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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch on January 13, 2022! Somehow it’s already the end of Thursday, which is strange, since it was Monday morning a few minutes ago. Such is the rhythm of 2022! There is some hope in the market that things will slow down (and get cheaper), but that doesn’t seem very likely at the moment. More on that shortly, along with news that Facebook’s dating app is kaput? To which we can warmly respond: Facebook is still building dating apps? – alexander
TechCrunch’s top 3
- How Y Combinator’s new terms are changing startup investing: News that Y Combinator is increasing the capital it invests in its accelerator batch companies is leading to a Small short comment. While Y Combinator investing more money is generally good news for startup founders, other investors have concerns.
- Instacart is going Blue Apron, because why not: Instacart is rolling out pre-prepared meals to its platform, expanding its product line as the grocery delivery game becomes more competitive. Recall that Instacart had a simply unbelievably good 2020, but the former well-funded startup’s growth slowed in 2021.
- Databricks does more than file an S-1: Databricks, a huge private data analytics company, has released a verticalized version of its “Lakehouse” product. What is a lake house? The thing at the top of a piece of data Lake, find? Anyway, flag this moment to you as the moment when we really, really knew Databricks was a Big Kid company and needed to go public. Come on Databricks, we want the fucking numbers.
We have many, many things to tell you today, so here we go:
- Turnip wants to power gaming communities: I occasionally joke about startup names, but I really love the nickname “Turnip”. It’s memorable, fun to say, and the company even has a .gg domain name. Why the strange TLD? Because the turnip is in the game community space, and a .gg is to gamers what a .eth is to a person with a moderately messy Minx as a profile picture on Twitter.
- Arc shows there’s more room in the market for alternative finance games: Fresh out of stealth, Arc is building a product to both provide access to capital for software publishers and perhaps help them manage other elements of their financial lives. Our own Mary Ann Azevedo dug into the company’s plans.
- Gr4vy Raises $15M for Payment Orchestration: While I try to avoid buzzwords in this newsletter when possible, I took a moment today to better understand what is “payment orchestration,” because that’s what Gr4vy just created a Series A expansion to work on. In practice, it seems to be a software meta-layer that bundles all sorts of payment options together and works in a single product. So it sounds more like an ensemble than a conductor, but I have to admit that “orchestration” sounds better than, say, coordination.
- Thanks also to Gr4vy for using leetspeak on his behalf. Very retro.
- GoFundMe Buys Classy: GoFundMe is perhaps best known as America’s healthcare and disaster safety net. Classy is a similar product, but intended to help non-profit organizations raise funds. The former bought the latter in a stock trade, according to our own Amanda Silberling.
- What if you combine no-code, metaverse, games, user-generated content, $50 million, and Espoo? You get Yahaha Studios, which is based in Espoo, Finland. He just announced that he’s raised $50 million in three rounds and is building a no-code service he calls a “metaverse for games.” Not only am I curious thanks to the huge success of Roblox, but I love the games, so find it perfectly neat.
- PUBG publisher is suing about $5,000,000 market cap over game clones: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds mobile version publisher Krafton is suing Apple (worth $3 trillion), Alphabet ( worth just under $2 trillion) and Garena Online (valuation unknown) on what TechCrunch describes as copying “the opening of its title, its game structure and gameplay, the combination and selection of weapons, armor and unique items, locations and general color schemes, materials and textures”.
- UBITS raises $25M to upskill workers in LatAm: The Great Ed Tech Boom of 2020 moderated somewhat in 2021, but now, in 2022, we’re still seeing rounds being made in space . UBITS builds technology to help workers “upskill” in Latin America, or basically to train them for new, more complex jobs.
And much more. This startup thinks it can offer a 4% savings rate, which is crazy. This startup builds super cute sidewalk robots. Shield raised $15 million for communications compliance software, while Fintech Farm wants to build neobanks for different emerging markets.
Implementing high-converting lead magnets that deliver value
It’s one thing to get a potential customer to visit your site, but convincing them to reach for their wallet or share their phone number is overkill.
As consumers gain greater control over their privacy, Aleksandra Korczynska, CMO of GetResponse, says marketers who align lead generation with potential customer goals will gain a significant advantage.
“The key is to create a foot-in-the-door technique for continued engagement — lead magnets,” she says.
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Big Tech inc.
- Meta Shutters speed-dating service: At some point, Meta tries every digital product idea out there. I wouldn’t be shocked if deep in corporate headquarters a few developers were frantically building an alpha version of a FriendFeed clone, even though Bret Taylor has already left the company to become a pseudo-CEO of Salesforce. On this theme, Facebook is closing a speed-dating service that it had apparently concocted. Will you miss it?
- Venmo introduces electronic gift wrapping? Now, if you hate gift-wrapping and you hate giving money, you may be doubly annoyed with Venmo’s new feature that will let users wrap their money transfers. Now, your parents can’t pretend that giving money instead of a gift isn’t celebratory!
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