Russia fines Google $374 million for ‘illegal content’ following its invasion of Ukraine – TechCrunch

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It’s hot all over the world, and even hotter in today’s newsletter. We’ve got you a steaming pile of TechCrunch goodness to devour. If you can believe it, it’s only Tuesday. — Christina and haje

TechCrunch’s top 3

  • Well, it’s a way of propaganda: Search engine giant Google was hit with $375 million by Russia for not removing certain content, Ivan writing. Much of it was on YouTube and related to the invasion of the country and the ensuing war with Ukraine. The fine came a month after Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecommunications watchdog, warned the company it could face penalties for violating local laws.
  • thriving business: Bloom, a Sudan-based fintech, has raised $6.5 million from a group of investors including Y Combinator, GFC and Visa. In particular, the partnership with Visa made Bloom the first Sudanese startup to be admitted into Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program, Tags reports.
  • Distribution and purchases: Or in this case, streaming while purchases. YouTube and Shopify have partnered to allow YouTube creators to link their stores and display their products on their channel and take advantage of Shopify’s real-time inventory syncing, Aisha writing. This is part of YouTube’s rollout of new shopping features.

Startups and VCs

Crunchbase lists nearly 1,400 unicorns, but on TechCrunch+, alexander wonder how many unicorns are just ponies now? That’s a question worth asking, as Instacart is taking a serious haircut.

Plus, a bunch of new funds were announced again today. Jacqueline reports that Tribe Capital has raised $25 million to launch a crypto incubator program. AM Ventures has raised $100 million for industrial 3D printing, writes haje. And Valkyrie is looking to raise $30 million for its new VC crypto arm, Anita writing.

Come on, then, here are some more stories (and some deliciously weird Cosmo Sheldrake music to go along):

  • Ramp increases rpm growth: Mary Ann reports that Ramp is reporting accelerating revenue growth, showing that fintech companies that are well-suited to the product market still have plenty of growth in them.
  • Only Sims: A first for OnlyFans, the platform invests in British designer Chloe Sims and her sisters, reports lauren.
  • Like a museum, but on the blockchain: Despite his usual reluctance for crypto tech, we spot haje covering a rare blockchain story, about Arkive, and its construction of the world’s first decentralized museum.
  • Resourceful Humans: On TechCrunch+, Kyle reports that investors remain bullish on HR tech as the Great Resignation slows.
  • Change is coming: Persephone Biosciences is a biotech startup that, with the help of $15 million and lots of poo, is building a library of the human microbiome that could do everything from aid digestion to fight serious diseases, Devin reports.
  • ⬛⬛⬛ for ⬛⬛⬛: Kyle reports that Strac, a company that automatically deletes sensitive information on Slack, OneDrive and other platforms, has raised $3.5 million in seed investment.

Can Medicare save the insurtech market?

Picture credits: Mirage C (Opens in a new window) /Getty Pictures

In 2020, the United States spent almost 20% of its GDP on health care. Every day, about 11,000 people turn 65, making them eligible for Medicare, a federally funded health insurance program that is recruiting new patients faster than ever.

Companies that can help consumers navigate the complex health insurance market have a major opportunity: “The average senior has to choose between 57 different plan options, and most can’t tell them apart,” TX said. Zhuo and James Shecter of Fika Ventures.

They shared their six-point investment thesis with TC+ readers to show how Medicare is the “bright spark” that could light up “the entire insurtech market.”

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can register here.)

Big Tech inc.

If you’re looking for an easier way to get through the airport, Alaska Airlines has you covered. The airline has a new electronic baggage tag that makes it easier to check in a bag, Frederic writing. We’re not sure this news could have come at a better time given what we’re hearing about flight shortages and thousands of bags left at airports around the world.

Another day, another story on Twitter and Elon Musk. We don’t know what day it is in the captain’s diary, but a judge has ruled that Twitter can continue and even expedite its lawsuit against Elon Musk, Amanda reports.

Meanwhile, Zack writes about BitSight, a cybersecurity startup that discovered a handful of vulnerabilities in a popular GPS tracker built by Micodus. The security breaches potentially exposed a few million vehicle locations.

Let’s go more, okay?


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