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15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021

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No matter the industry, size, product, or service, all startups have one thing in common: They all want to grow! To make a business grow and scale takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and strategy. It’s no secret that marketing plays a key role when aiming for strong growth and success.

Most startups already know, or should know, the basics of marketing and how to get their products and services out there, find the right target group and build an audience. Your marketing teams’ job is to define their buyer persona and to come up with strategies on how to approach them through different channels and actions. It may sound simple, but successful marketing also requires a lot of experimentation and attention to detail. 

Beyond having a talented and restless marketing team, startups should always look for helpful tools to enhance their performance. Luckily, there are thousands of SaaS companies developing all kinds of marketing-related solutions to help businesses better understand their customers, create and manage campaigns, and track performances, among other many things. 

Looking into all different features, advantages, and pricing, we’ve selected 15 awesome marketing solutions that can help you boost your company’s growth. Here you go:

StoryChief

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021StoryChief is a content creation and distribution tool for marketers, publishers, and bloggers. Using StoryChief, content creators and marketing professionals can create and push articles to different publishing channels like their website, mobile pages (Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, Google AMP), Medium, and emailing.

StoryChief’s product empowers multi-channel marketing and content collaboration, with functionalities such as the content calendar, SEO copywriting, social media management, analytics and reporting, content data management, and all kinds of integrations like WordPress or Shopify. It also has a universal editor that lets users easily create stories, making them look as they should on each different channel and measure the impact and ROI in one place. Try StoryChief now!

Plans and Pricing:

  • Team Plan – For B2B marketing teams looking to generate more leads for their sales team, for €90/month.
  • Agency Plan – For B2B marketing agencies looking to deliver and execute effective content marketing strategies for their customers for €225/month.
  • Custom Plan – For larger teams looking for dedicated onboarding and custom integrations through StoryChief’s APIs for €750/month.

Audiense

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021Audiense helps marketers and consumer researchers to develop relevant strategies focusing on consumer segmentation. Audiense combines insightful social data sources with cognitive and machine learning to empower businesses to find and understand their audiences. 

With the ‘Audiense Insights’ tool, businesses can explore the different segments within each audience, understand common characteristics, compare segments with baselines or other audiences, and identify relevant online/ offline marketing channels to increase engagement and customer acquisition. On the other hand, with the ‘Connect’ solution, users can create their own custom chatbots, build and explore communities with analysis, management, and advanced monitoring, and develop acquisition strategies on Twitter and Instagram. Try Audiense now!

Plans and Pricing:

  • Free – Includes a limited version of Twitter Marketing and Audience Insights.
  • Twitter Marketing – Empowers users to boost performance on Twitter for $79/month.
  • Premium – Focuses on audience segmentation and profiling reports with social data for $696/month.

Spott

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021Spott tackles the complexity of customers’ short attention span by allowing businesses to turn their marketing assets into interactive content without coding or design skills. Users are able to publish their content on as many channels as they can, being owned, paid, or shared, allowing their visitors to engage with every part of the content, directly improving website performance, user engagement, and conversion.

For those businesses working with a lot of products, Spott also offers a product feed that automatically adds new items and keeps everything up-to-date. From videos, images, and even PDFs, businesses can follow the performance of each of the interactive elements to get their maximal ROI on their produced content, understand and benchmark the performance of each channel based on their content. Try Spott now!

Plans and Pricing:

  • Essentials – To get more recurrent visits and improve conversion for €29/month.
  • Professional – Allows businesses to leverage interactivity at scale by engaging their audience on various channels for €229/month.
  • Business – Designed for marketers to become experts and create interactive ads for an unlimited amount of clients for €749/month.

Partnerstack

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021PartnerStack empowers businesses to reach more customers through partnerships. The platform provides companies with the tools required to build, manage, and scale channel partner programs, bringing companies and channel partners together to create scalable growth.

PartnerStack’s marketplace helps SaaS companies to find the right partners to work with and empowers partners to sell more of these companies’ products with affiliate programs. Companies can track partner links, leads, and deals, embed customer loyalty programs directly into their product and sell directly through distributor networks with the PartnerStack API. Try Partnerstack now!

