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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for July 26, 2021. Tech news got off to a flying start this week after the Chinese government spent the weekend rolling out a new regulatory framework for the country’s myriad of edtech startups. Ant’s IPO was really just the start of the recent blizzard of changes in the way the Chinese government manages its economy. The food delivery market has also been hit recently, as has Tencent Music. I’m digging in a bit here on what the situation may mean for startups across the country. – Alexis
The Top 3 TechCrunch (or almost)
- Bezos wants US space contracts: After retired American billionaire Jeff Bezos recently went zero-g for a few minutes, a lot of sarcasm about the wealthy spending their fortunes on a vanity space race was tweeted. The flip side of this argument is that there are real-world apps for all the money Bezos, Branson, and Musk spend. In this case, Bezos is willing to lower the price of Blue Origin’s lunar lander project just to gain access to a contract with NASA. This is either a good way to save taxpayer money or a strange sort of bribe. Your call on that one.
- Box embarks on signature wars: The other month, Box, the former startup darling, dropped $ 55 million on an electronic signature company. Box now is rolling out Box Sign to all of its customers for free. The electronic signature market is full of large players (DocuSign) and smaller entities (PandaDoc). Seeing Box offering its e-sig service to existing business customers at no cost means software capacity becomes more of a tabletop issue than the stand-alone product. Startups are taking note.
- A new alt-food unicorn: NotCo makes plant-based milks and meats. He just carved out a new slice with a $ 235 million Series D that values the company at $ 1.5 billion. We highlight this cycle because it highlights the amount of capital and, we presume, the demand that alternative food products are attracting today. What was only a dream just a few years ago was to create big startups and even some public companies.
- Keep your password, but show your face: We don’t often discuss the nuances of the Fifth Amendment, but a DC judge’s order caught our attention. Suspected insurgent Guy Reffitt was arrested three weeks after the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill and faces five federal charges. The FBI seized his laptop, which was password protected. However, prosecutors said it could be unlocked using Reffitt’s face. The government used a “Fifth Amendment loophole,” writes TechCrunch’s Zack Whittaker, to force the use of biometrics to unlock a Windows laptop.
Startups / VC
To kick off our startup news today, be sure to check out this profile of Olumide Soyombo, a Nigerian angel investor who has just started a new fund. Soyombo’s brand new company, which he called Voltron Capital, intends to invest across Africa. It’s a potentially huge market for startups and venture capitalists, so expect more stories like this. How did it happen? We’re sure the check Soyombo wrote to PayStack before Stripe bought it had something to do with this.
As we move into our regular roundup of recent rounds of funding, a startup sector that is not struggling to attract capital is facial recognition. Sure, you probably find it scary that companies and agencies are tracking your face without your consent, but that doesn’t stop the financial class from pumping money into the companies that make up the facial recognition market. Zack Whittaker has the story here.
- Faster protein sequencing is happening: That’s the news under Glyphic Biotechnologies’ new $ 6 million raise. The company’s technology could dramatically reduce the time it takes to sequence a protein, potentially unlocking all kinds of things in the healthcare world.
- Amazon-backed beauty startup D2C is raising more: MyGlamm, an Indian direct-to-consumer sales company, increased its capital by $ 47.8 million. The company previously raised a Series C of $ 23.5 million. It now has a lot more capital. Beauty is a huge market; D2C is a popular GTM model. And investors are ready to finance the growth. This is the story here.
- Embedded fintech is in fashion: The integrated fintech space – when “the complicated, but also trivialized aspects of financial services are built and wrapped in an API for anyone to implement into their own products,” according to our own Ingrid Lunden – attracts new capital . This time, it is Solarisbank, a Berlin player, which buys a competitor, Contis, to support its new valuation of 1.65 billion dollars.
- Speaking of embedded fintech, Sila has raised funds: Yes, we have more about the world of fintech APIs. Sila, a “banking and payments platform,” TechCrunch wrote, just raised a $ 13 million Series A. The Portland, Oregon-based company was founded in 2018 and has raised $ 20 million to date.
- Queenly lifts more: A TechCrunch favorite of the newest Y Combinator batch, Queenly has raised a seed extension (Seed 2? Early Series A? You can use any term you like!) From Andreessen Horowitz. The company has been light on the details of the growth, in addition to noting a 20% increase in dresses on its platform since February. The startup is akin to a StockX for formal wear.
- Today’s SoftBank investment is Embark Veterinary: While it’s often fun to recall some of SoftBank’s more exotic investments – RIP Zume – Embark Veterinary wants to use DNA testing to help pets live longer. This we will not laugh at. As we own dogs, and dogs are very good. The $ 75 million in Series B values Embarque at around $ 700 million.
Data-driven iteration helped China’s Genki Forest grow to $ 6 billion beverage giant in 5 years
Many Extra Crunch readers haven’t heard of China’s fastest growing bottled beverage company: Genki Forest is a direct-to-consumer startup that has started selling its sodas, milk teas. and other products just five years ago.
Today, its products are available in 40 countries and the company hopes to earn $ 1.2 billion in 2021. After closing its last funding round, Genki Forest is valued at $ 6 billion.
Industry watchers frequently compare the upstart to giants like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, but founder Binsen Tang comes from a tech background, having funded ELEX Technology, a successful social games company in the world. international scale.
“China doesn’t need good platforms anymore,” Tang told his team in 2015, “but it needs good products”.
Leveraging China’s strong distribution network, lightning-fast manufacturing capabilities, and a large data pool for holistic digitization, Genki Forest sells over 30% of its products online.
“Everything looks good in the business,” said Anna Fang, venture capitalist. “The space, the founder, the products and the background… they illustrate the new Chinese consumer brand. “
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Big Tech Inc.
Two quick notes today from the Big Tech corporate world:
- Profit season is upon us, with plenty of big tech companies releasing their financial results over the next two weeks. TechCrunch will cover the key elements, even if we are not a government procurement publication. Still, keep your eyes sharp as it will be a deluge of numbers.
- The electric vehicle market continues to raise huge blocks of capital. Electric truck company Rivian recently added $ 2.5 billion to its coffers, and Lordstown got a cash injection (bailout?) That should keep it on the roads.
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