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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for October 15, 2021! Happy Friday to you and yours; I am proud of us all for making it through a week that was more than hectic. Up top, discounts end on our space event in very short order. And with no further ado, let’s get into the news! – Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Missouri governor conflates journalism, hacking: The United States is a large nation with many smart and many less-smart people. A story from the latter category ended up in our wheelhouse when a state governor decided that a journalist pointing out security flaws in an official website was malicious hacking. Perhaps stories like this are why so many Gen Z folks are doomers?
- Instacart shoppers are going on strike: Try to recall a time when some section of the Instacart workforce was happy and not either about to strike or on strike. It’s hard, yeah? This Saturday, “some Instacart shoppers will go on strike, protesting the company’s low pay and lack of communication with its laborers,” TechCrunch reports. Let’s see if this particular piece of the larger Striketober saga ends up with worker-friendly results.
- Apple yanks Quran app after Chinese regulators ask: The day after Microsoft announced that it was going to pull LinkedIn’s main service from China after failing to reconcile that country’s government and its own views, Apple appears to have complied with a Chinese state request to remove “Quran Majeed, a popular app for reading the Islamic religious text and other prayer-related information” from the Chinese app store. This isn’t a small act, given the Chinese state’s abuse of Muslims inside its borders.
Let’s take our time today in the world of startups, it being Friday and all.
First up, we have a great piece from Rebecca Bellan digging into a host of startups that are helping emerging middle classes around the world get places. This list includes, and I quote, “Swvl, Treepz, Jatri, SafeBoda, Urbvan, Chalo and Buser,” among others. If you are into the transportation tech beat, it’s a great read.
Next up, Andy Stinnes, a general partner at Cloud Apps Capital Partners, wrote an essay for the blog today discussing that while the present-day venture capital bull market (more here) is a general good for founders, “closer inspection reveals that these trends are a lot more nuanced and apply very unequally across the funding continuum from seed to the late stage.” If you are looking to raise capital, it’s worth your time.
Moving along, our own Taylor Hatmaker did yeoman’s work digging into Core, a metaverse environment where she wandered around, finding the landscape to be both great-looking and “seamless.” If you want a peek into what could be the future of gaming and social interaction, this is for you.
And, before we get to the rest of our startup rundown, I wrote an imaginary interview with a made-up CEO concerning a fictional IPO. For more context, head here.
- SoundCloud lands Pandora partnership, new radio station: As Spotify grew to become a music behemoth, SoundCloud stuck closer to the underground. And it survived, which some didn’t expect. Today, the upstart music service announced a deal with Pandora that could help bring it a bit more audience.
- Clubhouse adds “music mode”: Sticking to a musical theme for another measure or two, Clubhouse has built out a way for musicians to better stream their music live on the service. So, I suppose Clubhouse can now also be coffeehouse?
- And, finally, Spot AI leaves stealth with its security cam search tool: Flush with $22 million and freshly denuded of its “stealth” tag, Spot AI is out in the public view today, which is fitting as its core product deals with security cameras and how they are ingested. The company “reads” footage from the devices, allowing the video itself to be searchable. Which is cool, if vaguely creepy.
Bringing it in-house: What to look for when hiring a general counsel
Experienced lawyers may be drawn away from big firms to join a startup as general counsel for a variety of reasons, LinkSquares’ chief legal officer Tim Parilla writes in a guest column.
“For some, it’s an attempt to find a better work-life balance (whoops!), while others are eager to build and manage their own team or see it as an opportunity to work for a mission-driven company,” he writes.
For founders, it’s an opportunity to snag a seasoned professional who can build in-depth knowledge of your business — rather than relying on a generic (and costly) outside law firm.
Parilla offers detailed tips on what startup leaders should look for in an in-house counsel (as well as a few things that would indicate a lawyer is not fit for your business).
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Researchers show Facebook’s ad tools can target a single user: The method depends on knowing enough about how Facebook views a person, but it’s still unsettling. Facebook’s Custom Audience tool may be just a bit too custom for our liking.
- Sorry, gearheads, people want electric sports cars: While the Porsche 911 is an iconic car, period, it’s losing to an internal rival in the sales war. TechCrunch reports that the petroleum-powered 911 was outsold by the electric Porsche Taycan during the first three quarters of 2021. I did not expect that for some years.
- A big update for “Animal Crossing” is coming: News from Nintendo, for you “Animal Crossing” fans out there. The popular title has a big update coming on November 5. Dubbed Happy Home Paradise, I am sure it does what it says on the tin.
- And, to close out the news today, global smartphone sales dipped 6% last year, likely due to the global chip shortage that is bedeviling industries from autos to computers and boosting tensions surrounding Taiwanese sovereignty.
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Join Walter Thompson on Tuesday, October 19, at 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET for a Twitter Spaces chat as he walks through what TechCrunch looks for in guest contributions.