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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Friday, February 25, 2022. It has been a challenging week, so I hope you’re safe and in good spirits (if possible) when this letter reaches you. Toward a more fair and just world. – Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Storm clouds for late-stage startups: To close out a cheery week on a high note, TechCrunch dug into late-stage valuations in light of public market declines. In short, it appears that a host of startups raised new capital last year when valuations – and therefore revenue multiples – were hot. In a changed world, how will those companies manage to raise more cash and avoid a downround at the same time?
- The latest from Ukraine: TechCrunch continues to cover the Russian invasion of Ukraine when it lands in our remit. Today, we have a story about hacking efforts that are impacting the Ukrainian defense and a piece discussing internet restrictions in Russia as they relate to U.S. social networking services.
- “It was destined to be a weird MWC by any measure,” writes our own Brian Heater, diving into the state of the smartphone industry. MWC, or Mobile World Congress, is a yearly tech confab that has become, Heater notes, “the smartphone show.” But with innovation seeming to slow in the smartphone market, what MWC may look like in the future could be up for debate.
We have three sections of startup news today, starting with mobility, continuing with venture fund news, and closing with a neat startup round. To work!
From the mobility front:
- Beam raises $93M, proves that the e-scooter market is not kaput: Beam, a Singapore-based company, rents out e-scooters and other electric personal transport machines. In the wake of valuation declines at Bird and Lime, you might think that investors were over putting capital into the shared personal mobility game. And yet Beam’s latest raise attests to the very opposite.
- Can Taur make e-scooters cool? One issue with the electric scooters and bikes is that they still carry a whiff of dweeb about them. Perhaps this is because tech workers have long been a key customer base of the products. Regardless, Taur Technologies of London thinks “it’s time to separate scooter sharing from scooters as vehicles.” If this works out, I wouldn’t mind. I hate driving, so if scooting became cool, well.
From venture land:
- $200M for Hack VC’s crypto fund: The hack.summit() team, which put on what TechCrunch describes as “the world’s largest blockchain programmer event,” has put together a crypto fund. Why not! Everyone has a fund these days, and given the amount of market enthusiasm to fund blockchain projects, we’re not shocked to see another.
- Day One Ventures adds climate-focused partner: TechCrunch is building out its climate desk this year because we think that startups in that market are going to really matter. So we want to be prepared to write about them. Day One Ventures agrees with our general vibe, adding ClassPass co-founder Sanjiv Sanghavi as a climate-focused investor to its staff.
- Do university degrees still matter in Silicon Valley? An essay on TechCrunch argues that they do. Some folks won’t agree, but if you check the employee records of most tech workers, they do share something in common. And it’s not a shared history of not finishing higher education.
And, finally from our startups coverage today, Peru-based Leasy just raised $17 million – in a mix of cash and debt – to provide car loans to ride-hailing drivers in Latin America.
Why I’m using a credit facility to grow my startup
Investors are eternally on the lookout for an opportunity, but alternative financing is a viable option for founders who want to accelerate growth and retain more of their equity.
When Torpago CEO Brent Jackson wanted to expand his company’s offerings, the company secured $77 million in funding, “of which $75 million was a revolving credit facility and the remaining was in equity,” he says.
Doing so permitted the company to extend lines of credit to customers “and incorporate that debt into our capital stack in a way that minimizes the long-term cost of capital.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- SEC the Musk brothers: Perhaps all those Elon tweets had something behind them. It turns out that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is taking a look at both Elon and Kimbal concerning potential insider trading. The last thing that Tesla needs, we reckon.
- Carvana buys Adesa’s US auction business: Carvana is best known for its huge car vending machine installations, rapid value appreciation in 2021, and rapid decline in value during the final weeks of last year and the start of 2022. Today its stock is perking up following its earnings report and the fact that it has “agreed to buy Kar Global’s Adesa U.S. auction subsidiary for $2.2 billion in cash.”
TechCrunch is recruiting recruiters for TechCrunch Experts, an ongoing project where we ask top professionals about problems and challenges that are common in early-stage startups. If that’s you or someone you know, you can let us know here.