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Today is Monday, June 6, 2022, and in case you didn’t know, it is also Apple’s WWDC conference, which is what Haje and our other colleagues are focused on today, so you get me solo. See all the tidbits and trappings by these excellent writers below. Also, Lucas’s and Anita’s newsletter featuring “the arrest heard ’round the crypto world” is one you must check out. Lastly, we give you five reasons you won’t want to miss the TC Sessions: Climate, kicking off next week, so get your ticket today. — Christine
The bluehillco Top 3
- All things Apple: As mentioned, this week our team will be bringing you everything WWDC related, from the live keynote to unveils like the M2 silicon chip to the redesigned MacBook Air to the new name for macOS (Ventura, “Mace Ventura”) and all the new features you can stand. Alrighty then, we even have a special WWDC 2022 page where you can access all the Apple goodness throughout the week.
- Elon Musk is not happy: When we aren’t writing about Apple, we are writing about our favorite billionaire’s journey to purchasing Twitter. Today, Musk’s legal team made an SEC filing that says Musk is not happy that Twitter won’t comply with his data request regarding the number of “spam and fake accounts” the social media giant has, and if he doesn’t get those numbers, he is going to take his toys and go home, figuratively speaking.
- Unicorns may be losing their magic: In this episode of “The Exchange,” Alex debates glut versus jam and why the past 2 years were somewhat of a “unicorn bonanza.”
Startups and VC
There’s not a day that goes by where we don’t hear of a new cybersecurity threat or hack, so it’s no surprise that companies like AppOmni continue to rake in big bucks to help solve the problem — in this case vulnerabilities in SaaS app stacks.
Another company conjuring up some capital is Magical, which is out to prove that robotic process automation isn’t ready for consolidation, and there are still a few rabbits left to pull out of its hat.
Over in software, Alex writes that software startups have some things to be happy about, even in this venture capital slowdown.
Would you like some more? Happy to comply:
- Order matters: When Haje isn’t writing about Apple, he is helping startups figure out the best slide order for their pitch decks.
- Catching up to the credit craze: Nigeria-based Indicina isn’t letting Africa’s poor credit infrastructure stand in the way of creating technology to record credit transactions across the continent.
- An apple for the teacher: Ingrid reports that Go1, an enterprise learning company, grabbed $100 million to give it a $2 billion valuation.
- Conscious coupling of money: Mingling your money with a significant other can end badly, but as Natasha writes, Ivella brought in $3.5 million to make it also fun and flexible.
- Serving up radar-on-a-chip: Vayyar raised $108 million in Series E funding toward “introducing a ‘family’ of machine learning-powered sensor solutions for robotics, retail, public safety and ‘smart’ building products,” Kyle writes.
- Discovering drugs with robots: Creating new drugs is a costly and time-consuming effort, but Hong Kong–based Insilico brought in $50 million to leverage artificial intelligence and a robotic lab to hopefully speed things up in a more cost-conscious way.
- Middle East gets a Bolt by way of a Fenix: The Abu Dhabi–based mobility startup is harnessing the “superpower of micromobility” to not only make sure your groceries get to you in 10 minutes, but also provide some other services you may be interested in trying.
Fighting the “copycat” stigma in SaaS: Three tricks that work
In a world where ideas are cheap, it’s not hard to be labeled a “copycat” if your product is even within a country mile of your competitor’s domain, no matter the value you provide.
“It always stings to hear a prospect say, ‘Oh you’re like a cheaper/newer version of [your biggest competitor].’ It stings even more when you know you have a superior product,” writes Sachin Gupta, the CEO and co-founder of HackerEarth.
Drawing from his own experience, Gupta explains three ways founders can set their company and product apart:
- Lean into and promote your data.
- Double down on your product.
- Revisit and reinvent your marketing.
(bluehillco+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Lots of big news in our newsletters, from Mary Ann’s story on Affirm and Stripe working together to give Stripe’s U.S. consumers a way to pay in installments to Kirsten’s story on Ford’s new sales process and Sarah’s look at the number of App Store and Google Play downloads.
- Etsy is making a $25 million investment toward a new purchase protection program for buyers and sellers that will hit the online marketplace August 1. At its core, the new program means buyers can get a full refund if items “don’t match the item description, arrive damaged or don’t arrive at all.” We don’t think sellers maliciously try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, but it does sound like sellers will need to be careful what they post.
- IBM said it is acquiring Randori, an offensive security startup. Carly called this move “yet another sign of the company’s continuing shift away from its legacy business to cloud software and AI-powered cybersecurity services, which it recently bolstered with its takeover of endpoint security platform ReaQTA.”
- It may be Apple’s big day, but as Brian put it, “a Google Pixel feature drop waits for no one.” Some of the new features for the phone include the ability to add a shortcut from the homepage to a vaccine card screenshot and Conversation Mode for Google’s Sound Amplifier.