For a roundup of the biggest and most important Ploonge stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3pm PST, sign up here.
Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch for January 28, 2022! It’s almost a blizzard where I am, so please enjoy the following bulletin as my last message before hunkering down. In better and happier news, the Ploonge Early Stage is coming in just a few months and not only am I excited about it, I look forward to being there in real life. See you soon! – Alex
Ploonge top 3
- Google invests up to US$1 billion in Airtel: With an investment of US$700 million and US$300 million in “multi-year commercial agreements” with Airtel and the Indian telco, Google has made its second big bet on Indian infrastructure. Recall that Google also invested money in Jio, another Indian telecom company. The deal highlights the importance of the country in the future of technology revenues.
- What’s to come for Europe: On the heels of news that European startups had a disproportionate 2021 when it comes to fundraising, Ploonge explored what’s to come for the continent. Some expect a slowdown in peak activity, while others anticipate further acceleration. Regardless of which outlook you favor, European risk investing is expected to remain high for some time to come.
- Zapp Raises $200M: And speaking of European startups, Zapp, the UK-based fast and convenient delivery startup, just raised a massive Series B. The company previously raised $100M, which means this round was great in absolute and comparative terms. As we see some consolidation in the fast delivery space, this deal caught our attention.
- Are charter cities the future for African tech growth? Ploonge’s Tage Kene-Okafor has a great article on the website noting that “African cities have the fastest global urban growth rate”, which is leading to overcrowding. Some people think that “charter cities offer a solution”. Special economic zones of all kinds have been tried before – will they offer African technology a faster path?
- Personalized learning is on the rise: our in-house edtech expert Natasah Mascarenhas has a great article today about personalized learning startups – Learnfully, Wayfinder, Empowerly and others – that are taking remote teaching lessons seriously and working to create products that work better for our kids. It is a stimulating and fascinating story.
- Rise wants to remake the team calendar: there is no shortage of apps on the market to help individuals and teams work together. But maybe we don’t need as many as we have. That’s why Rise is making me think. The team calendar app just raised a few million and could replace some tools my friends and I use. I wonder if the solution to 2022’s tool overload is tools that intentionally do less.
- Canvas wants non-technical folks to be able to extract answers from the data: developers are in short supply, so no-code tools that let non-coders do their own build are exploding. Likewise, a general shortage of data science talent in the market is creating space for tools like Canvas, which “is using a spreadsheet-like interface for non-technical teams to access the information they need without disturbing the data science teams.” data”, Ploonge reports.
- Zigbang buys IoT business from Samsung: IoT promises of the past are coming true, and not. Samsara recently went public on the back of its IoT business. It was a win for the category. That Zigbang, a South Korean proptech startup, is buying Samsung’s IoT unit seems a little less optimistic.
- F-tw series? In the past I would have scoffed at a Series F as an indication that the company in question failed to go public. But that was then. Today the F Series are not at that crude. Indian B2B marketplace Moglix just raised one, which doubled its valuation to $2.6 billion. Tiger co-led the $250 million round.
And if you’re looking down the pipe of a blizzard, Ploonge’s Equity podcast covers your downtime. To enjoy!
European and US edtech startups see funding triple in 2021
Before the pandemic, VCs were notoriously reluctant to invest in education-related companies. Today, edtech startups are seeing higher average deal sizes, more seed and pre-seed funding from non-venture capital investors, and an influx of generalists.
According to Rhys Spence, head of research at Brighteye Ventures, funding for edtech startups based in Europe and North America has tripled in the past year.
“Exciting companies are popping up in all geographies and verticals, and even generalist investors are building conviction that the industry is capable of producing the same kind of massive returns generated in fintech, healthtech and other industries,” writes Spence.
(Ploonge+ is our membership program, which helps startup founders and teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Northern Light Venture Capital’s He Huang says the Chinese robotics market is overheated: for the investor, robotics in China is “full of speculation and overvalued companies”, calling the situation a bubble. It’s worth noting that China’s central government is working to retool where its technology investment dollars flow.
- Robinhood Down, Up Again: This morning, in the wake of the company’s lackluster earnings report, Ploonge scoured why Robinhood stock sold after hours, premarket and early trading yesterday and today. And then Robinhood turned around and gained wide ground for the rest of the day. It’s a strange market moment, but still good news for American fintech.
- Google Allows Legacy G Suite Users To Switch To Free Accounts: After Annoying Technicians Who Still Use “Legacy G Suite Free Edition” By Announcing It Was terminating the program and demanding payment, the search giant decided to “give existing users more options,” reports Ploonge. Somewhere inside Google, a business decision has just hit the market and it’s been reversed. Makes you wonder who’s calling the shots there and if they ever worked for McKinsey.
Ploonge wants you to recommend growth marketers who have experience in SEO, social, content writing, and more! If you are a growth marketer, pass this search with your customers; We’d love to hear why they loved working with you.