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Our thanks to everyone who wrote in this week about the format changes to the newsletter! Feedback largely sorted into two themes: Some people really like the more narrative format, and some folks really want a more link-list styled missive. What follows is an attempt to balance both perspectives.
Starting today we’ll bold company names, so that you can more quickly pick out startups, add more bulleted points to sections, and, per a different piece of feedback, include more regular descriptors of companies that are not household names.
That said, we’re not going to abandon chatting with you every day, as TechCrunch is nothing if not full of things to say. So here’s a blend of what the new, updated Daily Crunch team had in mind, and your notes. A big thanks to everyone who wrote in!
A mega-exit for American fintech
The news that public fintech company Bill.com will buy Divvy, a Utah-based startup that helps small and midsized businesses manage their spend, was perhaps the biggest startup story of the week. Breaking late Thursday, the $2.5 billion transaction was long expected. Divvy had raised more than $400 million from PayPal Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Insight Partners and Pelion Venture Partners.
TechCrunch covered the impending sale, rumors of which sprung up before Bill.com reported its Q1 earnings. To see the company drop the news at the same time as its earnings was not a surprise. For the burgeoning corporate payment space (more here on startups in the space like Ramp, Airbase and Brex).
I got to noodle on the financial results that Bill.com detailed regarding Divvy — they are pretty key metrics to help us value the startups that are competing to go public or find a similarly feathered corporate nest. In short, the corporate spend startup cohort is doing great. It’s even spawning new startups like Latin American-focused Clara, which raised $3.5 million earlier this year.
Broadly, the fintech market had a huge Q1 and is blasting its way toward a record venture capital year, like AI startups and the rest of the VC world.
Startups and venture capital
- Startup employees should pay attention to Biden’s capital gains tax plans — Vieje Piauwasdy, a director at Secfi, a company working to help startup employees manage equity, has notes on the current political climate in a key startup market, the United States.
- Tiger Global is betting that more schools are going to share future student earnings — Tiger Global invested in Blair, a startup that wants to help universities offer income share agreements, or ISAs, to students. Natasha has the latest on the trend, and, of course, the recently ubiquitous Tiger investing group.
- SoftBank leads $15M round for China’s industrial robot maker Youibot — Well-known Japanese conglomerate SoftBank’s Asian venture group is putting $15 million into Youibot, a Chinese startup that builds “autonomous mobile robots,” Rita reports.
- GajiGesa, a fintech focused on Indonesian workers, adds strategic investors and launches new app for micro-SMEs — GajiGesa, a startup that provides “earned wage access,” or EWA in the Indonesian market, has raised an undisclosed amount of new capital, following its February venture round worth $2.5 billion that was backed by Defy.vc and Quest Ventures.
5 investors discuss the future of RPA after UiPath’s IPO
Much ink (erm, pixels) has been spilled about robotic process automation (RPA) recently, particularly in the wake of UiPath’s IPO last month.
But while some of the individuals Ron interviewed about the future of RPA believe the technology is in its “early infancy,” the pandemic increased attention toward things we can let robots handle for us. And it’s hard to argue that repetitive tasks like billing and spreadsheeting and paper-pushing should not be outsourced to robots.
“RPA allows companies to automate a group of highly mundane tasks and have a machine do the work instead of a human,” Ron writes. “Think of finding an invoice amount in an email, placing the figure in a spreadsheet and sending a Slack message to accounts payable. You could have humans do that, or you could do it more quickly and efficiently with a machine. We’re talking mind-numbing work that is well suited to automation.”
Although RPA is the fastest-growing category in enterprise software, the market remains surprisingly small. Ron spoke to five investors about where the sector is headed, where there are opportunities and the biggest threats to the RPA startup ecosystem.
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The tech giants
It was a quieter day from the tech giants, who made plenty of news earlier in the week. The good news is that their relative calm means we can take a look at news from other Big Tech companies, those that don’t quite crack the $1 trillion market cap threshold yet:
- Walmart’s Flipkart to cover insurance for all sellers in India and waive additional fees — Recall that American commerce giant Walmart owns Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart, which is “exempting storage and cancellation fees for sellers on its marketplace and also providing them with insurance coverage” in light of the COVID-19 surge in the country. A good move.
- Credit Karma reinvents cash-back rewards with instant payback — American consumer credit fintech Credit Karma, which sold to Intuit for more than $7 billion last year, is trying to reinvent the cash-back reward system popular among credit cards for its debit-card-using users, Matt reports.
- A conversation with Bison Trails, the AWS-like service inside of Coinbase — Now a public company, Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange with easy on-ramps to the more mainstream fiat banking world, has a secret little company helping power it from the inside called Bison Trails that it bought some time back. Connie digs in.
- Twitch UX teardown: The Anchor Effect and de-risking decisions — Finally, UX guru Peter Ramsey of Built For Mars tucks into Twitch, the popular streaming platform that Amazon bought years ago.
Some of us are mourning the shutdown of Nuzzel, so we asked … would you pay for it (and why)? Let us know what you think!