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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Thursday, December 16! A small note that Greg is taking over this newsletter tomorrow, as I am burning through a spare personal day that I had to use or lose. From the TechCrunch side of things, it’s a great day to check out all our Totally Awesome newsletters. Tap into our reporting and thinking! For free! —Alex
P.S. This gift guide is a godsend for anyone on a budget!
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Byju’s could go public via SPAC: In the wake of Grab’s mega-SPAC deal, Indian edtech giant Byju’s could be prepping to take a similar path to the U.S. public markets, TechCrunch reports. Our own Manish Singh notes that Byju’s is “seeking a valuation of over $45 billion and looking to raise as much as $4 billion” in the transaction.
- Reddit files to go public: Speaking of mega-public offerings for early 2022, Reddit announced today that it filed to go public. The social company’s filing is still private, but TechCrunch has questions, y’all. It’s a tossup regarding which dataset we’re more excited about between Byju’s and Reddit, but the start of next year is looking busy. Already.
- Tech’s collective lobbying group falls apart: The Internet Association is winding down, TechCrunch reports. The lobbying group once represented a diverse set of tech companies, which was perhaps its downfall. Given that its members don’t agree on all matters, the shattering is not a surprise in retrospect. And considering how much tech regulation could land in the next few years, what rises in the void left by the Internet Association will be fascinating.
As we did yesterday, we’re taking a deeper look at a few key startup stories today, and then running through a host of smaller items so that we can get as much of our reporting into the newsletter as possible!
- You can’t kill Cockroach Labs: Not that anyone was trying — that’s just the wittiest riff we could come up with to introduce our reporting that the database company just raised a bunch of new capital at a $5 billion valuation. That’s up from $2 billion earlier this year. Our own Ron Miller writes that Cockroach “has 200 paying customers, with the cloud side of the business growing at 500% over the last year and ARR tripling YoY from Q3 to Q3.” We want hard numbers, but those are at least directionally interesting.
- Gopuff is raising $1.5B, could go public next year: Circling back to 2022 IPOs, quick delivery company Gopuff is working to raise around $1.5 billion in convertible debt at a roughly $40 billion valuation. And, our own Ingrid Lunden reports, the SoftBank-backed company could go public next year. If it does, the debut could lead to even more investment into related companies around the world — consumers wanting stuff, fast, is popular the world ‘round.
- Vertical farming grows vertical valuation: Europe-based vertical farming firm Infarm raised $200 million this week, pushing its valuation north of the $1 billion mark. Vertical farming brings food creation nearer to urban hubs, potentially limiting carbon output. The concept appears to be growing and could prove nutritious for both consumers and investors alike.
- Why do play-to-earn games sound like a job? Voodoo, a French company, is going to put hundreds of millions of dollars into so-called “play-to-earn” games. Today, Voodoo is known for its casual games that have racked up billions of downloads. In the future it will also have blockchain games in the market, where players can earn digital currency or NFTs for their playing.
And then, a host of other happenings for your further research:
- Machine vision AI company Elementary has raised a $30 million Series B
- There are more companies out there than just NSO Group hacking folks
- Our own Darrell Etherington has notes on how to build a rocket company
- Found raises $100M at a $600M valuation for its weight-management service
- Silverflow raises $17M for cloud payments
- And CarbonChain is working to automate carbon accounting in the supply chain
Dear Sophie: How to maneuver the latest travel bans, H-1B alternatives
The 2021 H-1B lottery process has been quite a rollercoaster!
We sponsored several people in this year’s lottery. One of our registrants was selected in the first round in March, but none were selected in the second round in July.
We just found out another of our registrants was selected in November, however, he’s from South Africa and restricted from traveling to the U.S. due to omicron.
What should we do? Any suggestions for what to do about our other prospective hires who didn’t get selected?
— Eager Employer
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Apple drops Swift Playgrounds 4: This bit of news means that app development on your iPad is now easier, thanks to the new edition of Swift Playgrounds from the Cupertino-based tech giant. The boundaries for getting into development work are slowly falling, and I consider this particular item indicative of that trend.
- You can now embed a mini-profile from Instagram into your website
- Spotify hearts podcasts: Today the music streaming company brought podcast ratings to its platform and announced that it has purchased podcast tech company Whooshkaa, which has a simply great name.
- Alphabet folds Sidewalk Labs into Google: Yes, you had forgotten about the smart city project Sidewalk Labs, but don’t feel bad about it. Google parent company Alphabet is baking the project into new parent company Google.
- And, finally from Alphabet, the Waymo car that hit someone was in manual mode: Here’s an example of bad, but weirdly good news. No, it is not good that a Waymo car hit someone. But, yes, at the same time, it’s weirdly good that it was not in self-driving mode. Why? Because the accident won’t hit the brakes on self-driving development. Which is good because I don’t want to drive.
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If you’re curious about how these surveys are shaping our coverage, check out this article on TechCrunch+ from Lucy Heskins that we published last week, “How to acquire customer research that shapes your go-to-market strategy.”