Plans and Pricing:

All memberships include partner payouts and compliance, partner and resource management, and anti-fraud. They work with every customer to create a plan tailor-made for their business, pricing ranges from $500 up to $1500/month. 

  • Essentials – Includes tools to launch the first program.
  • Growth – Allows businesses to integrate their CRM into deal management. 
  • Enterprise – Enables custom integrations, multiple partner types, and groups, and application management.

Omnisend

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021Omnisend is an easy-to-use email marketing platform for small and medium e-commerce sites. There is no need to code, design, or build anything, as Omnisend integrates with your store and enables data-driven e-commerce email marketing. Users can create newsletters 10 times faster with Omnisend’s email builder and increase their sales with automated emails, segmentation, and SMS. 

E-commerce businesses can segment their customers based on their shopping behavior and more properties to improve conversions with well-targeted, personalized content. Users can also add SMS and more channels right next to the emails using the same platform and provide a consistent, omnichannel customer experience. With one-click integrations, pre-built workflows, simple drag, and drop editing, and data sync, e-commerce sites can improve conversion, retain more customers and build better relationships. Try Omnisend now!

Plans and Pricing:

  • Free – Includes email campaigns, signup forms, reports, segmentation, and analytics
  • Standard – Includes Marketing automation, pre-built workflows, SMS (International), A/B testing, 24/7 email, and chat support for $13/month.
  • Pro – Includes free SMS credits, web push notifications, audience sync for Facebook and Google, advanced reporting, and a Customer Success Manager (from 15K subscribers) for $80/month.
  • Enterprise – Includes email account migration, Customer Success Manager, deliverability support, and custom IP address for a custom price.

Moosend

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021Moosend is an email marketing and marketing automation platform helping SMEs and startups to engage email subscribers and grow their businesses.

With Moosend teams can easily manage multiple email campaigns and mailing lists, as well as design and send striking, responsive newsletters created on the built-in campaign editor. Users get free access to dozens of newsletter templates designed to minimize the time spent on creating email communications.

With Moosend’s intelligent marketing automation and website tracking, teams can exceed performance goals, increasing conversion rates with Cart Abandonment reminders, boost average order value with Upsell/Cross-sell sequences, establish brand loyalty as their competitive advantage with custom Loyalty sequences, and more. Try Moosend now!

Plans and Pricing:

  • Free – Includes unlimited emails, sign-up, and subscription forms, reporting, and analytics.
  • Pro – Plus landing pages, transactional emails, phone support, SMTP server, 5 team members for only $8/month.
  • Enterprise – Plus custom reporting, Account Manager, onboarding and migration, 10 team members, service-level agreement, and other premium features for a custom price.

PixelMe

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021PixelMe is an URL shortener that embeds retargeting pixels into shortened links. Businesses can brand, share and track their own branded short URLs and retarget anyone who clicked on their links. This also includes managing specific ads on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google targeting those who clicked on these specific links. 

Retargeting helps businesses to target people who have already visited their website and generate more sales. PixelMe empowers businesses to retarget, even if they are running ads on a 3rd party platform like Amazon, Kickstarter, Spotify, or YouTube. With PixelMe, brands can connect their custom domain, create a shortened link with their brand, customize the end of the URL and edit the link preview. Try PixelMe now!

Plans and Pricing:

  • Starter – Includes 500 branded links and 2 custom domains for $29/month.
  • Growth – Includes up to 5000 branded links and 5 custom domains $69/month.
  • Scale – Includes up to 50K tracked clicks per month, 10 custom domains, and sub-accounts for $149/month.
  • Enterprise – Includes unlimited branded links, more than 10 custom domains, and more than 3 micro landing pages for a custom price. 

Users can also choose an annual plan, saving up to 40%.

Adzooma

Adzooma 15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021is an easy-to-use ad platform, helping businesses to optimize Google, Facebook, and Microsoft ads.

Their mission is to provide marketers with a more efficient way to manage all accounts, without switching between different pieces of software, allowing them to track, analyze, optimize and increase the profitability of their digital marketing campaigns. 

Adzooma offers a variety of features for PPC management and ad management tools, allowing businesses to automate manual tasks, get custom alerts to changes, access reporting in minutes, having a clear vision of their ad performance. Try Adzooma now!

