Daily Crunch: 3 US Senators ask Amazon how biometric payment system will handle customers’ palm prints

Daily Crunch: 3 US Senators ask Amazon how biometric payment system will handle customers’ palm prints

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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for August 13, 2021. We made it to Friday, everyone. Congratulations! Despite it being the end of the week, we still have lots to talk about. Reddit taking on TikTok. Valuation changes in a key startup sector. And what it may really mean for a workplace to be apolitical. So read on, friends — there’s a lot to talk about! — Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Reddit takes on TikTok: Recently TikTok announced that it was going to shake up its controls to make its service a bit less addictive. While the social video service works on itself, other companies want to challenge its huge market presence. Reddit is joining YouTube, Snap and others in the war. I wonder where Reddit’s product domain will reach by the time it’s done expanding its feature set.
  • Privately loved, publicly panned: The cohort of insurtech companies that went public in the last year were riding high while private. And they had some pretty reasonable IPOs. Then their valuations began to fall. And fall. And fall some more. TechCrunch explores what’s going on and what it could mean for startups.
  • What does apolitical mean, anyway? A new essay written by Elastic exec Mandy Andress digs into the question. As some companies attempt to banish politics from their workplace, she asks “What might that mean for me as an LGBTQIA+ person in the workplace?” Read it.

Startups/VC

  • Latin American fintech stays busy: This time ‘round it’s Ualá that has raised more money, a $350 million Series D that values the company at $2.45 billion, to be precise. The Argentine company builds personal financial products, and its new round and resulting multi-unicorn valuation helps underscore just how global the fintech revolution is proving to be.
  • Gopuff, but for Latin America: Sticking to the region, Orchata just put together $4 million in new capital. The company wants to replicate the magic that Gopuff has managed to conjure, but farther south of where the U.S. company operates. Given how amply SoftBank has backed Gopuff, we’re counting down until the second Vision Fund arrives to pour cash into the hands of the Y Combinator-backed startup.
  • Rapid ARR growth helps Kiddom raise more funds: Kiddom, a “platform that offers a digital curriculum that fits the core standards required by states,” per our own reporting, is growing like a weed. Natasha reports that Kiddom’s ARR scaled 300% from 2020 to 2021. That pace of revenue accretion helped the company secure a $35 million Series C.
  • Reskilling could be big: Investors just put $7 million into Retrain.ai, a startup that wants to use AI and ML to “help governments and organizations retrain and upskill talent for jobs of the future, enable diversity initiatives, and help employees and jobseekers manage their careers.” All that sounds rather good. Especially as I keep reading about blogging robots that are set to take my job away.
  • Tablevibe wants to limit what restaurants pay delivery apps: The food game is a hard one. Margins are low. Customers are whiny. And lately staffing has been an issue. Tablevibe is helping with one particular vector of restaurant pain, namely how much food venues pay the likes of DoorDash and Uber Eats to get their product to customers. Anything to help the small business world makes us sit up and take notice. The company was part of the current Y Combinator batch, notably, so we should hear more from them at demo day.
  • If you need more startup news, Equity’s roundup from the week is here. Enjoy!

There could be more to the Salesforce+ video streaming service than meets the eye

Salesforce announced this week that it plans to launch a video streaming service.

The industry analysts enterprise reporter Ron Miller interviewed said the initiative has tremendous potential, but one noted that Salesforce will have to dig deep to compete in today’s crowded media landscape.

Salesforce hasn’t released details on the type of programming it plans to offer, but given its vast and diverse customer base, its options are many. Said Brent Leary of CRM Essentials:

A customer could sponsor a show, advertise a show or possibly collaborate on a show. And have leads generated from the show [which could be] directly tied to the activity from those options and track ROI. And it’s all done on one platform. And the content lives on with ads living on with them.

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

Big Tech Inc.

  • Facebook takes privacy stand: As Apple struggles to retain the mantle of the privacy-first technology leader, Facebook is making inroads. Of a sort. The company has “extended the option of using end-to-end encryption for Messenger voice calls and video calls,” TechCrunch reports. Good.
  • Lawmakers ask Amazon what it plans to do with biometric data: Amazon’s push to collect palm prints for its brick-and-mortar stores caught the eye of Congress. But don’t worry, when has any megacorp abused the privacy of the citizenry? Never, right? Right?
  • To close out today’s news, Twitter’s head of Indian operations is moving to the States in a new role. Twitter and India have been arguing with one another for some time now, a scrap that included the current Indian government straight up trying to intimidate the U.S. company. It’s pretty gross, frankly, and now Manish Maheshwari is shaking up his job. Look, regulation is fine, but trying to abuse companies and harass their staff for political reasons sucks.

TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing

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