrency transactions is a matter of national policy in the United States, but TaxBit is moving forward with its software solution to the problem, without waiting for the government to clean up its House (and its Senate). The company is now worth $ 1.33 billion after its last spin, implying a pre-currency valuation of $ 1.2 billion. Crypto is big business, remember.
- AI for chip designs? My first reading of this news? Hell yeah. Motivo, a startup that wants to improve microchip design using AI, has just raised a $ 12 million Series A. Why is this cool? Because what I want are better, faster chips. My working Macbook Pro can barely run Chrome. There must be a better way. Maybe Motivo will speed up the development of better chips.
- Contact raises $ 1.9 million for better creative business management: If you work in anything related to the entertainment industry, be it theater, modeling, or the job of making actors and models look show-ready, Contact wants to be your hub. software. The startup involved in Maisie Williams now has more money to pursue its vision. Founders Fund led the modest round.
- Agora raises $ 33 million thanks to rapid growth in ARR: Closing coverage of our fundraising cycle today, Agora, an entrepreneur-focused “materials management platform”, closed a large B Series of Tiger. The company has now raised $ 45 million in total. In terms of metrics, Agora has seen its customers grow 6 times over the past year, while its annual recurring revenue, or ARR, has grown 766% over the same period.
- To wrap up our boot coverage today, we’ve got a robot roundup! Yeah, Brian Heater the last one is there for your pleasure!
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Big Tech Inc.
- Foxconn will build American factories: Maybe for real this time? This is our first read of the news, but the latest is that well-known manufacturing giant Foxconn could build electric vehicle factories in the United States and Thailand next year. Rubber, roads and meetings, but that remains encouraging.
- Arrival to start production of electric vehicles next year: London-based electric vehicle trading company Arrival told investors it was on track to meet production targets. However, as with all electric vehicle businesses, there are some moving parts to consider. Notably, Arrival also has aspirations to build equipment in the United States. Call it a trend?
- TikTok to DIY its app to protect teens: According to TechCrunch, social giant TikTok will roll out app changes for teenage users to make its service “more private, secure and less addicting.” Which sounds like “less used”, frankly. Considering that TikTok is owned by ByteDance, which is taking hits from its national government, the changes come as no great surprise.
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