Plans and Pricing:

Adzooma’s pricing plans begin at $299 per month, and you get everything you need to start your Google Ads campaign. You’ll also get $75 of free advertising in your first month, as well as a monthly $180 limit on ads in general.

  • Adzooma for Marketers
  • Adzooma for Agencies

Both memberships are available for free registration.

Leadfeeder

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021Leadfeeder is a website visitor analytics software that shows marketers the profiles or companies visiting their website, how they got there, and what pages they clicked.

The software combines lead generation, account-based marketing, and sales intelligence tool. Leadfeeder automatically removes bots, ISPs, and other sources of traffic which won’t provide you with quality leads. Teams can also filter and hide companies themselves to only see – and pay for – quality leads.

Leadfeeder’s platform integrates with multiple tools such as Google Analytics, MailChimp, Pipedrive, Salesforce, Slack, and HubSpot. Try Leadfeeder now!

Plans and Pricing:

  • Lite – Includes a basic version of Leadfeeder with limited features that shows the last 3 days’ worth of leads only for free.
  • Premium – Includes all features for €63/month. You can start with a free trial and if you do nothing you will be downgraded to Lite after 2 weeks.

Maropost

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021Maropost is a cloud marketing automation platform that helps Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies acquire, engage and convert prospects and customers across multiple channels like email, social, web, and/or mobile. Marketers can easily create customer journeys, send targeted emails and SMS, and optimize campaigns.

Using Maropost, businesses can create forms, custom landing pages, managing and scheduling social media campaigns, tracking and reporting. The email marketing automation platform empowers marketers to improve conversion rates through industry-leading inbox deliverability, advance reporting, segmentation, list and template management, and A/B testing. Try Maropost now!

Plans and Pricing:

  • Essentials
  • Professional
  • Enterprise

All memberships include email marketing and management, marketing assets, and content. Pricing variations depending on mobile marketing, automation, and audience management features, going up to $500/month. Contact the sales team to get a quote on your estimated price per month.

Verblio

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021Verblio is a content creation platform that provides engaging and effective content to power modern content marketing, with a focus on quality writing and SEO. With a wide network of industry expert writers, Verblio produces multimedia content in hyper-niche fields.

The process is simple: businesses tell Verblio about their audience, voice, and personality, also sharing their website, CTAs, SEO requirements, and style guides. Other details such as word length, keywords, and the number of pieces per month help build a plan for each business. Verblio then provides each business with a content plan designed to help them achieve their goals. Try Verblio now!

Plans and Pricing:

Pricing depends on word length, pieces per month, and additional services such as hand-selected stock photos per piece, back-end SEO optimization, or CMS formatting and publishing.

Prices range from $34.95 for short blog posts and website content, up to $360 for thought leadership, ebook chapters, and white papers. Customers can choose to be billed monthly or annually, saving up to €1000 a year.

Landingi

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021Landingi aims to help businesses to achieve specific targets: To sell, lead generation, traffic redirection, get feedback and go viral. It simplifies the process of creating a landing page for any marketing campaign purpose without needing a designer and web developer.

Landingi provides marketers with a drag & drop editor to create landing pages, mobile pages, pop-ups, and funnels, plus dozens of templates, A/B testing, and a large list of integrations with other apps such as Hubspot, Mailchimp, Pipedrive, Salesforce, and Google Analytics. Try Landingi now!

Plans and Pricing:

  • Agency – For agencies, integrators, and resellers to launch offers and scale customer service for $149/month billed annually.
  • Automate -For marketing pros to automate processes and boost conversions at all levels of the customer journey for $79/month billed annually.
  • Create – For business owners and smaller companies to build high-converting campaigns that increase sales for $55/month billed annually.

Sendinblue

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021Sendinblue is a cloud-based digital marketing platform aiming to help businesses to optimize customer engagement. It covers the entire chain, from the creation of a newsletter to analysis and reporting tools to targeting modules that enable businesses, eCommerce sellers, and agencies to build customer relationships through digital marketing campaigns, transactional messaging, and marketing automation. Try Sendinblue now!

Sendinblue includes tools to create, design, and automate email marketing, CRM,  segmentation, landing pages, and sign-up forms, optimizing conversion. Users also get access to A/B testing tools, open and click-through reports, and real-time analytics.

