Daily Crunch: Better.com CEO Vishal Garg says he’s on the hook for $750M SoftBank loan
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It’s Friday the 13th, and I hope nothing nefarious happened to you today. At least the weekend is here! At the very least, you can catch up on the latest Terraform Labs news — Binance halted Luna and UST trading — and some great podcasts from your favorite TechCrunchers. And make sure to secure your “seat” for our June 1 TechCrunch Live event in Columbus. See you Monday! – Christine
The TechCrunch Top 3
- If Elon doesn’t buy Twitter, at least Snoop Dogg is ready to pounce: Early this morning, Elon Musk tweeted that his proposed purchase of Twitter was on hold while he figures out the percentage of fake accounts using the social media channel. Though he also tweeted he remains “committed to the acquisition,” I enjoyed seeing Snoop Dogg tweet his desire to maybe take a run at it if Musk does not. His plan for it is not bad, actually.
- Dining out on Dineout: In some online food ordering M&A news, Swiggy said it was acquiring Dineout, the Indian equivalent of OpenTable. This puts Swiggy squarely into the dining-out sector, dominated for quite some time in the country by Zomato, whose market cap has dropped to about $5 billion. It also represents additional consolidation within a giant market trying to make sense of its pandemic boost.
- More layoffs: Natasha and Amanda were already busy last week catching up on the myriad tech layoffs, and unfortunately have another list today that includes Section4, Carvana and Latch. Even Meta is not immune.
Startups and VC
- On the hook: That’s what Better.com CEO Vishal Garg is saying about a $750 million SoftBank loan. By Garg assuming personal responsibility for the loan, he is liable for any losses. However, the company may also be affected because any losses could require him to sell a lot of his Better.com holdings, which could negatively impact shares. Still a mess no matter how you look at it.
- Dress you up in indie brands: China-based Body404 is betting that the West will embrace the next generation of clothing designers who want to give them something that isn’t just a cheaper runway knockoff. It’s paid off in that the company is now valued at $50 million after raising $50 million in March. Also interesting to note is that customers are not returning the clothes — Body404’s return rate is around 2%, much less than the 10% fashion industry average.
- Revel with a cause: Frank Reig, who sits at the helm of Revel, a company building fast-charging hubs for electric vehicles, caught up with Rebecca to discuss the company’s shift from moped sharing and the distance Revel has traveled to drive electric vehicle adoption.
- Watch and get paid: Our attention is valuable and often being pulled in different directions. WeAre8 wants to reward you for doing what DVR has enabled us to skip for many years now — watch ads. The company is led by advertising guru Sue Fennessy, who aims to steer ad funding away from social media giants like Facebook and channel it into a good cause.
Pitch Deck Teardown: Dutch’s $20M Series A deck
As CEO and founder of virtual veterinarian care platform Dutch, Joe Spector initially intended to raise a $15 million Series A, but his pitch deck so skillfully blended visuals of lovable pets with market research and traction metrics, he ended up closing a $20 million round.
With flair, Dutch’s deck tells a convincing story of how the company used its seed funding to launch a service within three months, establish a brand identity, build a team, and expand from 12 to 32 states, Haje Jan Kamps writes in the weekly Pitch Deck Teardown.
If you’re working on a pitch deck and are in need of inspiration, start here: All 17 slides are available to TC+ members.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Row, row, row your Peloton: That’s right folks, Peloton is trying to end a rough week on a positive note by adding another oar into the competitive rowing machine market. After selling my Peloton bike in 2019, this caught my attention as I discovered a love for rowing. Here’s hoping the price tag is a little bit more friendly to my budget than the bike was.
Zoom gets its customer service day: The video communication giant is acquiring conversational AI company Solvvy in an effort to offer customer service experiences within Zoom’s toolset. Company shares are up on the news, so it seems Zoom chose wisely.
Don’t miss out on these stories:
- Astra wants to launch rockets on the daily and shares how it will do that.
- DeepMind released a new AI platform called Gato, which can apparently perform over 600 tasks.
- Former Nintendo of America president Regie Fils-Aimé talked to Brian about his new book, the SPAC he’s involved in and why he argued for a better price point for Nintendo 3DS.