Daily Crunch: Global VC firm Partech reaches first close of largest African fund at €245 million
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True crime has its grip on us all, and Lorenzo’s review of “Tracers in the Dark” is fascinating. In the book, the author covers how cops go after cybercriminals, and it shows that there is hope in stopping drug dealers, dark web market kingpins and child abusers. And it’s all thanks to the immutable, persistent nature of the Bitcoin blockchain, the perfect place to follow the money.
Our Black history month mention of the day is Ijeoma Oluo’s “So You Want to Talk About Race,” which Haje read last year and which served as a bit of an eye-opener to all the things he thought he knew but really didn’t about how race shows up, ranging from police brutality and cultural appropriation to the model minority myth. For white people, it’s 100% worth a read before you start asking dumb and embarrassing questions to your people-of-color friends.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- First close is the best close: Global venture capital firm Partech made a first close on its new fund of €245 million, which makes it the largest Africa-focused fund. Tage writes that “overwhelming interest from LPs meant Partech Africa II surpassed what was initially set for the entire fund at first close.”
- Bing, not Chanandler Bong: Frederic writes that Microsoft is celebrating “a new day of search” by launching the new Bing, complete with ChatGPT.
- Capture this: Drone imagery firm DroneBase is now Zeitview. It also landed $55 million to continue developing its air and ground data capture technology, Kyle reports.
Startups and VC
You wait for ages for a real-world application of AI image generation, and then suddenly, two come along at once. Brian writes about how FRIDA’s robot arm attempts to bring DALL-E-style AI art to real-world canvases, and Haje covers how 3D laser cutting company Glowforge adds AI image generation to its software package.
Almost a year ago to the day, the 50-year-old investing powerhouse Sequoia Capital announced that it had reorganized itself around a singular, permanent structure, Connie reports. Now, thanks to an SEC form filed on Friday, we know how much is sitting in the Sequoia Capital Fund. And because we are sneaky capitalists doing it for the clicks. If you wanna know how much, you gotta read the article.
And we have five more for you, complete with a soundtrack that jackknifes between a number of unlikely genres:
- 🎵 It takes your brain to another dimension: Rita reports that Singapore’s PixCap draws $2.8 million to power web-based 3D design.
- 🎵 When the laughter’s gone: Manish reports that SoftBank loses nearly $6 billion in a quarter as the downturn continues.
- 🎵 The music sounds better with you: Frond is a witty cross between Discord and Facebook groups, by Amanda.
- 🎵 I still haven’t found what I’m looking for: Ron reports that Moonhub wants to transform the way companies find job candidates using AI.
- 🎵 You don’t have to know the way: ShareWell wants to scale mental health support with its 10,000 support groups, without a therapist in sight, Haje reports.
Cybersecurity teams, beware: The defender’s dilemma is a lie
The Defender’s Dilemma is one of cybersecurity’s touchstones: “Defenders have to be right every time. Attackers only need to be right once.”
It may sound authentic, but David J. Bianco, a staff security strategist at Splunk, says it’s actually a false narrative that leaves systems less secure.
“Defenders rightly expect attackers to lie and cheat to achieve their goals, but sometimes we forget that lying and cheating can work both ways.”
Three more from the TC team:
- Fin, meet Ed. Ed, Fin: Edtech reacquaints itself with fintech, writes Natasha M.
- Yer gonna need both: Haje explores the difference between the solution and product slides in a startup’s pitch deck.
- AI see what they did there: Kunal Lunawat argues that generative AI is building the foundation of proptech’s next wave.
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Big Tech Inc.
What’s your status? Well, if you’re a WhatsApp user, you can now give a voice status update, Jagmeet writes. Each voice note can be up to 30 seconds and then set as your status. So now people have a voice to go with your photo.
Today was all about the OnePlus smartphone: Brian gives you a rundown of the $699 OnePlus 11, which arrives February 16, and he also looks at some of OnePlus’ additional products like a tablet and mechanical keyboard. Then Ivan writes about the Buds Pro 2, which will run you a cool $179 but has improved sound and noise cancellation.
And we have five more for you:
- Fire a warning shot across his nose: The European Union is not impressed with Elon Musk’s decision to end free access to Twitter’s APIs. Natasha L has more.
- No more zoomies for some: Amanda reports on yet another company layoff, this time at Zoom, where it will impact 15% of the staff. On a unique note, CEO Eric Yuan said he will cut his salary by 98% and decline his bonus while other executives will reduce their pay by 20% and also forfeit their bonuses.
- Straight to the core: Panzer spoke to Apple’s vice president of Platform Architecture and Hardware Technologies Tim Millet and VP of Worldwide Product Marketing Bob Borchers about M2 chips, winning gamers and when to buy a Mac.
- You can’t see me: Tinder has some new safety features, including a premium feature called “Incognito Mode,” which lets you “like” and “nope” — but only those you like will see it, Aisha reports.
- The battle for our children’s attention: Sarah writes that TikTok is crushing YouTube when it comes to a look at kids’ and teens’ app usage in 2022.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.