Daily Crunch: The Nubank EC-1

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It’s Daily Crunch time for Monday, June 14. I will be standing in for Alexander Wilhelm while he’s off enjoying his time away from the news cycle — if I don’t have to report for jury duty.

Big news today! We launched the Nubank EC-1, an extensive look into one of the biggest startups in the world. More on this down below.

And have you heard that TechCrunch recently launched a new podcast? On “Found,” Darrell Etherington and Jordan Crook interview one early-stage startup founder each week about the ins and outs and ups and downs of founding a company. In the latest episode, the pair spoke to Cory Siskind, founder of Base Operations, which earlier this year raised $2.2 million in seed funding to capitalize on its recent launch of a street-level threat-mapping platform for use in supporting enterprise security operations. Subscribe to “Found” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or the your podcast app of choice.


The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Mental models and multitasking enhancements: TechCrunch boss Matthew Panzarino got some time with Apple executives last week post-WWDC to talk about the company’s new iPadOS. Version 15 has a lot of expectations riding on it, not least of which is the new multitasking features.
  • You get a Google Workspace and you get a Google Workspace! The company announced today that Workspace, which has heretofore been known as G Suite, is open to everyone. Look for updates to all of your favorite Google products (Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Sheets, Slides, Meet, Chat, etc.) that might be jarring at first — until you forget what your Google life used to look like and welcome with open arms your new Google wrapping.
  • Stripe ID: Stripe launched Stripe Identity today. Companies can use the self-serve tool to verify user identities, while Stripe manages the customer data in an encrypted format using computer vision and machine learning to “read” and match up government IDs with live selfies. Developers can request access here, and Discord, Peerspace and Shippo are already in on the action.

Startups and VC

  • The Pill Club raises: The birth control prescription and delivery service announced it raised a $41.9 million Series B extension led by Base 10. The startup, helmed by former Uber executive Liz Meyerdirk, who took over as chief in January, has hit record revenues, crossing $100 million in annual run rate for the first time in its four-year history. Other investors in the round include GV and Shasta Ventures, as well as new additions Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Honey’s George Ruan.
  • Solving SaaS tax: Taxes are hard. Anrok exists to make them ever-so-slightly less painful for the SaaS companies out there making their way in the world. Anorak raised $4.3 million to offer specialized help to modern companies that need to navigate the tax complexities to doing business.
  • $6.8 million for fraud protection: Tel Aviv-based nSure AI raised the seed round to provide fraud detection for high-risk digital goods, such as electronic gift cards, airline tickets, software and games. The company’s AI’s risk engine leverages deep learning techniques to accurately identify fraudulent transactions.

How contrarian hires and a pitch deck started Nubank’s $30 billion fintech empire

Founded in 2013 and based in São Paulo, Brazil, Nubank serves more than 34 million customers, making it Latin America’s largest neobank.

Reporter Marcella McCarthy spoke to CEO David Velez to learn about his efforts to connect with consumers and overcome entrenched opposition from established players who were friendly with regulators.

In the first of a series of stories, she interviewed Velez about his early fundraising efforts. For a balanced perspective, she also spoke to early Nubank investors at Sequoia and Kaszek Ventures, Latin America’s largest venture fund, to find out why they funded the startup while it was still pre-product.

“There are people you come across in life that within the first hour of meeting with them, you know you want to work with them,” said Doug Leone, a global managing partner at Sequoia who’d recruited Velez after he graduated from grad school at Stanford.

Marcella also interviewed members of Nubank’s founding team to better understand why they decided to take a chance on a startup that faced such long odds of success.

“I left banking to make a fifth of my salary, and back then, about $5,000 in equity,” said Vitor Olivier, Nubank’s VP of operations and platforms.

“Financially, it didn’t really make sense, so I really had to believe that it was really going to work, and that it would be big.”

