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Instacart to eliminate about 2,000 jobs and GitHub head of HR resigns - techcrunch

Instacart to eliminate about 2,000 jobs and GitHub head of HR resigns

Hey y’all. You’ve just landed on Human Capital, the weekly newsletter that details the latest in labor, and diversity and inclusion in tech. The week kicked off with GitHub making a public apology to the person the company terminated for cautioning his employees about Nazis in D.C. on the day of the insurrection at the […]
techcrunch - 4 hours ago
Original Content podcast: ‘Bridgerton’ is an addictive reimagining of Jane Austen-style romance - techcrunch

Original Content podcast: ‘Bridgerton’ is an addictive reimagining of Jane Austen-style romance

“Bridgerton,” the Shondaland drama that launched last month on Netflix, offers a few key updates to the standard formula of Regency-era  romance. For one thing, there’s a racially diverse cast, with Black actors taking on the role of early 19th-century English nobility and royalty. (At one point, one of the characters offers an unconvincing explanation […]
techcrunch - 8 hours ago
Watch SpaceX launch its first dedicated rideshare mission live, carrying a record-breaking number of satellites - techcrunch

Watch SpaceX launch its first dedicated rideshare mission live, carrying a record-breaking number of satellites

SpaceX is set to launch the very first of its dedicated rideshare missions – an offering it introduced in 2019 that allows small satellite operators to book a portion of a payload on a Falcon 9 launch. SpaceX’s rocket has a relatively high payload capacity compared to the size of many of the small satellites produced […]
techcrunch - 11 hours ago
Is anything too big to be SPAC’d? - techcrunch

Is anything too big to be SPAC’d?

While many deemed 2020 the year of SPAC, short for special purpose acquisition company, 2021 may well make last year look quaint in comparison. It’s probably not premature to be asking: is anything too big to be SPAC’d? Just today, we saw the trading debut of the most valuable company to date go public through […]
techcrunch - 23 hours ago
Daily Crunch: Alphabet shuts down Loon - techcrunch

Daily Crunch: Alphabet shuts down Loon

Alphabet pulls the plug on its internet balloon company, Apple is reportedly developing a new MacBook Air and Google threatens to pull out of Australia. This is your Daily Crunch for January 22, 2021. The big story: Alphabet shuts down Loon Alphabet announced that it’s shutting down Loon, the project that used balloons to bring […]
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Backed by Vint Cerf, Emortal wants to protect your digital legacy from ‘bit-rot’ - techcrunch

Backed by Vint Cerf, Emortal wants to protect your digital legacy from ‘bit-rot’

We are all pumping out data into the cloud. Some of it we’d like to keep forever. Emortal is a startup that wants to help you organize, protect, preserve and pass on your ‘digital legacy’ and protect it from becoming unreadable, otherwise known as ‘bit-rot’. The project has received backing from the legendary Vint Cerf, one of […]
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Drupal’s journey from dorm-room project to billion-dollar exit

Moving from dorm room to billion-dollar exit is the dream of every startup founder. Dries Buytaert got there by being bold, working hard and thinking big.
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Boston Globe will consider people’s requests to have articles about them anonymized - techcrunch

Boston Globe will consider people’s requests to have articles about them anonymized

The Boston Globe is starting a new program by which people who feel an article at the newspaper is harmful to their reputation can ask that it be updated or anonymized. It’s reminiscent of the E.U.’s “right to be forgotten,” though potentially less controversial, since it concerns only one editorial outlet and not a content-agnostic […]
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Xbox Live Gold is getting a big price hike - techcrunch

Xbox Live Gold is getting a big price hike

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EVgo to go public via SPAC in bid to power EV charging expansion - techcrunch

EVgo to go public via SPAC in bid to power EV charging expansion

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Pinterest launches an AR-powered Try-on experience for eyeshadow - techcrunch

