For a roundup of the biggest and most important stories from TechCrunch delivered to your inbox every day at 3:00 PM PT, subscribe here.
Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch on Monday March 21, 2022! Brief and precise today: follow our new recruit, the excellent Jacquelyn Melinek, who joined the TechCrunch+ team as a senior crypto reporter. We are delighted to have him on board! – alexander
TechCrunch’s top 3
- Tech talents are fleeing Russia: As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, tech companies of all sizes are trying to figure out how to manage their business operations and people. TechCrunch spoke with several founders and investors about how they are handling the crisis. The bottom line is that the Russian tech industry has become a pariah from a venture capital perspective, and little human capital wants to stay within its borders.
- Which SaaS company is next? After news broke that PE store Thoma Bravo will drop more than $10 billion on financial planning software company Anaplan, TechCrunch wanted to know who might be next. With a host of software companies having suffered valuation downgrades in recent months and private equity with plenty of cash, are we heading for a windfall?
- The ramp goes up (again): The battle of startups for dominance in the business spending market is huge, costly and growing rapidly. That’s what I took away from today’s news that Ramp raised more capital, at a higher price, and grew its revenue by about 10x in the last year. Brex is also busy in space, as is Airbase.
Startups and VCs
Kick-off of the startup news of the day, a report… not on a startup. Let’s instead talk about India’s crypto tax changes, which impact a host of startups in the country. TechCrunch reports that “India’s proposed virtual digital asset tax law will not allow individuals to offset the loss of one asset with the profit of another.” As you can imagine, the news is not welcome in many quarters.
- A tire company invests in the start-up of an autonomous shuttle: I love this story. First of all, who thinks of tire manufacturers when it comes to start-up investments? Regardless, Bridgestone bought a piece of May Mobility, a Michigan-based startup working on self-driving people carriers.
- Gama wants you to sail in the sun’s rays: Sun sails are science fiction staples. I just read a whole novel that revolved around their being useful ways to get around the void. Either way, startups want to make the concept more commercially viable, and to that end, French startup Gama just raised $2 million.
- Plotlogic wants to reform the mining vision: The spectrum of visible light – for humans, at least – is sharp but incomplete. There is more to see. Plotlogic wants to bring this concept to mining with “hyperspectral imaging”. If technology can make mining more efficient, it could reduce its carbon footprint, right?
- Finally raises $95 million for its financial suite for SMEs: It’s all fintech, so you won’t be surprised that Finally, which offers accounting products and other software for SMEs, is working to roll out a lending product. Everyone collects data. Data drives subscription. So soon expect your grocery store to offer you a revolving line of credit based on the cereal you’ve purchased.
- Today in Unicorns: Another day, two more new unicorns. On the agenda today is a nine-figure spin for CommerceIQ for its e-commerce software which it says can deliver a real boost in sales, and Glia, what we’ve described as a “CRM-based on AI,” which just raised $45 million. round at a $1 billion valuation.
And to wrap up our coverage of startups today, not all startups are there to make money, and some have more mission-driven goals than growth goals. Such may be the case with UK accelerator Subak’s latest cohort – six companies in its 2022 group that we describe as “data for the climate not-for-profit”. It’s always fun to watch the newest and smallest companies.
Why So Many SaaS Companies Are Launching Their Own Media Operations
Content as a service?
Over the past few years, Salesforce, Hubspot, Shopify, and other companies have begun to scale their own media operations.
Online audiences are used to consuming well-produced videos, podcasts, infographics, and other media. As a result, simple blog posts lost their luster years ago, found journalist Ron Miller. To see what startups can learn from the new SaaS approach to content marketing, he interviewed several analysts and experts.
“If I’m a marketing director, I have to ask myself how do I access these audiences,” said Robert Rose, founder and principal analyst at The Content Advisory.
“I can either continue to rent it via the accesses given to me by Facebook or Google, which are more and more walled gardens, or I can start building it myself or acquiring it.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can join here.)
Big Tech inc.
- E-commerce growth is slowing globally: Tracking the growth of e-commerce around the world in 2020 only added up to the latest gains, but 2021 brought a more sober picture of the digital commerce market. The one that, according to data from public companies, is slowing down. For startups building in the space, there is still growth to be had, but less than before.
- Zomato wants to deliver in 10 minutes: The race to get consumer goods and food faster is a global competition. Indian Zomato intends to launch a service called Zomato Instant. OK. We wonder if the costs of running the business are worth it from a consumer value perspective.
- Tesla unveils its new master plan: The company behind the world’s most famous electric vehicles has a new long-term plan, CEO Elon Musk revealed today. According to the well-known Twitter user, topics of the plan include “scaling Tesla to extreme size,” among other topics like space rockets and drilling through Earth. Shoutout newest addition to transit office, Jaclyn Toofor this one.