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Hi again friends, and welcome to Daily Crunch for Monday, December 27.
I continue to captain the USS Cruncherprise while Alex is out on vacation. If you’re missing his wit and wisdoms, fear not: He’ll be back next week.
As I mentioned last week, the news cycle tends to get a bit quieter in these last weeks of December — so expect these daily recaps to be a bit more compact accordingly. We should be back in the full swing of things next week, if only because that’s when CES is happening. (And, yes, it’s apparently still happening, despite a number of the biggest companies pulling out.)
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Remembering the startups we lost in 2021: Houseparty! Dark Sky! Loon! A few members of the TC team put together a list of the products, projects and tech companies that shut down (or announced plans to shutdown) this year. Fry’s Electronics gets an honorable mention because, though it was hardly a startup, its shutdown leaves a massive “pyramid-shaped hole in the hearts of many who grew up wandering its aisles.”
- TC’s fav things: Team TC also put together its annual list of its “favorite things” of the year, with “things” defined … as, well, anything. We love doing this one; it ends up being a big mish-mashed list of stuff worth knowing about (I really can’t stop listening to Kirsten’s air traffic controller music recommendation), and doubles as a little glimpse into the in-the-moment headspaces of the folks who keep this place going.
- Is accessibility awareness resulting in better accessibility? Companies are doing a better job of talking about accessibility, but are their words leading to actual results? Joe Devon, co-founder of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day, takes us on a deep dive into the data.
- Naren Gupta passes away: The co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners died on Saturday at the age of 73. Manish Singh shares details of Gupta’s life, his many successes and how the venture capitalist helped “plant Indian SaaS startups on the world map.”
- Teesas raises $1.6M: Less than two months after launch, Nigerian edtech startup Teesas has raised a $1.6 million pre-seed round. The company offers a subscription program for students that delivers live/recorded content designed to pair right up with what they’re learning in school.
- Jupiter raises $86 million: The Indian neobank startup, not the gas planet. Just a few months after launching publicly, the company’s founder says the service has “just short of half a million users.” This round values the company at $711 million, more than doubling its valuation from August.
Foreign investors, mature startups redraw New Zealand’s VC funding landscape
For a country with just over five million people, New Zealand’s startup ecosystem is punching well above its weight.
In 2020, investors bet $158 million on 108 deals, the third consecutive year of growth. After a series of exits like RocketLab, Pushpay and Seequent, foreign investors like Sequoia and Founders Fund have taken notice.
“I’m hopeful over the next five years we’re going to start seeing more unicorns and real successes coming out of the market, which I think will create a positive halo effect and that’ll create the next generation of founders,” said James Pinner, acting CEO of New Zealand venture fund Elevate.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- More big companies back out of CES: While the Consumer Electronics Show is still set to go on as planned, a number of huge companies won’t be there this time — at least, not in person. T-Mobile was the first huge name to drop its in-person presence at the show due to the ongoing COVID spike; a number of companies have since followed their lead, including Google, Lenovo, Intel, GM, Microsoft, Meta and Amazon.
- TikTok moderator sues: Content moderation is a massive challenge that, arguably, no major social network has gotten right. Machines aren’t really up to the job yet, and hiring people to do it is like saying “You know all the vile, horrifying, absolute-worst bits of the internet? Here’s a firehose of it!” A TikTok moderator sued parent company ByteDance this week over trauma they experienced on the job; according to the complaint, tackling the “sheer volume of content” required moderators to “simultaneously view three to 10 videos at the same time.”
Are you all caught up on last week’s coverage of growth marketing and software development? If not, read it here.
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