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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch for Tuesday, February 8, 2022! Today we are talking about layoffs, blockchain infrastructure, a canceled mega deal and chip-based national security. It’s a story-killer group, taking us around the world and from the early stages of startup activity to the top of governance.
A quick reminder before we start that our Equity and Found podcasts are doing live recordings this year. Net worth rose first on Thursday. All the cool kids will be there, so be cool and come! – Alex
Ploonge top 3
- Peloton CEO steps down, employees are laid off en masse: After reports surfaced that Peloton was halting production of its hardware due to falling demand, some sort of home-exercise company reorganization was on the horizon. How A lot of damage was the issue. Turns out the CEO is out, as are thousands of other employees. call it the McKinsey taxIf you go.
- What’s to come for insurtech: After our dive last week into the problems besetting some insurtech startups and the continued risky interest in the category, Ploonge examined which industry startups should thrive in today’s changing marketplace.
- All aboard the cryptocurrency infrastructure boom: Supporting individual cryptocurrency projects is a lot of fun, as is buying tokens on a new blockchain you believe in. But perhaps most interesting is the capital that flows into the infrastructure companies on which so much is being built. Today Alchemy has raised an enormous amount of money in a massive valuation – but it is not alone in doing so.
And in case you missed it overnight, the Nvidia-ARM deal is sold out.
Before we get into the news involving one or another startup, let’s talk about Africa. It is well known now that the continent is seeing VC totals soar. But recently we found out what Africa’s 2021 big startups had. Billions of dollars have been invested, indicating that there is still plenty of room for startups to face major challenges around the world.
- Fantastical vs. Calendly: The explosive growth of the Calendly meeting booking service would certainly attract competition. An example of this is what Fantastical – a Flexibits product – is building with its new “Openings” feature. Expect to see more weather-related competitors.
- $50 million for better chickens: Not all technology resides inside computers. Some technology is inside the chickens, it seems. Cooks Venture has created a better type of chicken that is more flexible and should taste better. Not all things that are good for the environment mean we have to enjoy life less; sometimes we can eat our chicken and eat it too.
- Road safety is big business: With a $50 million Series B, Shift5 is working to increase road safety. As our own Zack Whittacker notes, the company wants to protect “critical systems for transportation networks today,” which appears to be a lucrative niche, if the company’s latest round of ventures is any indication.
- $100M for Open Source Ecommerce Tools: Well, this one took me by surprise. Shopware Just Raised Nine Figures For Its “Open Source Tools” [that] powering online shopping experiences for nearly 100,000 mid-sized and large brands.” Ingrid Lunden informs that the round is the company’s first external financing. Open source is hot. E-commerce is hot. Their intersection point appears to be merged.
And finally, an editorial arguing that news organizations “must actively participate in the conversation and development of web3 and the metaverse as quickly as possible with concrete ideas and solutions”. I’m skeptical, but read the piece regardless.
After the Acquisition: 3 Startup Executives Share Their Exit Experiences
Entrepreneurs who are lucky enough to cross the finish line of an exit often still find themselves running downhill: reorganizations and layoffs create profound cultural shifts that few are prepared for.
Last month, corporate reporter Ron Miller spoke with executives who have managed acquisitions to learn how they oversee the process.
To balance it out, he also interviewed three executives who worked at the companies that were acquired:
- Will Conway, CEO, Pathwire
- Matthew Gonnering, former CEO of Widen
- Nick Gaehde, President, Lexia Learning
The trio generally agreed that transparency is key to a smooth transition. Fundamental changes are inevitable, but a collaborative process can smooth out some of the bumps and holes in the journey.
“While they’re not about to rant about their new masters, you get the feeling they’ve landed in a pretty decent spot, all things considered,” writes Ron.
(Ploonge+ is our membership program, which helps startup founders and teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
And to wrap up today in terms of news, AmEx is checking. Which, I mean, fine. It’s very neobank 2018, but that’s okay, you have to try new things sometimes, right?
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