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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch on Thursday, March 3, 2022. We’ve got the latest on how the tech world is responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a Theranos show review, notes from the New Zealand venture capital and more.
But first, some programming notes: our city spotlight series is back and TechCrunch is heading to Austin. There’s also a neat DeFi event coming up, and TC Sessions: Mobility will feature co-founder Nuro Jiajun Zhu, which is fun because the company is worth $8.6 billion. See you all three! – alexander
TechCrunch’s top 3
Startups and VCs
There’s a lot to talk about today, as always, but let’s start with some non-financial fare. TechCrunch watched the Theranos show, and oh boy, do we have any thoughts on it. We also have notes today on the latest and greatest in VR fitness products. Both are from our very own Amanda Silberling, who is amazing. You can follow her on Twitter here.
- Lido wants to help Ethereum: I won’t address the proof-of-work versus proof-of-stake argument here, so suffice it to say that more eth needs to be staked for the blockchain to scale. According to our reports, Lido “is the market leader in Ethereum liquid staking” and just raised $70 million from a16z. That’s frankly a lot of money, but while startups are expensive these days, crypto startups cost twice as much.
- OSOM’s phone debut delayed for new chip: From the ashes of Essentials, an effort to build a new smartphone, OSOM was born. But instead of showing off its latest and greatest at the recent MWC event, the startup was “convinced that pushing things back to launch a new device with the latest Qualcomm chip would be a prudent business decision.”
- New Zealand gets a new venture capital fund: If you’re building a startup in Australia or New Zealand, you might feel a little distant from Silicon Valley. And that’s right. It’s a long flight. But good news, “Mark Pavlyukovskyy, Ajay Gupta and Glen Anderson formed New Zealand’s first operator-managed fund, NZVC, in the last year,” we write, and the fund just hit a first closing worth $10 million.
- Consolidation in transcription space: We love a starter deal here at TechCrunch, so we took the time to write Verbit (“AI-powered transcription and captioning service”) by buying Take Note (“transcription, captioning and titling and note-taking”). Otter.ai is also in the market, and DeepGram also integrates somewhere.
- Decipad wants to make you an Excel assistant: OK No precisely, but the startup wants to help people do more with numbers. Given the importance of spreadsheets and other methods of housing and tinkering with the numbers for the global economy, no one will be able to say that Decipad lacks TAM. And the startup just raised $5 million for its work.
And there was more, of course: MyPlace raised nearly $6 million for a home-sharing social network, Apollo.io raised $110 million for its “business intelligence and engagement,” writes Ingrid Lunden, and Atomic has raised $40 million Series B. for its payroll API efforts.
To succeed in your business sales, adapt your approach to CIOs
You are more likely to close a sale if you have an idea of your potential customer’s needs. But for startups, this poses a particular problem.
Unless you’re a former CIO with a clear understanding of the decision-making process, you can only fall back on basic best practices that will usually result in a generic pitch.
Yousuf Khan, Ridge Ventures partner and five-time CIO, wrote a column for TechCrunch+ that explores “what CIOs are looking for in solutions and how you can adapt your business approach accordingly.”
Founders who take a conscious approach can turn customers into assets, says Khan.
“Good relationships with executive buyers can help shape your business as it grows, ultimately serving as an unofficial advisory board of top leaders and experts within your customer base.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can join here.)
Big Tech inc.
- Rivian partially retracts the price increases: Early reviews seem good for Rivian’s trucks, but announced price increases have not been well received by the market. Now the public EV company says if you ordered your vehicle before the start of March, no price hike for you!
- However, more and more spyware steals your data: Unfortunately, the name of the Android spyware that sucks people’s information is called TeaBot, which is a super cute nickname. Either way, it’s on the market and racking up downloads, which is pretty bad.
- Twitter is expanding its Birdwatch program: Can community fact-checking make Twitter a better place? The company hopes so and is expanding its “community fact-checking initiative” called Birdwatch to work on this.
TechCrunch is recruiting recruiters for TechCrunch Experts, an ongoing project where we interview top professionals about common issues and challenges in early-stage startups. If this is you or someone you know, you can let us know here.