Plans and Pricing:

  • Free – Unlimited contacts and up to 300 emails per day.
  • Lite – No daily sending limit, email support, A/B testing, advanced statistics. Pricing starts at €19/month.
  • Premium – Everything in Lite plus Marketing automation, Facebook ads, landing pages, and multi-user access. Pricing starts at €49/month.
  • Enterprise (custom pricing) – Everything in Premium plus a custom volume of emails, priority sending, 20+ landing pages, access for 10+ users, Customer success manager, and more.

MarketMuse

MarketMuse15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021 is an AI platform that transforms content planning, creation, and optimization. Publishers, content creators, and e-commerce managers use MarketMuse to find improvements in search performance, saving hours of keyword research, and reducing the cost of paid search.

The platform identifies content quality issues on a business’ site and builds blueprints that show marketers exactly how to write to cover a topic comprehensively. SEOs can plan content to increase organic traffic, control all links and redirections, and measure the content quality of all pages. Content Strategists can identify content strengths and weaknesses, and create content briefs for writers in minutes. Editors and Marketers can measure content quality and compare it with competitors. Try MarketMuse now!

Plans and Pricing:

  • Optimize – Content performance optimization. Pricing starts at $79/month.
  • Plus – Finding and monitoring gaps and stand-out content, content writing strategy optimization. Pricing starts at $179/month.
  • Pro – All of the content intelligence and planning for a force-of-one or small team. Pricing starts at $499/month.
  • Premium – Advanced features, unlimited users, intelligent content strategy, and planning for teams of all sizes. Pricing starts at $999/month.

Outgrow

15 Marketing Tools to Boost Your Startup’s Growth in 2021Outgrow helps marketers create interactive calculators, quizzes, recommendations, polls, and chatbots to increase customer engagement and generate more leads. Its drag and drop builder and custom managed service allow businesses to quickly create highly engaging and value-driven Cost Estimators, Savings/ROI calculators, and other types of online interactive content.

Marketers can increase lead conversion rates using Outgrow’s 1000+ pre-optimized templates. They can also give personalized answers to their customer’s most pressing questions while qualifying leads and get customer insights, segment their audience and integrate their data with over 1000 tools. Try outgrow now!

Plans and Pricing:

  • Freelancer limited – 3 content types, 5 content pieces, 1 user, and standard integrations for $14/month.
  • Freelancer – 7 content types, 6 content pieces, 1 user, and other basic features for $25/month.
  • Essentials – 8 content types, unlimited content pieces, 3 users, and 90K leads per year for $95/month.
  • Business – All content types, unlimited content pieces, 10 users, and more premium features. Pricing starts at $600/month.

Looking for more promising startups? If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!

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Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/06/15-marketing-tools-to-boost-your-startups-growth-in-2021/

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The Briefing: Taboola Buying Connexity for $800M, Index Ventures raises $3.1B, And More

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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Taboola to acquire Connexity for $800M

Taboola, the online ad and recommendation provider, announced a deal to acquire digital advertising company Connexity for $800 million.

Los Angeles-based Connexity is a portfolio company of Symphony Technology Group, a private equity firm focused on software and analytics. The company works with merchants to determine which product offerings to put on publishers’ websites.

The deal comes roughly three weeks after Taboola went public on Nasdaq by completing a merger with a SPAC. The company trades under the ticker TBLA and was recently valued around $1.9 billion.

Index Ventures raises $3.1B

Index Ventures announced $3.1 billion in new funds this week. The capital will be spread across its seed-, early- and growth-stage funds. The firm will be investing across consumer, enterprise, gaming, fintech, and software infrastructure companies, according to an announcement from Index. Index has invested in companies including Robinhood and Glossier.

–Sophia Kunthara

Public offerings

Outbrain raises $160M in IPO: Outbrain, provider of an online advertising recommendation platform, raised $160 million in its initial public offering. The New York-based company priced shares at $20 each, below the projected range of $24 to $26. It will trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol OB.

Zomato surges in market debut: India-based food delivery provider Zomato saw shares surge in first-day trading, rising around 65 percent as investors snapped up stock. The company raised around $1.3 billion in the offering.

