Hello and welcome back to Daily Crunch for September 13, 2021. This is Alex and I am back! A big thanks to Greg for taking over last week while I was on staycation. It is lovely to be back with you all.
Before we dive into the news, a reminder that Disrupt is next week. So, make sure you have a ticket and get hype. More here. It’s going to be a heck of a show.
The TechCrunch Top 3+
- The Apple-Epic war far from over: While the internet digests the recent, controversial ruling between Apple and gaming giant Epic, the latter party is not letting the decision sit. Epic is appealing. What’s at stake is the monetization of mobile applications for years to come. Given how much money is in the mix, it’s not a huge surprise that the legal wrangling is taking time.
- Welcome back to IPO season: Toast, a software-and-hardware startup that is the, well, toast of Boston, is targeting a huge valuation gain in its IPO. So is Freshworks. We’re tracking both companies and will have more notes as they get closer to trading. Expect many, many more offerings in the coming weeks.
- China’s regulatory crackdown could harm its cloud market: That’s the recent summary of a report that TechCrunch covered, discussing the larger Chinese software market. News also broke earlier today that the Chinese government may break up Ant, the Alibaba financial affiliate, and that the country wants to reduce the number of EV companies its market currently supports.
- BREAKING NEWS TODAY: Apple has released a patch to a zero-day flaw “that affects every iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch,” TechCrunch reports. Update your devices, folks.
- GrubMarket lands $120M to connect food growers, consumers: Sure, you’ve ordered food delivery. That’s one plank of the food game. But for distributors, wholesalers and supermarkets, there are far greater needs to be served than just what you and I can consume for dinner. That’s the market that GrubMarket plays in, and it just raised a huge bloc of cash to keep its growth rates up.
- BitSight raises from Moody’s, buys VisibleRisk: BitSight, a startup that “assesses the likelihood that an organization will be breached,” per TechCrunch, has purchased an Israeli cyber-risk-assessment startup VisibleRisk for an undisclosed price. The Moody’s round put $250 million into BitSight, funds that we presume it used to snag VisibleRisk. What’s the connection? Moody’s wants to use cyber risks in its credit ratings, we reckon.
- SpotOn also raises, buys smaller company: Unicorn SpotOn, which provides financial software and technology to small businesses, has raised a $300 million round that values the company at $3.15 billion. It’s also buying Appetize, “a digital and mobile commerce payments platform for enterprises such as sports and entertainment venues, theme parks and zoos.” The round is notable not only for its size, but also because SpotOn raised at a $1.875 billion valuation in May and a $625 million valuation last year.
- JumpCloud raises $159M: JumpCloud sells cloud directory services and a host of other cloud-based identity services. It’s now worth $2.56 billion, a tidy sum. Sapphire Ventures’ Jai Das led the round. He’s a nice dude in my experience. The company grew its customer base by around 40% since last November. I asked the story’s author Ron Miller why JumpCloud was cool enough for him to cover. He said that the company’s effort to “provide a range of identity services, such as single sign-on and multifactor authentication” is important.
- I suppose it’s time to learn what DevSevOps is: Every technology wants its own neologism. DevOps. Adtech. Finservices. Hell, even Databricks’ Lakehouse. Add DevSecOps to your personal lexicon. Per our own Ingrid Lunden, DevSecOps is “the area of IT that addresses the needs of security teams and the technical work that they need to do in their jobs.” Startup Rezilion just raised $30 million for its efforts to serve that particular market.
- Everyone loves an e-commerce platform play: Shopify is big. BigCommerce is growing nicely. And investors want to put capital into the next, similar effort. Enter Egyptian startup Capiter, which just snagged a $33 million round to “help manufacturers and sellers distribute products and [ … ] access them on a single platform” in Africa.
- To close out our startup coverage, GM just invested into radar software startup Oculi. The move fits neatly into the trend of self-driving cars getting better and better over time, even if they are not yet there, if you will.
3 keys to pricing early-stage SaaS products
Every founder who launches an enterprise software startup has to figure out the “right” pricing model for their products.
It’s a consequential decision: Per-seat licenses are easy to manage, but what if customers prefer a concurrent licensing model?
“Early pricing discussions should center around the buyer’s perspective and the value the product creates for them,” says Ridge Ventures partner Yousuf Khan, who previously worked as a CIO.
“Of course,” he notes, “self-evaluation is hard, especially when you’re asking someone else to pay you for something you’ve created.”
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Kicking off our short big technology section today, let’s pick back up with the automotive theme from GM’s news we discussed above. Ford also made headlines today by hiring Mike Amend to be its chief of digital and information. That it is not surprising that Ford would make such a hire is good indication of where the automotive market is heading.
- Instagram thinks you follow too many people: That’s my read of the social service’s effort to build a product in its service that will allow users to favorite accounts and thus not miss their updates. Algorithmic timeline problems, I suppose.
- Dutch judge makes Uber sad: Sure, that’s a slightly subjective summary, but news that a Dutch judge has ruled that Uber drivers are actually employees is antithetical to the ride-hailing company’s position. So it can’t be happy. And what’s the opposite of happy?
TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing
Are you all caught up on last week’s coverage of growth marketing? If not, read it here.
TechCrunch wants you to recommend growth marketers who have expertise in SEO, social, content writing and more! If you’re a growth marketer, pass this survey along to your clients; we’d like to hear about why they loved working with you.
Join Danny Crichton on Twitter Spaces tomorrow, Tuesday, September 14, at 2 p.m. PDT/5 p.m. EDT as he discusses whether remote work will make H-1B visas redundant with Sophie Alcorn, a lawyer at Alcorn Immigration Law and guest columnist for “Dear Sophie” on Extra Crunch.