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Hello, and “happy Friday junior” as someone told me in his email today. I hope it was a productive Thursday for you. hi hangs with a ton of robotic tech, so me and my trusty Lakeland Terrier companion are delivering the juicy bits of news goodness today. Please enjoy his Pitch Deck Teardown on Five Flute while he’s gone. Unfortunately for this flute player, he is not a flute maker. See you tomorrow! — Christine
The gotechbusiness.com Top 3
- Data protection issues: Facebook managed to avoid shutting down in Europe, but Natasha L writes that the parent company Meta may be suspended.
- here and there: I wrote about wealth tech company Farther, which raised $15 million in funding to boost its valuation to $50 million. The company provides financial advisors with tools to grow their business, while also allowing users to do fun things like a “cash waterfall,” meaning when you have the benefit of excess cash, you can point out where the overflow goes.
- Borrow a little from Apple: Ivan writes that as Google continues to merge Duo and Meet, it is introducing a new feature that allows users to watch YouTube and Spotify together.
Startups and VC
I liked it Dominic-Madoritoday’s story about supply chain technology company Stimulus, which raised a $2.5 million seed round. She writes that Stimulus offers a product “that helps companies cut costs by avoiding mismatched suppliers while introducing different suppliers to companies they may have overlooked.”
Creating in-house apps can be a huge time-consuming task for businesses. Kylea introduces us to Superblocks, a company that has developed a way for businesses to more easily build their own custom.
- It will give you wings: Mike writes about Britain’s Enterprise Investment Scheme, which has created an “institutional angel fund” to enable smaller companies to get their first major funding break.
- Give me that scalpel: Medical students often learn by doing, but in the age of surgical robots, their education is now moving toward virtual reality. One such company is FundamentalVR, which has raised $20 million to make simulations more realistic, Paul reports.
- From onboarding to offboarding: In the past year, Kenyan B2B e-commerce platform Marketplace counted up to thousands of merchants on board, and Tage learned that the company was laying off 9% of its workforce after shifting focus.
- Gift!: Natasha MThe latest gotechbusiness.com+ story looks at whether edtech is still a venture capital-funded industry. She spoke to seven investors in the space to find out more.
- Your food can also be low-carbon: Just as we can see our ecological footprint, Kuri has developed an app that does the same for our food, hi writes.
7 investors discuss why edtech startups need to go back to basics to survive
Pre-pandemic, edtech wasn’t a particularly frothy sector: In 2019, these startups received about $7 billion in VC funding, according to Crunchbase. Last year, that figure rose to $20 billion after efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 impacted students of all ages.
To learn more about how edtech is doing during the current downturn, Natasha Mascarenhas spoke to seven VCs about the advice they offer portfolio companies, where edtech is transitioning into other sectors, and how they prefer to be pitched:
- Ashley Bittner and Kate Ballinger, Firework Ventures
- Jan Lynn-Matern, Founder and Partner, Emerge Education
- Malvika Bhagwat and Kriti Bansal, Owl Ventures
- Jomayra Herrera, partner, Reach Capital
- Rebecca Kaden, General Partner, Union Square Ventures
“I’d say the last few years have been more of an anomaly and we’re going back to a more sustainable pace,” said Reach Capital partner Jomayra Herrera.
(gotechbusiness.com+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams move forward. You can register here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Recent financial pressures have forced Rivian to take certain measures, including the layoff of 900 employees in July. Second quarter results will come later in the day, and Jaclyn shifts into gear with 3 things to watch out for on Rivian’s Q2 results.
Xiaomi has a few new products offered by Brian and Ivan. The first is about his new humanoid robot that reminds me a lot of the movie “I, Robot”. The second is a foldable phone that is only available in China.
Speaking of phones, anyone nostalgic for their old Motorola Razr will want to check out the latest version. Brian has more.