Identity-as-a-service platform Okta says it ‘contains’ network breach in January – thenewsupdate

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Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for Tuesday March 22, 2022! We’re excited to announce that we’re bringing in a few other people to bring this newsletter to you. Christine Hall for example, helped write the Big Tech and Startups sections today. Haje Jan Kamps will also run this week. Give them a sequel!

Before we get started, we’ll be covering air mobility and urban planning at our upcoming Sessions: Mobility event, so if that’s your bag, click the link. Now to work! † Alex

The thenewsupdate Top 3

Okta Leaks, Stock Dips: Okta, a former startup and current publicly traded company, today confirmed a January breach “after hackers posted screenshots overnight that apparently showed access to the company’s internal systems,” thenewsupdate reports. The company’s stock initially fell sharply after the disclosure, but rebounded during the day’s trading. Forge shows IPO market not dead: Forge helps investors in private companies sell shares in startups to others. So it’s a bit ironic that the company went public today in a SPAC combination. But the offering turned out to be a resounding success, with the new publicly traded company peaking at around 60% as we write this newsletter. That’s one of the best debuts we’ve seen in a while — and could help other private companies look at an exit of their own. Muni enables LatAm women to earn money from shopping: Muni is a game to make online commerce more common in places where digital ordering of goods is not the norm. By partnering with community leaders who can earn a wage for their work, users can place group orders that are then collectively delivered and distributed from there on a last-mile basis. The company just closed a $20 million Series A led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Startups and VC

For starters, let’s have a smile. Have you been on Zoom too much lately? Do you want to be a cat, deep in your soul? If so, you might want to check out this handy tool from Zoom for turning you, well, into an animal. The fun little tool may be aimed at kids, but I fully intend to use it in my next hands. (A big compliment to Amanda Silberling for helping keep thenewsupdate weird.)

As for the startup market, we’ve got some unicorn news to kick you off. Jeeves, which is not a search engine product, just raised $180 million at a valuation of $2.1 billion. The round of the fintech company stands out from the crowd thanks to the fact that it quadruples the valuation of Jeeves in about half a year. And then there’s Capitolis, which raised $110 million at a valuation of $1.6 billion. The US and Israeli company is partnering with major financial institutions on ‘how they move money’, ours Ingrid Lunden reports.

We’ve been covering more agricultural technology companies lately, sorting them into a bucket labeled “agtech.” So let’s harvest some of our latest headlines from that particular crop, okay? First a robot that scans fields for health indicators and possible problems. It’s cute too, at least as far as robots go. We also wrote the story about some individuals who, instead of raising a fund, started an agtech publication that put them together in a fund. It’s a super interesting yarn.

Unicorn Cityblock Health Appoints CEO: It’s rare for a $6 billion startup to change CEO before an IPO, so when Cityblock Health took co-founder Toyin Ajayi to the top executive role, we noticed. The company has raised $900 million to date for its work as a primary care provider with a focus on home care and virtual care. Our podcast Found delved into the story. Harness digs deeper into open source dev tools: With more startups building with an open source stance, it’s no big shock that Harness — which is working to build “a more complete modern tooling platform for developers,” Ron Miller reports – bought ChaosNative, which builds open source developer tools. This isn’t the company’s first open source acquisition, thenewsupdate reports. Today in good startup names: Eko, which works to bring “applied AI into the stethoscope space”, has a good name. After all, echocardiograms listen to heart echoes, making the name, well, apt. The startup’s digital stethoscope tool has yet to get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use its software clinically, but with $30 million in new capital, it has the resources to see that effort across the board, we think. Rokid shows it still exists and is ready to go global: We hadn’t heard much from Chinese augmented reality company Rokid since 2018, but the new cash infusion of a $160 million Series C round proves that the company ready to take on more of the enterprise side of the world. Look for more information about the smart glasses and headsets for field workers. Firefly Aerospace Heading for SPAC?: A recent filing with the US Federal Communications Commission suggests the rocket startup plans to go public through a dedicated acquisition company. This could be good news for the company, which has seen its largest shareholder, Ukrainian Max Polyakov, forced to sell its shares over national security concerns.

Be an entrepreneur who leads with transparency

Image Credits: fermate (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Starting a technology company is not like starting most small businesses: for example, no one expects a plumber to show growth of 3% per month.

Tech entrepreneurs are under pressure to build a team, ship new products regularly, and generate revenue quickly so they can provide returns to their investors. It is therefore not surprising that they sometimes leave ethics aside.

Entrepreneur and investor Marjorie Radlo-Zandi says the “fake it till you make it” mentality is a useful motivational tool, but it is not the basis for a sustainable business strategy:

The founder of a company I invested in secretly kept two sets of books: one with accurate historical financial data and another with numbers that were more than 10 times the actual numbers. Sales and product performance lagged. His solution was to present the inflated financial figures to investors.

(thenewsupdate+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

Nvidia wants to help guide your self-driving car: Nvidia is showing off the fruits of its DeepMap acquisition with the new Drive Map feature that combines survey mapping with crowdsourced map data from vehicles using its platform. Twitter wants the EU to think about the bigger tech picture: After two years of development, Twitter has launched the Open Internet Alliance, a policy advocacy lobby group that aims to urge lawmakers not to look at the internet through the lens of tech giants, but as a broad ecosystem that does not need such harsh digital regulations. Kind of ironic, because in the US, Twitter is one of those tech giants, but it’s all meant to spark “open conversation and push regulation that promotes diversity and innovation on the internet,” as was told to thenewsupdate. Twitch allows users to appeal account bans: The company has updated its appeal and reporting processes, with one of the bigger changes being a new portal where users can appeal and track the progress of an impending account suspension. In the past two years, Twitch tells thenewsupdate that it has quadrupled its moderation, but also wanted to make amends for a wrong decision. Microsoft’s AI translations just got even better: Microsoft has updated its translation services, also known as Z-Code, meaning users now have a one-stop shop – you can now instantly translate between 10 languages, e.g. English to Bulgarian, without the need for multiple languages. systems. This is not the only place where Z-Code is being used by Microsoft, but it is the first time the approach has been used for a translation service. Shopify has entered the link-in-bio territory: Linkpop is Shopify’s approach to the link-in-bio craze, allowing creators to launch storefronts and sell directly from their Linkpop page, while consumers can buy without leaving the app that they used. The company’s goal is to let Linkpop users create a Shopify storefront. (Link-in-bio has gained popularity, so much so that Linktree has raised $110 million to continue developing new features.)



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