Daily Crunch - $150M Series D vaults search-as-a-service provider Algolia to $2.25B valuation

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Wednesday, July 28, 2021 By Alex Wilhelm

Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for July 28, 2021. What a day. Duolingo went public. Algolia raised an epic round. Crypto prices rose. And we’re being treated to a raft of earnings reports from tech’s biggest names. If you like tech news, boy do we have an email for you. Let’s go! — Alex

P.S. Super cheap Disrupt tickets end in two days, so snag yours now. All the cool kids, etc.

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The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Google will require vaccinations for office work: It won’t solve the issue of tech workers not wanting to go back to offices after working from home for the last year, but Google is helping set the future of work once again, this time by requiring vaccines for workers returning to its offices. Which makes complete and utter sense. Vaccines are safe, and they keep the people around you safe. Expect to see more of this.
  • Algolia raises $150M: The search-as-a-service company is now $150 million richer and worth a whopping $2.25 billion. The company did not share hard revenue numbers (boo), but did disclose that its annual recurring revenue (ARR) grew by 180% in the last year. The company last raised in 2019, when it added $110 million to its accounts at a valuation north of $500 million.
  • Duolingo goes public: The popular consumer edtech service priced its IPO at $102 last night, a price that we felt was pretty darn good. Now the company is worth a little more than $132 per share, which is quite the first day. Sure, edtech companies in China have taken whacking, but the U.S. market seems rather lucrative at the moment. That’s good news for education startups in general.
The TechCrunch Top 3 image

Image Credits: Algolia

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Startups/VC

  • Squire proves that vertical SaaS can scale: Today’s Tiger round is Squire, a startup that provides industry-tuned software to barbershops. There are many such businesses, and thus there may be much business available for Squire to command. That appears to be the thesis behind its new $60 million round. The company’s service is “used by over 2,000 shops across three continents,” per TecCrunch reporting.
  • This startup wants to cut single-use plastic consumption: In all honesty, both you and I are pretty trash for the planet. We use plastics too much, and too often just once. Algramo is out to shake that up by working with brands and providing refill stations for different products. And now it has $8.5 million in capital to keep pursuing its vision.
  • Gong.io is not the only sales tech startup doing numbers: QuotaPath is another, and it just put away a $21.3 million round. The startup “has developed a commission-tracking solution for sales and revenue teams,” per TechCrunch. Honestly this makes sense. Sales teams have tooling budgets, and salespeople like to get paid. Bread, meet butter.
  • Seven hundred million dollars for battery recycling: That’s the news from Redwood Materials, a company now worth $3.7 billion that wants to recycle scrap from battery production and used consumer batteries. It then takes out the useful bits and feeds those back into production. If the economics work, this rocks.
  • Not just a billionaire’s club: Sure, the Bezos and Branson rocket trips have captured lots of media attention, but building rocket-launch tech is not a thinly populated problem space. Lots of companies are working on it, including Isar Aerospace, which just closed a $75 million round. The capital comes after the company raised $91 million last December. Its new capital is an extension of that round. Isar’s rockets will be able to take up to 1,000 kilograms to low-Earth orbit.
  • Remember that $100 million mmhmm round? We got the founder of the startup on the Equity podcast for a chat. Take a listen!

Why I make everyone in my company be the CEO for a day

In the reality TV series “Undercover Boss,” high-powered executives disguise themselves so they can work alongside everyday employees, ostensibly to learn from them.

Flipping that script, software company Vincit USA has a “CEO of the Day” program where staffers move into a metaphorical corner office for 24 hours and receive a very real unlimited budget. There’s just one requirement.

“The CEO must make one lasting decision that will help improve the working experience of Vincit employees,” said Ville Houttu, Vincit’s founder and CEO.

Since instituting the program, Vincit USA has received multiple awards for its workplace culture and sees reduced staff turnover.

“Though it may seem crazy, the initiative has paid off tenfold,” said Houttu.

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

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Image Credits: Blake Little / Getty Images

Big Tech Inc.

Our big technology news rundown today has two parts. The first is our usual collection of individual items. Then we have all that you need from recent earnings reports.

  • Walmart is making its e-commerce tools more generally available: One competitor to Amazon’s e-commerce might, Walmart, is working with Adobe to “integrate access to Walmart’s Marketplace, as well as its various online and in-store fulfillment and pickup technologies, into the Adobe Commerce Platform.” Walmart, along with Shopify and BigCommerce, are among the companies pushing back against an Amazon-only world.
  • Snapchat adds personal spaces to its map functionality: Snap’s Snapchat product has been on a roll lately, driving strong revenue for its parent company. Today it announced that it is bringing something called “My Spaces” to its mapping tool. What will that do for users? TechCrunch reports that the feature will let users save their favorite locations, share them with friends and get recommendations for other places to go.
  • Twitter digs into e-commerce: That’s our takeaway from today’s news that Twitter is launching a pilot of a “Shop Module” that will let folks sell stuff from their profile. Sure, Twitter is also moving into subscriptions and live audio and keeping up its streak of not building DM search, and now it will be a mix of Etsy and Amazon to boot!

Now, to earnings.

Shopify crushed earnings expectations this morning, as did Microsoft and Apple yesterday afternoon. All of the companies were rewarded by seeing their share prices fall today. Why? It appears that public-market investors had largely priced in earnings beats to their share prices. The good news is that they are mostly retaining previously accumulated value. The bad news is that the two companies could be flashing that we’re near the peak of tech multiples.

Or maybe not. Alphabet also bested estimates and managed to gain — as I write this to you — a fraction of a point in value. In other news, Spotify’s ad business had a huge quarter, notable if you are into the economics of the music and podcasting world.

TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing

TechCrunch wants you to recommend growth marketers who have expertise in SEO, social, content writing and more! If you’re a growth marketer, pass this survey along to your clients; we’d like to hear about why they loved working with you.

If you’re curious about how these surveys are shaping our coverage, check out this recap of our recent Twitter Spaces event with MKT1, “The MKT1 interview: Growth marketing in 2021, hiring versus outsourcing and more.”

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Image Credits: MKT1

Price alert! TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 early-bird pass sale ends this Friday

TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 is big, bold and brings together 10,000+ people from around the world who are passionate about startups. Get your early-bird pass today for less than $100, but this deal won’t last forever. Sale ends this Friday, July 30 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Book your tickets today!

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