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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for August 10, 2021. Today we have all sorts of goodies for you: Apple’s privacy stance, cannabis tech, even some crypto-focused items. Please enjoy.
Also note that Salesforce’s Kathy Baxter is coming to TC Sessions: SaaS to talk AI, which is going to be a hoot. — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Apple makes its privacy case: In a TechCrunch interview with Apple’s privacy chief Erik Neuenschwander, our own Matthew Panzarino got to ask questions about Cupertino’s impending software rollout of a method to detect certain abusive material. The decision by Apple has caused an uproar among privacy-minded groups.
- We need more disaster tech: That’s Danny Crichton’s thesis after reading the latest IPCC report on climate change and considering his time reporting on startups building tech to better respond to increasingly common fires, floods and other forms of natural mischief. If you were hunting for a market where you might be able to build a company and make a difference, this could be your jam.
- Salesforce announces Salesforce+: And yes, it is a streaming network of sorts. For context, Salesfoce used to host a yearly in-person event called Dreamforce. Then the pandemic hit. Now Salesforce is looking to build a home for Dreamforce online and extend its general video-and-content remit by producing more stuff, more often. The streaming service, which will focus on business topics, will be free when it launches later this year.
- Speaking of climate change: A startup called 44.01 just closed a $5 million round. What’s the money for? The company’s tech that turns carbon dioxide into stones. The process, called mineralizing, is known but not on a commercial scale. If 44.01 has its way, that could change.
- In case you thought college kids had too much to do: Kiwibot, makers of a cute little robot that can deliver food, has “announced a partnership with food services and facilities management giant Sodexo to bring its robots to U.S. college campuses.” Now college students can ingest substances and not have to go pick up said vittles themselves. This makes me at once jealous and somewhat cranky about being old.
- Auto insurance comparison app raises again: Jerry, which raised a $28 million Series B just a few months ago, is back with a new, larger round. This time it’s a $75 million Series C. Jerry, which has built an app that lets users compare insurance options, is in competitive territory. But given its new round, we presume that it has found an angle on its market that is proving lucrative thus far.
- The Hyundai self-driving car program is coming to LA: Motional, a joint effort from Aptiv and Hyundai, is bringing its autonomous cars to Los Angeles via a new facility to do testing. What’s fun about this particular bit of news is that there are so many self-driving companies that I cannot keep them straight. Which means that perhaps one of them will nail the problem and I never have to drive again.
- Surfside raises $4M for cannabis marketing tech: I suppose I didn’t know that cannabis needed marketing help, as it seems to sell itself rather well. But all the same, with myriad smaller cannabis brands getting started as the U.S. and other markets work in decriminalizing the drug, Surfside is building tech that may help them get to market.
- In case you need just a little bit more, TechCrunch took a look at just how many crypto exchanges are raising money. Call it the Coinbase effect.
What’s driving the global surge in retail media spending?
As the pandemic changed consumer behavior and regulations began to reshape digital marketing tools, advertisers are turning to retail media.
Using the reams of data collected at the individual and aggregate level, retail media produce high-margin revenue streams. “And like most things, there is a bad, a good and a much better way of doing things,” advises Cynthia Luo, head of Marketing at e-commerce marketing stack Epsilo.
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- OpenAI’s coding tool gets upgrades: The team behind GPT3 built something called Codex, which was designed to turn text into code. Now, with some improvements, it could be a service that even non-developers could use. It’s going into a private beta. Honestly, I can’t wait to try this out and see what I can build.
- Amazon will comp users for defective products sold by third parties: For purchases of less than $1,000, if a third party sells a defective good on Amazon, the megacorp will directly reimburse customers. This is a big upgrade. And will provide a natural incentive for Amazon to clean up its marketplace of substandard goods.
- Robinhood buys Say Technologies: Today in a $140 million all-cash deal, Robinhood announced that it will buy Say Technologies, which provides software that connects investors and public companies that they have backed. You can see how the model could fit into Robinhood neatly, perhaps making its service stand out from a pack of similar companies offering low- and zero-cost trading services.
- Venmo users can now get crypto back instead of cash: If you use a Venmo credit card, you will be able to get cash back in the form of cryptocurrency instead of cash. You know, if you wanted to boost your portfolio risk slightly. Jokes aside, it’s a neat feature and shows how the major C2C payment platforms can keep elbowing their way into the crypto market.
TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing
We’re reaching out to startup founders to tell us who they turn to when they want the most up-to-date growth marketing practices. Fill out the survey here.
Read one of the testimonials below about a Nigeria-based growth agency.
Marketer: Bili Sule, alGROWithm
Recommended by: Femi Aiki, Foodlocker
Testimonial: “Bili has a proven track record of driving growth, as the former vice president of Growth Marketing at Jumia Nigeria and as a senior growth consultant for Founders Factory Africa. She’s able to cut through the jargon/vanity metrics and has found a way to consistently and reliably engineer growth for us. What’s unique about Bili’s approach is that her strategy moves beyond just marketing. She is data-driven and takes an iterative experimental approach to unlocking growth across various business pillars, from marketing to product and operations.”