Daily Crunch: B2B marketplace Sokowatch raises $125M Series B, rebrands as ‘Wasoko’
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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Wednesday, March 16, 2022! Oh boy do we have a lot coming down the pike. Our Austin City Spotlight event just dropped its speaker lineup! We are going to have Cruise and Motional at our Mobility Session! And the very upcoming Early Stage event will feature Atomic’s Hadley Wilkins talking about building brands! – Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- How quickly the startup valuations are changing: Sure, the 2021 venture capital market was richer than ever, but 2022 is turning out a little bit different. How much have things changed? Well, we have data on Series A, B, and C rounds in the United States – how big they are, and their valuation marks. Things are getting smaller, and cheaper, but not that much, it appears.
- SentinelOne buys Attivo Networks: A $616.5 million deal will see the public SentinelOne snapping up Attivo. The smaller firm had raised north of $60 million while private, giving us a little context on the company’s exit price. Bring on startup deals, I say, as they always teach us something about the market.
- Billion-dollar links: LinkTree is a company that you are familiar with. You’ve seen its links in Instagram profiles, Twitter accounts, and the like. But did you know that the company is now worth $1.3 billion after closing a $110 million round. Why? Because it’s growing like a weed and has a subscription product that is, we presume, doing numbers as well.
Startups and VC
Tiger is investing in Africa, TechCrunch reports, digging into the hyper-active capital disburser’s 2021 results. The group made five investments in Africa last year out of more than 300. A good question is whether that ratio will rise in 2022, and, if so, how much? (And speaking of Tiger, the Equity podcast took a look at the group earlier this week!)
Yesterday, TechCrunch noted that Chinese tech stocks had taken a lengthy hammering, leading to their valuations falling sharply. What would the impact of those declines be on the country’s startup market? Well, we got a little hint of that in early Q1 2022 venture capital data from China. But today, the country looked to calm the market and bring back some investor trust. Is the move too late?
- Here’s what it costs to not disclose a breach: Back in 2019, CafePress had a breach, and didn’t want to tell folks about it. That is going to cost the on-demand item printing company $500,000. Too low? That’s a value call, but it’s good to see penalties applied to such behavior.
- A digest of legal startups that TechCrunch has its eyes on: Every startup sector is busy these days, it feels. One sector that we should probably spend more attention on is the world of legal tech, or tech products built to support the legal profession in one way or another. Christine Hall has great look at several in the market.
- Video search is big business: Back when the internet was text, search looked for text. But as the internet – and digital content more generally – becomes increasingly video-first, search is a different challenge. Twelve Labs just raised $5 million for its work on the problem.
- This robot makes tortilla chips, which is great because tortilla chips are freaking amazing.
- Today in Tiger: Today’s round from Tiger Global is a $125 million Series B raised by Wasoko, previously known as Sokowatch. The company is working to make Africa’s informal retail market less fragmented. We’ve seen similar plays in Latin America, for example.
- Multiplier multiplies its valuation: Building tech to help other companies manage and pay remote workers is a huge task, and one that appears to be set to not have a single winner. So, move over Deel — Multiplier just raised $60 million at a $400 million valuation just three months after it closed its Series A.
Dear Sophie: Is there an easier route to L-1As and STEM O-1As?
I live in India and run a startup here, but most of my clients are based in the United States. I also have a Delaware C Corp we established before the pandemic. We have three full-time contractors doing business development and sales in the U.S., and I still have a valid B-1/B-2 visitor visa.
As my company continues to grow, I’m considering coming to the U.S. with my family and purchasing a home. What are my best options?
—Intrepid in India
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Hands on the new iPad Air: If you want to get an M1 chip from Apple, but are light in the wallet, well, the new iPad Air is the lowest-cost way to get there. (The new hardware is from Apple’s recent event, mind.) Our own Matthew Panzarino, however, is curious why someone might buy the device for $600 when there’s an iPad Pro for sale for just $200 more.
- Tesla to temporarily pause Chinese factory: COVID-19-induced lockdowns in China are not only impacting companies based in the country. U.S. EV giant Tesla is seeing its own manufacturing facilities affected. As context, the Omicron variant is testing China’s zero-COVID strategy in recent weeks.
- Tech for parents: Sometimes the news groups itself for us. Today was one such day, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg. Social giant Meta is rolling out some parental controls for its virtual reality products, which feels late but welcome. And Instagram – another Meta property – is releasing new safety tools aimed at parents to help keep their kids safe.