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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Akin to how it takes nation-states a little time to get sanctions up and running, tech companies don’t roll out responses to geopolitical changes in a moment. But today we have notes on what tech companies are doing in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Before we get into the news, however, our Sessions: Mobility event is going to flat-our rock. See you there! – Alex

The TechCrunch Top 3


TechCrunch has been tracking growth in the number of startups in the market selling their wares via API for some time now. The boom in API-first startups fits neatly into the evolution of software pricing away from traditional SaaS methodology toward a more on-demand model. Anyway, I wrote a bit about a new index of API-led startups that GGV is putting together. As a teaser, it includes links to around 84 trillion API startups, in case you wanted a look at the segment.

  • Jolla looks to cut ties with Russia: It’s tough to build an operating system if you are not a major tech platform company. Hell, Microsoft taught us with Windows Phone that even if you are a platform company, it’s hard. So when Jolla, which is building a “mobile Linux-based alternative to Google’s Android,” decides to cut ties with Russia, where it has users, it’s an Actually Material Choice.
  • Uppbeat raises $6.15M to make sure your video has music: Lots of video is made and uploaded to the internet every day. And if you want to make money from it, you will often want to avoid music, as including tunes can get your duckets took. So, Uppbeat has built a service that provides free music for folks to use in their clips. And it has grown to 500,000 users, which I thought was notable.
  • Commsor wants to scale community beyond capitalism: I normally rewrite headlines in this newsletter for length and to make small jokes, but Natasha Mascarenhas’ headline is perfect so I’ve left it unchanged. Commsor has built what she describes as “an operating system to help other startups manage their communities.” So does every startup need a community? Nope, it turns out.
  • Zero Systems wants to automate professional services: I like the idea behind Zero Systems. Ron Miller describes its goal as bringing automation to “professional services like law firms,” which makes good sense. The real value at a law firm is not its ability to say, handle humdrum paperwork. It’s in having legal minds at the ready. So, why not automate the other stuff? The startup just closed a $12 million Series A.
  • Figma is bringing whiteboarding to iPad: Figma is worth $10 billion, recall.
  • Instacart loses head of payments to startup: Instacart, worth eleventy-nine quadrillion dollars after raising lots of money during the pandemic, is an IPO candidate this year or next. So to see it shed some staff along the way is not a huge surprise, though the company likely won’t be happy to lose someone from its fintech team. Regardless, Forage – which is building payments tech for governments – is likely stoked at the recent poaching.
  • OpsLevel raises $15M for microservices management: I kinda know what a microservice is. It’s a small discrete unit of application that you string together into a larger system, right? I think so. Anyway, if you have a lot of them, I reckon it would be hard to get them all in order? That’s kinda the idea behind microservices management, which is what OpsLevel does. And it just raised capital to keep at it.

And there was so much more: Satellite startup Vu is about to put tech into orbit, Veev just raised $400 million for pre-fab homes, Nayya raised $55 million to provide recommendations for healthcare and other benefits, Subspace raised to make blockchains less carbon-intensive, and Starship Technologies – a very good name, I would add – raised $42 million for a fleet of terrestrial robots. I retract my naming praise!

10 investors discuss the no-code and low-code landscape in Q1 2022

White light bulb.Similar photographs from my portfolio:

Image Credits: malerapaso (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

When we published our last low-code/no-code investor survey in August 2020, the former president had decided to ban TikTok, Epic was filing antitrust cases against Apple and Google, and movie theaters around the U.S. were shuttering to slow the spread of the then-novel coronavirus.

Seems like a long time ago.

Since then, many of the key trends and themes we surfaced have come to pass: Airtable clinched an $11 billion valuation in December 2021 after raising a $735 million Series F with help from Salesforce Ventures and Michael Dell’s MSD Capital.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft’s Power Fx low-code programming language now connects hundreds of apps.

A year and a half ago, many companies were starting to get comfortable with no-code and low-code software. Today, “it’s transforming entire categories of enterprise software,” says Navin Chaddha, managing director at VC firm Mayfield.

To learn more about how the space has evolved in the last year and a half “and when they expect their investments to start paying off,” Karan Bhasin interviewed:

  • Sri Pangulur, partner, and Paul Lee, partner, Tribe Capital
  • Ganesh Bell, managing director, Insight Partners
  • Renato Valente, general partner, Iporanga Ventures
  • Mo Islam, partner, Threshold Ventures
  • Tommi Uhari, founding partner, Karma Ventures
  • Navin Chaddha, managing director, Mayfield
  • Alex Nichols, vice-president, and Laela Sturdy, general partner, CapitalG
  • Raviraj Jain, partner, Lightspeed Ventures

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

  • Oh god please stop making Marvel movies: I know that everyone else cares about this, so I am including it here. News is out today that “Disney+ will now house the Marvel live-action shows that were previously available on Netflix.” This blows my mind somewhat, as I had no idea there were also live-action Marvel shows in addition to all the movies? How much Marvel can we take before we get intravenous content poisoning?
  • How Adobe’s diversity chief uses data to build a more equitable workplace: Another Ron Miller piece from today, this time diving into how companies can make real progress on diversifying their workplaces. Miller has been aces on this particular beat in recent quarters.

TechCrunch Experts

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Image Credits: SEAN GLADWELL / Getty Images

TechCrunch is recruiting recruiters for TechCrunch Experts, an ongoing project where we ask top professionals about problems and challenges that are common in early-stage startups. If that’s you or someone you know, you can let us know here.

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