— Joanna Glasner

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-7-23-21/

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Star-Gazing Investors Launch More Money Into Space Tech

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Although Jeff Bezos‘ and Richard Branson‘s brief space jaunts have generated massive media interest in space travel for the last week, investors have been over the moon about space tech for at least two years now.

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Venture funding in space travel, satellite communication and aerospace — which includes space-related technologies such as thrusters and propulsion systems — hit a new high last year, and that record is likely to be eclipsed this year.

According to Crunchbase data, nearly $5.2 billion in venture funding has gone into space tech funding already this year — including huge rounds such as SpaceX’s $850 million round and Long Beach, California-based Relatively Space‘s$650 million Series E.

Those figures put this year on pace to rocket past the nearly $6 billion invested in space tech last year. Deal flow also is on track to exceed last year’s with 136 funding rounds announced thus far this year compared to 238 in 2020.

“I think in the last 12 to 18 months … you are seeing investors open up to new types of space technologies,” said Beau Jarvis, CEO of El Segundo, California-based Phase Four, a developer of a thruster for satellite propulsion that closed a $26 million Series B last month.

“Investors are seeing the ecosystem is more complex than just rocket launching,” he said.

Not just rockets

While companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Bezos’ Blue Origin and Branson’s Virgin Galactic catch many of the headlines, those in the industry say the current escalation in funding is really due to satellite technologies and investors seeing the possibilities involved in building up the infrastructure of space for the betterment of business down below.

“This current interest really started about two years ago,” said Stewart Alsop, co-founder and partner at Alsop Louie Partners, an early-stage technology venture capital firm that has investments in Phase Four and Berthoud, Colorado-based propulsion technology company Ursa Major Technologies.

Alsop said the sector has seen its share of ups and downs as it has grown into what he calls “Space 2.0” after the first wave of companies like SpaceX and Rocket Lab were founded. As launching has become cheaper and propulsion technologies have improved, investors are seeing the commercial, government and military possibilities of space.

“Investor appetite is not waning,” he said. “The deal flow right now is amazing.”

Steve Jurvetson, co-founder of Future Ventures, sits on the board of SpaceX and said that while space tourism “sets people dreaming again,” some of the biggest opportunities related to space tech are really related to communication, earth imaging and telecom.

He said those opportunities and others have definitely increased interest in the sector. By his count, in the last three years, more than 300 venture capital firms have made their first bets in space tech.

“As we see companies have matured, more investors have wanted to invest,” said Mark Boggett, managing director of London-based space investment firm Seraphim Capital.

Boggett said space sits at the crossroads of several large trends, including connectivity, mobility and data, and that is driving investments to new heights — especially as both launch and cost of satellites have decreased about 100x over the years.

As costs have lowered, companies continue to emerge that are using real-time information from satellites that can provide useful — and financially valuable — data around sustainability and climate change or can help bring connectivity to the more than 50 percent of the world that does not have the infrastructure for such, Boggett said.

“We are creating a digital platform in the sky,” he added.

Seeing the money

Of course, while the possibility of making money in an emerging market like space attracts investors’ attention — actually seeing money being made is what makes them flock to an industry.

To that point, SPACs — or special-purpose acquisition companies — have proven very interested in helping birth space tech companies into the public market.

Just this month, Google-backed Planet Labs announced it will go public in a $2.8 billion SPAC deal. In April, Seraphim Capital-backed satellite-to-cell company AST & Science — now known as AST SpaceMobile — went public through a SPAC. Also in April, Canadian space operations and satellite company MDA had an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In March, another Seraphim Capital-backed company — small satellite builder and data company Spire Global — announced a SPAC deal which will value it at $1.6 billion. That same month, Rocket Lab announced it would merge with a SPAC to go public later in the year in a deal that values the company at more than $4 billion.

Space SPACs

Of course, not all has gone well for space tech companies seeking an entrance to the public market. This month, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Santa Clara, California-based in-space transit company Momentus and its SPAC with making false claims and allowed investors to drop out.

Peter Kant, CEO of Boston-based propulsion developer Accion Systems, said the interest from SPACs in space technologies is very real. Accion just raised a $42 million Series C this week and Kant said the company was approached by SPACs while fundraising.

“It seems like raising $300 million is easier than raising $30 million because of the aggressiveness of the SPAC market,” he said with a laugh.

