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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for June 4, 2021. What a week, yeah? That was four super-packed days. But don’t think that the pace of news is about to slow down. It’s not. Next week is Apple’s big WWDC developer event, which we previewed here. And TechCrunch’s next event focused on mobility is just around the corner.
Here’s to catching up on sleep this weekend. — Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Facebook can’t quit Trump: News broke today that Facebook will reconsider its ban of former American president and wannabe autocrat Donald Trump in two years’ time. The decision fits inside of Facebook’s larger struggle to decide the rules for its hugely popular social platforms.
- The IPO wave continues: Venture-backed startups are filing to go public at a rapid clip. Today it was Xometry (our first look here) and SentinelOne (more here). Expect to see more filings as a busy Q3 pipeline forms.
- Governments v. Tech: The world’s governments continue to push tech companies around. Sometimes for reasons that make some sense, as with the U.S. government’s refreshed crackdown on certain Chinese tech companies. And sometimes for reasons that do not, like Nigeria trying to ban Twitter late this week. Regardless of your politics, expect more from this space every week until the end of time.
Startups and VC
- Flink raises quick $240M: After operating in the market for just half a year, German grocery delivery startup Flink has raised a quarter billion dollars. Flink is German for quick, which relates to both its delivery timeline and its venture capital cadence.
- GBM raises “up to” $150M from SoftBank: When is a startup not a startup? When it’s 35 years old. That’s the case with Mexican company Grupo Bursátil Mexicano, or GBM. But as TechCrunch reports, the company is seeing hypergrowth, expanding from “having 38,000 investment accounts in January 2020 to more than 650,000 by year’s end.” It is not over the 1,000,000 account mark. Not bad.
- The BNPL market is growing quickly, still expensive: A TechCrunch analysis of recent buy-now-pay-later companies that are big enough to report earnings indicates that the popular startup market is still growing quickly, but that few if any companies working on the consumer sales model are actually making money. Yet.
- Toyota commits $300M to startups: Toyota’s AI-focused venture capital fund is AI-branded no more, and TechCrunch reports that the corporate VC group is “commemorating its new identity by investing an additional $300 million in emerging technologies and carbon neutrality.” That’s a lot of bread to help save the world.
- Auto SPAC: TechCrunch broke the news that “autonomous vehicle startup Aurora is close to finalizing a deal to merge with Reinvent Technology Partners Y, the newest special purpose acquisition company launched by LinkedIn co-founder and investor Reid Hoffman.”
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Big Tech Inc.
Today’s Big Tech news is essentially a huge slug of Facebook. So, if you are irked by spending more time than you have to considering Zuckerberg’s empire, feel free to move on to the Community section of today’s missive!
Facebook land was more today than just the news regarding former U.S. President Donald Trump. Big Blue also got busy buying a gaming company and getting hit with antitrust probes in the U.K. and EU.
On the gaming front, Facebook announced today that it is buying Crayta, which TechCrunch described as a ”a Roblox-like game creation platform.” Roblox, of course, recently went public via a direct listing after seeing its fortunes rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. TechCrunch also wrote that Facebook has been buying one-off VR startups as well. So, there’s something of a larger gaming push afoot at the company, perhaps. If there is any rule to Facebook’s actions, it’s that if it sees any other company doing a thing and making money, it has to copy it.
To close out Big Tech for the week, Facebook is under new scrutiny by both the U.K. and the EU, this time for its use of data from advertising customers and the folks who use its single-sign-on tool. TechCrunch reported that the investigations are “looking at whether it uses this data as an unfair lever against competitors in markets such as classified ads.”
Thanks for joining us yesterday for our chat about the future of e-commerce. It’s nice to be able to dive deeper into the things we write. Twitter Spaces was fun to use, but sadly our friend Brandon Chu from Shopify wasn’t able to join from his Android device (yay beta apps!). Just means we’ll have to do it again.
Speaking of doing Twitter Spaces again, we’re going to be pregaming WWDC on Monday, led by our hardware editor, Brian Heater. We’ll start bright and early at 8:30 a.m. PDT/11:30 a.m. EDT, so bring all of your thoughts and questions then.