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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Monday, December 20! Now deep into the second half of December, you’d think that we’d be down to spare news pickings. Not a bit of it! We had a 10-figure deal today, an IPO filing and startup news galore. So strap in — no taking breaks quite yet! To work! —Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Oracle buys Cerner in $28B deal: This is a big darn deal. Oracle everyone is familiar with, but what is Cerner? Per our own Ron Miller, Cerner is an electronic healthcare records company. Naturally, a major tech company buying something in the health data space may have your hackles up, but analysts that TechCrunch spoke to generally liked the deal, so what’s worry about?
- Inside Justworks’ IPO filing: Late last week, SMB-focused HR software provider Justworks filed to go public. Today, TechCrunch took a deeper look into its filing, curious about its economics and overall business performance. The company raised extensive capital during its life as a private company, so this is a big venture-backed exit to keep tabs on in early 2022. (Along with Reddit!)
- Rocket buys TrueBill for $1.275B: And because one billion-dollar-plus deal wasn’t enough to keep us busy today, Rocket Companies announced its huge buy of consumer fintech TrueBill in an all-cash deal. TechCrunch noted that with TrueBill set to reach around $100 million ARR this year, per its acquirer, the transaction felt somewhat inexpensive. For investors that got a quick double on their most recent investment, it’s a nice win.
There were a number of huge pieces of startup news today, and a plethora of smaller, yet still critical, updates. So, largest first, and then as many of the smaller notes as we can fit into this newsletter!
- Rec Room raises $145M at a $3.5B valuation: Why is a social gaming platform raising that kind of money? Well, Roblox. That’s the answer. How so? Because Roblox showed that user-created games atop a centralized platform can generate simply huge incomes, and investors are betting that Rec Room’s twist on the concept is going to be a cash cow in time. The company was worth $1.25 billion earlier this year, so its new valuation may be frothy, but investors are willing to pay up in part thanks to Roblox being worth north of $58 billion as of this afternoon, no doubt.
- ZeroFox is going public via a SPAC: This is a fun one. Per TechCrunch, ZeroFox is an “enterprise threat intelligence cybersecurity startup that helps companies detect risks found on social media.” So, it’s a software company going public via a blank-check company. The deal values ZeroFox at around $1.4 billion. You can read the deck here, if that’s your jam. But the deal shows that the SPAC boom is not over — yet.
- $100M for fast groceries in India: Zepto is a fast grocery delivery service, the sort of business that wants to bring you items in 10 minutes or less. The model is proving popular in Europe and North America, with companies like Zapp and Gopuff putting up big numbers. Zepto is a notable round because the deal is a big one, and because it more than doubles the company’s valuation “to $570 million from $225 million less than two months ago as [the company] expands into newer cities.”
- Remote hiring is big business: That’s what Turing’s new round tells us. The company just raised an $87 million Series D for its “talent cloud,” a service that “uses AI to source, evaluate, hire, onboard and then manage engineers remotely,” TechCrunch reports. The new capital pushes Turing’s valuation to $1.1 billion.
- Kneron raises $25M for AI chips: Given the global chip shortage/fiasco, I am in favor of more capital flowing into chip companies, startups included. What Kneron is building won’t help Ford build more trucks, but its AI chips are “semiconductors designed to accelerate machine learning” we wrote, which still sounds pretty important.
- Nonprofit startup works to lessen predatory inmate pricing: Not every startup that is built is designed to either save a pension fund or allow a venture capitalist to finally stop flying business class. In the case of Ameelio, the company is building free calls for inmates. If you aren’t familiar with the U.S. carceral state, know that my nation has found it palatable, somehow, to profit off the incarcerated through both private prisons and exorbitant costs for the locked-up to access phone calls and other services. Ameelio could shake that up with no-cost video calling services. Let’s hope.
- Adventr rminds m of th Wb 2.0 glry dys: Remember when startups would just drop letters from a word and call it a name? It was a good time. Adventr is bringing the trend back with its name and the fact that it is working to make video more interactive. Very Web 2.0, once again in a way that I don’t mind. The company just raised $5 million.
- The AI dentist will see you now: Overjet is a company I’ve covered before, so it’s nice to see it crop up again on our pages. The company is now worth north of $400 million thanks to a new $42.5 million Series B. Overjet uses AI to help dentists make decisions about teeth, which I dig thanks to the fact that I ate too much candy as a child and didn’t floss during much of my 20s.
- Stenon is working on dirt data: Agtech is a fun part of the technology world because it involves the application of new methods to what is just about the oldest human endeavor there is, namely trying to coax food out of the ground. Stenon is directly involved with that work, providing farmers with what TechCrunch described as a “real-time soil-sensing solution.” That means data from the dirt. Why does that matter? Well, soil water content can greatly impact harvest timing, for example. Stenon just closed a $20 million Series A.
The growing power of digital healthcare: 6 trends to watch in 2022
The pandemic ushered in “the digital healthcare revolution,” and patients and providers alike are unlikely to turn back.
“Healthcare deals were hot in the first nine months in 2021,” GHI Fund President Bill Taranto writes in a guest post. “They brought in a total of $21.3 billion in venture funding across 541 deals, dwarfing the previous record of $14.6 billion set in 2020, according to Rock Health.”
Taranto rounds up six trends to watch in the New Year:
- Telemedicine changing how chronic conditions are treated.
- Digital therapeutics rewriting the future of healthcare.
- Social determinants of health resulting in greater health equity.
- Remote health monitoring improving outcomes and lowering costs.
- Real-world data delivering real-world results.
- Healthcare becoming truly patient-centric.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- YouTube TV and Disney make nice: There is an interesting, recurring game of chicken that content providers and content deliverers play when it comes to your cable bill. And even Alphabet’s YouTube TV is not immune. After a spat with Disney over money — what else, with the mouse company — a deal has been reached that will see Disney channels stay on YouTube TV. Customers of the latter service will get a $15 credit for the disruption.
- Meta sues phishers: The company formerly known as Facebook is suing a phishing group that went after its users’ account credentials. One, good. Good on Facebook for doing this. And, two, why don’t we hear more about this sort of work more often?
- Line to pursue more NFT work in 2022: You cannot shake a stick in technology today and not wind up accidentally hitting an NFT play, so, here’s today’s. Line, the popular messaging service in Japan, is launching an NFT service in markets outside of Japan next year. But don’t worry if you are in Line’s main market — the company is “separately operating its NFT market beta version through Line Bitmax wallet that is fit” for Japan, TechCrunch writes.
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