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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch on December 9, 2021! Yes, we are one day closer to the Christmas holidays for all those celebrating, so today we released part two of our 2021 venture capital book recommendation guide. Part one is here. There are a lot of books out there, so be sure to curl up before the end of the year and recharge your batteries by reading! —alexander

TechCrunch 2021 Gift Guide

Picture credits: Tech Crunch

TechCrunch’s top 3

  • Italy fines Amazon $1.3 billion: The fine is due to the American e-commerce giant having “abused its dominant position in the market and pushed third-party sellers to use the company’s logistics service Fulfillment by Amazon”, reports TechCrunch, citing the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Italian Mercato. Most technical fines are too small to note. This one will sting.
  • Build a unicorn with this weird trick: All you have to do, it seems, is tell investors you’re raising capital to launch or consolidate e-commerce brands in a particular market and, viola, unicorn status. That’s what we’ve learned not only from covering dozens of cycles in the e-commerce rollup market recently and the fact that Merama went from zero to unicorn in less than a year.
  • The EU is preparing to change the labor market on demand: If your business depends on using contract labor in the European Union, bad news. Things are likely to change in the years to come. by our own Natacha Lomas, “EU lawmakers have formally proposed legislation for the gig economy which they hope will improve conditions for platform workers across the bloc.”

Startups/VCs

Before we dive into the mix of start-of-the-day events, one more piece of data to chew on. Silicon Valley may be seeing its status as a startup market challenged both at home and abroad, but another market isn’t moving quite so fast. Namely the funding landscape for women founding business-focused software companies. Given the size of the startup market these companies represent, the gender gap is staggering. (A little cry to our own Ron Miller for his consistent reporting on inequality in the startup industry is in order, I think.)

  • Robotic Research raises nearly a quarter of a billion dollars: $228 million, to be clear, which is pretty damn close. What does the company do? It turns out that Robotic Research has “spent the past two decades developing autonomous on-road and off-road vehicles for the Department of Defense.” So, yes, this is another huge funding round for autonomous vehicles. Hopefully this check is indicative of progress do, instead of progressing anticipated, regarding the huge problem space the startup is tackling.
  • Today in the names of very good startups: If you were to found a startup that made underground drilling technology, what would you call it? May be Petra? It would be a good name. And the robot itself? What would you say Fast? Well, if you thought those would be good names, Petra’s crew would agree. They just raised a Series A of $30 million for their boring and not boring work.
  • Ledger to launch the crypto debit card: If you own a lot of crypto, how to actually spend things can be a problem. Ledger is working on a debit card to help the crypto-rich use that wealth IRL. In the meat space, if you will. Coinbase has a similar product, to give an example. Even the Hodl Gang has to pay rent.
  • Deed’s top corporate giving platform gets $10 million: Many companies have a corporate giving plan in place. Some companies, for example, match employee charitable donations. Deed wants to help more businesses do more with their giving work. The startup just landed $10 million for its efforts.
  • Today, in increments of $8.5M to $8.7M: It’s rare that we see two towers with the same amount under the $10 million mark. Today, we actually have three. First of all, Bird Buddy raised $8.5 million for its smart bird feeder technology, no joke. Second, The plane raised $8.5 million for its developer workflow automation service. And Mio raised $8.7 million to help make enterprise messaging services like Slack and Teams interoperable.
  • And then there was Rho, which is seeing its business expense product scale rapidly. So quickly in fact that investors just gave him a $75 million Series B.
  • Closing of today’s boot notes: Acronyms. Namely fintech acronyms. What would happen if you took B2B and entered BNPL? In addition to creating the simply horrible acronym B2BBNPL (B2BNPL? BBNPL? 2BNPL 2FURIOUS?), Affirm spinout Resolve just raised $25 million for his efforts to bring buy now, make payments later, and take on debt in the business-to-business market.

Usage-based pricing is an enterprise-wide effort

three people jumping for bubbles

Picture credits: We are (Opens in a new window) /Getty Pictures

In his latest guest post for TechCrunch+, OpenView Partner Kyle Poyar explains why usage-based pricing “is an enterprise-wide effort” that “requires abandoning the old textbook of SaaS metrics”.

It’s not a fad: UBP has become mainstream because SaaS companies using it are seeing dramatically higher growth and retention rates.

Citing examples from powerhouses like Twilio, Stripe, AWS and others, Poyar explains how UBP companies “share their customers’ success” and reduce their risk of ending up with a CRM filled “with lots of unprofitable customers.” .

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can register here.)

Big Tech inc.

  • Spotify and Chill: Sure, “hanging out” to watch “Netflix” may have become only a marginally coded phrase in English lately, but with Tinder partnering with Spotify to let users “hear a looping preview of 30 seconds of a potential match’s chosen song while checking out their profile,” we’re curious how soon a variation of the theme will hit the market.
  • Netflix tackles SEO spam with a new website: The American streaming giant has released a new website called “Tudum”, which, if you say it out loud, is about the sound the Netflix logo makes when you fire up its app on your TV, watching another night. home due to COVID-19. Tudum! Anyhoo, the website “will host information about renewals and consumer release dates,” reports TechCrunch. Which means those articles on “What to watch on Netflix on November 28, 2021” can lose some of their SEO juice.
  • GM locks down supplies to build domestic EV tech: Deciding to build electric vehicles is one step in a longer journey that includes delicate procurement work. Getting your hands on the raw materials needed to produce batteries is not an easy task. Nor is “locking in a national source of rare earth minerals, alloys and finished magnets for electric motors” the job that GM has recently undertaken.
  • And, finally, for today’s news roundup, Meta has rolled out new tools for Facebook Live users.

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