In the end, the company raised its money a little earlier than scheduled because of the interest it was seeing from SPACs, but decided going public via a SPAC was not right for Accion at this time.

“There is just such a range of opportunities coming to the market for investors,” said Boggett referring to exit strategies now available to companies in the industry.

With the returns the sector is seeing from going public, he added, the industry now has a complete ecosystem for investing — from seed rounds to large growth raises to the public markets.

“We now have the full funding ladder,” he said.

Methodology

Space technologies are being defined by the industries of space travel, satellite communication and aerospace as according to Crunchbase data. Funding numbers include pre-seed, seed and all venture rounds.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

From next-generation batteries to autonomous driving technology to electric aircraft, automakers led private funding rounds collectively valued at…

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Automakers Reap Big Exits With SPACs, But There Are Bumps In The Road

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After years spent pouring billions into an assortment of transportation and battery tech startups, automakers are reaping some returns.

Mostly, they have SPACs to thank. As more venture-backed transport and cleantech startups go public via mergers with blank-check acquirers, automakers are among the stakeholders poised to gain from successful offerings. 

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At least six automaker-backed companies have already completed SPAC offerings, and more are waiting in the wings. We used Crunchbase data to look at what’s driving the momentum, and at which direction things appear to be heading.

Completed SPAC deals

Per Crunchbase data, at least seven companies with automakers among their backers have gone public via SPAC since last year. Four are EV makers. They include: Nikola Motors and Lordstown Motors (both backed by GM), as well as electric-bus maker Proterra (backed by GM, BMW and Daimler), and luxe EV maker Faraday Future (backed by China’s Geely).

Three other automaker-backed SPACs that have hit public markets are electric battery technology company QuantumScape (backed by Volkswagen), lidar developer Luminar (backed by Daimler and Volvo), and online customer parts marketplace Xometry (backed by BMW).

Electric vehicle companies have been particularly popular targets for SPACs, as we’ve covered before. Although many private EV companies are pre-revenue and virtually all are deeply unprofitable, they have a number of qualities that SPACs find attractive. This includes potential for high future revenue projections, the ability to put large capital raises to work, and an enthusiastic following among public market investors.

Not yet completed SPAC deals

Since it usually takes a few months from announcement to completion of a successful blank-check merger, several automaker-backed SPACs are still in progress.

One of the most closely watched SPAC tie-ups is in the electric aircraft space. Joby Aviation, a Toyota-backed developer of planes capable of vertical takeoffs, announced plans to go public in a SPAC deal that sets a $6.6 billion post-money equity value for the Santa Cruz, California-based company.

Another is in the autonomous driving space. Aurora, a developer of self-driving technology that counts Hyundai among its backers, is merging with a SPAC called Reinvent Technology Partners Y in a deal that values the company at around $11 billion.

Aftermarket ups and downs

Not every offering has been a reliable hit with public investors.

Both Nikola and Lordstown have seen sharp declines from their peak prices amid allegations that they overpromised and underdelivered. Lordstown’s CEO and CFO resigned last month following charges of overstating pre-orders. Nikola’s founder and executive chairman stepped down last fall, following allegations of overstating the company’s progress.

Three others — QuantumScape, Luminar and Proterra — are also trading at  a fraction of their former highs.

Still, even off their peaks, the majority of automaker-backed newly public companies are sustaining valuations in the multiple billions. And, as announcements of new transportation SPAC deals continue to roll in at a steady clip, it appears we have miles to go before this cycle runs out of spark.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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Why Training And Education Are Key For LatAm’s Emerging Startup Market To Thrive

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By John Freddy Vega

Colombia is best known for its amazing coffee, emeralds, and roses. Many people know about them from movies and TV shows that highlight these wonderful aspects of the country. Others know Colombia thanks to Gabriel García Márquez and his magical realism.

This is my country, my life and it’s a part of a beautiful and incredibly diverse bigger whole: Latin America, the region I grew up in, and with which I identify myself wherever I go.

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Unfortunately, however, the media often highlights our region’s violent past, the one we are still leaving behind as we close wounds and move forward towards a better future, and it is not easy for us to face it. We all have sacrificed something along the way and share a common burden left to us from our own past.

