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It’s Thursday, April 28, 2022, and Haje’s blood pressure is slowly returning to what passes for normal after raging about Social Security numbers for a few minutes. Look, it’s hard to get used to the quirks and foibles of a new country, OK? Nobody tell him about how healthcare works in this country, please; we’d never hear the end of it.
In other news, TechCrunch has a shiny new fintech newsletter launching on Sunday. Sign up today so you don’t miss it this weekend! The third ep of our crypto and blockchain podcast, “Chain Reaction,” is out today, so fill your ears with the dulcet tones of Lucas and Anita’s calming voices.
The TechCrunch Top 3
Twitter admits it overcounted accounts: Hey guess what? Twitter announced its first-quarter earnings today. And it didn’t count right, revealing that it was reporting more users than it really had — by nearly 2 million — something Sarah points out is “a predicament that may have encouraged the company to more seriously consider its acceptance of Elon Musk’s proposal to take the company private in a $44 billion deal.” Meanwhile, Alex looked into what the acquisition could mean for Twitter’s advertising revenue.
Death and taxes are indeed certain: It’s not every day that we get to quote Ben Franklin in a story, but in this case, it’s tied to technology making it easier for us to do things like pay our taxes. To that point, mobile tax-filing app Taxfix brought in a $220 million round to become a unicorn. Taxes are not always easy, so it’s good to have someone who knows what to do. We like how CEO Martin Ott put it, “We’ve hacked the brain of a tax accountant into codes.”
There’s a Google of Russia: Its name is Yandex, and it’s selling its media division to, get this, a company called VKontakte, which is considered “the local Facebook equivalent.” Not sure it gets better than that. This is news Natasha was following for a month now, and she reports the sale was fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in many companies reassessing their media assets.
Startups and VC
One of our favorite things about putting the Daily Crunch together is that we get to cheer on our colleagues and read their fantastic work. Today, it’s a Kyle-o-rama. He wrote about how Synthesis AI raised $17 million to create synthetic data to improve computer vision and how payroll provider Symmetrical.ai raised $18.5 million to make employee payouts smoother. CommandBar landed $19 million to continue creating a search-and-browse plugin for web apps, and Deepset raised $14 million to help companies build natural-language processing apps. Kyle, your fingers must be exhausted — go treat yourself to a cup of coffee and a round of baseball or something.
We love Christine’s story of Lemon Perfect’s investor journey with the queen bee: Two years after Lemon Perfect was spotted in Beyoncé’s limo, the superstar is now a backer.
Also! We kicked off a series of pitch deck teardowns, and we are looking for startups that want to have their pitch decks reviewed. Get involved!
More news than you can shake a cap table at:
Shuffle off your mortal oil: BlocPower wants to evict fossil fuels one building at a time, replacing them with greener alternatives.
Wuthering Writes: Just when you thought you had learned to ignore marketing copy, Movable Ink comes along with customized marketing content and a $55 million sack of cash to build a content-generating AI.
If you want it done properly, you gotta do it your shelf: Oware is streamlining Pakistan’s supply chain, powered by a $3.3 million seed round.
Without a car in the world: Post-pandemic, used car platforms are booming, and Spotawheel just raised €100 million. It is active in Poland and Greece and about to launch in Romania.
More vrooms, less fumes: Dat Bike is the creator of Vietnam’s first domestic electric motorbike, and we are a little bit in love with the cafe-racer styling.
GV’s Frederique Dame on product-market fit: ‘You have one chance at a good experience’
In a fireside chat at TechCrunch Early Stage, Frederique Dame, an investing partner at GV who previously led product and engineering teams at Uber, Yahoo and Smugmug, shared her thoughts about product-market fit.
Dame addressed several issues, including the need to collect customer data as early as possible, strategies for iterating and testing without tapping engineering resources, and, notably, why founders should make themselves vulnerable when pitching investors:
“Trust me with what you don’t know or what’s not working” she said, “because once we invest, we’re going to have to work on this stuff anyway.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Get your popcorn ready: We already talked about Google and Facebook in the Top 3, so let’s start off this section with a little bit of Amazon. The company launched its movie rental service in India, with over 40 original and co-produced shows and movies that will enable customers to get early access to both Indian and foreign movies.
Rounding up some earnings: Today’s earnings are brought to you by the letter “T,” which rhymes with “P,” and that spells Peacock, which added 4 million paid subscribers. Meta’s metaverse is not doing so hot, but Facebook gained users.
Ac(quisi)tion news: It looks like Microsoft will be adding another company to its family. Activision Blizzard shareholders voted to approve the sale. Meanwhile, Hackerone acquired PullRequest, a YC-backed company that will give the bug bounty company some code-review skills.
Judge sides with Elon Musk: He is probably going to win with the Twitter deal, but he can definitely put a checkmark in the “win” category here. A Delaware judge ruled in his favor following a lawsuit brought by Tesla shareholders that accused Musk of coercing Tesla’s board into buying SolarCity back in 2016.
Oh Snap!: Our reporters were busy covering Snap today in assorted stories we will bullet below. We would like to highlight that it created a new gadget that will have you forgetting what a selfie stick is. Pixy, Snap’s mini drone, is your camera when you don’t have anyone else to hold your phone. Also:
Snap offers Lens Cloud for developers
New in-app AR shopping tools for retailers
Snapchat adds new assistive devices for bitmoji avatars
Snap and Live Nation come together on AR experiences at concerts, festivals
Snapchat’s new ‘Director Mode’ will have you becoming a video creator in no time
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