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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for July 8, 2021. Forget about Hot ___ Summer. It’s Hot IPO Summer in technology land, and today’s news underscores just how inviting the global exit market is proving to be.
But before we get into the TechCrunch Top 3, the good news from the site is that our latest super-deep company teardown, or EC-1, is live. This time, we looked at NS1, a company that we wrote is building “a strategic node at the core of the modern web delivery tech stack.” The whole series is fire. -- Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
When we said it was IPO season, we weren’t kidding. Here’s the day’s biggest exit news, which has a theme, as you’ll see:
Instacart hires new CEO as it preps to go public: Big news from the world of grocery delivery today as longtime Instacart CEO and co-founder Apoorva Mehta promoted himself to chairman of the company’s board. Facebook exec Fidji Simo is taking the helm. Back during my first stint at TechCrunch, Mehta would send me Facebook messages when his company added new Bay Area markets. How times change!
India’s Zomato sets IPO price range: The day’s other big news from the world of delivery comes from India’s Zomato, which will price its IPO “shares in the range of 72 Indian rupees (96 cents) to 76 ($1) and is targeting an upper limit valuation of $8.56 billion,” TechCrunch reports.
Crypto-powered Circle is going public via a SPAC: If you are a crypto-minded person, you’ve heard of Circle. If you aren’t, it’s the company that bought SeedInvest and is helping build stablecoin USDC. It’s going public via a SPAC at a multibillion-dollar valuation. Call it riding the Coinbase wave.
Flipping the script and going back to the earlier stages of startup life, here’s a rundown of news from startup land:
PowerZ raises $8.3M to fuse gaming and education: The French startup is both a gaming company and edtech startup. The startup thinks that “educational games will become mainstream really quickly,” TechCrunch reports. This makes sense: I have learned more about the Middle Ages from Crusader Kings III than any book I’ve read.
Rootly raises $3.2M to bring SRE tooling into Slack: Look, we all live inside of Slack or Teams, so why not bring more functionality into the services? Rootly wants to bring “an incident-response solution inside” of the work platform that Salesforce is buying. The round and company are neat, as is the fact that startups are building atop Slack itself.
Z1 wants to bring fintech to LatAm zoomers: Homebrew is putting early-stage money to work in Latin America in hopes that Z1 can mimic what Nubank has managed in the region, namely build a fintech titan and raise a zillion dollars. Per TechCrunch, Z1 was a recent Y Combinator grad, which means that Homebrew acquired around 0.8 bips worth of equity in the $2.5 million the transaction. We kid.
Popshop Live raises $20M for modern QVC: Now worth around $100 million, Popshop Live has built a “standalone business that taps into the millennial taste for shopping from smaller and more edgy brands and individuals as much as bigger retailers.” With new capital and retailer momentum, it’s a startup to watch.
Smile Identity raises $7M Series A to verify identities: Focused on the African market, Smile Identity has put together a lettered round for KYC and ID services on the continent. TechCrunch reports that Costanoa Ventures co-led the deal with CRE Venture Capital.
To close out, Natasha scooped that “Peter Boyce II has left General Catalyst to start his own firm, a little over a year after the venture capital firm promoted him to partner.” It’s a busy week for new venture funds, with Acrylic and Renegade also making news.
The NS1 EC-1
For the latest entry in our series of long-form articles that explore the inner workings of notable startups, we looked at NS1, an internet infrastructure company best known for its software-defined domain name services (DNS).
Part 1: Origin story: How three engineers decided to rebuild the internet's core addressing system.
Part 2: Product development and roadmap: Experimentation, open-source efforts and expanding beyond DNS.
Part 3: Competitive landscape: A look at the broader internet infrastructure market.
Part 4: Customer development: How their top competitor's stumble became "the gift that kept on giving."
If you're curious about how NS1 transformed "a slumbering and dreary yet reliable aspect of the internet" into "a strategic moat and an enterprise win" in just eight years, read on.
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
A few notes from Big Tech before we wrap our news coverage. Enjoy:
Dropbox reinvents work(places): No, not in the product sense, but in terms of how it is approaching offices as COVID slowly wanes. The result? Something that looks more like a fancy, private coffee spot than an office. I demand that all companies mimic this immediately.
Tendies from $BYND: Yep, Beyond Meat has launched plant-based “chicken” tenders at some 400 U.S. restaurants. The company, long a public firm and thus befitting of our Big Tech moniker, has had a tumultuous life since it went public. Its shares have traded as high as $239 since it debuted. Today, the company is still worth a healthy $140 per share, far above its original $25 IPO price.
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