This is not to try and compare the world’s painful moments to Colombia’s. Rather, I want to state that, despite what’s seen on social media, Latin America has the opportunity to take a great leap and undergo a monumental economic and social transformation.

In 2014, together with an initial competitor and later partner, Christian Van der Henst, I created Platzi to bring first-rate education to all corners where the Internet reaches — not only to a country, but also throughout Latin America or any Spanish-speaking place where required.

Talent is equally distributed, but the opportunities and access to methods, techniques and subjects that mark the future of new generations are not.

I have been lucky. Partly, yes, self-taught, but it shouldn’t have been that way.

Only 30 percent of the Latino university age population manages to attend higher education in the U.S. Families live on a very low income in Latin America, and it takes between six and 11  generations to get out of poverty due to the lack of opportunities.

More than two million students learn to code at Platzi. We were fortunate enough to go through Y Combinator, the best gateway to Silicon Valley. We got their approval, also in the form of investment, and returned home to transform the region.

In recent years we have obtained, in addition to financing, the support of institutions and entities such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the Organization of American States to continue with our mission.

Since then, our students have seen how their progress goes hand in hand with their training. They’ve gained better jobs and more opportunities for the future, and some have even taken the entrepreneurial path. Nothing excites us more than to see how they take charge of their lives and get to be job creators themselves.

In recent years, Latin America has received notable capital injections, both from SoftBank and from leading Silicon Valley funds. Yes, Sand Hill Road has finally looked south of the San Diego border.

Rappi, a catalyst for the economy in its own right, is the spearhead of a dynamic ecosystem. After its success, it has been followed by Kavak, Justo, and Cornershop, acquired by Uber, by the way. There is also Nubank, DLocal and Bitso.

Internet giants like Netflix, Amazon, Uber, Oracle, and Microsoft have not only opened subsidiaries to drive sales, but also rely on the talent and ingenuity of our brains. From our workforce — blue collar to white collar — that is the path we are paving.

Despite this infusion of capital, however, a principal factor is still missing in the region: education. Without training for the challenges facing startups, it will not be possible to grow at the right pace. Or, at least, the one desired by venture capital investors.

The pandemic has given e-learning an unparalleled boost. Investment in edtech increased by 146 percent in 2020, according to a report by the Latin American Venture Capital Association.

Technical talent — so valued, nurtured and revered not only in Silicon Valley — spreads like a weed from nothing, yes, but not completely. You need a base, a beginning, a start that is not always found. That is why our mission at Platzi helps these investments find a fertile field in which to grow. In this way, the intellectual workforce progresses at the same rate as business.

John Freddy Vega is founder and CEO of Platzi

Investment in both physical and telecommunications infrastructure have made Latin America a fertile field for applications, businesses, and startups that solve major challenges. At the same time, the people have embraced fintechs with real conviction.

The intersection between technology and finance already accounts for 40 percent of venture capital investment in Latin America in 2020. Nubank, Bitso, DLocal are all regional unicorns serving millions of people. This has increased the market share in digital services, the facilities that fintech companies and the mobile economy offer help to maintain a more dynamic economy.

Along with finance, insurance and transportation have been the fastest-adopted sectors in the region and I predict we will soon see more competitors in these fields and that these sectors will also be hiring more rapidly.

Now, where will they find the people capable of leading a disruption? Yes, it is true that exorbitant salaries can attract foreign talent. But it’s also true that it is not an easily replicable solution.

Creating this new breed of exponentially minded specialist professionals will completely change the perspective of the region, precisely now, when the eyes of the world are on our ability to get into debt and succeed triumphantly.

We still have a pending challenge, a dream: to build a great technology company on a global scale. That is why we are pushing together. Latin America needs a giant, like Alibaba has been for China, or Samsung for South Korea, or Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook for the United States — true generators of employment, wealth and a competitive ecosystem in order to have an effect throughout the region.

This is why we want to multiply our support. We must improve education and training to give Latin American people a fighting chance. This will lead us all to a better tomorrow.

John Freddy Vega is founder and CEO of Platzi, a Latin American online education platform empowering countries across the world by helping the next generation of students acquire in-demand tech skills.

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Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/training-education-key-in-emerging-latam-market/

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