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

The Supreme Court has given LinkedIn another chance to stop a rival company from scraping personal information from users’ public profiles, a practice LinkedIn says should be illegal but one that could have broad ramifications for internet researchers and archivists.

Battery recycling startup Redwood Materials, which was founded by former Tesla CTO JB Straubel, has purchased 100 acres of land near the Gigafactory that Panasonic operates with Tesla in Sparks, Nevada. The company is trying to create a circular supply chain by collecting the scrap from consumer electronics companies and battery cell manufacturers, processing these discarded goods by extracting materials like cobalt, nickel and lithium that are typically mined, and then supplying those back to Panasonic and other customers.

The first and last all-virtual E3 gaming soiree kicked off today, with announcements from Microsoft, Square Enix and Ubisoft.

And rounding out today, we’ve got a review for you. Beats Studio Buds are a compact, noise-canceling and somewhat affordable alternative to AirPods.

TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing

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Image Credits: SEAN GLADWELL (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

With the rollout of our Experts project, we’re excited by the increase of guest columns we’ve received within the growth marketing category. Today, we have a guest column from Hunter Jensen, “The demise of browser cookies could create a Golden Age of digital marketing.”

Have you recently worked with a growth marketer? We want to hear about your experience!

Fill out the survey here.

The answers to this survey will help shape our editorial coverage as we begin to dive into conversion optimization, social, paid ads and more! Find more details at techcrunch.com/experts.

TC Eventful

Are you looking for a platform to introduce your pre-Series A company to the world? If so, don’t miss out on your chance to exhibit in Startup Alley at Disrupt 2021, TechCrunch’s biggest virtual event happening September 21-23. If you’re selected, you’ll get a spot to do your elevator pitch along with a chance to be selected for Startup Battlefield or our brand-new Startup Alley+ program! We only have a few spots left, so make sure to get your application in ASAP before they’re all gone!

Daily Crunch: Toptal sues rival Andela for allegedly making ‘a perfect clone’ of its freelancer marketplace

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 June 11, 2021. As a small note I am off next week, so my dear friend and TechCrunch lifer Henry Pickavet will be taking over. He’s more fun and a better writer than I am, so consider him a temporary upgrade. See you in a week or so! — Alex

p.s. Cheap tickets to TC Early Stage 2021: Marketing & Fundraising are nearly gone. Flagging in case you needed a ticket and also like saving money. 

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Technology companies are trying to figure out post-pandemic work: Minor tech CEOs look to major tech companies for signals about what to do. Google, for example, is a famous cultural bellwether for other tech firms. But when it comes to post-pandemic work every tech company — big and small — is scrambling to come up with a plan that will keep control-oriented managers happy and staff from quitting en masse. TechCrunch has the rundown you need on what the majors are deciding.
  • Didi’s going public! If you thought that the Uber and Lyft IPOs were fun, oh boy is this good news for you. TechCrunch has notes on the venture capital winners’ list and more on the company’s economics for your reading pleasure.
  • The tech labor market is brutal: So brutal, in fact, two companies that help their customers find remote, freelance technology talent are now in a legal fight. Toptal is taking Andela to court over “the theft of trade secrets in pursuit of a perfect clone of its business,’” TechCrunch reports.

Startups and VC

  • Vertical SaaS is still hot: How do we know? Fresha just raised $100 million. The company provides software for hair and nail salons, yoga instructors, and other health, beauty, and wellness SMBs. Vertical SaaS companies can often have both attractive software incomes and strong payments revenues.
  • More money for neobanks: My general philosophy that there is infinite money available for neobanking startups around the world is holding up as TechCrunch broke news that “Bangalore-based neobank Open is in advanced stages of talks to raise about $100 million” from possibly Temasek and General Atlantic. The neobank could be worth $600 million after the deal, TechCrunch reported.
  • The edtech boom is not over: Sure, COVID-19 is receding in some countries, and economic activity is rebounding globally, but that’s not stopping edtech companies that got a pandemic bump from raising more cash. This week it’s Indian edtech company Classplus, which could raise $30 million from Tiger Global we reported, at a valuation of up to $250 million. That’s real money.
  • Neither is global interest in funding more insurtech startups: That’s what TechCrunch learned chatting up a bunch of EU-based VCs, who said that the European insurtech market is super busy, if perhaps not quite as frenetic as the market for insurance technology startups in America.

