To get an overview of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3:00 PM PST, sign up here.
Hello and welcome to Daily Crunch for January 21, 2022! I normally try to spice up my little intros in this missive. But today I’m going to avoid astroturfing my own mood by simply saying, hey, what’s going on with the stock market? Did we flip the coin after a period when things were only going up? I’m not going to say I love it, but hey, at least it’s weekend. – Alex
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Is Microsoft buying a union? Raven Software’s quality assurance department is a union at Activision Blizzard. TechCrunch called the move the “first union formed at a major US gaming company.” Since Microsoft is supposed to buy Raven Software’s parent company, the union situation has an even more interesting twist than most of the tech union news we’ve seen lately.
- VCs wanted to split off the Slack competitor from Facebook: Facebook’s internal working tool, which has turned it into a product, will not leave the boundaries of the Meta company. TechCrunch found out that VCs wanted the social giant to play it out against a valuation north of $1 billion, but Team Zuck didn’t bite.
- Netflix’s poor results prove the pandemic trading is over: After reporting numbers that made Wall Street less enthusiastic, Netflix’s stock value fell today. The result and subsequent investor response underscores our general belief that pandemic trading is behind us. Recall that in late December, TechCrunch asked if the era of super-rich tech valuations was behind us. The answer? Yes, it seems so.
- If you’re working with business expenses, you can pick up your check: As Ramp, Brex and Airbase battle it out in the United States, Moss’s work to build a behemoth of business spending in Europe attracts allies. Rich, it turns out, because the company just brought in $86 million. The company is now worth nearly $600 million, thanks to its latest share sale.
- Print me one (1) mocktail: One of the funniest bits of a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series of novels is the silly spaceship that can’t make tea. It can, to paraphrase, make something that is related tea, but not quite. That’s a roundabout way of saying that beverage printing isn’t a new concept. But it’s a new reality, at least to my brain. Cana Technology just unveiled what it calls “the world’s first molecular beverage printer.” To which we ask: Can it make tea? Anyway, this sounds dope.
- Europe -> Africa: The African technology startup market is accelerating. That is known. But what if you are building a company, for example in Europe, and you want to enter the African market? Venture firm Partech’s new Chapter54 accelerator is working on exactly that problem, TechCrunch reports.
- Another Israeli VC is putting together a new fund: 2022 will be a hot year for the Israeli tech scene, with the announcement of a $300 million fund by Entrée Capital. That is the second new fund from Israel so far this year that we can mention. That much for a delay, yes?
Within Secfi’s 2021 state of stock options stock report
It’s great to have a stake in the company you’re helping to build, but if employees don’t know how to best exercise their stock options, they usually end up with a rough deal.
Last year, startup employees paid an estimated $11 billion in avoidable taxes by exercising their options post-exit rather than pre-exit, according to Secfi data.
In a post to TechCrunch+, CEO Frederik Mijnhardt shared his analysis of the biggest stock option trends in 2021, including why, despite great IPOs, most employees were unable to exercise their options until after the exit, dramatically increasing their tax liability.
“Looking ahead to 2022, it appears that the current industry trend toward mega-funding rounds and longer exit terms means that for the average entry-level employee, their total cost of exercising stock options will continue to rise,” says Mijnhardt.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams move forward. You can register here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Peloton answers (a bit) production stories: Yes, the company is “resetting our production levels for sustainable growth,” the CEO admitted in a note that covered more or less a wave of stories about Peloton’s consumer demand. More if the company makes a profit, because this story is far from over.
- Intel could build a huge factory in Ohio: Building chips is expensive and difficult to wind up. So it’s good news that Intel plans to “build two chip factories outside of Columbus, Ohio.” The total work could cost $20 billion. Score a point for domestic production, I suppose.
- IBM manages to divest its Watson Health unit: Francisco Partners buys the asset, although we don’t know for how much. The Watson push appears to be coming to a close, selling for a price expected to be a fraction of what IBM paid to assemble the business assets behind its health-focused AI push.
TechCrunch wants to know which software consultants you’ve worked with for everything from UI/UX to cloud architecture. Let us know here.
If you’re curious about how these surveys shape our coverage, check out this interview Miranda Halpern did with Wolfpack Digital CEO Georgina Lupu-Florian, “How should non-tech founders collaborate with software developers?”