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.

Henry

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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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: Before the pandemic, Expensify made remote work cool and profitable

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.

Welcome to Daily Crunch for May 25, 2021. Whether you are a developer, a startup fanatic or merely someone with wanderlust, we have something for everyone today. Well, except for disappointed investors in Lordstown Motors. They are stuck holding the bag today after the American electric vehicle company announced a pretty awful set of earnings.

But for the rest of us, there’s quite a lot of tech and startup news to enjoy. Let’s get to it! — Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • TechCrunch’s deep dive into Expensify continues: Ahead of its IPO, TechCrunch is digging into Expensify’s growth from startup to unicorn, with our latest entry discussing how the company shed its “Silicon Valley arrogance” to go global.
  • $300M for vertical farming: Startups shaking up the agricultural world is no longer a surprising idea, but the recent Bowery Farms round did make us sit up and take note. The company is now worth $2.3 billion, and its “vertically farmed produce is now available in 850 grocery stores.”
  • Venture capital’s global march continues: New data from Africa indicates that the continent’s historically lagging venture capital results are making up for lost time. Tage Kene-Okafor reports that VC activity in Africa could reach “between $2.25 billion and $2.8 billion” this year. That would be a new record.

Startups and VC

$26M for Airbyte, which is working to better connect data to where it’s needed: Having data is one thing, but startups are starting to get into not only storing data, but also how it gets ingested (Monte Carlo is working on that), and making sure it’s moved to where it’s needed. That’s where Airbyte comes in. And the company’s latest round comes just months after it raised a $5.6 million seed deal.

We asked our own Ron Miller what induced him to cover the round. Here’s what he had to say: “What attracted me to this round was the fact that the founders were using open source to drive the development of a community of users, then worrying about monetization down the road.”

Twilio opens wallet for Hyro: Whenever a company well known for leading a sea change in the tech world cuts a check, we tend to take notice. Recall when Salesforce was hip; its investments made waves. Today, Twilio is the BigCo in question, and Hyro the startup it is backing.

Per our own Jordan Crook, Hyro “calls itself an adaptive communications platform, which essentially means that customers use plug-and-play tools to get information to end users in a conversational way.” Very cool.

$50M for Whatnot, which wants to livestream e-commerce: Look, if you are not into buying things, Whatnot is not going to be your jam. But if you are, it has a neat take on e-commerce that is popular around the world, but has yet to take off in North America. Notably this round comes mere months after Whatnot raised $20 million.

Something something real-life NFTs?: What happens when you cross a startup that wants to bring blockchain to the real estate market and NFTs? You get this: Propy. The startup in question, is “auctioning a real apartment as an NFT.” I don’t get it! But maybe that’s the point.

$65M for social engineering-fighting Tessian: U.K.-based Tessian is a cybersecurity company, which means that of course it raised a huge new round. The cybersecurity market is hotter than all heck given waves arms around at all the breaches lately. But what makes Tessian neat is that it is taking on the human side of things by “flagging problematic [usage] patterns [that] could signify risky stuff is happening.”

Brian Chesky describes a faster, nimbler post-pandemic Airbnb

Managing Editor Jordan Crook interviewed Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky to discuss the future of travel and what it was like leading the world’s biggest hospitality startup during a global pandemic.

“Our business initially dropped 80% in eight weeks. I say it’s like driving a car. You can’t go 80 miles an hour, slam on the brakes and expect nothing really bad to happen.

“Now imagine you’re going 80 miles an hour, slam on the brakes, then rebuild the car kind of while still moving and then try to accelerate into an IPO, all on Zoom.”

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

Big Tech Inc.

Today was Microsoft’s Build conference, the second time that the annual Redmond developer confab took place virtually. But before we get into that, a short note on autonomous deliveries.

Getting stuff brought to your house without human power is a long-running technology dream. Remember those Amazon drones that everyone got super stoked about and then we never heard from again (not once, but twice)? Or the cute Postmates robot? Well, there’s another set of players in the space, namely JD.com and Meituan. TechCrunch has the latest on their self-driving delivery efforts.

Back to Build — oh boy was there a lot of news. From top to bottom, Microsoft is bringing more Azure services to Kubernetes, new tools for developers building on top of Teams, updates to its Edge browser as Internet Explorer shuffles off this mortal coil, enterprise Azure support for PyTorch, and, my personal favorite, the company is leveraging GPT-3 (which I think is super cool) to help people code in natural language.

I used to be a Microsoft beat reporter. I kinda miss those days. It’s a huge company with a finger in nearly every pie, which makes covering it surprisingly horizontal. Regardless, enjoy Frederic’s coverage!

 

Community

Some of us have started traveling again … revenge travel, if you will. Our own Jordan Crook chatted with Airbnb’s CEO and we asked him if he thinks “the trends we’re seeing in travel right now, like more rural destinations and decreased business travel, are here to stay?” See what he had to say here and tell us what you think here.

Do you like data? How about BIG Data? Come hang out with us on Clubhouse and chat about our recent Extra Crunch article on the topic this Thursday at 9 a.m. PDT/12 p.m. EDT. Need a Clubhouse invite? We got you; just swing on by the Discord server and ask.

TechCrunch Experts: Email Marketing

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Who do you turn to when you need to know how to lay out your content, how to improve your open rates or for general email marketing advice?

TechCrunch wants to find the top growth marketers in tech! We’re looking to founders for their recommendations on email marketers.

Fill out the survey here.

This feedback will help shape our editorial coverage moving forward, so make sure your voice is heard. Find more details at techcrunch.com/experts.

