Kid-friendly Amazon Glow video chat projector is now available in the US – TechCrunch
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Hello and welcome to the Daily Crunch on Tuesday, March 29, 2022! haje and I now fly solo with the newsletter. Everyone will be on deck today and tomorrow as we listen to the pitch from the startups on YC Demo Day, so expect a deluge of stories over the next two days. Don’t forget to join us on Wednesday for the DeFi & The Future of Programmable Money online event, then at TechCrunch Early Stage on April 14th.
A very warm welcome to Jacquelyn Melinek, which joins our crypto desk and comes off the starting blocks with its coverage of the biggest DeFi hack we’ve seen so far. Great story and welcome aboard! – Christina
TechCrunch’s top 3
- HackerRank will test your coding skills: Competition for talent is fierce, so how do you know your potential new hire has what it takes? HackerRank has raised $60 million to continue developing its recruiting tools to not only answer this question, but also allow developers to practice their coding and interviewing skills.
- Electric buzz after reaching unicorn status: If, like most of us, you work from home, accessing the tools and equipment that would normally be waiting for us in the office – with an IT specialist on hand – now involves a little more logistical effort. Electric secured $20 million to break the $1 billion valuation mark to handle much of this IT work.
- DAO for human behavior?: Jacquelyn was also busy writing about Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAOs, happily describing what they are and where enthusiasts see them being used in the future – think pooling of funds or decision-making .
Startups and VCs
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Y Combinator hasn’t hit 1,000 companies by batch yet, but its Demo Day includes 424 startups from 42 countries – so as you can imagine, it’s still quite an intense time at TechCrunch Towers. YC’s Demo Day showcased 32 Indian startups (the accelerator has funded nearly 200 Indian startups to date), with a particular focus on fintech. Africa was also represented, with more than 18 Nigerian startups and six more from the rest of the continent.
And some good news if you’re just a millionaire, rather than being part of the exclusive Tres Comas club: Anita reports that Equi is ready to sneak you out the back door of your small personal family office.
Other events in the startup ecosystem:
2 Reasons Demo Days Are Dead
Demo days are a showcase for tech media, but does this performative Silicon Valley tradition still benefit founders and investors?
In a guest post for TC+, 22 Ventures co-founder and president Michael Redd shares two factors that make demo days less relevant: Many startups sign funding deals ahead of the big show, and founders are more interested in working with value-added investors.
“Just getting rid of the demo day won’t help founders find or let investors deliver that value,” Redd writes. “What we need is a better understanding of why demo day fails and how to find deals on a much more intimate level.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can join here.)
Big Tech inc.
- Sony unveils the new PlayStation Plus: To keep up with the competition, Sony has combined its PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now services into a single subscription gaming product. The newest part of this is the addition of two more expensive tiers to join the lowest tier, and all three are priced in monthly, quarterly, and yearly increments. Users in Asia will get first access before it rolls out to the rest of the world.
- Amazon Glow connects family members one story at a time: After six months of invitation-only, Amazon is now opening the purchase of its Amazon Glow remote call/projector device to everyone. The company created the device to allow children to connect with distant family members. Want to know what it’s like to use it? Find out what Greg Kumparak had to say when he tested the device in December.
- TikTok, partner of GIPHY on the video creation tool: TikTok has a new built-in creator tool called TikTok Library which will initially be populated by GIPHY content. As TechCrunch reports, there’s a bit of irony here, with TikTok “leveraging content from a company Facebook had once acquired for $400 million (and now being asked to divest) to improve the short-form video app that has since become one of the social giant’s biggest threats. Additionally, we’d like to point out that TikTok doesn’t go into detail about possible future partners for the library, suggesting that this is all still pretty early days.