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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch of October 8, 2021! Today is Friday! we made it! If you’re tired, consider how tired the Instagram team must be. Their service is having even more uptime issues this afternoon. Between that and announcing that its users are no longer allowed to sell bits of the Amazon rainforest, it’s a banner week for Zuck’s empire. Now let’s talk tech! – alex
Nerdshala Top 3
- Elon’s Mystery Gas: Some details are missing in SpaceX’s big plans about its largest rockets, where the company will store the tens of millions of cubic feet of natural gas it will need. Sure, Tesla is petrol-free, but SpaceX left some question marks in its draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) about combustible gas, leaving us scratching our heads.
- Startups in Europe to get pre-seed boost Courtesy of Techstars Early-stage founders in Europe are about to have some new accelerators in their neighborhood. The accelerator Collective is opening programs in Paris (again) and Stockholm, in addition to its current efforts on the continent. According to Techstars CEO, despite record venture capital totals, there are far more founders being served in Europe today.
- Tesla to move its headquarters to Texas: Ah, do Tesla will move its headquarters from its traditional California home to Austin, Texas, but it won’t stop investing in the West Coast state. Indeed, the company intends to “increase production at its Fremont Gigafactory by 50%,” reports Nerdshala. So, Texas tax. This step seems to be about that.
- Nerdshala’s Annie Nanja The report reports that “economic growth and the rapid expansion of digital and mobile services” in markets such as Kenya and Africa could lead to a boom in insurance products. InsurTech has proven fertile ground for founders and investors alike in North America and Europe. So, why not Africa too? African startups have proven to be strong in the fintech market, so perhaps the push into Insurtech is overdue.
- Today’s Tiger Round is actually the news of the coming era. That is, the investment impresario can put the capital to work in the slice. Slice is an Indian company that wants to promote the use of credit cards in the country. According to a Nerdshala report, Tiger could invest $100 million in the company. Manish Singh writes for the blog that Slice “raised about $30 million in its last equity financing round and was valued at less than $200 million in a round earlier this year.” Soon, I guess. (Note: Slice, the American pizza software service, is not the same thing as Slice above. Also note that startups should come up with more specific names!)
- Next up: Alpha Claw, which just raised $8 million. If you’re ready to poke fun at a pet welfare startup raising venture capital money, I can tell that you haven’t been to the vet recently. If you can keep your pet healthy, you can save big bucks. Alpha Paw “offers pet products for dogs and cats such as food and supplements that are customized with the pet breed in mind,” to be specific. Given that almost half of my generation has more dogs than kids (the current score in my household is 3-0), I fully expect to raise $800 million more by December from Alpha Po.
- Closing our startup coverage today, Productfy has raised $16 million for its Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) product. I have to admit that I’ve lost track of all the different BaaS (pronounced like fish, in case you were wondering). They all seem to be able to raise capital, so there should be growth to share. But are we going to see BaaS consolidation over time? We’re finally seeing a bit of a stir in the hot OKR startup space, and BaaS feels even more crowded. For now, however, Productfy “wants to stand by its mission to make DeFi a substitute for traditional finance,” according to founder and CEO Duy Vo, according to our own Mary Ann Azevedo.
Private equity ready to take MSP consolidation to the next level
The good news: Businesses of all stripes are digitizing their operations faster than ever, creating huge profits for companies just starting out.
The bad news: Many tech workers are already looking for new jobs, and companies must compete to find the right people who can build strong, secure IT environments.
Managed service providers (MSPs) are bridging this gap and private equity firms are taking note.
“MSPs have all the ingredients that private equity loves,” write Mike McGill and Kevin Jolly of Cowen & Company, LLC.
“A strong demand trend, low risk of obsolescence, a ‘sticky’ service that attracts long-term customers and high recurring revenue, strong cash flow margins and a relatively ‘asset-light’ business.”
(Nerdshala+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams grow. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Google, YouTube to ban climate prohibition ads: Mountain View-based Alphabet has decided it no longer wants to profit from those who deny climate change. To that end, the company “will not allow ads or monetization for content promoting climate change denialism.”
- Google to distribute physical hardware keys to 10,000 users at risk of Russian hacking At some point we’ll have to come up with a better solution to state-sponsored hacking than Google sending a security key, but for now that counts as good news.
- And Pinterest is building something it’s called Heaven who are “place on their platform to explore the relationship between mental health and comfort.” Which is good, I guess.
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Testimonial: “[They have] A deep understanding of cloud technology and how to use it in conjunction with open source software gives us an infrastructure that is scalable but easy to understand and maintain. They were literally trying to make themselves obsolete!”
We are continuing to add content to our Growth Marketing vertical. Check out this article from Jonathan Martinez on Nerdshala+: “5 Common Growth Marketing Mistakes Startups Make.” If there’s a growth marketer you think we should be aware of, let us know.