The Trump administration moves forwards with plans to ban TikTok and WeChat (although TikTok gets a partial extension), Unity goes public and we announce the winner of this year’s Startup Battlefield. This is your Daily Crunch for September 18, 2020.
The big story: US TikTok ban is imminent
The U.S. Commerce Department has released details about how it will be implementing the Trump administration’s domestic ban of TikTok and WeChat. Both apps will no longer be available (and will not be able to distribute updates) in U.S. app stores starting this Sunday, September 20.
At the same time, TikTok will be able to continue operations in the country until November 12, leaving the door open for a deal with Oracle or another partner.
TikTok, WeChat and their users aren’t the only ones unhappy about this decision. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said a TikTok ban would be “bad for US tech companies which have benefited greatly from the ability to operate across borders,” while the ACLU said the order “violates the First Amendment rights of people in the United States.”
The tech giants
Salesforce announces 12,000 new jobs in the next year just weeks after laying off 1,000 — Salesforce CEO and co-founder Marc Benioff announced in a tweet that the company would be hiring 4,000 new employees in the next six months, and 12,000 in the next year.
It’s game on as Unity begins trading — Unity Software, which sells a game development toolkit primarily for mobile phone app developers, raised $1.3 billion in its initial public offering.
Apple will launch its online store in India on September 23 — Apple currently relies on third-party online and offline retailers to sell its products in India.
Startups, funding and venture capital
And the winner of Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2020 is … Canix — After five days of fierce pitching in a wholly new virtual Startup Battlefield arena, we have a winner.
Amid layoffs and allegations of fraud, the FBI has arrested NS8’s CEO following its $100+ million summer financing — Adam Rogas, the co-founder and former executive at the Las Vegas-based fraud prevention company NS8 was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Outschool, newly profitable, raises a $45 million Series B for virtual small group classes — Outschool’s services, which range from engineering lessons through Lego challenges to Spanish teaching by Taylor Swift songs, are now high in demand.
Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch
Are high churn rates depressing earnings for app developers? — RevenueCat’s Jacob Eiting writes that for all the hype around Apple’s 85/15 split for subscription revenue, very few developers are going to see a meaningful increase.
The stages of traditional fundraising — What you think when you hear “seed funding” and “A rounds” might be different from what investors think.
3 VCs discuss the state of SaaS investing in 2020 — Commentary from Canaan’s Maha Ibrahim, Andreessen Horowitz’s David Ulevitch and Bessemer’s Mary D’Onofrio.
(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)
How the NSA is disrupting foreign hackers targeting COVID-19 vaccine research — “The threat landscape has changed,” the NSA’s director of cybersecurity Anne Neuberger said at Disrupt 2020.
NASA to test precision automated landing system designed for the moon and Mars on upcoming Blue Origin mission — The “Safe and Precise Landing – Integrated Capabilities Evolution” (SPLICE) system is made up of a number of lasers, an optical camera and a computer.
The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.
Political strategist turned tech investor Bradley Tusk on SPACs as a tool for VCs
Bradley Tusk has become known in recent years for being involved in what’s about to get hot, from his early days advising Uber, to writing one of the first checks to the insurance startup Lemonade, to pushing forward the idea that we should be using the smart devices in our pockets to vote.
Indeed, because he’s often at the vanguard, it wasn’t hugely surprising when Tusk, like a growing number of other investors, formed a $300 million SPAC or special acquisition company, one that he and a partner plan to use to target a business in the leisure, gaming, or hospitality industry, according to a regulatory filing.
Because Tusk — a former political operative who ran the successful third mayoral campaign for Mike Bloomberg — seems adept at seeing around corners, we called him up late last week to ask whether SPACs are here to stay, how a Biden administration might impact the startup investing landscape, and how worried (or not) big tech should be about this election. You can hear the full conversation here. Owing to length, we are featuring solely the part of our conversation that centered on SPACs.
BT: They are down today last I checked. When you only check once in a blue moon, you’re like, ‘Hey, look at how great this is,’ whereas if, like me, you check me every day, you’re like, ‘It lost 4%, where’s my money?’
We got really lucky; Lemonade was our second deal that we did out of our first fund, and the fact that it IPO’d within four years of the company’s founding is pretty amazing.
TC: Is it amazing? I wonder what it says about the common complaint that the traditional IPO process is bad — is it just an excuse?
BT: [CEO] Daniel Schrieber was very clear that he and [cofounder] Shai Wininger had a strategy from day one to go public as quickly as they possibly could, because in his view, an IPO is supposed to represent kind of the the beginning. It’s the ‘Okay, we’ve proven that there’s product market fit, we’ve proven that there’s customer demand; now let’s see what we can really do with this thing.’ And it’s supposed to be about hope and promise and future and excitement. And if you’ve been a private company for 10 years, and you’re worth tens of billions of dollars and your growth is already starting to flatten out a little bit, it’s just much less exciting for public investors.
