Amazon buys encrypted messaging service Wickr: If you thought it was strange that an e-commerce company runs the world's biggest public cloud service, it may feel even stranger that that same public cloud service just bought an encrypted messaging service. But in the platform era, tech companies want to do everything, so we should not be shocked. Amazon's cloud team intends to "continue operating Wickr as is and offer its services to AWS customers" starting now. In related news, Amazon and Google are taking whacks in the U.K. over fake reviews.
The American government has cleared Virgin Galactic for commercial spaceflight. The result of the news? Shares of the SPAC'd company rose by nearly 39% today. So, it's a liftoff moment for the company and its market cap.
Closing out our Top 3 today, TechCrunch took a look at the Chinese ride-hailing giant's first IPO price range. We're curious why it looks and feels so cheap compared to its erstwhile rival, Uber.
TechCrunch stretched its legs today, giving us a lot to discuss past the usual funding round roll call. Here's what you should read:
What's new in Deep Science: Behind the scenes of startup glitz and venture capital glamor is a bunch of scientific work, the stuff that powers the next generation of tech and the startups of tomorrow. Devin Coldewey has a digest of science work ranging from predicting liquid flow based on still images to AI systems faking confidence.
And, of course, a host of startups raised more money. Here are a few highlights to keep you up to date:
Mercuryo raises $7.5M for crypto-powered, cross-border payments: One key use of blockchain tech that was touted years ago was sending money around the world. Traditional banking is famously bad at this, leading to high fees and other issues. Mercuryo could be cracking the model and has crossed the $50 million ARR mark. Impressive.
The Robinhood-led boom in retail investing that the United States has seen in recent years is increasingly becoming a global phenomenon. And Fintual wants to take a bite out of the trend in the Latin American market. The Chilean startup now has a Series A under its belt to power its fight against both regulation and incumbent players.
Musculoskeletal medical startups race to enter personalized health tech market
With more than 50 million Americans suffering from chronic pain and musculoskeletal (MSK) medical problems, a number of startups are offering patients new products "that don't resemble the cookie-cutter status quo," reports Natasha Mascarenhas. Startups hoping to enter this space have an uphill climb. Setting aside regulations that cover aspects like product packaging and marketing, they must compete with well-entrenched competition from Big Pharma as they try to partner with health insurance companies. Natasha profiles three companies that are each taking a different approach to personalized health: Clear, Hinge Health and PeerWell. Musculoskeletal medical startups race to enter personalized health tech market(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead.You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
From the world of Big Tech today we just have one more entry, as we covered Amazon's big news up above. Natasha Lomasreported today that "Microsoft-owned LinkedIn has committed to doing more to quickly purge illegal hate speech from its platform in the European Union by formally signing up to a self-regulatory initiative that seeks to tackle the issue through a voluntary Code of Conduct." I wanted to raise this particular story because it somewhat underscores how internet regulation is shaping up around the world. You wouldn't see this story, say, in the United States, or at least not in the same format. And in China, for example, another key internet market, it would also have a very different flavor. To some degree it feels like we're dealing with three different — and increasingly distant — internets. Something for startups to chew on. LinkedIn formally joins EU Code on hate speech takedowns