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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch for January 20, 2022! Today’s theme is most. Sure, the creator economy grew last year, but this year more major platforms are working to help individual artists. And sure enough, the past year was one of the best for crypto startups, but now even more big companies are joining the mix. Oh, and Peloton is having a terrible day. Let’s talk about it! – Alex
PS Early Stage is back in San Francisco this year, so I’ll see you there!
Ploonge top 3
- Peloton reportedly stops production: remember when you couldn’t buy a Peloton bike because there wasn’t enough supply? The company is having the opposite problem now, with more supply than demand. Shares from the 2019 IPO are down sharply today. It seems clear that pandemic commerce, once a major influencer of corporate value, is gone.
- Twitter Launches NFT Support: If you are a member of the Twitter subscription service, you will soon be able to connect a cryptocurrency wallet and use an NFT you own as your profile picture. It will make some of you happy and some of you angry. Regardless of what you think of the news, the fact that Twitter took the time to create the feature is indicative of where the market is likely going this year. Speaking of which, Facebook and Instagram are apparently also getting into the NFT game.
- Plaid buys Cognito: After the massive Plaid-Visa deal fell through due to regulatory hurdles, the company’s fintech API has been busy. She raised more money, raised her valuation above $13 billion, and has been busy building and buying other companies ever since. Today’s news is that the company bought Cognito for about a quarter of a billion dollars to put more services on top of its core API business.
Before the deluge of news, a few notes. First, Anna Heim wrote something lovely about first-time founders and how the fetishization of the serial founder market may be causing new entrepreneurs not to get what they deserve. Given that a number of recent unicorns have been founded by new builders, rather than those going around the block for the second, third, or tenth time, she could be on to something.
And after avoiding dips in initial investment, the Chinese venture capital market may be facing further stress. Maybe this time, really, we will see the declines that many have anticipated.
And now, the news:
- Cherry Ventures raises $340 million: German venture capital firm with an interest in early-stage technology has new capital for its third fund. It also invests in blockchain technology, reports Mike Butcher. With previous funds, the group invested capital in Flink and SellerX, among other startups.
- How the Crypto.com hack went down: Turns out it was a 2FA compromise that caused the heavily advertised cryptocurrency company to lose customer funds and temporarily suspend withdrawals. This kind of hack might seem, well, standard at this point, but isn’t it? Is it still really bad? And perhaps even surprising, given that bitcoin was first discussed in 2008. I wonder what Matt Damon thinks.
- Sexual health is a growth industry: that’s our lesson from our TBD Health writing, which provides “a new approach with [STI] tests available for those who have a vagina”. It reminds me of Juna, which means the home STI testing market has a competitive landscape to keep up with.
- Remember no code? It’s everywhere again. When Ploonge covered the Softr round the other day, we asked internally what had happened to all the no-code rounds. Well here they are. Today, Prophecy is raising $25 million for its “low-code data engineering platform”.
- Shazam for your thoughts: Startup Weavit wants to “give people a different way to quickly capture their thoughts in a note-taking tool at the press of a button, which are combined with other content in a broader knowledge base,” writes the Ploonge. Does the world need another note-taking tool? Apparently the answer is yes. Just kidding, my brain is a colander with extra-large holes; I need all the help I can.
- CodeSee does what it says on the tin: there’s a startup on the market called CodeSee. What does it do? To help you I see your code. Hell yes, obvious boot names. In this case, code view is the name of the game. Why does it matter? As Ron Miller explains, this helps people see how the code fits together. Given that my C++ never compiled, I’m not one to talk, but this sounds like a really cool idea.
- Green Labs Raises $140 Million: We may need to hire some agtech reporters. The space really does feel like it’s heating up. (Just like the planet! Heyo!) The company has already raised a total of $170 million for its digital services for the agricultural world, including, we wrote, “an app that aggregates trusted data using AI, giving more than 500,000 farmers an insight into the crop life cycle”. Farming is tough, so 1.5 rounds of applause for food producers who are given new tools.
And to close us out, quantum computing. Much like self-driving cars, quantum computing has always seemed a little not yet. And yet Terra Quantum, a Swiss company, now offers quantum as a service on the market. Yes, you can access the first quantum systems. I suppose our real question is when the integration will take place. Terra, we bet, would respond to that with a “soon”.
How to build a product advisory board for your startup
Whether done informally through a Reddit AMA or a Twitter Space, it’s never a bad idea to engage directly with the people who use your products and services.
Customer personas are useful, but talking to a customer is best if you want to understand what delights them — and what they are willing to pay for.
With a Product Advisory Board (PAC), early-stage startups can tap into the collective mind of their customers. The benefits are many: PACs can validate everything from marketing campaigns to future product planning.
But to build one, founders must first set clear goals and create value for participants.
(Ploonge+ is our membership program, which helps startup founders and teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Twitter Brings Feature to Android: If you’re a Twitter user on iOS, you’ve had access to your new communities feature for a while. I have no idea what it does, but I clicked on it. Now, if you are on Android, you can also click on it. Have a good time!
- The geek helmet war continues: Google has a new VR headset coming in a few years, reports the rumor. This is good as it means there will be at least two different closed ecosystems for individual players to choose from.
And to close us out from a news perspective today, Meta’s new AI can learn equally well from written, spoken, or visual material. Which is cool, I think. And Mercedes is working with Luminar on the deal!