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Happy new week, startup nerds!
Tomorrow (Tuesday) we have not one, but two Twitter Live events, and we’re excited about both. At 8:00 a.m. PDT / 11:00 a.m. EDT, we are talking of Andrew Chano on why Gen Z VCs are garbage, and at 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT we talk to M13 partner Anna Barber about what today’s founders can learn from the bursting of the dotcom bubble.
The toptecheasy.com Top 3
- 2001, a Starbucks Odyssey: In August, Starbucks got things to do with plans for a blockchain-based loyalty program and NFT community. Today, the coffee giant is brewing extra excitement and unveiling Starbucks Odyssey. Sarah has more on these steamy, hot cup rewards.
- Twitter vs. Elon Musk, part 265: Ivan writes that “the third time is the charm” for Elon Musk’s attorneys, who sent a third termination notice to Twitter regarding the severance payment paid to former security chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko in June, arguing that this move conflicted with Musk’s proposed agreement to acquire the social media giant. Or so they thought. Twitter denies that this violates the agreement.
- The hot and heavy fintech sector in Africa: Kippa, a Nigerian financial management app for traders, closed $8.4 million in new funding. Tage reports that Kippa already has 500,000 merchants using its app since its launch last June.
Startups and VC
EV truck company Nikola merged with VectoIQ in June 2020 in a SPAC valued at $29 billion. Trevor Milton, ex-CEO of Nikola, begins his fraud lawsuit, which serves as a warning to risk-loving investors who would throw money at a company before it delivers products or generates revenue. Rebecca reports.
“The reality is that if you’re a Silicon Valley-based company, no LP at your annual meeting will ask you, ‘How did you miss Company X in Columbus?’ That’s not going to happen, but they’ll ask you, “How did you miss Company Y that was in Silicon Valley?” They don’t want to miss those things in their backyard,” explains Chris Olsen in a fascinating interview with Connie. Olsen spent six years at Sequoia Capital in California before co-founding Drive Capital in Columbus, Ohio in 2013.
Tangentially related, for our City Spotlight: Minneapolis last week, hi hosted a panel discussing what Minneapolis investors are looking for (hint: it’s not just Minnesota startups).
Here are a few more for you:
For LatAm payment orchestration startups, market fragmentation is a blessing in disguise
In Latin America, e-commerce is plagued by high fraud rates. Barely 20% of adults have a credit card and many who do cannot use it internationally.
It is also true that e-commerce is growing faster there than in any other region since the start of the pandemic. According to a study, online sales in Latin America will bring in $379 billion, a 32% year-over-year increase.
“The payments landscape in Latin America seems hopelessly fragmented and full of fraud,” said Rocio Wu, director at F-Prime Capital.
“However, we believe that fragmentation presents a huge opportunity for vertically integrated payment orchestration startups to create great value.”
(toptecheasy.com+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams move forward. You can register here.)
Big Tech Inc.
darrell followed the launch of Blue Origin this morning, bringing the news that the launch had been aborted after “an in-flight anomaly”.
We know you missed your Apple news fix over the weekend, so the team, including Bag, Ivan, Sarah and Romain, came together to bring you some stories about iOS 16. First, there are five new security and privacy features, followed by “useful” features you don’t want to miss. Then everything you wanted to know about Lock Screen widgets and how downloading iOS 16 will turn your iPhone into a more personal device and finally the skinny on Apple Passkey.
- Watching India: That’s exactly what Google plans to do with some of the production for its Pixel smartphones, manish writes.
- What not to leave in your hotel room: I’m not sure how to “find” just any Meta Quest Pro prototype, but that’s what a video game streamer in Mexico says happened. Amanda has more.
- no: Can’t say Amazon hasn’t tried. The e-commerce giant is urging the European Union to accept its offer to end an antitrust investigation into the use of third-party data. Natasha L writes that some advocacy groups are calling Amazon’s offerings “weak, vague and full of loopholes.”
- Chocolate, salty balls maybe?: Move over capsules and K-cups. Coffee balls are here. Find out what hi had to say about the Swiss-based CoffeeB machine.