Insurtech is hot on both sides of the Atlantic

This morning, The Exchange dug into the EU insurtech market, interviewing European VCs and collating the biggest recent rounds to get a temperature of the waters across the pond:

  • Alex Timm, CEO, Root
  • Dan Preston, CEO, Metromile
  • Luca Bocchio, partner, Accel
  • Florian Graillot, investor, Astorya.vc
  • Stephen Brittain, director and founder, Insurtech Gateway

Several European-based insurtech startups entered unicorn territory this year, such as Bought By Many, which offers pet insurance, London-based Zego and Alan, a French startup that raised a $220 million round.

According to Brittain, EU startups in this sector are “still at the very early stages of innovation,” having only shown “a fraction of what’s possible” in a market that is “as large as banking.”

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

  • Everyone sucks at cybersecurity: This week’s its Volkswagen, via a third-party vendor. The vendor in question exposed 3.3 million customers’ data. At some point the fines for this sort of error have to rise to the level of pain that will force corporations to stop fucking up. Enough is enough.
  • Apple hires from Canoo for car can-do: This week Apple confirmed that it hired “former co-founder and CEO [Ulrich Kranz] of electric vehicle company Canoo. Though the company declined to say what he’s working on. It’s 1,000% a new cube-shaped, six-screen iBloc, right? Without wheels?
  • Sticking to the Apple beat, the company announced its “Design Award” winners. TechCrunch has the run-down you need here.

TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing

Illustration montage based on education and knowledge in blue

Image Credits: SEAN GLADWELL (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

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.

The results from this survey will help influence our editorial coverage of growth marketing. Today, we have a guest column from Fuel Capital CMO Jamie Viggiano: 5 questions startups should consider before making their first marketing hire.

Daily Crunch: At Apple’s WWDC 2021 keynote, everything old is new again

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.

Today was the kickoff of Apple’s developer conference, WWDC, meaning that the TechCrunch crew was super busy all day and that we have an ocean of news from Cupertino for you to enjoy. But the startup market was just as busy, thankfully, with some fascinating funding rounds, acquisitions and more to parse through. Today we have something for everyone! — Alex

P.S. Including all of you interested in finance. Here’s a teardown of the Babylon Health SPAC deal. Enjoy!

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Apple’s keynote lucre: Apple’s keynote today was the usual affair of animation, on-screen text, musicals, and lots and lots of news. More below but iOS 15, SharePlay and iCloud+ are obvious standouts.
  • The global chip shortage: The global chip shortage won’t lift until late next year, meaning that we’re likely going to see investment in new chip-fab capacity. Like the news today that Bosch opened a $1.2 billion chip manufacturing facility in Germany. Much like the AI market is cleaving along geopolitical fault lines, in time, more countries are going to want to have domestic chip-fab capabilities as a form of self-reliance.
  • Paytm is going public: Noida, India-based Paytm, the most valuable startup in the country, will go public, it told employees recently. That’s good news for the company, we suppose, but also potentially big news for India’s larger startup and venture capital scene.

