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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch on January 26, 2022! Today we have surveillance bots, a Harry Potter reference, layoffs and startup news galore. Heck, we even have some Reddit news in the mix. It’s a good day to be a tech fan, hard worker, and general consumer. Enjoy! – alexander
TechCrunch’s top 3
- Taking a robot surveillance company public in 2022 is no small feat, frankly. Given a growing general awareness of privacy, Knightscope is going public at an interesting time. The IPO window has also been tricky lately, with some companies delaying their offerings. We have our eyes set on this, if only for the reason that robots are inherently cool.
- Firebolt’s Valuation Soars: The announcement of a $100 million seed round at a $1.4 billion valuation is big news for any company. For a startup that shares a name with a Harry Potter broom, it’s somewhat epic (we tried to insert a golden snitch joke into the title here and failed). by our own Ingrid LündenFirebolt is “taking on Google BigQuery, Snowflake and others” with a cloud data warehouse product it claims is both cheaper and faster.
- Layoffs at Glossier: Eighty company employees at Glossier have been fired, we learned today. TechCrunch notes that the layoffs represent about a third of the company’s workforce. The bottom line, according to an internal email, is that the company is going to leverage third-party technology instead of, we assume, building its own.
Today’s startup news is a really neat mix of things, so we’re going in paragraphs instead of bullet points so we can stretch our legs. To work!
With the stock market in turmoil and valuations falling for tech companies around the world, three TechCrunchers came together to answer one question: How should founders prepare for a drop in startup valuations and interest? investors? We tend to post trivia around singular news events, but this time we’ve had fun with a trend.
In the aftermath, news broke today that UBS is buying robo-advisor Wealthfront for $1.4 billion. Those of us who paid attention to fintech back then will remember when Wealthfront and Betterment fought for new customers and assets, creating new technologies to attract capital and users while working to crush each other. . The story is now partially closed, so we looked at the deal from the perspective of revenue, assets under management and clients.
In good news for European startups in general — not like they’ve suffered, mind — Spanish startup law is “months away,” we report. The idea here is that Spain wants to attract more tech talent and startups. This makes sense, as tech companies can grow into large corporations brimming with well-paying jobs, given the space and time needed to do so. What’s in the law? According to our own Natasha Lomas, the bill covers “key areas such as tax breaks for investors, talent incentives like stock options, and a new digital nomad visa to attract international tech workers.”
Back on this continent, TechCrunch today wrote about Boom, the supersonic jet startup that wants to bring fast travel back to consumers. Since the Concord kicked the bucket, we’ve all flown at speeds pretty paltry compared to how fast our species has managed in the past. And we’ve all been kinda like, ok, I guess. I didn’t think the company would survive, but it did, and Boom plans to build its fast jets in North Carolina. Go Tarheels, I guess!
Today from oh my god come on public file, Reddit is testing a method for its users to upload NFTs as profile pictures. Twitter did this recently. It’s a bit like uploading a photo to be your profile picture, but more complicated. Regardless of what regulars think of the NFT boom, it’s clear that techies are into it.
Speaking of tech workers, the way most companies hire their engineers is a bit backward. Most developers don’t really spend their time doing solo logic work on whiteboards while being watched by recruiters. So why is this how they are controlled? Byteboard’s new method for testing computer engineering talent just landed $5 million, so maybe change is afoot.
If you live in Europe, you might want to invest in Asian stocks. Or if you live in Latin America, you might want to invest in public companies in the United States. It’s not always as simple as you might think, so Vest’s work helping people in the greater Americas invest in American companies caught our eye. Founders Fund supports the work of the company.
An interesting part of today’s startup landscape is the world of sales. SalesOps software is no small niche, with Gong proving that the sales use case can generate significant revenue. CaptivateIQ is another player in the space, but with a different focus. According to our own Mary Ann Azevedo, CaptivateIQ “developed a no-code SaaS platform to help companies design custom sales commission plans,” just raised $100 million and tripled revenue last year.
And in the miscellaneous compartment, the Equity team brought in Bessemer growth-stage investor Mary D’Onofrio to discuss changing valuations, exit multiples and what’s in store for startups. And I made a little argument that more drama in the tech space would do us good.
A CISO’s playbook for responding to zero-day exploits
The Log4Shell exploit that gave malicious actors the ability to execute malicious code on infiltrated servers grabbed global headlines and ruined the vacations of many cybersecurity professionals.
Despite a string of high-profile attacks, many companies still don’t have a response plan, writes Jonathan Trull, SVP of Client Solutions, Architecture and Engineering at Qualys.
Drawing on his experience as a CISO, Trull outlines three steps companies can take to develop a playbook:
- Establish a standard operating procedure
- Inventory, inventory, inventory
- Collection, sharing and analysis of information
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Big Tech inc.
- Apple closes security holes: There are updates for iOS 15.3 from macOS Monterey 12.2, so if you’re using those operating systems, it’s time to fix your code. The iOS update alone fixes 10 security bugs.
- Activision Blizzard will not voluntarily recognize the union, because of course: nothing says we are an employee-focused company more than looking at the collective will of your staff and saying no. Or at least that seems to be what the companies think. Not that you or I have high hopes for a company impoverished by its own incompetence, but hey, hope springs up and all that.
- Snap Updates Its Augmented Reality Shopping Feature Set: On Our Own Sarah Perezsocial network Snapchat is “enhancing its augmented reality shopping experience”, including changes to “Shopping Lenses” and analytics for third parties.
- More money for electric vehicles: Rita Liao agrees with you and me that there are quite a few electric vehicle companies to follow. Luckily, she’s on the beat so we can stay informed. This time it is “Jidu, an electric car manufacturing company founded by Baidu and its Chinese automotive partner Geely”, which has just raised $400 million.
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