Daily Crunch: Raba partnership leads $2.1M seed round for African fintech startup Thepeer

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Wednesday already? The calendar tells me it is. (Fun fact: I have so many smart date displays in my apartment that it’s hard not to trip over them.) Time flies when the Daily Crunch team trusts you—that is, me—with the TechCrunch newsletter. As always, there is much to tell, but I have done my best to provide Hadje as well as Christine they have nothing to worry about as long as they enjoy some much-needed time away from the daily grind. Rest guys. You deserve it all.

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African fintech is experiencing explosive growth – last year the number of startups in this category increased by 17.3% to 573 from 491 in 2019, according to local publication Disrupt Africa. Exciting New Member – Thepeerwhich supports the infrastructure mainly for fintech companies, from small to medium. Tage writes that the company has been successful just a year after its founding, while the average monthly transaction growth is 161%. It’s impressive no matter how you slice it.

An irrelevant (but no less important) note: if you haven’t already captured TechCrunch summer party tickets, you really should consider it. We don’t bite – at least not without reason. — Kyle

TechCrunch Top 3

  • Not for the prudish – or the prudent: MindGeek, the parent company of porn streaming giant Pornhub, has had less troubling days. Devin writes that the CEO and COO — Feras Antun and David Tassillo, respectively — abruptly resigned about a week after the New Yorker report about the company’s less-than-stellar moderation policy. It’s all speculation at this point, but financial uncertainty could play a role. Profitable as adult films are, MindGeek bore the brunt of the payments crusade against porn platforms two years ago when processors, including Mastercard, suspended payments to the company’s brands.
  • Brevity is the (not) soul of wit: Remember when Twitter, shackled by SMS restrictions, limited its poor users to 140 characters? I do. But I’m old. New tweeters (Twitterers?) may never know that tweets were once an exercise in self-editing, thanks to Twitter’s new feature – Twitter Notes – that will support posting long content on the platform. Sarah there is a story.
  • Better get out of here: Mary making report on the Website Better.com troubles was unbeatable, and this week she released another big piece of news: Most of the mortgage lender’s senior management team has stepped down, including the senior vice president and vice president of sales. Their departure follows the departure of the Executive Vice President of Accounts, the Senior Vice President of Capital Markets and Growth, and three senior public relations professionals. Facing a delayed IPO and continued bad publicity, including lawsuitthe turnaround for Better.com looks more and more distant.

Startups and VK

The economic downturn has hit some industries harder than others, but one industry that seems to be immune, at least for now, is app development. The appetite for apps hasn’t waned, and there doesn’t seem to be a demand for low-code platforms and APIs that make them faster and easier to build. Appsmith, a low-code platform for building business applications, received $41 million this week. Meanwhile, Courier received $35 million to build an application notification service.

The hardware business has become less forgiving of late. Case in point: NothingOnePlus co-founder Carl Pei’s new company has announced that it will not ship its first phone, the Phone (1), in the US. notorious hostile unloved brands, especially in a declining market. But it’s still a pity.

Elsewhere start-ups:

