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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Thursday, February 17, 2022! Heading into a long weekend here in the United States, you might think that the news is slowing down but, nope. It’s not. So we have major crypto-football news, European startup analysis, and even some notes on platform dynamics. It’s a busy day, so let’s dive in! – Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Free money is popular: Alternatively, advertising works. TechCrunch reports that data indicates that the crypto trading ad push during the big American football game led to a spike in downloads for the pertinent companies. Surprised? We’re not, as some of the ads had giveaways attached. Still, a bunch of new folks just got into the crypto game – we’ll be able to see more in Q1 earnings.
  • Europe’s deep tech boom: Diving more deeply into the 2021 startup boom is proving to be good fun, especially as we dial in our focus on key cohorts. Today TechCrunch dug into Europe and the deep tech market, a particular segment of the tech landscape that is often pitched as a U.S.-versus-China battle but could have a third hub, or series of hubs, in the mix.
  • See, not all SPACs are falling apart: The deal to take crypto-focused startup Circle public via a SPAC has dissolved. But wait! It has also been reforged at a far higher price. It’s rare these days to hear positive SPAC news, so the Circle update caught our attention. Read on for more, but stablecoins are proving to be a lucrative way to accrete reserves, it appears.


Before we dive into the day’s startup news digest, a bunch of academics wrote an op-ed for TechCrunch about Spotify, platform dynamics and clarity. It’s worth your time if you are building something that will depend on third-party content, and doubly so if you plan on blending first- and third-party material.

Now, the news:

  • TechCrunch Live is back! Our own Matt Burns chatted with Emmalyn Shaw of Flourish Ventures and Itai Damti, a co-founder at Unit. TechCrunch covered Unit in the middle of last year when it raised more than $50 million in a single round.
  • Today in good headlines: Haje Jan Kamps is back with his usual wordplay today, this time during a look at Metriport, which “aggregates all of your quantified-self data in one place, and adds clever features like mood tracking, medicine tracking and journaling,” he writes. The headline? Metriport helps you take your quantified self to the next increment. Even more, the URL of the story ended with the following string: ​​metriport merrily measures your me verse. All right, Haje, we get it, you’re clever!
  • $110M to commercialize Apache Arrow: That’s the news from Voltron Data, which just raised one of the largest Series A rounds that we can recall. How was Voltron able to raise so much money, so quickly? It was founded by “employees from NVidia, Ursa Computing, BlazingSQL and the co-founder of Apache Arrow,” which we are sure helped. And the company is working to commercialize an open source tool. Which, as we know, can really scale well.
  • Deel wants to pay you in crypto: The story of Deel, a young startup that got started on the issue of paying far-flung employees just before the pandemic, has been one of rapid growth and huge fundraises. And, lately, a little crypto as well. The startup is now offering a way for employees to get paid in stablecoins, which could cut down on currency-related fees, we reckon?
  • Beam me up, Beem: We are all very tired of Zoom calls and other flat-video services because we’ve been chained to them for years now. Beem, however, reckons that we’re not done with all video products, so it built a way to “livestream yourself in AR,” as TechCrunch puts it. It just raised $4 million; let’s see if it catches on.
  • Havenly buys The Inside: Here’s an acquisition for you, with Havenly, an “online interior design startup” buying “direct-to-consumer home furnishing brand The Inside,” as we put it. The price wasn’t disclosed, but Havenly last raised a $32 million Series C, so we reckon it had the cash on hand for the transaction.
  • Telemedicine for pets: The boom in remote-doctoring services continues, with Dutch bringing the model to the world of pets. And it just scored $20 million for its efforts. Anyone who has had to drag a pet to the vet IRL knows just how helpful this might be.

Still want more? How about Dealshare’s $45 million round led by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, or the fact that Thrive Capital just closed an eighth fund worth $3 billion?

3 keys that unlock data-driven fundraising

Three antique silver and gold-plated keys

Image Credits: Mario Marco (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

It’s an opportune moment to launch a new company, but rising interest rates, inflation and any other number of unknown factors could lead investors to become more judicious when it comes to placing bets.

Data-driven founders who can tell a sweet story with the right metrics are much more likely to get an investor’s attention, according to Blair Silverberg, co-founder and CEO of Hum Capital.

“Unfortunately, many companies lack an efficient way to gather, synthesize and interpret data into real-time insights, resulting in the default reliance on static, Excel-based samplings that may not capture the full picture of your company’s potential,” he says.

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

Big Tech Inc.

  • This will save Peloton: The at-home exercise company is getting into games. No, you can’t play Doom on your bike – not officially, though we suspect that someone, somewhere has done this already – but the bike shop has built an interactive title to spice up your cycling. I am already in tears in anticipation of it kicking my butt.
  • Ford and Volvo sign up for Redwood’s battery recycling tech: Electric cars are very cool and mostly good but not entirely. Making them requires mining all sorts of yucky stuff from the planet, and when that material is used, it needs to be disposed of safely. That’s what Redwood wants to work on, and it just landed some key partners.
  • And to close, you can now change your name on Snapchat.

TechCrunch Experts

dc experts

Image Credits: SEAN GLADWELL / Getty Images

TechCrunch is recruiting recruiters for TechCrunch Experts, an ongoing project where we ask top professionals about problems and challenges that are common in early-stage startups. If that’s you or someone you know, you can let us know here.

Unit’s Itai Damti explains how the company fundraises using culture and value

“In my 20-plus years, I have never seen a document like it,” Emmalyn Shaw, managing partner at Flourish Ventures, said during TechCrunch Live. The episode was nearing the end, and Unit’s CEO and co-founder Itai Damti had just explained how the company’s long-running Culture and Values document helped pitch the company.

