India’s central bank says cryptocurrency ‘might be worse’ than Ponzi schemes – TechCrunch

Startups

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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Tuesday, February 15, 2022! We’ve got a busy slate for you today, including news that will annoy the blockchain stalwarts, new funds, the latest Facebook rebranding, and more.

But first, in an essay on TechCrunch, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argues against “the rampant side-loading of apps.” It’s an interesting argument against Windows and the greater web (we kid), but it does raise some notable points regarding mobile security and consumer expectations. It’s worth reading regardless of your history. † Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • India continues to debate the fate of cryptocurrencies: A country’s regulatory and banking bodies debate blockchain technology and its tokens on a daily basis. But when an official of India’s central bank compares cryptocurrencies to Ponzi schemes, we notice. That breaking news against crypto comes after the country discussed a new asset/currency class tax proposal is a minor surprise.
  • Goodbye news feed, hello feed: Facebook is shaking up its branding around its news feed product, now known by the simple name “Feed.” TechCrunch also notes that the company is rolling out a Facebook News product in the French market, so we could see a difference between feed and news at the company. How you feel about this series of changes will depend on your view of the business, I guess, but it hasn’t polled well on Twitter so far.
  • Intel to pay $5.4 billion for Tower Semiconductor: With more capital pouring into the market to design and manufacture chips, the announcement of new deals is no big surprise. This time, chip company Intel plans to pay billions for Tower, which, as we can see, fits in with the US giant’s larger production targets it had previously announced.

Startups/VC

What is a startup really worth? Data from PitchBook indicates that 2021 boosted the pace at which startups raised capital, yes, but also pushed the prices paid for startup stocks into the stratosphere. The result? Oddly enough, more value creation between rounds than before, which means big profits for venture capitalists, despite having to pay more sooner. We chewed on the data and wondered: If venture capitalists are willing to pay that much more for seed capital today with more competition, would the same investors undervalue companies for years?

Today in mega rounds: Veho and Swappie† The pace at which huge rounds — and especially those in the nine-figure range — are compounding will continue to impress in 2022. Today TechCrunch has notes on Veho ($170 million, a few months after it raised $125 million) and Swappie ( $124 million in his last), investments that underscore how much capital there is in the market today for not-yet-private tech companies, despite public market sell-offs, inflation concerns and central bank tightening.

  • FitOn raises $40 million, acquires Peerfit. about: I love a startup deal, so was excited to dive into this one. FitOn, what TechCrunch calls a “digital fitness and wellness company,” has launched another round and bought Peerfit’s “corporate wellness platform.” You can see the synergy from orbit – now Peerfit can offer FitOn to businesses, which is perhaps the app equivalent of vertical integration?
  • Can Shortwave Make Email Less Bad? Many people miss Google’s ill-fated Inbox experiment. It’s in the Sad Graveyard with Wave and Reader. Anyway, some former Big Tech employees want to combine an Inbox-esque experiment with some Slack-esque elements. It’s called Shortwave. And since email can’t get any worse, maybe you could give it a try?
  • Postpartum Depression Care for Black Women: The health technology market has been busy in recent quarters, meaning more companies are swinging to make improvements to holes in our larger healthcare system. One such gap is mental health care for black women struggling with postpartum depression. Fortunately, She Matters is built to address the exact problem. Ron Miller has our story.
  • AmEx <3 airbase: The corporate spending market is scorching hot around the world, but perhaps nowhere more competitive than in the United States, where Ramp, Brex and Airbase are pitted against each other. Airbase just landed a check and a partnership with AmEx, the corporate credit giant, on the back of its software. Could the deal turn the tide in the competitive startup category?
  • This Cool Ethereum Wallet Just Picked Up: If you’re into the blockchain world, you might be familiar with Rainbow, which TechCrunch writes that “feels more like the crypto wallet app that would design a Snap or TikTok with rainbow gradient buttons, emojis galore and generally a lot of less sterile feeling than reigning competitor MetaMask.” It just raised money from Seven Seven Six.

And much more: Homebound raised $75 million from Khosla, MoneyHash raised $3 million to build a fintech super API for the Middle East and Africa, and Better Tomorrow Ventures raised $225 million for a new fintech fund. Basically it is Busy out there, so make sure to follow TechCrunch here and TechCrunch+ here

Our startup’s first hire was a fractional Head of Remote

A businesswoman reaches up with a tape measure to measure her piece of the pie on a large pie chart projected onto a concrete wall.

Image Credits: DNY59 (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

At the moment, most start-up employees have worked remotely. Yet few managers have any meaningful experience when it comes to managing distributed teams.

With that in mind, SaaS startup Wingback made a fractional head of a distance on its first hire, “and it was the best decision we made,” said Yann Leretaille, co-founder and CTO.

“A head of remote is not just a glorified HR manager. They ensure that the right processes are set up and that the right tools are selected and used to make remote working successful.”

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

  • The now public Nextdoor simplifies its app: Fresh off a SPAC combination, Nextdoor is a publicly traded company. Which means it graduates from our startups section to our Big Tech digest. Anyway, the company is working on “simplification” [its] app and promotes better neighborly relations,” we report.
  • Twitter releases safety mode for more users: It’s no secret that Twitter can be a brutal place at times. Fortunately for users who may be on the wrong side of a torrent of hate, Twitter’s “Safety Mode” feature is now available in more markets. Maybe it will help.
  • To keep an eye on the EU regulatory world, follow Natasha Lomas on Twitter† Another Daily Crunch, another regulatory item from Europe. Lomas is crushing this topic for us, so follow her and stay tuned. The last? “The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has called for a blanket ban on the controversial Pegasus spyware tool, warning that its use could lead to an “unprecedented level of intrusiveness,” she writes.
  • And today in operating system mashups: Google wants to bring Chrome OS to your Mac or PC, and Microsoft is rolling out support for Amazon’s app store for Windows 11. Unfortunately, iMessage refuses to be nice to anyone else in the meantime.

And to close, I’m looking for a friend with $450,000 to gift me for no particular reason.

TechCrunch Experts

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Image Credits: SEAN GLADWELL/Getty Images

TechCrunch is recruiting recruiters for TechCrunch Experts, an ongoing project where we ask top professionals about issues and challenges common to startup startups. If that’s you or someone you know, let us know here.

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