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By Alex Wilhelm

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Good morning, and welcome to TechCrunch AM for February 9, 2024. Today, I have the story of a quickly-growing bootstrapped startup that just raised its first external capital; great apps for the Apple Vision Pro, more funding for non-boozy drinks, the latest on Africa’s startup scene, and layoffs at Getaround. We close with the latest from Arm, which is having one of the best weeks we’ve seen from a public company of its size.


TechCrunch Top 3

  1. Bootstrapping can yield big venture results: Xensam just raised $40 million. It’s the first outside capital that the Swedish software asset management company has raised. With ARR growing at 126% annually, the company is proof that you can bootstrap a company to venture-scale growth sans outside capital. It may take a little while longer, however, and Xensam is proof of that at eight years old.
  2. The best Vision Pro apps: So far, of course. TechCrunch’s Brian Heater has been doing yeoman’s work to sort through the good and the “needs improvement” of Apple’s latest hardware. After much testing, Heater writes that computing is the Vision Pro’s killer app to date, but he has recommendations for fitness, mindfulness, entertainment and business apps. Enjoy!
  3. Fintech’s potential 2024 IPO class: In the wake of massive venture interest during the last startup boom, a host of large, late-stage fintech startups are looking for an exit. TechCrunch’s fintech sage Mary Ann has compiled a list who from that group could go public this year. Well-known names like Chime and Stripe made the list, along with lesser-known companies like Apex and Lendbuzz. Could fintech form the vanguard of this year’s IPO hopefuls?
TechCrunch Top 3 image

Image Credits: Olemedia / Getty Images

Don't miss these

$6M for mushroom pop: Florida-based Odyssey is brewing up mushroom-based “functional energy beverages,” TechCrunch reports. With a new $6 million infusion, the company has now raised $14 million in total. It uses Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps mushrooms to help craft drinks that, we presume, are rather popular. Put this round under the non-alcoholic drinks boom that we’ve seen around the world.

Africa’s venture resilience: A question that I’ve been working to answer for over a year now is what will happen to startup markets that had less-developed venture capital scenes but still received historically outsized investment during the last boom. We know part of the answer: Contracts. But as Annie Njanja writes for TechCrunch, in Africa, local funds are making waves and with more activity expected, the continent’s startup market could be in for better days than recent venture numbers might indicate.

Pinterest hearts Google: After announcing revenue of $981 million in Q4 2023, shares of Pinterest plummeted more than 25%. However, news of a new ad deal with Google sent them back up (the company is also working with Amazon). As of this morning, Pinterest’s stock is now down only 8%. The Pinterest-Google tie-up “started rolling out the new ad integration a few weeks ago, and it is already seeing positive results,” TechCrunch reports. Look for Pinterest’s international monetization changes in its Q1 2024 results for more.

Danged if you do, danged if you don’t: An Indian parliamentary panel is worried about the outsized market share that PhonePe (backed by Walmart) and Google Pay currently control. It’s about 83%, TechCrunch reports. With Paytm currently undergoing a regulatory reformation of sorts, the country’s various governmental arms are not working in complete concert. Not that they should, of course, but if the current leaders are going to see their market share chipped away, they will need more, stronger competition. Not less, weaker companies to fight with.

Getaround to cut staff: Former startup and recent SPAC debut Getaround is cutting staff to work towards profitability more quickly. The company’s worth has plummeted to near zero since it merged with a blank-check company, which isn’t an uncommon fate for SPAC-led transactions in recent years. However, with stronger-than-expected Q3 2023 results, and more capital secured in January, the company’s cost-cutting plan could be what it needs to get back on its feet and regain some of its value. Getaround won TechCrunch Disrupt back in 2012.

Don't miss these image

Image Credits: Odyssey

Before you go

Arm soars, SoftBank scores: SoftBank’s choice to take Arm public last year is looking better and better in the wake of the chip-design company’s latest earnings report. The market was so encouraged by Arm’s results and guidance that even after giving back some of its gains, its stock is up 60% in the last five trading days. That’s tens of billions of dollars in gained value. And SoftBank owns about 90% of the company, TechCrunch reports, which means its boss Masayoshi Son just had one hell of a day as an investor.

Before you go image

Image Credits: Kiyoshi Ota / Bloomberg / Getty Images

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