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Hello and welcome back to the Daily Crunch on Tuesday, September 7, 2021! Your regular host, Alex Wilhelm, will be at AFK for the next few days, so I (Greg Kumparak) will take care of his newsletter-related duties. Alex may be smarter, kinder, and generally a better human than me, but at least I’m more… well, more I’m not on vacation right now. I’ll do my best.
Most of TechCrunch took a long weekend (Labor Day + surprise company-wide holiday given to us by superiors to celebrate the arrival of new superiors), so let’s review what has happened since we last Alex wrote.
TechCrunch’s Top 3
- ProtonMail forced to register a user’s IP: The privacy-minded email service ProtonMail does more than most alternatives to keep user data away from prying eyes, but it is not going to violate the laws of its home country of Switzerland to do so. Last week a story was published about ProtonMail being pressured by French authorities to reveal the intellectual property of a French activist; It did not initially comply, but had to do so once the request was diverted “to the Swiss police via Europol”. The whole story is a back and forth evolution that has become too complicated to end in a single paragraph, so dive into the linked story for all the details.
- VW’s autonomous driving efforts advance: Volkswagen’s commercial vehicle arm has been working with autonomous driving technology company Argo AI, and the couple showed off the near-final version of their first test vehicle over the weekend. While there is no shortage of self-driving cars in operation, the Argo AI is one to watch here; The company is also working with Ford on an autonomous driving initiative for Lyft, and Argo AI’s valuation is said to have topped $ 12 billion in July.
- Hyundai bets a lot on hydrogen: Do you have questions about hydrogen as the fuel source of the future? Hyundai apparently doesn’t, or at least, is hedging its bets. The South Korean company announced this morning that it will make hydrogen fuel cell versions of everybody of its commercial vehicles by 2028. It will continue to work on electric vehicles in parallel, but says it hopes to make hydrogen cost competitive with electric vehicle batteries by 2030.
Startups / VC
We spent a good chunk of last week covering Y Combinator’s Demo Day, where hundreds of startups (seriously, hundreds!) debuted before an audience of investors. It has gotten big enough that Demo Day has become Demo Days; If you haven’t already, check out our coverage of Day one here, and Day two here.
- OLIO raises $ 43 million to help fight food waste: Do you have food to spare? Take a photo of the food, share it with your neighbors, and hopefully don’t waste it. A super nice idea, but can it be a great deal? Mike Butcher has the details on how his founders, and his group of investors, expect him to get there.
- Africa’s largest Serie A: Tage Kene-Okafor has the details on some massive milestones from African fintech company Wave: it just raised the largest Series A ($ 200 million) to date in Africa, and in doing so with a valuation of $ 1.7 billion. , has become what Tage says. It is the first unicorn of Francophone Africa (Francophone).
- Homage Raises $ 30 Million for Home Care: Homage, a Singapore company that focuses on making it easy for a caregiver, nurse or doctor to get into your home, announced this week that it raised $ 30 million. Considering that no one wants to sit in a potentially crowded waiting room to see a doctor right now, I have to think that home care is having a good time.
A Founder’s Guide to Effectively Managing Your Option Pool
“In today’s cash-rich environment, options are more valuable than cash,” says Allen Miller, director of Oak HC / FT.
“In turn, managing your pool of options may be the most effective action you can take to ensure that you can recruit and retain talent.”
On an article aimed directly at early stage founders, Miller shares best practices for protecting your pool of options, lists the mistakes that many founders make, and offers multiple tips for correcting “if you made mistakes early on.”
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, helping founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- The moment Animoto almost brought AWS to its knees: Having a product so successful that it makes Amazon’s cloud infrastructure sweat is a pleasant problem, if only once it’s done. The charming Ron Miller tells that story this week from the perspective of Animoto, which saw its bandwidth-intensive user base explode from 25,000 to 250,000 practically overnight in 2008, making even AWS creak a bit.
- Hulu raises the price: The bad news? Hulu is raising the price of its on-demand plans. The least bad news? It’s not as big of a hit as the one Hulu’s live TV service took in 2019, which jumped from $ 35 to $ 55 in just a few short months. Both the ad-supported and ad-free versions of Hulu will go up a dollar, to $ 7 per month and $ 13 per month respectively. Expect the price increase to kick in on October 8 this year and apply to both new and existing subscribers.
- Apple’s next event: It’s September, which usually means that a new iPhone is about to be announced … and sure enough, Apple just sent out invitations to an event on September 14th. What will change this time? Rumor has it that a better screen is expected and that it updates faster … but, as always, we will have all the news up to date. TechCrunch the second breaks.
TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing
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.
If you’re curious about how these polls are shaping our coverage, check out this interview Anna Heim did with MuteSix, “Performance marketing agency MuteSix is banking on content and data to power DTC e-commerce.”