Startups and VC

  • Astra buys Apollo Fusion: This is a fun one. Astra, a space launch upstart that is pursuing a SPAC-led IPO, is buying Apollo Fusion, which is focused on what TechCrunch described as “electric propulsion.” So not fusion, sadly, but electric propulsion is a key space technology that allows satellites, for example, to move around while in orbit. It can also be fuel-sipping to a degree, making it a tech that could help satellites and other heavenly bodies enjoy long service lives.
  • Briq raises its construction-focused fintech service: The recent implosion of construction-unicorn Katerra is not stopping venture investment in its market. Today Briq, a startup that provides fintech solutions to construction companies, announced that Tiger Global has led a $30 million round into its business. Normally a $30 million check would give us a good feel for how big Briq’s revenue base is today. But with market scuttlebutt indicating that Tiger is content to pour capital into companies with diminutive revenues, it’s hard to say. Briq told TechCrunch that its annual recurring revenue grew by 200% in the last year.
  • Mendel raises $18M to structure unstructured medical data: Every industry creates lots of data these days, but the medical industry sweats data like a first-time Peloton user. And, as you can imagine, most of the data that off-gases from the medical world is unstructured and generally a mess. Enter Mendel, which wants to organize, share and exchange medical data after it ingests and cleans it up. I dig it.
  • Finally today, Lightspeed has acquired “e-commerce platform Ecwid for $500 million, and NuOrder, a B2B ordering platform servicing wholesales, brands and retailers, for $425 million.” The Canadian point-of-sale provider has been busy buying startups in recent years, part of a larger roll-up strategy that it expects will accrete into an enticing package of services. Or, as the company put it, the deals will help Lightspeed become “the common thread uniting merchants, suppliers and consumers.” That’s pretty heavy on the corporate-speak, but does speak to Lightspeed’s ambitions. I raise this particular set of deals because Lightspeed is not as well known as its scale might have you think.

The hidden benefits of adding a CTO to your board

Conventional wisdom says startup boards should include a few CEOs who are able to offer informed advice, but having a technical leader in the mix creates real upside, according to Abby Kearns, chief technology officer at Puppet.

Beyond their engineering experience, CTOs can help founders set realistic timelines, identify pain points and bring what Kearns calls “pragmatic empathy” to high-pressure situations.

“A CTO understands the nuts and bolts,” says Kearns.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

As noted above, there’s a lot of Apple news to dig through, but we also have notes from Microsoft and Pinterest to parse. So let’s get done with WWDC and then dive into the rest.

Today’s Apple event generated oodles of coverage. Here’s what you need to know (products bolded to help you find what you need):

And there’s more to come. So, if that’s not enough from the Apple news column for you, keep your eyes on the site.

read more about Apple's WWDC 2021 on TechCrunch

Elsewhere in BigTechLandia

Pinterest is finally rolling out the ability to save items into a shopping list. The general argument for the long-term value of Pinterest has been that, sure, it has ads, but it’s also essentially an e-commerce sleeping giant. Perhaps Big Pin wants to awaken a bit faster than we had expected.

To close, Microsoft is renaming Windows Virtual Desktop to Azure Virtual Desktop. Why the change? Because, loosely, there’s lots more demand for the product in a post-pandemic world than the one that came before it, and thus the ability to “set up a full virtual desktop environment from the Azure portal” using only “a few clicks,” as Frederic reported, could be a big deal.


What were you looking forward to the most at WWDC? You told us iOS updates. And there are a bunch. Come chat on the Discord server about what Apple did (and didn’t) announce.

TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility is happening this Wednesday, and there’s still time to buy tickets. On the fence? Come hang out with us tomorrow on Twitter Spaces at 4 p.m. PDT/7 p.m. EDT to get a taste of what you’ll experience at the event.

Speaking of events, keep an eye on the site for some Pittsburgh Spotlight-related news tomorrow.

TC Eventful

Whether you’re into artificial intelligence, autonomous and/or electric vehicles, robotics or hunting the next transportation unicorn, you’ll want to make sure you’re at TechCrunch’s Sessions: Mobility event this Wednesday, June 9. Bring your questions and join the conversation with CEOs and founders from Scale AI, Ford, Joby Aviation and Hyundai and discover 30 of the hottest early-stage mobility startups poised to become the next big thing. Register today and get a free expo ticket with promo code DAILYEXPO. Or save 50% for access to the entire event with promo code DAILYCRUNCH50.