“I’d seen, obviously, high-level values in culture documents with bullet points and whatnot — but nothing to this level of specificity or commitment… Of course, it expanded over time, but you get a real sense of how he’s planning to lead, particularly across two different headquarters and how Unit scales. I think it’s impressive. It’s important for [Flourish Ventures].”

Unit’s CEO Itai Damti explained the document (embedded below).

“When we were just two people before we even knew what we would do, we sat down and wrote a half-page on the type of environment we wanted to build. The same Google Doc we started back then is the doc we use today, but it’s grown to 11 pages. It touches on many, many pieces of learning that we accumulated over time.”

Unit raised its Series A in 2020 when COVID prevented face-to-face meetings with investors. “It was important for us to give people a window into how we execute as a team, and this document gave them a chance to almost spend an hour in the office without being in the office with us. The best way to do it was to share what was then a seven- or eight-page book on culture and values.”

“This got us a lot of excitement from investors,” Damti said. “We do it because it’s important for the business. We do it to set expectations with employee candidates. And this is something constitutional in the company that drives how we execute. I also found that one of the cool byproducts was taking this asset and sharing it with people I know. Some people would keep it confidential. I was, like, ‘investors should get a window into how the company thinks.’ And that’s always been important.”

Steady’s Adam Roseman and investor Emmalyn Shaw outline what worked (and what was missing) in the Series A deck

When it comes to Steady, the platform that helps hourly workers manage their income, maximize their income, and access deals on things like benefits and financial services, the strengths of the business are clear. But it took time for founder and CEO Adam Roseman to clearly define and communicate each of them in his quest for fundraising.

To date, Steady has raised just under $30 million with investors that include Loeb.nyc, Recruit Strategic Partners, Propel Ventures and Flourish Ventures. In fact, Flourish’s Emmalyn Shaw sits on the board, having led the company’s Series A round in 2018.

As a partner at a $500 million fintech fund, her expertise in not only how fintech companies should think about fundraising but what it takes for them to be successful is invaluable. Lucky for us, we got the chance to sit down with both Steady CEO Adam Roseman and Emmalyn Shaw for a recent episode of Extra Crunch Live.

The duo were gracious enough to walk us through Steady’s Series A deck, explaining the importance of highlighting the strengths of the business. They went into detail on how Steady was successful in that during that fundraising process, and what the company could have done differently to be more effectively.

Shaw and Roseman also gave some fantastic advice for founders during the Pitch Deck Teardown, wherein speakers give their expert feedback on decks submitted by the audience. (If you’d like to have your pitch deck featured on an episode of Extra Crunch Live, hit up this link.)

Relationships first

Roseman shared that the best investors are ones that not only understand the business but understand you as a founder and a person. He explained that he and Shaw had plenty of time to get to know each other before the Series A deal.

“I’ve been a part of businesses in the past as an entrepreneur and on boards where it’s been the worst situation, especially when they don’t understand your business,” said Roseman. “Flourish took the time to understand it through and through and was entirely aligned. That makes for the best long-term partnership.”

While it’s a cliche, it remains true that investors often place bets based on a team and not an idea or a product. But what exactly makes a great team or founder? According to Shaw, it’s about vision and passion.

“In Adam’s case, he has a direction connection to what Steady is trying to do,” said Shaw. “That makes a huge difference in terms of commitment because you have ups and downs. They bring experience in terms of understanding the space, how to penetrate and scale and a deep understanding of fintech.”

Fintech investor Emmalyn Shaw will share why she led the Steady Series A

Investors often say they don’t just invest in products, but in the right teams to solve a particular problem. With Steady, Adam Roseman built the platform based on his own personal experience. His father hadn’t saved enough for retirement and needed to work part-time. Steady is a platform that helps people find flexible jobs quickly, get financial advice and save money through deals on things like healthcare plans and tax help.

Today, Steady has more than 2 million registered users.

So it’s no surprise that Emmalyn Shaw, co-manager of the $500 million Flourish Ventures fund, was eager to invest. She led the company’s Series A back in 2018.

We’re thrilled to have Roseman and Shaw join us on an episode of Extra Crunch Live on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT.

We’ll interview Shaw and Roseman about what made them want to work with one another, advice on how to make the most out of pitch meetings and what it takes to secure capital and be successful in the fintech space.

This episode of Extra Crunch Live will also feature the Pitch Deck Teardown. Decks sent in by audience members will be featured on the show, and Shaw and Roseman will give their live feedback on those decks about what works and what doesn’t.

Audience members are welcome to ask questions.

Extra Crunch members have always had free access to Extra Crunch Live (and always will), both live and on demand. But, we’ll also be selling tickets à la carte to the show. That’s right! Anyone can come hang out, ask their own questions to Shaw and Roseman, and learn a thing or two from the seasoned experts.

You can hit up this link to either register (if you’re logged into Extra Crunch, the ticket is free) or purchase a ticket.

A full library of past episodes can be found here, and folks interested in checking out our future slate can find everything they need right here.

See you there!

Early Stage is the premier “how-to” event for startup entrepreneurs and investors. You’ll hear firsthand how some of the most successful founders and VCs build their businesses, raise money and manage their portfolios. We’ll cover every aspect of company building: Fundraising, recruiting, sales, product-market fit, PR, marketing and brand building. Each session also has audience participation built-in — there’s ample time included for audience questions and discussion. Use code “TCARTICLE at checkout to get 20% off tickets right here.