One-Click Checkout Company Bolt Has Opened Decacorn Territory in $355M Series E – Techdoxx

Deepak Gupta January 14, 2022
Updated 2022/01/14 at 11:43 PM

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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch for January 14, 2022! I suppose this has been Wordle week where everyone and their dogs are tweeting their scores and results. A little camaraderie for those of you who aren’t good at the game: I’m trash too. And since I still get paid to write, I refuse to connect “Good at Wordle” with “Good at Words!” – Alex

PS Speaking of words, the Equity team had a great time this week, in case you want to talk about recent startup happenings.

Ploonge top 3

  • Bolt Raises $355 Million As Online Checkout War Continues: Bolt (not this screw) has raised a massive new round of equity that brings its valuation to $11 billion. Bolt provides an online checkout solution for other companies. It competes, in many ways, with Fast and Checkout.com, which have just raised $1 billion on a valuation of $40 billion. You could argue that there is separation between players in terms of where they sit in the world of online payments and checkout, but the overlap seems increasingly material among competitors. (About a year ago, we called the online check market war; the battle continues.)
  • Major tech companies subpoenaed by Congress: As an investigation into the January 6 insurrection continues here in the US, major tech companies are getting caught up in the search for answers. YouTube (Alphabet), Facebook and Instagram (Meta), Reddit and Twitter seem to be in the line of fire.
  • Not all that glitters is legitimate trading volume: As the market for non-fungible tokens — digital signatures on the blockchain that often point to assets stored on the traditional web, such as images — heats up, we are tracking the various exchanges where trading takes place. Place, put. What we have learned more recently is that not all trading volume may be what it seems at first glance.

Startups/VC

  • Daasity raises $15 million to help companies leverage e-comm data: Daasity is a startup that helps customers aggregate their information from various e-commerce platforms (Amazon, Shopify, etc.), “analyze and send to marketing channels to optimize customer experiences based on insights from historical performance,” writes Ploonge. The company’s new funding round was a Series A, led by VMG Catalyst.
  • Commercial EVs for the Indian Market: Amazon is working with several companies on EVs for its global delivery network, one of which is EVage. The Indian company has just raised $28 million for an electric box truck-van which, I must admit, is quite attractive — provided you’re the kind of person who enjoys brutalist architecture.
  • The cannabis job market is booming in startups: Ploonge notes in this story that there are job platforms being built to help hire specific industries. The health market has some, for example. And now the cannabis industry too, thanks to Vangst, which just raised $19 million in Series B.

Innovation in fintech and insurtech in Brazil should take off with regulatory favorable winds

Nubank’s current headquarters in São Paulo, Brazil. Image credits: NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images

Regulation is often criticized as an obstacle to innovation in most of the developing world.

But in Brazil, the Central Bank is being hailed by fintech investors and founders as a tailwind for bringing the banking sector to the masses.

“The open banking initiatives adopted by the Central Bank of Brazil are absolutely supportive of fintech innovation,” Amy Cheetham of Costanoa Ventures told Ploonge.

In an in-depth market analysis, Anna Heim explores the growth of Brazilian fintechs in the wake of Brazil’s open banking initiatives and how insurtechs are also poised to take advantage.

(Ploonge+ is our membership program, which helps startup founders and teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

Today we have a traffic-themed Big Tech news squeeze, followed by, what else, some European legal news involving a major US tech company!

  • Autonomous taxis work to get on the fast lane in China: our own Rita Liao did us all a favor by writing a deep dive into the autonomous taxi market in China. As she writes, it seems that every week “news arrives that another major player has been given the green light to launch a new pilot program or a small-scale service” in the country. What do individual news events add up to? Discover!
  • And speaking of self-driving cars: Waymo and JB Hunt, a trucking company, are turning their piloting into a long-term program. There is a shortage of truck drivers in the US, which means trucks that can get by without help can be big business in the country.
  • Here’s a review of a car that no one at Ploonge can afford: Let me be clear, I want a Bentley Continental GT Speed. I would also settle for a standard Bentley Continental. The fact that Kirsten Korosec, our enterprising transport editor, has tested one is awe-inspiring. On the factual front, if you have more than a quarter of a million dollars and need 12 cylinders, maybe this is the car for you.
  • Meta faces UK class action: A class action filed in the UK Competition Court of Appeal in London wants to land the US social media giant around $3.1 billion for abuse of its market power in the UK Let’s see if this goes anywhere.

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Image credits: SEAN GLADWELL / Getty Images

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