Pinterest launches an AR-powered Try-on experience for eyeshadow

Pinterest is expanding its virtual makeup try-on capabilities with today’s launch of a new augmented reality feature that allows online shoppers to virtually try on new eyeshadow. Initially, Pinterest is allowing try-on with 4,000 shades from brands like Lancome, YSL, Urban Decay, and NYX Cosmetics. The feature leverages Pinterest’s existing Lens visual search technology, its […]
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Google refreshes its mobile search experience

Google today announced a subtle but welcome refresh of its mobile search experience. The idea here is to provide easier to read search results and a more modern look with a simpler, edge-to-edge design. From what we’ve seen so far, this is not a radically different look, but the rounded and slightly shaded boxes around […]
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Sounding Board raises cash as startups wake up to executive coaching - techcrunch

Sounding Board raises cash as startups wake up to executive coaching

In an unprecedented work environment defined by distributed teams and virtual-only communication, two co-founders think their 2018 bet reigns truer than ever: mentors need mentorship, too. Christine Tao and Lori Mazan, the brains behind Sounding Board, want to train any leader within an organization to be a better leader. The San Francisco startup connects anyone […]
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How VCs invested in Asia and Europe in 2020

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MotoRefi raises $10M to keep pedal on auto refinancing growth - techcrunch

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A month before the COVID-19 pandemic had spread to North America, auto fintech startup MotoRefi — newly armed with nearly $9 million in venture capital — was preparing to bring its refinancing platform to the masses. CEO Kevin Bennett, and the investors behind the company, saw the opportunity to service Americans who collectively hold $1.2 […]
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Blobr, the ‘no-code’ company turning APIs into products, raises €1.2M pre-seed - techcrunch

Blobr, the ‘no-code’ company turning APIs into products, raises €1.2M pre-seed

Blobr, a Paris-based startup operating in the no-code space with tech to make it easier for companies to expose and monetise their existing APIs, has raised €1.2 million in pre-seed funding. The round is led by pan-European pre-seed and seed investor Seedcamp, with participation from New Wave, Kima, and various angel investors. Blobr is also […]
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‘Slow dating’ app Once is acquired by Dating Group for $18M as it seeks to expand its portfolio - techcrunch

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Five-year-old ‘slow dating’ app Once has been acquired by the Dating Group, one of the largest companies in the dating world, for $18 million in cash and stock. Dating Group has 73 million registered users across a range of portfolio fatting apps including Dating.com. Clémentine Lalande, co-founder and CEO of Once, will continue leading the company […]
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Cloudflare introduces free digital waiting rooms for any organizations distributing COVID-19 vaccines - techcrunch

Cloudflare introduces free digital waiting rooms for any organizations distributing COVID-19 vaccines

Web infrastructure company Cloudflare is releasing a new tool today that aims to provide a way for health agencies and organizations globally tasked with rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to maintain a fair, equitable and transparent digital queue – completely free of charge. The company’s ‘Project Fair Shot’ initiative will make its new Cloudflare Waiting Room […]
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Apple reportedly planning thinner and lighter MacBook Air with MagSafe charging - techcrunch

Apple reportedly planning thinner and lighter MacBook Air with MagSafe charging

Apple is said to be working on a new version of the MacBook Air with a brand new physical case design that’s both thinner and lighter than its current offering, which was updated with Apple’s M1 chip late last year, per a new Bloomberg report. The plan is to release it as early as late […]
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Didi to subsidize trips for vaccinations with $10M fund - techcrunch

Didi to subsidize trips for vaccinations with $10M fund

As countries around the world prepare to vaccinate people against the coronavirus, tech companies are rushing to demonstrate their willingness to help fight the deadly virus. China’s ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing is pledging a $10 million fund to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts in 13 markets outside its home country China, the company said on Friday. […]
techcrunch - 1 day ago
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techcrunch
Germany’s Xentral nabs $20M led by Sequoia to help online-facing SMBs run back offices better

Germany’s Xentral nabs $20M led by Sequoia to help online-facing SMBs run back offices better

techcrunch - 1 week ago

Small enterprises remain one of the most underserved segments of the business market, but the growth of cloud-based services — easier to buy, easier to provision — has helped that change in recent years. Today, one of the more promising startups out of Europe building software to help SMEs run online businesses is announcing some funding to better tap into both the opportunity to build these services, and to meet a growing demand from the SME segment.