The question now for everyone in our business is what happens with Airbnb in a few weeks or whenever they are [staging an IPO]. Will that pixie dust be there, or will they have been around so long that the market is kind of indifferent?
TC: Is that why we’re seeing so many SPACs? Some of that pixie dust is gone. No one knows when the IPO window might shut. Let’s get some of these companies out into the public market while we still can?
BT: No, I don’t I don’t think so. I think SPACs have become a way to raise a lot of money very quickly. It took me two years to raise $37 million for my first venture fund, and three months was the entire process for me to raise $300 million for my SPAC. So it’s a mechanism that is highly efficient and right now is so popular with public market investors that there is just a lot of opportunity, and people are grabbing it. In fact, now you’re hearing about people who are planning SPACs having to pull [them] back because there’s a ton of competition right now.
At the end of the day, the fundamentals still rule. If you take a really bad company public through a SPAC, maybe the excitement of the SPAC gets you an early pop. But if the company has neither good unit economics nor high growth, there’s no real reason to believe it will be successful. And especially for the people in the SPAC, where they have to hold on to it for a little while, by the time the lockup ends, the world has probably figured out that this is not the greatest IPO of all time. You can’t put lipstick on a pig.
TC: You say you raised the SPAC very quickly. How is the investor profile different than that of a typical venture fund investor?
BT: The investors for this SPAC — at least when I did the roadshow, and I think I did 28 meetings over a couple of days — is mainly hedge funds and people who don’t really invest in venture at all, so there was no overlap between my [venture fund] LP base and the people who invested in our SPAC that I’m aware of. These are public market investors who are used to moving very quickly. There’s a lot more liquidity in a SPAC. We have two years to acquire something, but ultimately, it’s a public property, so investors can come in and out as they see fit.
TC: So it’s mostly hedge funds that are getting paid management fees to deploy their capital in this comparatively safe way and that are getting interest on the money invested, too, while it’s sitting around in a trust while [the SPAC managers] look for a target company.
BT: Why it kind of does make sense for [them to back] VCs is they are basically making the bet to say: does this person running the SPAC have enough deal flow, enough of a public profile, enough going on that they are going to come across the right target? And venture investors in many ways fit that profile because we just look at so many companies before deploying capital.
TC: Do you have to demonstrate some kind of public markets expertise in order to convince some of these investors that you know what it takes to take a company public and grow it in the public markets?
BT: I guess. We raised the money, so I guess I passed the test. But I did spend a little under two years on Wall Street; I created the lottery privatization group of Lehman Brothers. And my partner [in the SPAC], Christian Goode, has a lot of experience with big gaming companies. But overall, I think that if you are a venture investor with a ton of deal flow and a good track record but very little or no public market experience, I don’t know that that would disqualify you from being able to rate a SPAC.
Watch GM unveil the $80,000 GMC Hummer EV right here
GM just took the wraps off the Hummer EV and it looks great. The vehicle is coming to dealers in 2022, with pre-orders starting in 2021. You can watch the unveiling here.
The vehicle is detailed here. With 1,000 HP, 350 mile range, and autonomous drive modes, it’s an impressive vehicle though still significantly more than Tesla said the Cybertruck will cost.
AOC aims to get out the vote by streaming Among Us with pokimane and HasanAbi
We are about seven months into a pandemic and just two weeks from a presidential election. At this point, surprises are a dime a dozen. So it should feel very 2020 that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is about to stream Among Us, the hit game of 2020, on Twitch alongside mega-streamer pokimane and political analyst HasanAbi.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted yesterday that she was looking for people to play the popular game with in an effort to get out the vote, noting that she’s never played before but that it looks fun.
Streamer pokimane, who has 6 million followers on Twitch and whose YouTube videos regularly see more than 1 million views each, responded to the tweet with a figurative raised hand.
HasanAbi, a very popular political commentator on Twitch, who has more than 380,000 Twitter followers, also chimed in to the conversation saying that they’re already making a lobby. It wasn’t long before Rep. Ilhan Omar raised her hand, too.
A good game of Among Us (imagine that someone mixed a fairly basic multiplayer video game with a murder mystery party) usually requires 10 players, so the other six players are still TBD. But the Verge reports that a handful of other streamers (such as DrLupo, Felicia Day, Greg Miller, James Charles, and Neekolul) also lined up to play with AOC.
