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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for June 11, 2021. As a small note I am off next week, so my dear friend and TechCrunch lifer Henry Pickavet will be taking over. He’s more fun and a better writer than I am, so consider him a temporary upgrade. See you in a week or so! -- Alex
p.s. Cheap tickets to TC Early Stage 2021: Marketing & Fundraising are nearly gone. Flagging in case you needed a ticket and also like saving money.
The TechCrunch Top 3
Technology companies are trying to figure out post-pandemic work: Minor tech CEOs look to major tech companies for signals about what to do. Google, for example, is a famous cultural bellwether for other tech firms. But when it comes to post-pandemic work every tech company -- big and small -- is scrambling to come up with a plan that will keep control-oriented managers happy and staff from quitting en masse. TechCrunch has the rundown you need on what the majors are deciding.
Didi’s going public! If you thought that the Uber and Lyft IPOs were fun, oh boy is this good news for you. TechCrunch has notes on the venture capital winners’ list and more on the company’s economics for your reading pleasure.
The tech labor market is brutal: So brutal, in fact, two companies that help their customers find remote, freelance technology talent are now in a legal fight. Toptal is taking Andela to court over “the theft of trade secrets in pursuit of a perfect clone of its business,’” TechCrunch reports.
Startups and VC
Vertical SaaS is still hot: How do we know? Fresha just raised $100 million. The company provides software for hair and nail salons, yoga instructors, and other health, beauty, and wellness SMBs. Vertical SaaS companies can often have both attractive software incomes and strong payments revenues.
More money for neobanks: My general philosophy that there is infinite money available for neobanking startups around the world is holding up as TechCrunch broke news that “Bangalore-based neobank Open is in advanced stages of talks to raise about $100 million” from possibly Temasek and General Atlantic. The neobank could be worth $600 million after the deal, TechCrunch reported.
The edtech boom is not over: Sure, COVID-19 is receding in some countries, and economic activity is rebounding globally, but that’s not stopping edtech companies that got a pandemic bump from raising more cash. This week it’s Indian edtech company Classplus, which could raise $30 million from Tiger Global we reported, at a valuation of up to $250 million. That’s real money.
Neither is global interest in funding more insurtech startups: That’s what TechCrunch learned chatting up a bunch of EU-based VCs, who said that the European insurtech market is super busy, if perhaps not quite as frenetic as the market for insurance technology startups in America.
Insurtech is hot on both sides of the Atlantic
This morning, The Exchange dug into the EU insurtech market, interviewing European VCs and collating the biggest recent rounds to get a temperature of the waters across the pond:
Alex Timm, CEO, Root
Dan Preston, CEO, Metromile
Luca Bocchio, partner, Accel
Florian Graillot, investor, Astorya.vc
Stephen Brittain, director and founder, Insurtech Gateway
Several European-based insurtech startups entered unicorn territory this year, such as Bought By Many, which offers pet insurance, London-based Zego and Alan, a French startup that raised a $220 million round.
According to Brittain, EU startups in this sector are “still at the very early stages of innovation,” having only shown “a fraction of what’s possible” in a market that is “as large as banking.”
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Everyone sucks at cybersecurity: This week’s its Volkswagen, via a third-party vendor. The vendor in question exposed 3.3 million customers’ data. At some point the fines for this sort of error have to rise to the level of pain that will force corporations to stop fucking up. Enough is enough.
Apple hires from Canoo for car can-do: This week Apple confirmed that it hired “former co-founder and CEO [Ulrich Kranz] of electric vehicle company Canoo. Though the company declined to say what he’s working on. It’s 1,000% a new cube-shaped, six-screen iBloc, right? Without wheels?
Sticking to the Apple beat, the company announced its “Design Award” winners. TechCrunch has the run-down you need here.
TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing
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