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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Thursday, September 2, 2021. TechCrunch will be largely inactive tomorrow thanks to a pan-Yahoo corporate reprieve. But don’t worry, all systems will continue to work while we recharge before the next chapter in TechCrunch’s varied corporate ownership story. – Alex
TechCrunch’s Top 3
- China is hacking US-based Uighurs: The Chinese government’s campaign to erase uyghur culture and undermine the Uyghur population within its borders it does not stop there. The Chinese state has been hack Uighurs while traveling, for instance. And the FBI reports today that the Chinese Communist Party is doing the same within the borders of the United States.
- SEO is far from dead: A new $ 55 million funding round at startup Botify underscores how the era of search engine optimization is barely behind us. The company said that despite seeing “more and more sections of search results coming from own or paid results,” organic traffic continues to grow. And everyone wants a piece of that click stream.
- Europe, where net neutrality lives on: Europe’s high court has dealt another blow to the “zero rating”, reports TechCrunch. The zero rating is the practice whereby Internet providers do not count certain content in relation to bandwidth limits, giving certain materials, often yours, an advantage. It is a practice frowned upon by advocates of the open internet, and the EU is apparently unwilling to compromise on the matter.
Startups / VC
We’ll have a great recap of our Y Combinator coverage so you can peruse a few hundred different startups tomorrow on Daily Crunch. But we couldn’t resist adding a teaser. How about this for a headline: “Fintech startup Jeeves raises $ 57 million, goes from YC to $ 500 million valuation in one year. “Even in 2021, this is a quick valuation build for an early stage startup.
- Even more capital for neobanks: Challenger Bank Point has put together a $ 46.5 million Series B, pouring more fuel into the startup’s goal of building a debit card that offers benefits at the credit card level. Point’s service isn’t free, but for people who don’t want to use revolving consumer credit accounts that often carry high interest rates, their model could be a good way forward.
- Shepherd raises $ 6.2 million for construction insurance: TechCrunch is tracking a number of B2B neoinsurance companies today, including Shepherd. The startup is working to offer excessive liability insurance to construction companies, incorporating technology usage data into its underwriting models. It is a good idea. Procore put capital into the financing round.
- HomeLight raises $ 100 million: The real estate tech upstart wants to connect buyers and sellers, and also provides title and escrow services. And after its last funding event, it’s worth $ 1.6 billion. HomeLight achieved such a big round after projecting its revenue “to triple to more than $ 300 million by 2021.” So when is the IPO?
- The Edtech boom is not over: That’s our conclusion from the news that General Atlantic has helped invest $ 60 million in Panorama Education, which has built a “K-12 education software platform,” according to TechCrunch reports. Educational technology startups got a big boost in 2020 when schools around the world went remote. It seems that wave has not yet reached its crest.
All the reasons you should throw in a credit or debit card
The ongoing fintech revolution continues to level the playing field where legacy companies historically dominated startups.
To compete with retail banks, many startups offer customers credit and debit cards; Developer friendly APIs make issuance relatively easy, and tools for managing processes like KYC are available out of the box.
To learn more about the low barriers to entry and the inherent challenges of creating a unique card offering, she interviewed journalist Ryan Lawler:
- Michael Spelfogel, Founder, Cardless
- Anu Muralidharan, COO, Expensify
- Peter Hazlehurst, Founder and CEO of Synctera
- Salman Syed, Senior Vice President and General Manager, North America, Marqeta
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, helping founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Everyone hails the Google robot: Alphabet has built an exoskeleton, reports our own Brian Heater in his Actuator series. Frankly it looks great. It’s sometimes easy to forget that Alphabet maintains a great skunkworks effort despite being best known today for its Android mobile software, ad technology, and online document editing services.
- Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flight is coming soon: After sending a few people into space or near space the other month, Virgin Galactic is gearing up for commercial work. According to the company, that mission could arrive later this month or early October. For the shareholders of the company, this is good news. Scratch that! After we wrote that blurb, it emerged that Virgin’s next flight will depart after the FAA punished the company. More here.
- Today at Tesla: Two things from Elon’s world today. First, Tesla it’s been said to share the autopilot data with the United States Traffic Safety Agency. And Tesla’s ultra-fast Roadster car may not arrive until 2023. Follow-up question: When will Cybertruck launch?
- And finally, news from India: Eight banks in the country will soon implement “a system called the Account Aggregator to allow consumers to consolidate all their financial data in one place.” India’s banking industry has a history of coming together to create products for consumers, including the “interoperable UPI rails” that many fintech companies in the country depend on, TechCrunch reports.
TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing
TechCrunch wants to help startups find the right expert for their needs. To do this, we are creating a short list of the top growth marketers. We’ve received great recommendations for growth marketers in the startup industry since we launched our survey.
We are excited to read more responses as they come in! Complete the survey here.
Join Danny Crichton and Mary Ann Azevedo on Tuesday, September 7 at 3 pm PDT / 6 pm EDT on Twitter spaces while talking to Jonathan Metrick about fintech and growth marketing.