According to Ocasio-Cortez, the stream is all about getting out the vote. And this isn’t the first time that she’s used video games to connect with her followers. AOC opened up her DMs to all 6.8 million of her followers back in May to let them send her an invite to their island, and she visited them.
Millennial voters (and Gen Z) skew toward backing the Biden / Harris ticket, and AOC is coming to them by getting on Twitch and streaming one of the rocket ship games of this year.
The stream starts at 9pm ET/6pm PT and can be found here.
And you can check if you’re registered to vote here.
Update 9:01pm ET: AOC hasn’t even started playing the game yet and has nearly 250,000 concurrent viewers.
The Bahamas Becomes First Country to Launch its CBDC, the ‘Sand Dollar’
What are the differences between Data Lake and Data Warehouse?
KDnuggets™ News 20:n40, Oct 21: fastcore: An Underrated Python Library; Goodhart’s Law for Data Science: what happens when a measure becomes a target?
Cathay Pacific Will Cut 8,500 Jobs and Close Cathay Dragon Carrier
KEBA benoemd tot exclusieve leverancier voor Honda Power Charger – het originele laadstation voor de volledig elektrische Honda e.
Spoločnosť CBMM organizuje sériu webinárov o batériách a akumulátoroch s držiteľmi Nobelovej ceny za chémiu a odborníkmi z celého sveta
Ethiopian Airlines Lands 5 Week Shanghai Flight Ban
Blue Prism Keeps goto.energy on Track for High-Speed Growth
AVANGRID and PNM Resources to Combine in Strategic Merger Transaction
Examining the Simple Linear Regression method for forecasting stock prices using Excel
Bespoke Wall Box Design And Complimentary Charging For Battista Hypercar Owners
‘Genshin Impact’ revenues soar as China gaming goes global
Amazon extends work from home option till June
Tesla Analysts — Most Earned Less Than Nothing (Q3 Analyst Report Cards)
Ericsson third-quarter core profit beats forecasts as margins rise
Flybe Comeback Planned for Spring 2021
Analysis: Google antitrust case to turn on how search engine grew dominant – experts
Which Individuals Spend The Most On Private Air Travel?
Use domestic quarantine rooms for Aussies abroad, say airlines
CASA staff pushed ‘to the brink’, say Professionals Australia
How To Watch & Listen To Tesla Q3 Earnings Call (Livestream)
How Much Does It Cost To Fuel A Commercial Airliner?
UK Fintech Modulr Reveals that its Dublin based Entity Is Now Licensed as EMI by Central Bank of Ireland
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Among Us stream peaks at over 400,000 concurrent viewers
Space Force stands up operations command in Colorado Springs
What’s Happened To Icelandair’s 787 Order?
American Express and Coupa to Expand Partnership to Bring Virtual Card Payments to US Markets
Triyono Gani, Head of Digital Finance Innovation at Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority, Compares Fintech with Traditional Banking
Hikaru Nakamura challenges President Barack Obama to a game of chess
PUBG Mobile reveals first virtual band, Power4
CapitalStackers, a P2P Lender focused on Real Estate Finance, Invests Outside its Normal Corridor of Expertise, Works with New Senior Lender
Sky Guo, Co-Founder at Cypherium, will be Representing Blockchain Sector at 75th United Nations General Assembly
Confirmed: Cathay Pacific To Close Down Cathay Dragon
Lee Sin added to League of Legends: Wild Rift
How to use the AR Mapping features in Pokémon Go
Emirates Economy vs. Qatar Economy- What’s Best?
Podcast: What’s the real story behind Scurrah’s Virgin exit?
Hundreds of Twitch partners have received DMCA takedown warnings
Brisbane-Cairns now busiest Qantas route
Haksal retires from professional Overwatch
Blockchain1 week ago
10 Million Euros Lost to Crypto Frauds in Belgium in One Year
Techcrunch4 days ago
Original Content podcast: It’s hard to resist the silliness of ‘Emily in Paris’
Gaming1 week ago
‘Call of Duty: Mobile’ Season 11 Anniversary Update Is Out Now with a New Battle Pass Coming Soon, New Maps, XP Card Changes, and a Lot More
AI1 week ago
Key Challenges and Benefits of AI Chatbots: A Balanced Perspective
1 week ago
Filecoin Fervor Gaining Momentum in China as Mainnet Nears Launch
Blockchain1 week ago
Report: Q3 2020 Was The Best Quarter For DeFi
1 week ago
Bitfinex launches EOS, Litecoin, and Polkadot Perpetual Swaps
Blockchain1 week ago
Crypto Derivatives September’s Recap: Binance Futures Leading As BitMEX Down 30%