The Beach Edition — China’s Tech Crunch

By Keith Teare • Issue #267 • View online

China is blocking its own corporations from US listings and the SEC is reacting. Is this China doubling down on its independence from the world economy? Or just politics?



No video this week, and no editorial. I spent the week in Cabo San Lucas on vacation with the family, and Andrew Keen was betrothed and spent his honeymoon in Mexico City.

But I did still read. Here is my take on the week’s news. enjoy.

China has its own Tech Crunch

As China shakes up regulations, tech companies suffer

Things in China seem to be changing for the worse, in terms of both future access to foreign capital for Chinese companies and doing business in the country overall. • Share

China’s expected edtech clampdown may chill a key startup sector

When it comes to control, the Chinese government doesn’t mind wiping out a few dozen billion dollars in market cap here and there. That’s not a great system. • Share

Blockchain Investing

Blockchain Startups Raised over $4 Billion in VC Funding in Q2 2021 — CryptoPotato

CryptoPotato • Share

SPACs on track again?

Automakers Reap Big Exits With SPACs, But There Are Bumps In The Road

At least six automaker-backed companies have already completed SPAC offerings, and more are waiting in the wings. We used Crunchbase data to look at what’s driving the momentum, and at which direction things appear to be heading. • Share

Digital mapping startup Matterport will begin trading after a SPAC merger that raised $640M and valued the company at $2.9B; Matterport had $86M in 2020 revenue (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg: — Matterport Inc. is set to begin trading Friday on the Nasdaq under the symbol MTTR, after seeing a surge in demand for its 3D mapping products during the pandemic. • Share

Lucid Motors’ SPAC merger approved after executives issue plea to shareholders to vote

Shareholders approved Friday EV startup Lucid Motors’ merger with special purpose acquisition company Churchill Capital IV, after the companies extended the deadline by one day because not enough retail investors showed up to cast their vote. The issue is unusual but could become more common as more companies eschew the traditional IPO path to public […] • Share

This week in IPOs

The Coach Behind the Coinbase and Robinhood CEOs

Matt Mochary was on a high. AngelList CEO Naval Ravikant had just told the leadership consultant and former startup founder that their 90-minute session had solved a problem Ravikant had been grappling with for decades. “He coached me out of my pit,” Ravikant later wrote in a review of Mochary’s 2019 book, “The Great CEO Within.”

Mochary’s advice has made him one of the most sought-after business coaches in Silicon Valley, according to more than half a dozen startup CEOs who have used his services. In the last few years, Mochary has counseled Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI and a former Y Combinator president, has used Mochary’s services. So has Reddit CEO Steve Huffman. • Share

The $33 billion question: Can Revolut be the world’s super app?

Hello and welcome to Protocol | Fintech! This Friday: Revolut as super app, Elon Musk on pumping crypto and fintech’s record quarter.

Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here to get it in your inbox every week.

The Big Story — Revolut rising

Revolut, the mobile banking company, has seemingly unstoppable momentum. The U.K.-based fintech just raised a monster round, sextupling its valuation in a year’s time, and unveiled a big expansion into travel booking.

In the crowded, increasingly competitive world of fintech, these are impressive moves — and a sign that the six-year-old startup is living up to its founders’ and backers’ huge global ambitions.

Revolut is now worth $33 billion. The challenger bank just raised another $800 million in a Series E round.

  • At $33 billion, Revolut has vaulted ahead of Brazil’s Nubank in the unicorn leaderboard, according to CB Insights. That’s a sixfold jump from February 2020 when the company was worth a paltry $5.5 billion after raising $500 million in a Series D round.
  • The company said it is now the most valuable U.K. fintech. It’s №2 in Europe behind fellow fintech Klarna.
  • Revolut’s Series E raise included two new high-profile investors who’ve become increasingly active in fintech: SoftBank Vision Fund and Tiger Global Management. It’s a big win to get both megafunders in the round, since they often compete for pole position in the hottest startups.

This fintech startup wants to be known for more than just money. The company just introduced a new feature, called Stays, which lets users book hotels and other accommodations with the Revolut app.

  • Revolut is challenging established travel booking sites like Expedia and as the world emerges from pandemic lockdowns. “We know everyone is desperate to get away whenever they can,” Marsel Nikaj, Revolut’s head of savings and lifestyle, said.
  • This is Revolut’s first product outside of finance, but it’s in line with Revolut’s roots as a multi-currency payment card geared to make life easier for travelers.
  • There’s a name for do-it-all apps that start with a core function like payment or messaging and add ecommerce and other features: super apps. Any serious digital finance player — WeChat, AliPay, PayPalPaytm — wants to be a super app.
  • Revolut is on its way there, having steadily expanded with other services, such as money transfer and a crypto marketplace. The app has 15 million users and processes more than 100 million transactions a month.
  • Analyst Melody Brue of Moor Insights & Strategy said Revolut’s timing with Stays is ideal. “After a year in lockdown, many people are craving simplicity and convenience and super apps certainly answer to that,” she told Protocol. • Share

NoSQL cloud database Couchbase’s shares jumped 23% in its Nasdaq debut, giving it a market valuation of $1.2B, after it raised $200M in its IPO (Sohini Podder/Reuters)

Sohini Podder / Reuters: Shares of Couchbase Inc (BASE.O) jumped more than 23% in their Nasdaq debut on Thursday, giving the database software company a market capitalization of nearly $1.2 billion. • Share

Outbrain’s IPO: A smart idea, a long time coming

By now we’ve all grown used to machines serving up recommendations for movies to watch, products to buy, food to eat, or things to do. Sometimes it seems like the algorithms know us better than we know ourselves.

But it wasn’t always that way. Back in 2006 Netflix was still shipping DVDs to peoples’ homes. Amazon Prime was barely a year old. And Outbrain had just launched in Israel.

If you’ve ever read the news on your laptop or mobile device, you’ve seen Outbrain. It’s what creates related stories around all types of content, personalized to your interests. Every day, Outbrain reaches more than 1 billion people across the globe, but when the company began in 2006, it was a true pioneer in content discovery. Since then it’s been imitated, but never truly equaled.

Outbrain’s IPO: A smart idea, a long time coming was originally published in Lightspeed Venture Partners on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. • Share

Food delivery firm Zomato surges 65% in key India debut

Shares in Zomato, a Gurgaon-based food delivery company and first of India’s consumer tech startups to go public, closed up 65% in its debut day of trading in Mumbai, delivering a key insight into the appetite investors have for the world’s second largest internet market’s burgeoning startup ecosystem. Zomato’s shares traded all day above the […] • Share

Investing trends and venture news

Five9, Genesys and AWS want to take the call center to the cloud — Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech

The providers, along with several others, are promising new levels of automation. But organizations may be hesitant after the much-hyped chatbot movement largely fell flat. • Share

Infarm expands relationship with Sobeys in Canada — Produce Blue Book

TORONTO, July 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Infarm and Sobeys Inc. BB #:116615 have announced a new agreement to accelerate the availability and distribution of fresh produce to an additional 4 of Canada’s 10 provinces by 2023. • Share

Big deals dominate as European VC continues at an unrelenting pace | PitchBook

The European venture capital industry has set a new annual record for deal value in just six months despite, continued uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and macroeconomic volatility. VCs completed… • Share

Startup of the Week

Bret Taylor Faces His Biggest Test at Salesforce — The Information

Five years ago, Salesforce paid $750 million to buy a startup called Quip that made an internet-based word processor and spreadsheet app meant to give Microsoft’s competing Office products a run for their money. That didn’t happen, but Salesforce did get a valuable asset out of the deal: Bret … • Share

Tweet of the Week