Daily Crunch: Ford’s powerhouse F-150 Lightning pickup can actually power your house

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.

It’s Thursday, everyone, and the technology and startup worlds were a mixed bag today. We learned about the final death of Internet Explorer (RIP), new AR glasses from Snap, fresh cryptocurrency rules for the United States, and even took the time to look into all the pizza-robot startups. Hell, Ford even made the cut with its new electric truck that I secretly covet (it can power your house if the grid goes down!).

As always, we’ve collected the three key stories for the day below and then have a rapid-fire breakdown of startup and Big Tech news to follow. Let’s go! — Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Consumer financial technology is so hot: With Berlin-based investing app Trade Republic raising $900 million and Robinhood’s partial, first-quarter results looking strong, your Twitter feed may feel all fintech, all the time. And with good reason, as startups in the niche are seeing huge customer demand, which is, in turn, making investors both public and private salivate.
  • E-commerce roll-ups are raising jillions: The world is moving toward e-commerce at a rapid clip, which is leading to a host of startups raising piles of cash to buy, and consolidate brands that sell on popular digital platforms. It’s an arms race to own your wallet, and Factory14 just put together $200 million for its own effort. (More here, and here.)
  • Governments are not thrilled with cryptocurrencies: On the heels of news concerning fresh crackdowns on Bitcoin and friends in China, the United States is looking “to put new requirements in place that would make it easier for the government to see how money is moving around, including digital currencies,” Taylor reports.

Startups and VC

The startup world is awash in capital these days, so we cannot get to all the latest venture capital rounds in one bloc. Here, however, are a few favorites from the day:

Eano raises $6M for its home renovation software: Home renovations are hard because most of us are not trained project managers. Eano wants to make the process simpler for both homeowners and the folks hired to do the renovation work. Thank god.

Workrise raises $300M for its workforce management platform: With Procore’s IPO going well today, and Workrise raising $300 million at roughly the same time, it appears to be a great time to build products for less sexy markets. Workrise, for example, “connects skilled laborers with infrastructure and energy companies looking to staff and manage projects efficiently.” With Franklin Templeton now an investor, it looks like it’s headed for an IPO in not too much time.

Pitch raises $85M to help folks build shareable presentations: The push to build and fund software that may fit neatly into a remote or hybrid-work world continues today, with Pitch announcing a huge round at a $600 million valuation for what Ingrid describes as the “ability for people to create, collaborate on and share presentations with each other through an online-based interface.” Frankly that sounds cool.

Maven raises $20M for its cohort-based professional classes: The education technology VC rush continues, with Andreessen Horowitz leading a $20 million round into Maven, which Natasha reports “helps professionals teach cohort-based classes.” Notably Maven raised money via equity crowdfunding earlier in its life.

Kredito raises $4M to get loans for LatAm small businesses: The fintech lending boom that has impacted consumers (BNPL and the like) and business is not stopping at the borders of the United States. Kredito is testament to that fact, putting together a new round to help get SMBs in Latin America access to credit.

Chasing hype is human nature: The tyranny of startup trends

The fear of missing out (FOMO) spreads faster than wildfire and often overwhelms rational decision-making.

In the VC community, investors look for lessons from disruptive startups they can use to identify other potential winners. But hype leads to bad decision-making, rushed due diligence and wishful thinking.

When and if those startups actually do well, “irrational FOMO takes over” because the initial assessment was based on bad information, says Victor Echevarria, a partner at Jackson Square Ventures. “Trends are addictive; to remain disciplined and avoid hype is to deny our innate instincts.”

It’s natural for investors to follow the crowd, but in the race to the bottom, FOMO can be high-octane fuel.

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

Big Tech Inc.

Today’s Big Tech news comes from Microsoft, Google, Twitter and Snap. And TikTok. Enjoy:

Twitter’s epic product run continues: The product news parade from Twitter continued today, with the social media company announcing a revamp to user profiles and the restarting of its verification process. Between a rapid-fire rollout of its Clubhouse-competing Spaces product, or its media push with Revue and subscriptions, Twitter has been on a roll.

Google didn’t learn from Microsoft’s retail experiment: Big Search is following Redmond into the IRL retail game that the latter company already gave up on. Which is a bummer as I kinda dug Microsoft stores. Regardless, read all about Google’s impending meatspace storefront here.

Microsoft lays Internet Explorer to rest: The death date of Internet Explorer has been fixed for June, 2022. So you have that long to fool around with the venerable, if comedically aged internet browser. Few will miss Internet Explorer, but it was a pretty key product in the rise of the web. Kinda like Yahoo. Even if Yahoo will ride again (again). Again.

TikTok builds out way-late anti-bullying tooling: As the founder of its parent company steps down amidst a Chinese government crackdown on that country’s tech industry, TikTok is rolling out some long-awaited features that should make its service a bit better to use. At long last.

TechCrunch Experts: Email Marketing

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Image Credits: Getty Images

Have you recently worked with an email marketer? We want to hear about your experience!

Fill out the survey here.

TechCrunch wants to help startups find the right expert for their needs. To do this, we’re building a shortlist of the top growth marketers.

The answers to this survey will help shape our editorial coverage as we begin to dive into email tools, privacy laws and more! Find more details at techcrunch.com/experts.

TC Eventful

We’re excited to announce that Mate Rimac will be joining us at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, a one-day virtual event that is scheduled June 9. We have a lot of ground to cover, from how he started a company outside of a traditional incubator or VC network to his upcoming 1,914 hp electric hypercar and plans for the company’s future.