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Greg Here again for this edition of Daily Crunch on Thursday, September 9, 2021. alex wilhelm Still on vacation for a few days… even though he’s still tweeting a lot, which makes me think he’s either bad on vacation or dislikes Twitter less than me. Whatever the case, I’ll keep the goodness of that daily recap flowing to give you a glimpse into the biggest stories to cross our front page.
- Facebook’s Smart Ray-Ban: Five years after Snap shipped its spectacle sunglasses, Facebook is pushing the concept. But you won’t find the Facebook logo anywhere on these things (probably because no one on the planet wants a Facebook logo on their face). Made in partnership with Ray-Ban’s parent company, they look like a classic pair of wayfarers, with some extra weight… and cameras. A white LED lights up when you’re shooting photos or videos, and the near-ear speakers pipe in to your tunes and phone calls. You can’t get them wet, which is great because no one wears sunglasses around watery places, like a pool or beach. Lucas Matney reviewed them here.
- Roomba gets smarter: Roomba has a new robot vacuum. Big new feature? It will try to detect and avoid the feces left by your pet on its way. Previous models would simply blast through that mess and drag it around, leaving a show of horror enough for the owners to come home.
- The notion Automate.io receives: Notion is buying Automate.io, a startup based out of India that lets you easily connect to services like Mailchimp or Gmail or Salesforce (or Notion!) and create complex automated workflows. “It’s a big acquisition,” Notion’s COO said without specifying how much it spent.
- Skydweller Aero raises $8 million for solar powered planes “Airplanes and drones today, regardless of size or fuel type, all face the same limitation: they eventually have to land.” Aria Almalhodei writes. “Skydweller Aero, the US-Spanish aerospace startup, wants to break free of that hurdle…”
- $510M Series E: Varo Bank won’t just stop raising money. In June 2020, it raised $241 million, followed by another $63 million deal in February 2021 because why not. Now it has raised a staggering $510 million in a Series E round, which values the company at $2.5 billion. “We didn’t set out to raise that much money. It was coming fast and furious and we were like $510 [million] And I finally said, ‘Okay, enough,'” Varo CEO Colin Walsh said in a statement that we can all totally relate to. Correct? Any?
- Affinity raises $80 million to use machine learning to close deals Who in your organization is best suited to close that deal? Can machine learning algorithms chew through your company’s data (past email interactions, calendar availability, etc.) and recommend the right person? That’s part of what Affinity is working on, and they’ve raised another $80 million to keep the ball moving and grow the company. Affinity currently has 125 employees, and plans to increase to 200 over the next year.
The Anatomy of SPAC: Inside Better.com’s Ambitious Plans
Online mortgage company Better.com isn’t waiting to complete its SPAC merger before making a big move: Today, Ryan Lawler reported that it bought Property Partners, a UK-based startup that offers fractional property ownership.
It’s the second company that’s been a better buy in recent months: In July, it disbanded digital mortgage brokerage Trussle.
“We are not that easily classified,” said Better CEO Vishal Garg, who told Ryan that the company plans to expand into more traditional financial services like auto loans and insurance soon.
CFO Kevin Ryan said, “A lot of people have their scars with the way they’re attacking it, but we think we’re on our way to being full stack where everything is embedded in a single flow. “
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- Twitter Community: Twitter keeps trying new things to make Twitter more accessible to people who don’t already have 10,000 followers. Latest use: Communities, or moderated social hubs, in which you can tweet with others around a shared interest. Twitter is limiting categories to topics like dogs, weather, sneakers, skincare and astrology for now, and is hoping to stay away from politics for as long as possible.
- Microsoft is buying Clipchamp: Wish Microsoft’s 365 tool suite included a video editor? Looks like it’s on the way. Microsoft announced that it is buying Clipchamp, a web-based tool for creating/editing videos. By when can it be integrated into 365? TBD.
- Quicken sells out again: Well that was quick (n). Just a few years after being acquired by a private equity firm, Quicken is being sold to a Different private equity firm. Quicken CEO Eric Dunn shares his thoughts on the deal (plus some insight on the company’s growth) with TC’s Mary Ann Azevedo.
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