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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for September 14, 2021. It was an Apple day on the internets, so we’ve all spent the afternoon trying to figure out if we need a new smartphone. Answer? Probably not, but that won’t stop a good portion of the TechCrunch crew from deploying fresh Yahoo lucre into Cupertino’s market cap. We love this stuff.
On the TechCrunch front, Disrupt is in a week’s time. Your humble servant is going shopping later this afternoon so that he can look slightly less disheveled. Jordan, of course, will look brilliant on the Disrupt Desk. See you there! — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Apple drops grip of new hardware: Anytime Apple hosts an event, it’s like time stops in the technology world. If that should still be the case is up to you, but it remains fact. Here’s our rundown of iPhone news, Apple Watch news, iPad updates and a general roundup in case you want to go meta. Enjoy!
- Atlanta booming: TechCrunch continued its tour of U.S. cities today after hitting up Chicago and Boston in recent weeks. This time, we dug into Atlanta’s booming startup scene, which is seeing record capital inflows. We talked to some founders and investors to get the latest. Don’t forget that Atlanta just produced a decacorn exit.
- And speaking of decacorns, Canva just raised $200 million at a $40 billion valuation. In percentage terms, the Australian design software company managed to raise two bills for 0.5% of its equity value. A steal at twice the price. Why is Canva worth so much? Huge scale, as our notes regarding its revenue growth illuminate.
Before we dive into our usual rundown of startup news, TechCrunch did a dig into the value of the myriad BNPL startups around the world through the lens of some recent acquisitions. I wrote it. Read it if that’s your jam.
- In light of the day’s Apple Fitness news, it matters that Tonal just announced live classes are coming to its service. Tonal competes in the hardware-and-software market against Peloton and other players. Notably it’s the startups of the world that are fusing hardware and software more than Apple in this case, which is mostly bundling services into its existing products. Regardless, good news for you Tonal users out there.
- 1047 Games closes $100M: If you are hot, Brian Heater writes, you are hot. And 1047 games with its hit title Splitgate is more than warm. So sweltering that it just closed a third round since May. What’s Splitgate? An FPS that includes portals. (Which frankly sounds awesome.)
- Grammarly opens up for developers: Grammarly is well known as a product that folks use to help tighten up their writing. But what if you wanted to bake Grammarly tech into your own product? Well, now you can. The company just announced a developer product. The finance nerd in me wonders how lucrative the new business line will prove, and if it will help the company file its damn S-1 already.
- EverAfter raises $13M, underscores that HRtech is still hot: Per our own reporting, EverAfter has built a “no-code customer-facing tool that streamlines onboarding and retention.” That’s a bit like Sora, a startup that TechCrunch has also written about. A few rounds focused on the same space is signal!
- Today’s Tiger round is Indonesian fintech Xendit: Xendit is now a unicorn thanks to a $150 million check led by Tiger. At this point, we reckon that every time Tiger’s managing partners go to dinner they tip $150 million. It’s the only number that they know! Regardless, the Jakarta-based fintech with a payments focus has big expansion plans that are now well financed.
Is it so bad to take money from Chinese venture funds?
Are founders in fundraising mode short-sighted when it comes to working with Chinese investors?
Asia Business development manager for Runa Capital Denis Kalinin studied data from iTjuzi, a database of Chinese venture capitalists and found:
… Chinese funds invested around $250 billion in 2020 (three times higher than the figure reported in Crunchbase). This figure puts Chinese VC investments only 30% lower than investments by U.S. funds, but three times that of U.K. funds and 12.5 times more than German funds.
The pandemic, geopolitical tensions and other factors led many Chinese venture funds to reduce their international investments, but that’s largely “because during COVID, China’s economy recovered much faster than other countries,” writes Kalinin.
His analysis covers multiple angles: Chinese investments in Europe are catching up with those in Asia and the United States, half of China’s top cross-border investors are CVCs, and investors are particularly interested in fintech, deep tech and digital health at the moment.
“Chinese investors can bring value to foreign startups, but you need to study their expertise and how it can be useful for you.”
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Big Tech news, an update from the U.S. government: “Biden’s new FTC nominee is a digital privacy advocate critical of Big Tech,” it turns out. That matters.
- LinkedIn pledges $25M to creators: In case your LinkedIn feed was lacking in pizazz, the Microsoft subsidiary has plans to bolster your content influx. A $25 million “Creator Accelerator Program” has been established to encourage more, well, creation. Also LinkedIn is getting into live audio.
- 51 more Starlink satellites take flight: We’re including this news item in Daily Crunch today in case you are also considering a move to rural Montana but need to stay employed.
- Spaceflight looks to fly to the moon: Elon’s space company is not the only player looking to get humans off the plant. Spaceflight will “shuttle customers on a lunar flyby mission next year,” which is more than neat. How much for a ticket?
TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing
We’re reaching out to startup founders to tell us who they turn to when they want the most up-to-date growth marketing practices. Fill out the survey here.
Read one of the testimonials we’ve received below!
Marketer: Andrew Race, Juice
Recommended by: Orin Singh, Merchant Industry
Testimonial: “We were referred to Juice by a family friend of my company’s owner, and as a personal courtesy, they said they were giving us their best guy. Naturally, we thought that is what everyone says, but they were not kidding. Andrew was singularly leagues above our previous marketing company. Having someone so knowledgeable and willing to learn a new industry proved to be the turning point for us.”
From planned Twitter Spaces to impromptu chats with the Equity crew, the TechCrunch team is constantly on Twitter. Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 15 at 2 p.m. PDT/5 p.m. EDT, the Disrupt Battlefield judges will be talking on Twitter Spaces. On Thursday, September 16, at 3 p.m. PDT/6 p.m. EDT, Danny Crichton will be joined by Martin Ford, author of “Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything.” Make sure you’re following the TechCrunch Twitter account to stay up to date with our news and events.