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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Friday, March 18, 2022! Another week is behind us, which means that it’s time to sit back and read the last tranche of startup and technology news. For those of you building, we just announced that Sequoia’s Jess Lee is coming to Early Stage to chat about landing your first investor, and we’ll have a bevy of VCs at our mobility-themed event that should rock, and, since we’re talking moving about, roll. – Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Yandex looks to divest media assets: Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, isolation of the Russian economy is impacting companies large and small. Yandex, best known as an internet company from the country, is having its own issues. Following TechCrunch reporting that Yandex was looking to divest certain assets, it appears that Yandex News is among those under the hammer.
- Russia threatens YouTube: While most of our attention has been focused on the response of technology companies to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, we’re seeing motion from the other direction as well. In this case, the Russian government has beef with YouTube over some ads that are being run on its service. Russia says that YouTube is acting like a terrorist, which is a bit rich.
- How to get a rich startup valuation: While it is clear that the overall market for startup fundraising is changing, there are companies in the market still landing nine-figure rounds at prices that feel nearly like leftovers from 2021. Webflow is one such company. But there’s some sense to its valuation, as we explain.
Startups and VC
Why aren’t startups and VCs attacking the menopause market? That’s what our own Connie Loizos wants to know. She rightly points out that with more and more work being done on fertility, there’s a huge market gap left over for folks leaving their childbearing years. And as the world ages, the market is only getting bigger and bigger.
- From advice to e-commerce: With $12 million in new capital, The Expert is expanding its product remit from one-on-one advice sessions with interior designers to selling stuff. Given that the platform’s guides, well, recommend stuff, why not sell it as well? This isn’t a pivot, but an extension, I suppose.
- Used cars are big business: If you have paid any attention to inflation data, you are well aware that used cars are expensive as heck today. That means they are worth more than ever, and that selling them is likely a pretty good business. That in hand, it’s not a huge surprise that we are seeing consolidation in the tech market for selling pre-owned vehicles. In today’s case, Shift is buying “some of competitor Fair Technologies’ technology,” which will allow the company to list lots of third-party cars on its own marketplace.
- Hence raises $1.8M: Based in both Rwanda and the U.K., Hence Technologies has a neat goal. It wants to use AI – intelligent computing, maybe? – to help match customers with what we described as “external legal service providers.” Obviously, the law is no small market, and finding legal help more thicket than amble in the park. The company has raised $2.6 million now in total.
- Connecting freelance designers in Africa: That’s what Meaningful Gigs is working on, essentially hoping to take the present-day global gig economy and make it a bit more tailored by focus and geography. The company just closed $6 million and wants to scale the supply side of its marketplace. There are other companies doing similar work that TechCrunch has covered, taking gig work and narrowing its lens somewhat. Perhaps our new remote reality will prove an accelerant the world-around for gig labor?
- Another one-click checkout solution: Snark aside, people buy stuff online. And it mostly sucks. And many companies are building to make the process of buying stuff better. By making it faster. Like taking a single click. Cool? Cool. Sleek is the latest to throw its hat in the ring, and TechCrunch took a look. Building in a crowded market is no sin, but at some point let’s hope this issue gets solved so that we can talk about something else.
When should an early-stage startup hire a full-time lawyer?
Every company eventually needs legal advice, but when a few hours of a lawyer’s time costs almost as much as a shiny new laptop, most startups delay dealing with lawyers until it’s absolutely necessary.
Kristen Corpio, founder of CORPlaw, says it’s best to consider hiring in-house counsel when “it hurts a bit — when you start to feel stretched thin — rather than too early in your business’ lifecycle.”
“Unlike with some other roles that may need filling, you can find highly competent outside lawyers to bridge the gap as you grow into needing full-time support,” she writes.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Porsche to make an electric 718: Without getting bogged down into details, Porsche makes a number of cars. Some are rear-engined, like the 911, and some are mid-engined, like the Porsche 982 (the Boxster, Cayman lineup). The German car company is going to turn the mid-engined car electric by 2025. Which is good, because if it put all the batteries in the boot it would probably just tip up.
- And speaking of Porsche: The company is going build out its own network of electric charging points. Which is nice and all, but I’d prefer something of a consortium from many automakers to just get more points out there — and fast.
And because I have a plane to catch: Australia is annoyed at Meta over scam ads it says the social company didn’t do enough to address, and satellite networks are not immune from hacking.