To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here.
Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for September 27, 2021. Today’s TechCrunch news is big news, so instead of jamming it into the intro, we’re just going to dive in! — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Say hello to TechCrunch+: TechCrunch’s Extra Crunch product is now called TechCrunch+ for a host of very good reasons. This brand changeover is something that has long been in the works, and frankly I am pretty excited about it. Read more at the first link, or give us money here. (Support journalism!)
- Facebook pauses kids’ Instagram: Today’s other big news comes from Facebook, a company that has been in the news just a little bit lately. Now, after withering feedback on its work to build an Instagram for kids, the company is hitting pause. It still thinks the product is a good idea, mind. It just wants to convince the market first. Let’s see how that goes.
- Coinbase makes it easier to bet on crypto: By letting you put part of your paycheck into its service, TechCrunch reports. Obvious snark aside from the more conservative investors among us, the move makes some sense. It’s standard to put a slice of your income into investment accounts, perhaps tuned for retirement. If you think that Solana really is the future, why wouldn’t you want to put a percentage of your income into that particular digital asset? Akin to my index funds, it’s just a number on a screen, after all.
Before we dive into the startup news of the day, TechCrunch spent a little time today noodling on the IPO pricing problem and how direct listings may improve price discovery for unicorns, and we also tucked into the interest viz startup valuations discussion!
- Malloc wants to help you combat mobile spyware: Your mobile phone may be the center of your life. A sort of planning-communications-gaming-dating device that also has all your photos. And it’s not that secure, thanks to companies with a bit more focus on profits over privacy and even more nefarious actors. Y Combinator-backed Malloc and its service Antistalker are helping consumers fight back.
- EdSights raises $5M to help keep students from churning: Sure, it may seem a little wacky to think of students as income-generating assets that can churn, but they are, and they do. So, here we are. Now with 6x revenue growth, the edtech service is flush and ready to expand.
- Fake meat bulletin: Two fake meat stories for you today, the first of which being that New Age Meats has raised $25 million for its cultured meat products. Second: Beyond Meat’s plant “chicken” tenders are coming to grocery stores. Nerds who are watching your weight, rejoice. (It can’t just be me right?)
- Astera Laba shows that there’s capital in the market for chip startups: Even fabless concerns like Astera. The company just banked $50 million at just under a $1 billion valuation. Startups, get on solving the chip shortage please and thank you.
- Flat6Labs raises $10M for Tunisian startups: Speaking of startups, upstart tech shops in the Tunisian Republic have a new seed fund to hit up. More good news from Africa, it appears, at least from a capital-access perspective. The continent has had a hot year when it comes to fundraising.
Creative capital is the secret sauce, not venture capital
Before a startup lands its first customer or investor, its founders must invest time and energy to develop intellectual property.
In some cases, IP can be as tangible as a patent, but strategic assets can also take the form of product visualizations, target audience data or early product/engineering prototypes.
Brett Lovelady, founder of design firm Astro Studios, defines these design and development assets as “creative capital,” which “can ultimately last longer and potentially become more valuable” than venture capital.
In a guest post for TechCrunch+, he describes different types of creative capital and includes multiple examples of how startups can leverage it for success.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- YouTube TV, now even more like cable: I preface by admitting that I am a regular YouTube TV customer. And I hate that it is, like cable, stuck in an era of coverage blackouts if the football team you want to watch is in a different part of the country. But now YouTube TV is bringing yet another Cable Innovation to its own service, namely content blackouts over contract gripes. NBC Universal might yank 14 channels from the YouTube product. Woot. Progress.
- TikTok reaches 1 billion monthly active users: In case you were curious if TikTok is still cool or has been slowly flattened into another medium for advertising and Coca-Cola ads, here’s your answer.
- U.K. clears Facebook’s purchase of CRM maker Kustomer: A small entry here, but one that matters. The U.K. competitive watchdog is cool with the Facebook deal to buy the small CRM maker. Not all purchases from Big Tech companies are dying on the vine.
- Apple is rolling out 3D view to LHR, LAX, JFK and SFO: Good news if you live in one of those four cities. Sadly for those of us with backyards in places like Providence, we have to wait.
TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing
TechCrunch wants you to recommend growth marketers who have expertise in SEO, social, content writing and more! If you’re a growth marketer, pass this survey along to your clients; we’d like to hear about why they loved working with you.
If you’re curious about how these surveys are shaping our coverage, check out this interview we published last week with Anna Heim and Ammo, “Australian growth marketing agency Ammo helps startups calibrate their efforts.”