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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Wednesday, February 23, 2022! There is so much to get to today I won’t slow us down apart from saying that our mobility-focused event is shaping up to be a bangerÎ . To work! – Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Cuban-backed Fireside looking to raise : And at a price, to boot. The service that “helps creators reach audiences through live and virtual shows” is on the hunt for a Series A, our own Manish Singh reports. Fireside is looking to raise around $25 million. More when the deal closes.
- As Nubank shares fall, is it time to worry about fintech valuations ? In the rah-rah 2021 venture cycle, a great number of huge fintech rounds were raised, and companies in the sector went public. But late in 2021 and into 2022, we’ve seen fintech valuations fall. They fell further today. Is it time to worry ?
- Climate tech is heating up : Data indicate that the market for investing in climate-focused companies is alight, with 2021 bringing hugs sums to the sector. The numbers aren’t fintech-scale , but they are impressive, with $40 billion across 600 deals disbursed last year. Let’s see if 2022 can top those figures.
Before we jump into our daily download of startup doings, a few call-outs from today’s coverage. First, Varos is collecting data from customers to provide SaaS and e-commerce firms with real-time performance metrics from the market . So, if you are worried that your conversion rates just dipped, you can see if others are having related issues. Neat.
And Vendr bought Blissfully in a deal worth around $100 million . Vendr’s SaaS buying service scaled rapidly last year. Blissfully brings SaaS management to Vendr’s world, perhaps helping the acquiring entity create a start-to-finish method for buying and managing software.
Now, to dive into funding rounds, let’s start with a coven of data-related events:
- Redpanda raises $50M : Today in good startup names, am I right? The company has built an open source data streaming tool. I won’t try to explain it more than that, as I don’t want to make an ass of myself in front of you. Per Ron Miller, Redpanda is taking on Kafka, which sounds cool. (Forget a bug, we’re Kafkaing into pandas now, boys!)
- Compliance as a service raises $56M : As the world figures out how to better handle privacy and data security, there are an ever-increasing number of standards to meet for companies that handle information. Secureframe just raised a mint for its work in the space, which it says allowed it to boost its ARR by 10x in 2021. Not bad.
- MLobs is big business : It feels like just weeks ago I was being taught about machine learning operations tools, or MLops tooling. Now we need to add machine learning observability, or MLobs, to our lexicons. Aporia just raised $25 million for its MLobs efforts.
- BlueVoyant raises a quarter billion dollars : Naturally, the cybersecurity company is now a unicorn thanks to the deal, which otherwise would have been a buyout. But valuation aside, BlueVoyant just raised a huge stack of cash. For what? Cybersecurity for the enterprise, combining what we describe as “proprietary technology, third-party best-in-class tools and professional services.” Not losing your data is, well, a huge market.
And, as always, there are even more rounds and deals and announcements to read up on:
- Charli D’Amelio + Lightbricks : From TikTok to venture capital, the world of influencers and investors is converging. D’Amelio, famous on social media, has put capital into LightBricks, which makes visual tools for social media. The synergies are not hard to spot.
- WorkWhile wants you to be flexible while you work : I like the idea here. WorkWhile is a company that wants to help workers who perform hourly labor to find work and enjoy a set of benefits like next-day payment. Frankly, how we treat unsecured workers in the United States is flat trash, and so services to help tip information – and therefore power – back into their hands is welcome.
- Music stars back gaming handset : Backbone just raised $40 million for its gaming peripheral, which makes mobile gaming more feasible. Our own Greg Kumparak is a fan of the product, and The Weeknd, Post Malone and Diddy chipped in capital to the funding event.
- Don’t call it a Pipe dream : Pipe, the company that became well known for building a marketplace where software companies could sell future revenues for cash, is expanding its remit to new markets. including media.
- In unrelated news, I recently came into a huge sum of money and my entire TechCrunch catalog is now brought to you by Pipe! Bon voyage, I shout from my yacht.
14 climate tech investors share their H1 2022 strategies
Oil and gas production generates so much excess methane that it’s cheaper to set it on fire in a process called flaring than it is to capture it for sale.
Just in the U.S., producers flare so much gas that astronauts aboard the International Space Station can identify oil fields 254 miles below.
Presumably, they can also see Antarctica’s Thwaite Glacier — it’s about the size of Florida, but it’s shrinking because greenhouse gases like methane trap heat in the atmosphere that warms our oceans.
For our latest investor survey, we contacted 14 people who are using their dollars to address the climate emergency. Beyond sharing their investment thesis, they also let us know what they’re looking for and how they measure success.
We spoke with:
- Alex Bondar, partner, Acre Venture Partners
- Carolin Funk, partner, Blue Bear Capital
- Georgia Sherwin, senior director of strategic initiatives and partnerships, Closed Loop Partners
- Joshua Posamentier, co-founder and managing partner, Congruent Ventures
- Shayle Kann, partner, Energy Impact Partners
- Heidi Lindvall, general partner, Pale Blue Dot
- Robert Downey Jr., Jon Schulhof, Steve Levin, and Rachel Kropa from Footprint Coalition
- Maryanna Saenko, co-founder and partner, Future Ventures
- Valerie Shen, partner and COO, G2 Venture Partners
- Thai Nguyen, partner, MCJ Collective
- David Frykman, general partner, Norrsken VC
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here .)
Big Tech Inc.
I doubt that Apple really has beef with the Netherlands, but its squabble with the nation over in-app purchase techniques is drawing more ire than Netherlandian angst . The EU is saying that “the company is deliberately choosing to pay fines to avoid compliance with a Dutch antitrust order,” we report. If Apple isn’t mad at the Utrecth squad, what’s it doing? Likely trying to avoid setting a precedent in Europe that other nations might follow.
- Say hello to the data act, Europe : The EU has a new data rule proposed that “slots into an already ambitious digital policy framework with the goal of bringing clarity and fairness around the sharing of (mostly industrial) data generated by connected devices,” we write. Sounds good.
- TikTok talks teen safety : The social service is bringing some of its safety tools aimed at minors around the world. The company is in the spotlight due to its sheer scale and ties to China, a nation that is famously digitally distinct from the rest of the world.
- And if you are an Xbox user, good news: Microsoft is bringing back Twitch streaming integration directly into the Xbox dashboard .
Oh, and apparently LinkedIn is getting into the podcast game . Which makes sense. Because I always expect a platform cloud company with an enterprise software empire that also makes consumer hardware, owns gaming companies, a search engine, social networks, and various digital services, to also, yes, do a lot of podcasting stuff.
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