Daily Crunch: Facebook releases internal research on Instagram's mental health effects

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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for September 30, 2021. It’s the last day of the third quarter! Yes, that means earnings season is coming, along with a whole bunch of venture capital data — more on that in a moment — but more importantly, how the heck is it Q4? Already?

From the TechCrunch side of things, cheap tickets to our Sessions: SaaS event are going away in short order. So, snap ‘em up if you are coming. I’m hosting and even doing a panel or two. See you there! – Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Facebook spins own research: The only way to get Facebook to release data and research concerning its own platform that hasn’t been filtered through its PR leviathan is to have it leak. Then Facebook may release it, but with a huge dose of its own spin. This, of course, is precisely the sort of transparency that the social giant is famous for and discussed before the Senate today.

  • India’s startup market on pace for staggering Q3: An early look into India’s rapidly expanding venture capital market indicates that the country could set fresh records in Q3. The India-China rivalry that we see in so many spheres now has a startup angle as well. We have even more on India in our startup notes!

  • Alloy raises $100M for anti-fraud work: While we often write about fintech startups that feature consumers as their customer base, not every financial technology upstart wants to sell to you or me. Alloy is an example of a B2B fintech startup, focused on automating “onboarding identity decisions” and “transaction monitoring,” TechCrunch reports. The company is now worth $1.35 billion.

Startups/VC

Before we start, TechCrunch’s Brian Heater gets 47 points for this headline.

As promised above, let’s start our startup work with two stories from India:

  • Ola Electric raises $200M: The Bangalore-based startup, which builds electric scooters, is part of the larger Ola empire, a huge startup in the Indian market that provides ride-hailing services in the country. Ola’s Electric business is now worth $3 billion, up from $1 billion two years ago.

  • And speaking of Indian startups now worth $3B, Tiger invests in OfBusiness: The $207 million Series F round doubles the value of OfBusiness in just two months, to a now tidy sum of $3 billion. What does the startup do? Per TechCrunch, it’s a “commerce startup that sells industrial goods and provides small businesses with credit.” Given how many SMBs there are in India, the startup shouldn’t run out of room to grow for some time.

Next up, venture capital news:

  • BGV closes fourth fund worth $110M: Benhamou Global Ventures, better known as BGV, has a fourth fund to invest from now, and it’s 60% bigger than its preceding investment vehicle. So far BGV has invested in 28 companies and expects that number to rise by more than a dozen with its new fund.

  • Counterpart Ventures also raises $110M, but for its first fund: What do you get when you take two former corporate venture capital investors and spin them out into their own fund? The backers of Counterpart are about to find out. The pair invested in Noom and DataRobot in their prior roles.

And, finally, a venture round rundown:

  • Specialty chips are big business: That’s the wager behind Speedata, which just came out of stealth and announced $70 million in financial backing. The fabless company is building what it describes as “the world’s first dedicated processor for optimizing cloud-based database and analytic workloads.” Given how big the data center market is, and how much demand there is for data science work, the company could be taking on a simply enormous market.

  • Voodoo buys Beach Bum: No, that’s not code or slang. That’s an accurate summation of my favorite bit of M&A in some time. Per our own Romain Dillet, French mobile gaming company Voodoo is buying Israel-based Beach Bum, which “specialize[s] in tabletop and card games.” You can see how the latter could feed the former with ideas and IP. As a data point about how big the casual gaming market is, Voodoo claims 300 million MAUs, per its website. Casual gaming is big.

  • Forta raises $23M for smart contract security: As the blockchain economy (market?) grows, its security needs are expanding right along with it. And as smart contracts become an ever-more important function inside of the crypto world, their security needs are also rising. Forta, backed by a host of crypto-focused investors you have heard of, thinks that it has the solution to the matter.

  • More capital for B2B gifting: On the back of corporate gifting startup Sendoso raising $100 million the other week, Reachdesk has raised $43 million for its own efforts in the space. Corp gifting brings together e-commerce, sales tooling and IRL objects into a neat package.

  • And to close us off, Accel and Tiger team up to put $23M into Mexican B2B payments platform Higo. The company raised a far-smaller $3.3 million seed round just a half-year ago, making the Higo round another note on Mexico’s expanding startup market, a notably smaller deal from Tiger, and also, given how close it is landing to the company’s preceding investment, something of a very 2021 moment.

Scaling across Series A to C

It's hard to find actionable, proven advice for scaling startups.

That’s because only 7% of the startups that raise seed rounds are able to grow their companies enough to land a Series C investment, according to a Dealroom study.

To create a framework for founders who are charting a path from $1 million to $25 million in annual revenue, Arthur Nobel, a principal at Knight Capital, conducted 47 interviews with founders and investors who've taken startups from Series A to C.

More than an overview, the article offers approaches for navigating the challenges of T2D3 (triple, triple, double, double, double) growth, specific hiring recommendations and other strategic insights.

As a bonus, the post also includes steps and visualizations you can use to create your own scaling roadmap.

"The takeaway is to initially figure out in which stage your company and departments are in and only do what is required for that stage," writes Nobel.

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

  • New ad products from TikTok: Expect brands to have new ways to try to snag your attention on TikTok in the future, with the company working to bring “several new and interactive ad formats, ranging from clickable stickers to 'Choose Your Own Adventure'-type ads to ‘super likes’ and more” to its social service. Whee.

  • Lordstown may sell factory to Foxconn: Lordstown may sell a former GM plant it bought in 2019 to Foxconn. Lordstown is famous for not building EV trucks, while Foxconn is well known for not building factories in the United States. So, call it a perfect pairing.

  • Facebook brings Messenger closer to Instagram: Cross-app messaging between Facebook and Instagram is getting easier with group conversations now possible. The decision from Facebook to make Instagram worse to prop up its core app is a business decision that I suspect we’ll be chattin’ about for decades to come.

  • Spotify bolsters podcasting toolkit: Music streaming service Spotify would like its users to consume more podcasts, both to improve its gross-margin profile and to give it pricing power in the future thanks to exclusive content. To that end, the company is rolling out podcasting tools including polls and Q&A functionality to its global audience. The features were previously in beta.

TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing

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