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Happy 20th of April, 2022, which has no particular significance and we are not making any jokes. It’s been a strange news day, but never fear, we have some great stories for you to peruse. Today’s Equity podcast is a good one, with Alex and Natasha discussing startup myths and assumptions.
Don’t forget that Found, the TechCrunch podcast where founders talk about the stories behind their startups, was nominated for a Webby for best technology podcast. We need your help with some votes, so cast yours today — voting closes tomorrow!
Car enthusiasts and those who like to talk about all things movement-related, it’s time to secure your tickets for next month’s TC Sessions: Mobility 2022. Waymo co-CEO Dmitri Dolgov will join us for a fireside chat. There’s something here for everyone, even university students that have some good mobility ideas. And while you’re procuring tickets, grab one for October’s TechCrunch Disrupt.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- NFT shoppers unite!: Coinbase’s long-awaited NFT marketplace launched in a beta form for those who find joy in trading digital collectibles. The company aims to make this a “web3 social marketplace.” Get in all the buying and selling you can before Coinbase starts charging transaction fees. And look out for the future collection drops.
- If you thought the Flutterwave drama was over, you would be wrong: Earlier this month, Tage brought you the story of a former Flutterwave employee accusing CEO Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola of bullying and harassing. Well, in the wee morning hours, Tage laid out more of the story based on an employee email obtained by TechCrunch. In it, Agboola addresses the allegations that include sexual harassment and how he initially started the company. However, we note there are still a few things not addressed, like fraudulent activity accusations. Get the broom; it’s a mess!
- Bringing beauty salons into the digital era: The beauty industry is not often one venture capital firms flock to, so that’s why it’s great to see a company like Colombia-based Morado, a digital beauty marketplace supplying salons with all the gadgets and gizmos needed to operate, get some attention from some big names like Tiger Global, a16z and H2O Capital.
Startups and VC
Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, NFTs are all the rage, and a small subset of people are raking in the cash in the process. In a TC+ analysis, Jacquelyn wonders how the market is going to survive the volatility and the outliers-driven market dynamics. Fascinating and well worth a read (and a TC+ subscription, if you haven’t given our subs team the $50 worth of annual subscription tokens yet).
In yesterday’s Daily Crunch, we listed a firehose of new funds. One day late (how dare they not jump on our entirely arbitrary bandwagon), AWS announced a $30 million fund aimed especially at minority founders.
Meanwhile, in the most life-imitates-art (looking at you, “Silicon Valley”) story I’ve written for TechCrunch to date, Social Local Mobile Commerce (SoLoMoCo) app Tulu raised a chunk of cash to bring the sharing economy to your apartment building.
More? You want more? I gotchu:
- Not quite Airbnb, not quite hotel: Lyric Hospitality took a nose-dive early in the pandemic, but the company’s software platform got a $16 million cash injection and a new lease of life as Wheelhouse.
- Ad-specially for you: Mutiny is using AI tech to optimize ads and landing pages based on customer behavior, which got investors all excited to the tune of a $50 million Series B.
- Group travel planning is back: Pandemic? What pandemic! It’s pretty exciting to see travel apps raising money again after a two-year drought. Bach is an app that just closed an $8 million round to make bachelor/bachelorette party planning easier.
- Barnacle boxing match: Neptune creates robots to clean ship hulls using robots.
- More shrimp, less styro: I love this; Cruz Foam is using shrimp shells discarded by the seafood industry to create a foam product that replaces styrofoam.
- Less shrimp, more science: At the same time shrimp byproducts are seeing other uses, CellMEAT is skipping the animal altogether and just growing shrimp cells in the lab.
Study up on churn rate basics to set customer and revenue benchmarks
Whether it’s a neighborhood gym or a SaaS decacorn, every company that relies on recurring revenue watches its churn rate closely.
Churn “is complex and confusing,” says Sid Jain, a senior analyst at ChartMogul, but for early-stage companies, it’s one of a few real-time metrics that can help founders run experiments and gather feedback quickly.
Jain explains the differences between customer and revenue churn, shares formulas for calculating benchmarks, and answers the question: “What is a good monthly churn rate?”
If you’re starting to think about recurring revenue, or know someone who is, please read and share.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Netflix had everyone buzzing today, and not because it is April 20. Nope, the company is cracking down on sharing accounts and is also considering an ad-supported plan. The whole reason to subscribe to Netflix is because it doesn’t have any ads. Yes, yes for the content, because otherwise we would not know why “Shake” should have read the “Love is Blind” fine print, but it was refreshing to watch an entire season of “Emily in Paris” without interruption.
- Across the pond, the U.K. announced a reform package for how it will manage consumer protection and competition, essentially targeting fake reviews and killer acquisitions. It will make it illegal to pay people to write a fake review, and platforms that fail to address these could be fined up to 10% of their global annual turnover. Also, the European Union is working to standardize how mobile gadgets are charged.
- Apple had a few things going on today, including welcoming Ace Hardware as a new cashback partner. Apple is launching DJ mixes in spatial audio with Dolby Atmos on Apple Music.
- IBM’s first-quarter earnings look good.
- Google city searches will now come with some air quality information.