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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch for Wednesday, February 2, 2022! Today we’re talking about AI code generation, fintech decline, and creator economics. Yeah, it sucks because there’s so much going on. Read to catch! – Alex
Ploonge top 3
- AI code generation will rule: the process of writing code is a human-driven process today. However, DeepMind’s AlphaCode AI is getting really good at writing code for you. This reminds us of the work GitHub is doing with their Copilot project. In short, code is getting better at writing code, and it’s about time, I’d add.
- Why PayPal Stocks Updated Today: During the COVID-19 pandemic, fintechs got a boost. Trading volumes have increased, helping to take Robinhood and Coinbase to new heights. The big fintechs also did well, including PayPal. And then yesterday, it detailed its recent results and projected the future. Investors didn’t like what they heard.
- Adventures in the Land of SPAC: Faraday Future is in warm waters. After a short seller went after the company for alleged “inaccurate statements”, the company performed an internal review. The result of the investigation? Faraday is “renewing his board, cutting pay for two top executives and suspending at least one other,” according to Ploonge. The problems that some SPAC-led businesses are experiencing have not stopped the flow of blank check trading, however. MariaDB is going public through a SPAC announced this week. We dug into your numbers here.
Today we are talking about cryptocurrencies, creators and a complete battery of funding rounds. Looks good? Let’s have fun.
From the world of cryptocurrencies, the following paragraph from Lucas Matney at a major new capital event is illustrative of where we are today:
Investors’ latest bet on NFT is in a startup called Pixel Vault – a massive collection of NFT superheroes that aims to transform into a decentralized Marvel-style empire. Startup NFT told Ploonge it has closed a whopping $100 million in funding from Adam Bain and Dick Costolo 01 Advisors and Velvet Sea Ventures.
Is it possible to create a new lasting IP on the blockchain? Are these investors suddenly in consumer mythology because they want to build a new creative universe or because they want to make a quick buck? Matney says in the article that skeptics see NFTs as “a space full of capital-obsessed mercenaries who want to smother all lasting value in popular culture”, while fans “see a new technological revolution”. At least investors are putting their money where their hopes are.
And since everyone must now have a cryptocurrency project, Anthony Levandowski – famous for getting into trade secret trouble and getting pardoned by former US President Donald Trump – is also building something new.
Turning to the creators, Ploonge has two pieces today that are worth your time. The first is about Sunroom, which is building a creative platform for women. And the Equity team – which I’m a member of – has a deep dive into the creator economy and the platform economy. To enjoy!
Now, the round of funding summary!
- Waldo raises $15 million for automated mobile testing: Building an app can be hard work, depending on what you’re building. But making this same app work on multiple operating systems and multiple devices is super difficult. Thus, the world of mobile testing. Waldo is taking a no-code approach to work, which we think is cool.
- RudderStack ramps up for enterprise stuff: I don’t have a lot of visibility into how mega-companies manage data, so I think it’s best to quote Frederic Lardinois directly. What does RudderStack do? According to our scribe, he’s built a “platform that focuses on helping companies build their customer data platforms to improve their analytics and marketing efforts.” Nice. And it just raised $56 million.
- Lakehouse: Not just a marketing term. I was once on a call with the CEO of Databricks when someone I know pressed him about whether the data lakehouse concept was more of a marketing term than a new product category. For any new corporate discourse, these questions are important, if occasionally embarrassing. I bring this all up because Onehouse just raised $8 million for their open source work on the lake. So I think this answers the question – lakehouse is not just Databricks slang.
- Casava is making insurance more affordable for Nigerians: the real power of fintech is not just making the already rich’s lives a little better than before. It’s about bringing services and fair treatment to previously excluded populations. That’s why Casava is cool – not just because the company has just raised capital – it’s bringing insurance products into a market where they have very little penetration.
- Today in good startup names: Fazendas Zero Acre is just that, a company that generates food without land. Given that the startup is approaching the vegetable oil market in a way that does not result in deforestation, I approve.
And to wrap up our startup notes today, Stoggles is on Ploonge. Rarely does my partner’s life – she owns and uses Stoggles regularly – and this post intersect, but here we are!
3 ways web3 recruiters can improve their hiring game
You wouldn’t hire a plumber to rewire your wiring, and you shouldn’t hire a web3 developer if you’re assembling a team for your metaverse startup.
Investors are swooning over startups in these sectors, but a fat pre-seed check is not a hiring strategy. Making it harder: Most developer talent is focused on a few verticals, and every offer you make should be measured against the incentives of companies like Apple and Microsoft.
“Engineers don’t just want to put out fires, they want to create and pioneer projects,” says Sergiu Matei, founder of remote talent platform Index.
(Ploonge+ is our membership program, which helps startup founders and teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- GitHub takes the open source business model forward: The world of open source software is big business. But that doesn’t mean it has discovered its incentives – some startups are working on the matter, to be clear – but now Microsoft’s GitHub is shaking the tree. After launching sponsorships in the past, a way for people to support open source projects, the Redmond division is “launching sponsor-only repositories, that is, private repositories that only sponsors will have access to,” we report.
- The Joe Rogan case didn’t move the needle for Spotify’s competitors: Of course, you’ve seen tweets from people claiming they are switching music providers. But the data shows that the impact of the Joe Rogan riot has not revolutionized the market.
- And in keeping with the music theme, Twitch is partnering with “independent digital music licensing group Merlin,” we wrote, “marking the latest effort by Amazon’s live streaming platform to familiarize itself with the music industry.”
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