  • Boxing on the go: Lightboxer introduced an ultra-portable, subscription-based fitness wearable that accompanies the user during workouts, optionally paired with music from a preloaded catalog. Especially for those who have small apartments, this can be a godsend. Brian.
  • Hotter than a warming planet: “Climate tech” may not be new, but it’s definitely hot – which isn’t surprising in light of the dire predictions of the climate crisis. Highlighting the state of affairs Kiko Ventures emerged this week with a $450m (£375m) fund to invest in climate technology and ‘regenerative’ technologies, Mike reports.
  • Accent, I can’t put it on: A fascinating startup called Sanas created an AI that can change a person’s accent. Backed by Google, the company announced $32 million in funding and claims it has a number of clients, including insurance giant Assurant and BPO leviathan Alorica. According to ingridthe technology sounds a bit robotic and devoid of emotion, but it appears to be intentional—Sanas designed it with call centers in mind.
  • Let me process this data for you.: Proving that there is money in data management, Atakkama today received a $150 million injection from Bain Capital Tech Opportunities. As I wrote in my review, Ataccama’s success reflects the boom in recent years of tools that allow businesses to connect, transform, analyze and serve data from all sorts of sources.
  • Elusive soft landings at SoftBank: The bad news for SoftBank got worse this week. On the heels of the company disappointing performanceFrench businessman Michel Combe, who was appointed CEO of SoftBank Group International in January, left company, Connie reports. Troubled waters lie ahead as SoftBank plans to cut the pace of new investment.
  • Charging towards mergers and acquisitions: In a fascinating piece, Rebecca writes about consolidation in Electric vehicle charging market, which has seen an infusion of money in recent years amid enthusiasm and government funding for the technology. On the horizon is a wave of startups looking to commercialize and scale so-called fast DC chargers.
  • Boring but beneficial: Let this be a lesson to HR tech naysayers: investors still want to get in on the action. PersonioThe Munich, Germany-based startup that bills itself as Workday and ServiceNow, targeting SMBs, closed a $200 million round this week that is valued at $8.5 billion. ingrid there is a story.

3 tips for biotech startups looking for non-dilutive capital to weather the downturn

100 dollar bills are hidden under the floorboards

Image Credits: Martin Pool (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

This is a particularly difficult time for life science startups. Even if their technology changes the world, it will be years before it hits the market.

Most biotech founders who want to make money in this environment assume that dilutive capital is their only option, but this is short-sighted, writes James Coates, head of health and human performance at Decisive Point.

“During a downturn, non-dilutive grants or contracts from government should be seen as more attractive than ever because they provide a non-dilution runway and make headlines.”

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can register here.)

Big Tech Inc.

Thought the NFT trend was over? Ha. By no means. Signals keen interest from Big Tech, eBay this week acquired Manchester-based NFT marketplace KnownOrigin, Aisha reports. Meanwhile, Shopify launched Tokenized commerce, a feature the company describes as a way to “reward true fans and VIPs by giving NFT owners exclusive access to products, perks and experiences” by linking crypto wallets to Shopify online stores, ingrid writes.

In other trendy news, the metaverse — that hazy mix of virtual and augmented reality — could be compatible if certain tech giants get their way. Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, Unity and others this week formed Metaverse Standards Forum, which aims to make it easier for developers to create apps across platforms. But there are some glaring omissions, too. Amanda notes, including companies such as Niantic, Apple, Roblox, and Snapchat, which also create consumer “metaverse” products.

Does all this talk about digital experiences make you yearn for something tangible? Give IKEA a new one tool whirlpool. Lauren, describing his experience with it, describes it as a way to visualize your own living space with furniture on your smartphone instead of a trip to the Ikea store. You’ll miss the Swedish meatballs, but the convenience can make up for it.

  • Hot tub cracking machine: Carly writes like Security Researcher Found Vulnerabilities in SmartTub Jacuzzi an interface that allows access to the personal data of each hot tub owner. How terrible is that?
  • Mac attack: Brian reviewed 13-inch MacBook Pro with Apple M2 processor. Verdict? No spoilers, but silicon is one of the few highlights in the main gradual update.
  • We don’t have votes: In the face of multiple sexual harassment lawsuits as well as investigationsActivision Blizzard rejected an employee’s attempt to take a seat on the company’s board of directors represent the voice of the staff. Unfortunately, only 5% of shareholders voted for Amanda writes while the majority re-elected controversial CEO Bobby Kotick to the board.
  • Lawsuits abound: Black former Tesla assembly plant worker in Fremont declined a $15 million payment from an automaker in a lawsuit about racial violence by colleagues, Rebecca reports. This is the latest legal spat involving the company after two former employees filed a lawsuit alleging the automaker failed to provide the 60-day advance notice required by federal law during a recent round of layoffs.
  • nuclear glow: NASA is thinking about the Moon and nuclear fission. agency this week announced that it is contracting three vendors to provide concept designs for nuclear power systems for use on the Moon. An exciting thing considering the potential. Read Darrellrundown report.

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