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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch on Tuesday, March 15, 2022! Well, we did. We survived the reporting season and almost the entire first quarter. Now only the last two weeks we will enter the second real period of 2022. Time is ticking, but the fact that we are approaching the end of March means that the initial stage is approaching. For example, I can’t wait. (And, well, I’m also looking forward to first quarter earnings.) – Alex
- All Rise appoints new CEO All Rise, a nonprofit that we report aims to “increase the diversity of venture deals and decision makers,” has a new CEO. Mandela takes over after running the Schumacher-Hodge Dixon Founder Gym, which helped train underrepresented founders around the world.
- Problems in China: China’s tech landscape is under pressure as the government continues its regulatory flurry, COVID policies shut down major cities, and the potential delisting of the country’s US-listed companies looms over them. Markets reacted negatively to the uncertainty.
- Company result: Preliminary evidence suggests that a tough market is starting to show up in venture capital performance. After China’s venture capital market, once a top contender in the world, the past year has been an interesting adventure as venture capitalists have continued to write checks despite increased government oversight. However, this number may change now. And not for the better.
- How European startups help Ukrainian refugees: While the world’s governments are trying to soften and reverse the Russian invasion of Ukraine, European startups and more mature tech companies are struggling to alleviate human suffering. For a current list of who does what, see gaming-updates.
Startups and venture capitalists
What are crypto delays? gaming-updates noted last week that the NFT market is slowing down. But this, as well as price changes for major crypto tokens in general, does not reduce the interest of corporations in this space. The parent company of the well-known crypto wallet Metamast just raised a $7 billion valuation, and the Facebook crypto team just raised a coin for their project. Specifically, this is a new blockchain, not something built on top of an existing decentralized network.
Before we get into the rest of the startup news, there’s an essay on gaming-updates related to BNPL regulation (mostly for consumer credit) that’s well worth reading. I haven’t digested it yet, but the concept of lagging regulation in the face of rapid innovation should never be overlooked.
- Astra manages to advertise Astra: Spaceflight is a pretty binary thing to do. Either you build it and deliver everything to carry, or you don’t and everyone sees your rocket failure on YouTube. There’s good news for the burgeoning space game: “Astra is taking a government-owned space startup into orbit for the second time on its first mission for new client Spaceflight Inc.,” according to gaming-updates. (For now, I’m putting Astra in the startup section because despite being a public company, it’s still a startup, just like Databricks is a public company despite being a private company.)
- Enterprise software is still big business: Sure, VCs want to fund cryptocurrency exchanges and stuff, but the work of building software for large companies is still ongoing. Proof of this can be found in the Today’s Run: AI program, which raised a $75 million round. The investment was led by Tiger and Insight Partners, providing AI Workload Orchestrator with a huge capital base from which to grow.
- Employee engagement even in big business: Sticking to the corporate theme for a moment, Staffbase has raised a whopping $115 million round at a $1.1 billion valuation, according to gaming-updates. The company’s software “helps internal teams create, share and measure the impact of their communications with their organizations,” we write.
- Plaid for commerce? Plaid is famous for creating an API to connect the fintech world. gaming-updates thinks Rutter has a similar scheme, but for e-commerce. And after raising $1.5 million last year, the company is back in 2022 with a $27 million Series A.
- Battery-operated cargo moving around the islands: That’s funny. FleetZero aims to shake up the carbon-intensive and generally obsolete global shipping world with electric yachts, small ports and battery swaps. well, yes?
- Insurtech is not dead: Yes, the value of many insurtech startups has fallen in recent quarters, but that doesn’t mean the industry is bankrupt. A prime example is the latest $100 million Cowbell Cyber Round to provide cyber insurance to small and medium businesses. Given the flood of ransomware around the world, we suspect that Cowbell will be out for TAM.
There was much more. Bobby has raised $50 million for his infant formula venture, Zomato and Blinkit are teaming up, and we have more reports from the e-commerce aggregation world.
How do I introduce myself: 4 venture capitalists shared their desires in March 2022
If you dig into the public domain, you just don’t know what kind of deals VCs are looking for right now or how the founders choose to approach them.
To learn more about unlocking some of these secrets and finding the best venture capital opportunities, we interviewed the following investors:
- Christine Choi, partner, M13
- Arvind Gupta, Partner at Mayfield Fund
- Mike Gaffrey, General Partner of Canvas Ventures
- Sarah Kunst, director of Cleo Capital
(gaming-updates+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams grow. You can sign up here.)