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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for August 17, 2021. Today we have what struck us as the most interesting collection of startup news in some time. And we’re keeping an international perspective, diving into Brazil’s IPO market and — see below — fintech industry, while also looking at what’s ahead for Nigeria’s burgeoning startup industry. (Africa is busy!)
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Salesforce starts to integrate with Slack: As Ron Miller notes, we’ve known that SFDC has big plans for workplace chat app Slack. You don’t spend $28 billion without a plan (the deal wasn’t cheap). Today the CRM giant announced early integrations with Slack, which should be exciting to all you BigCorp denizens who use both tools. In the set of new tooling are things like “dedicated deal rooms,” which are like huddles, but for a particular sales effort.
- Travel startups are fundable again: That’s the takeaway from news that Hopper, a startup that helps consumers book flights and hotel stays, raised $175 million in a new round that values the company at $3.5 billion. What about the COVID-19 resurgence that many markets are currently enduring? The startup’s products that facilitate more flexible travel are doing numbers, Hopper told TechCrunch.
- Crypto exchanges are venture darlings: Today’s news that crypto trading platform Bitpanda has raised $263 million at a $4.1 billion valuation is merely part of a trend that TechCrunch has seen in recent weeks of crypto exchanges raising huge checks at high prices. What’s driving the trend? Coinbase’s simply enormous and very public success in recent quarters. Everyone wants to fund the next Coinbase.
First up, TechCrunch has been covering the African startup market with much more focus in recent quarters, as you may have noticed. Sadly, per our own Tage Kene-Okafor, news from a key nation in the African tech scene is not good. New regulations that could land in Nigeria are more “concerning than friendly,” he writes.
- OnlyFans markets SFW app: Sure, OnlyFans is known mostly for its adult content and monetization thereof, but there’s more to the service than just that. The company is pushing a porn-free app that is devoid of monetization to highlight content from its creators that you could watch at work. Let’s see how it performs.
- Maven earns unicorn horn: On the back of a $110 million round co-led by Dragoneer Investment Group and Lux Capital, Maven is now a unicorn. The startup’s valuation is “a rare landmark moment for women’s health, and women-led startups more broadly,” Natasha Mascarenhas wrote for TechCrunch. Maven focuses on comprehensive women’s health support.
- More on Brazil in a moment, but Nuvemshop is now worth $3.1 billion after raising $500 million in a single round. Nuvemshop is a Brazilian e-commerce company that is often likened to a Shopify for the region. Its latest round was co-led by Insight Partners and Tiger Global Management, TechCrunch reports.
- Startup takes on space junk: The issue of space around our planet being full of, well, junk is being taken on by “Aurora Propulsion Technologies, a Finnish company that develops thrusters and de-orbiting modules for small satellites,” TechCrunch reports. Rocket Lab is handling the launch.
- $50M for better feature flags: If you are building an application, you may want to test new features with a limited set of users. Feature flags can help you do just that. The tech is big enough business that Split.io just landed eight figures of capital to keep building its business.
- Monte Carlo proves that the data market is more than just lakes: Data observability startup Monte Carlo just closed a $60 million round at four times the price that it raised its Series B earlier this year. The company has seen 8x ARR growth in the last year. The company is a reminder that for high-growth software, there is no limit to available capital in today’s market.
- And because you’ve read this far, how about some robot pizzas?
What does Brazil’s new receivables regulation mean for fintechs?
The Brazilian Central Bank made a major reform to the way payments are processed that may throw the doors open for e-commerce in South America’s largest market.
Historically, merchants who accepted credit card payments had two options: Receive the full payment distributed over two to 12 installments, or offer a deep discount to receive a smaller sum up front.
But in June 2021, the BCB created new “registration entities” that permit “any interested receivables buyer/acquirer to make an offer for those receivables, forcing buyers to become more competitive in their discount offers,” says Leonardo Lanna, head of payment products at Monkey Exchange.
The new framework benefits consumers and sellers, but for the region’s startups, “it opens the door to a plethora of opportunities and new business models, from payments to credit.”
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Big Tech Inc.
- Apple has an effort called Impact Accelerator, and, according to TechCrunch reporting, the megacorp is working to “to find and elevate minority-owned small businesses taking on sustainability and climate change.” A first group of 15 participants has been selected. We have the details.
- And to close out today’s news, a final Big Tech story, but in reverse. Remember when fintech companies were taking on banks? Well, now they are buying banks. Call it revenge of the startups.
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Join Danny Crichton on Thursday, August 19, at 2 p.m. PDT/5 p.m. EDT for a Twitter Spaces interview with Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, author of “Choose Possibility: Take Risks and Thrive (Even When You Fail).”