Xentral, a German startup that develops enterprise resource planning software covering a variety of back-office functions for the average online small business, has picked up a Series A of $20 million.

The company’s platform today covers services like order and warehouse management, packaging, fulfillment, accounting and sales management, and the majority of its 1,000 customers are in Germany — they include the likes of direct-to-consumer brands like YFood, KoRo, the Nu Company and Flyeralarm.

But Benedikt Sauter, the co-founder and CEO of Xentral, said the ambition is to expand into the rest of Europe, and eventually other geographies, and to fold in more services to its ERP platform, such as a more powerful API to allow customers to integrate more services — for example in cases where a business might be selling on their own site, but also Amazon, eBay, social platforms and more — to bring their businesses to a wider market.

Mainly, he said, the startup wants “to build a better ecosystem to help our customers run their own businesses better.”

The funding is being led by Sequoia Capital, with Visionaires Club (a B2B-focused VC out of Berlin) also participating.

The deal is notable for being the prolific, high-profile VC’s first investment in Europe since officially opening for business in the region. (Sequoia has backed a number of startups in Europe before this, including Graphcore, Klarna, Tessian, Unity, UiPath, n8n and Evervault — but all of those deals were done from afar.)

Augsburg-based Xentral has been around as a startup since 2018, and “as a startup” is the operative phrase here.

Sauter and his co-founder Claudia Sauter (who is also his co-founder in life: she is his wife) built the early prototype for the service originally for themselves.

The pair were running a business of their own — a hardware company they founded in 2008, selling not nails, hammers and wood, but circuit boards they they designed, along with other hardware to build computers and other connected objects. Around 2013, as the business was starting to pick up steam, they decided that they really needed better tools to manage everything at the backend so that they would have more time to build their actual products.

But Bene Sauter quickly discovered a problem in the process: smaller businesses may have Shopify and its various competitors to help manage e-commerce at the front end, but when it came to the many parts of the process at the backend, there really wasn’t a single, easy solution (remember this was eight years ago, at a time before the Shopifys of the world were yet to expand into these kinds of tools). Being of a DIY and technical persuasion — Sauter had studied hardware engineering at university — he decided that he’d try to build the tools that he wanted to use himself.

The Sauters used those tools for for years, until without much outbound effort, they started to get a some inbound interest from other online businesses to use the software, too. That led to the Sauters balancing both their own hardware business and selling the software on the side, until around 2017/2018 when they decided to wind down the hardware operation and focus on the software full-time. And from then, Xentral was born. It now has, in addition to 1,000 customers, some 65 employees working on developing the platform.

The focus with Xentral is to have a platform that is easy to implement and use, regardless of what kind of SME you might be as long as you are selling online. But even so, Sauter pointed out that the other common thread is that you need at least one person at the business who champions and understands the value of ERP. “It’s really a mindset,” he said.

The challenge with Xentral in that regard will be to see how and if they can bring more businesses to the table and tap into the kinds of tools that it provides, at the same time that a number of other players also eye up the same market. (Others in the same general category of building ERP for small businesses include online payments provider Sage, Netsuite and Acumatica.) ERP overall is forecast to become a $49.5 billion market by 2025.

Sequoia and its new partner in Europe Luciana Lixandru — who is joining Xentral’s board along with Luciana Lixandru and Visionaries Robert Lacher — believe however that there remains a golden opportunity to build a new kind of provider from the ground up and out of Europe specifically to target the opportunity in that region.

“I see Xentral becoming the de facto platform for any SMEs to run their businesses online,” she said in an interview. “ERP sounds a bit scary especially because it makes one think of companies like SAP, long implementation cycles, and so on. But here its the opposite.” She describes Xentral as “very lean and easy to use because you an start with one module and then add more. For SMEs it has to be super simple. I see this becoming like the Shopify for ERP.”

sauce: techcrunch
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