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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for July 26, 2021. The tech news started this week after the Chinese government spent the weekend implementing a new regulatory framework for the myriad of educational technology startups in the country. The Ant IPO In reality, it was just the beginning of the recent storm of change related to the way China’s government runs its economy. The food delivery market was also hit recently, along with Tencent Music. I touched a little here on what the situation may mean for startups in the country. – Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3 (sort of)
- Bezos wants space contracts in the United States: After retired American billionaire Jeff Bezos recently went up to zero g for a few minutes, there was a lot of tweeting about the wealthy spending their fortunes on a vanity space race. The twist on that argument is that there are real-world apps for all the money Bezos, Branson, and Musk are spending. In this case, Bezos is willing to cut the price of Blue Origin’s lunar lander project just to gain access to a contract with NASA. This is a great way to save taxpayers money or some weird kind of corporate bribery. Your call on that one.
- Box goes into signature wars: The other month, Box, the former startup star, spent $ 55 million on an e-gis company. Now Box is rolling out Box Sign to all of its customers for free. The e-sig market is full of big players (DocuSign) and smaller entities (PandaDoc). Seeing that Box offers its e-sig service to existing business customers at no cost means that software capabilities are becoming more important than a standalone product. Startups take notice.
- A new alternative food unicorn: NotCo makes plant-based milk and meat. A new slice was simply made with a $ 235 million Series D that values the company at $ 1.5 billion. We highlight this round because it highlights the amount of capital and, we assume, the demand that alternative food products attract today. What was a dream just a few years ago is building big startups and even some public companies.
- Keep your password, but show your face: We don’t get into the nuances of the Fifth Amendment often, but we were struck by a DC judge’s order. Suspected insurgent Guy Reffitt was arrested three weeks after the January 6 riots 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 “loophole in the Fifth Amendment,” writes Zack Whittaker of TechCrunch, to force the use of biometrics to open a Windows laptop.
Startups / VC
Starting our startup news today, be sure to check this profile of Olumide Soyombo, a Nigerian angel investor who just set up a new fund. The new Soyombo firm, which he has named Voltron Capital, intends to invest throughout Africa. It’s a potentially huge market for startups and venture capital, so expect more stories like this one. How did it come about? We’re sure the check Soyombo wrote to PayStack before Stripe bought it had something to do with it.
As we turn to our regular roundup of recent funding rounds, a sector of startups do not fighting to attract capital is facial recognition. Sure, you probably find it creepy that companies and agencies are tracking your face without your consent, but that doesn’t stop the finance class from pumping funds into the companies that make up the facial recognition market. Zack whittaker has the story here.
- Faster protein sequencing is coming: That’s the news behind Glyphic Biotechnologies’ new $ 6 million raise. The company’s technology could vastly reduce the time it takes to sequence a protein, possibly unlocking all kinds of things in the world of health.
- Amazon-backed beauty startup D2C raises the most: MyGlamm, an Indian direct consumer company, has increased its capital base to the tune of $ 47.8 million. The company previously raised a Series C of $ 23.5 million. You now have a lot more capital. Beauty is a huge market; D2C is a popular GTM model. And investors are willing to finance growth. That is the story here.
- Integrated financial technology is in vogue: The integrated fintech space, when “the complicated, but also commodified, aspects of financial services are built and wrapped in an API for anyone else to implement in their own products,” according to Ingrid Lunden, is attracting new capital. This time it’s Solarisbank, a Berlin-based player, who is buying a competitor, Contis, to go along with their new valuation of $ 1.65 billion.
- Speaking of embedded fintech, Sila raised money: Yes, we have more on the world of fintech APIs. Sila, a “payment and banking platform,” wrote TechCrunch, just raised a Series A of $ 13 million. The Portland, Oregon-based company was founded in 2018 and has raised $ 20 million to date.
- Queenly lifts more: TO TechCrunch Favorite From the most recent batch of Y Combinator, Queenly has raised a seed extension (Seed 2? Early Series A? You can use whatever term you like!) from Andreessen Horowitz. The company was light on growth details, in addition to noticing a 20% increase in dresses on its platform since February. The set-up is similar to StockX for formal wear.
- SoftBank’s current investment is Embark Veterinary: While it’s often fun to remember some of SoftBank’s more exotic investments, RIP Zume, Embark Veterinary wants to use DNA testing to help pets live longer. We will not make fun of this. As we have dogs, and dogs are very good. The $ 75 million in Series B values Embark at around $ 700 million.
Data-driven iteration helped China’s Genki Forest grow into a $ 6 billion beverage giant in 5 years
Many Extra Crunch readers will not have heard of the fastest growing bottled beverage company in China – Genki Forest is a direct-to-consumer startup that began selling its sodas, milk teas, and other products just five years ago.
Today, its products are available in 40 countries and the company expects to earn $ 1.2 billion in 2021. After closing its latest round of funding, Genki Forest is valued at $ 6 billion.
Industry watchers frequently compare upstarts to giants like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, but founder Binsen Tang has a background in technology and has funded ELEX Technology, a social games company that was successful internationally.
“China doesn’t need any more good platforms,” Tang told his team in 2015, “but it does need good products.”
Leveraging China’s strong distribution network, high-speed manufacturing capabilities, and a vast data set that enables comprehensive digitization, Genki Forest sells more than 30% of its products online.
“Everything feels good at the company,” said venture capitalist Anna Fang. “The space, the founder, the products and the back-end … exemplify the new Chinese consumer brand.”
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, helping founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Two quick notes today from the world of big tech companies:
- Earnings season is upon us – many, many major tech companies are reporting their financial performance in the next two weeks. TechCrunch will cover the key parts, even if we are not a public market publication. Still, keep your eyes peeled as it will be a flood of numbers.
- The electric vehicle market is still raising huge blocks of capital. EV Truck Company Rivian recently added $ 2.5 billion to its coffersand Lordstown I have a cash infusion (Rescue?) That should keep you on the roads.
TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing
Is everyone on top of last week’s growth marketing coverage? If not, read it here.
TechCrunch wants you to refer growth marketers with experience in SEO, social media, content writing, and more! If you are a growth marketer, skip this poll together with your clients; we’d like to know why they loved working with you.
Join TechCrunch Editor-in-Chief Danny Crichton in Twitter spaces event tomorrow, July 27, at 3:30 pm PDT / 6:30 pm EDT. Danny will be joined by Seth Levine, co-author of “The New Builders: Face to Face with the Real Future of Business,” who will stay for a question and answer session after a talk about the book.
TechCrunch Disrupt $ 99 Advance Passes End Friday
Attention: Early bird passes of $ 99 and less will disappear Friday July 30. Be sure to reserve your pass today and join the original kickoff conference. Disrupt offers the best content, learning and networking opportunities for anyone interested in startups and technology. I see you there!