India’s most valuable startup buys US-based digital reading platform Epic for $500M – TechCrunch

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Hello and welcome to Extra Crunch for July 21st, 2021. It was a good day for crypto fans as major coins bounced back a bit from their recent lows. However, Bitcoin and Ether remain depressed for a period of seven days. And the stock market is up today. What more could you want on a Wednesday? How about a huge series of startup and tech news? We can do this! – Alex

The TechCrunch top 3

  • Clubhouse Leaves Beta: Clubhouse, the lively live audio startup that captivated the tech world earlier this year, has ended beta. The move feels a hair late given the work Twitter has done with its Spaces product, but it’s welcome nonetheless. The data shows Clubhouse is having a moment in India, a major technology market, as Daily Crunch has discussed ad nauseam.
  • Tumblr goes pro: Do you fancy a comeback story? Tumblr definitely does. After being part of Yahoo and later Verizon thanks to a $ 1.3 billion deal after the company (and still the parent company of TechCrunch’s parent company) bought the online portal giant, it became Automattic for a song sold. Now it wants to join the boom in the creator economy by allowing its users to set up paywalls. That’s what we’re here for – the internet would be more fun with a healthy Tumblr in the mix.
  • Byjus comes to America: Indian edtech superstar Byju’s is coming to the US following its newly announced $ 500 million deal for Epic, which TechCrunch has dubbed a “California-based reading platform.” The edtech market is hot, we’ve known that for a long time. Duolingo’s initial public offering is also in the mix, as is a recent $ 24 million round for Sololearn, a startup looking to apply the Duolingo model to code learning.

Startups / VC

Today we have a lot to tell from the world of startups thanks to the charged venture capital cadence around the world. Above, if you’re keeping an eye on Robinhood’s initial public offering, here are our latest notes. Now let’s talk about tech upstarts and private capital, starting with some fintech updates.


  • The loan startup upgrade includes crypto: TechCrunch became aware of Upgrade in 2019, a consumer credit startup run by LendingClub founder Renaud Laplanche. Today the startup launched a credit card with Bitcoin rewards. If you still need a few more $ BTC worth of satoshis and want to build up credit, this might be for you.
  • No-Code + Payments = WhenThen: WhenThen’s no-code payment service has had no trouble explaining itself to investors, as demonstrated by its latest $ 6 million round. TechCrunch reports that its service enables customers to “orchestrate, monitor, improve and manage all customer payments and payment transactions autonomously”. The no-code element probably means it’s a little friendlier for non-developers out there. We rate this idea a decent 10.
  • $ 118 million more for corporate spend management: Here in the US, Ramp versus Airbase versus Brex are at the forefront of corporate spending wars. That doesn’t mean, however, that the popular model of merging corporate cards and software to help businesses manage their overall spending of funds is fully mature. Especially in a global context. And now Spendesk has a new 100 million euros in its own accounts that it can spend on the EU market. I wonder what service will it use to keep track of these costs?


  • Sequoia Capital India supports outplay: The new $ 7.3 million investment will support the startup’s efforts to “help outbound sales teams scale their campaigns.”
  • Say hello to the future of spreadsheets: wants to turn the idea of ​​turning spreadsheets into targeted apps on its head. Instead, the startup wants to add apps to your spreadsheets. And its general release is coming this October.
  • Aussies Want To Help D2C Brands Break The Big Tech Habit: Now with $ 5.3 million in new capital, Sydney-based Okendo aims to “help brands scale the quality of their first-party data and reduce their reliance on technical media for customer acquisition and retention to solve”. If they can do that, hats off.

To conclude our startup reporting, a few final remarks. Pangea raised $ 68 million for its men’s personal care brands. That’s cool. But don’t confuse it with Pangea of ​​Providence, Rhode Island, a recent Y Combinator graduate who has some news. More on that soon.

If you want to dig deeper into the latest trending business books, the Equity team recently sat down with one of the writers on The Cult of We to talk about everything related to WeWork.

These simple metrics will tell you if your startup is ready to scale

For early stage startups, there is a temptation to claim that the go-to-market strategy is fully functional. In reality, GTM is a pure numbers game, and even with a solid plan, it can easily be thwarted by common problems like turf wars and poor communication.

Finding GTM fit is a milestone for any startup that can encompass anything from expanding the engineering team to starting your first media purchase. But how do you know when you reached that magical moment?

“There are three metrics to consider: gross churn, magic number, and gross margin,” said Tae Hea Nahm, co-founder and chief executive officer of Storm Ventures.

High churn means that customers are not enthusiastic, low gross margins mean poor unit economy and this so-called magic number?

“You can calculate it by dividing the new ARI by your marketing and sales expenses,” said Nahm. “But remember that the magic number is a lagging indicator and it can take a few quarters before you see a positive result.”

(Extra Crunch is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams move forward. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

  • Do you remember Alexa? Amazon still wants you to build for this: Amazon’s voice assistant still wants developers to build for what they might be doing. To arouse more developer love, Amazon has released a number of new features for the service. In all fairness, we’re slightly skeptical about the slow intelligence growth we’ve seen with Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google’s “OK Google” setup.
  • Can Ford, Argo, and Lyft make self-driving taxis work? Keep in mind that Google’s Waymo taxi service both exists and operates, albeit on a micro scale compared to the transportation networks operated by Uber and Lyft. Now Ford, a car company; Argo, a self-driving company; and Lyft, a ride-hailing company, “plan to launch up to 1,000 self-driving vehicles on Lyft’s ride-hailing network in a number of cities, starting with Miami and Austin, over the next five years.”

TechCrunch Experts: Growth Marketing

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If you’re curious about how these surveys affect our reporting, read this interview Miranda Halpern held with Maya Moufarek, founder of Marketing Cube: “The lessons of Marketing Cube founder Maya Moufarek for customer-centric startups.”

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