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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for January 10, 2022! For those of you sad that it’s winter, or bummed that bitcoin took hits today, take heart. We have lots of neat news for you today, including the evolution of lab-grown meat, a mega-acquisition in the gaming space, and even some good news for startups hoping to land an accelerator spot! Don’t frown; it’s going to be OK! – Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Y Combinator boosts investment terms: Gone are the days when seed-stage startups raise $37 and fuel themselves with ramen. With Big Tech salaries scaling into the stratosphere, the startup game is a different sort of wager than it once was, given that there are more pathways to tech wealth than there were in decades past. Y Combinator is following the times, boosting its traditional check to startups in its accelerator by tacking on $375,000 in the form of a SAFE. Other accelerators, it’s your move.
- Take-Two buys Zynga: Perhaps the biggest piece of business news in the tech world today not involving startups was the 11-figure deal that will see gaming company Take-Two buy Zynga. The latter company saw its share price skyrocket on the news, which will see it absorbed for a blend of stock and cash. Take-Two’s stock, in contrast, fell around 13% on the announcement.
- Career Karma lands $40M: You might know Career Karma as a startup that helped folks find the right coding school for themselves. But the startup, now flush with a huge Series B, wants to become the “world’s largest staffing firm,” its CEO told TechCrunch. Our own Natasha Mascarenhas has the story.
Before we jump into another crop of startup funding rounds, I want to note a little bit of dissonance in the market. In short, we’re seeing the public markets sell off tech shares, leading to falling multiples and a perhaps less attractive exit environment. On the other hand, the private market appears content to push startup prices higher and higher. Forcing the private and public markets to line up in time could be a painful exercise for startups that miss their growth targets.
- Who watches the watchers? Our own Haje Jan Kamps wrote up a fascinating look at the world of corporate spyware. Your employer is probably watching what you are doing, and Haje has tips. Heck, Yahoo is probably watching me type this up. Hello, corporate overlords!
- Gameto is taking on menopause: Far from the world of enterprise SaaS, there is a universe of startups working on health. But not all of them are working on nootropics or the like. Gameto wants to “solve the problem of ‘accelerated’ ovarian aging to change the trajectory of women’s health and equality,” Connie Loizos reports. The startup is still pretty young, but it’s taking on a market that is, well, half the human population. One to keep an eye on.
- Parrot wants to help Mexico’s restaurants thrive in the delivery era: The move to a more delivery-and-pickup world has forced restaurants around the world to adapt. But not every market has the same tooling options or local demands. Parrot just raised $9.5 million for its work to help restaurateurs in Mexico use its point-of-sale software to “digitize and take advantage of the home delivery boom to accelerate growth,” we write.
- Arive raises $20M to instantly deliver electronics: Imagine the so-called instant grocery delivery market, but swap out the foodstuffs for larger, more expensive goods like headphones and beauty products. That’s what Arive wants to build, and it just raised $20 million for its work.
- ThankUCash raises $5.3M to bring loyalty programs to Africa: The African startup market continues its impressive run of funding events this week, with ThankUCash – a great startup name – raising new capital to help stores on the continent offer loyalty programs and payment services. For the many offline stores in Africa, the startup could prove to be a boon.
- Ankorstore raises epic $283M Series C: French startup Ankorstore is a unicorn in the wake of its recent huge fundraise. The startup “operates a wholesale marketplace for independent retailers across Europe,” we noted today, which is proving to be a rapidly scalable enterprise.
Is cell-cultured meat ready for prime time?
If you’ve ever seen a lagoon filled with hog waste or driven on I-5 past the cattle feedlots in Coalinga, California, it’s easy to see why there’s so much interest in lab-grown meat.
Conventional factory farming practices cause widespread environmental damage, but industry and consumers have learned to live with in exchange for affordability and convenience. With consumption and population growth steadily increasing, one might even say meat is eating the world.
In a deeply researched report for TechCrunch+, reporter Christine Hall examines the state of the cell-cultured meat industry and identifies many of the startups innovating in the sector, along with related challenges regarding production, cost and consumer interest.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Tesla rolls out “Assertive Mode” so that you can auto-drive your way onto my nerves: One thing that drives me batty is folks not stopping at stop signs. The action is in the word. Stop means, well, stop? And yet. Today news is out that Tesla’s “Assertive” driving mode for the car company’s self-driving car “may perform rolling stops” among other more aggressive actions. Alas.
- And in case you wanted more CES news, well, we have you covered.
Are you all caught up on last week’s coverage of growth marketing and software development? If not, read it here.
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